« PreviousContinue »
Bath and Wells Diocesan Societies.Quarterly meetings of these valuable societies have been recently held at Wells. The training school committee reported to the board of education that the number of pupils and the character of the institution had increased during the last year and a half, but that the expenses were larger than, with a view to other objects, the present funds of the board would adequately supply. It was, therefore, agreed to discontinue the institution at Midsummer next; and instead thereof that the sum of £300 annually should be placed at the disposal of a committee, nominated by the board, to assist in the immediate qualification of adults already educated for teachers, or in preparing young persons and instructing them in the art of teaching in some school of the National Society, or in connection with it, and in the introduction of such improvements in the system of education as shall, from time to time be sanctioned by the National Society. There are now twenty pupils in the training school at Wells, fourteen being intended for future masters, and it is proposed, with the consent of their parents, to send those who are in training for masters to an establishment of the national society, or of some diocesan board, to complete their course of preparation. Exhibitions will be granted to amount which will save the parents of these, and probably of future, scholars from a greater expense than would have been incurred by them had the training school at Wells been continued. We understand that some young men have, by the instruction they have received at the training school, qualified themselves to become masters, and are now engaged in that responsible character ; that others are nearly ready ; and that there are several young women, who have been instructed at other institutions by the assistance of the board, who either now are, or very soon will be, competent to undertake the duties of teaching, and that the Committee will be glad to receive applications for their services. Subscribers to the board have the first claim to be supplied.
Walford Bellairs, the Rev. Frederick Watkins, and Joseph Fletcher, Esq., to be the three of her Majesty's Inspectors of Schools.
Education and Religion in the United States.-In the New York Herald we find a report of a remarkable will case, which was being tried before the United States Supreme Court at Washington, and in the issue of which the American mind seems to be intensely interested, owing to the important principle involved in it. The facts of the case are the following: One Stephen Girard left by will, among other bequests, property to the amount two millions of dollars to the city of Phi. ladelphia, to be laid out in the erection of
college for the education of male orphans. The action now pending in the supreme judicial tribunal of America is brought by the heirs-at-law of Mr. Girard, for the purpose of getting the will of their deceased relative set aside, so far as this devise is concerned. The ground on which this bequest is sought to be invalidated, and that which so deeply interests the public mind in the case, is, that one of the conditions attached to the erection of this orphan college renders it impossible that any of the children to be educated therein should receive any kind of religious instruction whatever, so long as they continue within its walls. Whether the testator was an avowed infidel, or only an irreligious professor of christianity, carried away by the plausibilities of a hollow liberalism, we have no means of knowing; but the principles on which he requires his institution to be conducted, are such as must inevitably bring up the helpless children in complete atheism.
The will expressly provides that “no ecclesiastic, missionary, or minister of of any sect whatsoever, shall ever hold or exercise any station or duty whatever in the said college; nor shall any such person ever be admitted, for any purpose, or as a visitor, within the premises appropriated to the purposes of the said college." The children are thus, in the first instance, cut off from all ministerial superintendence, from all religious care on the part of those whose duty it is es. pecially to look after the lambs of the flock. But if they were to be put under the charge of christian laymen, as their teachers, who should diligently instil into their opening minds the principles of the gospel, the case would not be so bad. But the lay teachers of the proposed col.
New Government Inspectors.—Her Majesty in Council has been pleased, upon the representation of the Right Hon. the Lords of the Committee of Council on Education, to appoint the Rev. H. Marine Society.—The annual festival of the friends of this society was celebrated on the 17th of April, at the London Tavern : Lord Marsham presided. About eighty gentlemen sat down to dinner. After the removal of the cloth, “ Benedictus” was sung in a very efficient style. The customary loyal toasts were given, and enthusiastically responded to. The “Army and Navy" followed, and was acknowledged by Colonel Astell for the army, and Admiral Lord Radstock for the navy. The boys of the establishment were then introduced, and walked round the room. They were fine healthy lads, and their cheerful looks and cleanly appearance elicited the general admiration of the company.
lege are as strictly prohibited from instructing them in religion as the clergy of all denominations are; for it is added, in explanation of the reason why the ministers of religion are excluded—“In making this restriction, I do not mean to cast any reflection upon any sect or person whatsoever; but as there is such a multitude of sects, and such a diversity of opinion amongst them, I desire to keep the tender minds of the orphans who are to derive advantage from this bequest, free from the excitement which clashing doctrines and sectarian controversy are so apt to produce; my desire is, that all the instructors and teachers in the college shall take pains to instil into the minds of the scholars the purest principles of morality, so that, on their entrance into active life, they may, from inclination and habit, evince benevolence towards their fellow creatures, and a love of truth, sobriety, and industry, adopting at the same time, such religious tenets as their matured reason may enable them to make."
Thus the poor orphans, for whose benefit this institution is professedly intended, and who may be admitted at the age of 6, and remain till that of 18, are, during all that time, to be absolutely cut off from all scriptural instruction, and by consequence to be compelled to grow up estranged from all sabbath observance, and all religious worship whatever. The question, then, which agitates the minds of American christians is “Can a bequest of this nature be legal?” “Will the law of the United States give its positive sanction to an atheistic institution-an institution which not merely makes no provision for the religious tuition of its young and helpless inmates, but which positively makes their religious instruction impossible?” This is a brave question. A decision on a similar case had already been given in the circuit court of Pennsylvania; and worthily enough the judicial authorities of that state, which has avowed the laxest morality in the union, have given judgment in favour of infidelity. The present case is tried before the supreme court, and the decision, if hostile to the cause of religion, will fix the law for all the other tribunals of the country.
By the last arrival from America, we notice that the judges of the supreme court of the United States, have decided unanimously in favour of the validity of the will and the correct action of the executors,-Scottish Guardian.
A letter was read from the Earl of Romney, president, regretting his inability to attend, in consequence of severe indisposition, and enclosing donations from himself and Lady Romney. Among the toasts proposed during the evening were those of
The East India Company," and "The Elder Brethren of the Trinity House;" both of which bodies contributed each 100 guineas to the funds of the society. Her Majesty was also graciously pleased to give a donation of 100 guineas, and the Queen Dowager of 10 guineas to the society. Among the subscriptions, which in the total amounted to nearly £1,000, were several of £50.
Governesses' Benevolent Institution. The first anniversary festival held for the purpose of giving publicity to this recently created institution, and for increasing the funds from which hereafter benefits are expected to result to a very useful, and hitherto somewhat neglected, class of persons, took place on the 20th April, at the London Tavern, Bishopgate-street. The chair was taken by his Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge, supported by a very strong staff of stewards, amongst whom were the following noblemen and gentlemen :-Lord Dartmouth, Lord Jermyn, Lord Ashley, Lord Sandon, Lord H. Cholmondely, Lord Calthorpe, Lord Teignmouth, Mr. B. B. Cabbell, &c. His Royal Highness the Duke of Cambridge addressed the company on the importance of the institution they were met to support. Several of the company, and amongst them Lord Sandon, Mr. C. Dickens, and Mr. B. B. Cabbel, advocated the claims of the governesses, more particularly upon those the heads of families. The honorary secretary, announced the lists of subscriptions amounting in the whole to upwards of £1,000.
TO HAVE SCHOOLMASTERS IN ORDERS, ALWAYS THE
INTENTION OF THE CHURCH.
SIR-If I thought that I was advocating the introduction of a novel practice into the church of Christ, in urging the ordination of a considerable number of her parochial schoolmasters to form a lower rank of clergy, I should certainly feel, that the continued practice of the church for eighteen centuries was a very strong, though not perhaps a perfectly decisive argument against my proposal. For, while I would always concede the greatest respect to the authority of the past, whether in temporal or in spiritual matters, I still think that new circumstances may justly call forth new arrangements; and if I could show that, since the first establishment of christianity, no christian church has been in the situation in which the church of England is at present placed, I should be justified in suggesting the adoption of new arrangements in her ministerial ranks. It was a favourite argument of the Puritans in the days of Hooker, that the platform, to use their own term, of all ecclesiastical arrangements, was to be found in scripture, and every alteration therefore from that platform, is in all cases sinful. This argument has now passed from the Puritans to another very different party, and is used with a very different intention : but let who may produce it, the pages of the judicious Hooker will convince every fair mind, that the "regiment" of the church is not necessarily fixed by scripture and therefore unchangeable, but that due deference being shown to the experience and opinions of christians who have gone before us, schism being allowable, the regiment of the church may vary in certain points with the varying circumstances of different ages. But I confess, Sir, I would always rather argue with the practice of my fathers in my favour, than endeavour to establish a case for a departure from that practice. I would much rather endeavour to lengthen the cords, and strengthen the stakes, and repair the breaches of the time-honoured buildings which they may have raised, than attempt some new fanciful erection of my own.
The plan which I propose for the ordination of certain schoolmasters is certainly the good old plan of the church. I will not now stop to discuss whether that plan has ever been carried out into effect; but it may be well for my own justification, to produce those canons which prove that the plan, whether practised or unpractised, is the plan of our church.
The 77th canon says—“No man shall teach, either in public school or private house, but such as shall be allowed by the bishop or ordinary of the place, under his hand and seal, being found meet, as well for his learning and dexterity in teaching, as for sober and honest conversation, and also for the right understanding of God's true religion, and also except he shall subscribe to the first and third articles aforementioned simply, and to the two first clauses of the second article."
The 78th canon says—“In what parish church or chapel soever, there is a curate, which is a master of arts or bachelor of arts, or is otherwise well able to teach youth, and will willingly do so for the better increase of his living, and training up of chil. dren in the principles of true religion ; we will and ordain, that a licence to teach youth of the parish where he serveth be granted to none by the ordinary of that place but
VOL. II. JUNE, 1844.
only to the said curate. Provided always, that this constitution shall not extend to any parish or chapel in country towns where there is a public school founded already; in which case we think it not meet to allow any to teach grammar, but only him that is allowed for the said public school.”
Here, then, it is laid down, that no one shall be a schoolmaster except he be licensed by the bishop or ordinary; and so strongly does our church feel that the schoolmaster ought to be an ordained person, that it even takes from the bishop the power to license any other person as schoolmaster, if the curate of the parish be willing to undertake that office. The opinion of the church of England, therefore, as expressed in her canons, is, that our parochial schoolmasters should be in holy orders; but it may be argued, that her intention is, that her clergy should become schoolmasters, and not that our schoolmasters should become clergy. I wish not to escape this argument; only, let it be clearly remembered, that the opinion of the church is, that our parochial schoolmasters should be persons in holy orders. Suppose it be granted, that the manner in which the church proposed to carry out her wishes in this matter, were by inducing the clergy to undertake the office of schoolmaster, have I not shown in my former letter, that the clergy are unequal to the task already before them; that they are fully occupied in the Sunday and week day services of the church, in the administration of the sacraments, in the celebration of marriage rites, in leading the thanksgivings of their people, in the burial of the dead, and in “ public and private monitions and exhortations, as well to the sick as to the whole within their cures,” pointing to that Saviour who has been lifted up to draw all men unto him.
Any one who has had the duties of the smallest of our country parishes resting upon him, would say, that it was impossible for a clergyman to fulfil those duties, and at the same time give that regular and systematic instruction in the parochial school, which is essential for its well being and efficiency. If, then, the intention of the church to have her parochial schoolmasters in holy orders cannot be carried into effect in the exact way in which it may be supposed by some she desires it to be effected, are we to leave that intention unfulfilled ? Are we to disregard the great object at which she aimed, namely, the instruction of her children as well as her adults by ordained teachers, merely because, under our altered circumstances, we cannot attain it by the exact means which some may perhaps suppose she intended to employ? I certainly dissent from such a course, and consider that we shall best fulfil her wishes by taking care that our parochial schoolmasters are ordained. But at the same time I confess, I very much doubt whether the class of men whom the canon enjoins the bishops to prefer as schoolmasters, were not more on a level in worldly rank, and also in education, with our present schoolmasters than with our present clergy. Though I am fearful lest I should be thought to intend to bring the slightest accusation against our two universities, yet I cannot refrain from saying, that they do not look with the same kindly eye upon the poor man as they were once wont to do. The scholarships, exhibitions, fellowships, which used in former times to assist struggling poverty, are now given to increase literary and scientific emulation, and to reward literary and scientific merit, and in a
few cases they are made the means of forming pleasant clubs for the bene nati, bene vestiti, et mediocriter docti. The change may have been a wise one; they who have made it may not in the least have travelled beyond the discretionary powers legally vested in themselves : it is with the fact alone that we have to do, and all, I believe, who know our universities are agreed, that the poor scholar has not the same means to support himself in them as he once had; and, as a necessary consequence, that there are not as many persons of the lower classes at our universities and in our church as formerly. If literary and scientific proficiency, and not poverty, be the chief ground of election to scholarships, exhibitions, and fellowships, the poor scholar who has not had the same means of early education, has little chance of success with his more wealthy competitor. But perhaps some who will allow that the clergy to whom the 77th and 78th canons refer, were not above our present schoolmasters in worldly rank, will be startled by the assertion, that they were not much above them in point of education; but if we look into the state of clerical education in those days to which I refer, and remember that the book of homilies was put forth because the clergy could not write their own sermons, I do not think the assertion will appear totally unfounded.
Now, Sir, what have been the consequences of our departing from the intention of our church, and committing the instruction of our children to unordained teachers. It will be easy to observe the consequences, and to trace them to their source, inasmuch as with some ranks the intention of the church has been carried into effect, while it has been neglected with others. The higher classes of our society have for the most been educated by persons in holy orders, and those classes for the most part love and reverence the church, live in her communion, and die in her faith. The lower classes of our society have been entrusted in their childhood to the care of unordained masters, and a very large number amongst them, as they grow up, know little and care less about the church of Christ, and are ready, for the merest trifle, to run into all the errors of heresy and schism. Many of those who have during late years been teachers in our schools, have not been members of our church on principle. As long as they were paid for teaching in the church school, they knew that they must teach the church catechism and use the formularies of the church, or lose their situation ; they therefore taught that catechism and used those formularies, and for the same reason accompanied the children of their school to the services of the church; but they never pointed out to the children the excellence of our apostolical church, the simple and solemn beauty of her ritual, the scriptural fidelity of her teaching, and the mild tolerance of her spirit. Go into many of our national schools and ask the children-boys, perhaps, or girls of fourteen, fifteen, or sixteen years of age, whether it be wrong to go to a place of dissenting worship, and if you do not by your tone and manner suggest a different answer, the children will generally say, No. They have never been taught, that it is wrong to make divisions in the body of Christ and to rend his seamless garment, and have perhaps seen their own master or mistress attend the dissenting chapel in the evening.
Go and ask them how many