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* From the circumstance, however, that the public schools, as a whole, are divested of a distinctly religious character, and practically give nothing but secular instruction to their pupils, arises a state of public feeling towards them which, if not yet predominant, is, I think, steadily growing which in some individual minds is very strong, and even pervades whole sections of the community, and which perhaps, more than any other adverse influence, seems likely to threaten the permanence and stability of the system, or at least of the system as now administered, in the future. Hence, the lukewarm support given to the system, sometimes the open opposition avowed to it by the great, compact, and powerful Roman Catholic community, and especially by the Roman Catholic bierarchy. Hence the attitude of indifference, if not of more than indifference, taken up towards it by nearly the whole body of the clergy of all denominations. Hence the growing preference which is observed in some places for “ parochial schools," i.e. schools connected with particular religious congregations or societies.'

It would appear from statistics of crime and juvenile delinquencies, and the general tone of morality, that religious people in America have good reason to suspect their school system of not doing its work in the formation of character, though it does that of sharpening the intellect.

It is hard to accuse any one part of a national system as responsible for general widespread sins; but still it is significant of something when the Superintendent of the State Reform School of Connecticut concludes his report for 1865 in the following words :

“That boys are more neglected than formerly is apparent to all. That they are not restrained and kept at home, that there is more truancy and vagrancy, and that young boys are now committing crimes which a few years ago it would have been supposed that only old and hardened offenders would commit, is well known to the courts of justice, officers, and to all whose attention is turned in that direction.'

Mr. Fraser touches another point, which plainly has to do with an evil education, and on which we may boldly claim a very different state of things in this country :

The amount of profane language that one cannot escape hearing in railway cars, river steam-boats, hotel bars, and other places of public resort, is quite frightful; and though this gourme of conversation appears to have become rather an unconscious habit, than to be a deliberate offence against morality, or even against good manners, and does not extend beyond a certain and that not a very high level of society, its prevalence is deeply to be regretted, both on its own account and on account of the unfavourable impression that it cannot but have on the minds of strangers.'

On the question of prevailing drunkenness and immorality we will not enter. The educational system of America clearly does not exempt them from their full share of human infirmities or vices.

Mr. Fraser sums up his able report with a doubt as to whether the system of common schools will go on as smoothly

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during the coming quarter of a century as it has during the past; but with this question we are not here concerned. What touches us, is the wisdom of looking to the United States for a model of education. The system is based far too much on social equality as well as on the absence of religious teaching, to suit England, as Mr. Fraser observes in his concluding words :

'If there is one sentiment more than another upon which all practical educators in England, whether Churchmen or Dissenters, are agreed, it is that education ought to be religious—meaning by the term, not merely that it ought to awaken religious emotions, but that it ought to teach a religious creed; and how to do that without infringing the rights of conscience, or introducing the elements of sectarianism, is one of the unsolved problems of

the day.'

We have now reviewed the three mooted points of compulsion, rates, and secular teaching, as Mr. Pattison, Mr. Matthew Arnold, and Mr. Fraser, three eminently well-selected Commissioners, throw light on them in their reports on the several countries of Germany, France, and America. It has not been our object to criticize the systems of education, as those countries have adopted them or naturally fallen into them for themselves, but to review them with reference to any wholesale engrafting of those three special points into our own natural system.

One chief reflection after this examination of other countries must be, how strangely individual to each people's character, how truly national to each country, how truly the fruit of each soil, are these three educational models. A secondary reflection must be, how imperfect and struggling, how suggestive of a transition state, they all are.

A third reflection is this, that, making allowance for these national peculiarities of character, and for the different stages in transitu of each country in its development of the general question, there is much that is common in the genuine aspirations and opinions of intelligent men in them all

, common among those three countries, and with England also. That common tendency, discernible in all educational movements of the day, is such a recognition of the religious element, which, growing out of sad experience as to the existence of religious dissensions, naturally tends to the denominational system. The Liberal party in this country are trying to raise a cry for compulsion, to support which financially they advocate rates, and to maintain which in its moral existence they are willing to sacrifice religious teaching, not from choice, many of them, but trusting to the power of knowledge if anyhow acquired for leading men aright in the end. This party appeals to foreign experience : and what does that

experience tell us, when carefully looked into? That compulsion means nothing whatever beyond the natural wish of a people for education, be that wish great or small; that rates are essentially mixed up with the financial condition of each country, and cannot in any rough or general statements be predicated of from one country to another; that in actual fact our own system of supplementing voluntary efforts by grants from the Consolidated Fund may be as near an approach to the German and French system as the peculiarities of each country allow; and, lastly, that by general consent the great mass of educationalists in all countries are arriving at a just conclusion as to the essential place which religion, with all its practical influences, must ever have in true education. The school is not only a teaching workshop, it must be all-powerful among the poor in its social bearings: it brings children together, and it is a link binding parents with parents, uniting class with class. It is common ground between the Church and the world, between the prospects and hopes of the present and the future; it is a picture—nay, the commencement here on earth—of the Communion of Saints hereafter; it brings home to our consciousness that touch of a kindred nature even between the weakness of human infancy and the ultimate glories of heaven, which is implied in the sacred words of such is the kingdom of God.'

Practical suggestions are far beyond the scope of the present article. The denominational system being now national to us, must be contended for in its integrity; though, maybe, the advocates of a secular system have a like claim with other parties to establish schools of their own, receiving their proper share of Government aid. Let them be counted as à distinct sect, but let them not have the opportunity of depriving religious bodies of free action, according to their own theories of the influence of religious training. There are signs and significant tokens of a better understanding between the Church and Nonconformists; Mr. Baines and John Bull seem not too wide apart, while the venerable patriot of an old despotic Liberalism, Earl Russell, stands high and dry in the House of Lords, meeting with but a very feeble response to either his facts, his arguments, or his ancient song on religious disabilities.


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ART. V.-1. Hali Meidenhad. An Alliterative Homily of the

Thirteenth Century. Edited by OSWALD COCKAYNE, M.A.

1866. Early English Text Society, &c. 2. Seinte Marherete. The Meiden ant Martyr. In Old English.

Edited by OSWALD COCKAYNE, M.A. 1866. E. E. T. S. 3. Alliterative Poems in the West Midland Dialect. Edited by


4. The Story of Genesis and Exodus. An Early English Song.

Edited by RICHARD MORRIS. 1865. E. E. T. S.

5. Dan Michel's Ayenbite of Inwyt, in the Kentish Dialect. Edited by RICHARD MORRIS. 1866.

1866. E. E. T. S. 6. English Prose Treatises of Richard Rolle de Hampole. Edited

by GEORGE G. PERRY, M.A. 1866. E. E. T. S. 7. Religious Pieces in Prose and Verse, from the Thornton MS.

Edited by GEORGE G. PERRY, M.A. 1867. E. E. T. S. 8. Political, Religious, and Love Poems. Edited by F. J. FURNI

VALL, M.A. 1866. E. E. T. S.

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9. Hymns to the Virgin and Christ. Edited by F. J. FURNI

VALL, M.A. 1867. E. E. T. S.

10. The Vision of William concerning Piers Plowman (Vernon

Text). Edited by W. W. SKEAT, M.A. 1867. E. E. T. S. 11. Handlyng Synne. By ROBERT DE BRUNE.

Edited by F. J. FURNIVALL, M.A. Roxburghe Club. 12. The Pricke of Conscience. By RICHARD ROLLE DE HAMPOLE.

Edited by RICHARD MORRIS. 1862. Philological Society.


In a remarkable passage in his great work, Dean Milman says,
treating of the crusade in the south of France, •Latin Chris-
'tianity might boast at length to have crushed out the life, at least
'in outward appearance, of this insurrection within her borders.
• No language of Latin descent was permanently to speak in
its religious services to the people, to form a Christian litera-
'ture of its own, to have full command of the Scriptures in its

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• vernacular dialect. The crusade revenged itself on the poetry

of the troubadour ---once the bold assailant of the clergy-by • compelling it, if not to total silence, to but a feeble and un

certain sound.'1 The thought is a striking one. A solitude was made under the name of peace. The Romish Church triumphed over nationality in France, Spain, and Italy; chained it in its homilies, its expositions, and its hymns, to the bastard Latin of the Middle Age; and effectually repressed any vernacular expression of popular theology. It was not so in England. Beginning with the grand translation of the Gospels made in the time of Bede, the English has been fruitful in religious writings in prose and verse. Of these many, long buried and unknown, are now emerging from their hidingplaces, and throwing altogether a new light on our estimate of the character of the middle ages. What the Early English Text Society has done in illustrating this most important field of study, may be estimated by comparing Mr. Hallam's meagre sketch of the early growth of English literature, with the list of works placed at the head of this article. To the historian of the - literature of Europe, the only early English works known were the romance of Havelok the Dane,' and Layamon's translation of · Brut. From these he jumps at once to Robert of Gloucester;' only mentioning, by the way, - some metrical Lives of · Saints' -- which he evidently had never seen and a poem on the • Battle of Lewes.'? The public have now within their reach, at a trifling cost, good specimens of the English of the twelfth, thirteenth, fourteenth, and fifteenth centuries; and students, both philological and theological, have cause to thank the editors of the Early English Text Society for their gratuitous labours. Our present object in dealing with these early English writings, is not to treat them philologically, nor to illustrate the growth and development of our language thereby. We think they may serve even a more important object than this ; for, in their early growth and prevalence, in the character which they assumed, in the subjects of which they treated, and in their gradual triumph over the bitter ascetism in which they began, we trace distinctly the working of the causes which led to the English Reformation. This, doubtless, will appear startling and chimerical to many; but we hope to make good our words, and to show that the author of Latin Christianity did not speak lightly, when he attributed such high importance to the existence of a vernacular religious literature. We must first, then, exhibit the bitter and indolent ascetism of the East showing itself in an English dress,

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I Latin Christianity, iv. 241.
2 Hallam's Literature of Europe, chap. i.

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