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fication by the Assembly. Thus this body by its veto power, will retain control sufficiently to keep out all unsound and unsuitable persons from these important posts, while the active duty of finding suitable nominees will devolve on the body most conversant with their wants—a body far better qualified for the task, we hazard nothing in saying, than a large assembly, gathered for a few days from the “whole boundless continent,” can be. We prefer this to mere synodical supervision, 1. Because a considerable portion of the funds of Princeton Seminary are vested legally in the Assembly, and might be imperilled if this should give up all supervision and control. 2. For the purpose of uniformity, the Assembly is more adequate than Synods. The Synods may happen to be larger or smaller, of greater or less weight and fitness for such a trust; more or less narrow and provincial, or broad and catholio, in their sympathies with the whole church. One Synod may be poor. Another may mass in itself much of the surplus wealth of the church, which ought to help nourish and endow all her seminaries, instead of being the peculium of any one. 3. It being only in case of manifest unfitness that the reto power of the church should interfere, and candidates being liable to be found in all parts of the church, the Assembly is the best body for that sort of supervision. This would suffice for unification so far as the seminaries heretofore of the Old School branch are concerned.
It seems to us that it cannot be difficult for the seminaries of the other branch to reach substantially the same platform. They, of course, can report annually to the Assemblies. Without knowing all the details of their present charters, we presume there is no insuperable obstacle to their making the simple by-law that all their elections to fill vacancies in the Board or Boards of oversight and direction, also of professors, shall be submitted to the Assembly for approval before they are finally ratified. If the charters now forbid such an arrangement, doubtless alterations could easily be obtained which would admit of it, or something equivalent.
This, of course, must rest with the managers of these seminaries themselves. They have full legal power to prevent it, if they please. We have no doubt they can substantially
accomplish it, if they please. And they will, of course, act their own pleasure. But from their known fairness of character, the prominent part they have taken in promoting reunion upon the avowed basis of perfect equality on both sides, the vast importance of the complete unification of the church in this great department of ministerial training, second in moment to no other; its bearing on the promotion of complete mutual confidence, the suppression of jealousies and fears of undue advantage given to or taken by one side as against another, we cannot but think those who have the power and responsibility will be ready to do their utmost "in order to a uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision" of these institutions. If we have not indicated the best way, they will be quick to find and adopt a “more excellent way.” Sure we are, that they will not set up any mere legal technicality as a barrier to so momentous a result. We cannot doubt their will to put all the seminaries on a substantial equality in the premises. And doubtless the result will prove, that “where there is a will there is a way," and that thus all our seminaries “ shall be entitled to an official recognition or approbation on the part of the General Assembly.”
Auburn Seminary is now under the supervision of several adjacent Synods, and of course falls within this class, so “entitled to official recognition or approbation.” We presume that if all the other seminaries shall come upon one and the same footing, her guardians will cheerfully consider the question whether any further steps are necessary on their part “in order to a uniform system of ecclesiastical supervision.”
ART. VIII.— Recent Publications on the School Question.
1. History of the Public School Society of the City of New
York, with Portraits of the Presidents of the Society. By WM. OLAND BOURNE, A. M. New York: Wm. Wood & Co., 61 Walker Street.
2. The Relation of the State to Religious Education ; John
D. Minor et al. versus the Board of Education of the City of Cincinnati et al.; Argument for the Defence. By STAN
LEY MATTHEWS. Cincinnati : Robert Clark & Co. 1870. 3. The School Question, from the Christian World for Febru
ary, 1870. 4. Bible Gems; or, Manual of Scripture Lessons, specially
designed for Public Schools, but equally adapted to Sunday Schools and Families. By R. E. KREMER. Philadelphia: J. B. Lippincott & Co. 1870.
These are a portion of the contributions to the Public School controversy with which the press now teems, and which show how profoundly it agitates the public mind. The first is a heavy octavo of nearly 800 pages, compactly printed. It recites the history of the Public School Society of New York City during the whole of its beneficent career, from its first attempt to do well and thoroughly what the religious charity schools had before done partially, until its functions were assumed by the State Board of supervision, It is a volume of great value. It is, in fact, a thesaurus of the literature, the arguments, the controversies in reference to the organization, basis, and conduct of common schools in the metropolis of the country. Here, where the Romanists came first, at least in the Northern States, into a position to display their attitude and claims in respect to common schools and the public school moneys, they bave shown what their precise demands, arguments, and pretensions are. This volume con . tains the grand arguments of the Romanists, as exhibited in their public documents, the great speeches of Bishop Hughes, the debates before the Common Council, between him and the distinguished representatives of the Public School Society. Any careful examination of it will show, beyond the shadow of a doubt, what they insist on, and what alone will satisty thein.
The second of these publications is the great argument of Judge Matthews, a leading Ohio lawyer, and Presbyterian elder, in defence of the recent action of the School Board of Education of Cincinnati, prohibiting the reading of the Bible in public schools. It, in substance, maintains that the Protestant version of the Bible is a “sectarian book," and thus far agrees
with Bishop Hughes and the Romanists, as well as indifferentists, sceptics, and non-religionists generally, including some Protestant Christians, who, like the judge bimself, are coming to the same ground. We are very far from agreeing with him in some of his main positions. But his argument is exceedingly able, adroit, and learned. What he has left unsaid on that side is hardly worth saying.
The third is a pamphlet reprint of an article in the February number of the Christian World, showing, by a copious collection and comparison of the declarations (mostly recent) of Romanists, different classes of Protestants, and various secular journals and persons, the grounds now taken by the chief parties involved, with regard to the preservation of our common schools, and the moral and religious teaching to be maintained in them. It is quite timely and helpful to those seeking light on the question.
The fourth is a little manual prepared by an experienced and successful teacher, for the purpose of aiding the giving of really biblical and really unsectarian instruction in the public as well as other schools, and in families. It is in the form of question and answer. It gives only unquestioned stateinents and facts of Scripture. It collides with no denomination or denominational scruples, but presents only what is gladly accepted by all denominations. It has already received warm encomiums from leading clergymen of several principal Christian bodies. It has also received the cordial approval of the heads of the public school department of Pennsylvania. If the school controversy could be settled by the introduction of such a manual as this for study in our common schools, we should rejoice in the consummation.
We have been looking into this contest over common schools, and the Bible in schools, which has been looming up so largely of late, and find ourselves surcharged with interest enough to write, off-hand, scores of pages, instead of the few left at our command. We are persuaded that the parties are forming and marshalling for a contest on this subject, which for depth and earnestness has seldom been paralleled in the history of the nation. The Romanists insist on the appropriation of the public
VOL. XLII.-NO. II.
moneys to support the Romish schools in which their religion is taught, and in proportion to the number of children so taught. They utterly scout the public schools, and withdraw their children from them wherever they are strong enough to set up their own, no matter what these schools may do to satisfy them. If the schools teach the elements of morality and religion, even by reading the Douay Bible, without note or comment, they stigmatize it as unsafe and hurtful to their children. If no Bible is read, no religion taught, no prayers offered, they denounce these schools as giving a Christless and godless education. They ask nothing, and will accept nothing less than the appropriation of the public money to support their own church schools. This appears from all their outgivings on the subject, by their priests, prelates, and periodical organs. This we are satisfied the American people will not grant for two principal reasons :
1. They are unwilling, on conscientious grounds, to be taxed to pay for teaching children the Romish religion, with its known contempt and hatred of all other systems of faith and bodies of Christians. While willing to tolerate them in such teaching at their own expense, the mass of Protestants are not willing to pay for it.
2. To concede this demand, in the present circumstances of the nation, is to break up the whole system of common schools. For if it is allowed to the Romanists, it cannot be withheld from Christians of other denominations, from Jews and people of other religious and irreligious persuasions. This at once substitutes sectarian schools, supported by the State, for common schools. But, unless in large cities and towns, such schools are impracticable in this country, because too few of any one denomination live near together to sustain a school, much less a good one.
The result wonld be smaller and inferior schools, or no schools, with no provision for the children of that large outlying population not connected with any church. For the education of this class our people will insist on keeping up common schools; not only so, but the magnitude, the unity, the system, the classification attainable in our public schools, give them an incomparable advantage over any possible system of denominational schools in this country. Were our