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THOUGH we do not mean to observe any par. ticular arrangement in the Selection of our Subjects, yet we shall begin with the existence of God; which lies at the foundation of all Natural and Revealed Religion.
Singular mode of teaching a Child
THE EXISTENCE OF THE SUPREME BEING.
“ THE first rules of morality I taught him (says the late Dr. Beattie, speaking of his eldest son) were to speak the truth and keep a secret, and I never found that in a single instance he transgressed 'either. The doctrines of religion I wished to impress, upon his mind, as soon as it might be prepared to receive them, bụt I did. not see the propriety of making him commit to memory theological sentences, or any sen. tences it was not possible for him to under. stand. And I was desirous to make a trial how far his own reason could go, in tracing out, with a little direction, the great and first prin. ciple of all religion, the being of a God! The
following fact is mentioned, not as a proof of superior sagacity in him (for I have no doubt that most children would in like circumstances think as he did) but merely as a moral or logi. cal experiment. He had reached his fifth or sixth year,
knew the alphabet, and could read a little, but had received no particular information, with respect to the author of his being, because I thought he could not understand such information, and because I had learned from my own experience, that to be made to repeat words not understood, is extremely detrimental to the faculties of a young mind, In a corner of a little garden, without inform. ing any person of the circumstance, I wrote in the mould with my finger the three initial letters of his name, and sowing garden cresses in the furrows, covered up the seed, and smoothed the ground. Ten days after he came running to me, and, with astonishment in his countenance, told me that his name was growing in the garden! I smiled at the report, and seemed inclined to disregard it, but he in, sisted on my going to see what had happened. Yes, said I, carelessly, on coming to the place, I see it is 'so, but there is nothing in this worth notice, it is mere chance, and I went away. He followed nie, and, taking hold of my coat, said, with some earnestness, it could not be mere chance, for that somebody must have con. trived matters so as to produce it. I pretend not to give his words or my own, for I have forgotten both, but I give the substance of what passed between us in such language as we both understood. So you think, I said, that what appears so regular as the letters of your name, cannot be by chance. Yes, said he, with firm. ness, I think so. Look at yourself, I replied,
and consider your hands and fingers, your legs and feet, and other limbs, are they not regular in appearance, and useful to you? He said they were. Came you then hither, said I, by chance. No, he answered, that cannot be, something must have made me. And who is that something, I asked. He said he did not know, (I took particular notice that he did not say, as Rousseau fancies a child, in like circumstances, might say, that his parents mad him.) I had now gained the point I aimed at; I saw that his reason taught him (though he could not so express it) that what begins to be, must have a cause and that what is formed with regularity must have an intelligent cause. I therefore told him the name of the Great Being who made him and all the world, concerning whose adorable nature I gave him such information as I thought he could in some measure comprehend. The lesson affected him greatly, and he never forgot either it, or the circumstance that introduced it."..Dr. Beattie.
PROOF OF A SUPREME BEING. The following mode of establishing this great truth is deserving of special attention ; it has a degree of novelty which will impress the mind of youth.
« THE Mahometans have invented many fabu. lous accounts concerning the prophets and the patriarchs of the Old Testament; amongst the rest they tell us that Moses having preached å long time to the King Pharaoli, who was an atheist and a tyrant, on the existence of one Eternal God, and on the creation of the world, and finding that he made no impression, either
upon Pharoah or his courtiers, ordered a fine palace to be erected privately at a considerable distance from a country residence of thre king. It happened that the king, as he was hunting, saw this palace, and inquired by whom it had been built. None of his followers could give him any information, at length Moses came forward, and said to bim, that the palace must have built itself! The king fell a laugh. ing at his absurdity, telling him it was a pretty thing for a man who called himself a prophet to say that such a palace had built itself in the middle of a desert! Moses interrupted him with saying, “ You think it a strange extravagance, to affirm that this palace built itself, the thing being impossible, and yet you believe that the world made itself! If this fine palace which is but an atom in comparison, could not spring from itself in this desert, how much more impossible is it, that this world, so solid, so great, so admirable in all its parts, could be made by itself, and that it should not, on the contrary, be the work of an Architect, wise and powerful!" The king was convinced, and worshipped God, as Moses had instructed him to do."...Bishop Watson.
ILLUSTRATION OF THE EXISTENCE OF
WE add the subsequent illustration of this fun. damental truth because it cannot be too firmly impressed on the heart of man.
“SEE here I hold a Bible in my hand and you see the cover, the leaves, the letters, the words, but you do not see the writers or the printer, the letter founder, the ink maker, the paper
maker, or the binder. You never did see them, you never will see them; and yet there is not one of you who will think of disputing or de. nying the being of these men. I go farther, I affirm that you see the very souls of these men in seeing this book, and you feel yourselves obliged to allow that, by the contrivance, design, memory, fancy, reason, and so on. In the same manner, if you see a picture, you judge there was a painter ; if you see a house, you judge there was a builder of it; and if you see one room contrived for this purpose and ano. ther for that, a door to enter, a window to ad. mit light, a chimney to hold fire, you conclude that the builder was a person of skill and fore. cast who formed the house, with a view to the accommodation of its inhabitants. In this man. ner examine the world, and pity the man who when he sees the sign of the wheat-sheaf, hath sense enough to know that there is a joiner, and somewhere a painter, but who, when he sees the wheat-sheaf itself is so stupid as not to say to himself, “ this had a wise and good Cre. ator !”
A TREE THE EMBLEM OF LIFE.
THIS object of Nature, which we meet with in every direction, is replete with instruction. The contemplative mind views it with peculiar interest, and derives from it no inconsiderable improvement.
“ AS I sat carelessly at my window and cast my eyes upon a large acacia which grew be. fore me, I conceived that it might aptly repre. sent a couutry divided into provinces, towns,