Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

.“ One hundred pounds penalty for false representations. Six members may appeal against a refusal of enrolment, to be determined summarily by the judicial committee. Five rate-payers in any parish or town, not municipal, may require the overseers to call a meeting for the establishment of a school. . “ Forgery, or false representations, to be punished by seven years' transportation, or three years' imprisonment.

“Overseers, refusing to produce the rate-book, to pay 501. School Meeting to choose five rated persons, to be called the school committee; one to go out yearly. Of these, one is to be chosen the annual chairman, and to have a casting vote. Three to form a quorum, but all must be unanimous. The chairman to keep the minutes of all meetings. Members may state their dissents, which are to be sent to the commissioners.

“ The school committee to form estimates for building or repairing schools ; and if the plan be approved by the commissioners, they may levy a rate, which the overseers are to pay over to the Board. Overseers to levy distress on overseers making default, i.e. refusing to pay over the said rate to the Board. An appeal against the rate may be brought at quarter-sessions.

“ Two or more parishes may associate for having one joint school.

“ Courts to have full power of costs in any proceedings arising under this Act."

Abstract of the Clause on Religious Instruction. “ Proviso,—That in all schools under the Act, the Scriptures shall, as a part of the reading, be read; but the children of Roman Catholic or Jewish parents not to be obliged to be present at such reading, unless such parents are willing that they should attend."

Now, Sir, without going into the details of this bill (which I reserve for another letter), permit me to offer some brief observations on its principle. And first, Is it necessary or expedient, in the present circumstances of this country, to introduce any legislative and compulsory system of education, like that of Prussia ?

To this question we think the answer must be decidedly in the negative, if we compare for a moment the relative character and situation of these two countries, whether as regards the government, manners, or morals, of Prussia and England. · The government of Prussia is that of an absolute monarchy, in which every thing is regulated by the personal authority of the sovereign, Here every thing is popular and national, and the legislator can only act in accordance and connexion with public opinion.

Again; the manners of the Prussians are essentially military ; their towns are fortified garrisons; they are bred and born in habits of military discipline. But we are citizens; we dare to think and speak our own opinions; our political, social, and commercial habits are all founded on the civil, rather than the military character.

Once more. The moral and religious circumstances of Prussia and England are widely different. In Prussia, religion and morality are considered matters of State ; the rights of individual conscience are little regarded; whether you are Catholic or Protestant, Lutheran or

Reformed, you must submit to the regal mandate. But in England, every man is, to a great extent, the artificer of his own character and opinions; he belongs to what sect and party he pleases, whether in Church or State, and the varieties and diversities of our sentiments are infinite.

Now, it must at once follow, that, whilst a legislative and compulsory system of education is suited and required for such a country as Prussia, it is altogether unadapted to our national and domestic habits, and that it could not be introduced into this country without injuring, and eventually destroying, all our existing institutions. This, we think, is as plain, as that two and two are equal to four. · Is there then, we ask, any thing so inviting in force and compulsion, as to render it desirable that we should exchange our English manners and habits for those of Prussia ? Is there any thing in the form or effects of an arbitrary and despotic government which should recommend it to the especial love and preference of the English nation ?

True it is, you cannot have all the quiet, order, and mechanical method which the compulsory system will produce. Here you have a certain degree of strife and collision, and party-competition, always in action. You have also occasional instances of gross neglect and mismanagement, which could scarcely occur under a military discipline. But what then? Is not freedom better than thraldom; free agency superior to mechanical force ; and the exercise of conscience, with all its liabilities to abuse, of more value than all the tactics and evolutions of automatons presented by arbitrary power?

“ England, with all thy faults, I love thee still!" But to come to facts. What is there in the actual condition of Prussia, --in her laws, her literature, her moral and religious institutions, which should tempt us to regard her as the “ beau ideal" of educational perfection ? Even in a military aspect, she is only our equal. The heroes of Waterloo were equal to those of Wavre. But where are her legislators, moralists, philosophers, or divines, to compare to those of England ? In chemistry or mechanics, in all the useful and ornamental arts, she is far behind us. But religion is every thing. We ask, then, whether it is not notorious, that infidelity and scepticism stalk through the length and breadth of the Prussian dominions ;—whether morality is not at the lowest ebb at Berlin ;-—whether profligacy is not avowed, both in theory and practice; and whether the licentiousness and philosophism of Frederic the Great are not still the characteristics of the Prussian Eagle ?

Assuredly, there is nothing in the practical results of the Prussian system of education to recommend it to our adoption. Though it has taught all to read and write ; aye, and the greater part, to draw, and calculate ; to have a smattering of geometry and natural philosophy, yet, for plain, good sense—for the power of acting and judging properly on moral and religious subjects, we would prefer the generality of our population to that of any part of the Prussian states. It is the standard of public opinion which here corrects the defects of the individual.

Above all, compare the voluntary efforts of our public charities, whether moral or religious, with those which have been produced by the compulsory system of Prussia, and after making every allowance for our superior wealth, you will be enabled to judge of the comparative effects of our national education. We say that this is the result of our political and religious freedom, and that no plan of compulsory education could coexist with this freedom ; and that all the projects of the Central Society of Education require no other confutation than the respective maps of Prussia and Great Britain :-“ First, look on this ; and then on that.

A PLAIN ENGLISHMAN.

DIVINE HONOUR GIVEN TO THE VIRGIN MARY BY ROMAN

CATHOLICS.

FROM “ The Manna of the Soul," published by the Very Rev. Dr. Blake, and sanctioned by the Most Rev. Dr. Murray :

The Litany of the Blessed Virgin. Anthem.- We fly to thy patronage, O holy mother of God! despise not our prayer in our necessities, but deliver us from all danger, O ever blessed and glorious Virgin.”

From “The Laity's Directory,” published in London, 1819, by the Vicar Apostolic :

“ Remember, O most pious and tender Virgin ! that it is a thing unheard of in all ages, that ever any one was abandoned by you, who ran to you for succour, implored your help, or begged your intercession : Animated with this confidence, I, a wretched sinner, place myself in sighs and groans before you, entreating you to adopt me for your child for ever, and to take my eternal salvation into your own care. Do not, O Mother of the Divine Word! despise my petition, but listen to me, and hear me with a mother's tenderness."

From "The Path to Paradise," one of the most commonly used and generally circulated devotional books; published by the Rev. William Gahan, O.S.A.

The Salve Regina.
“ Hail to the Queen who reigns above,

Mother of clemency and love,
Hail thou, our hope, life, sweetness; we,

Eve's banished children, cry to thee.
“ We, from this wretched vale of tears,

Send sighs and groans into thy ears :
O then, sweet advocate, bestow

A pitying look on us below.
“ After this exile let us see

Our blessed Jesus, born of thee:
O merciful, O pious maid,
O gracious Mary, lend thy aid.”

From “ The Evening Office of the Church," a book printed in 1822, and sanctioned and recommended by the Most Rev. Dr. Troy, the Most Rev. Dr. Murray, the Very Rev. Dr. Hamil, the Very Rev. Dr. Blake :

“O holy Mary, succour the miserable, assist the dejected, comfort those who mourn, pray for the people, intercede for the clergy, plead for the devout female sex ; let all be sensible of thy aid who celebrate thy holy memory.”—P. 46.

In page 64 is the following anthem :

“ Hail, happy Queen, thou Mercy's parent, hail !
Life, hope, and comfort of this earthly vale.
To thee we, Eva's wretched children, cry;
In sighs and tears, to thee we suppliants fly :
Rise, glorious advocate, exert thy love,
And let our vows those eyes of pity move.
O pious Virgin Mary, grant that we,
Long exiled, may in heaven thy Jesus see."

In page 216:—
" At the first strophe of the following hymn all kneel down.

“ Bright mother of our Maker, hail,

Thou Virgin ever blest;
The ocean's star by which we sail,

And gain the port of rest.
While we this Hail address'd to thee,

From Gabriel's mouth rehearse,
O grant that peace our lot may be,

And Eva's naine reverse.
Release our long entangled mind

From all the snares of ill;
With heav'nly light instruct the blind,

And all our vows fulfil.
Exert for us a mother's care,

And us thy children own,
Prevail with him to hear our pray'r

Who chose to be thy Son.
O Spotless Maid, whose virtues shine,

From all suspicion free;
Each action of our lives refine,

And make us pure like thee.
Preserve our lives unstained with ill

In this infectious way,
That heav'n alone our souls may fill

With joys that ne'er decay." “ Vouchsafe, O sacred Virgin, to accept of my praises. Give me strength against my enemies.'

| ALTARS AND TABLES. In our notice of this subject, (page 366), in which we gave the whole canon made in the reign of Charles I., as there was mention made therein of the “Injunctions of Queen Elizabeth,” we subjoined her order “ For the Tables in the Church,” but omitted to state that it was taken from them. Between this Order of the Queen, and the above canon, occurs the eighty-second canon made in the reign of James I. which, however, only relates to the decency of keeping the holy table covered, and treating it with becoming reverence.

In illustration of what we before said, we may remark, that there seems a contemptuous allusion (Ezekiel xx. 29) to the word Bamah, which is clearly the root of the Greek Bwuos, -as “the high place" and instrument of idolatrous worship. With regard to the derivation of altare, that singular writer, Jacob Bryant, in his “ Analysis,” traces it up to the Oriental words El (God) and Tor, the source of the Latin word Turris; we believe that he also traces up ara to the Oriental Aur (light), as being originally the seat of the sacred fire, the worship of which was so widely diffused in the early ages of the world. If these derivations be not thought improbable, they throw considerable light on those distinctions of the words which we then pointed out.

The quotations from L'Estrange, which we subjoin, show the opposition to which the attempt of King Charles and Archbishop Laud was subjected ; an opposition which came with singular inconsistency from Protestants, who were never backward in denouncing the gross abomination of the Pope, at his enthronization, being seated on the high altar of St. Peter's at Rome, and making the Lord's table itself his footstool. But the profanation which they thus denounced at Rome, they endeavoured to keep up in England, by allowing the common people (as we see in the canon) to sit upon, and under the communion-table, and otherwise treating it with great irreverence.

The canon also mentions the custom, at entering or leaving church, of bowing towards the east, and the grounds of it, as an ancient, proper, and innocent rite. There is also a very general custom of turning to the east in saying the creed, for which we are not aware that there exists any formal canon either in our own or other churches; and which must therefore be regarded as one of those ancient practices which have come down from the remotest antiquity. As far as we can conjecture, it arose from the primitive rites of baptism ; in which the candidates, at midnight on the Great Sabbath (Easter Eve), made the previous renunciation of Satan, in an attitude of defiance, with their faces towards the west, the region of darkness; and then turning round to the east, the region of light and day, the emblem of the Sun of righteousness, who also sometimes was called The East,” stretched out their hands, and lifting up their hands and their eyes to heaven, said, “I enter into covenant with Thee, O Christ !" It was then surely natural, and a means of recalling their profession of faith in baptism to their minds, to recite the Creed in the same position. There may have been also a further reason. Most nations have some particular spot to which they turn in their devotions. The Jews prayed towards the Temple ; the Mahometans make Mecca their Kebla; but the Oriental nations generally turned to the

« ZurückWeiter »