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We have the authority of Lord Castlereagh for saying that about HALF THE NUMBER OF OFFENCES is found committed in FIVE alone out of the FIFTY-Two counties ! -Middlesex, Surrey, Warwickshire,' Yorkshire, and Lancashire. The vast metropolis extends its mighty mass of criminality through the first two of these counties; and 'I call the christian reader's attention to a fact respecting the two last. Lately has been published an account of the « REVIVAL and PROGRESS of RELIGION” in these particular counties; and therefore we might be led to expect that the crimes in counties so blessed would be fewer ! True piety and virtue would certainly effect this. But the feeling which is generally called a “ Revivval” in a manufacturing population, is, I fear, very different in its effects from those produced by “pure and undefiled” religion! The Judges of Assize could tell appalling tales ! Writing these observations during the assize week at Salisbury, I am informed by one of those high characters, that at Winchester a woman, 61 years
age, had lived forty years in a state of affection and comfort with her husband, aged 71. She beat his brains out with an iron instrument, in cold blood, at midnight! An attempt to prove lunacy utterly failed. The whole of her language and conduct, before and since, was cool and collected, and as remote as possible from any appearance of the kind. She had been taught she could not fall from grace; and when under sentence at the bar of justice, fearlessly proclaimed, that though condemned here she was quite certain of her acceptance with the Almighty ! Pity
, and sorrow, not rebuke or comparison, are the causes of my alluding to such distressing cases; and all I wish is, to excite respect for that religious national communion, which, in connexion with sober and scriptural religion, teaches a child the way in which
he should go.
Having spoken of this dreadful spirit, as exemplified at the last assizes for the county of Hants, let me call your attention to an extraordinary and consoling fact : there is no county in England, I believe, where the mode of instruction for the poor, according to the principles of the Church of England, has been more earnestly pursued than in Hampshire, and particularly in the neighborhood of Winchester. At the assizes, as the first fruits of that education, now beginning to be perceived, let me be the first to announce this cheering circumstance, for which I have the highest and most indubitable authority, that, notwithstanding the population of the county-the want of labor- the operation of the poor laws--the CALENDAR of PRISONERS has been this
· The populous town of Birmingham is in Warwickshire.
year .LESS HEAVY than has been known for many years before. It is not so at Salisbury-on the contrary : but we may hope that very shortly, from the extended education throughout the diocese, the same happy results may be witnessed ; and it will be to me a matter of joy, that the first effects of education have been visible in that county which is distinguished for those superior endowments of liberal education, which caused me to address Mr. Brougham in their vindication. How much this education is required in every part of the kingdom may be estimated from another plain fact.-In a late year of general calamitous distress in the metropolis, six HUNDRED and SEVENTY CHILDREN were sent into society, destitute, and they must have robbed or died, but for that excellent institution, the Society for Suppressing Mendicity, whose object is to relieve real distress and to detect imposture.
This Society was first established at Oxford and Bath, by a benevolent friend,' and Fellow of one of the illustrious seats of education, which has lately been so hostilely attacked.
But to return : are these men, who separate FAITH from MORALS, sincere in what they say? They must know that they omit what the Apostles never did. They must know, however pure their own heart and upright their intentions, the palpable inferences that are drawn, by those who make their tempers their bible ! If they are not Antinomians, they might as well be. Some time since I thought it my duty to state this to my diocesan, and refused to nominate a curate till he solemnly engaged, having laid down the basis of Christian faith, as amply, and as deeply, and as entirely as the oracles of truth directed, to preach, add virtue, because St. Peter did; and, now remains « Faith, Hope, and Charity,” “THESE THREE, but the GREATEST of these is Charity;" because St. Paul did. I insisted also, that whatever might be hisspeculative notions, he should not veer from the plain and positive words that Christ died for the sins of THE WHOLE WORLD, because St. John said so.
I am happy to state that the amiable prelate to whom I wrote, entirely agreed with me; and he is himself an example, not only of constantly joining faith and practice in his excellent charges, but pressing the same rule on all that belong to his diocese.
If the new churches echo only to sounds, such as were heard at the opening of the new church at Frome, or the consecration of the new church in Guernsey, not only this country, at the present time, but unborn generations, will have reason to bless those whose patronage led the way to the encouragement of the sober,
· Juhn Duncan, Fellow of New College.
scriptural, and practical christianity of the Church of England; without mystic trances, or supernatural visitations-without scholastic dogmas, or metaphysical refinements—without a sullen creed, which limits God's mercy, and without an antinomial system, which is a “ Drawcansir" against cards, &c.; and a dormouse against malice or murder, and the “ WORKS OF HIM” of whom certain great writers know so little !
God forbid I should attempt to confine all excellence to the Church ; that would be exclusionary indeed. Of the great body of conscientious dissenters no one has a higher opinion than myself. I speak with respect and love of the Moravians, who are second to none in adorning their profession in all things; whose moral education, whose works, at home and abroad, speak for them more than I can, though what I say, I say most warmly, having such an establishment in my own parish, to whose educated and Christian minister I am indebted for years of confidential intercourse. I speak with respect of all who preach so as to humble the sinner, exalt the Saviour-never omitting the fruits of the SPIRIT. Yet it were to be wished that the Methodists remembered the extraordinary confession of Wesley, “that he feared, in constant wailing for the work, they had paid too little attention to the word, of God.” Of the exemplary Quakers I can only say, like the Moravians, their light shines before men; and the admirable method of instruction laid down in the visit of Mrs. Fry to the gaols, is such as every friend to morals and religion must approve.
I have said the Church of England teaches and blends with public instruction the Ten Commandments. What will a Christian legislator think of a great part of religious population studiously excluding these and the Lord's prayer ? What will he think of the doctrine, that the Ten Commandments are utterly useless, unless God, by supernatural revelation, brings them to the heart?
A case of early and peculiar youthful depravity came before me in the last year as magistrate (for I am not yet enlightened sufficiently to think the duties of a conscientious magistrate and clergyman incompatible). Struck with the peculiar kind of hardness in the disposition of the young man who was brought before me, first for most cruelly beating his own mother, and next for a felony, I enquired of his mother how he had been instructed; she told me “ when he was a child he always went with her to meeting." I knew he never heard the Lord's Prayer or the Commandments there. I asked, with mildness, whether he had heard any lesson
'The Moravians, indeed, strictly speaking, are NOT DISSENTERS:, they ASSENT to the doctrine, form, and apostolical origin of the Church of England, as much as any one within that church.
of morality there ; she said he heard the Gospel! and took great delight in it till about twelve years old! Since that time Satan had got possession of him, and she could do nothing but pray to the Lord ! If the Lord did not make him better, it was no use for his father or mother to try! A married sister soon after came to speak with me, in consequence of his being committed on account of the offence, for which he was tried at the Salisbury assizes. I asked her if she had ever told him how pointedly God had said “ Thou shalt not steal ?” she seriously replied, " that, thank God, he had brought the Commandments to her heart, but it was no use to teach the Commandments unless God brought them to the heart ; which, in time, God might do to the heart of her brother !"
Now, Sir, these are not particular cases, they very frequently occur in a thousand instances, and are well known among those who are conversant with a certain class of religionists. Nor do I speak in disparagement of the general character of any religious people; but I bring such facts forward to show that the mode adopted by the National Church, and pursued in the National Schools, is the best to train up a child in religious and moral duties. Far less do I wish to cast the most distant reflection on the British and Foreign Schools. Their mode of instruction is, I have no doubt, moral as well as religious; but it must be excellent indeed, if it be better than the usual mode of instruction in the Church of England : and for the beneficial effects of this instruction, I call your attention to the fact of a statement by the Archbishop of Canterbury—that not one of the youthful delinquents with which London swarms has been traced to the NATIONAL SCHOOLS!
Without making invidious comparisons, then, I would wish temperately to vindicate that mode of early instruction which has been found beneficial since almost the time of the Reformation ; and of which we may judge BY ITS FRUITS. Its object is to produce not the conceited, and, as it is called, EXPERIMENTAL "professor,” but the practical Christian ; and the influence of the Church of England in forming amiable, exalted, and, in higher life, truly Christian characters, may be seen in such men as Nelson, Locke, Izaac Walton, Evelyn, Abraham Cowley, to say nothing of the host of its own excellent and accomplished writers, and thousands who keep the noiseless tenor of their way,” in humble life, within its pale. Although the poor laws have well-nigh palsied the heart of moral respectability and independence, even now, look at many a country village : the father, decently dressed, appears at Church, with his child by his side; or the mother, leaning over its head, with her arm upon its neck, points out the passage in the prayer book as the clergyman reads it. The very sunshine and incense of a summer Sabbath morning is not so
beautiful, and so grateful to the heart, as this spectacle ! and yet the busy and distempered fanatic scatters in the church-yard his doggrel verses on the « Churchman's Sunday,” to impress on the enlightened villager, that those who go to the “ Town of MORALITY to church” will never go to heaven." I know
you will not, and trust no one will, who reads this, suppose
one moment I could wish to prevent any one from worshipping God his own way. No! I only wish to show, temperately, the advantage of encouraging the schools to which not one crime has hitherto been traced, extensive as they are; that
you, and those who, perhaps, think with you, would do us justice, if not show us kindness; and that that mode of early instruction should not be reviled, which a long trial of its effects has almost consecrated, which combines faith, morality, and obedience to laws, and which was imposed by those at least as wise and good as the best and the wisest of the generation in which we live.
This I am sure of, that the manufacturing districts, where the population habitually despise the clergyman, however exemplary his life and conduct, who imbibe their divinity from other instructors, are much worse in point of morals than those districts (which they call still in darkness), where the divinity of such books as I have mentioned, the ravings of black dwarfs and yellow dwarfs," and even the solemn sarcasm and portentous lucubrations of the second Jeremy, have not yet reached. And I know that when the
report of the Commissioners is published, the character of the clergy will be placed beyond the reach of the shafts of two-penny calumniators.
Mr. Brougham himself has cheerfully borne witness to the readiness with which they all come forward to answer queries addressed to them relating to charities, and the general attestation to, and the public confirmation of, their character, will be one of the benefits for which, Sir, the nation, and the clergy in particular, will have to thank Him.
I pray God, that when you and I shall be mouldered in the dust, the ark which enshrines, in this country, religious, moral, and social happiness, may never perish till that day, when all, whatever may be the difference of their station or talents, shall stand before their great Taskmaster !!
I am, most respectfully,
WM. L. BOWLES. '. It may, perhaps, be inferred from this, that the attachment of my own parishioners is diminished : so far, however, is this from being the case, that I have great satisfaction in having it in my power to state that my congregation is considerably more numerous than the church can, with convenience, accominodate.