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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 70

A Political Sermon — On the Primary Formation of a People, or New Zealand'S Index Expurgatorius

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A Political Sermon

On the Primary Formation of a People, or New Zealand'S Index Expurgatorius

Text of Dr Macgregor's sermon, psalm [unclear: 78], 5-8." For He established a testimony in [unclear: hcob], and appointed a law in Israel, which [unclear: He] commanded our fathers that they should [unclear: make] them known unto their children: [unclear: that] the generation to come might know [unclear: them], even the children which should be [unclear: born;] who should arise and declare them to [unclear: their] children: that they might set their [unclear: hope] in God, and not forget the works of [unclear: God], but keep His commandments: and [unclear: night] not be as their fathers, a stubborn [unclear: and] rebellious generation; a generation that [unclear: was] not their heart aright, and whose spirit [unclear: was] not steadfast with God."

A good many years ago, in the West of [unclear: Sotland], an assault was made on the [unclear: sabhath] law. It was headed by court [unclear: divines], who also courted the favor of the [unclear: people]; and this was thought a bid for [unclear: popularity] both ways. There was uneasiness [unclear: pass] among those who really cared about [unclear: God's] law and His Book. And it was [unclear: striking] how the matter impressed practical [unclear: men] who might make no great profession of [unclear: religion]. Men of business in Glasgow [unclear: obtained] quite a new feeling of the value of [unclear: the] Sabbath institution. They were shaken [unclear: awake] by its being seriously threatened. [unclear: And] they saw with deep alarm, that if the [unclear: aeredness] of the institution were effectively [unclear: lost] from the life of men, then their [unclear: codition] would be mere slavery: there [unclear: were] so many inducements to crowd the [unclear: week] with work that, if once the sacredness [unclear: of] this one day in seven as a day of rest [unclear: were] violated, then it would rapidly come [unclear: to] be a seventh day of work, and business. [unclear: He] would be a bondage of monotonous [unclear: fctssant] toiling.

Some then drew sword. Dr Buchanan of [unclear: pasgow], one of our famous Free Church [unclear: landers], wrote to me—" You see how things [unclear: are] going now. Bring up your Paisley [unclear: prcrture] to the Synod (of Glasgow and Ayr), and I'll second it. And be sure to write [unclear: your] best possible speech, and have it in [unclear: your] pocket ready." I said to myself, that [unclear: any] best possible speech was written long [unclear: before]. And I delivered it in the Synod [unclear: before] the debate came on. I happened to [unclear: be] Moderator of that Synod, and at the [unclear: evening] sederunt when our subject was about to be considered, in opening with devotional exercises, I gave out the Psalm, 78, 5, etc.:

His testimony and his law
In Isr'el he did place,
And charged our fathers it to show
To their succeeding race:

That so the race which was to come
Might well them learn and know;
And sons unborn, who should arise
Might to their sons them show:

That they might set their hope in God,
And suffer not to fall
His mighty works out of His mind,
But keep his precepts all.

His testimony.—Acknowledge with deep thankfulness, as meet theme of sacred song in praise of God, the value of this provision, which He has made and guarded, for the true life and happiness of men. The Bible, which is the Book of man as well as the Book of God, is His gift to mankind. It is not the minister's book merely, but the people's. It belongs not only to the churches, but to the nations. Churches that are worth anything are founded on this Book; and the Book is not dependent on churches, nor on creatures, but is God's own gift from heaven to "every creature under heaven."

Whenever I draw near the subject of the Bible in schools, there comes to my mind a view of the vast incalculable value of the Book, were it only as an educator. An acquaintance of mine, deeply philosophical and full of prejudices against our churches and church systems, once told me that he had been studying the question, What one thing is there that is fit to be the instrument of complete education of a man; and that the conclusion he had come to was, that the one thing is the Bible. For such a purpose as the complete formation of a human mind, it has in it a grand completeness to which nothing else is to be compared. When I was coming to this country, in the long voyage I had need of something that would take the mind away from wearing cares. And I sought the rest I needed in reading the great books. So I read the great books of the peoples:—Homer's Illiad and Odyssey, Virgil's Æneid, Ossian, in their own tongues, and the Bible in four page 4 languages. And I found the other books to be nothing in comparison with this one. They do really refresh the mind, enlarging and strengthening it, carrying the reader out into the open of the world of things, and placing him among men and women of the heroic type. But this one does all that, and infinitely more. They, after all, carrying the reader through adventures as if on a long sea-voyage with heroes, still place him only on the earth. This true Book of man places him above the stars, with the everlasting God, in "a new heaven and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness." It is for the great gift of this that Israel praised Hun in the ancient Psalm; for the thing that makes the Book is, the view it gives of man, his world, the whole universe, under God, the Creator, King, and Redeemer.

Now it is with reference to this Book that I gave out, as sub-title of my "political sermon," the New Zealand Index Expurgatorius. An index expurgatorius, forbidding men to read certain books, appears a barbarous thing, a prison to man's freedom of thought and inquiry, a "lock on the human understanding." Hence, when we are on the war-path, so as not to mind about the feelings of our Roman Catholic neighbors, we make great argumentative use of the barbarism of Popery in its having an index expurgatorius. But we need not care about the feelings of New Zealand; for New Zealand is ourselves, being a democracy which we constitute. We are ourselves "the great future nation" in this "Britain of the South." And we think much of ourselves. We are willing to own that the old Britain of the North is a great present nation—in its way; really at the head of the head of the old civilised peoples—perhaps, like them, a little out of date. We, on the other hand, as bright and fresh as a new shilling, are somewhat in advance of that older Britain; in the march of intellect fully up to the spirit of the age. And the proof we give of this, our only remarkable feat of legislative enlightenment, is an index expurgatorius to the extent of prohibiting one book—namely, the Bible ! preventing that noblest of all instruments of education from touching the mind of children in our national provision for the formation of our future citizens. If others try to mend this fault no thanks to us as a nation, and it is about ourselves as a nation that we are now discoursing.

Our action in this foundation matter of State seems not to square with the wisdom of God as shown in the provision He made for the perpetual formation of His Israel from age to age. Nor does it square with what we have been accustomed to deem the best wisdom of man with reference to this matter. One stormy winter day, of snow and frost, in 1857, on a street of Stirling,

another young man and I were approached

and accosted by an old minister, who [unclear: wept]

as he told us, that that day Hugh Miller had

been found dead. It was a black day for

Scotland. Those of you who were then

alive and can remember will believe what I

was saying to a neighbor this very week

past, that in the generation since he died

there has not lived for us such another man.

What first brought him prominently before

the public was a pamphlet of his on the then

burning Non-intrusion question, in a "Let

ter to Lord Brougham by One of the

Scottish People." He said that Englishmen

might think it strange for those, like him—

as he then was, a journeyman mason—who

were only of the commonalty, to taken

earnest practical interest in a church

question; but that in fact in Scotland [unclear: it]

was an earnest interest in such matters

distinctively spiritual that had been the

making of the people; that their political

emancipation had been but a—so to speak—

incidental result of their earnest contendings for spiritual freedom. For this the great Reformer patriot Knox, whom Milton describes as "the prophet of his nation,' had provided of deliberate set purpose. The national independence had been achieved under such leaders as Wallace and Bruce. This new leader aimed at making the people of the nation to be individually free and independent. And for that purpose he had so shaped the new institutions then rising out of the Reformation as to reach the whole community to such effect, that every man should have in him, for the common safety and prosperity, a formed manhood, that independence, "the stalk of carl hemp in man," which is created by right education of a citizen. And now the Scottish people of the true blue type, when those institutions were in peril, would not forget that past. So Hugh struck in, and persisted as long as he drew breath, with his puissant—

Woodman! spare that tree,
Touch not a single bough.
It sheltered me when.young;
And I'll protect it now

It is the New Zealand people that are cutting their children out of the entail of a noble rich heritage of blessing. The petition which you are requested to sign puts the people's claim in the very humblest form. The request is only for what it called local option: that is, that the Bible, in the national school, should not, even by the nation collectively, be thrust upon the people of any school district; but that the matter in every district should be left at the discretion of the people themselves. [unclear: For] page 5 ther, individuals are guarded by a Time (able and a Conscience Clause: that is to say to prevent Bible teaching of any child whose parent or guardian dislikes it, the Bible lessons are to be placed at an hour distinct from the time of secular instruction and no child whose parent or guardian objects to the Bible instruction will be put under any constraint of his child' s required attendance at that hour. We cannot ask for less if we want to have the Bible in schools at all. But my present point is, that It is Only from Ourselves we Have to ask this; that it is in our own power to secure it; that no power under Heaven can withold it from us if we seriously and resolutely set about obtaining it; so that we, the people of the land, have to answer for it if, in the provision which the nation makes for the forming of the mind of future citizens, there be exclusion of the Book of Man. That irises from ncessity in the nature of our political constitution as a democracy.

Whenever and wherever the people of this land are consulted, through any sort of plebiscite, regarding their wish in this natter, the result—so far as I know—is always an overwhelming majority, say, 80 per cent of those voting, in favor of the Bible in schools. There thus can be no cause for reasonable apprehension about the possible result of Local Option. In Scotland before the passing of Lord Advocate Young's Act—National Education—in 1872, there was considerable apprehension among earnest friends of religious education, that, if the Bible were not put into the schools by statute, it might in some localities be left out by the committees (or boards, as they are there called). These good people might have known better. The compatriots of Hugh Miller were not, in the districts, the men to perpetrate the barbarism of an index expurgatorius for suppression of the Bible in schools. After the Act was passed, Principal Sir Alexander Grant, who had charge of the commission for getting the intern under weigh, requested me to speak for him to the people in charge of a Free Church school in my native place. It was very well endowed, by Mr Donald Maclaren, aquiet gentleman then recently deceased, whose great wealth was largely placed by him always with what proved to be great practical wisdom, in educational endowments for the general welfare. Sir Alexander's proposal, and that of his commission, was, that if the Free Church local trustees should turn their congregational school into a general school of secondary education, devoting the endowment to that purpose, which was outside Lord Young's Act, then Sir Alexander and the national commissioners would provide, under the new Act, for common education as good and as abundant as the heart of the Free Church people there could wish. But the chief local trustee—another Donald Maclaren, nephew of the testator—explained to me that the thing was impossible; because under the new Act religious education would be optional to local administrators, while in the Maclaren trust it was obligatory that all the education should be on the basis of the Bible. Again, in Paisley when I was a minister there, there had for some years been under weigh the John Neilson Institution, a magnificent school of secondary as well as primary education, whose noble architectural fabric, crowning Oakshaw Hill within the town, is visible as a commanding feature from all that eastern side of Renfrewshire. Being well acquainted with the leading trusteelikewise a nephew of the testator—I happened to speak to him in commendation of their attention to Bible instruction among so many—ologies; when he told me that they had no choice, but were strictly bound to nave Bible instruction pervading the whole system, from turret to foundation stone. Finally, I wanted money there for some educational purpose, and heard, from relatives of the testator, that there was an endowment lying somehow asleep, which I might get hold of. On diligent enquiry, I found it lying safely in a public trust, where it had lain idle for thirty years, because it was a condition of the trust that the instruction should be only secular. Paisley, famous for its abundant poetry and other mental activities, is supposed to have, along with other fancy produce, at least its own proportion of speculative or theoretical unbelief. But as for serious practical purposes of education, there, for a whole generation, there lay an endowment which no trustworthy party would—so to speak—touch with a pair of tongs, because no such party would burden themselves with care of non-religious education of the people's children. But indeed there was no need of such experience for proving that the Bible, the Book of Man, would be safe in the people's hands. When the discussion grew hot about the necessity, in order to safety, of a statutory prescription of the Bible instruction, then men, bethinking themselves, remembered that there never had been any such prescription in Scotland. In the old national system, now coming to be outgrown and antiquated, of the Parochial schools, there never was religious instruction prescribed by statute. The instruction was in all the parish schools, and was watched over by the ministers and inspected by the presbyteries on behalf of the Church; but it never was "statute and ordainit" by law page 6 of the land. It was there simply because the community wanted to have it there. Not only so: in the denominational schools which arose here and there—the Free Church had 600 of them—there was, simply from the wish of those in charge of them, in substance what it is now proposed to provide for by means of a Time-table and Conscience Clause. That is to say, in schools belonging to churches the most zealous for religious instruction, no child whose parents objected was under any necessity of receiving that instruction. I remember that in a school attended by me the headmaster, an earnest Christian elder of the church as well as a first-rate teacher (Thomas Lillie), explained to me—I was a sort of assistant at the time—with reference to a nice family of Roman Catholics that had come into the place, that the parents had been privately informed that their children would be exempted from any instruction that the parents objected to. And in all my experience of Free Church administration I can remember only one ease in which there was anything like attempted compulsion in this respect. The minister of a remote corner, a zealous man, but with zeal not according to knowledge, tried in some way—I don't recollect exactly what—to force the parent's hand in directing as to the instruction of his child. But an appeal was taken to the General Assembly of the whole Church, and the Assembly unanimously refused to countenance or tolerate such interference with parental freedom of right, and sent away the zealous minister with a constitutional snubbing.

So it proved in the working of the Act, that there was no cause for apprehension as regards the Bible. It happened that all the reputed ablest newspapers in Scotland had been opposed to even a permission of religious education. In Edinburgh, Glasgow, Dundee, the masterly editors reasoned powerfully, that such permission would never do; that it would cause endless bitterness and strife, until it brought on a deadlock, and explosion of the whole system. In short, all the world's own prophets then raised the cry, which now is heard at the Antipodes, that the thing would be ruinous to the national system. And first, the Parliament disregarded those 'prophets, by passing the Act which permitted religious instruction; and second, the people refuted them, by working the Act without any such explosion, or friction, as they had predicted. Hugh Miller then was long cold in his grave; so that, in hearing of that great cloud of able editors, there might be regretful recollection of his powerful mind and pen,—"Oh! for one hour of Wallace wight, or skilful Bruce to rule the fight." But the heart of Hugh Miller beat in many Scottish bosoms. At the first election of school boards (like our comunittees) under the Act, the question of religious instruction was, in open honorable tight, expressly made the test question, in voting for candidates otherwise qualified; and the matter was peacefully settled there and then, so as never more to be heard of. The aforesaid Dr Buchanan told me, at the time when the result of the first 1000 elections came to be known, that one district had voted out the Bible, and twelve had voted out the Westminster Catechism (" the Euclid of Calvinism," said Professor Masson, reasoning for secular education). Otherwise the whole nation had voted for "use and [unclear: wont]"—that is, the Bible and the High Calvinistic Catechism. At next election (three years after) the minority of one sank into a minority of nothing. In simple great matters affecting the common weal, the mass of the people thus are often wiser than the philosophers, and will not be ruled by their shop wisdom of colleges and curious books.

What is needed is, that the people should really see the matter in its simple greatness, and profoundness of practical importance for their children, and the nation that is to be. That, said Hugh Miller, is what [unclear: laid] hold of the great heart and sagacious mind of the Scottish Reformer; who, says Froude, was the only one in that age of great statesmen whose discernment of men and things always proved unerring. While aiming at freedom in the truth for the nation as a whole, Knox was in particular as an high-priest taken from among the people, in this respect, that be could have compassion on the ignorant, and on then that arc out of the way. And he aimed and provided accordingly. This we see in the first Book of Discipline, which was realty his work, though not published till some time after his death (ob., A.D., 1574). In that Book (A.D., 1581) the provision for national education is complete: primary schools in every district, secondary schools in even notable town, and universities crowning the whole. Poor children were to be educated at the public expense: if they had special gifts, they were so to be in due time transferred to the secondary school, and 'thence to a complete university curriculum;—after which, the young men would be asked in what capacity he desired to serve the common weal. This ideal is perfect. But all through the system the instruction was pervaded with religion as the soul of it—the Bible was to be the foundation of it all.

There could not be a greater blessing, in the way of means of right formation of the page 7 [unclear: people's] mind and life, desired by a patriot's [unclear: Lrt] or by a philanthropist, Thinking of [unclear: bet] woful amount of misery, not to speak [unclear: sin], that there is in the world this day, [unclear: pure] is nothing that gives me more of a [unclear: case] of relieved healing than the fact, that [unclear: from] the London office of the Bible Society [unclear: from] are pouring out Bibles all round the [unclear: we] at the rate of 10,000 a day. "He sent [unclear: His] Word, and healed them." That issue [unclear: of] Bibles appears to me as a great perennial [unclear: drem] of healing and happiness through the [unclear: broken]heart of mankind. And in order to [unclear: but] effect of it, it is of very great import[unclear: ance] to have it road in schools. At a Synod [unclear: breakfast] in Dunedin, the late Dr M'Donald [unclear: of] the Otago High School there, warm[unclear: hearted]in Christianity as well as otherwise, [unclear: a speech] made light of merely reading [unclear: of] Bible in schools, as if that were of little [unclear: of] value. It is not. It is of great value. [unclear: for] one can say, that my knowledge of the [unclear: the] was derived from the public reading [unclear: as] it at school. And we need not be [unclear: fcitous] about the explanation of it. It [unclear: will] explain itself, quite sufficiently, so as [unclear: make] the mind grow; and then reveal [unclear: well] more fully to the more widely opened [unclear: and] When I was a student another [unclear: and] me in a hurry, who is the best [unclear: and twntator] on Romans: to which [unclear: Eared], Paul,—an unreflecting Happy [unclear: which] is generalised by saying, [unclear: and] quite sufficiently for working pur-[unclear: ness], the Bible is its own interpreter. Not [unclear: why so]: it is its own advocate or Apologist. [unclear: Erever] it goes among the peoples, it [unclear: If] make itself not only understood, but [unclear: by] them—which is the very best [unclear: earthly] that could happen to them. [unclear: mision] fields, what intelligent heathen Li about as campaigning there is, not, [unclear: DrDuf] for other very powerful man, but [unclear: and]for Book: as if this Book were a person, [unclear: with] a mysterious conquering power to [unclear: any] all before it. And I have no doubt [unclear: why] are right. What goes to them in the [unclear: Kit] is God, through His own Word, by [unclear: Eh] he first brought the worlds [unclear: into]. But apart from this theological [unclear: E] the fact is that the Bible, wherever [unclear: finally] goes among the peoples, is believed, [unclear: wll] where it is believed works a new [unclear: of] happy usefulness and goodness, [unclear: health], and' innocence, and sweet con[unclear: s']. (Burns: The Cottar's [unclear: Saturday].

[unclear: But] here breaks in a side-view of the [unclear: better] that I think has not been sufficiently [unclear: Eked]. The only real reason at bottom [unclear: Excluding] the Bible from the common [unclear: is,] That it is [unclear: belived,] and will be [unclear: Bred] where it is read. It is not, its [unclear: Winching] religion. Homer, "the Bible of the Greeks," teaches religion. So does Virgil, the Bible of the Latins. But no one thinks of keeping them out of schools, because there is no likelihood of a reader's believing the religion they teach. And if only the Bible had been like them, a fine old book of stories about a religion which no reader is likely to believe, then no politician is such a barbarian as not to rejoice in having in schools that great and glorious instrument of education. The reason, then, of the exclusion is, belief. So that here comes in another view of the expurgatorius matter. It now appears that we, the great future nation, the Britain of the South, are, at the very foundation of a social constitution we are laying, not obscurantist only, but persecuting. I said that one day to Sir Robert Stout,—"You, excluding the Bible from common schools, are a persecutor of religious belief. Your only real reason for excluding this grandest of all books is, that it is a book of religion which people believe." But now I turn the parable against ourselves, and—so to speak—seeing ourselves in the looking glass, I say to the great future nation, "Thou art the man." The persecutor of religious belief, in the noblest literary form it ever assumed, is the people of New Zealand. For, as a democracy, they are the many-headed king, and and have to answer for the laws to Him by whom kings reign.

In the law as originally intended and shaped, there was no exclusion of religion or the Bible. It was got in by management, of a small minority, who happened to have command of the situation because they could turn the scale of nearly balaneed parties; and who made use of the opportunity to make the education of the people's children secularistic. But we, the nation of citizens, are not entitled to the meanly pusillanimous excuse of saying, that we are persecuted into secularism of education by a small cotorie of scheming politicians. It is we that really have command of the situation; and it is we that have to answer for the character of the education. Scheming politicians, taking advantage of a snap-shot opportunity, are only "the accident of an accident," as even

Princes and lords may flourish and may fade, A breath can mar them, as a breath has made.

I once said to one of that sort,—Do not imagine that you can continue to carry on a policy that is opposed to the people's real mind. In a constitutional country, any policy or party that is really opposed to the people's deliberate mind is sure, sooner or later, to get its back broken; it is only a question of time.

Now, assuming the people's mind to be page 8 really in favor of having the Bible in the national schools, I at one time was dissatisfied with the way in which that mind was expressing itself: by means of pottering at petitions from church courts, which Parliament civilly threw into its wastepaper basket (I do not know the Parliamentary phrase); so that the Bible, and the religion, were being made vile, through being treated thus contemptuously in the interest of secularism. I wanted to know why a serious business was being gone about in so limp and lame a fashion; and, also and especially, whether in some way the people, the real ultimate responsible maker of the law, could not manage to get the law made according to its own real mind, instead of being made godless by scheming politicians. For that purpose I sought and obtained an interview with the late Mr Macandrew, and spent a night in his house for the one purpose of thrashing this matter out. And I began the interview with asking him, how it happened that, since the people, when tested by plebiscite, were always and everywhere overwhelmingly in favor of having the Bible in schools, their parliamentary representatives had persisted in keeping it out of the schools. He answered, because the people were understood to take only a languid interest in the matter. But, I replied, that does not account for the thing as it stands. A languor of the people's interest in the matter would account for a languid manner of the legislators in doing the people's will. What I am enquiring about is, the reason or cause of their persistently opposing the people's known will.

Now as to that known will of the people. The fact is, that there must be great langour, or this petty persecution of secularism, or tyranny of a few political schemers, would not have existed, or would long ago have been abolished. It is to be feared that there is a great deal of hypocrisy of professing Christians, not seriously believing the Bible, and having no real knowledge of its priceless value to mankind Reading one of the Hansard reports of a discussion of the subject, I was struck with a remark by one hon. gentleman,—You must not think, because I am against the Bible in schools, that I am against the Bible. Far from it: if it were not for that Book and its educative influence on my mind! I would hardly have had a mind at all—I can perfectly well understand what he meant, and believe in the sincerity of his protestation. But there must be many who, owing their own mind to the Bible—though they should now perhaps be its enemies—do not reflect on the fact, that now, in excluding that Book from schools, they are laboring to make the rising [unclear: genration] mindless.

Mindlessness is surely a terrible [unclear: calamited] We, I trust, look on godlessness—provided [unclear: for] by secularism of education—as the [unclear: greatest] conceivable calamity. And the absence [unclear: of] true heart of morality, which is an [unclear: indeed] table consequence of godlessness (Ro. I, [unclear: 18-32] Eph. iv, 18-19), is a very terrible [unclear: calaad] for the nation; though its full extent [unclear: may] not appear, so long as men who are [unclear: pet] sonally godless yet nave in them a sort [unclear: of] imitation conscience with feelings [unclear: of] through influence of the Bible religion [unclear: Uf] disbelieve. But let us consider [unclear: what] folded in simply mindlessness, or, [unclear: solluness], such as the hon. gentlemun [unclear: probley] had in his view. It is a terrible [unclear: calamay] which we are providing for the [unclear: children] even though they should be most [unclear: highly] successful in outward life and state. [unclear: Think] what is really folded in mere [unclear: outward] success in life withoul the true life of [unclear: the] soul,—" Soul, take thine ease: eat, [unclear: drink] and be merry." A very large amount [unclear: of] enjoyment of mere material things, [unclear: withou] reality of mind or soul in it except [unclear: as] sort of capacity of such enjoyment, [unclear: is only] animal existence. Great "success in [unclear: life"] that goes not beyond animal [unclear: existence] that surely is a miserable thing even for [unclear: the] life that now is, to say nothing of the [unclear: out] look toward the unseen world into [unclear: which] we all are going. Now what else, at [unclear: the] best, is the life to which children [unclear: as] doomed, if their education be such [unclear: and] makes, or leaves, a human being [unclear: mindless]

It is very moving to see, as one see [unclear: in] the history of the original publication of [unclear: the] gospel to the heathen world, the [unclear: transtion] from the dark unhappiness of [unclear: heatheniess] in which men despaired of life, and the [unclear: best] men were found committing suicide [unclear: beacause] life was so poor a business to them that [unclear: they] could not bear to go on with it. It [unclear: was a] transition into the joyful discovery, [unclear: that] life is well worth living, with praise and [unclear: tlaSdv] to the giver of it, net only in time, [unclear: been] through all eternity. The instrument [unclear: of] the great transition, in the formation [unclear: of] that Christendom which came in place [unclear: of] the heathen Roman Empire, was, [unclear: that] word which the Britain of the South is [unclear: keeping] from the formation of mind in [unclear: ing] future citizens. Before the [unclear: Reformating] Christendom had sunk back into a [unclear: deep] unhappiness. And the new life and [unclear: glad] ness of our modern time were again [unclear: the] fruits of that creative word. The [unclear: Bible] was so much lost from view of [unclear: mankind] that Luther's finding it in his monaster [unclear: and] Erfurth was almost a discovery of it. [unclear: the] filled the heart of the peoples with a [unclear: happy] freedom that found utterance in [unclear: some] page 9 [unclear: pre] could be shown to you old editions of [unclear: the] Book of Psalms with music printed [unclear: pg] with the words all through. Clement [unclear: rot's] hymns in France were the matter [unclear: of] the Bible done into simple songs. [unclear: pier]s Bible, in greater measure than [unclear: sv] our own noble English Bible, was the [unclear: asking] of the very language of the people. [unclear: and] his hymns went to the making of the [unclear: ponal] heart and mind. In the great war [unclear: 1870], there seemed to be nothing that so [unclear: He] hold of the German heart as, when they [unclear: were] on the march, to take up and sing to [unclear: other] some of the old battle songs of that [unclear: Cof] the faith. The Bible teaching thus [unclear: not a] hold of a people's heart, even when, [unclear: to] speak, the nation has come to be all [unclear: at] an unbeliever.

[unclear: Now] what is there here, in a new [unclear: comamity], for the making of a mind, if the Bible [unclear: at] a wanting? The children even of [unclear: hens] have a certain feeling toward [unclear: and] spiritual things, which tends to [unclear: a] mind, a something of transcendent [unclear: differing], from a mere animalism; so [unclear: their] "success in life" shall not come [unclear: of] merely what is seen in a prize animal, [unclear: arge] enjoyment of material good. But the [unclear: children] here, under the training of schools [unclear: nere] secularity, will not be in a way of [unclear: tang] in them so much as superstition, were [unclear: only] to the extent of believing in ghosts. [unclear: Where] the Bible is, that miserable hard [unclear: and] shallow secularity of mindlessness is [unclear: provied] against. For the formation of a [unclear: the] very first page of it brings in the [unclear: idea]—so different from the grovelling [unclear: Etbenishness] of a "'specks I growed [unclear: pogonism]—the idea of creation by the [unclear: eternal] God, that glorious Being who, [unclear: distric] from the universe, yet filleth all in [unclear: and] worketh all in all. Then comes in [unclear: grand] conception of a providence, [unclear: susphgaml] ruling all creatures: with the [unclear: under] of redemption, first appearing in [unclear: pel], but seen to have a purpose wide as [unclear: humanity], now unfolding itself eternitv[unclear: pds] in the circuit of the suns. The world [unclear: thus] made to be a living temple, in which [unclear: may] go out with joy, and be lead forth [unclear: peace]. Why shut out the children of [unclear: New] Zealand from such a view to dwell [unclear: them] for the making of a mind?

We hear much of a real difficulty * in [unclear: acting] the matter right, on account of [unclear: hended] peril to the national system [unclear: out] of denominationalism. And we [unclear: pft] that usually there is no difficulty in [unclear: miu] things go wrong—e.g., allowing the [unclear: Potion] of future citizens to be secularistic. The way to deal with difficulty is, not to allow wrong things to remain, but to set ourselves in earnest to set things right. And the difficulty, if we go straight at the work, may prove to be in no wise insurmountable. In Scotland, though the people are so strongly denominational in their church life, the churches placed no difficulty in the way of national education. The Free Church, which had been receiving copious grantsinaid, gave up her own system, of 600 schools, in favor of the national system, along with a free gift of many of her school properties through an Assembly's Commission labouring for years. (1) Because we had pleasure in the children's growing up as citizens in the common school, not baby sectarians. (2) We saw that nothing but a national system would really reach the whole people in the new conditions. Notwithstanding all that the old parochial system along with supplementary systems was doing, the percentage of persons unable to read and write was steadily augmenting. And none of us were willing to allow the nation to go back from the front rank of educated peoples. These considerations, I suppose, will operate in the mind of churches here. I hope that there is nothing in our New Zealand climate to make the Christians unpatriotic and unphilanthropic. It may thus be found that the amount of wishfulness to have denominational schools will be comparatively inconsiderable. And if it be found that subsidising them imperils the national education, the subsidy must be refused or stopped Personally—about this I speak only for myself—I do not think it would be wrong to subsidise a Roman Catholic or other school, where parents have conscientious difficulty in sending their children to the national school. But my impression is, that real difficulty arising in this way would be found practically in no wise insuperable, though at present the fear of it may be a good enough bogie for politicians to frighten people with,—if only the people be not resolutely benton doing what is right in this matter.

The secularism may to some extent be provided against otherwise. To a lamentably great extent it will not be provided against otherwise, than by having the Bible in the national schools. And what we as a nation have to do with is, the national provision, which at present is a provision, not for preventing a secularistic mindlessness in future citizens, but for secularising their education. Our plain straight open duty is, to set that matter right: making an end of the secularistic tyranny of a few political schemers; whose bad work has already brought on this nation the disgrace of persecuting religious belief through an page 10 index expurgatorius against the creative Book of the only real civilisation of the peoples, and has brought on the community the mischief that is folded in our having kept the Bible out of the education of half a generation of future citizens. Let those who are in earnest move in earnest, stirring up the languid, collecting the feeble sparks and fanning them into a name. Let every elector say to the man who wants his vote, I will be influenced in my voting by your bearing toward this matter. Let all keep storming at the door of Parliament until the people's known mind become the nation's law.

Foot Note.—It has to be observed that a religious difficulty exists, and may be found augmenting, through dislike to the secularism of the system as it now is, against the people's known mind. And with reference to possibilities with the Bible in schools, it would be well to consider the following points:—1. The subsidy would be only a proportion of the cost of supporting a school. Consequently, the local supporters would not go on with it if it be not really needed by 'them in relieff of conscience. This will prevent needless denominationalism. 2. The few subsidised schools would be mainly where the population is dense. In these places a fully attended, e.g., Roman Catholic school, side by side with a fully [unclear: attended] national school, would after all mean, [unclear: that] the children of the people are being [unclear: educated]: though not in the manner that [unclear: would] be most satisfactory to many of us, yet [unclear: in] a manner vastly preferable to the [unclear: present] manner of making education seculariatic [unclear: 3]. As to the conceivable case, of so large a [unclear: per] portion of the population of a district [unclear: being] say, Roman Catholic, that there are [unclear: not] other children enough to form a [unclear: national] school. In that case, with reference to [unclear: this] minority of children, the district would [unclear: have] to be dealt with like other districts [unclear: in] which there are not a sufficiency of [unclear: children] for a national school. This might be a [unclear: manifortune] for the people of one district. [unclear: Best] it would in nowise be ruin to the [unclear: nation] system over all. And—what we as a [unclear: nation] have to consider—the misfortune to [unclear: one] district, perhaps only temporary, would [unclear: be] an incalculably smaller evil than the [unclear: cailsmity] of permanently secularising the [unclear: whole] education of the country. 5. Let men [unclear: only] consider—Where are there such [unclear: districts] How many are there of them? How are they now being provided for not with standing a religious difficulty? And, can we [unclear: not] manage as they do, e.g., in Canada where the difficulty is far greater than it can be in New Zealand?


* "The religious difficulty"—I heard Sir Foster, in [unclear: introudcing] the English Education Act in the [unclear: House] of Commons say, that this is an [unclear: irrelious] difficulty.