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through their practical working, been instrumental in producing. It is the more to be regretted and wondered at, that an uncordial feeling should have been admitted towards a school establishment, not only pertaining to the numerical majority of the inhabitants of the colony, but which had, during many years, been yielding a return of benefits to the community, exceeding, in a fourfold proportion, the cost bestowed on their production. It does, indeed, the more excite my astonishment that a public advantage, so cheaply to be purchased, should have been declined, when I find it recorded that the experience of England itself has furnished an undeniable test of the value of a system of general education, conducted according to the principles of the established church, and under the direction of its clergy. In proof of this, I will read to you a short extract from the last report of the National Society. This statement may be relied on, having been set forth in the face not only of the church, but of parliament, of the entire body of dissent-in a word, of the nation, and of the world; yet not contradicted. Indeed, being founded on ascertained facts, its correctness could not be called in question.—“Our national schools,” it is said in this report,“ may not be in every instance what they ought to be, nor what we hope to make them; and yet, even in their present state, they have been the means of instilling Christian principles—the great sources of peace and order, of social happiness and of hope for eternity—into the minds and hearts of our manufacturing population. Of this important fact, proofs the most gratifying and incontestible have recently been afforded. During the late disturbances, the question how far the influence of the church and church schools was beneficially exerted in support of law and order, and in what degree the check which the spirit of anarchy received, and its ultimate suppression, were owing to the early dissemination of religious and moral principles among the working classes, may be considered as set at rest by the evidence which the Society has laid before the public. From the statements of about one hundred and fifty correspondents, lay as well as clerical, within the disturbed districts, it appeared that in every case, the effect of education, whether in Sunday or daily schools, was salutary in proportion to its completeness. Wherever means of church instruction were best provided, there the efforts of the disaffected were least successful. In whatever districts church principles predominated, no outbreak took place, however grievous the privations of the people, except in cases where the rightly disposed inhabitants were overpowered by agitators from a distance.” It may be objected, I am well aware, that this representation does not bear upon our circumstances here, where we have no
disaffected,” and no disturbed districts.” It is true, we have not—and may God accept our praises accordingly. But we have the same corrupt human nature to contend against ; and the presumption is, that the remedy (namely church education) which has proved so effectual against its evil propensities, manifested in one particular shape in England, will tend elsewhere to repress the extension of evil, taking its rise from the same source, whatever may be the special form which it may have a tendency to assume. The principle of church education is every where one and the same. It conduces to hold in check that diseased action to which the mind of society is inevitably subject, when abandoned too freely to its own impulses, from having been left to pick up a scanty and erroneous acquaintance with the articles of the Christian faith, instead of being trained in the knowledge of them, and in the fear of God, by the agency of the Church, as the appointed witness and keeper of holy writ. I can but express my own confirmed and painful conviction, that the adoption of any of the now favorite theories of general education, founded upon an exclusion of the church from its appointed province, would but aggravate the evil which it is designed to remove. In place of the opposition which truth has now to encounter from rooted ignorance, there would be substituted a more embittered spirit of opposition from unsanctified knowledge ; vice, in the meanwhile, being not diminished in amount, but rendered only more specious and refined.-Ibid.
A CHURCHMAN'S DUTIES WITH REGARD TO NATIONAL EDUCATION. And now, to speak candidly my apprehensions, they are, let me say, two-fold. First, it is to be dreaded that the governments of the earth, in arriving at a decision upon this great question, will suffer themselves to be influenced by motives of immediate expediency and of apparent utility, which may prove deceptive; instead of being governed by principles which are eternal and imperishable, and contain in them a pledge of ultimate security. Such policy must terminate in its own defeat; and they who, through irresolution, are led to adopt it, will ultimately find a vast unmanageable power growing up, unaccountably to them, to interfere with and reverse the relations which ought to prevail between rulers and subjects. It is also much to be apprehended that too large a proportion of the church of England, out of aversion to endure the burden (for it is a burden) of maintaining what they hear incessantly questioned, and for no other reason than because it is so questioned, will surrender their own judgment and opinions. They thus lie almost at the mercy of any party that keeps up a persevering attack;
of which the abettors of innovation, political or religious, are well aware. Their system is, first of all to attach (which they find easy means of doing) a certain notion of invidiousness or unpopularity to the maintenance of a view opposed to theirs ; and it is found to require more strength of mind than the generality of men possess, to be able to face this. Thus have we witnessed many questions carried to our disadvantage: our own members, under this vague dread of doing something unpopular, having been reduced to neutrality, or induced even to take an active part against what they all at the time professed to be supporting. I avail myself of this public opportunity of warning the church of England, that in the same adverse manner will the question of general education be determined, if by such temporizing acquiescence they dissipate their inherent powers ; which ought to be sufficient for the preservation in our own hands of the direction of our own affairs. As to those who separate from us, I encourage no interference with them ; nor does that, which I do encourage and require, imply the slightest ill-will or want of charity towards them. My business is with those who are by profession members of the church of England. Unfortunately—I say unfortunately, both for themselves and for the societythere are too many who regard this connection as merely nominal and accidental, and are, therefore, unprepared and unwilling to adopt any such decided course in their capacity and character of churchmen, as they would do, if they saw (which is the truth) that every man's determination, regarding church principles, whether it be favourable, neutral, or adverse, must tell more or less upon the issue of that contest which is in progress, between the ascendency of the evil principle and the establishment of the dominion of true holiness and righteousness. They speak strongly of their attachment to the reformation. To me it seems that the reformation was worth the struggles and sufferings by which it was accomplished, only so far as it placed the church in a better position to promote the spiritual renovation of all things. This is its proper occupation. This is the real question at issue. It is because we believe that God knew best what kind of organization it was necessary to bestow upon the church, in order to fit it for accomplishing His work, with security to herself and effectively for His purpose, that we so earnestly contended for our right to bring up its children in an acquaintance
with everything which the Scriptures present as essential to its constitution. But we do insist that the church itself, by its faithful clergy and people, and not seceders from it, shall be the judges of what is pronounced in Scripture to be necessary to this end. General education is the question which has brought these principles to a crisis ; and the church of England has pronounced against a compromise. She will teach the truth, whole and undefiled; and will be limited herein only by the compass of her own articles and liturgy interpreted by one another, and not by the extent to which she may find those who are without disposed to proceed with her. Sophistry and intimidation have
so unsettled the determinations of men, that many shrink from this course, as if it would involve them in a charge of exclusiveness. And if it do, what then ? Truth is exclusiveness, though exclusiveness is not necessarily truth. The gospel and the church proceed both of them upon that assumption : "there is one faith.” Our whole application is only that we may be assisted in teaching our children neither more nor less than that faith, according to our own opinion of what it embraces. And I must confess my astonishment that they who have set aside our whole ecclesiastical constitution, in order that none might be constrained to frequent a church where he should hear either more or less than was agreeable to his own views of the truth, should now repudiate their own principle by saying that, either we shall have no schools at the public expense, or shall be constrained to frequent those in which the Christian doctrine, if taught at all, must, from the very nature of the system, be taught imperfectly; which, as we think, is the same thing as being taught falsely.—Ibid.
PROTEST OF A LARGE MAJORITY OF IRISH BISHOPS AGAINST THE GOVERN
MENT SYSTEM OF EDUCATION.
We, the undersigned prelates of the united Church of England and Ireland have judged it to be our duty upon some former occasions to address those members of the Church who are directly committed to our care and government, and all others who are disposed to look to us for counsel and support, concerning the question of the education of the poor in Ireland. And as there are various particulars in the actual state of the question, we proceed once more to the discharge of this anxious, and in some respects painful, though, as we cannot but feel, clear and most important duty, in humble reliance upon the guidance and blessing of Almighty God.
Upon the former occasion, to which we have referred, we felt constrained to make known the very unfavourable judgment which we had formed of the national system of education for this country; distinctly declaring that we could not approve of it, or assist in the management of it, or recommend to the patrons or superintendents of schools that they should place them in connection with it.
It was with much reluctance and regret that we felt ourselves obliged to declare so decidedly and publicly against a plan of education established and maintained by the state, to which we owe, and are ready to render, all duty not interfering with that which we owe to God. But this higher duty compelled as to express thus plainly and strongly our disapprobation and distrust of this system ; and we lament that it does not now permit us to retract or to soften those declarations of our opinion. We consider it to be the more necessary to state this explicitly, because it is conceived by some persons that certain modifications of its rules, from time to time introduced by the commissioners of national education, have done much to remove the objections on which it has been from the beginning opposed and rejected by the greater portion of the members of the established church. And as we are unable to form the same opinion of these changes, we deem it our duty to obviate the misapprehension to which our silence might give rise, by stating distinctly that we cannot discern in them any sufficient reasons for withdrawing or qualifying the condemnation which we have deliberately and repeatedly pronounced.
When the government first announced its determination that this system should supersede those to which the state had before given support, it was very generally opposed by the clergy and the laity of our Church. The grounds on which the opposition was made to rest were various. The undue prominence given to secular, to the depreciation of religious instruction—the disregard shown to the position and claims of the clergy of the established Church, tending to
throw the direction of national education into the hands of the priesthood of the church of Rome—and other defects and evils, both of the system itself and of machinery by which it was to be worked, were urged as grave objections against the proposed plan of education. While its opponents differed as to the importance which was to be assigned to some of these objections, there was one, upon the paramount importance of which all were agreed. The rule, by which the Holy Scriptures were to be excluded from the schools, during the hours of general instruction, was treated by all as so fundamentally objectionable, that while this should continue to be the principle of the system, they could not conscientiously connect their schools with it, even though all the other grounds of opposition were taken away.
In the former societies for the education of the poor, with which the clergy were connected, they had, in accommodation to the unhappy divisions of this country, consented to forbear from any attempt to teach the formularies of our Church to the children of dissenters, Protestant or Roman Catholic, who attended the schools of which they had the superintendence. But they did not judge themselves at liberty so to deal with the word of God. There was in every school a bible class, and in every school to read the bible was a part of the daily business: and all the children in attendance, of whatever religious communion, took their places in this class, as soon as their proficiency enabled them to profit by the reading of the Holy Scriptures. But the distinction of the new system was, that it placed the bible under the same rule with books of peculiar instruction in religion, and excluded it, with them, from the hours of general education. And moreover, this great change was, avowedly, made as a concession to the unlawful authority by which the church of Rome witholds the Holy Scriptures from its members.
It should not have been expected that the clergy of our Church, who are bound by obligations so sacred to resist the spiritual tyranny and to oppose the errors of the church of Rome, would join in a system of education, of which the distinctive claim to acceptance and support was the aid which it gave to one of the most violent exercises of this tyranny—that which is, in fact, the strength and protection of its worst errors. It was not merely a question of the amount of good which was to be done by retaining the bible in its proper place in the education of the poor; though it would have been painful to give up this means of doing so much good to the Roman Catholic children, to whom (commended as they are in so many ways to their sympathies) the clergy in general have the power of doing so little; but there was still a graver question, of the amount of evil which would result from the change,and the part which the clergy were to take in effecting it. The principle of the sufficiency of the Holy Scriptures," as it is maintained by our Church, is a fundamental principle of the most momentous importance. It is by means of it that truth has been guarded and handed down to us by those who have gone before us; and it is by means of it we are to preserve this deposit of truth, and to defend and transmit it, pure and unmutilated, to those who are to come after us. While, on the other hand, it is by rejecting this principle, that the church of Rome is able to retain and to defend its errors, its superstitions, and its usurpations. It is well known that our church exacts from all its ministers an express declaration of their belief of this great doctrine, and a solemn promise that they will regulate their ministrations in conformity with it. And the steady maintenance of it is still further bound upon our clergy, when they are, by God's providence, placed in circumstances in which they have to carry on a continual contest for the truth—not merely for the deliverance of those who are in error, but for the preservation of those who are more immediately committed to their care, and in which it is plain that their prospect of success in either object depends altogether upon their adherence to this principle, and that when it is in any degree allowed to become obscure or doubtful, in the same degree the cause of truth is weakened, and that of error strengthened in
the land. And they could not doubt that if they connected their schools with the national system, and thereby entered into a compact to dispossess the bible of the place which it had hitherto occupied in them, they would be, in the eyes of the young and of the old of both communions, practically admitting the false principles of the church of Rome, and submitting to its tyranny, and abandoning the great principle of their own Church, concerning the sufficiency and supremacy of God's Holy Word.
It would seem that the board, to which the management of national education is committed, has not been insensible to the force of this grand and primary objection. It changed the offensive, but true ground, on which the exclusion of the Scriptures from its schools was originally placed, for another, which was much more specious and popular; and parental authority was brought in to occupy the post at first assigned to the authority of the church of Rome. Those who were acquainted with the state of the country knew that there was no real objection on the part of Roman Catholic parents, speaking generally, to read the bible themselves, or have it read by their children, but the contrary. And, in fact, when ecclesiastical authority was first exerted to put down scriptural education in this country, it had to encounter very stubborn resistance from parental authority—a resistance which undoubtedly would have been successful if it had been aided, as it ought to have been, by the state. But a renewal of this struggle was not to be looked for. For, however true it be, that Roman Catholics in general would prefer that their children were taught the bible, this desire is seldom so enlightened or so strong as of itself to arouse them to a contest with the authorities of their church. Under former systems they resisted the despotic power which forbad their children to read the bible, chiefly because their submission to it would have involved the loss of an improved method of secular education. But when, in consequence of the establishment of the national system, no such loss would ensue, it was not to be expected that any considerable number would persist in opposing the mandates of their clergy, or that the latter would any difficulty in constraining the parents, from whom they were able to withhold the bible, to forbid the use of it to their children. This being the case, it must be felt that, under all the modifications which have taken place in the rules, the matter remained in substance and fact unaltered ; and that the parental authority, which is put forward so prominently, is really the authority of the church of Rome, exercised on and through the parents of the children.
It is still further to be considered, that parental authority, like civil and ecclesiastical, and all other lawful authority, derives all its force from the authority of God; and therefore can possess none when it is exerted in opposition to the divine authority on which it rests. And although a child, who, from tender years or false training, is unable to see clearly the opposition which may exist between his parent's will and the will of God, or to apprehend its effect in releasing him from the duty of submission, is not to be instructed or encouraged to resist the authority of his parent, even when it is unlawfully exerted; yet that parent has no right to require others, who clearly perceive this opposition and understand its effects, to be his instruments in enforcing an unlawful exercise of his authority over his child; and others have no warrant to become his instruments in such a case. The distinction is obvious. Our clergy would and ought to abstain from any direct efforts to excite resistance, or even to encourage it on the part of a child, until they had good grounds for regarding that resistance as intelligent and conscientious. But they could not recognise such an exertion of parental authority as if it were lawful, and lend their assistance in enforcing it. So that, even if it were voluntarily exerted in forbidding the bible to be read, our clergy could not consent to bind themselves to aid in giving effect to such an unlawful command. But when they regard the parent as himself in bondage to the usurped authority of the church of Rome, and as not ex