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cause of our enemies to our own destruction. Foes, as well as friends, when objects of compassion, are entitled to our regard : but, if they are possessed of power, and that power is exerted against us, no duty, either moral or religious, can require us to increase it. Nor should we forget that there are degrees of attachment, no less warranted by political justice, than by natural feeling. It is consistent with both, to love one's own family, or one's own country, more than another family, or another country. It is consistent with neither, to preach that universal philanthropy, which excludes from its wide embrace both paternal and patriotic affection. If this philanthropy be applied to religion, it is equally capable of abuse. Hard indeed must be the heart of that man, and poor indeed his understanding, who can see a fellow-creature in distress, and coldly ask, before he relieves him, to what religion he belongs. Whether a Jew or a Samaritan, a Christian or a - Turk, it is a human being, that wants our assistance : and if we refuse it, because our religions are different, we bring disgrace upon our own. But this principle of gene. ral benevolence, which in some cases requires us to disre. gard religious distinctions, applies not, where duty interferes in behalf of our own religion. For, as no philanthropy can warrant the neglect of our own family, or our own country, so no philanthropy can warrant the neglect of our own religion. When our philanthropy affects our family, our country, or our religion, it loses its genuine character, and becomes a weakness, or a vice, instead of a virtue.
It is well known, that a system of education, conducted by a very intelligent and active Dissenter in this country, a
system, in which, of course, as he himself conducts it, the doctrine and discipline of the Church of England form no part, has, during the last seven years, received very extensive patronage from men of all ranks and professions. This system he conducts on the avowed principle, that c education ought not to be subservient to the propagation of the peculiar tenets of any sect.”' Hence no other parts of Christianity are there professed, than what he terms its “ uncontroverted principles.”? Whether our religion, when thus curtailed, does not lose the character of Christianity altogether, or whether enough of it remains to satisfy the demands of any other religious party in this
These are Mr. Lancaster's own words in the Introduction, (p. viii.) to his work, entitled • Improvements in Education.' It is obvious from the general tenor of this Introduction, that the word “ sect” is there applied, as well to the established, as to the tolerated religions in this country. N. B. The edition from which I now quote, is the sixth.
? Mr. Lancaster, speaking of his school at p. 25, says, “ This school is not established to promote the religious principles of any particular sect ; but setting aside all party distinctions, its object is to instruct youth in useful learning, in the leading and uncontroverted principles of Christianity, and to train them in the practice of moral habits, conducive to their future welfare, as virtuous men and useful members of society.”—Though I have no concern at present with the last clause of the sentence, I have quoted the whole, lest it should seem, that I designedly omit what is in Mr. Lancaster's favor. I am as ready, as any man, to allow that he educates his scholars in '« moral habits.” But moral habits alone are not sufficient : children should acquire also religious habits; and this is the point, for which I contend in the present discourse. The question is, whether the persons, whom Mr. Lancaster proposes to make “useful members of society,” will become so useful, as members of society in this country, by being trained to moral habits, as they would be, if, beside the acquisition of the habits, they were taught to found those habits on the principles of that religion, which is established in this country..
country, it is certain that the doctrines of Christianity as taught by the Church of England, have no admission there. That Dissenters therefore, Dissenters of every description, should join in promoting such a plan of education, is not a matter of surprise. To supersede the parochial and charity schools, which our forefathers had founded on the maxim in the text, of training up a child in the way that he should go, and to raise up seminaries in their stead, where the children should not be trained in the way of the Established Church, was to them an advantage, too obvious to be overlooked. If no predilection for any peculiar sect was thereby excited, one point at least was gained, and that an important one, that the children educated in such seminaries would acquire an indifference to the establishment. And not only indifference, but secession from the Established Church will be the final result.
Education, on whatever principles it be conducted, must have some influence, either favorable or unfavorable, on the established religion. Even neutrality, however strictly observed, is in this case a kind of hostility. It is hostility to the Establishment, to deprive our children of that early attachment to it, which an education in the Church cannot fail to inspire, and which, if lost in their youth, can never after be recovered. :
If this loss were compensated by any solid advantage, obtained by that neutrality for the general cause of religion, we should have less reason to lament the injury, which we ourselves sustain. But no such advantage can be expected from such neutrality. For there is less probability, that men will finally embrace the truth, if their education dismisses them unattached to any particular religion, than if they had been educated in some religious system. Among the persons dismissed in this state of supposed impartiality, how small must be the number of those, who will have the lei. sure, the inclination, and the ability, to weigh the arguments for religious opinions! And when we further consider, that the question now relates to persons educated in schools of public charity, an union of those qualities in such persons can never be expected. But if those qualities are wanting, there must also be wanting the knowledge, and the judgment, which are necessary to direct men in the choice of their religion. In such circumstances, they will either choose no religion ; or, if they choose any, it will be mere accident, that they fall on the right one. Instead therefore of advantage from that neutrality, we may certainly expect the reverse.'
civil, or religious, or mixed. Other passages in Aristotle's Politics, on the importance and the effects of education, may be found by, consulting Dr. Gillies' Index to his English Translation. Art. Education.
"These arguments will not be obviated by the excuse, that Mr. Lancaster's professed neutrality leaves the children at kiberty to learn religion, either from their parents, or at those Sunday-Schools, to which their parents may choose to send them. For the parents of children, who are objects of public charity, are for the most part incapable of teaching religion to their children. And, if they send their children to a Sunday-School, according to their own persuasion, the peculiar doctrines, which the children will hear one day in the week, can hardly make a lasting impression, when they are continually hearing of generalized Christianity during six days in the week. Where children go daily to
But the neutrality professed is virtually disregarded, and hence indifference to our religion, which the mere circumstance of not being brought up to it cannot fail to produce, is. not the whole extent of the evil to be apprehended from this system. Indeed neutrality in religion it is hardly possible to maintain. If we adopt a creed, we cannot expect that all parties should agree to it. If we adopt no creed, we differ from all who have a creed. We cannot be negative in respect to Creeds, without positive opposition to those who maintain them. But the Educator in question has formally declared, that he objects to Creeds in general : and he has declared it in the work, which is intended to describe his plan of education.' His scholars therefore, who neces
school, the religion which they are afterwards to profess, should be an object of daily attention. They must learn their religion as they learn other things : and they will have much or little, according as their education supplies them. To assert, that our religion is not dependent on our education, is to contradict the experience of all ages and nations.
* Mr. Lancaster, in his Introduction, p. ix. says. “I feel a fervent wish, as every friend to mankind must, that names may perish, but truth prosper.” In p. x. he says, “ In the spirit of sect and party it is the object, though often blended with something better, to exalt a peculiar creed, to establish a name,” &c. In p. xi. he has a passage, which explains what he means by names. “Then the solicitude would not be to make men nominal Catholics or Protestants, Churchmen or Dissenters, but to exalt by precept and example the beauty and excellency of our holy religion. The desire would not be the increase of proselytes to this name, or the other, but to the only name given under Heaven, whereby mankind can be saved, the name of Jesus, to which all must bow in mer. ey or in judgment.” Having explained what he means by the names, which he wishes may perish, he adds, at the bottom of the page, “ I long to see men, who profess Christianity, contend not for Creeds of faith, words, and names, but in the practice of every heavenly virtue.” Mr. Lancaster, therefore, must long to see the Church of England abandon her Creed and her Name. Whether “ the practice of every heavenly virtue" would be promoted by such abandonment, is a question, which I need not examine.