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ețs of our Church been adhered to, and properly acted upon, the common people would have been well instructed both in religion and morals, and the schools would not have been in the state Mr. Lancaster describes them.”
Mr. L. still including the Established Church, under the name of a sect, says, that
“Above all things education ought not to be made subservient to the propagation of the peculiar tenets of any sect beyond its own number; it then becomes undue influence, like the strong taking advantage of the weak; and yet a reverence for the sacred name of God and the scriptures of truth, a detestation of vice, a love of veracity, a due attention to duties to parents, relations, and society ; carefulness to avoid bad company, civility without flattery, and a peaceable demeanour, may be inculcated in any seminary for youth without violating the sanctuary of private religious opinions in any mind."
“ The history of mankind,” observes Mrs. Trimmer," in all civilized nations may be referred to, in order to prove the necessity of having a religion of some kind connected with the state, and it has ever been thought essential that children should be educated in the doctrines and tenets of the national religion, so as to preserve a general uniformity throughout the nation; though licence might be granted to individuals and communities for deviations from the establishment for conscience sake. No legislature, I believe, has been more liberal in this respect than our own; every Protestant in the united kingdom is at full liberty, according to the Act of Toleration, to connect himself with any society of nominal Christians amongst the numerous sects into which the Christian world is unhappily divided; each sect may assemble without molestation to worship God in its own way; and parents of every religious persuasion may bring up their children according to their own peculiar opinions. But if any one of these sects endeavours to gain an ascendancy over the Establishment, to supersede it, and occupy its place, this may indeed be called undue influence; the term, however, cannot justly be applied to the Church, on account of any endeavours that may be made by her members either to keep children who have been baptized according to her ordinances within the fold, or to bring back those, whether children or adults, who have strayed from it, provided no infringement be made on the liberty of conscience granted to other communities of Christians.---But in a generalizing plan, limited to the particulars enumerated in the latter part of the passage above quoted, viz. ' 'a reuerence for the sacred name of God,' &c. as a member of a church, which holds Fạith in the Doctrines of Christianity to be essential towards completing the Christian character, I cannot subscribe.---In short, the religious opinions of every true member of the establish
ed church would be 'violated,' (to use Mr. L.'s expression), were it required of them to suffer their children to be educated by a plan from which many essential things are excluded.”
Mrs. Trimmer repels, with becoming spirit, all charges bronight against the Chureh: of compelling persons to think as she does, or of forcing her creed on the consciences of men.
“ In the spirit of Sect or Party, (says- Mr. L.) it is the object, though often blended with something better, to exalt a peculiar CREED, to establish a name, to gain a degree of worldly honour, to set up the will and wisdom of men, and make an idol of it, and compel all to bow down and worship it. This is the burbinger of discord, the source of evil, and has often led the martyr to the stake, or unsheathed the cruel sword."
“ If by a peculiar Creed (observes Mrs. T.) we are to understand, according to the usual acceptation of the word Creed, a form of words, comprehending the articles of faith, whic society of Christiars agree in the solemn profession of, I conceive that sectarists (meaning persons who have separated thetaselves from the Established Church) can very seldom be accused of setting them up; in general they object to them. I know of no peculiar creeds in this country but those which constitute an essential part of the National Religion, and which certainly cannot be withheld from the young members of the Church of England with propriety.--Before we abandon our creed, therefore, it will be proper to call to mind, that a solemn profession of belief in the articles of our creed, has been made in the name of every infant at his baptism, and a solemn injunction given to those who answered for him, that they would see that the child should be taught the CREED, the LORD's PRAYER, and the TEN COMMANDMENTS. These things, therefore, certainly should be taught children in the course of their daily education. Nor is there any danger that the profession of a true faith will destroy Christian Charity: on the contrary, it will confirm it.Neither is the Church of England a persecuting and intolerant church, as is sufficiently proved by her great indulgence to sectarists of every description. No sword has been unsheathed' by her, though many have been her martyrs.
“ In the observations that follow, AIr. Lancaster shews what the names are, which at the beginning of a preceding paragraph, he so fervently wished might perish.
“Oh! that all, who really love and fear God, in every profession, would remember, that God, and not Man, is the object of our worship; and consider how to please him, and do his will, who is a God of love and peace. Then the solicitude would not be to make men nominal catholics, 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 under heaven, by which they can be saved, the name of Jesus, to which all must bow in mercy or in judgment."
“There is certainly' much truth," (says Mrs. T.) " in the foregọing observations, and those who are solicitous to make proselytes, will do well to consider it; but a spirit of proselytism is not justly chargeable upon the members of the establishment in general; they would be well contented with retaining those who properly belong to the Church ; those who have been solemnly received into it at their baptism; but they surely will not agree to give up the very name of that Church which is the glory.of the nation ; that Church, to which, as connected with the State, even her very enemies owe the protection of the laws of our excellent government; for, should it fall, it would involve all that is valuable in our. Constitution in its ruins !”
We think we have given a sufficient specimen of the way in which Mrs. Trimmer conducts the argument. She finds litile or no fault with the manner of instructor ing poor children used in Mr. Li's School, but she insists upon the necessity of grounding them in the principles of religion, maintained by the Church. She is sometimes very happy in a retort; urged, however, at all times with decorum, and ever giving her antagonist credit for consummate ingenuity and indefatigable industry. Perfectly disposed as she is to the liberality of sentiment displayed by Mr. L.
"I cannot (says she) forbear observing, that the principle on which his plan is conducted, though not calculated to make prošelytes to the peculiar opinions of the religious society of which he is a member, are certainly more in unison with those opinions than with the peculiar doctrines of the Church of England.. In saying this (though I think the field is open for discussion to one as well as another), it is far from my wish to enter into polemical disputes myself, or to excite others to those controversies, which Mr. Lancaster is so anxious to avoid; nor is there any occasion for them; since the question is not “ Which society of Christians holds the true doctrine ?” but “ Whether the members of the Church of England can, consistently with their principles, depart from the established system of education, which requires the carrying on from day to day a continued series of religious instruction founded on the Church catechism, of which the Creed is a principal part, and adopt in its room a system from which this catechism and the liturgy of the National Church are excluded ?"--- In the sect to which Mr. Lancaster belongs, there is, As I understand, the strictest uniformity, order, and discipline, Vol. IX. Churchn. Mag. for Dec. 1805.
among themselves in respect to children and youth; and its this particular the Society of Friends must certainly be allowed to set a laudable example. But if, as a member of this society, Mr. Lancaster would be ready to reject an invitation from the members of the church to send the children of Quaker parents to a school to learn the church cutechism, and to be initiated in the Common Prayer, surely he must allow it to be equally reasonable, on the other hand, in parents of the established religion to reject an invitatior, however engaging in other respects, to cast those things to their apprehension essential) aside."
Mr. Lancaster professes to infuse the habitual knowledge of the Bible into the minds of the young people under bis care; to make, as he terms it, a bible of their memories ; but it is singular that Mr. L. himself is a most inaceurate quoter of the Bible. He mistakes the meaning of many texts, and misapplies them, of consequence. Mrs. Trimmer, whose intimate acquaintance with Holy Writ may be seen in her most useful and valuable work, "An Help to the Unlearned in the Study of the Holy Scriptures," often sets hiin right. For instance, Mr. L. says, " the grand basis of Christianity is, glory to God, and the increase of peace and good-will amongst men. Upon this Mrs. T. observes :
4* That the Glory of God and universal charity are the two great objects which Christians should always keep in view, no one who knows what Christianity is can deny. And the Grand Basis of Christianity, comprizing all the fundumentals of the Christian religion, is certainly “broad enough for the whole hulk of mankind to stand upon, and join hands as the children of one family;" for it is, in fact, no other than the combined Hoctrines of our Saviour Jesus Christ and his Apostles; but the imisfortune is, that a great part of mankind have not kept to this ground, but have gone beyond the prescribed bounds, some one way and some another, from their different interpretations of scripture ; and it is not possible to bring them to agree in religious opinions on all points ; but this ought not to be any hindrance to their regarding each other as brethren; though those who maintain the highest ground will not be persuaded to come down to the level of those who descend to the lowest ; I mean in Tespect to articles a faith. In the text which Mr. Lancaster quotes as the Grand Basis of Christianity he appears to have "hare a wrong choice ; for no generalizing system can be fairly built upon it. The reader, on referring to the Bible, will find that it stands thus in the second chapter of St. Luke's gospel,
Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards inen." It was the chorus sung by the angelic host, who
suddenly appeared to the 'shepherds of Bethlehem after the Angel of the Lord had said, “ fear not; for, behold, it bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be unto you, and to all people, For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord." Here is nothing said of " Peace and good-will amongst main;" the text evidently relates to the good-will or mercy of God towards men in sending his only begotten Son to be a saviour to thein. If the text is applicable
any sense to Education, it must be understood, I think, to die rect parents and teachers to make their children acquainted with the good tidings of the angel; and to teach them, in imitation of the shepherds (wtry, we may observe by the way, were men of lowly station), to glorify and praise God for his wonderful goodness to mankind. In respect to Mr. Lançasler's advice to * alt the standard of education, and rally round it for the preservaa tion of youth,” the members of the Church of England muy fairly reply, “ The Standard of Christian Education was erected by our pious forefathers at the Reformation; we have every one of us been enrolled as members of the National Church, and are solemnly engaged to support it ourselves, and bring up our children according to its holy ordinances. We cannot rully round another standard, without deserting from that which we consider as the Standard of the Sanctuary; neither can we send our children away from it, for they also have been solemnly enrolled; and how can we with justice disfranchize them, whilst thcy are unable to choose for themselves ? Besides this, thanks to a gracious Providence! we have a Society of our own, consisting at this time of more than 2600 members, whose end and design is to promote the interests of the Established Church, and who certainly will not join another society for purposes unfavourable to those interests. At least, let us have time to consider, whether the two great objects proposed, by Mr. Lancaster would really be answered by our forsaking our standard, and permitting our children to be educated with a view to morality only, and to be initiated in that learning, of the utility of which, to persons in lowly stations, some of us at least ure doubtful. The conduct of the good Samaritan we are ready to imitate, by joining with our Christian brethren in any act of benevolence. We will subscribe with them to the same hospitals, and give tickets of admission without any enquiry concerning religious opinions; we will contribute to the same occasional subscriptions for individuals. 'In short, we will assuciate with them for the relief of any of the temporal distresses of the poor at large ; but in the affair of education we must consider well whether the remedy proposed is really of an efficacious nature, before we administer, or even provide it.”---Such, I conceive, would be the answer of every Zealous member of the national church to such a proposal as, Mr. Lancaster's.