Page:Australia an appeal.djvu/9

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The glory has not yet departed from St. Stephen's; but the sacred cloud, retiring from the defiled interior, appears to be gathering round the dome, ready to take its flight from a people whose multiplying iniquities have almost doomed them to the vengeance of an insulted Deity. It lingers only while the righteous pray. Will nothing teach you wisdom? Are ye bent upon keeping the kingdom in a ferment on domestic concerns, till tranquillity be impossible? Are ye determined, instead of revering the Most High, obeying the oracles of Heaven, and maintaining purity of morals, to court the Roman harlot, to set up the Man of Sin, to nurse superstition, to encourage scepticism, and to sacrifice the rising generation to Moloch—by an unscriptural, atheistical, popish education, which will exercise its evil genius, not in enlightening the understanding, elevating the soul, and imbuing the mind with principles of virtue and useful knowledge, but merely in gilding ignorance, substituting letters for learning, impiety and anarchy for religion and liberty, and deluging the state and its imperial appendages with immorality—till, rampant with infidelity and polluted with vice in every department, the nation ripen for destruction?

This is strong language. But who that wishes Britain's weal can use mild words, when he sees her threatened with convulsion by the conduct of those who might have given her the command of Europe, remodelled her institutions with timely prudence, provided for her moral wants according to the precepts of Divine revelation, and made her—stern in virtue, smiling with grace, and playing with the thunder of her arsenals—a terror to tyranny and a blessing to the world.

The Deity has specially enjoined every human creature to search the Scriptures, without reserve or limit, expressly adding: "Thou shalt teach them to thy children." But the British Parliament say, in their system of education: Thou shalt not teach them, lest—lest what? lest we offend the Pope!—a foreign monk? an arch imposter!—and the interested supporters of his influence and authority in the British isles! O! Ye are men of renown! The friends of religion and liberty wish ye were still in the nursery; while the brainless, the worthless, and the profligate tell us that were we to die wisdom would die with you. Die? It is to be hoped she will live, when nothing of you remains, except the memory of the evils ye have inflicted upon the country by your blunders in legislation. Whence could have originated the maddening fit that sent you to Rome for canons and a rubric for the instruction of the rising generation? Was not Scotland before your eyes with a system of national education worthy of the imitation of all nations? Could ye learn nothing from her example?