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are anxious to see the demarcations carefully preserved; because we are convinced that the separate exertions of the several classes of Christians, each within their own limits, supply at this moment the only means to which we can look with confidence for effecting permanent improvement in the religious and moral state of Ireland. Most of those schemes of proselytism by which our ancestors in their zeal hoped to effect this great purpose, have proved, as they deserved, absolutely nugatory. To separate the children of Roman Catholics by fraud or violence from their parents, in order to transform them into Protestants, was a measure as cruel as it was impolitic. Yet such was the principle upon which the Protestant charter schools were originally instituted; and for the furtherance of these objects, Parliament has continued to make immense annual grants, amounting since the Union to more than half a million.*
This mode of encountering the mischiefs and absurdities of Popery, we freely abandon to all the censure it deserves. Modern liberality has fallen into an opposite error. The eagerness to open schools for all has led to the adoption of systems of instruction by which scarcely any principles of religion beyond pure Deism are inculcated; and morality has no better foundation than the loose and variable maxims of human authority. We have ourselves been present in a school where the advanced classes were taught to recite Pope's Universal Prayer, and to regard it as a sort of manual of devotion. We appeal to conscientious Christians of every denomination for their judgment on the probable consequences of such a system as this. Would any believer in the truths of Revelation consent that his own child should be subjected to such discipline. Yet many, perhaps we may say most, of the original Lancasterian schools in Ireland pursue this method. Surely there can be no question that this mischief ought to be remedied; and the obvious remedy is, that the ministers of the several classes of Christians should take the education of the poor of their several communities into their own hands. In this way, and only in this way, real good will be done. Amongst the members of the Establishment and the Presbyterians, there will be no difficulty in effecting this; if reasonable encouragement be given, and the individuals on whom the duty must devolve, will gird themselves for the great work. But for the Catholics what have we to hope? At present, but little. A mist is still before the eyes of too many of their priests. Still we think direct assistance should be offered, through the medium of their bishops, to supply Society.”
* For information on this curioris subject we refer our readers to a little work, lately published, " An Inquiry into the Abuses of the Chartered Schools in Ireland,"
means of instruction to all the children of that persuasion. If these offers should be rejected, or the measure suffered to sleep through perverseness or neglect, resort might then be had to the measures adopted with such success by the “ Hibernian School
Children are taught to read the Scriptures, and encouragement is given to the Roman Catholics to profit by the opportunities thus placed within their reach. It is satisfactory to know, that in most places these schools are crowded, even where the priests have exerted themselves to the utmost to put them down.
From endeavours such as these much good may be anticipated, especially as, if persevered in, they could not fail to bring into effective operation an engine, the powers of which have never yet been fairly tried or brought to bear; we mean the influence of the established clergy. As warm and conscientious friends to the ecclesiastical establishment, we look with shame and confusion at the small sum of good which Ireland has derived from her participation in it. It is true ten thousand circumstances may be cited by her apologists, the effect of which has been to diminish and impede the advantages reasonably to be looked for from a hierarchy so amply endowed. But, though much may be said in extenuation of the past, nothing will excuse inefficiency for the time to come. We cannot conceive it possible that proper exertions should prove unavailing. A noble machine is in our hands, but the changes which have taken place in the objects for which it was destined have rendered parts of it useless or superAuous. Are we on this account to let it remain unemployed ? Rather let the whole be reviewed and surveyed, the necessary improvements effected, and let it be awakened into fullest action; we shall soon witness the immense good it is capable of producing. But this is ground on which we tread with caution; a whole phalanx of vested rights and established claims will, we are aware, be mustered in array against even such gentle changes as those we contemplate. For such rights and claims we entertain all reasonable reverence; but we cannot consent that they should be maintained to the peril of that establishment in which their foundations are laid. The wisdom and the zeal of the Parliament have been found sufficient to encounter difficulties much more arduous than any which are likely to present themselves in effecting such alterations as we would propose. Our single aim would be to give increased weight to the moral and spiritual influence of the parochial clergy; from this source England, at the
present moment, in spite of many counteracting influences, is deriving inestimable advantages; let no measures be left untried which are likely to advance Ireland to an equal share of them.
Art. IV.-Letlers addressed to a serious and humble Inquirer after
Divire Truth, with a peculiar Aspect to the Circumstances of the present Times. By the Rev. Edward Cooper, Rector of Hamstall-Ridware, and of Yoxall in the County of Stafford, and late Fellow of All-Souls' College, Oxford. Second
Edition. 12mo. pp. 233. Cadell and Davies. London, 1817. THE sensible and pious author of these letters, whose reputation has been too widely extended by his excellent sermons to render any further personal notice of him necessary, considers that the present state of the religious world opposes peculiar difficulties in the way of sincere “ inquirers after Divine truth:” and, with the view of facilitating their pursuit, has published this conciliatory statement of the several matters upon which those persons who profess to seek the fountain-head, and to direct their opinions by the Bible, most widely disagree. He does this, not in the vain expectation of reducing the sentiments of all Christians to the same exact form and level; but for the purpose of showing how much cordiality may exist without a complete union of opinions; how easily, if the right spirit be not wanting, sincere men may agree to differ concerning points of doctrine, discipline, and practice.
“ To entertain an idea, in the present state of human nature, of bringing all persons to an union of judgment and practice in religious matters, would be a speculation, which the experience of eighteen hundred years has proved to be visionary and absurd. Such an union the writer has no hopes of ever seeing accomplished. The utmost, which in his opinion can reasonably be expected, is an union of spirit; such an union as results from a disposition to bear with the infirmities, prejudices, and ignorances of others ; to tolerate a difference of opinion without regarding those who differ with sentiments of jealousy and suspicion; to indulge mutual sympathies ; cordially to co-operate in every good work; and thus to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of peace.' Such an union is the utmost which can be expected: nor can any reasonable hope be entertained that even this union will ever be universal. The violent, the bigotted, the intolerant, together with all those who are governed by party-spirit, and by an immoderate regard to the exclusive interests of their own religious community, will always dissent from an union so repugnant to their feelings and prejudices. But to hope that true Christians may thus unite in spirit and disposition; that all those who “ love the Lord Jesus in sincerity, and have • drunk of the same spirit,' may come to a right understanding on their respective differences, and love one another with a pure heart fervently; this is surely no extravagant speculation, no wild chimerical hope; for it is only to look for the manifestation of those fruits which true Christianity is capable of producing; and
which, when left to exert its own native energies, it naturally will produce. Such an union between such persons is a practicable union; for it is an union to which their mutual principles spontaneously incline them: and therefore the attempt to promote it is a rational attempt." (Pref. vi--viii.)
We entirely agree with Mr. Cooper as to the supreme importance of such union. That persons who think alike on the sublimest and most mysterious subjects of religion, should prefer one another's society and conversation is quite natural: it is equally natural that those who agree with regard to the obligations of Christianity upon the external conduct of its professors, should be commonly found together in familiar inter
But that persons thus agreeing with one another should look with an eye of distrust, or even of dislike, on those that think differently: that they should impute insincere motives, and call opprobrious names; that they should scruple, or refuse to act with them against the common enemy: this could only be excused on the presumption, that the doctrines, or the obligations in question, were so clearly defined and laid down, that all doubts must be wilful, and all difference of opinion criminal; whereas if those who range themselves in opposite or hostile parties were capable of taking a dispassionate view of those subjects on which such difference principally exists, they would at once perceive that, in practical points at least, it results naturally, we had almost said necessarily, from a religion of general laws.
It is the grand characteristic of the Gospel, that the service it demands is that of the spirit, the inclination, the disposition, in a word, of the heart. This service can only be obtained, and the spiritual frame on which it depends can only be cultivated, when the precepts and rules of action are prescribed generally; leaving each individual to apply them to his own particular circumstances, and to direct the course of his conduct according to their tendency, rather than by the exact letter of the law. On the opposite principle, that of literal injunction, you may secure a punctilious and servile obedience, which may yet be performed without the faintest spark of spiritual affection. When we engage a servant, it is necessary to specify, with tolerable exactness, the duties which will be imposed upon him; and it would be unreasonable to expect any other service than that which was marked out by the terms of the original contract. But in forming an alliance, not of interest, but of affection, to prescribe the specific offices of reciprocal duty, would appear in the highest degree affronting; and the mutual interchange of kindness is sufficiently provided for by the general engagement to cherish, love, and honour. Love of God no otherwise differs from love of man, than in the infinite superiority of its object : it is the same in kind; it is the character of each to be
Unstaid and fickle in all other things,
That is beloved. Both are alike testified by the anxious desire to comply with wishes expressed or not expressed: to take the side of excess rather than defect; to go beyond absolute requirement; and both are equally incapable of definite limit or prescription.
These general remarks will receive corroboration, if we apply them to actual examples. The Jewish religion, of which it was the main object to keep a particular people separate from the surrounding nations, abounded in exact precepts: the line of duty was precisely drawn, and to observe that line without deviation was deemed the surest test of personal religion. In consequence, the religion of the Jews, in process of time, became formal, literal, precise : to give tithes to the last farthing, and the last seed, was the boast of peculiar sanctity: to practise austerities was to obey the law: and not to stop a running vessel on the Sabbath was to keep holy the seventh day. But all this while the true service, the service of the heart, was wanting; and all our Saviour's reproofs of the Scribes and Pharisees may be resolved into this one censure, that their religion was a body without a soul.
The Mohammedan religion is in a far greater degree an observance of formal rites. It prescribes the definite days which shall be kept as fasts; the definite hours which shall be employed in devotion; the definite words which shall be used in prayer; the definite portion of each man's fortune which shall be bestowed in alms. And what is the consequence ? the Mohammedan fast is preceded and followed by intemperance; the Mohammedan debauch is interrupted by the hour of prayer or ablution, and is resumed at its termination : the faithful disciple distributes his regular bounties, and lives in the habitual practice of oppression and rapacity
The most pernicious errors of the Roman Catholics have a similar origin: fasts, penances, recitals, crossings, are easily observed, and the heart is left at liberty to pursue its own corrupt devices.
But that these, and similar errors, which human depravity has unwarrantably introduced, might have no pretext or excuse from the law itself, the Divine Author of our faith has uniformly avoided literal precepts; and has not only declared, that all real religion must depend upon the state of the heart, but has so worded his commandments, that the heart must