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lore too little popular: every where instruction is now adjusting itself to the spirit of the times. Religious instruction was scarcely known in any of those foundations, nor even in the Universities themselves : now no course is endured, even by those who seem scarcely affected by their own dictum, which is not governed by religion. All this is substantial gain to the great cause of a diffused, impartial, and Christian, education. But to what may it be attributed ? The majestic river rolls out of this humble spring. The mighty city has sprung up from this hidden quarry.
Nor is it unjust to enquire, when we examine the pretensions of any benevolent scheme, what evil is prevented, as well as what good is secured. A population which is unenlightened, may, for a time, be quiescent. But there is no security for its peaceful, or rather its torpid, habits.
In a moment, fear or revenge may lash it into fury. A tempest, even at the time we suppose, was blazing upon the neighbour coast. It was of fearful violence and duration. It swept all the mounds of authority, all the ornaments of civilization, before it. And whence did it burst? From a people goaded to vengeance by their wrongs, but a people in every sense most untaught. Theirs was not the reason to understand the charm of liberty or the majesty of law. Theirs was not the virtue to hail the blessedness of civil order and the duty of individual restraint. No torrent could plunge with more headlong violence. Doubtless their leaders were more intelligent and more
wicked than themselves. But they were congenial instruments. The lowest of the people were but the pack of those cruel hunters, and, cheered by their halloos, bayed in deep cry for carnage and for blood. When it was feared that this anarchy would inundate our country, the first waves were stemmed by its awaking mind. It loved not misrule: it brooked not infidelity: it coveted not massacre. Its heart was stout against such lures as these. If the skirt of the storm went over us, it was but as the shrinking banner of a flying foe. The lightning played around the conductor of our purest institutions with a lambent gleam, its fork having struck, and its bolt having exploded, far away. The Sabbath School System was the salvation of the empire !
It may be said, and not without a colour of justice, that the very ignorant, that the rudest of our mobs, were the most zealous adversaries of certain Foreign principles which were once supposed to threaten the health of our national mind, and the stability of our constitutional existence. A distinction must needs be made which appeals for its truth to history. The lawlessness of those principles it required a true, a religious, virtue to resist. They were resisted. Yet the true resistance was not indiscriminating. To whatever guilty excesses those principles had led, the struggle, which called them into life, was most noble. Never had people such a ground of stern resentment. They could scarcely strike, but some oppressor fell, some
chain shivered. It seemed the birth-throe of liberty. So it would have been, had that people been christianised in their aims and associations. But there were within our shores those who hated the liberty. Vituperation was heaped unsparingly upon it, and was purposely confounded with all that had stained its professions. The fact really was, that none of those evil deeds had been done in the cause and vindication of freedom, but that noblest blessing was put forth as the covering and palliation of those evil deeds. High, holy, heavenly, liberty, was to be crushed. Truth was to be warped. Conscience was to be dragooned. Who should assist ? Was it a people, firm to their ancestral immunities, their freeborn rights, who now rose for this foul persecution ? The conspirators could not enlist allies like these. Liberty was no less their love, because of their disgust of enormities committed in its name.
No, no, not these were chosen nor could be found: but the lowest of the low, the vilest of the vile. A caitiff horde answered the summons, the offscouring of all things, from dens, from prisons, from stews. They knew no cause, they recognised no principle, no enthusiasm bore them away but that of conflagration and plunder and blood.
These were the ruffian hands which were lifted for every work of destruction. Hirelings and mercenaries, they would have changed their course to any other for a larger ruin and a richer bribe. A more trenchant sarcasm upon political dissimulation and religious hypocrisy
cannot be imagined, than the trumpeted zeal of these incendiaries and marauders in the cause of order and the service of Christianity!
In this apology for the system, we must not forget that a sound Biblical education, which nothing but this system could have most partially secured, is of imperative value to our national greatness. Unknown to us be the levelling feeling in respect of nations, equally with that which regards individuals! We love our country. We would exalt it to the truest glory, We pray for its preeminence. But then we little reck of arms.
At any rate, we have known a surfeit of such fame. We would sedulously cultivate the arts, but their perfection could not constitute us illustrious. We must dig a deeper foundation for a lasting celebrity. Virtue can only make us free, freedom can only make us great, religion can only make us virtuous. The column, however trophied and figured, cannot stand without this plinth. The shield of the fullest orb and richest device should be distributed into its quarters by the Cross !
The national character must ever depend upon the free, independent, use of the Scriptures. This is strictly a Protestant principle. It cannot cohere with Romanism. Whenever such right by that system seems to be allowed, it is with an evasiveness which makes us doubt its sincerity, it is with a supervision which makes us suspect its good will, it is with a reserve which makes us distrust its truth. No vernacular has
it catholically sanctioned. Diocesan and provincial license there may be, but then it is at the pleasure of the spiritual director of every licentiate. The Vulgate is the only translation formally permitted, and this has long since taken the place, and usurped the authority, of those Originals which it so often distorts and misrepresents. Now, go through the lands of Europe. See those where the Bible is openly, securely, avowedly, read: in other words, those which have embraced the principles of the Reformation. Their peoples are strong and noble in their doings and their virtues. The climate, the mountain scenery and atmosphere, may inspire in others the love of liberty,patriotism may bind them to their native soil by a passion which is very disease, - but Tyrol and Switzerland, ready enough to repel the invader, crouch beneath their own yoke, and grind to their own superstition. Look at the German Mind. Luther's Version of the Holy Volume formed the language of that country. It gave freedom to the studies of its universities. It awoke the genius of its wide-spread family. It burst the spell which had oppressed it from the time of the Empire. The predictions of Tacitus would never have otherwise been fulfilled. Never, otherwise, would its banded nations, - with the lyre and the sword, — have driven from their bosom the military despotism which sought to draw them into itself. Its wild transport and hurrah of hatred to oppression had never else been heard. It is this which confers self