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the grand condition on which the whole institution hinges, is education in the doctrine and discipline of the established church. It was for this particular kind of education for which the subscriptions were solicited and paid. Consequently no parent who refuses to let his children be educated for the church, has a right to complain, if his children are not received by this society. In fact, the conductors of it being trustees of a common fund, cannot, without a breach of trust, employ what is confided to their care, for any other purpose than that for which it was so confided. Since then, the funds of the National Society were raised for the express purpose of promoting education in the principles of the established church, the guardians of those funds would be amenable for a misapplication of them, if they employed them in promoting education, which was not founded upon that basis. The conductors of the institution therefore being bound to employ the funds which were entrusted to them, on the furtherance of a prescribed object, it is the institution itself, and not the conductors of it, which must be subject to censure, if the furtherance of that object is matter of reproach. But we have already seen, that the qualification for admission required by the society is such as it had a perfect right to demand.

Let us now consider, whether this qualification, or condition required by the society, operates so extensively, or carries exclusion so far, as to be a bar to the admission of any other children than the children of churchmen. The most numerous class of seceders in this country are the methodists; indeed they probably exceed in number all other classes of seceders put together. But the methodists in general, whether followers of Wesley or of Whitefield, profess an attachment to the doctrine, and even to the discipline of the established church. They are seceders in having their own places of worship, not under the establishment, nor subject to episcopal jurisdiction; but they have no objection to attend the service of the church, and in fact consider themselves as the true churchmen. No methodist therefore can properly object to the coudition required by the National Society; consequently the children of all the Methodists throughout the kingdom are admissible into schoolswhich are in union with this society.

But though the condition required can present no obstacle to the methodists, it may to the old dissenters. On the other hand, however, we must observe, that they who are chiefly excluded by it are the least subject to inconvenience from such exclusion. Among the Quakers, whom the condition particularly affects, there are few, if any, objects of gratuitous education: and if there were, it is not probable that any relaxation of principle would induce the Quakers to send their children to a place which had the appearance

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of a Church-of-England school. Among the Socinians too, there are few or no objects of gratuitous education, for Socinianism has not yet spread itself among the lower orders. The Baptists have their poor, but they have also their rich, as appears from the ample subscriptions to the Baptist Missionary fund. The two other denominations of what are called orthodox dissenters, namely, the Presbyterians and the Independents, are dissenters rather in discipline than in doctrine. The use of the Church Catechism would not be a bar to the admission of their children into a Church-of-England school. But to that part of the condition which requires the attendance of the children at church, there are probably some parents (though certainly much fewer than is supposed) who would object. Here then the condition, if strictly enforced, might exclude children, who would otherwise have no education at all. And though exclusion, even in such cases, would not be inconsistent with strict justice, it might militate against the dictates of humanity. As this is a point of great importance to the National Society, it deserves minute examination.

In the first place, we must observe, that no general rule can be founded on a few extreme cases; and though an exception is said to prove a rule, it can never constitute a rule. Now the rule which the society cannot abandon, without abandoning the very object for which it was formed, is, that the children received into its schools, should be educated in the doctrine and discipline of the established church. This is the very charter of its foundation; and if this charter be altered, a society, which was formed for the preservation of the church may be converted into an instrument of its destruction; nor would either the name of the agent, or the quality of its promoters prevent the consequences which must ensue. It is the thing, and not the name, with which we are concerned. As the question at present is not whether the children of the poor shall be educated or not, so on the other hand the question is not by whom, but in what principles they shall be educated. The question is not, whether the children patronized by the National Society shall be taught to read, to write, and to cypher, in a school regulated by this or by that individual, but whether the school shall be so regulated as to bring up the children to the established religion. If it is not so regulated, it is regulated on principles which are at variance with the fundamental law of the National Society. And this fundamental law caunot consistently be altered. The conductors of the society cannot subject themselves to the charge of having raised money on false pretences. They cannot expose themselves to the danger of being called upon to restore what was paid for one purpose but applied to another. And it is not very probable, that the two Universities for instance, who

have subscribed five hundred pounds each, for the express purpose of promoting the established religion, should now authorize the application of their subscriptions to any other purpose. It appears therefore impossible that habitual absence from church on the sabbath day should be authorized or sanctioned by any general rule of the National Society. No other general rule can be adopted without defeating the purposes of the institution, than that the children educated in its schools shall go to church on a Sunday. It is that very condition which is required as the distinguishing mark of the Society's schools; it is the condition, without which no school can be called a Church of England school; and consequently it is a condition which if the Society should formally surrender, it would surrender what it was established to support. For it is not the learning of the Church Catechism, though repeated every day and every hour, which will bring up children to the Established Church, unless they are likewise accustomed to attend divine service at church. It is the place of worship, which they frequent on a Sunday, which will make them churchmen, or dissenters.

But though such must ever be the general rule of the Society, it may be urged, that there is no rule without an exception, and that cases may occur in which an exception would be consistent, not only with humanity, but with sound policy. Suppose, for instance, that a school, in connexion with the National Society, were established in a place in which the poor consisted partly of churchmen, partly of dissenters; that the latter (as will commonly be the case) made no objection to the attendance of their children at church, with the exception of some few, who pleaded conscience as a ground of refusal. Suppose further, that there was no other school in the place or neighbourhood where such poor children could be taught even to read, would the fundamental law of the National Society admit, in such a case, of no relaxation? We make no scruple to say that it would. Though no legislator can authorize a deviation from the law by any express declaration, yet they who execute the law may be entrusted with dispensing powers. In like manner the National Society, though it cannot sanction a departure from its fundamental law, may leave many things to the discretion of those who have the conduct of particular schools, and are best able to judge of the circumstances in which they are placed. It may be silent where it cannot enjoin, and abstain from formally prohibiting what it cannot formally permit. When the general committee therefore, on the 6th of February, 1812, published its plan of union between the diocesan and district committees or schools with the parent society, they required, that the children of each school do constantly attend divine service in their parish church, or other place of

VOL, VII. NO. XV.

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of public worship under the establishment, wherever the same is practicable, on the Lord's day, unless such reasons for their nonattendance be assigned, as shall be satisfactory to the persons hav ing the direction of that school.' But the power of dispensing with the law is one thing, the power of abrogating that law is another. It is one thing to require attendance at church, but to dispense with it in urgent cases; it is another thing not to require it at all, but to leave it as a matter of indifference or option. If the poor apply for the admission of their children at a school which is professedly a Church of England school, (and schools which do not profess to be so, can never be taken into union with the National Society,) they will naturally expect, unless told to the contrary, that their children must conform to the usage of the school. Parents in general therefore would not solicit a dispensation from the rule, unless they were more rigid in their dissent from the established church than the frequenters of meeting-houses are for the most part found to be. It has already appeared that the numberless class of seceders called Methodists, could have no plea for soliciting a dispensation, for they all profess themselves churchmen. Of such as frequent the meeting-houses belonging to the Presbyterians and the Independents, the number of those who secede from consideration and conviction, or who have an insuperable objection to our church service, bears but a small proportion to the general body. There are thousands who frequent the meeting-houses, not from any settled dislike to the established religion, but merely because the service there is more agreeable to them. Either they prefer the kind of preaching which is more animated than when sermons are read, or they are attracted by the singing; or they find the place of worship more comfortable; or they have other reasons not necessarily connected either with doctrine or, discipline. There are thousands again who absent themselves from places of worship under the establishment, rather from necessity than choice. În populous parishes with small churches, the chapels which have been built to supply their place have too often been designed only for those who can afford to pay for admission; and in such places the poor are compelled to take refuge in places of worship which they would not otherwise frequent. At other times they are actuated by motives of interest, if not of compulsion. For as dissenters in general give a preference in their dealings to persons of their own body, while churchmen in general make no distinction, the exchange of the church for the meeting-house is attended (as far as worldly motives are concerned) with certain advantages on the one hand, and with no disadvantages on the other. Now in the cases here enumerated, the poor who apply for the admission of their children

children into a Church of England institution could have no plea of conscience to urge, to obtain a dispensation for their non-attendance at church. And not only the persons who come under the preceding descriptions, but dissenters in general, belonging to the three denominations of Baptists, Presbyterians and Independents, attend without scruple at places of worship under the establishment whenever they find a preacher who is suited to their own taste. But if the parents themselves can go to church with a good conscience, they may let their children do the same. Indeed we know by experience, and could quote examples if it were necessary, that in charitable institutions, where it is known to be au invariable rule that the children should go to church on the sabbath day, as constantly as to school on other days, the parents of the children, whatever place of worship they themselves may frequent, acquiesce in the rule without complaint.

We have stated these facts, not with the view of justifying that rule, for it requires none. A Church-of-England society, like every other society, has a right to prescribe the terms on which alone its favours shall be conferred; and if such a society does not require attendance at church as a condition of gratuitous education, it is not what it pretends to be. But we have stated them with the view of shewing that its tendency towards exclusion is not such as is reported; that a very large proportion of those who worship apart from the established church, and particularly they who are the most necessitous, can conscientiously permit their children to comply with the condition required. On the other hand, if parents cannot conscientiously comply, the National Society would say, "You have perfect liberty to choose or to reject our terms, we have no desire to impose the smallest restraint on the conscience of any man, but if you cannot accept what alone we can consistently give, you must apply to the rich of your own persuasion, to whom, rather than to us, appertains the care of their poor brethren; you must place your children in a school supported or aided by their subscriptions.' Now as such schools are very numerous throughout the kingdom, it will seldom happen that the children of those dissenters, who are too rigid to comply with the fundamental law of the National Society, would be deprived of education altogether. But in such extreme cases as that above stated, where no other means existed of providing them with education, the power of dispensing with the rule is accorded for the sake of humanity.

Let us now consider what would be the consequence, if, instead of requiring a general compliance with the rule, but of silently granting a dispensation in urgent cases, any school in connexion with the National Society, should declare by a formal regulation,

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