The Bible in Schools.
he most philosophical minds of the present age must admit that there are three sources of influence from whence the peculiarities of human character are derived. These are:—First, ante-natal, or hereditary tendencies; next, the force of those circumstances which environ the individual's path through life; and finally, the nature of the education impressed upon the plastic mind in youth. In this category, all experience tends to prove that education is the most potent of formative influences. By education, we can transform the savage into the civilian; train up the offspring of ignorance in the paths of learning, and bend the most vicious ante-natal tendencies into purity and holiness. Education, moreover, enables man to become the master of circumstances, and the educated man can re-create the very conditions that would otherwise crush him beneath their force. Admitting then, that education is the most important of all the influences that can be brought to bear on the character of the rising generation, we can scarcely exaggerate the interest of that question which is at present agitating the public mind, namely, whether it is expedient to combine religious with secular education; or, in more popular phraseology, whether the Bible should be read in the school-room as an essential element in the education of the young? The fact that this question is mooted at all implies, in the first place, that the young people of this generation are not sufficiently familiar with the Bible; and next, that some specially valuable effects are expected to accrue from the connection of Biblical with secular literature. In considering the first of these positions, we must call your attention to the fact that the Bible is already—from various causes—the most familiar and most universally read book in the whole range of literature. Without at present entering upon the question of its effects upon human character, it is enough to remind you that for the eighteen centuries during which Christianity has subsisted, the source of all its authority has been the Bible; in fact, Christianity and Biblical teaching have been synonymous words, and their effects upon the race have been inseparable. Granted that it; the first centuries of Christianity the people were compelled to receive the Bible through such methods of interpretation as ecclesiasticism permitted, for the last four hundred years at least, the Bible has been so universally placed in the hands of the people, that it is doubtful if there exists a single family or home in any land dominated by the Christian religion in which the Bible cannot be found, or any man, woman, or child who has not been made familiar with its pages. The Bible was the first book issued from the printing press, and its republication by millions and tens of millions has been so incessant page 2 that I may venture to assert the mere cost of the Bibles sent forth from either of those great centres of civilisation, London or New York, in one year alone, would suffice to feed all the starving mouths, which abound in those great Christian cities for the same period of time. Besides the Sabbath day exercises which, in the numberless churches open to the people, consist so largely of Bible readings and expositions, we have family readings, school and college readings, Sabbath schools, associations, missions, and endless other organisations for the dissemination of Biblical literature, in a word, and again, referring to the fact that the pages of this book have been impressed upon the understandings of civilised nations with even more familiarity than the spelling book, we cannot admit the plea that our rising generation can, or do, suffer from lack of information concerning Biblical literature; all we can allow is that those who plead for the association of the Bible with secular education deem that the necessity exists for more Bible learning than formerly, and that, whereas the world has progressed in violence and wrong under Biblical influences disseminated through the home, and ecclesiastical organisations during the last eighteen centuries, so it will now suddenly become converted, and reform all its evil ways, by the infusion of a still larger amount of Biblical instruction through the instrumentality of the school system. In this connection, it may be as well to mention that the Bible has been very frequently and universally read, sung, and chorused in the public school systems of Great Britain and America, but whether the advocates for its universal introduction in this Colony on a similar plan are prepared to show the superior morality of those persons who have been accustomed in their youth to read the Bible in the secular as well as the Sabbath school class, I am not informed. I have myself heard a group of over a hundred children reciting the Biblical history of the deluge in chorus, and I have been assured by competent authorities that the subsequent studies of these young persons in the facts of geology did not tend to elevate their views of Biblical science. Be this as it may, we must assume that the advocates of Bible lore in the school are sincere in their desire to promote the best interests of the rising generation, hence, they expect some beneficial influence upon the morals of the age will grow out of the movement they advocate. It is impossible to deny that a very large—we might say an unlimited opening for improvement exists in this age. War and violence, intemperance and crime, prevail with an universality that appeals with trumpet tongue to the moral reformer. Whether the introduction of the Bible in the School is going to effect a change in the order of society that the Bible in the civilised world at largo has failed to do, the advocates of the system may perhaps be able to advise us of. One thing is certain; the demand for moral reform in every grade of society, especially amongst those persons whom it is our mission to mould into instruments of future ban or blessing, is urgent and imperative; and it becomes every thinking man and woman of the age to question, without fear or favour, whether the proposition now at issue is calculated to promote the great desideratum of moral elevation so page 3 much needed. In order to simplify a question which presents many complicated points for consideration, we shall resolve our argument into three propositions:—First: Is it expedient or desirable to combine religious and secular instruction? Next: If we take the affirmative of this position, what should be the methods of religious instruction pursued? and finally: Would the study of the Bible be the most efficient of those methods? At the very outset of our argument, we find it necessary to define in some detail what is meant by the term religion. Although in the popular acceptation of this word, it is constantly misapplied, the simplest analysis will prove that it cannot legitimately signify any special form of denominational belief. For example—Those who chance to be born in Arabia might argue that religion meant Mahometanism. The natives of China or Thibet would define it as Lamaism or Buddhism; the descendants of Israel would assure us it was Judaism, and every member of a Christian community would claim the all of religion was included in the special form of sectarian belief in which he or she happened to receive it from parental influence. Obviously, then, unless religion be the fashion of the hour, or the mere custom of the community, it must have some deeper meaning than any forms of faith or systems of worship. Defining it upon those primordial principles which underlie the origin of ail faiths or systems, we deem true religion to consist of a knowledge of a first great cause, by whatever name or title we may designate it; the understanding of the soul's destiny in the hereafter, and such a standard of life practice as will accord with the funda-mental principles of creation. Briefly stated, then, religion is the knowledge of God; the soul's immortality; and the laws of right and wrong. Is there any religionist upon the face of the earth who can take exception to this definition? any religious element which transcends it, or any form of religion which is more or less than an attempt to express it? Forms, systems, creeds, and dogmas may prevail for a time, and during their prevalence represent the boundary lines in which religious opinions are confined, but the all-embracing elements of religion I have thus stated existed ere churches were built, Bibles were written, or credal stakes set up; aye, and they will exist and rule the mind of reason, and exalt the faith of man when dogmas are blotted out of memory, books have gone out of fashion, and credal systems shall be no more. Religion is the knowledge of God, immortality, and the laws of right. All else is ecclesiastieism, and no more affects the primordial truth of religion than the garment makes the man, or the surplice, the priest who ministers at the altar. Founding all the propositions I am about to discuss upon this unimpeachable definition of religion, I would ask, how is it possible that the thoroughly qualified and well-informed teacher can fail to trace back all objects which he attempts to explain, or any branches of science which be essays to analyse, to the comprehensive intelligence of a first great cause? If he discourses of astronomy, geology, natural history, botany, the nature and quality of material objects, or the origin and history of races, can he limit his instructions to facts, names, dates, and figures only? Is it possible that he can omit to notice the page 4 order, design, evidences of immutable law, and ever present beneficence that all things in creation display? Without ever mentioning the name of God, or referring to the differences of opinion existing amongst the sects concerning His nature and attributes, a truly comprehensive and rational mind cannot explain the works of Nature without exhibiting the stupendous intelligence of the workman, or enlarge upon the progress of creation without discerning the glorious designs of the Creator manifest in every act of the divine drama. Nor are the proofs of immortality less demonstrable in the study of the physical sciences. The simplest elements of chemistry are sufficient to show the young student that annhilation is a word which has no practical meaning in the realm of being. The earth, with all the primaries of matter, is perpetually changing, and the transformations which matter undergoes, make up the very sum and essence of all the sciences, but when have the schools been able to show that one single atom was ever annihilated or put out of existence? Should the name and destiny of the human soul, therefore, never become the subject of scholastic disquisition, a correct and scientific knowledge of Nature and her laws will be sufficient to impress upon the youthful mind the sublime principle of indestructibility, the perpetuity of being, and the inferred immortality of that master-piece and apex of being—the soul which examines, criticizes, and controls the entire realm of created forms. As to the third and most important of the three elements which constitute religion,—the discipline of life in right and wrong; that vital, practical part of religion which transcends metaphysics just as surely as the conduct of the present is of more importance than the past or the future—it would be mere imbecility to assume that moral discipline is not an essential—nay, an inevitable part of the teacher's function. The mere recitation of words does not constitute the all of the scholar's duty; diligence, intelligence, obedience, and methods of recitation, form the very heart of scholastic excellence, and this it is the business of the teacher to unfold. Has the master no authority to correct the disobedient, reprove rebellion, chide the thief, the striker, the profane, or the idle? And in what does true morality consist, but in substituting good for evil, and repressing all those incipient tendencies to evil, which draw the line between the bad and the good child? Considered from a common sense point of view, the school is the very place, of all others, where the best principles of morality can be inculcated; where science points backwards to causation, and forward to immortality, and where that true Christianity, whose essence and sum is found in the golden rule of "do unto others as you would be done unto," should find its most fitting application in the morals and manners of well-trained scholars. It is a truth but little understood, that we have not had religion enough in our schools—that is, religion of the right kind—such religion as does not consist in words and names, but of ideas and principles; such religion as does not limit itself to Sabbath day observances; but that which shapes the manners and determines the morals of the individual in every act of life, and every relation between man and man. In these remarks you will perceive I am antici- page 5 pating the second position, namely—What kind of religion should be taught in the school, if, indeed, any can be accepted as expedient? Having to some extent defined the quality of religious teaching which I would gladly see enforced, it only remains for me to point to that which I would just as stringently exclude, and that is—sectarianism of every kind, and denomination. Do not suppose in this connection I allude to those differences of faith which grow out of varieties in race and country. On the contrary, I assume that the public school is the arena where the children of one city or district alone are assembled; but when I remember that the body politic of Christianity has been broken up into some 1129 different varieties of dogmatic faith since its original founder condensed it all into the one commandment of love to God and love to man, I cannot see how denominationalism is to be taught in the school, without a most unjust sacrifice of all contending views to the opinions of the one master, or the introduction of a religious Babel of ideas, the results of which no sane mind would care to contemplate. For example, the children of a devoted Calvinist may be required to receive their views of God from the disciple of the all too liberal John Murray, so that the devotees of election and predestination may be horrified by the doctrines of universal salvation extended to heterodox friends and neighbours. One set of worshippers, who have fondly calculated upon winning their way to Heaven by virtue of total immersion, may be scandalized by the information that even those unconsecrated individuals who have merely been sprinkled stand as good a chance of reaching the kingdom as themselves! Would the followers of John Knox be content to allow their children to sit at the feet of a Wesleyan? Or a Plymouth Brother expose his child to the inevitable perdition of listening to the teachings of a Socinian or Parkerite? In fact, the entire genius of Christianity, with its 1129 different modes of interpreting the life and teachings of the one founder, so universally revolts at the idea of any one denominational idea prevailing over another in the education of the young, that we have to close down upon the picture with warning visions of the holy wars that have raged for the honour and glory of the God of sects, during the last eighteen centuries. But it may be argued, there is an universal point of agreement, which all sects combine to honour; and it is because all varieties of opinion, and all shades of denominational faiths concur in deriving their authority from the Bible, that this book is put forth by common consent, as the point of union from which there can be no appeal. Without attempting to solve the problem of how the most opposite shades of belief can be drawn from a common source, or why men in past ages have tortured, persecuted, and destroyed each other for the sake of the very same book, with totally different interpretations, we shall concede the last point of the discussion, as claimed by the advocates of Bible-reading in the School, acknowledge that all sects, however widely opposed to each other in doctrinal points, agree to accept of Biblical authority in the education of the young, and, only asking you to remember the definition of religion which I challenge the wide world to disprove or transcend, I propose page 6 to let the Bible witness for itself, and in a few representative passages, each one of which will illustrate hundreds of similar ones that time does not permit us to dwell upon, I will ask you to judge for yourselves how thoroughly the Bible bears witness to the character and attributes of the one God of the Universe; to the fact of man's immortality, and the moral law by which we may deem it expedient to mould the conduct of the rising generation.
Mrs Britten then proceeded to read the following extracts:—
Of the Character, Attributes, and Consistency of the Creator.
"And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it was very good." (Gen. i. 31).—"And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart." (Gen. vi. 6).
"And the Lord spake to Moses face to face, as a man speaketh to his friend." (Ex. xxxiii. 11).—"No man hath seen God at any time." (John i. 18).
"For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved." (Gen. xxxii. 30).—"And he said Thou canst not see my face; for there shall no man see me and live." (Ex. xxxiii, 20).
"Behold I am the Lord, the God of all flesh; is there anything too hard for me." (Jer. xxxii. 27).—"With God all things are possible." (Matt, xix, 26).—"And the Lord was with Judah, and he drove out the inhabitants of the mountain; but could not drive out the inhabitants of the valley because they had chariots of iron." (Judges i. 19).
"God is not a man that he should lie, neither the son of man that he should repent." (Num. xxiii. 19).—"And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way and God repented of the evil that He had said he would do unto them, and he did it not." (Jonah iii. 10).
"There is no respect of persons with God." (Rom. ii. 11).—"For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand . . . it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. As it is written, Jacob have I loved, and Esau have I hated." (Rom. ix. 11, 12, 13).
"A God of truth and without iniquity. Just and right is he." (Deut. xxxii. 4).—"For it was of the Lord to harden their hearts that they should come against Israel in battle that he might utterly destroy them, and that they might have no favour." (Josh. xi. 20).
"Everyone that asketh receiveth, and he that seeketh findeth." (Matt. vii. 8).—"Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but shall not find me." (Prov. i. 28).
"The Lord is a man of war." (Ex. xv. 3).—"The God of peace." (Rom. xv. 33).—"The Lord of Hosts is His name." (Isaiah li. 15.).—'God is not the author of confusion, but of peace." (1 Cor. xiv. 33).
"The Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy." (James v. 11).—"And the Lord said unto Moses, Take all the heads of the people and hang them up before the Lord against the sun, that the fierce anger of the Lord may be turned away from Israel." (Numb. xxv. 4).page 7
"For His mercy endureth for ever." (1 Chron. xvi. 34).—"For ye have kindled a fire in mine anger that shall burn for ever." (Jer. xvii. 4).
"Thou shalt offer every day a bullock for a sin offering for atonement." (Ex. xxix. 36).—"For I spake not unto your Fathers, nor commanded them in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt concerning burnt offerings or sacrifices." (Jer. vii. 22).
"And thou shalt burn the whole ram upon the altar, it is a sweet savour, an offering made by fire unto the Lord." (Ex. xxix. 18).—"To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me, saith the Lord .... I delight not in the blood of bullocks or of lambs or of he-goats. When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand." (Is. i. 11, 12).
"And it came to pass after these things that God did tempt Abraham." (Gen. xxii. 1).—"Let no man say when he is tempted, I am tempted of God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, neither tempteth he any man." (James i. 13).
"Thou shalt not kill." (Ex. xx. 13).—"Thus saith the Lord God of Israel. Put every man his sword by his side, and go in out from gate to gate throughout the camp, and slay every man his brother, and every man his companion, and every man his neighbour." (Ex. xxxii. 27).
"And he that killeth any man shall surely be put to death." (Leviticus xxiv. 17).—"Now go and smite Amalek and utterly destroy all that they have, and spare them not, but slay both man and woman, infant and suckling" (1 Sam. xv. 3).
"Thou shalt not bear false witness." (Ex. xx. 16.)—"And there came forth a spirit and stood before the Lord and said . . . . I will go forth and I will be a lying spirit in the mouth of all his prophets; and he said .... Go forth and do so. Now, therefore, behold, the Lord hath put a lying spirit in the mouth of all these thy prophets, and the Lord hath spoken evil concerning thee." (1 Kings, xxii. 21, 22, 23.)
"Thou shalt not steal." (Ex. xx. 15.)—"When ye go, ye shall not go empty; but every woman shall borrow of her neighbour and of her that sojourneth in her house, jewels of silver and jewels of gold, and raiment; and ye shall put them on your sons, and upon your daughters; and ye shall spoil the Egyptians." (Ex. iii. 21, 22.)
"Thou shalt not commit adultery." (Ex. xx. 14.)—"When thou goest forth to war against thine enemies and the Lord thy God hath delivered them into thy hands, . . . and seest among the captives a beautiful woman and thou hast a desire unto her that thou wouldest have her to thy wife; then thou shalt bring her home to thine house . . . and after that thou shalt ... be her husband and she shall be thy wife." (Deut. xxi. 10, 12, 13.)—"Now, therefore, page 8 kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman .... but all the women children .... keep alive for yourselves." (Numb. xxxi. 17, 18.)
Forgiveness of Enemies.
"Thou shalt not avenge nor bear any grudge against the children of thy people, but thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself," (Lev. xix. 18.)—"Let this be the reward of mine adversaries from the Lord and of them that speak evil against my soul."
. . . . "Let his children be fatherless and his wife a widow."
"Let his children he continually vagabonds and beg; let them seek their bread also, out of desolate places.
"Let the extortioner catch all that he hath, and let strangers spoil his labour."
"Let there be none to extend mercy unto him, neither let there be any favour to his fatherless children."
"Let them be before the Lord continually that He may cut off the memory of them from the earth." (109th Psalm of David, 20, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 15.)
"O, daughter of Babylon, happy shall he be that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones." (137th Psalm of David, 8, 9.)
Of God's Mercy.
"The Lord is good to all, and His tender mercies are over all His works." (145th Psalm, 9.)—"And Joshua did unto them as the Lord bade him. He houghed their horses and burnt their chariots with fire, .... and smote all the souls that were therein, with the edge of the sword, utterly destroying them; there was not any left to breathe . . . . . . And the spoil of these cities and the cattle the children of Israel took a prey unto themselves, but every man they smote with the edge of the sword." (Joshua xi. 9, 14.)
"Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in Heaven." (Matt. vii. 21.)—"For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved." (Rom. x. 13.)
"Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight." "Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law." (Rom. iii. 20, 28.)
"Be not deceived. God is not mocked, for whatsoever a man soweth that shall he also reap. For every man shall bear his own burden." (Gal. vi. 7, 5.)
"For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God; Not of works, lest any man should boast." (Ephesians iii. 8, 9.)—"What doth it profit my brethren, though a man say he have faith and have not works. Can faith save him? Yea, a man may say, thou hast faith, and I have works. Show me thy faith without thy works, and I will show thee my faith by my works." (James ii. 14, 18.)page 9
"Moreover, whom He did predestinate, them He also called; and whom He called, them He also justified; and whom He justified, them He also glorified. Therefore hath He mercy on whom He will have mercy, and whom he will he hardeneth." (Rom. viii. 30; ix. 18.)
"Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing, and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. Fear ye not, therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows." (Matt. x. 29, 31.)
"But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth."—"God is a spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." (John iv. 23, 24.)
"And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion that they should believe a lie."—"That they might all be damned who believed not the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness." (Thess. ii. 11, 12.)
Being well assured that the passages I have cited, and thousands of others of a similar character contained in the Bible, are sufficiently illustrative of its piety, consistency, morality, and, divine inspiration, without any further comments from me, I must remind you that the books of the Old Testament do not contain even the slightest allusion to the doctrine of immortality, if we except the narrative in which the spirit of the Prophet Samuel is represented as manifesting the undying nature of the soul by returning to Saul through the mediumship of the woman of Endor. Whilst the New Testament supplies this deficiency, however, and the teachings of Christ continually refer the issues of the life present to the life hereafter, it must be patent to all well-informed Biblical students that the hereafter taught by the Master is as widely different to that inferentially depicted by his devoted disciple Paul as the parable of the prodigal son differs in toto from the awful dogmas of election and predestination so uncompromisingly proclaimed by Paul to the Romans. I cannot close my review of this deeply momentous subject, however, with-out asking my listeners to follow me for a short time longer, whilst I invite them to consider the fruits which have grown out of those Biblical teachings impressed so unremittingly upon the race during the last eighteen centuries. Has the Bible abolished that darkest and most fatal element of savageism, that legalised form of wholesale murder, called war? Let the armies of industrious, inoffensive, but helpless beings, who are compelled to go forth at the bidding of civilized Christian autocrats to kill, or be killed, answer the question. Let Europe and America, Asia and Africa, in which, during even the last century, whole cities have been destroyed; where works of art, use, and beauty have been wantonly blown into atoms, and fields and harvest grounds turned into charnel houses; where God's noblest work, man—man, so "fearfully and wonderfully made"—has lain by the thousand and tens of thousand, with dead white faces upturned to the solemn stars,—let these sights and scenes answer the question. Has Biblical morality made its votaries truthful or just? Let the courts of law and processes of judicature answer, and tell whether legal successes are con- page 10 tingent upon the administration of justice, or that sophistical talent whose very genius it is to make black appear white, and vice virtue. Has it redeemed the world from the crime of dishonesty? and does it protest against stealing? Aye, truly, does it, when the thief is a poor rogue that steals a loaf of bread to satisfy the pangs of famine, or a wretched tramp that pilfers the means to cover his shivering unsheltered limbs, but it has no denunciation to utter against the rich rogues who seek to steal each others' crowns, lands, or honours. Provided it is successful, theft on a large scale is glory—it is only obnoxious when it is practised in lanes and gutters. Think you we can reform such offenders by rendering them more familiar with the history of Joshua, the son of Nun, or David, the man after God's own heart? Sabbath day religion cries, "Thou shalt not commit adultery." The religion of Christian society re-echoes this cry as far as woman is concerned, and brands the adulteress as an outcast, and labels her abandoned; but when we enquire where are the outcast men, who must have been the partners of her crime, and seek for the abandoned: men who were, in all probability the tempters to her fall, we find them in the sunshine of popular favour; the admired of fashionable ladies, and the lauded of fashionable men; endorsed by all as the "gay gallants," whose fascinations were sufficient to make woman outcast and abandoned. Why should we pursue the ungracious theme further? Pauperism inevitably calls forth the impious feeling of covetousness with which the very poor and miserable regard the very rich and fortunate. Will Bible-reading in schools correct this sentiment, or the example of the Israelites in coveting, stealing, slaying, and spoiling every nation they could subdue, teach our modern bushrangers, burglars, and spoilers, moderation, honesty, and chastity? You may tell me the examples and doctrines of Christ are the true correctives to all the wrong and violence under which society groans, and I answer you back that if the example and doctrines of Christ have failed to produce these salutary effects after eighteen hundred years of theoretical repetition, there is something radically wrong in our methods of presenting those doctrines, and something wanting in the practical application of the example. One thing is certain—those who make statistics their study will be compelled to ackowledge that, whilst the upward march of intellect and the unceasing unfoldments of knowledge, keep step to every hour of mortal time, the statistics of crime stand still; and even if our present facilities for detecting crime may account for its apparent increase over past centuries, the most careful analysis of this deplorable subject, will prove that all the Bible influences of the last eighteen centuries, and the Bible reading and study of the last four in especial, have not made the world one jot more honest, faithful, gentle, true, or loving; have not extinguished war, abolished intemperance, fed pauperism, made governments just, legislators true, society pure or religious in any sense which true religion demands. I do not lay these defalcations upon the Bible, unless, indeed, the examples I have read out to you to-night may strike any thoughtful listener as hardly calculated to promote a very clear conception of God, or a high standard of page 11 morality. All that I do affirm is, that the Christian world has not continued to grow rank in crime and violence for want of Bible teaching, and all that I, as one of the people, would ask is, upon what hypothesis the Christian world expects to reform the race by giving still more Bible teaching to the rising generation? As for good doctrines and good examples, we are not compelled to open the pages of any special book to find them. Boudha, Confucius, Zoaraster, Socrates, Pythagoras, Plato, every wise teacher of every country and age, have defined in some form of expression the golden rule which Jesus taught, and set mankind the example of pure lives and fraternal feelings. The universe itself is full of immutable law, teaching the nature of good and evil as clearly as the motions of the planet define light and darkness. The real difficulty in our scholastic and religious systems has been that science has been divorced from religion, and religion from morality. Scholasticism has been too busy in impressing words upon the memory to concern itself with deeds, and religion has been too earnest in teaching incomprehensible metaphysical doctrines to consider their application in practical morality. The name of Christ and the mere passwords of "Come to Jesus," have been substituted for the doctrine which Christ taught, and the life which Jesus led. Good and truth existed ere ever the Jews were known as a nation. Good and truth will be the permanent religion of humanity when the subdivisions of sects are forgotten, and ecclesiastical formulas, books, and dogmas have been consigned to oblivion. Jesus never wrote a line; never founded a sect, or enunciated any other dogma than the one great and all-comprehensive commandment of love. Not because he taught it, but because it is the sublime truth that the universe preaches—believe in God who is a spirit. Not because it is in the New or Old Testament, but because it is written in the eternal gospel of living consequences, preach and practice the all-sufficient commandment of "do unto others as you would be done by." Not because the founder of any one particular faith ennunciated it, but because it is the only true and philosophical conception that finite mortals can form of the Infinite, let your theology be founded on the idea that "God is a spirit;" your form of worship be ever rendered in spirit and defined by truth; and your love to God be manifested through acts of love to his creatures. Such a religion as this, illustrated through every mode of scientific demonstration, and constantly enforced by practical examples, will unite the long divorced elements of science and religion, and make your schools a manufactory of good as well as wise men and women, and lay the foundations for all future generations, of a vital, practical religion of life, which will bear the divine fruitage of good both here and hereafter.
Mrs Britten then announced that her next Sunday evening's address would be "The New Bible: or, the Religion of the Living Word," after which she invited her audience to put questions concerning the address they had just heard. As no questions were propounded, Mrs Britten closed the services of the evening by the recitation of a bright, stirring poem, no report of which unfortunately was taken. During the address, and at its close, the audience testified their interest by loud and continued bursts of applause.page break
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