Page images

The adoption of this plan settles trary, there is now much less of inentirely the whole vexed question fidelity and immorality in New Eng. about sectarian religious teaching, land than there was forty years ago. by avoiding religious teaching alto- Nor have our most enlightened gether-a fact which decidedly re- Christian men perceived, in the recommends the plan, provided it can sults of the practice, any detriment be practiced without detriment to to religious interests. religious interests. That it can, ex- There is, in our view, a manifest perience abundantly teaches. It and great disadvantage in mixing up is no new plan. It has been prac. the teaching of sacred truths with ticed, essentially, in the common the hurry, bustle, irksomeness, and schools of New England for thirty restless roguery of a day-school. or forty years. There has been, And there is, on the other hand, a probably, some variety in different manifest and great advantage in districts. In a few, perhaps, the having such teaching by itself, where catechism has been taught, though it can be approached with becoming we have known no such case with seriousness, and linked with solemn in thirty years. Usually there has and auxiliary associations. And been no direct religious instruction, therefore we prefer a division of la. except when the school visiters, at bor in the work of education; asthe close of their examination, have signing the department of secular inmade addresses to the children of a struction to day-schools, and that of moral or religious character. It has direct religious instruction to other, been a common practice to read and for the purpose better, instruthe Bible in classes, or in the whole mentalities-Sabbath school teacbschool as one class. But this with. ers, the sanctuary, pastors, the fam. out note or comment can hardly ily, and especially parents. We be called religious instruction, and would not have the responsibility of probably is, for religious purposes, such teaching in any measure taken worse than nothing, because of the off from these instrumentalities, by irreverent and trilling associations the idea that such teaching is given thereby connected with that sacred in the day-school. Indeed, such book : and on this account it has, to teaching is chiefly provided, by our knowledge, been dispensed with judicious parents and guardians, by some excellent private teachers. through these other instrumentali. So that we may say that the plan of ties; and little reliance is placed by giving no direct religious instruc- them on direct religious instruction tion, has, in its essential features, in day-schools, even where it is been practiced generally in the com- given. We regard it as a calamity mon schools of New England for to encourage in any way the fallathirty years. And yet we have not cious idea that direct religious infound that the children of New struction in a day-school is of much England have been “common school. value, and can take the place, to ed out of heaven.” We have not any extent, of such instruction given found that this practice has “done elsewhere. The example and spir. more to nurture infidelity and im. it, the insensible influence, of a tru. morality than ever was in the power ly pious teacher, we estimate very of Voltaire or Paine.” On the con. highly. Such a teacher will have

an important religious influence on leave that to their own pastors, to their the pupils, though giving no doc. own parents, to the Sunday school, to trinal instruction : while, on the oth. their own sanctuaries, and to the no less precious allar of the family hearth.”—

er hand, a teacher of an irreligious Speech of Lord Morpeth, at Wakefield, in and trifling character, though teachAugust last.

ing a catechism, or theology in other forms, would have an influence have been familiar with the national far from salutary. We can not be schools of Great Britain, where too careful as to the personal char. somewhat thorough religious teachacter and influence of our teachers. ing is required. Some testimony of But as to theological instruction, we this latter kind we will ad can not ordinarily expect them to The Hon. and Rev. Baptist W. have the proper qualifications for it; Noel, whom our readers know as an nor have they, in a day-school, the able and evangelical clergyman of proper place and time for it. It the church of England, in a report, should be given, we preser that chilwhich, as an inspector of schools, dren should receive it, in other pla- he addressed to the Committee of ces, and from beiter instructors. Council on Education, after having

The day-school is, indeed, a pow. spent two months in visiting 193 erful auxiliary to religion, in the schools, writes thus—we have room way of preparation. It teaches elfor only a short extract.-—“But it ementary knowledge, and gives the was in their understanding of the power of studying the Bible and Scriptures, daily read, that I regretother religious books. It disciplines ted to find the most advanced chil. the intellectual faculties. It disci. dren of the national schools so ex. plines the will, and the moral feelings. tremely defective. Not only were By a proper government, it teach- they often ignorant of the principal es and necessitates subordination facts recorded in the Bible, but they to superiors, subjugation of self-will could not answer even the simplest and self-indulgence, regard for truth, questions upon the chapters which control of the temper, industrious, they had most recently read. Nor patient and persevering application, was their religious ignorance les. and that reverence for the Deity and sened by their knowledge of the sacred things, and those universal catechism. I several times exam. priociples of morals, in which all ined the first class upon a portion of agree. In a word, the daily disci. the catechism, and I never once pline of a school, and the incidental found them to comprehend it. * * * moral teaching it implies, work right Both in reading the Scriptures to the principles into the minds of the monitors, and in repeating the catepupils, and that in the permanent chism, the children showed a mark. form of habits. So that the day. ed inattention and weariness, occa. school is an important preparative sionally varied, when the master's and aid, to religious teaching. But eye was not on them, by tokens of its direct religious or doctrinal in- roguish merriment. *** Being struction, when attempted, is of ve. thus made the medium through which ry little value, if it is not, as we reading and spelling are taught, it think it is on the whole, worse than (the Bible) becomes associated in nothing. Of course there are man- their minds with all the rebukes and ifest and decided exceptions—in the punishments to which bad reading, case of teachers of peculiar piety, or false spelling, or inattention in and competency for religious in. class exposes them; and it is well struction. But this does not invali. if being thus used for purposes nevdate the general truth : which is at. er designed, it do not become pertested by enlightened observation- manently the symbol of all that is the observation of those acquainted irksome and repulsive. with private schools in which reli- Equally decisive, and more di. gious instruction is attempted, (for, rectly to the confirmation of our po. as we have said, there has been al- sition, is the testimony of Dr. Vau. most none in our public schools,) ghan.--" For our own part, we have and by the observation of those who always entertained a very low opinion of the religious instruction give should not popular education paren in day.schools, and of the reli- tuke of benefit from such arrangegious impression produced by it. ments? Why might not one part We have thought that a fuss has of education be given by the school. been made about it wonderfully master, another by the parent, by greater than the thing itself would the minister of religion, or by the justify. It has reminded us too Sunday school teacher? Does remuch of our Oxford religionists, ligion cease to be a part of educawho would pass for being very pi- tion, because not taught by the per. ous because prayers are read in son who teaches reading and arith. the college chapel every morning. metic? In fact, is there not danger We admit most readily, that the that sacred things may lose some. training of a good day-school may thing of their sacredness by being prepare a young mind for receive mixed up with the rough and often ing religious lessons with advantage noisy routine of a day-school? One from the lips of a parent, a Sunday would think that to give religion a school teacher, or a minister; but place apart after this manner, and the man must have been a sorry ob- to approach it with a special seriousserver of day-schools, who can re- ness, would be to secure allention to gard the religious instruction obtain- it, only the more becoming and promed there as being, while existing ising. Sure I am, there are many alone, of any great value."* considerate and devout persons who

“But, while I believe many pious would prefer such a method purely persons are most honest in their de- on account of its better religious mands on this point, and while I ad. tendency. Let the day-school inmit that many teachers in daily culcate a reverence of truth and schools do their best to give a reli- justice, and a love of every thing gious cast to their instructions, I am kind, generous and noble-hearted, still obliged to repeat, that I have a and let the directly religious instrucvery humble opinion of the direct tion be grafted upon such teaching, religious instruction which is given and it will be the fault of the agents, in day-schools, or that can ever be and not of the method, if you do given in such institutions. Nor do not realize a scheme of popular ed. I speak without experience on this' ucation of the bighest value. Nor subject. I have served more than can I doubt that the intermixture of one apprenticeship in the superin. the children, of all sects, in such tendence of schools on the British schools, would tend to abate our system, and the great benefit of sectarian animosities, and render the such schools I have always found to next generation, in that respect, an consist, not in any direct religious improvement on the past. impression produced by them, but Here we leave the subject. It is in their adaptation to prepare the one in which we feel the deepest inyoung for receiving religious instruc. terest: for it is one, we believe, of tion with advantage elsewhere. My great moment. We earnestly comexperience, in this respect, must be, mend our reasonings and conclu. I feel assured, that of a great ma- sions to public attention. They jority of persons who have been ob- seem to us, not only true, but time. servant of the working of day. ly. There has been manifested, of schools. In other departments, men late, a growing disposition to dissoon become alive to the advantage honor and abandon our noble and be of a division of labor; and why

* Letter to the editor of the Morning * The British Quarterly Review, Vol. Chronicle, on the question of popular edIV, p. 271.


[ocr errors]

neficent system of common schools, Presbyterian brethren (old school) and to substitute for it a system of who have recommended and comsectarian schools, which must be in. menced the movement, will recede. ferior in character, and (what is certainly we hope that no other demore important) can not perform the nomination will follow their examwork which common schools, when ple. Far distant be the day-let it wisely and energetically administer. never come—when, in our beloved ed, perform so well the vital work New England, the time-tested and of general education, of educating time-honored common school sys. the whole people—a system, more- tem shall be abandoned, or weak. over, hostile to social and civil har ened. Rather let renewed, persemony. We can not but think that vering and united efforts be put if the subject is fairly placed before forth to give it universally that per. the public mind, this movement will fection, of which it is capable, and be arrested. We hope—perhaps it which already, in many places, it is hoping against hope-that our has nearly atiained.



The discourses which we have attachment to the epistolary and taken as the basis of our article, doctrinal portions of the New Teswhile severally of much significance, tament. Against this charge Mr. derive an additional interest from Bellows offers a vindication, which, their relation to one another; a though by no means complete, indi. relation which we will at once pro- cates so just and candid a view of ceed to explain.

the subject, that we accept it with The first is an ordination sermon very sincere gratitude. He passes by the Rev. H. Bellows, pastor of to a censure, equally just, in our the church of the Divine Unity in opinion, of the somewhat vague and the city of New York. It is chief- unsettled views of those who make ly remarkable for a very earnest, this objection, and specifies their and very orthodox, exhibition of the “ want of a Christian iheology,” as object and efforts of the Christian a serious deficiency. Entering thus minister. It commences with a no- upon his subject, he proceeds to tice of the charge made against Cal. consider the nature of the minister's vin and his school, of an inordinate efforts, with reference to "the end,

the obstacles, and the instrumental. 1. Relation of Christianity to Human ity." So entirely is the sermon Nature.—A Sermon preached at the or- conformed to the views frequently dination of Mr. Frederick Knapp as col, cherished among ourselves, so exleague Pastor of the First Congregational act is its coincidence of statement Church in Brookline, Mass., on Wednesday, Oct. 6, 1847. Published by request with a certain kind of evangelical of the Society. Boston.

preaching, that we despair of con. 2. Nuture of the Atonement.-A Dis- reying any just view of it without course delivered by appointinent of the Synod of New York and New Jersey, on

larger extracts than our limits will Wednesday evening, Oct. 20, 1647. By allow. The object of the preacher Rev. Thomas H. Skinner, Pastor of the he defines to be " a fixed and at. Mercer Street Presbyterian Church, New tainable change. It is a new heart York.

3. Doctrine of the Atonement. The that he is to create. His object is Christian Inquirer. New York.

not so much to form the Christian Vol. VI.


character as to beget the Christian man; and that consequenily, to God, nature. His aim is the regeneration " there is no evil." of man, not his development," &c. The instrumentality by which The grand obstacle to the sove man's recovery is to be accomplishreignty of God in the soul, he main. ed, is in earnest and extended phrase tains to be a natural and hereditary declared 10 be" Christianity," as the depravity; a something lying back result of an indispensable divine inof human character, and for which, terposition, “ applied to human na. though not the result of any activity ture.' of ours, we

are consciously and The discourse of Dr. Skinner, justly responsible. His statements which we have placed second in orunder this head are somewhat re- der, was prepared and published by markable, and fall short of the request of the Synod, 10 which it highest orthodoxy only in failing to was preached. Our design does affirm that man's depravity is total. not permit us to examine it particuHe says, (p. 20,)“ 1.fear not to re- larly ; though we can not pass it cognize an alienation of the natural by without some expression of our man from God. I fear not to see a pleasure in the perusal of it. It is native proclivity to evil in man. I chaste, yet forcible in style, artistic hesitate not to acknowledge the and scholarlike in arrangement, and influence of hereditary depravity. exceedingly just and vigorous in its Man is not only imperfect, prone to reasonings. The view maintained evil, certain to fall from perfect pu. in it exhibits the atonement, not as rity and obedience, by the very con- a satisfaction to any vindicatory imstitution of his original nature as pulse of the divine nature, but as a Adam fell, but he is far more expo- measure rendered indispensable by sed by his constitutional relations to the perfection of the divine characsinful progenitors, and his ordinary ter and government. The divine exposure to sinful parental and so- character being the grand security cial iofluences anterior to his moral of the universe, requires the fullest agency. Nay, further, I scruple manifestation. Where transgression not to acknowledge his accountable, has occurred, penalty is ordinarily ness for sin which he can not but the indispensable means of this mancommit,” &c. This is certainly a ifestation; and if penalty be sysvery near approach to standard or. tematically forborne, some measure thodoxy. We hesitate not to pro- which may equally illustrate the nounce it after a highly approved emotions and purposes of God 10pattern of sound undiscriminating wards sin, becomes of the highest and resolute orthodox assertion. necessity. It onght perhaps to be These facis justisy, in Mr. B.'s opin. observed, however, that the opera ion, no objection to the purity or tion of a retributive sentiment in justice of God, unless we could the infliction of literal punishment, * first establish the point that there the discourse nowhere denies; it is are no provisions for strengthening only in reference to a substituted this moral feebleness, and mending sutlerer that Dr. S. questions ils this sinful bias, and even Turning influence. With this limitation, we them to the account of man's moral deem bis argument upon the subdignity and God's glory."

ject altogether correct. The dis. Admiuting himself an extended

course, afier presenting this view in scheme of such “ provisions,” he a most distinct and discriminating maintains that moral and physical manner, discusses briefly, but deci. evil sustain precisely the same rela. sively, ihe whole body of the cur. tion to the divine government, are rent objections to the doctrine, and means alike of moral discipline to concludes with an emphatic rebuke

« PreviousContinue »