Abbildungen der Seite

and peace.


press their deliberate and conscientious persuasion, that the proposed plan of National Education, instead of producing these salutary and much to be desired effects, would tend rather to embitter existing animosities, by marking more distinctly the difference of creed in the public school, and by pointedly excluding, as a common source of instruction, that Volume which authoritatively inculcates, under the most awful sanctions, universal charity, mutual forbearance, and the cultivation of order

“They do not deny that selections from the Scriptures—NOT TO THE EXCLUSION, BUT BY WAY OF FACILITATING THE KNOWLEDGE OF THE BIBLE ITSELF-may be usefully employed in the instruction of youth ; such selections have been constantly made use of in the schools under their superintendence. But dispassionately viewing the wide and essential difference between the United Church and that of Rome, and 'bearing in mind the pretensions to exclusive sovereignty put forth by the latter! taught moreover by the failure of a former attempt at instruction in com. mon, in which concession on the part of the United Church proceeded to the very verge of what was allowable, and, as some thought, even! beyond what prudence suggested ; where, at any rate, the concessions made could be justified only by the ardent desire of concord ; and when, instead of promoting this end, they served but to encourage increasing' demands, and to call forth unreasonable objections ; when, instead of Scriptural selections, professing to form part of the Word of God, a treatise was put forth which might have been used by the scholars without any knowledge of the existence of such a book as the Bible, or without the suspicion that revealed Truth was be derived through any other channel than that of the Roman Catholic Priesthood : these things considered, the undersigned Prelates canrot too strongly express their conviction that no selection of Scripture will be agreed to by the Roman Catholic Hierarchy, which will exhibit to the youthful mind a correct standard of faith and practice, and set forth the right of every man to possess, and inculcate the duty of every man devoutly to read and examine the Scriptures--not, indeed, to the superseding of pastoral instruction, but in despite of the usurped authority of ecclesiastical rulers.

“ They further state, that they do not affect to conceal their grief at beholding the Clergy of the Established Church deprived of the trust committed to their hands by the Legislature, of superintending National Education-a trust which they have not failed to execute with a fidelity and zeal, pronounced to be most exemplary on every inquiry made into the discharge of their duty, and, at the same time, with a prudence and moderation most particularly required in the divided state of religious opinion in Ireland. Nor are they at all consoled in seeing the superin. tendence in matters of National Education taken from themselves, for the purpose of being vested in a Board composed of persons of such conflict. ing religious opinions, that it is impossible to conceive an unity of operation, without some surrender or suppression of important points of Revealed Truth.

They by no means undervalue the patronage and aid of Government in carrying on the work of public instruction, but they are content to forego the advantage, rather than to give their sanction to a system, which, in rigidly excluding the Scriptures from the common schools, would introduce in their place, books of religious and literary instruction, in the choice


of which they are permitted to exercise neither judgmert nor control. They cannot conceal from themselves, that such a measure, in the same proportion that it tends to remove the Clergy of the Established Church from the high position in which they now stand, virtually transfers to the Roman Catholic Priesthood that preference and that preponderating in, fluence, wbich have been hitherto assigned to the purity and authority of religious truth, rather than to the numerical superiority of the members of any communion in a single part of the United Empire.

“With these views, the undersigned Archbishops and Bishops, whilst they give just credit to the intentions of his Majesty's Government, in bringing forward a plan of National Education, cannot but regard that which has been proposed as most inapplicable to the present state of Ireland—as subversive of those institutions for the education of the poor, which, without giving just cause of offence to Roman Catholic prejudices, have produced great good, and which, if duly supported, would have unostentatiously gone on producing much more-as separating religious from literary instruction, which ought to proceed hand in hand together, as depriving Roman Catholics of the Scriptures, which it appears, from undoubted documents, they are every day becoming more anxious of obtaining, and as transferring from the National Clergy all superintendence over the National Education, of which they are appointed guardians.

“In conclusion, therefore, they recommend to the Clergy of their respective diocesses, to endeavour to support the schools now under their management by such means as they may themselves possess, and with such assistance as they may be able to procure, trusting in the blessing of Divine Providence on their humble endeavours to work unmixed good, even if it should be within a more confined circle, rather than to engage in the support of a system which is exposed to many just objections, and which, as it should seem, cannot be carried into effect so as to secure the co-operation of the Roman Catholic clergy without a compromise of Protostant principles, and without retarding the progress of scriptural know, ledge, which is now making large advances in Ireland. (“Signed by two Archbishops and fifteen Bishops.)

“February 22, 1832. A word to Scotland and England. Sleep!-Sleep, if you will, till this experiment is completed in Ireland, and, at the risk of being laughed at for our fears or credulity, you not many years will go by until you

have similar systems imposed upon yourselves. Could the Church of Scotland bend to one man elevated to complete supremacy over her entire education ? Could the Church of England submit 'her educațion to-a Board headed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the Legate of the Pope? We think neither would. And if they would not submit, why should we? But if we must,--they will.

we tell



No. III.


66 Lo, this only have I found, that God hath made man upright; but they

have sought out many inventions." Eccles. vii. 29.

A POET hath said, “the noblest study of mankind is man;" and he might have added, the most difficult study of mankind is man. This difficulty arises out of the pride and deceitfulness of the human mind; a pride that would fain be flattered with exalted ideas of the dignity of human nature, and a deceitfulness that mistakes the lowest degradation for the highest honour. Hence, when we propose to treat of man, we require to be on our guard, more perhaps than on any other theme. We should be careful to follow the light of the Scriptures, and to examine by it all our apprehensions and discoveries. The subject is extensive, and we shall arrange our views of it under four particulars--the original state and character of man, his probation with its issue, the present condition of man, and his necessities as a sinner. We would treat these topics in the full persuasion of the justness and necessity of the proverb, " know thyself.”

I. --The original condition of man. The notices of man's creation, in the Scriptures, are very brief, but they are plain and expressive. "God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness--so God created man in his own image; in the image of God created he him.”_ Gen. i. 26, 27. “In the day that God created măn, in the likeness of God made he him.". -Gen. v. 1. The circumstances in which man was created show the importance of the event. The creation of the material world was completed; five days had been occupied with it; Jehovah proelaimed a season of deliberation and consultation in heaven; a solemn pause ensued; and the event for which all this preparation was made, and to which all this attention was directed, was the creation of man. How important in the view of God and of all the intelligent universe! Again the phrase employed to express man's original condition, is the most significant of excellence and purity-the image of God. In the two passages, quoted above,

this phrase is used no less than five times. And if we can accurately determine its meaning, in the Scriptures, we distinctly learn in what state man was created. Does it mean, then, merely that he was endowed with a reason. able soul? We cannot suppose so, for it includes also the idea of moral character. Even yet, degraded as he is by sin, man resembles God in the possession of intellectual capacities. So also do the devils themselves." This therefore cannot be the exclusive meaning of the phrase. The Scriptures are here, as in all other cases, the best in. terpreters of Scripture; and if we compare spiritual things with spiritual, we shall distinctly discover the meaning. In Eph. iv. 24 we read, “put on the new man, which after God (the image of God) is created in righteousness and true holiness." And in Col. iii. 10 there is a similar passage, "put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him (God) that created him.” These passages determine the meaning of the phrase to be, likeness to God in knowledge, righteousness, and how liness. And thus was man at first made. He bore the image of his Maker in intellectual capacity and moral en. dowments. His understanding was a lamp lighted up with the right knowledge of his Creator and himself, clearly apprehending whatever it concerned him to know. His heart was pure, manifesting a disposition holy, harmless, and undefiled. And bis conduct was a transcript of his mind, in perfect unison with the law of universal obe. dience, under which he was created. Happiness necessarlly attached itself to a character thus virtuous. And the seeds of immortality, sown in it at its birth, were destined to bear the fruit of eternal life. That image (in the language of an excellent commentator) consisted in an understanding prepared to imbibe true knowledge, a judgment free from corrupt bias, a will disposed to obedience, and affections regulated according to reason and truth.-From such a state of mind godliness, in all its internal exercises and external expressions, righteousness, truth, benevolence, and an exact regulation and government of every appetite and passion, must necessarily result; and every duty to God and man be constantly and delightfully performed.”

II. The probation of man with its issue. God created man upright and perfect, but not infallible or immutable. He placed him in a state strictly probationary.

“The Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it; for in the day thou eatest thereof, thou shalt surely die." Gen. ii. 16, 17. He was placed under a law sanctioned by a reward, if he obeyed it, and the threatening of a penalty, if he violated it. The reward was life, meaning the continuance and increase of present blessings; the penalty was death, meaning their forfeiture and the in. fliction of the divine wrath. The issue of his probation is well known. It is thus related by Moses: “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was' pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and he did eat.”. Gen. iii. 6. Thus the law was broken, the reward was forfeited, the penalty incurred, and from that hour man was looked upon in a new character, as the enemy of God and the transgressor of his law.

In this fall of Adam into' sin, the whole of his future progeny were involved. He is uniformly viewed in the Scriptures, as a representative of his race, in whom they should stand or fall. “In Adam all die.”-1 Cor. xv. 22, Had he stood, it may be presumed the race would have preserved its integrity; but he fell, and they fell in him. The testimony of the Scripture on this humbling theme is the most abundant and explicit. "By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death

passed upon all men, for that all have sinned.” “Through the offence of one many be dead.” “ The judgment was by one to condemnation." "By one man's offence death reigned by one." "By the offence of one judgment came upon

all men to condemnation." "By one man's disobedience many were made sinners.”-Rom. v. 12, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19: The entire passage, from which these strong tes. timonies are taken, proceeds on the principle, that as all who are connected with Christ were interested in the blessings of his death, so all connected with Adam were in. volved in the consequences of his fall. Not Adam only, but all his posterity have forfeited the reward of life, and subjected themselves to the penalty of death.

It is only by receiving the plain testimony of Scripture, on this subject, that we are able to account for the present appearance of things in both the natural and moral world. The vain speculations of man upon them, overlooking the

« ZurückWeiter »