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spirit is held in bondage to the flesh, and conscience has been driven from the throne.
Just so of crime: the Bible, if obeyed, would drive it all from the world. A crime is the violation, by one man, of the rights of another, but the Bible forbids all such violation. If I obey the Bible, my neighbor's person and property and character will be sacred to me, for this is the principle which the Bible teaches. We should never have any crime in the world; all violence and fraud and defalcations and 'overreaching of one man by another, would cease; the gallowstree might still grow in its native forest, and the prisonstones lie undug in their quarry bed, and the sword of punishment remain forever sheathed, if every man did but regard his neighbor's rights as his own, just as the Bible tells him to do. Here is certainly a picture far transcending the actual condition of the human race. The sources of vice are dried up, the fountains of crime are destroyed, the burdens under which the race has groaned for ages are removed, man becomes once more a dweller in Eden, and earth is changed back again to the Paradise of God! Is there nothing in this worth striving after, and which the state itself may properly aim to reach ? And yet the Bible will bring it all to pass. Let the Bible have free course, let it be obeyed as it teaches, and the perfection of human society would ensue. We speak not now of those infinitely higher blessings which the principles of the Bible, if followed, would secure for man in the coming life, for with these the state has nothing to do; but the Bible is profitable for the life that now is, and this places it in a position where no Christian state may wisely disregard it. The Bible is certainly fitted to bring untold blessings to civil society; and may not the state seek for these blessings through the only channel in which they can come? Is it not wise for the state to teach the Bible in its schools ; or, in fact, to do anything by which this sacred book should become known and respected and obeyed, and thus the priceless boon which it brings be secured ? It would be, in fact, worse than folly to leave this undone.
It would be interesting, here, to notice what the Bible has
actually done for the elevation and perfection of society; but we pass this by with the briefest remark. Our position is not merely a theoretical one; it is supported by strong practical testimony. It is true, there has never been found, in fact, a perfectly organized state, and yet the most perfect, the happiest, the wisest, the highest, the best, are certainly those where the Bible has had the greatest influence; and these come below a perfect standard, because the Bible has been kept back from its perfect working. It certainly needs no argument to show the superiority in public civilization and culture, in social refinement and happiness, in individual peace and prosperity, in fact, the superiority in everything relating to the commonwealth, of any Christian over any heathen state. And the Christian state is thus exalted and blessed because of its Christianity, and in proportion to it.
The conclusion, which follows with strictest necessity from these positions, would seem to be this : The Bible has certainly done very much for human society; it is fitted to do far more ; therefore, let its influence be kept up, and let the state especially see that its principles are taught to all within its borders. Against this conclusion, no possible argument can be brought except that of the Romanist. He answers to us: You go too fast in your reasonings. The Bible is fitted to do all that you say it is; but it will never accomplish this by being placed in the hands of all men. The superiority of Christendom to pagan lands, has been owing to the Bible, to be sure; but it is not because the Bible has been taught directly to the masses. Common minds cannot understand this book; it will not elevate and improve them if they read it; give it to the clergy, but not to the laity; let the teacher have it, but keep it away from the pupil. The Romanist would, in this way, evade the force of our position ; but we may hold to the position still. It were easy to reply to his answer theoretically and conclusively, but let us look at it practically. We may safely take issue upon the matter of fact.
Christian nations differ from all others by professing the religion of the Bible. Protestant nations differ from papal
ones, by placing the Bible in all hands alike. The right of every man to have the Bible, and to interpret it according to his own private judgment, is distinctively Protestantism; just as the denial of this right is as radically Romanism. If, now, we can compare the state of society in Protestant and Roman Catholic lands, we shall find a practical exhibition of the working of these two principles; we shall then be able to conclude, with infallible certainty, whether the state ought to see that the Bible is taught in its public schools, for we shall then see whether the general dissemination and inculcation of the Bible, is really conducive to the public weal.
A general survey of Protestant and papal countries would unquestionably support our position. Viewing these two classes in their general aspects, it could not be denied that the Protestant has the superiority in order, peace, general diffusion of knowledge, equality of social rights and privileges, and in liberty. This is certainly much; but a specific examination renders this far more conclusive.
Protestant lands, the lands of a free Bible, have incontestably the superiority over papal countries in all that relates to national advancement. We think it would be fair to take, as an illustration of this, Ireland and Scotland, two lands of the same climate, and lying side by side ; but this comparison might be objected to on the ground of the different treatment which these two lands have received from the same government. But no objection can be raised against comparing Protestant and Romanist Ireland together. The province of Ulster is largely Protestant; that of Connaught is essentially papal. A recent census of these two provinces will throw some light upon the workings of each system. According to this census, the proportions of the population who can neither read nor write are: Protestant Ulster, thirtythree per cent. ; papal Connaught, sixty-four per cent. Again, Protestant Ulster contains one third of the population of Ireland; but it requires only one seventh of the police force, and furnishes only one sixth of the convicted criminals. In the years 1819 and 1850, twenty-three executions for capi. tal crime took place in Ireland; but of these only two occur
red in Ulster. Says E. M. Dill, in his work upon this land: “ You cannot but feel, in traversing the country, that Ulster is at least fifty years ahead of its sister provinces in all the true elements of national progress.”
Take Protestant and papal Germany, and let Prussia stand for the one and Austria for the other,- a perfectly fair comparison. In Prussia, the number of students is one out of every six of the inhabitants; in Austria, it is only one out of ten. In Austria, there are committed, in proportion to the population, four times the amount of crime against persons as in Prussia. Quetelet, in his “Researches on the Propensity to Crime,” makes this out as follows : In Austria, crime against persons is committed out of every ten thousand inhabitants; while in Prussia it is only one of forty thousand. Of crimes against property, there are twice as many, in proportion to the population, as in Prussia.
When England was papal, the nobility and clergy possessed nearly the whole of her wealth. Now, her revenue is divided as follows : nobility, one fifth ; learned professions, one fifth; farmers, one fourth; tradesmen, one third ; other classes, the remainder.
Protestant Scotland shows, on an average, one assassination, or attempt to assassinate, out of 270,000 of its inhabitants ; papal Spain, one out of 4,000; papal Naples, one out of 2,500 ; and the Roman States themselves, one out of 750. We might extend this comparison to a great length, and the result would be the same. The cause of this diversity cannot be mistaken. Christianity is the great educator, elevator, and civilizer of the race; but its beneficent working is only secured through the popular diffusion of its oracles. Says M. Cousin, in his Report upon the Public Instruction in Germany : “ The general system of instruction is grounded on the Bible as translated by Luther, the catechism, and Scripture history; and every wise man will rejoice in this; for, with three fourths of the population, morality can be instilled only through the medium of religion. Luther's forcible and popular translation of the Bible is in circulation, from one end of Protestant Germany to the other, and has greatly
aided in the moral and religious education of the people.” The distinguished philosopher also observes, that he regards it as a great calamity for France that they have not a translation of the Bible of equal merit, and of as wide a circulation.
We come, now, to notice the objection from conscience, to the use of the Bible in schools. It runs in this way: You may not require that the Bible should be read, because the papist, the Jew, the Mohammedan, the infidel, has conscientious scruples against it. The objection may be very summarily answered. The authority of the state may never be subordinated to the individual conscience. The state has its own end, of highest freedom; government has its end, of securing to its subjects the enjoyment of this freedom. The state uses religion as a means to this end; but religion itself is never an end with the state. Everything relating to the moral and religious life of its subjects, is of interest to the state only so far as the state can use it for its own ends. The state has nothing to do with the inner character, and cares nothing about this, so long as the outward action pleases it. To the individual, conscience is of more importance than the state ; but to the state, nothing is so important as its own supremacy. If the will of the state come in conflict with the will or the conscience of an individual, the individual may suffer martyrdom, but the state may not waver. That the safety of the public is the supreme law, is a maxim of universal application, and liberty of conscience may never interfere with the public weal. This right of the state to be governed by its own views of duty, resolves itself, in fact, into the most absolute necessity; for, if the laws should be dispensed with whenever they happen to come into collision with some supposed religious obligation, the state would be perpetually falling short of the exigency. We have laws against polygamy; yet the Mormon or Mohammedan cannot claim an exemption from their operation, or freedom from punishment imposed on their violation, because they may believe, however conscientiously, that polygamy is an institution founded on the soundest political wisdom, and has inspired revelation in its support. No mat