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" These children then are taken, of moral philosophy-morality withbefore they know the alphabet, to be out sentiment—benevolence towards kept till the period of early man- man, without a sense of responsibil. hood, and then sent out into the ity towards God. The duties of this world. By this time their character life performed without any reference will have been stamped ; for, if to the life which is to come—this is there is any truth in the Bible, if Mr. Girard's theory of useful eduthere is any truth in those oracles cation! Half of these poor children which soar above all human author. may die before the time of their ed. ity, or if any thing be established by ucation expires. Still, those who the experience of mankind, the cha. survive must be brought up, imbued racter is formed in the first third of fully with the inevitable tendencies human life. And what sort of cha- of the system.” racter is likely to be made by this In answer to a suggestion from process—this experimental system the other side, that the deficiency of instruction ?
might be supplied by lay preachers “ Mr. Girard, as we have seen, or teachers, Mr. Webster contends enjoins that no ministers of religion that this would be just as adverse to of any sects shall be allowed to en- Mr. Girard's original object and plan, ter his college, on any pretense as to admit professional preacherswhatever. Now it is obvious, that that his manifest design was to keep by sects he means Christian sects. the orphans free from all bias of any Any of the followers of Voltaire or kind, in favor of any Christian creed, D'Alembert may have admission in till they arrived at manhood, as the to this school, whenever they please, only effectual guard against sectari. because they are not usually spoken anism-that, accordingly, there is no of as “sects.' The doors are to be provision in his will for any religious opened to the opposers and revilers teaching whatever, and that if there of Christianity in every form and were, laymen are just as likely to shape, and shut to its supporters. launch out into sectarian views, and While the voice of the upholders of to advance clashing doctrines, as Christianity is never to be heard professional preachers, and even within the walls, the voices of those more so; and finally, that there is who impugn Christianity may be nothing original in the plan, it being raised high and loud, till they shake borrowed from Paine's Age of Reathe marble roof of the building. son, where he says, “Let us devise
" They say, on the other side, that means to establish schools of in. infidel teachers will not be admitted struction, that may banish the igno. into this school. How do they know rance that the ancient regime of that ? What is the inevitable ten- kings and priests have spread among dency of such an education as is the people. Let us propagate mohere prescribed? The trustees, if rality unfettered by superstition." they accept Mr. Girard's bequest, Here Mr. Webster might have must carry out the details of his dismissed this part of the subject; plan.
but when he thought of the design “ Now what,” Mr. Webster ear- of establishing an infidel college nestly demands, " is likely to be the with great funds, just in the suburbs effect upon the minds of those chil- of one of our largest cities, for the dren, left solely to its pernicious in- education, or rather immolation as fluence, with no one to care for their he regards it, of its orphan children, spiritual welfare, in this world or the as long as the marble lasts, his soul next? They are to be left entirely was stirred within him, and he proto the tender mercies of those who ceeded to expose this attack upon will try upon them this experiment the Christian religion through its
ministers, in one of the finest and istry was appointed by the author of loftiest strains of Christian remon- the Christian religion himself, and it strance, that ever was heard in our stands on the same authority, as any great national hall of justice, or any other part of his religion. When other. So just and scriptural are the lost sheep of the house of Israel his views on this head, so cogent is were to be brought to the knowlthe reasoning and so rarely have edge of Christianity, the disciples we an opportunity of enriching our were commanded to go forth and pages with such truly Christian sen- preach, 'the kingdom of heaven is timents, from the lips of our most at hand.' And after his resurrection, distinguished statesmen and jurists, in the appointment of the great misthat we can hardly resist the tempt. sion to the whole human race, he ation of quoting much more, than commanded his disciples to go
into our limits will possibly allow. And all the world and preach the gospel we are quite sure our readers will to every creature.'
This was extend to us more than ordinary in- of his last commands, and one of his dulgence in this case, especially last promises was, 'Lo, I am with when they recollect how fitting it is, you alway, even to the end of the that the New ENGLANDER should do world.' I say, therefore, there is what it can, to embalm the Christian nothing set forth more authentically thoughts and reasonings of her most in the New Testament, than the apgifted and illustrious men. They pointment of a Christian ministry. will not only bear with us, but we And why should we shut our eyes shall receive their thanks for let. to the whole history of Christianiiy ? ting Mr. Webster speak, where we Is it not the preaching of the minismight have spoken ourselves. He ters of the gospel, that has evangelstrongly objects to Mr. Girard's ized the more civilized parts of the scheme, as derogatory to Christian- world? Why do we this day enjoy ity on two grounds.
the lights and benefits of Christian. “ First, as rejecting it, by reject. ity ourselves? Do we not owe it ing its teachers-by rejecting the to the instrumentality of the Chris. ordinary agencies of instilling the tian ministry? The ministers of Christian religion into the minds of Christianity, departing from Asia the young. He who rejects the or. Minor, traversing Asia, Africa and dinary means of accomplishing an through Europe, to Iceland, Greenend, intends to defeat that end itself, land and the poles of the earth ; sufor else he has no meaning. This is fering all things, enduring all things, strictly true, where the end rests on hoping all things, raising men every divine authority, and human agency where from the ignorance of idol devises and uses the means. But if worship, to the knowledge of the the means themselves be of divine true God, and every where bringauthority also, then the rejection of ing life and immortality to light them is direct rejection of that au- through the gospel, have only been thority.
acting in obedience to the divine Now,” continues Mr. Webster, instruction. They were command“ I suppose there is nothing in the ed to go forth,—they have gone New Testament more clearly estab. forth, and they still go forth. And lished, than the appointment of the descending from kingdoms and emChristian ministry. The world was pires, to cities and parishes and vilto be evangelized, was to be brought lages, do we not all know, that out of darkness into light, by the in. wherever Christianity has been carfluences of the Christian religion, ried, and wherever it has been taught spread and propagated by the instru. by human agency, that agency was mentality of man. A Christian min. the agency of ministers of the gos
pel? It is all idle and mockery, to in its authority and importance, not pretend, that any man has respect insisted on the absolute necessity for the Christian religion, who yet of inculcating its principles and its derides, reproaches and stigmatizes precepts into the minds of the all its ministers and teachers. It is young? In what age, by what sect, all idle, it is a mockery and an insult when, where, by whom has relito common sense, to maintain that gious truth been excluded from the a school for the instruction of youth, education of youth? No wherefrom which Christian instruction by never. Every where and at all Christian teachers is sedulously and times, it has been and is regarded rigorously shut out, is not deistical as essential. It is of the essence, and infidel, both in its purpose and of the vitality of useful instruction. its tendency."
From all this, Mr. Girard dissents. What a noble testimony by one He dissents not only from all the of the most distinguished laymen in sentiments of Christian mankind, the country, to the divine origin of from all common experience, and the Christian ministry and of Chris. from the results of all experience, tian missions. Let who will sneer, but he dissents also from still higher whether they be avowed infidels or authority—the word of God itself. pseudo-Christians, at the great mis. When the Decalogue was given to sionary enterprise now in progress the Jews, what said the inspired for the conversion of the world, we lawgiver ?—that it should be kept have a pledge in this truly Christian from children ? Far, far otherwise. plea, that Mr. Webster stands ready 'And these words which I comto defend and advocate the cause mand thee this day, shall be in thine in the most public and decided man- heart. And thou shalt teach them Der. Nor is he less clear and de. diligently to thy children, and shalt cided on another point, of which talk of them when thou sittest in most of the great lawgivers and thy house, and when thou walkest statesmen of Christian nations make by the way, and when thou liest but little account. He maintains down, and when thou risest up.' that Mr. Girard's scheme of educa- 6. There is an authority,” conbon is essentially wrong, because tinues Mr. Webster, “ still more im. it proceeds upon the presumption, posing and awful. When little chilthat the Christian religion is not dren were brought into the presence the only true foundation, or any of the Son of God, his disciples necessary foundation of morals. proposed to send them away; but
* The ground taken,” says Mr. he said, "suffer little children to Webster, “ is, that religion is not come unto me-unto me.' He did Decessary to morality ; that benevo not send them first for lessons in lence may be insured by habit, and morals to the schools of the Phari. bat all the virtues may flourish, and sees, but he opened at once to the be safely left to the chance of four youthful mind, the everlasting founishing, without touching the waters tain of living waters, the only source of the living spring of human re- of immortal truth. Suffer little chilsponsibility. Now it has been held dren to come unto me. And that by the Christian world throughout injunction is of perpetual obligation. its broadest extent, and is held as a It addresses itself to-day with the fundamental truth, that moral in- same earnestness, the same authorstruction not resting on this basis is ity, which attended its first utteronly a building upon sand. And ance to the Christian world. It ex. in what age of the Christian era, tends to the ends of the earth. It bare those who professed to teach will reach to the end of time, althe Christian religion, or to believe ways and every where sounding in
the ears of men, with an emphasis Christianity in all its forms. All which no repetition can weaken, Christians admit that there is a and with an authority which noth- Lord's day; but what becomes of ing can surpersede— suffer little it in Mr. Girard's scheme? Now, children to come unto me.'
I say, that the ordinary observance “ And not only,” adds Mr. Web- of it could not take place, because ster, with thrilling and deep-toned the ordinary means of observing it earnestness, “not only my heart are excluded. There can be no and my judgment, my belief and Sabbath in this College, for there my conscience instruct me, that are no means for attaining that end. this great precept should be obey. It will be said, that the children ed, but the idea is so sacred, the would be permitted to go out. There thoughts so crowd upon me, it is is nothing seen of this permission so utterly at variance with this sys. in Mr. Girard's will. And I say tem of philosophical morality which again, that it would be just as much we have heard advocated, that I opposed to his whole scheme, to stand and speak here, in fear of allow them to go out and attend being influenced by my feelings to places of public worship on the exceed the proper line of my pro. Sabbath day, as it would be to have fessional duty. Go thy way at ministers of religion preach to them this time, is the language of phi. within the walls; because if they losophical morality, and I will send go out to hear preaching, they will for thee at a more convenient sea. hear just as much about religious son. This is the language of Mr. controversies and clashing doctrines, Girard in his will. In this there is and more, than if appointed preachneither religion nor reason. Ever ers officiated in the College. Where since the introduction of Christian. then are these little children to go, ity, it has been the effort of the where can they go to learn the truth great and the good, to sanctify hu- -to reverence the Sabbath ? They man knowledge, to bring it to the are far from their friends—they fount, and to baptize learning into have none to accompany them to Christianity ; to gather up all its any place of worship-no one to productions, its earliest and its latest, show them the right from the wrong its blossoms and its fruits, and lay course—their minds must be kept them all upon the altar of religion clear from all bias on the subject, and virtue.
and they are just as far from the Never did this great man honor ordinary observance of the Sabbath, himself more, than when he gave as if there was no Sabbath day at utterance to these noble sentiments. all. And where there is no obWhatever other productions of his servance of the Christian Sabbath, mighty intellect may perish and be there will of course be no public forgotten, this plea for the Christian worship of God.” ministry and for Christian educa. In summing up this part of the tion, will go down to the true gol- argument, Mr. Webster seriously den age of the world, when “the and earnestly asks, “ Are there or earth shall be filled with the knowl. will there be any Christian parents, edge of the glory of the Lord, as who would desire that their chil. the waters cover the sea.” Nor dren should be placed in this school, does he reason less cogently and to be for twelve years exposed to eloquently in favor of the Lord's the pernicious influence which must day and its appropriate instructions, be brought to bear on their minds? as essential to Christian education. I very much doubt if there be a
“ The observance of the Sab- Christian father who hears me this bath,” he maintains, “is a part of day, and I am quite sure there is
no Christian mother, who if called youth can not receive religious soupon to lie down on the bed of lace within his seminary of learndeath, although sure to leave their ing !" children as poor as children can Mr. Girard's grand argument for be left, who would not rather trust excluding all religious teachers and them to the Christian charity of the teaching from his college-that they world, however uncertain it has should be left free from
bias been said to be, than to place them and without any religious opinions where their physical wants and com- at all till they come out of the forts would be abundantly attended school, so as to choose for themto, but away from the solaces and selves, Mr. Webster disposes of in consolations, the graces and the the following masterly style. grace of the Christian religion. “ We will suppose the case of a
“ No, this school is not to be vale youth of eighteen who has just left ued, because it has not the chasten- this school, and has gone through ing influences of true religion-be- an education of philosophical mocause it has no fragrance of the rality precisely in accordance with spirit of Christianity. It is not a the views and expressed wishes of charity, for it has not that which the donor. He comes then into the gives to a charity for education its world to choose his religious tenets. chief value. It will soothe the heart The very next day perhaps, after of no Christian parent, dying in leaving the school, he comes into a poverty and distress, that those who court of law to give testimony as a owe to him their being may be fed witness. Sir, I protest, that by such and clothed by Mr. Girard's bounty, a system he would be disfranchised. at the expense of being excluded He is asked, “What is your reli. from all the means of religious in- gion ?' His reply is, •ó, I have struction afforded to other children, not yet chosen any ; I am going to and shut up, through the most inter. look round and see which suits me esting period of their lives, without best.' He is asked, "Are you a religion and with moral sentiments Christian?' He replies, · That inas cold as its own marble walls." volves religious truths, and as yet
Mr. Webster next proceeds, I have not been allowed to entertain through several pages of searching any.' Again, “Do you believe in a argument and appeal, to consider future state of rewards and punishthe reasons assigned by Mr. Girard, ments?' and he answers, “That in. for excluding ministers of all de volves sectarian controversies which nominations from his school. On have carefully been kept from me.' p. 37, he says, evidently with great • Do you believe in the existence of emotion,
He answers, that there “ The consolations of religion can are clashing doctrines involved in never be administered to any of these things, which he has been these sick and dying children in taught to have nothing to do with ; this college. But it is said, that a that the belief in the existence of a dying child may be carried out be. God being one of the first questions yond the walls of the school. He in religion, he is shortly to think can be carried out to a hostelry or about ihat proposition.' Why, sir, hovel, and there receive those rites it is vain to talk about the destrucof the Christian religion which can tive tendency of such a system ; to not be performed within the walls, argue upon it, is to insult the un. even in his dying hour! Is not all derstanding of every man. It is this shocking? What a stricture is mere, sheer low, ribald, vulgar deit upon this whole scheme! What ism and infidelity. an utter condemnation! A dying “ It opposes all that is in heaven Vol. III.