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observance is practised, or instruction in religious subjects is given, it must be either at the beginning or the end, or both the beginning and the end, of the school exercises; and the time selected is to be inserted in a time table, approved by the Education Department, and kept conspicuously affixed in the school-room and any child may be withdrawn by his parent from such observance, or instruction, without thereby forfeiting any of the other benefits of the school. (5.) It will not be required in future, that a school shall belong to some religious denomination, or that the Scriptures shall be read in it, in order to obtain a Government grant. (6.) The grant which has hitherto been restricted to one-third of the total income of a school, may in future be increased to one-half."
The above, I think, are the principal modifications which denominational schools will undergo in consequence of the Bill of last session; and, with the exception of the last, the increase of the grant, probably every Nonconformist will regard them as improvements.
But the Bill has not merely modified the old system, it has introduced a new one. Henceforth the country is to be divided into school districts. Returns are being prepared, showing the population of each district, and the amount and kind of school accommodation already existing. If further accommodation is needed, notice to this effect is to be given to the inhabitants, and if it is not provided, or in course of being provided, within six months after the giving of the notice, a School Board is to be appointed. And such Board is to be empowered, and required, forthwith to provide the school accommodation needed in their district; and should they fail to do this within a period of twelve months, the Board is to be declared in default, and superseded by persons appointed by the Education Department. Every school provided by a School Board is to be conducted under its control and management, subject. however, to Government inspection. The Bible may be read, and religious instruction. given; but no catechism or religious formulary which is distinctive of any particular denomination may be taught in any such school. One-half the expense of carrying on these schools is to be borne by the national exchequer,
the remaining half by the local rates and the scholars' fees. The School Boards will not only be empowered to provide school accommodation, they will also have the power to compel the attendance of scholars.
Such are the main features of the system introduced by Mr. Forster's Bill. That it has many excellences, and that it will go far to bring the blessings of education within the reach of every child in the kingdom, every one will cheerfully admit. But with all its excellences we venture to think it has some very serious defects, and among them we should be disposed to instance the following. In the first place, considerable delay will take place before the system will be brought into general operation. Nearly six months will be taken up in making inquiries as to the amount of school accommodation required; and when the necessary information is obtained, and notice is given that such and such schools are wanted, another month is to be allowed to elapse to see if any persons feel aggrieved by the notice. If they do feel aggrieved, they may demand and obtain a public inquiry, and thus further time will be consumed. And after such inquiry has been held, the notice has to be repeated, and another six months allowed to pass in order to afford opportunity for the establishment of voluntary schools. If such schools are established during the six months, and even if they are in course of being established, no further action is to be taken; but if not, a School Board is to be appointed. Such Board, however, may refuse to act, and should it do so, nothing further can be done for twelve months. Why all this delay? Why is the reign of ignorance to be thus protracted? We know why. It is to afford time for the multiplication of denominational schools. Now we protest against both the delay and its object. In every district where further school accommodation is shown to be needed, a School Board ought to be appointed at once, with injunctions to provide the requisite accommodation with the least possible delay.
And then as to the powers of School Boards. In some respects these appear to me to be open to grave objection. Thus it is at their option either to enforce attendance at school or not, as they may think fit. Should they
decline to enforce attendance, great numbers of children, it is to be feared, will remain uneducated, and the public money will be thrown away.
Another and still more objectionable feature, is the power entrusted to School Boards in reference to the religious instruction to be given in the schools. No catechism or religious formulary peculiar to any sect, it is true, may be taught. So far so good. But then sectarian teaching can be given apart from formularies, and this, we think, should have been strictly forbidden.
And then as to the manner in which School Boards are to be elected. It is a great pity, it seems to me, that the votes are not in every instance (as in London) to be taken by ballot; in no other way, I am persuaded, is purity of election possible.
The mention of these defects in the educational system of the country is suggestive of at least one duty of Nonconformists in relation to that system, viz., to get the system amended as soon as possible. We must not allow the matter to rest until School Boards are elected by ballot; sectarian teaching in rate-supported schools absolutely prohibited; and attendance is made compulsory.
Thus much in relation to the future. What about the present? In the first place I think we should do all we can to secure the appointment of a School Board in every district of the country at the earliest possible period. Until this is done one of two things must inevitably happen-either the children will grow up in ignorance, or denominational schools must be multiplied. In my view, either alternative is greatly to be deprecated. And even in districts in which the school accommodation is already sufficient, it is still highly desirable to establish School Boards with the least possible delay, in order (1.) that voluntary schools, where they wish it, may become ratesupported schools; (2.) that bye-laws may be formed for the compulsory attendance of children at school; (3.) that school fees may be remitted in the case of children whose parents are too poor to pay them.
In some districts, I fear, it will be impossible to secure the formation of School Boards until all the preliminary steps mentioned in the Bill have been
taken. But these preliminaries may be dispensed with, at least in the following cases. (1.) Where application is made to the Educational Department, with respect to any school district, by the persons who if there were a School Board in that district would elect the School Board (that is, with respect to any country district by the ratepayers in vestry assembled), or with respect to any borough by the Council of such borough. (2.) Where the Education Department are satisfied that the managers of any elementary school in any district are either unable or unwilling any longer to maintain such school, and that if the school is discontinued the amount of public school accommodation will be insufficient. In either of these cases the Education Department may, if they think fit, dispense with preliminary inquiries, notices, &c., and order a School Board to be appointed at once. Nonconformists, I think, should take advantage of this provision to the greatest possible extent.
And now a word or two as to the constitution of School Boards. This is a matter of the greatest possible importance, and it is one with respect to which the Bill allows the widest possible latitude. The whole responsibility is wisely thrown on the ratepayers themselves. In some quarters there is great, almost feverish, anxiety to avoid a contest in the coming elec tions. I am a little suspicious of this policy. If contested elections are such dreadful evils, why not take steps to avoid them altogether in parliamentary and municipal matters, as well as in the matter of School Boards? The fact is, the education of the country up to the present time has been in the hands of a certain party. That party is intent upon maintaining, and as far as possible extending, denominational schools. They will consent to the establishment of unsectarian schools only as a necessary evil, and where the people can be educated in no other way. In country districts, and wherever their party is in the ascendant, they will either prevent the appointment of School Boards, or they will take care that they shall consist of members of their party. In other places where they are relatively not so strong, they will aim at the same results by other means. In such places
their policy is not so popular. A contested election might not be in their favour, and therefore if possible it must be avoided. But surely we are not going to be caught in this trap. Of course we want the best men for the office they will have to fill-men possessing the requisite intelligence and public spirit, and having sufficient time at their disposal for the fulfilment of their duties. But still, as Nonconformists and friends of unsectarian education, we ought to support no candidate who is not in favour of, and who will not pledge himself to support, unsectarian teaching and compulsory attendance at school. Let us insist upon these two points; and if our friends are really anxious to avoid a contest, let them support such candidates as these, and we shall be perfectly
So far our course is clear. But what should be our policy with respect to denominational schools? My chief objection to the denominational system is, that it gives undue advantage to the dominant sect, and therefore is in practice, whatever it may be in theory, a social injustice. And it cannot be otherwise, fence it about with conscience clauses and other restrictions as carefully as you may. Hence the policy of Nonconformists should be to prevent, as far as possible, the extension of the system, and ultimately to supersede it-due regard being had, of course, to vested interests.
The principal means available for this purpose are the following: (1.) To agitate for the amendment of the Edu
cation Act, particularly for the removal of the clause which provides for the increase of the Parliamentary grant to denominational schools, from one-third to one-half of their current expenditure. (2.) To promote the early appointment of School Boards. (3.) To support only those candidates who are in favour of unsectarian education. (4.) To transfer their schools' own School Boards. (5.) To take advantage of a clause in the revised code, which says, "Aid is not to be granted to build new elementary schools, unless their lordships are satisfied that the religious denomination of the new school is suitable to the families relied
upon for supplying scholars." The Nonconformist Committee of Birmingham hold that a denominational school is only suitable to those families which actually belong to that denomination; and it is said the Government has partially accepted this view. They accordingly suggest, that whenever application is made for a grant to aid in building a denominational school, the grant should be petitioned against wherever the families belonging to that denomination are not numerous enough to require a separate school. Supposing this construction of the clause to be the true one, and admitted to be so by the Government, the course suggested, I think, is legitimate, and would go far to prevent the building of new denominational schools, which otherwise are sure to be begun before the end of the present year. Leeds.
UNSCRIPTURAL MARRIAGE AND CHURCH DISCIPLINE. [Before the close of the year will you give your opinion on the question that has been discussed in ‘our Magazine” with regard to Marriage, under the title of “the Church and the World?"]
THE best method of answering this inquiry will be to collect the points in which the correspondents who have taken part in this discussion agree; and then next to investigate that or those on which they fail to see eye to eye, or with regard to which they seek further light.
(1.) Each writer admits the necessity for due consideration of "suitability of mind and purpose" in order to secure happiness in married life. This harmony is essential to conjugal bliss. Reciprocal affection, prudence, and even self-love, jointly urge earnest attention to this matter. Not of course that this similarity necessitates
sameness. A dull and monotonous level in attainments, pursuits, sympathies, temper, and aim, is far from being desirable. Contrast may exist without disturbing harmony. As the seven colours blend in the cheerful light of day, so should the faculties, temper, dispositions, and purposes of the husband and wife unite together in the pure, "full orbed"
bliss of domestic life.
(2.) Also each correspondent allows that the Scripture teaching (which is the acknowledged standard on this subject) does not necessarily require that the persons married in the Lord shall be members of
the same church, of the same denomination, or indeed actually registered members of any body of Christians. If they belong to the "holy church throughout all the world," the claim of the Bible will be satisfied. Desirable as it may be, as Mr. Colebrook suggests, that they should be worshippers in the same communion, yet this is not an indispensable requisite to a Scripture marriage.
(3.) Moreover, these writers coincide in this that a marriage, made with full knowledge of the state of each party thereto, between a godly and a godless person between one really converted to God and one as plainly still "dead in trespasses and sins"-is a violation of the law of God, and is fraught with immense danger to him or to her who has been guilty of this breach of the spirit and of the letter of the New Testament. Scripture and experience confirm this representation. Many cases of church discipline are traceable to an unscriptural alliance. The evil consequences due to the transgression of this law can scarcely be exaggerated.
(4.) I think these friends travel a stage further together. They unite in condemning these unequal marriages as wrongs to the church" of the Lord Jesus Christ. No Christian can sin without injuring the community of which he is a member. Even secret sins affect the spirit of his life and tend to corrupt and deprave the church. Much more, then, is an act like this a wrong to the church and to her Divine Lord.
(5.) But this is the limit of apparent agreement. It is a wrong; but is it a wrong requiring such a measure as excom. munication? This is the radical diffi. cutly. The case stands thus.-Suppose a church member to have married a person manifestly godless, without Christ and without hope in the world, what is the
action which the church of Christ should adopt in such a case? This opens a larger question, viz., what is it that legitimately brings the acts of any member of a Christian community within its disciplinary arrangements? Clearly not imperfection, or fault in general, else there were no church. For who is without sin amongst us? Clearly not every glaring imperfection or fault or violation of Scripture teaching. How glaring, for example, is the covetousness of the modern Demas! He is a manifest idolater. He adores wealth, and he is not only ingenerous himself, but his own lack of generosity injures others, and prevents them from being as generous as otherwise they would. It seems that exclusion has amongst voluntary and spiritual churches always proceeded on one of two grounds, -either the express demand of Scripture for such an extreme measure, or else the suggestions of expediency. The case of the "fornicator" illustrates the action of the church in obedience to the direction of Scripture. Cases of public notoriety and shame are examples of exclusion on the grounds of expediency. Have we, then, any express direction to withdraw from those who contract unscriptural marriages? We do not know of any. The unequal fellowship is forbidden, as many other acts are, but the church is not commanded to separate herself from those who break the law. What then says expediency? It is against exclusion; for it is certainly improbable that it will do any good, and it is not unlikely it might do harm. Much more might be said on this subject, but space forbids enlargement. Suffice it that our fathers have at several Associations adopted and expressed this view of the church's duty in such cases. See "Minutes" for 1782, 1793, 1829.
THE REV. J. FELKIN, OF SEVENOAKS,
Was born at Ilkeston, Derbyshire, August 26, 1797. He was the second son of the late Rev. William Felkin who was for many years the minister of the church at Kegworth. It was his unspeakable priviledge to be led to devote himself to Christ in his youth. Convicted of sin, he sought earnestly for pardon through the Lord Jesus, and the words of the Redeemer, as full of comfort and solace now as when they were first spoken-" Come unto me all ye that are weary and heavy laden and I will give you rest"-were the means of conveying the divine peace and life to his heart. With all the earnestness and decision of youthful enthusiasm he at once
consecrated himself to the service of his Saviour, and, along with several others, (amongst whom was the late Rev. C. Lacey,) put on Christ by baptism, and joined the church at Loughborough, then under the pastoral care of the Rev. T. Stevenson. Much benefit was derived from a residence of twelve months in the family of this good and estimable man, and Mr. Felkin never ceased to regard his memory with the warmest affection. The "passion for saving souls" was manifested very early, and with untiring devotion he gave himself to labours in the Sabbath school and in the villages around. His first public effort at speech-making occurred in the
school-room of Loughborough chapel, in company with his ever warm and attached friend, the late Rev. J. Wallis. Removing to Nottingham, he united with the church at Broad Street, and further developed his powers by engaging at the village stations surrounding that town. In the year 1826 he became pastor of the church at Kirton-inLindsey, and remained there for ten years, receiving many witnesses to the usefulness of his labours, in the conversion of many souls, and the affectionate regard of the members of the church. The next eight years of Mr. Felkin's ministry were spent at Sevenoaks, Kent. Here, preaching on the average six times a week, giving much time to pastoral visitation, and labouring instant in season and out of season, he succeeded in adding more than sixty to the church, building a new chapel, and gathering together towards the cost of the chapel no less than £365. Being invited to the pastoral oversight of the church at Smalley, in Derbyshire, he removed, amid many regrets, from Sevenoaks in Nov., 1844. A hallowed revival attended his earlier efforts at Smalley, and in two years eighty-five persons were added to the church. But his affections were "rooted and grounded" in Sevenoaks, and he went back to the people in Nov., 1853, and remained in the town to his death, and with the church as long as it subsisted. Two years after his return he lost his beloved and devoted wife; and though he survived her more than fourteen years, yet he never wholly recovered from the serious loss he sustained. Afflictions are rarely solitary. A dearly attached and beloved daughter soon followed her mother to glory, and troubles arose from other sources which greatly pained his spirit and tried his health. The chapel, by the consent of the trustees, passed into the hands of the Congregationalists, and being free, he preached as opportunity occurred amongst the Baptists of the neighbourhood.
During his illness he gave pleasing proof of the solid comfort there is in the religion of Jesus, and of the sustaining influence of a timely hope of the inherit
ance that is undefiled and that fadeth not away. He told one young friend that he was not about to die, but only to "fall asleep in Jesus." Asked if he knew where to look for the sting of death, he replied at once, "My Saviour told me fifty-three years ago that he had taken the sting away and I should be foolish to look for it now." Another enquired what he should do upon his entrance into heaven, and he instantly said, "Take the crown which my Saviour has prepared for me and cast it at His feet with adoring gratitude for all His mercy." During his illness his heart and that of his one daughter, who is left to mourn her loss, were greatly cheered by the warm sympathy and kindness of members of every section of the Christian church. At length the hour of his departure came, and he "entered into rest," and "all his sorrows left below and earth exchanged for heaven," on Monday, Sep. 5. The ministers of the town preceded his remains to their last resting-place on the day of the funeral, and a memórial sermon was preached in the Wesleyan chapel by the superintendent minister of the circuit, the Rev. Thos. Jeffries, from 1 Thess. iv. 14.
He was a man of a warm and impulsive nature, not without fault, but through the grace of God, with many virtues known most to those most familiar with him. Secret prayer was his delight. He loved to be alone with God. Like Enoch, he walked with God and found His society his joy and rejoicing and strength. He always aimed to be useful. Not less than eight thousand sermons preached by him testified to his activity; and those who remember his preaching can witness that he strove to declare the whole counsel of God with all earnestness and fidelity. He now rests from his labours, but his works follow him. The prayer of his favourite hymn is for him, after fifty-five years of service for Christ, fully answered.
"O that, with yonder sacred throng,
"And the virgin's name was Mary."
HAIL, Mary! maiden pure and meek;
The loftiest honour matrons seek,
As "woman's seed" to spring.
For to thy bosom thou hast prest
But happier far than even thou
Are they of whom He shall own,