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A more melancholy sight we can scarce conceive than a teacher coming publicly forward before he enters on his work, to bind himself by a solemn engagement, that he will use no influence, direct or indirect, to influence the religious character of his pupils. That act disqualifies him to be a teacher. It is an engagement whieh he cannot keep; for his temper, and his conduct, and his whole carriage will be exerting a powerful influence over his pupils, in spite of either him or them. A teacher must be exercising an influence either favourable to religion or unfavourable. And let the concessions made to the liberality of the times be what they may, this we maintain, that if teachers do not inculcate religion, they must inculcate irreligion. It is irreligion if youth are taught to count religion a matter of indifference; and how can this lesson be more effectually taught them than by the public declaration, that their teachers are to be selected without any regard to their religious character ? 2. Not merely are teachers selected without any regard to religious character; but as the necessary consequence of one bad step, the whole business of the school must be conducted without any reference to religion. We would have thought that there could not well be a more fit expression of our dependence on God than that the daily business of every school should be commenced with prayer to God; but it is to be feared this is a practice which, to a great extent, has been abandoned in the country. Men are chosen to be teachers who are incompetent to present a public prayer, and this is not considered a disqualification. Men are retained as teachers, whose character is such, that even to their pupils it would appear ridiculous that they should undertake to lead in prayer. And teacliers there are many, who would be shocked at any such proposal being made to them, as that they should commence the business of every day with a prayer to him, without whose blessing we can enjoy no good thing. But there is no part of the conduct of a sehool, where the absence of religion is so deplorable as when the exercise of discipline is necessary. It is truly distressing to see liow this is commonly conducted an infuriated master (monster) immercifully smiting a tender child, and the measure of the punishment inflicted directed not by the offence of the pupil, but by the temper of the teacher. 'Punishment is sometimes necessary, and in the hands of a good man it might be the means of incalculable good. But as generally inflicted, we hesitate not to say that it does any thing but good. Many a child have we seen terrified or stupified by it till he could
not learn. Others have become hardened under it, and regardless alike of its pain or disgrace. And not a few have been trained to cunning and artfulness, their only object being to escape from the lash. How different might be the effects of punishment, administered by a good man, and in a right
We remember to have heard a case that will be the best illustration of our meaning. A child was found to have been guilty of falsehood the teacher took the pupil apart, pointed out from the Bible the heinousness of the of. fence, accompanied the explanation with suitable counsel, and in the spirit of christianity administered such punishment as was deemed necessary. The whole exercise of this discipline was so conducted as to leave a deep impression on the mind of the pupil. It was not merely the disgrace or the pain that was remembered, but the sin of the action. Such hold did this conviction take of the mind, that it led, under the blessing of God, to a conviction of sin in general. The teacher received a letter from the pupil, full of deep concern for sin and salvation—these feelings were cherished and directed and it is hoped the matter has issued in the conversion of the child to God. Now we hold that it is such a teacher, and such conduct, and especially such discipline, that should be universally demanded. But how different the ordinary government of our schools we need not stop to show. In many
instances a scholar will commence his career, go through all the stages of his education, pursue it for many years, and in all that time never hear a prayer offered to God, nor receive a Christian counsel from the man who has been entrusted, to a great degree, with the formation of his mind and character. How long these things may last, it would be difficult to say. But this we know, if they are tolerated much longer, all that is peculiar to christianity may soon be banished from the land. We address ourselves to our rulers and
Government is an ordinance of God for the good of the country-its religious as well as civil good. You are accountable to him for your influence on the religious character of the community. This is to be exercised chiefly by means of education. Provide such education for the people, therefore, as will promote religion among them. Force this provision on none; but put it in the power of such as are willing to embrace its advantages. May God influence our rulers to feel their responsibility, and never give them 'up to such a delusion as to suppose this is a matter with which they have no concern.
To the Ministers of the Gospel we say, be at your post.
The education of the rising generation is, in a great measure, dependent on you. Bear faithful testimony to the government of the country, declaring what that education is for which they should provide. Encourage Christian education within your own districts. Their schools should be accounted by you a solemn part of your charge. And they furnish a case, in which a small portion of labour is likely to be succeeded with extensive effects. Try to make them nurseries of religion. We say to Christian parents, select Christian schools for
We fear the responsibility of this duty is not sufficiently felt. We hold that you are accountable for all the influence that may be exerted over your children, by their teachers, when it is in your power to make a wise selection. Nor are we backward to express our surprise and grief at beholding many excellent parents passing by schools of sound Christian education, as well as literary advantages equal to those of any others, and choosing for their children schools where, to say the least, no religious advantages are afforded. We are far from saying you should be indifferent to literary or even graceful accomplishments. But we argue that these may be enjoyed in schools conducted on religious principles as well, if not better, than in any others. And we entreat you to select the ordinary teachers of your children with as much care as you would the Ministers of religion, to whom you commit the formation of their religious principles and the direction of their moral conduct.
The public we exhort to listen to the counsel of a wise man, whom we do not hesitate to pronounce the only sound political economist of his day. Expediency will not do. Schemes of rationalism will not preserve the country. The spirit of liberalism, if not checked, will ruin it. There is one thing, and only one, that can save these lands, and that is Christian education. Hear the sentiments of Chalmers .“ Moral and religious education is the first and greatest object of national policy; and, while this is neglected, a govern, ment in its anxious and incessant labours for a well-conditioned state of the commonwealth, will only flounder from one delusive shift or expedient to another" **** as we look for no sensible improvement in the condition of the lower orders in England, while their present system of pauperism remains, we as little look for any sensible or general improvement in their character, by the means of education, if that is merely to be the education of letters, and not the education of principle. It is not scholarship alone, but scholarship impregnated with religion, that tells: on the great mass of society. We have no faith in the efficacy of mechanic institutes, or even of primary and elementary schools, for building up a virtuous and well-conditioned peasantry, so long as they stand dissevered from the lessons of Christian piety. There is a charm ascribed to the scholastic system of Scotland; and the sanguine imagination is, that by importing its machinery into England and Ireland, it will work the same marvellous transformation there, on the character of their people, that was experienced amongst ourselves. But it is forgotten, that a warm and earnest christianity was the animating spirit of all our peculiar institutions, for generations after they were framed; and that, wanting this, they can no more perform the function of mo-. ralizing the people, than skeletons can perform the functions, or put forth the faculties of living men. The scholastic is incorporated with the ecclesiastical system of Scotland; and that, not for the purposes of intolerance or exclusion, but for the purpose of sanctifying education, and plying the boyhood of our land with the lessons of the Bible. The scholarship of mere letters might, to a certain extent, have diffused intel.: ligence amongst the people; but it is mainly to the presence and power of the religious ingredient, that the moral greatness of our peasantry is owing.
ORIGINAL SIN, AN IRRATIONAL AND UNSCRIPTURAL FIC
TION, DISHONOURING GOD, AND DEMORALIZING MAN AN ESSAY, BY W., H. DRUMMOND, D. D. ll London, 1832..
(We have received the following Article from a respected Correspondent
At first we hesitated to publish it, feeling reluctant to pollute our pages: with the profane title of the book which he has reviewed, or the blasphemous quotations which he has thought it necessary to extract. On second thoughts, however, we resolved to publish it, being determined by two reasons, because the Article is an able exposure of an empty, puerile production, and because it will let our readers see the progress of error in the country. Formerly it appeared in the form of Arianism,
now it has advanced to Humanitarianism, wherein Christ is represented !, as a mere man, capable of sinning, if not actually guilty of sinful actions.
Quere—wherein does the vaunting pamphlet of Dr. Drummond differ from Deism? Let our readers judge when they have perused the able review of our Correspondent.--EDIT.]
This age has deservedly been denominated one of knowledge and improvement ---the intellectual energies of individuals and
of nations have been roused into activity, and new channels have been opened up for the purpose of irrigating, by the streams of truth, the hitherto barren and sterile regions of our spiritual world. Every man is now called upon to keep pace with the general improvement of society around hini,-not only in those departments of knowledge which are immediately connected with that particular profession to which he has devoted himself; but also in the acquisition of that general knowledge, the, sources of which are placed within the grasp of almost every individual of the community. But we do confess, were we to take the pamphlet which is now before us as a fair specimen of the enlightened improvement, to which the clergy can lay claim in this age of knowledge, we should be disposed to coincide with one portion of society in their assertion, that that class. have only been the distant followers in the wane of others, and have never led the way to the einancipation of the human mind from the thraldom of ignorance and superstition. The only thing we can, in truth, say, in praise of this production, is, that the author has had considerable respect for grammatical canons in its composition, perhaps more than he has manifested for those which can lay claim to a more divine original ;--but the unmeaning style of turgid bombast which characterizes its every page, and the dogmatic egotism, and, frequently, the self-sufficient intolerance of its assertions, form sufficient evidence to seal its condemnation in the view of every liberal and enlightened mind. Reason and common sense are lauded as the very idols of the Humanitarian school, to which Dr. Drummond belongs, and of which he has proclaimed himself the champion ; but, if we take him as an example, the manifestations of their reason are only the drunken gambols of besotted pride, and their common sense the intolerance of puerile dogmatism. Wher. ever reason is exercised in its legitimate sphere, untrammelled by prejudice and untarnished by self, we applaud it, and it has our approval ; and, where it is illuminated by the spirit of the Lord, we look up to it with the highest feelings of earthly reverence; but where it is claimed as the sole possession of a religious faction, where it is foreed to give its reluctant consent to every unreasonable chimera that may enter into their imaginations, we regard it with disgust, as the distorted and unhallowed image of the divine original. Such as this would unquestionably be our feelings respecting reason and common sense, were we to form our opinions of them from the melan choly exhibitions of their desecration in the Essay before us.