« EelmineJätka »
Blackstone, and Paley's Moral Philosophy-the fourth year is partially given up to Mathematics, and Natural Philosophy, and the three next years exclusively to Divinity, when the studies are superintended by three professors, and the students work their way through ten treatises, five on dogmatic theology by Dr. Delahogue, and five others on moral subjects by Professor Bailly. The divinity Class is lectured for two hours and a half weekly in Scripture, which is likewise much the subject of public disputation. Instruction in Hebrew is given for an hour each week, and the professor of Irish gives lectures in that language to someofthe students. The Danboyne exhibitioners are elected from the students in the last year of their divinity course, and they continue for three years longer studying Divinity and Canon Law; from them we presume the professors are usually appointed. About fifty students annually are ordained for the Irish Priesthood ; a number not sufficient we are told to meet the demand, which is supplied from other seminaries, Carlow, Kilkenny, Tuam, Waterford and Wexford. In these about one hundred and twenty students are in a course of education, besides about one hundred and forty in different colleges on the Continent, giving a total, according to the Maynooth account, of six hundred and fifty one-a number certainly uot extraordinary, if we consider the population to be supplied, and the persons who from their rank in life look forward to a curacy as to a prize, equally from its respectability and its income.
Such is the actual stoek of information we have acquired with regard to Maynooth, and its system of education—such, at least, is the portion the Commissioners have been able to agree upon, for we do think that the most important is, that which has been incidentally elicited, during the course* of the examination.One circumstance is obvious, that the programme of the course is in great part an ideal one. No person acquainted with the bulk of the Roman Catholic Clergy of Ireland, or who has ever read the late discussions, can for a moment believe that such a course of classical study, obviously imperfect as it is, has ever been passed through by those who have to teach the Roman Catholic population. Scholars among them there may be, but we are convinced they are but few, and we cannot think that even any considerable portion of them in the course of a year would be qualified, considering the schools from which they generally come, to read over in addition to many others, such books as “Demosthenes' Orations," and Longinus on the Sublime.” Some bad Latin and no Greek, usually forms the education of the Irish Catholic priesthood, and the scholar can judge whether such books as we bave mentioned above, and those at the end of a similar list are to
• Certainly an examination of the kind never carried the names of the examiners more plainly written on the questions, than that given in the Appendix. The Protestant and the Roman Catholic Commissioners are as clearly discernible, as if their initials were prefixed. It is not giving much credit to the former to say their examination displays research and acuteness, but all the readers of the report must observe, that the questions of the latter were peculiarly leading questions, and suggested the very answers required.
be rapidly mastered by tyros in the language. It may be indeed, remarked, that in the examination it is not even pretended, that all the students go through the entire preparatory four year course; some portion of each study seems to be omitted, and the only one insisted on is the polemic divinity, In speaking thus, we do not mean to deny a certain quantity of classical knowledge even to the Priests educated at Maynooth :-Dr. Doyle, we know can quote Latin, and many of the Professors can translate it. Indeed if we were to judge of Maynooth Education by the sample that has been presented to us of dialectical skill and ingenuity, we should certainly think highly of its efficacy. Never perhaps bas there been such an instance of the ingenuity of man engaged in evading the most direct, or disguising the most obvious facts; and baffled in all attempts to procure information or come to elicit opinion, the Commissioners have been forced to lay the questions before the public in their original obscurity. We are glad the public will have an opportunity of comparing the mode in which R. C. Ecclesiastics have met plain inquiries into matters of fact and opinion and the glosses they have put over them, in contrast with the examinations of Protestant Clergy before the Parliamentary Committees ;-if indeed, the public will be interested in the torturous writhings of misplaced ingenuity, under the calm inquiry of impartial investigation. We own ourselves pained and disgusted with the study, and on taking up examination after examination of Professors, Bishops, and students, we have anticipated, and we have found, a well embodied and united system of perversion, and evasion, and we have laid them aside regretting that talents so respectable should be employed in defending what is untenable and explaining what is indefensible.
Our readers will be mistaken if they suppose much light is eli. cited directly from the examination, far from it. The subjects connected with the system of Maynooth, the education, the books, the tenets; oaths and their obligations, the Papal authority, the power of dispensations, all these were made the subjects of inquiry, and from all the exertions of considerable learning and research, employed in the examination, resulted - just nothing : the Proteus character of Popery is such as to meet every change in the political horizon, whether of fair or foul, and principles which have been avowed, acted on and gloried in, are denied with as steady a countenance, or excused with as unblushing an ingenuity, as if Popes had not claimed temporal authority, or laymen and ecclesiastics had not admitted it. Many instances of this may be brought forward in the course of our articles, but one is so amusing we cannot withhold it. A Professor of the name of Slevin is questioned as to this same assumption ; be denies it; the bull of Pius ejecting Elizabeth from her throne is quoted, claiming such au. thority, bringing forward none but spiritual grounds, and to a common reader founding the temporal jurisdiction on the spiritual supremacy :-Is the Professor silenced or convinced ? No, with admirable adroitness, he remembers that about some half century before a Pope bad asserted temporal jurisdiction, founded, Dr. Slevin conjectured, on John's cession of England to Innocent: it is possible that Pius entertained the same opinion, and therefore, though the original cession was in consequence of an exertion of spiritual despotism, the claim is acknowledged by Dr. Slevin to have been regarded in the days of Boniface and Pius, as silly and absurd as at present; though there is not the least
appearance of such a claim in the instrument in question, yet the fair conclusion from all is denied in triumph; it is possible Pius may have had such a claim in his mind-he may have thought himself Elizabeth's temporal lord, and therefore, though his bull deposing her, asserts no such claim, grounds the deposi. tion on no such property—though, being a bull issued ex cathedra, and not negatived by any Roman Catholic Bishop in Europe, it must be regarded as the opinion and dictum of the Church, Dr. Slevin, instead of confessing the fact and acknowledging his Church to have erred, seeks refuge in the improbable supposition that Pius really fancied himself to be temporal Lord of England ! * We wish the learned Commissioner who so probed Dr. Slevin on this point, had proposed to him the bull of Sixtus, fulminated against the same Queen, and grounding his authority on the des
ration to Jeremiah, I have set thee over the nations and over their kingdoms, to root out and to pull down, and to destroy and to throw down, and to build and to plant."
Such is a sample of the mode in which the inquiries of the Commissioners were met by the learned and ingenious professors at Maynooth ; and such is the manner in which the advocates of Popery usually evade the plainest arguments, and explain away the most direct testimonies : against them history presents no facts, for they are all answered by conjectures; reasoning can direct no arguments, for they are all eluded by equivocation; distinctions come in to assist the ambiguity of language, and the only use of words seems to be to enable us to avoid the direct collision of ideas. We may seem to be harsh in thus speaking of individuals; but we appply the censure to the system. Implanted as that system is from an early period, we doubt not but that it is received as infallible, and the mode of defending it as fair, by many who would shrink from using such distinctions, or employing such evasions on other subjects. History has shewn to us the acute and ardent spirit of a Garnett employed in practising and defending the most odious equivocations ; and our own times have exhibited to us the classical and amiable Butler talking of “his acquittal before a court of honour!” We would, then, not only limit our observations to the system, but we would do so with the more anxiety, as we lament to see such perversion of understanding and talent as is here manifested, under the guidance and influence of the system. Under its direction the student grows up in comparative ignorance of every thing but his duty to the Church, and the implicit obedience claimed by her, and due by her votaries. He finds the Scriptures, though they may be referred to and nominally honoured, but the incidental, not the prin
• Dr. Slevin alludes to the indignation of the Pope against Mary, though a Roman Catholic, but he forgets that it was because she had not waited for the kingdom to be relieved from the interdict brought on it in the preceding reigns,
cipal object of regard, while writers who magnify the Church, and limit that Church to the faithful, and its superintendance to its Bishops, are made the subject of his daily perusal, his nightly meditations, his periodical contests. Surrounded by those whom, in his ignorance, he receives implicitly as his guides; feeling by experience the power of those prelates, who have made, and may unmake his prospects; subjected to a discipline which, severe and unbending in every thing that concerns ecclesiastical submission, seems to be relaxed only in matters of civil obedience, he necessarily regards the former as far more essential than the latter ; and entering the seminary with unsettled notions of political philosophy, and made, while in it, the subject of an harsh, but an efficient discipline; seeing every statute observed, but perhaps that one which prohibits the circulation of political excitement, and every conversation stilled, but that which breathed the language of religious discontent*—is it wonderful that he should leave this monastic college prepared to be the willing, and even the conscientious slave of the prelate whose involuntary subject he has been; or remain in it, to enforce onothers the same course of discipline that has made him what he has become ?
Sincerely believing such to be the result of education at Maynooth, where the grand object of study, is not the book of God, but the inventions of man; and conceiving it to be admirably calculated to attain its end—we confess that we look with pity on those who are the agents and the victims of such a system; so efficient in prostrating man before his fellow, and perverting, to serve the
of ecclesiastical ambition, the noblest gifts of God and nature.
* We reser here to two remarkable facts-one, that wbile every whisper among the students seems to be conveyed to the heads of the college, and animadverted on in their mercy or their justice, they seem to have been not at all aware of the conversations that were hourly taking place with regard to the ecclesiastical establishment of the country, or the relative situation of Ireland and England: the other, that one of the most influential of the former Professors, and now one of the most active among the prelates, (Dr. M.Hale) not merely owned to having been the anthor of a work of very questionable politics, but to having assisted in its circulation among the students, and still more to its circulation under the knowledge of both presideut and professors.-See Mr. Coyne's ingenuous and amusing testimony as to the open manner in whic he carried the books to Maynooth, left them openly on a window stool in the professor's room, and distributed his valuable wares among the students. The author's own examination is a striking instance of ingenuity and evasion.
ON THE DOCTRINE OF THE TRINITY.
TO THE EDITOR OF THE CHRISTIAN EXAMINER.
Sir-The following letter, written as it professes, to an individual who had received an impression from Socinian principles, may be acceptable to your readers, at this particular time. Many who have no leisure for regular treatises, may be induced to look into this short abstract, and if a single doubt be removed from the mind of any humble enquirer, the wishes and prayers of my friend the benevolent writer will be fully answered.
Dublin. May 7, 1826. From what took place, when I last saw you, and especially from your quitting the room abruptly, I very much fear you were offended with membut my dear friend, if you knew my heart and what therein passed I am persuaded that in your mind, whatever feelings might arise, resentment could not be numbered amongst them. You have long been an object of my sincere regard, and when I heard of your being dangerously ill and forced to go to England for your health, my anxious thoughts were frequently directed towards you, and when I saw you upon your return (I believe it was in Merrion-square, or near it that I met you) I was delighted at the visible alteration in your countenance, and shook you by the hand most cordially, yet still I had not courage to address you, on the great business which so much had occupied my thoughts, and on the mighty difference which I conceived existed between us upon the subject of religion. Mr.
coming to town, however, gave me an opportunity to put in practice what I so long had meditated. Yes, my dear friend, I now make bold to speak to you on the subject, and plainly to tell you that if Christ be not God—the one God-God in the highest and most comprehensive sense of the word, he is in fact no God at all —his death upon the cross cannot profit us, “ we are still in our sins."
If he be not fully God, 16 if in him did not dwell all the fulness of the Godhead bodily," however exalted he may be in rank, in power, or in station, yet being not God-being only a created being
-his obedience—all his obedience was due for himself-he had nothing to spare, perfect obedience being the bounden duty, which every created being, whatsoever his rank, owes unto God for himself alone. All then that Christ could do, if he was not the supreme God, was wanting for himself, he could not satisfy for others, he required it all for himself, he had no overplus to bestow on others—he could furnish no atonement for any individual of the whole creation-his blood, for this purpose would be of no more efficacy than that of “ bulls or of goats” and misery, eternal misery, must have been the portion of every son and daughter of Adam. Vain is it, for the opposers of our Lord's Divinity, to