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NOTICE TO CORRESPONDENTS.
The following Articles have been received, and are intended for insertion :" Coclus.”_"X. B."_"Bedell,"_"C. A.”_“ Pestalozzi and his Plans." “ S.”'_“Č. M. 0.”_"0."_" Spes.”_" Thomas Lemon."-" W. F.”“W. D. L."-"H.'~“ H. J. S."M. K."'-“ Omega."." Andrew Saul.”' “ Peter versus Pope."_"J. K."
We shall insert in our next, the communication respecting the Institution at Cornwall-house, Clifton, and we take the present opportunity of correcting an error of the press in our Number for å ugust, where £600. is stated to be the annual sum paid by each inmate instead of £50.
In tbe Review of an Epitome of the General Councils by Dr. Grier, which appeared in our last-page 216, line 25, for "absence,'' read "prevalence.”
The history of Ireland is no less a paradox than its actual situation-literary when the rest of Europe was ignorant, it has retrograded while all around was advancing ; enjoying at an early period the most regular code of laws that any Celtic nation possessed, it is now as conspicuous for insubordination as for ignorance, and while a pure and evangelical religion has for centuries existed within its boundaries, and its inhabitants have been so long in contact with the most moral and illustrious of Protestant states, they have remained enslaved to the lowest superstition, whose fetters they seem to hug with exultation. Subdued to the despotism of Rome by the Norman lance, it has so incorporated that despotism with its political feelings and prejudices, that it now turns from the contemplation of its former purity, and seems to hate truth, because truth is English. It is not ours to say how such events have arisen, how they have been nourished to their present maturity of mischief, and by what expedients they might have been checked or prevented. The histroy of our unhappy country shews by what sad perversion of ingenuity, Popery was at one time forced on the Irish, and was left unreformed at England's Reformation, a name yet unknown in her gloomy annals. None of the most obvious modes of enlightening the people was had recourse to, none of those expedients which had been tried with success in England was employed, but instead of it, a violence mingled with a neglect as disgraceful to the good feelings as to the good sense of our rulers. Have we since improved by experience? We fear that we must admit a very partial amendment. A conviction of the evil of Popery bas indeed been gaining ground among our clergy and some of our laity; a conviction that education is an important element in social life, is pretty generally extended ; and some are even found bold enough to avow, that religious instruction should be given in the language that the people understand,
even though that language happened to be Irish. But these advances in liberality have not been made without opposition, and the remedies that the times deinand are still kept back from use, by the timidity or the prudence of those who ought to have been long since taught their importance. We must add too, that one of the most influential modes of instructing our fellow-countrymen, one assuredly having less that is objectionable, and more that is attractive than most others, has been scarcely in the slightest degree resorted to; and that we, therefore, know not the strength of our own cause, inasmuch, as we do not seem aware of the increased speed with which that cause would move onward, and have free course, if it were put forward with the zeal and energy that it requires. We feel the importance of the means to which we allude, we feel too the difficulty connected with its application; but, in confidence that our anxiety for the influence of our Church will not be mistaken for a love of novelty or innovation, we will employ a few pages of our miscellany in setting our opinions before our readers.
It has been justly observed, that religion requires more than merely to be placed before those who are its objects. The attractive power of truth or virtue, which exists in the idealism of Plato, might have some foundation in a world without sin " wherein dwelt righteousness” and where the human heart was uncorrupt, but assuredly in such a world as ours, much more is necessary than a mere exhibition of divine truth and divine beauty. The temptations of life, the weakness of resolution, the darkness of intellect, all indispose the individual to love or to receive the truth; and while the word of God de. clares that light came into the world, but darkness was preferred to it, and when we know that perfect virtue, the embodied essence of moral beauty and moral grandeur visited this globe, but to endure opposition and persecution, we cannot reckon much on the abstract influence of truth. Religion requires an aggressive as well as an attractive character, in order to assume her proper influence over man ; she must not be satisfied with the homage of the casual glance, or the uninterested examination"; but must pursue him whom she would command, to his chamber and bis daily occupation, must be mixed up with his meditations, mingled with his feelings, brought home to his business, appealing to his tastes equally as to his convictions. Shall we borrow an instance in proof of our theory from Popery the most successful specimen of mischievous érror that has ever exercised its baleful influence over the human mind, and directed to evit all that might have expanded itself in the fertility of usefulness and power? Yet so adapted was it to the human mind, such a power did it possess of applicability to the wants and passions of sinful man, and so skilfully did it insinuate itself into his entire system, that it has maintained, in the midst of the full blaze of truth, and learning, and pure religion, a power over its votaries scarcely less despotic now, than when in darkness and ignorance it ruled with unquestioned influence, the conscience and conduct of its subjects. Much of this influence is undoubtedly due to that very principle of applicability, by which it accommo
dated itself to the passions and desires of the mass; but much too, to the master skill by which it insinuated itself, and its ordinances, and its authorities, into all the various business of life. From the moment in which the unconscious infant is presented at the font, to the period in which the Church consigns his body to the grave, she never for one moment forgets that she exists but by domination ; she peoples his nightly visions with the creations of superstition, and his waking dreams with the unseen results of miraculous interference; impresses the dread of confession upon every secret thought of his heart, by the terrors of penance influences the life, and by means of the unseen obscure in which the disembodied spirit dwells, pursues and extends her power over the survivors. Far be it from us to recommend the adoption of so dangerous, so unscriptural a superintendance; religion should, indeed, be all to the believer : whatever he does, whether he eats or drinks, it is all sanctified by the remembrance and performed to the glory of the Lord ; but the high and holy spirituality of such a devotion is lowered and rendered lifeless, by its being confounded with the dead and chilling formality of rite and ceremony; and “walking by faith," the only principle that can elevate the carnal mind, is lost by the influence of the things of sight which occupy its place and divide or subvert its power. Such is the character of every false religion that has maintained an extensive and permanent influence over man, and equally in the recesses of Thibet, the plains of Hindoostan, or the Irish cottage ; whether the Lama. or the Brahmin, or the Priest and the Pope, be the object of reverence, that reverence is obtained and preserved in the same way.
It is long since we have been warned that the children of this world manifest not merely a zeal, but a prudence in the management of their concerns, and in the extension of their claims, that might well be emulated by those who aim at purer objects, and attempt them in a more spiritual manner. The Church of Rome never considers that she can apply too much of her machinery to effect the views she has embraced, and there is an unity, a simultaneous movement in her forces, that
proves there is but one actuating and animating spirit. Has such in this country, ever characterized the exertions of truth? Has Protestantism ever put forth all her strength, or employed all her resources, or directed all her energies to the accomplishment of that which is equally her duty and her privilege?' What a short time, since even the importance of education was fully brought before the Christian mind, and how many there are still who hesitate as to the propriety of giving that education in the language in which it is most likely to be useful. How little of the weight and energy of the Established Church has been cast into the scale, the talent of her ministers employed, and the influence of her character exbibited ?-how little of all that might bave been thus brought to bear upon the population, who have been by Providence implicitly committed to her superintendance, and whom she acknowledges as such, by including them in her legal enactments, and rendering them liable to her legal enforce
ments ? This question, indeed, brings strongly before us that part of the subject, to which we would call otr reader's attention, the Missionary character and capabilities of the Established Church. We are aware that there are some quietists in the Establishment who would shudder to think that our National Church could assume a character so active, who would circumscribe her exertions within the pale of her own communion, and while they allow her to be a city placed upon an hill, would so fence her round with positive ordinances, that her light would be of but little effectual use or advantage to others;—who would limit the labours of the Established Church to the work of educating her people, and satisfied with this partial performance of positive duty, would devolve upon others the task of conversion ? 'This system seems to us to be founded on
an ignorance equally of the character of true religion, and the peculiarities of the Established Church-that the one is essentially diffusive in its own nature, and regards the preaching of the Gospel as the never-ceasing test of its purity, and that the other professing to hold that Gospel in simplicity and truth, seeks to characterize her ministers by unfolding its banners to the world. In its origin, our holy religion is essentially a Missionary religion; intolerant of error in doctrine and in practice, it assails both with the spiritual weapons of the Gospel-bearing no rival near the throne of Jehovah, it exalts the Saviour and him alone, and seeks to bring every thought as well as every rite and ceremony to the subjection of the Redeemer and his glory; aggressive on sin and infidelity, it knows not rest till all mankind are united in the bonds of love and peace, and however modified by circumstances in its externals, the motto emblazoned on the banners which it bears against the world is, “go preach the Gospel to every creature:" -and can our National Church boast to be a portion of that communion, established by the first preachers of the Gospel, except it inherit that spirit, follow after that example, and adhere to that character on which with any portion of his Church his presence depends, “teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you ?" The Primitive Church was eminently and essentially Missionary, and following her footsteps our reformers impressed a Missionary character on our Establishment, her formularies and her ministers. Her priests are ordained to be “messengers, watchmen and stewards of the Lord; to seek for Christ's sheep that are dispersed abroad, and for his children who are in the midst of this naughty world ;" her service offers prayer on her most solemn occasions for “the Church militant,” for “all Jews, Turks, Infidels, and Heretics,” and repeatedly does she bring before lier congregation, the solemn and important petition that “the kingdom” of the Lord may come, and his “ will be done on earth as it is in heaven." Let us add too, that she has advantages over many Protestant communions for extending the Gospel ; —she has a gradation of ministers bound together in the bond of apostolic discipline, and preserved from the eccentric and irregular aberrations by which the progress of the truth might be impeded; she has a form of sound words commending itself to the