« ПретходнаНастави »
abstained from appealing. He does not, however, scruple to assert that “there is not one word of these Articles which is inconsistent with the principles of the Church of England, as interpreted by her most learned divines," i.e., as we presume, as expounded by Mr. J. H. Blunt, and such of the English Clergy, if such there be,* who share the opinions which are enunciated in this book. “It has been considered expedient," Mr. Blunt adds, in a tone of unwonted moderation, “to disuse such ceremonies as 'creeping' to the Cross, and the use of blessed ashes and palms; but their use or disuse is purely a question of expediency, and not of principle.” (p. 487.)
It is refreshing to turn from the maimed and distorted representation contained in this portion of Mr. Blunt's History of the Reformation, to the brief but vigorous description, given by the late Margaret Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, of the results of those labours which, as we have now seen, Mr. J. H. Blunt has done his utmost to disparage :
“At the period” (writes that learned author) “when the Papal power was put down in England, nearly twenty years had elapsed since Luther first took up his parable against Papal abuses. In the interval, a generation of aged defenders of the ancient faith had been gathered to their fathers, and had given place to such as had grown up under the influence of a better star. The press had been active, of which the wonderful influence was first made known upon this great question. The pure doctrines and heroic deeds of the German Reformers circulated throughout England. Luther was in every mouth-ballads sung of him. His writings, together with those of Huss,of Zuingle, and of many anonymous authors whom the times evoked, were clandestinely dispersed..... The confessions of some of the more eminent Lollards, and expositions of particular chapters of Scripture, which were thought to militate the most strongly against the errors of Rome, were industriously scattered abroad. Above all, Tindall's translation of the New Testament was now in the hands of many; for the price, as compared with that of Wickliffe's a century before, was just forty-fold less; and by means of it, the multitude were enabled to compare what the Gospel actually was, with what Rome had made it by traditions.” (pp. 108, 109.)
It has been commonly ordained, in the providential arrangements of the world of nature, that wherever the poison exists, the antidote is not far distant. It should be cause of devout thanksgiving to the true-hearted members of the Reformed English Church, that, in days like the present, when the press teems with perverted representations of the true character of the Reformers and the Reformation, the antidote has been already provided for us in the pages of the former of the two books which we have placed at the head of the present article, as well as of many others of a similar character.
* We fear there is too much ground of the Church of Rome in relation to for the conviction expressed by the the sacrifice of the Mass, and yet re. late Archbishop of Canterbury, in the tain their position within the pale of Charge intended for delivery at his the Anglican Church, with the avowed second Visitation, that there are not purpose of eliminating from its foronly amongst the lay members, but mularies every trace of the Reformaeven amongst the Clergy of the Eng. tion as regards its protest against lish Church, some who “ think them. Romish error." selves at liberty to hold the doctrines
It would be impossible for us to bring to a more fitting conclusion a task which nothing but an imperative sense of duty has urged us to undertake, than by transcribing one more passage from a work which the friends of the English Church would do well to disperse through the length and breadth of our land, in the hope that the rising generation may be imbued with the spirit of that love of Gospel truth, and that determined opposition to the avowed or covert workings of the mystery of iniquity which animated the heart and which prompted the pen of its late distinguished author. In a brief but comprehensive review, at the close of the book, of the results of the Reformation, Mr.J. J. Blunt has thus summed up its inestimable benefits to the English Church and nation :
“To the Reformation we owe it, that a knowledge of religion has kept pace in the country with other knowledge. .... We are here embarrassed by no dogmas of corrupt and unenlightened times, still riveted upon our reluctant acceptance by an idea of Papal or Synodical infallibility. We stand with the Bible in our hands, prepared to abide by the doctrines we can discover in it, because furnished with evidences for its truth. . . . . Infidelity there may be in the country, for there will ever be men who will not trouble themselves to examine the grounds of their religion, and men who will not dare to do it; but how far more intense would it have been, and more dangerous, had the spirit of the times been, in other respects, what it is, and the Reformation yet to come, religion yet to be exonerated of weights which sunk it heretofore in this country, and still sink it in countries around us; enquiry to be resisted in an age of cariosity; opinions to be bolstered up (for they may not be retracted) in an age of incredulity; and pageants to be addressed to the senses, instead of arguments to the reason, in an age which at least calls itself profound. As it is, we have nothing to conceal; nothing to evade; nothing to impose. The reasonableness as well as righteousness of our reformed faith recommends it; and whatever may be the shocks it may have to sustain from scoffs, and doubts, and clamour, and licentiousness, and seditious tongues, and an abused press, it will itself, we doubt not, prevail against them all, and save, too, (as we trust) the nation which has cherished it, from the terrible evils, both moral, social, and political, that come of a heart of unbelief.” (pp. 325—327.)
INDIAN RECOLLECTIONS.—No. II. [Under this head we propose occasionally inserting papers on important topics connected with the welfare of our Indian empire. They will be by different writers. The initials affixed to the present communication will, we feel assured, command the interest and attention of all our readers.--Ed.]
THE GOVERNMENT OF INDIA AND CHRISTIAN EDUCATION. MR. EDITOR,-Having resided some years in India, and being often in contact with educated natives, and constantly co-operating with Christian Missionaries, I have read the paper in your number for May, on Government Education in India, with peculiar interest. I go entirely with all which your able correspondent advances as to the inconsistency of our present course in dealing with the native mind, and as to the urgency with which the question now rises, in view of the extension of the government system to the lower classes and to females, whether we are to continue to abstain from moral training based on religious truth. Moreover, I quite concur in what is remarked as to the fallacy of putting secular education in India on a level with secular education among ourselves. Among ourselves, let religious teaching be altogether wanting in a school, some light will still obtain entrance from the reflex influence of Christianity around. It is not so in India. There, if the lamp of divine truth be withheld, all is darkness; and the effect of a merely secular education must be an infidelity all the more malignant, and to our own political interests all the more dangerous, from its being blended with a considerable amount of intellectual culture.
The question however recurs, What can be done ? And it is in answer to that question that I take the liberty of offering a few remarks.
Now, as Christian men, what we would wish for India is nothing short of a thoroughly sound institution of the native mind in the rules of Gospel faith and duty. But, if such a wish is to be realized, I venture to say that measures must be promptly taken, and yet not taken without due regard to circumstances. Let it be considered how far Christian instruction under the direction of the British Government in India is practicable.
For no one, I presume, would recommend that Government should make an acquaintance with the facts and principles of the Christian religion compulsory in its schools. Our past policy has put this out of the question, quite independently of any other consideration. For a long time to come, whatever is done must be done on the principle of voluntary concurrence on the part of the natives.
But next, supposing it were determined to offer Christian knowledge to all who were willing to receive it, how far can Government go? Its teachers must be almost wholly natives. Europeans of course can only superintend. But if natives are to be instructors in Christian truth and Christian morals, then they must be Christians themselves. And where are we to look for these? I fear we are far off the day when Christian natives, educated up to the standard of Government schoolmasters, will be forthcoming in sufficient numbers to meet the demand.
And then there is this difficulty, How could Government confine its schoolmasterships to Christian natives only? As things now are, the idea would not be entertained for a moment; while a further difficulty would arise from the circumstance of these Christian natives being members of varying religious communions, and in not a few places this would also be the case with some at least of the pupils. From all these causes, the project of Christian instruction in India by any government system must be liable to long delay. That is to say, if by Christian instruction is meant the exposition of definite truth and duty.
If, then, I may be permitted to express my own conviction, I should regard it as a mistake for the Government of India to constitute itself the teacher of Christianity by such means. I see no possibility, under present circumstances, of its assuming this character. A time may come when the whole subject shall be reconsidered. What turn things may take at some future day, under a gracious providence, cannot now be foreseen. We can only deal with things as they are; and doing so, I cannot but believe that a plan is open to the British Government, by which, without any undue interference with the liberty of its native subjects, much may be done to rescue them from the peril to which, as education spreads, they are now exposed.
Why should not the Government offer, without delay, in all its schools, a voluntary reading of Holy Scripture without any comment or exposition whatever? I am well aware how far this will seem to fall short of the desire of some of India's warmest friends. But let them thoughtfully consider what more they could as yet attempt. Go one step beyond, by comment or explanation, and all the difficulties above mentioned, and at present insuperable, must be encountered, and every ray of divine light must still be excluded—and who can say for how long ?
- from the Government schools. But let the simple reading of Scripture be allowed, and see what at once is gained-how large an amount of scriptural knowledge will begin forthwith to flow into the native mind; while a moral tone, from the force of Scripture precept and example, will be gradually set up, and everywhere a substratum will be laid for the missionary to build upon, better far than that which, although the result of mere traditionary and imperfect versions of sacred fact, has proved among the Karens in Burmah no small advantage to the Christian cause.
I apprehend no serious objection on the part of the natives themselves, if the reading of our Scriptures be strictly voluntary. Rather, they would be glad, I believe, of the opportunity of knowing, simply as matter of information, what our sacred books contain. And with many of the more advanced and influential classes it would be esteemed a moral advantage that the youth of India should be familiarized with histories and sentiments so different from what they find in the legendary tales of their own mythology. The Rajah of Travancore is a remarkable example of this, in that, although no convert to Christianity, he recognizes the reading of the Bible as part of his own educational system. It is too possible, perhaps, after the loud outcry which many Europeans have raised in India against any action of Government favourable to the evangelization of the natives, or any introduction of the Bible into Government schools, some opposition may at first be shown. But my persuasion is, that ere long we should see the youth of the country, from mere curiosity, and an eagerness for knowledge of all kinds, of their own accord expressing their desire to become acquainted with the Old and New Testament.
The most serious objection which has presented itself to my own mind is this, that if our Scriptures are read in schools with masters themselves unconverted, holy things may be liable to irreverent usage, and looks in school may be provoked, and observations out of school, such as we all should deprecate. But granting that to some extent this might be, yet would not similar abuses be found to attend all wider distribution of the Bible, and that not in heathen countries only, but even at our own doors ? Who can answer for the treatment which, at times, the blessed book of God may undergo? Yet is this a reason to deter us from its universal circulation ? I do not think that we have more to fear on this head in India than elsewhere. Meanwhile, the marvellous instances accumulating upon us, from all sides, of the power which the Holy Spirit vouchsafes in accompaniment of his own word, when left in its solitary grandeur to speak to the human mind and heart, seems surely to bid us have no fear, but, trusting God with the results, to bring His truth to the eye and to the ear of His creatures throughout the world.
I confess that I am sanguine of incalculable good, if this voluntary reading of Scripture in the Government schools, without anything beyond, were wisely arranged. Nor do I see