“Who is like unto the beast? Who is able to make war with him?” – Revelation xii. 4.

WE copy the following extracts from the District School Journal, the official organ of the State Superintendent of Common Schools, that our readers may know what are the doctrines held by those who are put in authority over the consciences of the people of this state.

The first of these extracts is from an article upon “District Libraries,” in which the writer proposes the union of the districts to form tow n libraries, and as the “dear people” are not thought to have sense enough to know what books will suit them, the duty of selecting suitable books “devolving, as it too often must, upon those who are not possessed of the requisite qualifications to discharge this responsible duty in the best manner, an irreparable injury may unconsciously be inflicted,” &c. The remedy suggested for this evil, is “for the trustees to commit the selection and arrangement of the library to such individuals, as, from their education, judgment and pursuits, would be best adapted to execute the trust with fidelity and ability.” Or in the event of merging the district libraries into town libraries, the town superintendent may relieve us from the responsibility of thinking and acting for ourselves! The main drift of the whole article goes to show that the library system is designed, like all the other wheels of the unwieldy machine, to religionize our schools from educational to sectarian purposes. The writer speaks of the munificent liberality of the state! Pray what has the state done so munificently? They have squandered away more than one million dollars of the people’s money, in donations to colleges and academies, on officers and pensioners, without their consent, and for no valuable purpose what ever, but rather to burden them with grievous taxation, and subvert their dearest liberties, while not one cent of all that munificence comes from the pockets of those agents of the state who claim to be the benefactors of our country.

The second extract is from an article written by a member of the British Parliament, an European aristocrat, one of the nobility of England! The doctrines of foreign lords amid nabobs are carefully selected and palmed off upon the sous of liberty, who are denounced as incapable of thinking and deciding for themselves. Thomas Wyse, Esq., M. P., decides that physical and intellectual training, such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Benjamin Franklin, Patrick Henry, and a thousand others of the greatest and best men that ever lived in our country had, without moral education, by which, as he himself defines his use of the word moral, he means religion and christianity reduced to a mere science, is pernicious, it is providing for crimes and dangers, intrusting with power with the certainty of its being abused. What was the religious education of Washington, Jefferson, Franklin, Henry, and of nearly all the great patriots and able statesmen of our country? The very kind now denounced through the official journal, as pestilential; as that in which the glory and beauty of civilization is set up to be dashed to pieces by the “evil spirit,” (the devil,) “the pestilence of a high taught but corrupt mind – blowing where it listeth.” Really this is large talk, to be addressed to the people of the state of New York. It is in substance this: If by educating the rising generation we cannot learn them religion as a science, if we cannot change their hearts, and implant in them the immortal principle of reigning grace, it is decidedly wrong to educate them at all! But why do not the publishers of the Journal quote the strong arguments of the Papists in favor of scholastic divinity? That sect, whose doctrines they profess so strongly to repudiate, have gone largely into the business of religious education. Witness the number of their monasteries and Jesuitical schools; and yet, it is well known, that from the school of Alexandria, to the religious schools of our own day, the bearing that all such schools have had upon the world has been uniformly despotic, unnatural and cruel, involving cities in flames, and whole continents in human gore.

But after all, does not this English dignitary betray what it would have been policy, for the present, to conceal, when he says explicitly, “when I speak of moral education, I imply religion; and when I speak of religion, I speak of christianity.” Let those who value their social, sacred and religious rights, look well to it; this doctrine is endorsed by the editor of an official document of state, which no school district is at liberty to refuse to receive on penalty of the law. Yes, the editor says this very article “is full of instruction, and replete with the most sound views of educational philosophy.”

The third and last extract which we have made from the columns of the Journal, and on which we have room only for a few brief remarks at this time, is more definite than the others in specifying what is intended by moral or religious education. Mr. Randall says among other things which should be taught, “he” the pupil, “should early be taught to recognize the supremacy of the moral sentiments, the dictates of duty, the voice of God within his soul.” Besides this, our children are to be taught, by the schoolmaster, to interpret the will of their Creator; and the teacher is admonished to poucier well the deep responsibility which his office involves, &c.!

How blind to all that is spiritual must they be who do not know that such lessons as are in this extract assigned to the district schoolmaster to teach the children of his charge, are such as all the angels in heaven cannot teach, and such as neither unregenerate children or adults can possibly learn, until they are born of God, and taught by his Holy Spirit. What conception can the writer of that sentence have of the voice of God? At the sound of which worlds sprang into existence; that voice which is as the sound of many waters, and of mighty thunders; that voice at which the strong pillars of heaven tremble in astonishment, at which the head-long billows of the sea, and the loud tempests are hushed to silence, at which the dead shall rise and come to their final judgment, in describing it as a something over which a common country schoolmaster, if taught himself at a Normal School, may render effectual, or teach his young disciples to know, to manage, and to render effectual. Hereafter we shall resume these remarks, if the Lord will it.

Here follow the extracts from the District School Journal, July number, 1844, pages 14 and 15:

“The hill of science is, indeed, but a barren heath, until it is adorned with the perennial fruits of christian morality, and the rich flowers of imagination, taste, and refinement; and it is impossible that we should contemplate its steep ascent with pleasure, until we can indistinctly, at least, discern its expanding beauties, and comprehend in some measure, the rich variety and wide extent of view which it presents on every side. The munificent liberality of the state has provided us with the most ample means of accomplishing this desired result, and it only remains for us to appropriate and apply those means as to secure the utmost attainable mental and moral advantages.”

Extracts from a work of Thomas Wyse, M. P., in the District School Journal of July, 1844, page 115—16:

“The education which confines to the desk or chapel is a very partial education; it is only a chapter in the system. It is pernicious; it is a portion only of the blessings of education. if such be the result of separating physical and intellectual education, how much more so of dividing intellectual and moral. It is laboriously Providing for the community dangers and crimes. It brings into the very heart of our social existence, the two hostile principles of Manicheism; it sets up the glory and beauty of civilization, to be dashed to pieces by the ‘evil spirit’ to whom it gives authority over it. It disciplines the bad passions of our nature against the good, making lien wicked by rule, making vice system, intrusting to the clever head the strong hand, and setting both loose by the impulse of the bad heart below. The omission of physical education renders the other two ineffective or pernicious; but the neglect of moral education converts physical and intellectual into positive evils. The Pestilence of a high taught, but corrupt mind, blowing where it listeth, scathes and sears the soul of men; it is felt for miles and years almost interminable.”

A reading and writing community may be a very vicious community, if morality – not merely its theory, but its practice – be not made as much a portion of education as reading and writing. * * * When I speak of moral education, I imply religion, I speak of christianity. It is morality – it is conscience par excellence. Even in the most worldly sense, it could easily be shown that no other morality so truly binds, no other education so effectually secures even the coarse and material interests of society. The economist him self would find his gain in such a system. It works his most sanguine speculations of good into far surer and more rapid conclusions, than any system he could attempt to set up in its place. No system of philosophy has better consulted the mechanism of society, or joined it with a closer adaptation of all its parts, than christianity. No legislator who is truly wise, no christian, will for a moment think, for the interests of society and religion, which, indeed, are one, of separating christianity from moral education. It would be quite as absurd as to separate moral education from intellectual. But this is very different from sectarianism.”

From the same number of the Journal, page 116, we take the following extract from a work by S. S. Randall:

“He” the pupil, “should early be taught to recognize the supremacy of the moral sentiments, the dictates of duty, the voice of God within his soul; and that he may rightly understand and intelligently interpret the will of his Creator, his intellect must be stored with the rich treasures of knowledge; his perceptions of truth rendered clear and undisturbed; his faculties of analysis, discrimination, comparison, and reason, kept in constant, regular, and healthy exercise; and every admixture of error carefully removed.”

“Let the teacher, then, ponder well the deep responsibilities which his office involves. Let him reflect that to him is committed the direction, in a good degree, of the future destinies of immortal beings, fresh from the hands of their Creator, and entering upon a career of existence which is to know no termination.”

New Vernon, N.Y.,
July 15, 1844

Elder Gilbert Beebe
Editorials Volume 2
Pages 467 – 472