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ance of their schools, neither in any important accession to the common schools of the city, from the children of Catholic families. On the contrary, the priests now change their note and begin to complain that the schools are “godless" or "atheistical”—just as they have required them to be. In facts like these, fortified by the fact that some of the priests are even denying, in public lectures, the right of the state to educate children at all, we seem to discover an absolute determination that the children shall be withdrawn, at whatever cost, and that no terms of accommodation shall be satisfactory. It is not that satisfaction is impossible, but that there is really no desire for it. Were there any desire, the ways in which it may be accomplished are many and various.
1. Make the use of the Bible in the Protestant or Douay version, optional.
2. Compile a book of Scripture reading lessons, by agreement from both versions.
3. Provide for religious instruction, at given hours, or on a given day, by the clergy, or by qualified teachers such as the parents may choose.
4. Prepare a book of Christian morality, distinct from a doctrine of religion or a faith, which shall be taught indiscriminately to all the scholars.*
* I am not aware of any attempt that has hitherto been made to adjust an agreement on the basis of this distinction. The following beautiful card, prepared by Archbishop Whately, to be conspicuously printed and hung in the Irish schools, was accepted by the whole Board, including the Catholic Archbishop; in which we have, at once, an example of what I mean by the distinction stated, and also a proof that, so far at least, the distinction is available as a basis of agreement.
“ Christians should endeavor, as the Apostle Paul commands them, to live peaceably with all men,' (Rom. ch. xii. v. 10,) even with those of a different religious persuasion.”
“ Our Saviour Christ commanded his disciples to love one another. He taught them to love even their enemies, to bless those that cursed them, and pray for those that persecuted them. He himself prayed for his murderers.”
“ Many men hold erroneous doctrines; but we ought not to hate or persecute them. We ought to seek for the truth, and to hold fast what we are convinced is the truth; but not to treat harshly those who are in error. Jesus Christ did not intend his religion to be forced on men by violent means. He would not allow his disciples to fight for him."
Out of these and other elements like these, it is not difficult to construct, by agreement, such a plan as will be Christian, and will not infringe, in the least, upon the tenets of either party, the Protestant or the Catholic. It has been done in Holland and, where it was much more difficult, in Ireland. The British government, undertaking at last, in good faith, to construct a plan of national education for Ireland, appointed Archbishop Whately and the Catholic Archbishop of Dublin, with five others, one a Presbyterian and one
“ If any persons treat us unkindly, we must not do the same to them, for Christ and his apostles have taught us not to return evil for evil. If we would obey Christ, we must do to others, not as they do to us, but as we would wish them to do to us.”
“Quarreling with our neighbors, and abusing them, is not the way to convince them that we are in the right and they in the wrong. It is more likely to convince them that we have not a Christian spirit.”
“ We ought to show ourselves followers of Christ, who 'when he was reviled, reviled not again,'(1 Pet. ch. ii. v. 23,) by behaving gently and kindly to
If I rightly understand, it is over Christianity as a faith, a divine mystery, that the Catholic Church claims a more especial jurisdiction, and not over the preceptive rules of conduct on the common footing of intercourse and society. Otherwise it must also assume a jurisdiction over many things in the province even of the common law, such as theft, perjury, slander, and all moral definitions that turn upon the question of “ malice aforethought.” And if it can not submit to any common teaching on these points. how can it submit to the jurisdiction of the state itself without an equal infringement of its prerogative? Is it then impossible to prepare a volume, in the manner of the above card, which, without entering into any matter that pertains to Christianity as a faith, or a grace of salvation, will yet comprise every thing that pertains to the relative conditions of life, and even to God's authority concerning them the Christian rules of forgiveness, gentleness, forbearance, docility, modesty, charity; truth, justice, temperance, industry, reverence toward God, drawn out in chapters, and formally developed-large extracts from the preceptive parts of the Bible, and its moral teachings; from the Proverbs of Solomon, from the histories of Joseph and Haman, from the history of Jesus, in his trial and crucifixion, taken as an example of conduct, from the moral teachings also of his sermon on the mount, the parable of the good Samaritan, the rule of the lowest seat, and other like expositions—enlivened also by those picturesque representations of Scripture that display the manner of human nature in matters of moral conduct; such as the parable of Jotham, the story of the ewe lamb, and the judgment of Solomon. In this way Christianity would have a clear and wellascertained place in the schools. A Christian conscience would be formed, and a habit of religious reverence. And though we could wish for something more, we might safely leave the higher mysteries of faith and salvation to be taught elsewhere.
a Unitarian, to be a board or committee of superintendence. They agreed upon a selection of reading lessons from both translations of the Scriptures, and, by means of a system of restrictions and qualifications, carefully arranged, providing for distinct methods and times of religious instruction, they were able to construct a union, not godless or negative, but thoroughly Christian in its character, and so to draw as many as 500,000 of the children into the public schools; conferring thus upon the poor neglected and hitherto oppressed Irish, greater benefits than they have before received from any and
public measures since the conquest. I can not go into the particulars of this adjustment, neither is it necessary. Whoever will take pains to trace out the particular features of the plan, will see that such an adjustment is possible. Enough is it for the present to say, that what has been can be, and that if there is a real and true desire in the two parties to this coming controversy, to settle any plan that will unite and satisfy them both, it will be done. It may never be done in such a manner as to silence all opposition or attack from the ultra Protestant party on one side, and the ultra Catholic on the other. Bigotry will have its way, and will assuredly act in character here, as it has in all ages past and does in Ireland now. The cry will be raised on one side, that the Bible is given up because it is read only at the option of the parents, or because only extracts from it are read, though the extracts amount to nearly the whole book, or because they are, some of them, made from the Catholic and some from the Protestant version; whereas, if only this or that catechism were taught, with not a word of Scripture, no complaint of a loss of the Bible would be heard of, or if the Psalter translation were read, instead of the Psalms, it would be regarded as no subject of complaint at all. On the other, the Catholic side, it will be insisted that the church authority is given up, though every word and teaching is by and from it, or that religion itself is corrupted by the profane mixtures of a Protestant proximity and intercourse. Probably the bigots, on both sides, will have much to say, in deprecation of the “godless system of education,” and yet there will be more religious teaching, and more impression made of true religion, by that cordial and Christian adjustment of differences, which brings the children of two hostile bands together, in this manner, than by whole days and weeks of drill and catechism in separate schools.
There is a great deal of cant in this complaint of godless education, or the defect of religious instruction in schools, as Baptist Noel, Dr. Vaughan, and other distinguished English writers, have abundantly shown. It is not, of course, religious instruction for a child to be drilled, year upon year,
in spelling out the words of the Bible, as a reading book-it may be only an exercise that answers the problem how to dull the mind most effectually to all sense of the Scripture words, and communicate least of their meaning. Nay, if the Scriptures were entirely excluded from the schools, and all formal teaching of religious doctrine, I would yet undertake, if I could have my liberty as a teacher, to communicate more of real Christian truth to a Catholic and a Protestant boy, seated side by side, in the regulation of their treatment of each other, as related in terms of justice and charity, and their government as members of the school community, (where truth, order, industry and obedience are duties laid upon the con. science, under God,) than they will ever draw from any catechism, or have worn into their brain by the dull and stammering exercise of a Scripture reading lesson. The Irish schools have a distinct Christian character, only not as distinctly sectarian as if they were wholly Protestant or wholly Catholic. They are Christian schools, such as ours may be and ought to be, and, I trust, will be, to the latest generations, nor any the less so that they are common schools.
Neither is it to be imagined or felt that religion has lost its place in the scheme of education, because the Scriptures are not read as a stated and compulsory exercise, or because the higher mysteries of Christianity as a faith or doctrine of salvation, are not generally taught, but only the Christian rules of conduct, as pertaining to the common relations of duty under God. What is wanting may still be provided for, only less adequately, in other places; at home, in the church, or in lessons given by the clergy. It is not as when children are committed to a given school, like the Girard College, for example, there to receive their whole training, and where, if it excludes religion, they have no religious training at all.
I do then take the ground, and upon this I insist, as the true American ground, that we are to have common schools, and never to give them up, for any purpose, or in obedience to any demand whatever-never to give them up, either by formal surrender, or by implication; as by a distribution of moneys to ecclesiastical and sectarian schools. The state can not distribute funds, in this manner, without renouncing even a first principle of our American institutions, and becoming the supporter of a sect in religion. It may as well support the priests of a church, as support the schools of a church, separated from other schools, for the very purpose of being subjected to the priests.
But while we are firm in this attitude, and hold it as a point immovable, we must, for that very reason, be the more ready to do justice to the religious convictions of all parties or sects, and to yield them such concessions, or enter into such arrangements as will accommodate their peculiar principles and clear them of any infringement.
But it will be objected by some, that while this should be done, if there were any thing to hope from it, there is really no hope that our concessions or modifications will be of any avail, and therefore that they should not be made at all; for they will only so far abridge the value of our schools without yielding any recompense for the loss. Then let us offer the modifications, offer any terms of union that can be offered without a virtual destruction or renunciation of the system; and then if they are not accepted it will not be' our fault. I very much fear they will not be, that an absolute separation of the Catholic children from our schools is already determined, and that no revision of the sentence can be had. Still it is much for us to take away every excuse for such a determination, and every complaint or pretext by which it is justified.