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room for changing the classes about, and otherwise manoeuvring them on wet days. 3. It is desirable to have readier access from the child to the teacher, and from the teacher to the child, than can be obtained when the children are in desks ; and this facility is not obtained where the desks extend along the whole length of a narrow room, and no room is left for a square-shaped class on the floor of the room.
Dr. Woodford (page 707) evidently thinks that parallel desks should not be introduced at all, if, by their introduction, the vacant space used for open classes has to be sacrificed He says, referring of course to his own district, “not much progress has yet been made in the introduction of parallel groups of desks; and, as mentioned in a former report, there is in many of the schoolrooms otherwise good, but built on the plan of having desks round the wall, not room to introduce the change without occupying the space required for the free exercise of the class."
One remark on the subject of galleries is worthy of mention, as tending to discourage the notion which has been somewhat prevalent that certain oral lessons may be given to all the children of a school collected together in a gallery. Mr. Tinling has, no doubt, this absurd error in his mind when he says at page 458 of the Minutes, that a gallery “should contain about one-third of the children in attendance; and in 110 case more than about fifty or sixty children.”
Both Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Bowstead think it somewhat a hardship that the Committee of Council have made it an absolute rule that a substitution of wood for tile floors must take place within one year, as a condition of further annual assistance of any kind out of the Parliamentary part for education. It appears that in some parts of the country, where it is the almost universal custom of the children to wear wooden clogs, a tile floor with a substratum of dry sand is to be preferred to a wooden one, as on the latter the clogs cause an extremely inconvenient noise, and besides that, tile floors may be more easily kept clean. Dr. Woodford recommends, for exceptional consideration, stone floors made of the Caithness flags.
2.-Irregular Attendance of Children, and their early departure from School. These are subjects upon which nearly all of the Inspectors have something to say, and most of them appear to lament that the evil increases from year to year. The withdrawal of children so early from school, and their irregular attendance, seem to be entirely and exclusively caused by the demand for juvenile labour. About ten, or at the most ten and a half, is the average age at which poor children now leave school, whereas it ought certainly to be not less than thirteen. It is a lamentable fact, that the much earlier age at which children are now removed from school than formerly is almost sufficient to counterbalance the advantages which have been derived of late years from the great improvements made in the machinery of education. Mr. Cook has ascertained, that in the metropolitan district boys under twelve years of age earn, as errand-boys for tradesmen, as much sometimes as eight shillings per week - more than a pupil-teacher in his last year. It is a matter worthy of earnest consideration, on moral grounds, how far it is desirable that children should thus at such a tender age have the means placed in their hands to become independent of their parents. How can the parent exercise any moral control over a wayward son, who in reply to any expostulation may turn round and say, “I don't want your assistance or shelter, my wages are sufficient to enable me to provide for myself ?” One other great misfortune connected with this sad state of things is, that the small amount of knowledge which the child may have acquired is soon forgotten on account of the early age at which his studies have been broken off. Referring to these unfortunate children, Mr. Bowstead remarks, “ they are taken away before reading has ceased to be a disagreeable task; the work of self-education has not been commenced ; they never voluntarily open a book again, and in a very short time they have lost every trace of their school-training, except, perhaps, that visible influence upon the character which early lessons seldom fail to exercise down to the close of life.”
The remedy pointed out by most of the Inspectors is, that attendance up to certain age should be rendered compulsory. Some recommend a sort of compromise, by giving the parent a portion of the child's time for the purposes of remunerative labour,-a plan resembling the half-time system in factories. Any legislation upon the subject must, under the most favourable circumstances, be attended with very great difficulties; and Mr. Cook, although acknowledging the necessity of legal interference, suggests a remedy which would, no doubt, have the desired effect if the employers of juvenile labour could be induced to agree to it
. They might do so, he says, " if they were generally convinced of the ascertained fact, that a more complete education would make the youths in their service more valuable instruments. They would only have to arrange the employment of boys, so as to allow them to attend school some three hours daily until the age of fourteen, or even fifteen years. Such a system would involve some alterations in the organisation of our schools and in the bours of attendance, which could be easily made without impairing their efficiency or involving any considerable expense.”
(To be continued.)
THE TEACHERS' Aid FUND TO THE NATIONAL Society. DEAR SIR,-Presuming that your readers, like myself, are deeply interested in the operations of the National Society, though like me connected with it at present in no other way, I venture to lay before them through your journal a plan for increasing the subscriptions by which it is in a great degree supported. I am very sorry to see from the Report of the Society read at the last Annual Meeting that it is likely it will lose, in common with other Societies, the aid of the Queen's Letter. Perhaps others may see a reason why this should be so; but to me it certainly does appear marvellous that no exception should be made in favour of a Society which is successfully labouring every day to accomplish a work which so many members of both Houses of Parliament profess themselves anxious to further—the education of the people of this country in the principles of the Church which by God's all-directing providence is established therein, as well as in sound secular knowledge. I do believe that if ever a case existed in which an exception ought to be made to a general rule, it is that of the National Society; what is more, 1 do hope that it will yet be made. Why should not clergy and laity petition ?
In the event, however, of such not being possible, I would beg to remind the thousands of Church teachers in England and the Principality of the power they possess by virtue of their position to carry out a scheme towards aiding the Society. Many pounds are annually spent in their neighbourhoods uselessly, and hundreds of pence by children attending their schools, with much harm to themselves. A teacher cannot ask for these for himself; and his requests for his school must be very limited if he would avoid the imputation of interested motives. Why, then, should not every teacher become a local collector for the Society, and a fund be got together, called “ The Teachers' Aid Fund to the National Society?” Boxes might be had also for each school similar to those provided by the Propagation Society, and children be induced to put their spare pence into them. This done in every Church school, would, I am sure, bring in to you an immense sum annually.
I beg therefore to propose, that those teachers who are willing to become local collectors for the National Society do send their names to you, and that they be supplied from the Depository at the Sauctuary with small collecting books as credentials, bearing the stamp of the Society; and that every month, under the heading of“ The Teachers' Subscription Fund in aid of the National Society," you print in your paper their names and the sums they collect. Perhaps sir, you can say whether the Depository would supply small collecting books to those teachers who would adopt the plan. They need not fear to ask aid for so great a Society, especially from the middle classes. If you print this, I have made up my mind not to let the subject drop until something is done.- I am, &c.
Ελπίς. We shall be very happy to co-operate with our correspondent in carrying out his valuable suggestions. Whenever we are favoured with a number of names of schoolteachers willing to adopt the plan, the Secretary will have boxes and collecting.books prepared and forwarded to their several addresses. Possibly the Schoolmasters' Associations would be willing to promote the movement.-[Ed. M. P.]
SKETCHES OF SCHOOL-WORK.
The Bible Lesson. No. I. There is no sight, perhaps, more pleasing than that of one whose powers of thought and great goodness are employed for the benefit of and among those who most need such aids, by reason either of their intellectual or moral weakness. Analogous cases are sometimes met with in the animal world, in which the nobleness and power of the strongest and largest are exerted with all the gentleness of positive infirmity in behalf of the weakest. There is a Divine economy in all this; and it was an apostolic injunction that “the strong should learn to bear the infirmities of the weak.” Frequently have I been reminded of this when I have seen a man, evidently of a high order of mind and great sincerity, whose face has been furrowed with the lines of thought, and whose experience of the world has been great, perhaps sad, standing in the midst of a group of children teaching. Their views of life were as yet unclouded, and over their memories stole no sorrowful recollections; and they have looked up to him as a father—dear as a father to them, because of his gentleness. I propose in this (the first of a series of papers) to put down the substance and manner of a Bible-lesson I heard given to a group of children in a Church school, by one who seemed to me all power and goodness,-one who appeared to me to realise the ideal of a Christian teacher.
It was a bright morning in May, when I found myself hurrying to the school in the village (or rather little town) of N- I knew that the school had only been opened two months before, in a neat building erected by the liberality of a neighbouring squire, aided by a munificent grant from the National Society. As soon as I had crossed a little wooden bridge over the river G-, at the bottom of the village, I overtook groups of children on their way to school ; most of them with bags or satchels containing three or four books each. These children, as I afterwards found, were either in the first or second class, and the master had adopted the excellent plan of letting them buy and carry home these books of outlines, with the view of their committing to memory tasks in the evening. As soon as I reached the door of the school, the master came out to meet me, having heard of my intended visit the evening before, and knowing me by name, though not personally. He was simple and quiet in manner; and I was much struck by the affectionate and confiding looks with which the children regarded him as they entered and saluted him one by one. At a signal from a bell on his desk they knelt for prayers. It was the birthday of one of them; and I was surprised to hear him read, among other prayers selected from the Liturgy, one for the child in question. One petition I recollect, for it was very solemn and beautiful—“ Lord, thou hast brought Samuel thy child to the close of another year; another year is he nearer the grave and the corruption of his body of clay : as we add year to year so do we add sin to sin, and Thou addest love to love. O give him grace to keep from sin, and add holiness to holiness, and at the last embrace him in Thy everlasting arms !"
After prayers the Bible-lesson was commenced; the elder children used their Bibles, and the younger ones formed an inner square and listened to the others, though they occasionally answered when easy questions were put to them in turn. The subject of the lesson was “ Obedience and Disobedience to Parents." I append the master's “notes” of it; for it was a part of his system to devote one half-hour every evening to the preparation of manuscript memoranda of his Scriptural and catechetical instruction.
His object at commencing his lesson was evidently to rivet the attention of the children, to raise them to a high pitch of expectation, and excite their appetite for what was in reserve. Glancing round the class, he commenced as rapidly as possible a series of homethrust questions, which the children answered in a body until every one in the class was fairly excited. “Who fed you when you were unable to feed yourselves, children? Who has worked for you these many years ? Who has wept for you when you were ill and suffering ? Who has nursed you in illness ? Played with you ? Laughed when you laughed? Who would give their own bread for you rather than that you should go without? What ought you then to do to them ?" They were nearly breathless by their rapid answering. Then suddenly lowering his voice almost to a whisper, he said, “ How, then, I ask you solemnly, are you to show that you love your father and mother ?” The reply was of course obvious. They could not fail to see his meaning. Then commenced the reference to cases of obedience and disobedience to parents recorded in Holy Scripture. This was done in a reverent and quiet manner. The answers were given by the children singly ; though occasionally, when he saw the attention flagging, the familiar word "all” restored it, and led them to answer together. His questions were so simply put and so naturally connected with each other, that he always seemed able to drive them up, as it were, into a corner. It was in reality catechising. He dwelt on the love of Joseph in sending for his father, who was only a shepherd,-an office held in abomination by the Egyptians ; on Samuel's readiness in falling in with the wishes of his mother, who had promised him to the Lord; on Ruth's love for her mother-in-law; on Esther's obedience to Mordecai, who had acted as a father to her, even after she had become a queen ; on the conduct of the Rechabites in obeying the precepts of their father Jonadab; and lastly, on the obedience of the Holy Child Jesus, " who went down to Nazareth and was subject to” Joseph and Mary. He asked a few questions about each person, and then led them to refer to their Bibles for the case of obedience to which he wished them to pay special attention.
By a natural transition he led them to see the danger and ingratitude of disobedience to parents. He alluded to Esau, "who gave great grief of mind to Isaac and Rebekah, and who lost the blessing of his father and found no place for repentance, though he sought it with tears ;” of Hophni and Phineas, and their end; and lastly to Absalom,
even the young man Absalom,” who, led by pride and ambition, forgot the past love of David his father, and drove him from the throne. “ Those tears of David, children, shed on Olivet by the Psalmist, brought down punishment; and you know how that punish
ment came." “ We all know," they cried out, "we all know ;' and twenty hands were at once thrust forward to show how ready and able they were to answer. He next dwelt on the duty of obedience to kings, and on that of submission “ to all our governors, teachers, spiritual pastors and masters.” Several striking texts of Scripture were repeated by the children, all connected with the subject of the lesson ; and I noticed that he bade them learn one to say to him on the following morning : “ The eye that mocketh his father and despiseth to obey his mother, the ravens of the valley shall pick it out, and the young eagles shall eat it.” At the close of the Bible-lesson the children knelt as they did at the beginning, and their teacher said a short prayer to the effect that “God would give His grace, that those words of teacher and children might become good acts, so far as they had been pleasing to Him." I spent the day in school, and need not say that I found the secular instruction fully equal to the religious instruction. In fact, if a teacher can give a good Bible-lesson, he can give any lesson.
It is a great mistake to suppose that the intellectual powers are not exercised by the study of Scripture and Catechism ; nothing exercises them more.
I was to be the rector's guest for the night and the following day, and I took an opportunity of spending an hour with the master in the evening; and a lovely evening it was.
We found ourselves taking a stroll along the banks of the little river. The May-fly was out, and the rich banks contrasted finely with the golden tint of the setting sun upon the water. As soon as we had cleared the village, I said, “ I admired your Bible-lesson this morning, and longed for your simple but effective manner.” very glad,” he answered mildly, " for it is the most important lesson of the day. I often feel careworn and low in spirits, for I have lost every one belonging to me. They lie yonder,” he said, pointing to the churchyard ; “but the thought that the good seed may bear fruit some day cheers me up. I feel that I could do nothing did I not diligently prepare my lessons in the evenings." After much more conversation on the prospects of Church education and the efforts made by the National Society during the last fifteen or twenty years (with which he seemed acquainted), I drew him into an allusion to his
"I have been here a considerable time," he said, “and laboured for many years in a mere cottage. Our school increased so much that we found it impossible to go on without a new and larger schoolroom ; and now you find us well off in this respect. When I first came to this village I found that it had not been the teacher's custom to call occasionally on the parents of his pupils. This I did ; and not being used to the practice, and thinking I had some object for my own interest in view, they received me coldly. I persisted, however, in sitting down by their firesides for a quarter of an hour, and talking about the progress of their little ones; and if a child had been absent for a day or two, or was ill, I was sure to be at the house in an evening or so. By going on in this way I know I have gained the respect and confidence of every parent in the place. I have had many sorrows myself; and these have softened me, I hope, and made me more considerate than I once was. My wife died soon after I came here, leaving me one child-a daughter. She grew up, and was a great comfort to me. Her personal attractions were moderately great, and her disposition was every thing I could wish.
eighteen she began, however, to droop; a settled melancholy, relieved at times by excessive spirits, a dazzling brightness of eye, and a hectic flush, betrayed too well the worm that was silently consuming her. Many of my Bible-lessons are owing to her conversations with me. She is gone. But, in fact, for a man to teach children religious things he must really feel their power himself, and must read the mind and heart of a child." The bell to call the village-choir together to the school for practice at that moment sounded, and we were obliged to retrace our steps ; but often have I recalled his last words—"a man to teach children religious things must really feel their power himself, and must read the mind and heart of a child.” This, then, is the secret of Bible-teaching.
I have visited the village of N- once since, but my friend lies in the churchyard with those he loved. The rector led me to bis grave; and on a May evening, too. Curiosity led me into the school once more ; but how changed was every thing-he was not there. A young master had succeeded him,-a “pushing master," as he was described. The Bible-lesson was very matter-of-fact and very cold. It was mere history. Many things not before taught had been introduced, “ isothermal lines,” “mapdrawing," and "horizontal dip;" but the formation of Christian character was wanting. I hope the children may in after-life be all they were in my friend's time. I fear not, though could rather hope.
A. (The Catechetical Lesson will be the subject of the next sketch.)
The Master's “ Notes” of the Lesson. I. Obedience to Parents is founded on gratitude, if nothing greater. They fed us, watc..ed over us, rejoiced with us, laboured for our wants.
At the age
II. Examples: 1. Joseph, whose whole history shows it, Gen. xlv. 19.
2. Samuel fell in with his mother's wishes, 1 Sam. i. 11 iii. 1.
scendants, Jer. xxxv. 18.
Second Sunday after Easter), Luke ii. 51. III. Under this head class all those texts commanding obedience to authority, due
respect for the aged and those filling sacred offices, Prov. xxx. 17, xvii. 6; Lev. xix. 32. Show how Spartan children behaved
to the aged. They were heathens, and set us an example.
2. Sons of Eli, 1 Sam iii. 13 : they fell in battle.
and his own heart was pierced.
NOTES ON THE LAST SIX CHAPTERS OF THE PROPHET ZECHARIAH. The second portion of the prophecy of Zechariah, extending from chap. ix. to the end, differs considerably from the first in subject-matter and structure. The subject-matter of the first portion bears a direct reference to the circumstances under which the several prophecies were delivered, and the times when the prophecies were uttered are distinctly marked; but it is impossible to determine under what circumstances the prophecies of the second portion were delivered, and their subject-matter extends mainly to times long subsequent to the prophet's days.
These prophecies may be thus arranged : 1. Predictions regarding the nations bordering on the Holy Land, ix. 1-8; 2. General promises to the Jews, ix. 9, x. 12; 3. More particular prophecies relative to the Messiah and His days, xi., xiv.
1. In the first division, among other things, is predicted the fall of Tyre, ix. 3, 4; and then the conquest of the Philistines, terrified as they would be by her fall, ix. 5-7; and the deliverance of God's house from the army of the invader, ix. 8. This prophecy refers probably to the expedition of Alexander the Great into these countries, B.c. 332, in which expedition he destroyed Tyre, by burning it to the ground, and killed or enslaved all the inhabitants. After that he proceeded to Gaza, the principal city of the Philistines, and destroyed it also. But between these two events occurred a remarkable incident, by which the Temple and city of Jerusalem were preserved from the invader's attempts. When Alexander marched against Jerusalem, it is recorded that he met on his way Jaddua the High Priest in his robes, attended by the priests in their proper habits, and the people in white garments. On witnessing this spectacle, the conqueror relented of his purpose, returned with the high priest to Jerusalem, and, at his request, granted the Jews full permission to enjoy their laws and religion, and exempted them every seventh year from payment of tribute.* By this remarkable deliverance the words of verse 8 seem to bave been at least partly fulfilled, though the close of the verse directs us to look to some greater and final deliverance, one day to be accomplished.
2. The second division (ch. ix. 9—x. 12) records the future successes and restoration of the Jews, after they have endured the punishment of their sins ; but the exact fulfilment of these predictions it is difficult to determine. The 9th verse of ch. ix. is evidently prophetic of our Lord's solemn entry into Jerusalem before His Passion, as recorded in Matt. xxi. 1-10, John xii. 14, 15; and the 10th verse foretells the conversion of the Gentiles, and the universal kingdom of Christ, in language very similar to the words of Psalm lxxii. 7, 8.
3. The third division contains more particular prophecies relative to the Messiah and His days, the glories and blessings of His future kingdom, the conversion of the Jews, and their restoration in the latter times. I will notice those only the fulfilment of which we gather from the New Testament.
In this respect ch. xi. 3-14 contains perhaps the most remarkable predictions, recording as it does, in such detail, many of the circumstances of our Lord's ministry on earth. This will be easily seen by the following table :
* See Prideaux's Connection, part i. book vii. an. 332.