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it appears, been misunderstood, the commissioners beg to submit the sense in which they have understood and acted
upon the instructions given in the letter of the Chief Secretary for Ireland.
1.- In giving a controul to individual members of the Board over books to be used in the particular religious instruction of different denominations of pupils, the Board do not understand that it was the intention of his Majesty's Government, either to claim for themselves, or to vest in the commissioners any controul over the use of the sacred Scriptures, or over the standards of the Established Churches of England or of Scotland, or of the Roman Catholic Church, but only over books composed by private authors; and that the controul over these is required merely for the purpose of checking the introduction of hooks of injurious ten. dency.
II.-The Board do not understand that it is imperative upon them to edit all books used in the schools receiving grants from them, but that they are at liberty to sanction such books as may previously be in use in schools, in*behalf of which applications are made, or such as may be preferred by the local patrons and conductors of schools, provided that they find nothing objectionable in them. Under this view of the duty assigned to them, they require a list of the books used in schools which they are requested to aid, ond have already sanctioned the school-books issued by the Kildare-place Society; and also, after certain alterations, the books issued by the Catholic Book Society. The Board have never conceived that it would be expedient to render the use of any particular book or books absolutely imperative.
III.-The Board understand that the control over teachers of schools is vested primarily in their local patrons and conductors; and that the power required by Government to be conceded to the Board, of fining and dismissing teachers, is to be exercised only in the case of such local patrons and conductors, after receiving grants, seeking to protect teachers in violating the rules of the Board, or retaining teachers found on trial to be incompetent.
IV.-The Board understand that they are to require a permanent submission to its regulations only in those cases in which grants have been made towards the erection of school-houses to be vested in trustees according to the direction of Government; and that in school-houses receiving occasional or annual grants, such as salaries for the teachers, &c. they are to require submission to their regulations during the period for which grants' are made.
V.-By encouraging the pastors of different denominations to give religious instruction to the children of their respective flocks, the Board understand merely affording to such pastors facility of access to the pupils at the time specified, and not employing and remunerating them : and they understand that the parents and guardians of the children are to determine to what denomination they respectively belong-the Board taking no cognizance of the matter.
VI.—The Board understand that the times for religious instruction are to be determined by the local patrons and conductors of schools; the power vested in the Board on that subject being merely to see that at least one day in the week is set apart for the purpose. They also understand, that the religious instruction given may or may not be in the school-room, the choice of the place being left to the pastors of the ebildren; but that liberty is to be secured to them to assemble the children of their respective tocks in the school room, if they see fit.
VII.-The Board understand that they are not, in ordinary cases, to exercise any control over the use of the school-rooms on Sundays; that control being left to the local conductors of the schools; but that if any use be made of them, tending to contention, on a well-founded complaint between adverse parties, it is competent for the Board to interfere, for the purpose of remedying the evil.
Hi, The foregoing we take to be the strongest effort the Board can make to varnish over the defects and deformities of their system. By some such document they, or their patrons, deceived the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; by a similar statement we were betrayed ioto the hope announced in our last Number; and now, having tried their hand and proved their partial success in gulling the public mind, they seemed determined to persevere, in hopes of a complete victory over the Bible system of education. We pity, from our hearts, the men who are tied down to drudge in this system of deception. We like to call things by their right names; and therefore there are some parts in the foregoing documents that we must denominate either cunning evasions or downright untruths. For instance, in paragraph Ist, when we are told that they did not “understand the intentions of Government, &c. This must, at best, be an evasion, and a miserable one too; for what know we, or can we know, about intentions ?-We know the words of Mr. Stanley's letters ; and we know that they contained no exceptions whatever; but gave to the Board “complete control over all books" of religious instruction. We are not possessed of that penetrative faculty which enables us to know, that when Mr. Stanley says “complete control,” he means no control or that when he says all books of religious instruction, he really means
This attainment in philology seems reserved for the Board, who seem certainly determined to instruct the public in a new meaning for words, the very opposite of that authorized by Walker's Dictionary. We hate special pleading wherever it appears. If the Board think Mr. Stanley was wrong, let them honestly tell us so; and let them not affix mean. ings to his words that they know in their consciences his words will not bear.
Paragragh 5th is another example of special violation of common language. The Board tell us what they understand by “encouragingo different religious teachers; and if we can believe them, they understand by it no encouragement. Now this is most dishonest. It is nothing to us what they please to understand by it; the question is-what does it mean? Ah! we may be told—what about a bad word, if it have a good meaning? Our answer is-we would have a good word and a good meaning. We would have no equivocations; no forced and unnatural meanings, which words will not bear. Again we tell the Board they cannot elude us by a false definition. We challenge and defy them to produce one example of legitimate English, in which "encourage's signifies merely to “afford facilities” for doing any thing. If they produce the example, we will bow to their definitions; but until they do so, we shall bold them guilty of a public sin against all philological authority. If they expect to escape, let them not make the attempt by a false defini. tion of terms, but in honest confession of error.
Paragraph 7th is a death blow to all Sunday-schools, whenever the Board please to exercise their despotic authority. If any use be made of school-houses on Sundays, 'tending to contentions, it is competent for the Board to interfere.” That is, whenever Roman Catholics think fit to complain, the Board are competent to do what they think fit. This is a hapless state of despotism. to which we trust our free-born necks are never destined to bow. But if so be that Protestants will submit to the yoke, we shall yet have this consolation, that we have resisted its imposition.
RESOLUTIONS OF THE BELFAST SECESSION PRESBYEERY.
In our last Number we made a few remarks on this “important” document; and we have accordingly roused the gentle spirit of the committee and their chairman--the Rev. John Conlter. Mr. Coulter has assailed us in a newspaper letter that does equal credit to his head and his heart. Mr. Coulter's letter is one of those characteristic effusions in which puro personality supplies the absence of argument. We pity, and we will not retaliate. We deal not in personalities; but on a few points, in which the public are concerned, we shall offer a word of remark.
1. Mr. Coulter, supposing Dr. Cooke the writer of our remarks, (which we neither admit nor deny,) accuses him of promising not to write a word against the resolutions, and afterwards of breaking this promise. This is a grave charge, to which our answer is short-it is true, and it is false. It is true Dr. Cooke declared he would not, even when challenged by Mr. Coulter, write one word against the resolutions of Presbytery, as reported to him by Mr. Coutter; but it is false that he promised not to write against the resolutions, as published in the newspaper. Happily this conversation took place before witnesses, and to them the appeal lies. In reporting to Dr. Cooke the resolutions of the Presbytery, Mr. Coulter took special care to behead them and unfang them, by suppressing, or omitting, or forgetting the first resolution, containing the li. bellous calumny against the Synod of Ulster and other opponents of the new education system. Had the resolutions been published as they were repeated, without the calumnious libel by which they were introduced, they should never have occupied our thoughts or our pages. But when this appeared with the suppressed heading, of which Mr. Coulter had never breathed a syllable, it became a public and an imperative duty to repel the attack-a duty to which we shall at all times hold ourselves bound, when the slander and the slanderer seems worthy of reply.
2. We have expressed our regret that this gratuitous attack of the Belfast Secession Presbytery led to produce alienation between them and the Synod of Ulster, and to disappoint the hopes of those who would have cordially laboured for a more general Presbyterian union in Ulster. Upon this head we have been met by renewed calumnies against the Synod. That the Synod is not perfect, we believe; that she hath many defects, we do not deny ; yet it is a dangerous thing to throw the first stone against her. This only we know, that in the very committee of the Belfast Secession Presbytery, who now vent their indignation against the Synod, there are two members, who, within the last six months, were wil. ling, and more than willing, to enter the Synod of Ulster, provided they could have obtained congregations. We regret being compelled to make this statement; but there is an insolence in the attack of Mr. Coulter, that renders self-defence inperative. If Mr. Coulter desire the names of the members, they are at his service; and the negociations were happily so much before witnesses, that denial is impossible.
3. We shall only refer to another point, in which Mr. Couiter accuses us of seeking to produce jealousies and divisions between Ministers and their congregations. This charge we distinctly deny. We have been accustomed to hold every member of the Belfast Secession Presbytery in high esteem, and heartily to wish them God speed. But when they choose, not merely to express their own opinion upon a public question, but to libel and calumniate all who differ from them, we feel bound to forget all personal considerations, and to defend the public character of our brethren from unmerited attacks. We will tell the Belfast Presby. tery our opinions freely. They had a right to express their own opinions ; but they should have done so without impeaching the motives and principles of their neighbours. We had no intention of producing a single movement of ill will between any Minister and his people, when we ani. madverted on the Belfast resolutions; but we did think it a public duty to guard the people against the undue influence of ministerial authority. We do look upon the Secession Eldership and people as forming a mighty phalanx of the "old Protestant system ; and, we say it without meaning offence, that we believe they will not generally join with the Belfast Presbytery in sanctioning a system of education that resigns their Presbyterian and parental rights into the hands of an undefined and unrestrained despotism.
THE BRITISH VERSE ASSOCIATION.
[We publish the following extract from the Appeal of the Directors of
the British Verse Association, and we earnestly recommend the subject to the attention of our readers.-Edit.]
The design of the system is briefly tbis-to induce every person to commit to memory one and the same verse of scripture every day. A system which is now widely spread, and the advantages of which have neither been few nor small. --May God's name be glorified by this simple plan!
The teacher of a Sabbath evening school in Sullivan, Madison County, N. Y., who, having been himself brought to God by means of a verse which he had learned in his youth, proposed that his Sabbath scholars should commit to memory, each day, one and the same verse of the New Testament. This was immediately acceded to, and the first verse of the second chapter of St. John's Gospel was given out as the lessson for that day, which was the 15th of November, 18:29. There was no particular design in commencing with this verse ; it was simply intended as an excercise for a single school. Each succeeding verse was regularly com, mitted to memory on each succeeding day, and the children of the school had a task next Sabbath evening, in some instances, larger; in almost all, more perfect than before. During the week, it was ascertained that they had taken pleasure in hearing each other repeat the verse for the day, and had watched who were diligent, aud who were careless, often putting the latter to the blush. A single verse, in one whole day, seemed a task so easy as to allow scarcely any excuse for neglecting it ; and a requsition, on their master's part, so far from rigid, as to make noncompliance with it almost unpardonable. The delight and heart with which the children thus entered into the plan, and the benefits wbicb it promised certainly to produce, encouraged the teacher of that school'to go on regularly in the chapters of St. Jobn, and to recommend the adoption of the plan to the teachers of the other schools around him. By degrees, one school after another followed this advice, and the teachers expressed their gratitude for the benefits it conferred. The promulgation of the plan from school to school--from one district of the city to another-and from that city to those surrounding it—was effected with ease and success. Any teacher who desired to try it, was sure to meet with a cordial acquiescence on the part of the children ; for he needed but to tell them, “That, at a certain school, a short time before, all the children and teachers learned by heart one verse of Scripture, and that every day through the week they had learned another that the children and teach ers in several other schools had followed their example ; and that now, he wished his dear children to join them, by beginning to-morrow morning with that verse, which all in these schools would then be learning." Some such statement as this, ensured a reception to the system, so that it spread like wild-fire from county to county.' Within a year, and before any notice of it had been published, the system had far extended itself on every side of where it first originated ; and in January, 1831, a new impetus was giveu to its progress, by the active measures of an association of Sabbath school teachers, in the county of Oswego. The directors of this association were the first who drew the attention of the public to the system. They issued a circular to the teachers of the county,-they printed an appeal to the public, which was extensivcly circulated,--they requested the editors of the newspapers to publish weekly the verses for each week, and the publishers of the Christian Almanack to insert a reference to the verse for each day in the year. In October, they edited and published the first Number of a Newspaper, entitled, “THE VERSE HERALD,” which is “wholly to be devoted to the promulgation of the Verse system.”
Since that time, the progress of this system bas been uninterrupted, and unusually great. In certain districts, where revivals of religion have oca: curred, the Verse a-day system has been regularly adopted. In some places, God has been pleased to bless it, as a mean of revival ; and, in others, as a strengthening to those who had already been brought to a knowledge of his love. The Indian tribes have not rejected it, but many of them hail it as a sure and simple means of acquainting themselves with God. France also, and several other quarters of the globe, have, by American sailors, and by American enterprise, been made acquainted by this time, with the intention of the system ; for a resolution was forming in America, and was being carried into execution, when the latest accounts were received, to introduce the Bible into certain departments of France, and into every house within each of these, requesting the people to join in learning, day after day, at least one Verse of that Sacred Record.
Such is the origin and progress of that system, on behalf of which, the Directors of the British Verse Association do now make an appeal to their fellow.christians—their fellow-countrymen. The goodness of the cause, gives them boldness to plead it, and the oneness of our interest in it, gives them liberty to urge it.
Are you a Minister ! — There are perhaps few members of your con. gregation who would refuse to join if you requested them. And might not the verse committed to memory by yourself and people, during the week, furnish seasonable matter for an occasional, if not a stated lectare or sermon on the following Sabbath ?