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pel? It is all idle and mockery, to pretend, that any man has respect for the Christian religion, who yet derides, reproaches and stigmatizes all its ministers and teachers. It is all idle, it is a mockery and an insult to common sense, to maintain that a school for the instruction of youth, from which Christian instruction by Christian teachers is sedulously and rigorously shut out, is not deistical and infidel, both in its purpose and its tendency.” What a noble testimony by one of the most distinguished laymen in the country, to the divine origin of the Christian ministry and of Christian missions. Let who will sneer, whether they be avowed infidels or pseudo-Christians, at the great missionary enterprise now in progress for the conversion of the world, we have a pledge in this truly Christian plea, that Mr. Webster stands ready to defend and advocate the cause in the most public and decided manper. Nor is he less clear and decided on another point, of which most of the great lawgivers and statesmen of Christian nations make but little account. He maintains that Mr. Girard's scheme of education is essentially wrong, because it proceeds upon the presumption, that the Christian religion is not the only true foundation, or any necessary foundation of morals. “The ground taken,” says Mr. Webster, “is, that religion is not necessary to morality; that benevolence may be insured by habit, and that all the virtues may flourish, and be safely left to the chance of flourishing, without touching the waters of the living spring of human responsibility. Now it has been held by the Christian world throughout its broadest extent, and is held as a fundamental truth, that moral instruction not resting on this basis is only a building upon sand. And in what age of the Christian era, have those who professed to teach the Christian religion, or to believe

in its authority and importance, not insisted on the absolute necessity of inculcating its principles and its precepts into the minds of the young In what age, by what sect, when, where, by whom has religious truth been excluded from the education of youth P No where— never. Every where and at all times, it has been and is regarded as essential. It is of the essence, of the vitality of useful instruction. From all this, Mr. Girard dissents. He dissents not only from all the sentiments of Christian mankind, from all common experience, and from the results of all experience, but he dissents also from still higher authority—the word of God itself. When the Decalogue was given to the Jews, what said the inspired lawgiver ?—that it should be kept from children P Far, far otherwise. “And these words which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart. And thou shalt teach them diligently to thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house, and when thou walkest by the way, and when thou liest down, and when thou risest up.” “There is an authority,” continues Mr. Webster, “still more imposing and awful. When little children were brought into the presence of the Son of God, his disciples proposed to send them away; but he said, “suffer little children to come unto me—unto me.” He did not send them first for lessons in morals to the schools of the Pharisees, but he opened at once to the youthful mind, the everlasting fountain of living waters, the only source of immortal truth. Suffer little children to come unto me. And that injunction is of perpetual obligation. It addresses itself to-day with the same earnestness, the same authority, which attended its first utterance to the Christian world. It extends to the ends of the earth. It will reach to the end of time, always and every where sounding in the ears of men, with an emphasis which no repetition can weaken, and with an authority which nothing can surpersede—“suffer little children to come unto me.” “And not only,” adds Mr. Webster, with thrilling and deep-toned earnestness, “not only my heart and my judgment, my belief and my conscience instruct me, that this great precept should be obeyed, but the idea is so sacred, the thoughts so crowd upon me, it is so utterly at variance with this system of philosophical morality which we have heard advocated, that I stand and speak here, in fear of being influenced by my feelings to exceed the proper line of my professional duty. “Go thy way at this time, is the language of philosophical morality, “and I will send for thee at a more convenient season.” This is the language of Mr. Girard in his will. In this there is neither religion nor reason. Ever since the introduction of Christianity, it has been the effort of the great and the good, to sanctify human knowledge, to bring it to the fount, and to baptize learning into Christianity; to gather up all its productions, its earliest and its latest, its blossoms and its fruits, and lay them all upon the altar of religion and virtue.” Never did this great man honor himself more, than when he gave utterance to these noble sentiments. Whatever other productions of his mighty intellect may perish and be forgotten, this plea for the Christian ministry and for Christian education, will go down to the true golden age of the world, when “the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.” Nor does he reason less cogently and eloquently in favor of the Lord's day and its appropriate instructions, as essential to Christian education. “The observance of the Sabbath,” he maintains, “is a part of

Christianity in all its forms. All Christians admit that there is a Lord's day; but what becomes of it in Mr. Girard’s scheme 2 Now, I say, that the ordinary observance of it could not take place, because the ordinary means of observing it are excluded. There can be no Sabbath in this College, for there are no means for attaining that end. It will be said, that the children would be permitted to go out. There is nothing seen of this permission in Mr. Girard's will. And I say again, that it would be just as much opposed to his whole scheme, to allow them to go out and attend places of public worship on the Sabbath day, as it would be to have ministers of religion preach to them within the walls ; because if they go out to hear preaching, they will hear just as much about religious controversies and clashing doctrines, and more, than if appointed preachers officiated in the College. Where then are these little children to go, where can they go to learn the truth —to reverence the Sabbath 2 They are far from their friends—they have none to accompany them to any place of worship—no one to show them the right from the wrong course—their minds must be kept clear from all bias on the subject, and they are just as far from the ordinary observance of the Sabbath, as if there was no Sabbath day at all. And where there is no observance of the Christian Sabbath, there will of course be no public worship of God.” In summing up this part of the argument, Mr. Webster seriously and earnestly asks, “Are there or will there be any Christian parents, who would desire that their children should be placed in this school, to be for twelve years exposed to the pernicious influence which must be brought to bear on their minds 2 I very much doubt if there be a Christian father who hears me this day, and I am quite sure there is no Christian mother, who if called upon to lie down on the bed of death, although sure to leave their children as poor as children can be left, who would not rather trust them to the Christian charity of the world, however uncertain it has been said to be, than to place them where their physical wants and comforts would be abundantly attended to, but away from the solaces and consolations, the graces and the grace of the Christian religion. “No, this school is not to be valued, because it has not the chastening influences of true religion—because it has no fragrance of the spirit of Christianity. It is not a charity, for it has not that which gives to a charity for education its chief value. It will soothe the heart of no Christian parent, dying in poverty and distress, that those who owe to him their being may be fed and clothed by Mr. Girard's bounty, at the expense of being excluded from all the means of religious instruction afforded to other children, and shut up, through the most interesting period of their lives, without religion and with moral sentiments as cold as its own marble walls.” Mr. Webster next proceeds, through several pages of searching argument and appeal, to consider the reasons assigned by Mr. Girard, for excluding ministers of all denominations from his school. On p. 37, he says, evidently with great emotion, “The consolations of religion can never be administered to any of these sick and dying children in this college. But it is said, that a dying child may be carried out beyond the walls of the school. He can be carried out to a hostelry or hovel, and there receive those rites of the Christian religion which can not be performed within the walls, even in his dying hour ! Is not all this shocking 2 What a stricture is it upon this whole scheme ! What an utter condemnation | A dying Vol. III. 13

youth can not receive religious solace within his seminary of learning !” Mr. Girard's grand argument for excluding all religious teachers and teaching from his college—that they should be left free from wrong bias and without any religious opinions at all till they come out of the school, so as to choose for themselves, Mr. Webster disposes of in the following masterly style. “We will suppose the case of a youth of eighteen who has just left this school, and has gone through an education of philosophical morality precisely in accordance with the views and expressed wishes of the donor. He comes then into the world to choose his religious tenets. The very next day perhaps, after leaving the school, he comes into a court of law to give testimony as a witness. Sir, I protest, that by such a system he would be disfranchised. He is asked, “What is your religion ?” His reply is, ‘O, I have not yet chosen any ; I am going to look round and see which suits me best.” He is asked, “Are you a Christian o' He replies, ‘That involves religious truths, and as yet I have not been allowed to entertain any.” Again, “Do you believe in a future state of rewards and punishments P’ and he answers, “That involves sectarian controversies which have carefully been kept from me.” “Do you believe in the existence of God P’ He answers, “that there are clashing doctrines involved in these things, which he has been taught to have nothing to do with ; that the belief in the existence of a God being one of the first questions in religion, he is shortly to think about that proposition.’ Why, sir, it is vain to talk about the destructive tendency of such a system ; to argue upon it, is to insult the understanding of every man. It is mere, sheer low, ribald, vulgar deism and infidelity. “It opposes all that is in heaven and all on earth, that is worth being on earth. It destroys the connecting link between the creature and the Creator. It opposes that great system of universal benevolence and goodness that binds man to his Maker. No religion till he is eighteen / What would be the condition of all your families—of all our children—if religious fathers and religious mothers were to teach their sons and daughters no religious tenets till they were eighteen 2 What would become of their morals, their excellence, their purity of heart and life, their hope for time and eternity ? What would become of all those thousand ties of sweetness, benevolence, love and Christian feeling, that now render our young men and young maidens like comely plants growing up by a streamlet's side—the graces and the grace of opening manhood—of blossoming womanhood 2 What would become of all that now renders the social circle lovely and beloved 2 What would become of society itself? How could it exist P And is that to be a charity which strikes at the root of all this ; which subverts all the excellence and the charms of social life; which tends to destroy the very foundation framework of society, both in its practices and in its opinions—that subverts the whole decency, the whole morality, as well as the whole Christianity and government of society. No, sir; no, sir.” Having gone over other points in the case, Mr. Webster thus closes his argument. “I believe that men sometimes do mischief, not only beyond their intent, but beyond the ordinary scope of their talents and ability. In my opinion, if Mr. Girard had given years to the study of a mode by which he could dispose of his vast fortune, so that no good could arise to the general cause of charity—no good to the general cause of learning—no good to human society,

and which should be most productive of protracted struggles, troubles and difficulties in the popular councils of a great city, he could not so effectually have attained that result, as he has by this devise now before the . court. It is not the result of good fortunes, but of bad fortunes, which have overridden and cast down whatever of good might have been accomplished by a different disposition. I believe that this plan, this scheme was unblest in all its purposes. Unwise in all its frame and theory, while it lives it will lead an annoyed and troubled life, and leave an unblessed memory when it dies. If I could persuade myself that this court would come to such a decision, as in my opinion the public good and the law require, and if I could believe that any humble effort of my own, had contributed in the least to lead to such a result, I should deem it the crowning mercy of my professional life.” Nothing that Mr. Webster has ever done at the bar or in the senate, will be longer remembered than this noble defense of Christian education. Though the law, as we are bound to presume, was against him, and he lost his case with the court in its judicial capacity, quite sure we are, that he gained it with the brilliant throng which hung with breathless admiration upon his lips. No one of his many great efforts, no three days of his life, we confidently believe, will afford him more satisfaction in the review upon his death bed. May he then and there enjoy those rich consolations, which the hopes of the gospel alone can give, and which he so feelingly and eloquently pleads should be administered to the dying orphans in the contemplated college, but which by the will of its founder, must be forever withheld from their ears. The heartfelt approbation with which the plea before us has been read, by the wise and good in all parts of the land, is worth infinitely

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more, silent though it be, than the plaudits of millions, if millions could be found, who would banish God and his religion from all the high places of power and influence. And why is it that sentiments like those which we have quoted above, drop so seldom and so charily from the lips of our public men, the lawgivers and the law expounders of this great Christian republic It is not that legislation and legal practice offer no fitting occasions for the discussion of those great moral and religious principles, which lie at the foundation of individual and national security and happiness. This is not a heathen, nor a Mohammedan, nor an infidel nation. Christianity is the common law of the land. It was so infused and incorporated into all our institutions, by the great and good men who founded this republic, that they must stand or fall together. Every nation has some religion, either true or false; and (where letters are known at all) has some book, or books, which it counts sacred. Our sacred book is not the Koran, nor the Shasters, nor the miscalled Age of Reason, but the Bible. This is not a sectarian, but a national book. And why should our public men, our honored and gifted senators and representatives and lawyers—the sentinels upon the watchtowers of liberty—the constituted guardians of our glorious birthright--why should they be afraid to name and stand by the Bible as the sheet-anchor, to save us from drifting upon the quicksands, which have swallowed up all other republics 2 Mr. Webster is not afraid nor ashamed to defend the Christian religion, in the most public and emphatic manner. He is proud of standing side by side with the immortal Washington, and endorsing that memorable paragraph in his farewell address, which as much as any thing he ever wrote, will endear his memory to the latest posterity.

“Of all the dispositions and hab

its which lead to political prosperity, religion and morality are indispensable supports. In vain would that man claim the tribute of patriotism, who should labor to subvert these great pillars of human happiness— these firmest props of the duties of men and citizens. The mere politician, equally with the pious man, ought to respect and to cherish them. A volume could not trace all their connections with private and public felicity. Let it simply be asked, where is the security for property, for reputation, for life, if a sense of religious obligation desert the oaths, which are the instruments of investigation in courts of justice P And let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion. Whatever may be conceded to the influence of refined education, on minds of peculiar structure, reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail, in exclusion of religious principles.” In maintaining the importance of religious education, before the Supreme Court of the United States, Mr. Webster goes even farther than this. He incidentally alludes in no equivocal terms, to “life and immortality, as brought to light by the gospel,” and to those preparations for a happy future state, which can never be made without the aids of Christian instruction. And why, we ask again, should any of the rulers of this great Christian nation ever hesitate, when suitable opportunities offer, to speak out as fully and frankly as he did But how seldom does any thing drop from their lips, from which we can determine with certainty that they even believe in the divine origin of Christianity. The Bible indeed is not seldom quoted in the halls of legislation, at the bar and in popular harangues, but how much oftener to give point to a witticism, than to enforce a grave argument, or fortify

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