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THE

CHRISTIAN TEACHER.

ART. 1.-SELF-CULTURE; an Address introductory to the

Franklin Lectures, by WILLIAM E. CHANNING. London, C. Fox. pp. 56.

RARELY have Moralists addressed themselves to the experimental part of their subject, to the Art of their great science. Rarely have they condescended to take their disciples by the hand, and to lead them through the steps by which moral principles are rendered practical, and moral ideas realized. They have pointed out a great many things that are to be done : but not often have they troubled themselves with giving directions how they are to be done. They have shown us the distant ideal, but left us to ourselves to find our own ways to it, to plod through the tangled wilderness of uncertain means with perplexed hearts and bleeding feet.

We doubt not there are many who bitterly complain that where they most require assistance it is least offered to them, that where they experience their main difficulty is precisely the point where they are left without a guide. There are multitudes abundantly convinced of the truth and importance of the principles of morality, of the beauty and glory of devotional frames of feeling, of the enriching operation of social and intellectual tastes, but who say, and say truly, that this conviction does not put them in possession of these principles, these feelings, and these tastes, and ask to be told what methods they are to employ, in order that these truths which they now outwardly recognize may become affections which they shall inwardly feel. How, for instance, are they to acquire that sensibility to God—to his presence in Nature, to his agencies in Providence, to his voice in the soul, which they are most ready to believe is peace unspeakable to those who have it, a gushing fountain of sanctifying

VOL. I. No. 4.-New Series.

Mr. Jeffery brought back the meeting to the consideration of questions which, though of less general importance, affected more closely the interests of the Trim-Street congregation. He was sure the meeting would promote with increased earnestness—“ Education : universal education-sound, liberal, and truly Christian ; free from tests in our national universities ; free from sectarianism in our charitable schools; an education calculated to meet the wants, improve the manners, elevate the mind, and sanctify the hearts of all classes.”

The Rev. Dr. Drummond, of Dublin, has just published an Essay on. “ The Rights and Obligations of Man, in regard to the Animal Creation." This Essay was written in consequence of an advertisement from “ The Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals,” offering a premium for the best Essay on “ Man's Obligations as Respects the Brute Creation.” Dr. Drummond's Essay having arrived a few hours too late, was excluded from competition, and is now published at his own expense.

NEW PUBLICATIONS.

A concise view of the Evidences and Corruptions of Christianity. By P. M. Carey. London: Smallfield and Son, 69, Newgate Street.

Moral Views of Commerce and Society. In twelve Discourses. By Rev. Orville Dewey. London: C. Fox, Paternoster Row.

Jesus the Mercy Seat, or a Scriptural View of Atonement. By Joseph Calrow Means. London: John Green, 121, Newgate Street. 1838.

Dangers Within. A Sermon before the Western Unitarian Society. 1838. By Jerom Murch.

Letters to the Right Rev. the Lord Bishop of Durham, occasioned by the correspondence lately published in the Newspapers and Periodicals, relative to his Lordship’s subscription to a volume of Sermons by the Rev. W. Turner, Newcastleupon-Tyne. London: John Green. 8vo. 48 pp.

*** To render uniform all the numbers of the present volume, the new arrangements respecting intelligence, mentioned in our last, will be entered on with the second volume.

THE

CHRISTIAN TEACHER.

Art. 1.-SELF-CULTURE; an Address introductory to the · Franklin Lectures, by WILLIAM E. CHANNING. London,

C. Fox. pp. 56.

RARELY have Moralists addressed themselves to the experimental part of their subject, to the Art of their great science. Rarely have they condescended to take their disciples by the hand, and to lead them through the steps by which moral principles are rendered practical, and moral ideas realized. They have pointed out a great many things that are to be done : but not often have they troubled themselves with giving directions how they are to be done. They have shown us the distant ideal, but left us to ourselves to find our own ways to it, to plod through the tangled wilderness of uncertain means with perplexed hearts and bleeding feet.

We doubt not there are many who bitterly complain that where they most require assistance it is least offered to them, that where they experience their main difficulty is precisely the point where they are left without a guide. There are multitudes abundantly convinced of the truth and importance of the principles of morality, of the beauty and glory of devotional frames of feeling, of the enriching operation of social and intellectual tastes, but who say, and say truly, that this conviction does not put them in possession of these principles, these feelings, and these tastes, and ask to be told what methods they are to employ, in order that these truths which they now outwardly recognize may become affections which they shall inwardly feel. How, for instance, are they to acquire that sensibility to God—to his presence in Nature, to his agencies in Providence, to his voice in the soul, which they are most ready to believe is peace unspeakable to those who have it, a gushing fountain of sanctifying

Vol. I. No. 4.-New Series.

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and soothing influences, but which to them is a fountain sealed ? Or how are they to acquire those quick and gentle sympathies which make the heart holy with love, and life the scene of its graceful and tender ministries, to the charm of whose presence they are far from insensible, nay, which they even acknowledge with starting tears, but which withal is only a stray guest in their bosoms, and not the home habit of their hearts? Or how are they to acquire that power of looking forward, of drawing motive, consolation, and holy hope from the distant future, as influentially operative as though the intervening space was annihilated, and the distant vision was floating on the coming hour?

Suppose, then, a mind to be convinced that its happiness and worth would be promoted by the possession of a religious sensibility, of intellectual tastes, of quick and generous sympathies inquiring what it is to do, so as to form dispositions and affections corresponding to this conviction-how it is to acquire desires, habits, a tone of thought and a temper of heart, which however beautiful, however valuable, it does not now possess, and knows not how to construct.

The grand thing to be impressed on such a mind is that SELF-CULTURE is the one thing needful, that in order to educate itself it must be the submissive pupil of experience, watching diligently the influences that passing over it draw forth its varied tones, attending and noting for its future use, its several states of emotion with their attendant circumstances, its determinations of will with their actuating causes, its fluctuations of desire and temper with the occasions in which they originated. In the strong language of Dr. Channing, though perhaps his treatment of this part of his great subject is defective in the clear statement of how the individual is to observe himself, and to record his observations for use,

The great means of self-culture, that which includes all the rest, is to fasten on this culture as our great end, to determine deliberately and solemnly, that we will make the most and the best of the powers which God has given us. Without this resolute purpose, the best means are worth little, and with it the poorest become mighty. You may see thousands, with every opportunity of improvement which wealth can gather, with teachers, libraries, and apparatus, bringing nothing to pass ; and others, with few helps, doing wonders; and simply because the latter are in earnest, and the former not. A man in earnest finds means, or, if he cannot find, creates them. A vigorous purpose makes much out of little, breathes power into weak instruments, disarms difficulties, and even turns them into assistances. Every condition has means of progress, if we have spirit enough to use them. Some volumes have recently been published, giving examples or histories of • knowledge acquired under difficulties ;' and it is most animating to see in these what a resolute man can do for himself. A great idea, like this of self-culture, if seized on clearly and vigorously, burns like a living coal in the soul. He who deliberately adopts a great end, has, by this act, half accomplished it, has scaled the chief barrier to success. ***

“Some are discouraged from proposing to themselves improvement, by the false notion, that the study of books, which their situation denies them, is the all-important and only sufficient means. Let such consider, that the grand volumes, of which all our books are transcripts-I mean, nature, revelation, the human soul, and human life—are freely unfolded to every eye. The great sources of wisdom are experience and observation; and these are denied to none. To open and fix our eyes upon what passes without and within us, is the most fruitful study. Books are chiefly useful, as they help us to interpret what we see and experience. When they absorb men, as they sometimes do, and turn them from observation of nature and life, they generate a learned folly, for which the plain sense of the labourer could not be exchanged but at great loss. It deserves attention, that the greatest men have been formed without the studies which at present are thought by many most needful to improvement. Homer, Plato, Demosthenes, never heard the name of chemistry, and knew less of the solar system than a boy in our common schools. Not that these sciences are unimportant; but the lesson is that human improvement never wants the means, where the purpose of it is deep and earnest in the soul.”

It is perhaps impossible to give explicit directions to another, by following which he may be conducted with certainty to any contemplated result of character,—for whoever should attempt such a task would be only unfolding the individual experience of his own heart—and all that can be done is to indicate the general method by which each mind may put in operation for itself a ministry of virtue, and wield an instrumentality that will keep it in its best states.

Self-culture is mainly Self-Observation turned to account. We wish Self-culture to give force and developement to the more elevated and spiritual tendencies of our nature, to keep us aspiring and pure. Then the practical rule is this : observe your own experience, observe what the circumstances are in which elevated thoughts are found to enter the mind, and tender and holy feelings to spring up in the heart—and this a matter to be determined by individual experience, and not by any uniform principles or rules applicable to all. And every man has some experience in this most costly knowledge. Every man remembers some situations in which his spirit grows thoughtful and solemn; some influences under which he finds that the cloud melts out of his heart, and he becomes fond and gentle as a guile. less and much-loved child; some scenes whose power over his

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