On this page
- Text (2)
Note: This text has been automatically extracted via Optical Character Recognition (OCR) software. The text has not been manually corrected and should not be relied on to be an accurate representation of the item.
Additionally, when viewing full transcripts, extracted text may not be in the same order as the original document.
tnunity . Morality can scarcely be said to be taught at all in this country . A bit of it , indeed , comes in at the end of a sermon ; a solemn , pointless , useless admonition to do your duty , which leaves matters just where it found them , either as to knowledge or motive . How many of the clergy are moralists ? They have perhaps been examined in Paley , at the universities ,
as they were examined in Euclid ; but a scientific acquaintance with morality is far more rarely to be met with amongst them than a scientific acquaintance with geometry . Few people seem to have any notion that morality is a science : nor , in truth , is it yet ; it is only capable of becoming so , although so essential to the improvement of society . A poor man does what the parson does not like , and the parson blindly throws a scripture precept
at his head , hit or miss : or , the poor man does what the parson likes , and he gives him a scripture promise , like a sugar-plum wrapped up in paper for a child . But who tells the poor man whether it be his duty to himself and family to join in the next turn-out , or to sign the Factory Bill petition , or to do or abstain from twenty other things , in which there is a right and a wrong , because there is a useful and a pernicious course , and where the
calculation requires to be made with care , in proportion to its importance ? Where is instruction to be had on these matters ? They constitute , in the aggregate , the practical morality of life ; but , as thev involve questions not agitated in Judea in the days of the apostles , Scripture has only general principles , which the priest is usually as incapable of wisely applying to them , even were he disposed to do so , as the most ignorant of his hearers
Through the length and breadth of our land , from the lowest classes to the highest , there is not only no systematic , trustworthy , and influential instruction , but there is ( with the paltriest exceptions ) no instruction at all on the real morality of life ., — the science of interests , the art of happiness . And yet we are
told that the Church is ' powerful and effective machinery for improving both the moral and social condition of the people V The Church , that has never raised a finger to this salutary , this necessary work ! The Church , that so continually strives to deter and frighten men from the use of what poor and limited means they do possess for learning something of their rights , their interests , and , consequently , of their duties !
The Church can never be the fountain of public instruction , because there are three large classes of the community with which it must be continually embroiled ; viz ., tithe-payers , dissenters , and politicians . The spiritual excise can never become popular with the farmer : he will curse the black locust' to the
end of the chapter . No contrivances will ' allay the hatred towards this vexatious impost . It must be abrogated . The onl y object for all patriotic men to keep in view , is that it be Hot pocketed by the landlords . So long aB it exists , clergy ami
Defence of the Church Establishment . 251
Monthly Repository (1806-1838) and Unitarian Chronicle (1832-1833), April 2, 1834, page 251, in the Nineteenth-Century Serials Edition (2008; 2018) ncse.ac.uk/periodicals/mruc/issues/vm2-ncseproduct2632/page/19/