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too much hard labour; let them never be neglected in sickness or in old age ; and, above all, let them never be deprived of the rest and religious privileges of the Lord's day.
The occurrence, which, while it illustrated the sterling excellence of Joseph's moral character, eventuated in his imprisonment, is related by the sacred historian in few words, and with artless simplicity. His “ goodly and well-favoured person” excited one of the basest passions in his shameless mis. tress, who tempted him to sin with her in a way that shall not be named. But, behold, how good and necessary it is to have the heart well fortified by the fear of God and the love of virtue! The temptation, though presented in circumstances singularly embarrassing, was resisted, in a spirit of fidelity to his master and of piety to God, to which no language of mine can do justice: “But he refused, and said unto his master's wife, Behold, my master wotteth not what is with ine in the house, and he hath committed all that he hath to my hand; there is none greater in this house than I : neither hath he kept back any thing from me but thee, because thou art his wife: how then can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God? Mark here the genuine principle of obedience to the divine commands, and the grand reason why no sin may be indulged: It is AGAINST God! Yes, however much wickedness may injure ourselves or our neighbours, it is ultimately and mainly against God. It is so, whether practised openly or secretly; it is so, even when it comes not into action, if it be cherished in our hearts. Othat the devisers of mischief and the workers of iniquity would consider that “the darkness and the light are both alike to Him with whom we have to do!"
But Joseph's base tempter, in the affair just alluded to, disappointed and chagrined, on finding his virtue proof against the violent assault which she had made upon it, resolves that if he will not sin with her, he shall feel her vengeance. Accordingly, having contrived her story with great ingenuity, and given to it an air of plausibility, she takes the earliest opportunity of preferring her complaint against the hapless Hebrew servant. The project succeeds. The credulous husband believes the specious tale ; his wrath is kindled against Joseph ; and, without allowing the accused a hearing, he took him and put him into the prison, a place where the king's prisoners were bound; and he was there in the prison;" where, for the present, we must leave him, after barely adding, in the words of scripture, by way of relief to the painful sympathies, which have followed him thither, that, “the Lord was with Joseph, and showed him mercy, and gave him favour in the sight of the keeper of the prison."
W. N. LETTER TO THE EDITOR.
“ Carlisle, November 1st, 1822. “REVEREND AND DEAR SIR,
“ I hope that the accompanying paper will appear to you worthy of a place in the Presbyterian Magazine. Its author, the late Rev. James Pringle, of this place, was a remarkable man: I have never seen his superior in genius; and his Christian and ministerial virtues are sufficiently attested by the deep and universal grief which was evinced at his loss. This manuscript is probably the only memorial of him that will appear in print, as all his other writings are in a short-hand of his own. Though of no very great consequence in itself, it will furnish to his friends a specimen of that practical benevolence, that spirit of scheming and doing good, by which he was remarkably characterized. Perhaps too, the plan proposed will meet the approbation of many
of your readers, and give them some useful hints. For my part, the fundamental idea has charmed me; and I am surprised that so obvious and beautiful a thought, as that of forming a Christian congregation into an · Association for prayer and benevolent effort, never presented itself to me before.”
The following is the communication referred to in the foregoing letter. We insert it with pleasure ; and beg leave to direct the attention of our readers particularly to its contents. The plan of social and benevolent exertions, here suggested, accords, in its leading features, to what has been practised of late, in some places, with cheering effect : and, we doubt not, that were some such system of united effort adopted in every Christian congregation, glorious and most desirable results would follow. Let the experiment be fairly made ; and let not Christians be soon discouraged. The object is great and good beyond comparison. Praying breath, and works of faith, and labours of love, are never spent in vain : “ The kingdom of God is a kingdom of means."
To the Beneficent Society to meet at the Associate Church of Be
thany, January 5th, 1819. The committee of inquiry respectfully report, that they have taken the subject, upon which they were instructed, into consideration, and now beg leave to submit certain views and consi. derations as the result of their inquiries, which they recommend to the attention of the society. They regard as the most prominent and most important features in the constitution of the society, that liberal spirit, and that extent of object which characVol. II.-Presb. Mag.
terize it. It recognises no limits but those which ability and opportunity prescribe, and is ready to apply its resources to every department of beneficence in proportion to its relative claim to attention.
It consecrates to the service of philanthropy, that diversity of opinion and those prejudices which tend to alienate the affections of Christians, and conciliates and harmonizes conflicting interests and discordant views.
Under this impression, the committee would not voluntarily and systematically exclude any object, or any means, calculated to promote the great design of the society-the glory of God in the happiness of man. It is not, therefore, because other objects, besides those which they have specified, have escaped their attention, or are considered unworthy of regard, that they have not extended their enumeration and entered more into detail, but because they regard these as presenting primary and paramount claims to their attention, and sufficient to occupy the attention and employ the resources of the society in its present infantile state.
In future reports they shall avail themselves of emergent circumstances, to suggest such ulterior measures as the existing state of things, and the actual means at the disposal of the society, shall warrant and require. Christian charity, like the pebble dropped in the lake, should send forth circle after circle, emanating from a common centre, but spreading wider and wider till they reach the remotest shore.
The committee, while they recognise Jehovah as the moral Governor of the world, presiding over the destinies of man, and by his holy providence regulating and directing all human interests, are solicitous to engage his propitious regard, and his efficient patronage in the support and promotion of their designs; well assured, that if he be for them, none can be against them.
With this view they recommend, as a suitable object of beneficence, not only the performance of public prayers in the soeiety itself, but also,
1. The establishment of associations for prayer and religious conference, wherever it shall be found practicable and expedient.
Associations of this kind, independently of the great scriptural principle, that the effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much, are calculated to excite and diffuse the Christian spirit, and invigorate and multiply the Christian virtues. They advise that the society prescribe a few simple and general rules for conducting them, leaving it to each association to adopt those detailed regulations for their own government, which local circumstances and their respective views and dispositions
The committee do not presume to propose any constitutional rules for this purpose, nor even to suggest the particular provisions which they might deem proper to introduce. They would, however, submit it to the consideration of the society, whether, in addition to the exercises usual in such societies, it might not be proper to furnish each with some periodical religious publications, and make the reading of them a part of the services. An intelligent and permanently operative zeal is to be produced only by an enlarged acquaintance with the state of the Christian world, and with the operations and tendencies of Divine Providence.
II. The next step is to ascertain the necessities, temporal and spiritual, that actually exist.
For this purpose it is recommended that special committees be appointed in every neighbourhood: wherever particular inquiry has been instituted, the result has been the discovery of wants to an extent far beyond what had been generally supposed; and though it is our happiness to live in a place where poverty, and ignorance, and vice, have not made those melancholy inroads which are elsewhere to be deplored, yet it is not to be doubted that they prevail to an extent of which few are fully aware. Nothing but a domiciliary visits" will ascertain the sad reality, and probe the wound to the bottom, that the necessary remedies may be applied with confidence and skill. Let this phrase-once the language of tyrants and the terror of the oppressed-be henceforth associated with the ideas of Christian philanthropy. Nor need we be apprehensive that these visits will be regarded as officious intrusions. Experience has decided that, when conducted with piety and prudence, they are received with gratitude, and produce the most salutary effects. And even if in some cases the event should be otherwise, the benefit will, upon the whole, far outweigh the disadvantages.
It is superfluous to add, that such visits, while they ascertain the actual wants, afford a convenient opportunity of supplying them, by the administration of pecuniary relief, of pious counsel, and of edifying tracts or other books.
III. Having ascertained the necessities, the next step is to relieve them. They will be of two kinds :—those of the body, and those of the mind.
Each requires its appropriate remedy, although they may often be combined with advantage. With respect to the former, there are three general cases which may occur, and which must be met by correspondent applications.
1. When an individual or family is in indigent circumstances, but enjoys good health, it must arise from some visitation of God, or from want of proper economy and discretion, or from indolence. In either case it would be improper to grant pecu
niary assistance, without at the same time giving them suitable employment: but a moderate aid, either wholly vested in, or at least accompanied with the means and implements of industry, may be of essential utility. And a just discrimination should always be made, so as to discountenance the vicious and indolent, and encourage the meritorious.
2. Where indisposition, or other providential affliction, has deprived a family or individual of the necessary means of subsistence, relief should be extended in such a way as most effectually to remove the evil, either by occasional supplies, or, which is much preferable, if the cause be permanent, by regular annuities.
3. Occasional misfortunes may occur in the providence of God, which will render assistance peculiarly necessary and desirable for a short time, and require immediate attention; or meritorious strangers may settle in the neighbourhood, or pass through it, who need assistance, and whose wants should be promptly relieved. In all, liberality should be united with economy, and such measures be adopted as to confer the greatest benefit with the most tender delicacy.
IV. The committee regard the diffusion of knowledge among the poor as calculated to promote their best interests, and to augment the general happiness and prosperity of the community, They therefore recommend, as a proper object of beneficence, the education of poor children.
There are three principal ways in which this may be done :By the permanent establishment of free schools--the erection of circulating schools—and the support, gratuitously, of scholarships, in schools that are or may be established by others. The first method is best adapted to cities and places where the population is crowded and very poor: the second, to places where the mass of the community is illiterate : the last, for obvious reasons, is best calculated for our situation; and, as such, the committee recommend it to the attention of the society. It might be proper also, even where a scholarship is not placed wholly upon a charitable foundation, to diminish, by the aid of the society, the expense of education to necessitous individuals, and thus to afford greater facilities to the instruction of children whose parents, though not indigent, are yet incompetent to their education without great inconvenience. Nor would it be improper to assist young men of good moral characters and talents, in acquiring that higher and more extensive erudition which is necessary to qualify them for public usefulness, especially in the gospel ministry.
V. For the instruction of illiterate adults, whether bond or free, whose situation and duties prevent their attendance upon other days, the committee recommend the establishment of