« PoprzedniaDalej »
NOTICE TO CORRESPONDENTS.
WE regret that the article on "Arminianism" is not strictly within the limits of our publication. Moderate discussion on the questions connected with the differencees that prevail on these subjects, we would have no objection to insert; but our friend B. does not discuss, but decide. We would wish our excellent Correspondent to reconsider his essay; for, in our mind, whatever may be our opinion as to the truth of his peculiar views, his paper involves the question in inconclusive reasoning. In order that an infinitely good Being should prolong indefinitely the existence of each of his intelligent creatures that they may have the benefit of co-operating grace, it must be supposed that this Being is devoid of infinite knowledge, so as not to be aware of the period beyond which the prospect of salvation is hopeless. But in truth we dislike a priori reasoning on such subjects altogether, and only wish to go where the Scriptures lead us by the hand.
We have received Senex's letter, and regret that the change made in his former article was without his approbation. It may be that his complaint is just; but if Senex were aware of the fastidiousness of some of our correspondents, he would, we are sure, think us justified in the omission of the passage he alludes to.
"W. B." on Episcopacy, shall appear in our next.-R. Pn" on the Errata in Bagster's Bible, has been received. The errors noticed by him are of too trivial a nature for insertion.-"R. F." on Prophecy. —“ J. B. O.”—“ E. E. L. M.” and "E. S. O." are under consideration.
"T. W." has been received, but we fear is not quite suited to our pages. do not recollect the article which he says we passed over in silence; if it was received, we can assure him that the apparent neglect was altogether unintentional. We shall be happy if T. W. will allow us the favour of a personal interview, and thereby afford us an opportunity of a more full explanation.
"T. K." on 1 Cor. v. 9, 10. shall appear in our next.
The Author of "The Lough Dearg Pilgrim," and of "The Broken Oath," is about to publish a Volume of Poems by subscription. We desire to recommend the Author and bis Poems to the patronage of our friends: the Author, because we believe him a sincere convert from the Church of Rome-his Poems, because they have considerable merit. In our next Number one of his minor Poems shall be given as a specimen.
It is now a considerable time since we have called the attention of our readers to this subject; not from an indifference to the circumstances in which Ireland is placed, or a forgetfulness of the duty imposed on us of watching and registering all the evolutions of the enemies of pure religion, and all the means which Providence seems to have presented for the propagation of divine truth; but because we have been desirous of receiving instruction from the progress of circumstances, and, as the remarkable manifestations of the last few years had been ascribed to the worst of motives, to ascertain how far our auguries upon the subject were justified by experience. It may be hoped, that a sufficient period of time has elapsed, and that we are now enabled to give a fair and consistent view of the circumstances that have occurred; the enthusiasm naturally resulting from the unlooked-for development of religious feeling in our population has subsided, or at least has sobered down to a state in which we can see circumstances as they really are, and judge of events, uninfluenced by prejudice or feeling. It would at least be our wish to do so, and protected from delusion ourselves, to guard our readers both in England and Ireland from being elevated by too sanguine expectations, or depressed by finding that these expectations had not been realized as speedily and as fully as they wished. We are more particularly called upon to examine the subject just now, as an attempt by the enemies of scriptural education will probably be soon made, under the patronage of influential and respectable, but we would say uninformed individuals, to divert from the channels of the Religious Societies, the streams of public bounty-nay, still more, by legislative enactment to devote our peasantry, against their convictions and their wishes, to an ignorance of the sacred Scriptures, to a slavish dependance upon their priesthood, far more severe than ever, because on the one side it will be contrasted with the glimpse of liberty they had enjoyed, and on the other new restraints
will be imposed under the two-fold stimulus of fear and revenge. We certainly have not much apprehension upon the subject; we have seen nearly the same propositions that are contained in a late report on the subject of education, exhibited with more plausibility, digested with more care, tried with every advantage of influence and circumstance, and yet even in the confession of the individuals who patronized the scheme, a complete and total failure. We shall be much surprised if the good sense of Protestant Britain, enlightened by the nine reports of the last Education Committee, will hand over the Roman Catholic population of Ireland to the unrestricted religious instruction of Dr. Slevin and Dr. M'Hale, or to imbibe the loyal and liberal dictates of Dr. Doyle. We shall be surprised, if a plan that has no recommendation but its hostility to scriptural education, no novelty unless a re-adoption of exploded errors be considered as such, which has incorporated the paid board of one system, with the separated religious instruction of another; and has transferred from the unscriptural habits of Popish seminaries, to a system offered for acceptance to the Protestant representatives of a Protestant people, the authorised exclusion of the word of God from a digested plan for general education; we shall be surprised if such a system receives the approbation of the enlightened Parliament of England; we can venture to assert, that but one feeling of indignation and contempt has been excited by its publication among Protestants in Ireland.
What is this efficient and well-digested plan which is to succeed in effecting that which Mr. Blake and Mr. F. Lewis have failed to accomplish? There is to be a salaried board in Dublin, to superintend and control all public schools-there are to be schools for moral and literary purposes four days in the week, and the Protestants are to be religiously instructed on one of the two remaining days, and the Roman Catholics on another-the New Testament is only to be read on the days of separate instruction— and vestries are proposed to have the power of assessing their respective parishes for raising that portion of school expenditure which is required to be provided locally-and this system the Committee think cannot be objected to by any moderate or rational man, as disconnecting religion from morality and learning! We know not if the respectable chairman of the Committee would deem us to come within the class he has alluded to, but assuredly without pleading either for our moderation, (for we are Protestants) or our rationality, (for we believe the Bible) we beg to object to his whole plan, so far as it is his-to all its details, from his salaried commissioners, whose interference can only be mischievous, to his select vestries in which every thing dear to the peasant and the Protestant is clamoured away by a priest-ridden mob; from his liberal permission to the children of the poor to see the Bible, if permitted by their clergy, for one-sixth of their school existence, to his authorised exclusion of it from education, during the remaining five-sixths: we object to it all, as exhibiting the grossest ignorance of the state of feeling in Ireland, as manifesting a most profound unacquaintedness with the true value of education to the poor, as pouring contempt upon the book of God as an instrument of education, that
can only be accounted for by supposing the report to have been manufactured in Maynooth or Carlow, and as sacrificing the principles of Protestantism, the liberty of the Irish peasant, and the dignity of the legislature, to the vain hopes of conciliation, or the devastating influence of modern liberalism. As somewhat acquainted with human nature, we protest against salaried officers having any thing to do with education in Ireland, or a well-paid board, to whom even Mr. Spring Rice will not be able to give ubiquity, pretending to superintend its varieties in this country- as Christian men, we protest against the separation of religion from education, and more especially for those who most require a religious education, or rather whose whole education should be connected with the precepts and sanctions of religion. As Protestants, we protest most decidedly against any system that would prevent our Protestant children from receiving and feeling its permanent and never-ceasing interest, and would allow them to see and read the Bible on one day out of seven! We tell Mr. Spring Rice, and the other members of the Committee, that they know little of the Protestant poor, if they think that they will purchase education by a sacrifice of all that is dear to them-that they know little of the Roman Catholic poor, if they think that because it is convenient to their priests and their prelates to keep them enthralled in ignorance, the people are inclined to hug their chains; and that their knowledge of Ireland itself is but limited, if they think that Parliamentary Committees and latitudinarian reports can check the spirit of free inquiry, or reunite those fetters upon the people, which the Religious Societies, aided most powerfully by the folly and misconduct of the priests themselves, have been able to force asunder.
The time too, at which this report has been presented, is one of rather remarkable occurrence; just on the eve of the discussion of a great political question the people of England and their representatives are to be told, with all the formality of a Parliamentary Committee, that one party generally thought interested in that question, are undeserving of the public confidence; that the systems pursued by them, however specious or plausible, however apparently, and in words calculated to give good and substantial and Christian education, really are but insidious lures to proselytism, and that the Protestants of Ireland were such infuriate bigots, that they sacrifice time, money, and character, not to educate the poor of their native country, not to instil such principles as might make them good citizens and good subjects, but whose tendency was to convert children into nominal Protestants, with the full assurance that all their efforts at proselytism must be rendered abortive, by the influence in subsequent life, of their friends and their priests. Such is the view which this report exhibits of the Protestants of Ireland, through whose benevolent and Christian exertions alone, have the Irish peasantry received any education, or the priesthood been stimulated to exert themselves even so far as they have, and to assume the semblance of friendly feelings to the spread of information. We would boldly deny the assertion made in the report,
Progress of the Reformation in Ireland.
and challenge investigation; we would boldly assert, that in no instance have the means employed by the Protestants of Ireland, to give through the Bible correct notions of morality and religion to the poor, been directed to proselytism, and if it has happened that individuals have conformed to Protestantism, in consequence of an acquaintance with the word of God, it has been the result of the Scriptures acting on the individual minds, and brought home with power to their hearts, and not directly contemplated by the system or its supporters. If, indeed, when that book speaks of One Mediator between God and man, the innumerable mediators furnished by the Roman Catholic Church, flash across the mind of either child or adult, it is not the Bible or the instructor that is to blame, but the system that has substituted man's devices for God's commands; if the Scriptures speak of One gracious Being to be worshipped and served, in spirit, and in truth, and that the pupil is irresistibly led to contrast with this pure, and spiritual, and single service, the images and saints and incense of his own ceremonial, it is not the Scripture or the master who is to bear the censure, but the wretched system that thus places itself in opposition to the plainest declarations of holy writ: and the government that would interfere to sanction the exclusion of the Scriptures, at the cry of proselytism raised by an interested party, would act just as consistently, as if they prevented the circulation of a tried specific for disease, because apothecaries cried out against its use, or would place regular physicians outside the protection of the laws, because quacks petitioned Parliament to be preserved from detection. But we own we do not entertain such apprehensions; we trust our legislature too firmly to believe, that they could, in the face of Protestant, and Christian, and Bible reading England, venture to establish schools from which on any day in the week, the Bible was to be authoritatively excluded :—we know that the vulgar charges of proselytism and persecution connected with scriptural education are not only false, but are known to be false, and that however zeal for the improvement of the peasantry, may have carried some few individuals farther forward than sound prudence would dictate, no substantiated charge either of the one description or the other has ever been brought forward; and we doubt whether, even in England, far less in Ireland, any well informed individual, either Protestant or Roman Catholic, credits the foul calumny raised by interested prints, and re-echoed by brawling demagogues; always excepting in the latter country, the Irish members who signed Mr. Rice's report, and in the former, such men as Lord Shrewsbury* and his chaplain.
It is a sad thing to see a gentleman write on a subject, on which he is absolutely uninformed; and when political or other bigotry, induces such a person to give hard words to his neighbours, or to run a muck at every thing respectable, it induces some suspicion, that the individual in question labours under some hallucination, for which an application to the outside rather than to the interior of his head might be useful. What else could induce the respectable title of Shrewsbury, to be connected with such a rant as the following, which foul and calumnious and absurd as it is, might have been consistent with