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political economy, recommends its study as a prime object of their pursuit. It is true, he may choose to consider that every working man is sufficiently informed on religious subjects before he reaches the age of an adult. But is this the fact? How does Mr. Brougham find it in respect to himself? He may argue, that while the churches are open, any mention of the matter would be superfluous. But are the churches attended ? It may be said, that if the Scriptures were made a part of popular discussion, it would lead to acrimonious differences. Books on theology Mr. Brougham expressly excludes, “on account of the various sects men belong to.' But are there not sects in politics; and are the opinions of these sectaries less liable to run into acrimony? Is it necessary in either case to assume that men must carry on hostile discussions ? But why make discussion any part of the system of popular education at all? May not a man learn his religion, and even his political economy, without making them the subjects of a debating club? Mr. Brougham warns his operatives, it
is true, against getting too much into debate; and, to avoid an explosion, recommends, with great nicety of calculation, the assemblage of debaters not to exceed twenty; this number he thinks being safer than thirty, (vide “ Practical Observations.") Upon the whole, whoever weighs these indications maturely, cannot fail, I think, to conclude that Mr. Brougham sets no value on Christianity whatever; nay, that he is positively unfriendly to it: and if so, will it be very uncharitable to question whether he is exactly the fittest of all persons to have either influence or direction over our national education. Let him hold Christianity in what contempt he may, does he, as a moralist or legislator, pretend to say that there is
any code of ethics under heaven equal to the Christian, for securing public and private virtue? or any other bond of union in any rank of mankind, so strong as the principles it inculcates? Seeing what philosophy has been able to achieve for the most illustrious nations of antiquity, it surely is not to her he wishes the world again to look for a substitute. But
i is a heged, that although our faith is not especial insisted upon as making a part of the new scheme of popular instruction; yet as men's minds get to be more enlightened, it may be espected to follow in its train; or i noi eracts the Christian faith, something equally as good, to the authority of which the conscience of erery illuminated man will be equally amenable. Now, as to building our immortal hopes securely on a foundation of philosophy, the Scriptures are so expressly, positively, and diametrically opposed to any such rain imagination, that I must infer the Sickler for such a doctrine either disbelieves them in to, or that he is wholly ignorant or their contents; there being hardly any delusion about which they take more pains to undeceive us, than a proud confidence in the powers of unassisted reason for revealing the inscrutable things of eternity. “ Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ.
Speaking of the philosophy of the people in France, the same authority I have already
quoted, admits, “ That although knowledge is diffused very generally through the lowest orders both in the army and civil life, and through the extensive class next above them, such as shopkeepers, employés dans les bureaux, &c., perhaps more generally than in the corresponding classes of any other nation, yet is there much less of what is called religion; in fact, no religion at all, excepting such as every man chooses to construct for his own private use.”
If Mr. Brougham withdraws the authority of revelation, what security is there given for sound principle, and fair dealing, and the kindly affections, while it is left for philosophy to supply each individual with the matter of his creed, and peculiar construction of a good or bad action? How abominably horrible to contemplate being left to the mercy of a man's philosophy, as the only check upon his passions; who may as well take it into his head to think cutting my throat as sound a piece of ethics as cutting his own. Instead of a morality in which all are agreed, we should have a system squared to every man's taste :
preferring the piety of Hume, would regard
adultery as but a slight offence when known, when secret (like Spartan theft), no offence at all;” or, with others of the same school, marriage would be regarded as the “ worst of monopolies.” What might we not expect from whigs perverting their talents in abusing government, and rendering themselves in every way obnoxious to their rulers, only to enhance their sale price, and then, spite of Bacon's Essays, truckling to the minister when a good opportunity occurred ? In short, this most flexible and convenient philosophy makes conscience speak what language it pleases.
If it is objected, that I am guilty throughout these remarks of venting a great deal of unmerited suspicion on the religious creed of the author of the “ Practical Observations on the Education of the People,” I can only answer, if the subject is important at all, it is all important; it is one where no well-wisher to our religion or our country, above all, no instructor of youth, should act so equivocally as to allow of the inference being drawn, whether from omission,