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good the necessary wear and tear of school materials, the whole of which, with the exception of copy-books, are, at the outset, supplied by the Secretary at War.
At last, then, we have a substantial fact to deal with. Here is a system of education which, though exposed to all the lets and hindrances of which the world has of late heard a great deal too much, works well. By no means passing over those weighty truths on which, and on which alone, both public and private morality can rest secure, it yet manages so to bring them under the notice of the scholars as to elevate the principles of all, without wounding or giving offence to the prejudices of any. Nor does it interfere with, or take the place of, that more dogmatic teaching which Churches and their Ministers have an undoubted right to control. On the contrary, the children trained in regimental schools, under masters qualified morally as well as intellectually to conduct them, are noted for the attention which they pay to the catechising of the minister, whether it take place on Sunday or any other day in the week. And we are not aware of their failing in any instance to profit by it, provided the minister be as earnest as he ought to be in impressing upon them the value of the instruction which he communicates. What is there to prevent the adaptation of this system, modified, of course, in its details, to the acknowledged wants of a nation, composed, like its army, of persons professing many creeds, yet all alike willing to be taught, provided their favourite opinions be dealt with tenderly? Popular prejudice, we shall be told, which, taking the name of popular opinion, would drive from his place any minister who should have the hardihood to take the lead in such an enterprise, or even openly to approve of it. We wish that some minister would pluck up heart of grace to dare the adventure. We are confident that it would prove, like many others, far more perilous in appearance than in reality; we venture to predict that he would both keep his place, and carry his measure.
Of the abstract necessity, in a country like this, where the people are acquiring from day to day increased influence over state affairs, of bringing education within the reach of all classes, nobody will pretend to entertain a doubt. Neither can it be questioned that to render such education beneficial to the commonwealth as well as to individuals, it must be based equally upon the religious as upon the moral and intellectual principle. Man is not a moral and intellectual being merely; he is a religious being also; and any system of instruction which overlooks this fact, or passes by any one of these three fundamental attributes of man's nature, is not only defective quoad such
1852. What is, Cultivating the Religious Principle?
omission, but faulty. An exclusively intellectual education leads, by a very obvious process, to hard-heartedness and the contempt of all moral influences. An exclusively moral education tends to fatuity by the over-excitement of the sensibilities. An exclusively religious education ends in insanity, if it do not take a directly opposite course and lead to atheism. Whatever education, therefore, is offered to the people, and by whomsoever communicated, must, to effect a good purpose, provide for the culture of all these three principles; and certainly the religious principle is to the full as important as either the intellectual or the moral.
But what do we mean when we talk of cultivating the religious principle? Mr. Denison will say that the term implies an excessive dosing of the child's memory with the Catechism, the Liturgy, and the history of the Church of England. Dr. M'Hale would probably confine his syllabus to an acquaintance with the biographies of the Saints, and an aptitude in stating reasons why the Pope should be honoured as infallible, and the priest regarded as the keeper of the consciences of the laity. The Kirk of Scotland, whether bond or free, clings to its Confession of Faith, with its greater and lesser Catechisms; while among Nonconformists of every class, there are pet topics, and pet forms of speech, which seem to be as important in their eyes,-which are certainly quite as often in their mouths,-as the Sermon on the Mount, or the Ten Commandments. But will any unprejudiced person affirm, that a familiarity with the Church Catechism, however accurate, that a belief in the Pope's supremacy, or the acceptance of any other distinguishing dogma of any sect under the sun, has the smallest tendency to make men God-fearing in their secret thoughts, and therefore sober, chaste, and holy in their outward conversation? The question admits but of one answer. These things may be important, inasmuch as they keep together, from generation to generation, particular Churches, and serve as shibboleths whereby to detect pretenders to Church communion; but on the religious principle, properly so called, their influence is of the most equivocal kind, inasmuch as the solitary purpose served by them is to excite a zeal which not unfrequently degenerates into uncharitableness.
The truth is that we are all, even the least bigoted among us, apt to confound, in our consideration of this subject, the means with the end. Our Church, whatever it may be, is not our religion. It is but the casket within which the jewel lies: and individuals conform to one or another of the many sects into which the Universal Church is divided, solely because they believe that there, more brightly than in the rest, the jewel
shines. But except where a nation is so constituted as to consist wholly and entirely of the members of some particular Church, the Government, if it desire to deal justly by its subjects, ought as much as possible to stand aloof from a too intimate connexion with any of the people's Churches. It may find itself, as our Government does at this day, compelled by the force of circumstances, to acknowledge one as the Church established by law. And in consideration of benefits supposed to accrue to the Constitution from the commingling of Lords Spiritual with Lords Temporal in Parliament, it may continue to carry to the Throne for approval bills passed by the three estates of the realm. But apart from these points, which affect the temporal interest more than the spiritual guidance of the realm, even our Government, hampered as in some sort we feel it to be, is bound to maintain a strict neutrality in its dealings with all classes of persons, whatever may be the Church or religious Community to which they belong. The Queen's Government desires of course to see the whole of her Majesty's subjects religious, because without religion there can be no safeguard for honesty, sobriety, and a willing obedience to the laws. But it cannot undertake to teach religion according to any particular form, even though the admirers of that form be, as in England they probably are, equal as regards numbers to the admirers of all other forms put together. For the repeal of the Test and Corporation Acts, with its necessary result, the Roman Catholic Relief Act, exploded for ever the Church and State principle to which our forefathers clung. We have, no doubt, a Church established by law, of which the fabrics are maintained out of local rates, and to the ministers of which their endowments are secured by the self-same process which secures their estates to all other corporate bodies, including the glebes attached to dissenting chapels, and the rents or other revenues of monastic institutions. And this Church is so far in connexion with the State, that its highest court of appeal is that of the Sovereign, acting through a judicial Committee of the Privy Council. But, except so far as the last of these incidents be a privilege (and there are eminent men within the Church itself who look upon it as the very reverse), the Church has nothing to boast of as her own which she does not share with Non-conformists. Her fabrics are indeed, for the present, exclusively maintained at the public expense. We imagine that this will not long continue to be the case, and we doubt whether churchmen themselves desire its continuance. But however this may be, parish churches are so maintained, not on account of the assumed super-excellence of the particular form of Christianity taught within their walls, but
1852. Union of the State with Religion, not with the Church. 337
because the original founders of these edifices burdened their estates with the cost of maintaining them; and the land, whether it remain with the descendants of these testators or have changed owners a score of times, has never got rid of this burden, which has by so much diminished its marketable value. What is there in this accident, however, to bind the Church more closely to the State, than either the chapel or the meeting-house? The chapel or the meeting-house, if they who build them so determine by a proper legal instrument, may be kept in repair for all time coming out of lands charged with this burden. And the self-same law which now compels the Non-conformist landowner to repair the parish church, will force the Churchman's children, should such land become theirs by purchase or inheritance, to keep up the chapel or the meeting-house with which their estate is connected. But should we therefore say, that the meetinghouse or the monastery is in union with the State?
It appears then, that so far as law is concerned, there is no obligation upon the Government of this country to educate the rising generation in any one form of Christianity rather than in another. The moral obligation, on the other hand, seems to point to a different course. The Government, which is bound to protect all alike, ought to deal impartially with all. It may insist upon the children of the people being educated, and, in justice to itself, to society, and the laws, require that such education shall foster the religious as well as the moral and intellectual principles. But the care of biassing the understanding of individuals towards the church, the chapel, or the conventicle, it must leave to those orders of men, whether clergymen of the Established Church, Romish priests, or Non-conformist ministers, who live by the Gospel, because they undertake to preach the Gospel.
We believe that any minister of the Crown who should be. honest enough to enunciate this proposition, and in a manly and fearless spirit endeavour to act up to it, would be supported both in Parliament and by the country far more extensively than is supposed. Who, indeed, are they that deny the abstract justice of the principle? Certainly not the dissenting interest, which, in the British and Foreign School Society, at least, works pretty much up to the point designated in these pages. Certainly not the middle classes of churchmen, shop-keepers, farmers, and so forth, who send their own children to schools, the best within their reach, without stopping to inquire whether they are taught by churchmen or dissenters. Certainly not the poor, who either neglect to educate their children altogether, or seek education for them at any seminary which their employers and benefactors may recommend. And certainly not
the whole body of the clergy. We are not prepared to dispute the fact, that a majority of these gentlemen would resist the motion; or that a considerable portion of the aristocracy might co-operate with them; indeed, there is no hiding the truth from ourselves or from others, that some of the most earnest and true-minded members of the body would probably take the lead in such opposition. But what then?. If heads be fairly counted there will be found among the lay members of the Church, a large and intelligent majority in favour of comprehension; while of the clergy, the minority will prove far more considerable than the unobservant imagine. Holy men are usually quiet men. They love to do good in secret. They would rather see religion spread and work out its sanctifying purposes around them, than fight to the death in defence of the Apostolical Succession and Church Supremacy. And all this, in the settled conviction, that these doctrines, if conformable to scriptural truth, as many holy men believe them to be, will receive a readier acceptance from educated and thoughtful persons, than from persons either wholly uninstructed or taught to repeat by rote certain formularies which neither they nor their teachers understand.
We are not going to tax our own and our reader's patience by noticing, one by one, the arguments wherewith Mr. Denison and controversialists of his school endeavour to silence the advocates of a system so little in unison as this with their views of sacerdotal domination. They have been stated and refuted scores of times; indeed they all meet in one point,-namely, that, forasmuch as the commission to teach all nations was given by Christ to his Apostles exclusively, and that Peter, in particular, was charged to feed my lambs,' therefore the clergy, being the successors of the Apostles, and the inheritors of St. Peter's plenary powers, are, by an authority to which all human laws ought to subserve, vested with the right of superintending and directing the education of the people. The State, accordingly, if it interfere at all in this matter, is bound to interfere through them; because, without their co-operation, there must either be no religious instruction at all,—which would stamp the whole device as a scheme of Satan,-or religious instruction would be given by unauthorised persons, in contempt of the express will of the Divine Author of Christianity. Now, without stopping to ask for reasons why the clergy of the Church of England are to be regarded as the only legitimate successors of the Apostles in this country, we should be extremely obliged to any member of that body if he would show when, and under what circumstances, the commission to teach' first began to be understood in the sense which is here applied to it. For our