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a fairer increase ! Harp of thy wilds and halls! which erst was struck to strains of patriotism and liberty,whose witch-notes still survive! thou shalt ring with nobler themes and swell into diviner harmonies! Like Judah's lyre, thou shalt be swept with the inspiration of the Saviour's love and glory! Like the harp of heaven, thou shalt breathe only the tones of an unearthly peace and love! And He who “taketh up the isles," and who spans his throne with a “rainbow in sight, like to an emerald,” shall take thee, thou emerald gem of the ocean, and set thee in that girdle of his covenant faithfulness and love !
When Great Britain and Ireland shall have advanced in the knowledge of Scripture, and in the spirit of Christianity, those ranklings, which have long alienated them, shall be forgotten. Why should they not be one ? Placed side by side, are they not ranged for love and alliance ? How is it that they yield not mutual strength ? Who can wish that either should be exalted to the depression of the other ? Both must suffer together: both together only can rejoice. The true patriot should allow no rival claim.
“Non ego, nec Teucris Italos parere jubebo,
Nec mihi regna peto ; paribus se legibus ambæ
*“I will not compel the Latins to obey the Trojans. I seek not for myself new dominions. My only desire is, that two such nations, both invincible, may be indissolubly united by equal laws, and trothed for ever in imperishable treaties." -Virg : Æneid : lib. xii. 189, &c.
It is an unpleasant part of the enquiry, to ask whether Conformists or Nonconformists have better done their duty. The Nonconformist was earlier in the task; the Conformist was indifferent or averse. The Nonconformist loved the object, and fully trusted in it: the Conformist was but faintly attached to it, and fearingly doubted its consequences. But then, in the nature of things, some of this difference in the views and feelings of the parties might be expected. The one was scattered, independent, self-ruled : the other was an immense corporation, not free, not self-determined. Novelty might be a temptation to the first : antiquity could scarcely but be the prejudice of the second. The stake of the former was small: that of the latter was serious and vital. But when both were actually engaged,—the emulation between them cannot be denied, the disparity of means was speedily manifested. The buildings, the equipments, the revenues, of the Episcopalian schools were displayed in a proud preeminence. That Church took up its measures with a unity, a vigour, a success, which outstripped its forerunners and competitors. Its establishment gave those measures strength, its wealth facility, its discipline compactness. That which others were compelled to struggle in order to effect, it accomplished with a giant's ease. It still has the advantage of power and riches. None of those who may deny its right to be the instructress of the people, will complain of the influence which it has morally acquired, or grudge the ascendancy which it has by its voluntary efforts won. Time was, when it was provoked to jealousy: it now quickens those who gave it the first impulse. We deem it, in the working of its schools, too exclusive in its terms of reception, too intolerant in its imposition of doctrine. But its system must be of certain benefit. It extends to spots which cannot be reached by more detached exertions. The Dissenters, confident in the rights and blessings of knowledge, have fallen behind their avowals. In the Sabbath Schools they are, indeed, among the foremost. In the Weekly Schools they are grievously defaulting. It is conceded, that much of their doings is concealed within the British and Foreign School Society, of which they have no recognised honour but are still the main support. But were they all in it, were it all theirs, it is not enough. They ought to contribute more than all its funds: they ought to centuple all its schools.
There is a spirit, however, arising, which, from whatever quarter it may show itself, we are ready always to condemn. It is an affected ignorance of the labours of others. It is the utter evasion of them. Does any man sincerely hope that the whole youthful generation can be brought into his church or community ? Can he be bigoted enough to dream of such an absorption and comprehension ? Has he any right, in fact or in equity, to speak of all besides as destitute of Christian education ? No station, no talent, of such men, can make us believe this their oversight to be sincere, or this their zeal to be honest.
Better will it be that the contest of all parties should exist alone in a generous strife of out-doing each other. There is a scope for all. There is little occasion of self-exultation to any. When the country is subdued to knowledge and religion, it will be sufficient time to adjust our respective deserts and to grasp our proper honours.
“But rise, let us no more contend, nor blame
Each other, blamed enough elsewhere, but strive
* Milton's Paradise Lost, Book x.
ON THE PARTIES RESPONSIBLE FOR THE EDUCATION
OF THE PEOPLE.
It may be felt not a little mortifying, that a question like that which concerns the proper agency in popular education, should, in this period of the world, be open to discussion. It might have been expected, that the men of light and benevolence would have long since agreed. The truth, we should have thought, must, ere now, be ultimately fixed. It surely is capable of easy determination. Can our country be divided in opinion, after its frequent boasts of knowledge and freedom ? Can it hesitate, when it affects a tender guardianship of all its natives, and sets its Penitentiaries in the ends of the earth? Can it speak of it as an unsettled point, standing as it does in a position so distinctly to be observed, arrayed as it is with an influence to be so powerfully felt, displaying, as it imagines, a pattern to be so worthily followed ?
Great principles are not hastily approached. They require long probation and experiment, before they settle down into proof and experience. They are often left in doubt, because they are not wanted in application.