Imágenes de páginas

been, and is, the National Society for Promoting the Education of the Poor in the Principles of the Established Church.

I proposed in my last letter, that teachers should be supplied with collecting books, in order that they might become local collectors for the Society, and that those who were willing to use their influence in this way should send up their names to you for insertion in the Monthly Paper. I hope that the many ladies throughout the country who collect for the Propagation Society, may be induced to do what they can for the National Society also. In fact, the one society is doing missionary work abroad, and the other at home. A few facts, by way of argument in favour of the National Society, may probably be useful to those persons wbo consent to become collectors. The object of this letter is to supply them. Before I enter on this point, however, allow me most humbly, but most energetically, to suggest to the clergy and laity throughout England and Wales the desirability of sending petitions to the proper quarter for the restoration of the Queen's Letter in behalf of Church Education. Such petitions might perhaps be drawn up at ruridecanal, archidiaconal, and other meetings; and the laity in the respective neighbourhoods of such meetings could afterwards affix their signatures to them. I mention the laity, because by the constitution of the Church, and from the importance of education to the stability of society, they are as much concerned in the matter as the clergy. Indeed my own fear is that the co-operation of the laity is in general not sufficiently solicited. But to turn to arguments for local collectors.

1. Up to Christmas 1853 the grants made by the National Society amounted to 341,8631., and up to the same period the number of scholars in schools in connection with it to 1,615,101. During the last twelve years the number of qualified masters sent out from the Institution in Manchester Buildings has been nearly 900. The number of schools united to the society during the last year (1854-1855) has been 234, making the total number of such schools 10,436. During the same year the sum of 82511. was voted by the Committee in aid of school-buildings reported as finished. During the same year also, the number of mistresses sent out from Smith Square was 62, from Whitelands 43 ; and about 50 more are expected to take charge of schools in December 1855. The number of masters sent from St. Mark's College during the last year is 29, and from Battersea 50. The Depository at Westminster supplies books and apparatus to schools at a reduced rate; and your Journal, with a steady circulation of 6000 copies every month, is spreading information on school matters throughout the country. I am not connected with the Society, as you know (for you have my name in confidence), and therefore my only means for learning these particulars are the published documents of the Society itself. I cannot shut my eyes to these facts, neither can I forbear to ask the important question of every Churchman who reads this letter: How can this good work be continued, if the income of the Society is not kept up ? Let our middle class be asked to contribute more than they have done; let these facts be laid before our rich laity. It is not enough that they contribute to the schools in their respective neighbourhoods ; because without the nucleus afforded by your Society these and thousands of other schools could not for years have been commenced.

2. Another argument in favour of Church Education is, that it is an effectual barrier to a purely secular system. We know the danger of such a system. It has signally failed in producing a well-ordered, Christian, and contented people. Let the Continen't witness. Whence those notions of universal equality, that contempt for authority ; those revolutions, murders ; those bands of angry men, the avowed enemies of all who possessed property, simply because they possessed property ; that flood of Socialism and infidelity? Such a system does indeed signally succeed in producing a people whom nothing but stronger wills and arms can govern. Let us in this country, one and all, rally round a Society whose system is as much opposed to this as the mid-day is to the darkness of midnight. Let us rally round it in personal endeavours, moderation, and unity.

3. A scheme of instruction that would make no distinction between religious prin. ciples, but make all colours of opinion alike in the dark, is almost as dangerous as the secular system. Its inevitable tendency is indifference to all truth. To give education on this principle is to increase the bounds of knowledge, but to supply no standard. In fact, to distort all objects; to put darkness for light, and bitter for sweet.

Let us make an effort, then, for the Society, in a spirit of faith in its cause and brotherly love. We cannot beg for ourselves, our countenances would fail us ; but without shame we may ask for a Society whose corner-stone is Charity, and watchword, Work. -I am, &c.



[ocr errors]

[The first of these sketches appeared in the August Number.]

The Catechetical Lesson, No. II. The sounds of church bells carried on the breeze up some pleasant valley, a strain of soft music, the measured fall of water, a leaf drifted from its parent stem, the song of birds, and even the pattering of rain upon the house-top, are amply sufficient to awake slumbering recollections, to recal past impressions. Where is he who has not at times proved the truth of this? It was but last night that, wending my way through some meadows which skirted the lawn of a retired parsonage, I heard the sweet voices of children singing a strain I had heard before ; and with this strain came back all the circumstances that bad consecrated it to my memory. I had heard shouts and laughter in the early part of the evening, and doubted not but that they had proceeded from children staying at the parsonage; now, however, they seemed to have been exhausted by their games, and, joined by the vicar (for a bass voice accompanied theirs), to be singing in parts a solemn hymn before retiring for the night. I had heard it two years before in a town school on the sea coast in S ; and the catechetical lesson which preceded it is still fresh in my mind.

It was a very hot afternoon in the middle of June. The boys were set free for a quarter of an hour previous to the catechetical lesson-always the last in the day; the first being the Bible lesson. Away they posted to a rising ground or green hillock at the rear of the school, whence they could get an uninterrupted view of the sea. There it lay, gently rising and sinking like a wave of golden light as the sun shone upon its surface. The master and myself followed them ; for I was spending an afternoon in the school. I must give them a treat this afternoon," said he, as he threw the strap of a large telescope over his shoulder, “ for they have been very attentive to-day; and it is one of my maxims to render the performance of duty as cheerful a work as possible, and to deal out commendation by pounds and censure by ounces.” Before I could acknowledge the wisdom of this remark, his pupils bad crowded about him, and were taking long looks through the telescope at a vessel in the distance, which, to the naked eye, was a mere speck upon the waters.

" It is the Daphne,” said one; " and she has lately been repaired at W--" " It is the Cautious,said another; “ for I know the way she has of lopping over.' " It is the Firefly,said a third ; “for I beard them say in the town, that they expected her off the coast to-day.” “Ah! it is not the Sydney, at all events,'' said a youth with black lustrous eyes, a pale face, and very delicate and beautiful features. The youth's countenance bespoke an intelligence beyond his years, and this seemed greater from the shade of melancholy which, like a summer's cloud, occasionally passed over it. He had turned away to join another group of boys, when the curate came up to us. He had heard the remark of the last speaker, and on joining us said, “ Poor fellow, he never can forget it; but perhaps it is as well he cannot." Without heeding the curate's remark, two or three of the boys said almost simultaneously in an under tone,“ No, it is not the Sydney, certainly; for she went down one March, and all on board perished.” · Yes, boys, said the master (who had heard their observation), “you are right; they lie low now in the deep caverns of the ocean, their heads are wrapped about by sea-weeds. They hear not the roar of the sea, nor the sounds of the waves beating against the Jag Rock. The summer's heat cannot touch m, neither can the piercing frost.” “I shall never forget it," said the curate; “the minute guns sounded so mournfully, the lights seen through the gloom as they fitted about the vessel, and the shrieks which in unison came across the howling waste of waters as she went down, are still fresh in my mind."

Yes," said the master, after a pause, “ one cannot bear to think of it; but one thing I gained that night, and that was Sydney; and I have never had reason to repent of having adopted him. His poor mother literally threw him into old Jonathan's arms just as the ship was sinking. She stood half-dressed at the side of the vessel distracted, and I suppose saw the light reflected on Jonathan's face. He was the only man who would venture out in his boat on such a night, and was on the point of leaving the rocks on which the Sydney had struck. He brought the babe to shore in safety-the one thing he had saved. He landed close to where I stood ; for I was a little apart from the crowds of villagers. Perhaps he made for the fixed light of the lantern which I held in my hand, and with which I had rushed down to the beach. I asked liim to give me the child; and I shall never forget bis words as he took him out of the bottom of the boat, wrapped in a rough sea coat, . Ah, sir, they that go down to the sea in ships, and occupy their business in great waters, these men see the works of the Lord, and His wonders in the deep.' Neither can I forget his devout demeanour at church on the following Sunday, and the tremulous sound of his voice as he read that verse in the Psalms for the

[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]



[ocr errors]

day: 'Thou rulest the raging of the sea, Thou stillest the waves thereof when they arise."" I believe," said the curate," he came up to the school-house very regularly, did he not, to see how Sydney was growing, as he called it.”. “O, yes," replied the master ; "and after evening service on Sundays he was sure to look in; and reflecting upon all he used to say, I do really believe his greatest wish was to see Sydney turn out a respectable boat

The poor fellow would be much surprised if he could come to life and find that we were meditating sending Sydney to Labrador as a catechist instead. Speaking of the catechist's office, I am reminded, however, that there will be very little Catechism for us if we do not at once find our way into the schoolroom." With this remark, he called his pupils together, and led the way to the school, the curate, with Sydney, bringing up the

The Catechism was the last lesson ; and I was anxious to see how a master of such superior tone of thought and feeling as that of which I knew him to be possessed, would conduct the instruction. The boys assembled in their class-squares, and at a given signal marched out round the side-walls of the room so as to form three sides of a large square. I inquired afterwards, why the catechetical instruction was not given to them standing in their usual places. “ There is a very strong reason," said he, “why it should not. Our religious instruction should be rendered, by all possible means, quite distinct from mere instruction in arithmetic, reading, &c. Nothing assists us more in making this distinction than a chan e of place for the children. They notice this, and are impressed by it. It at once conveys its own meaning; and besides, when they stand in that way for Bible and catechetical instruction I can see them better, and rivet their attention more effectually. In a small school of sixty or seventy it can be done."

'I he bell on the master's desk sounded for silence. The article of the creed explained the day before was the “ forgiveness of sins ;'' to-day the subject was, " the resurrection of the body.Yes, children," said the master, “ she went down at night, and all on board perished. The waves opened for a moment to receive their bodies-men, women, and children. No friendly hands closed their eyes, no friends watched by their bed-sides. But if you wander into any churchyard, you will see gravestones marking the resting-places of pien, women, and children; that is to say, the sea receives some, and the earth others. But sooner or later, my children, the end of you, of me, and of every one is certain, whether the sea receives us or the earth : dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return. Your hands, now so warm, must become as cold as marble; your eyes, that are now looking upon my face, must be closed in death ; your ears, which take in the birds' songs and sweet music, will be so insensible that millions of voices will not strike them; and your bodies will be so much past feeling, that bot burning coals laid upon them will not make you cringe. You must sleep. But what (said he, looking round the class) will happen at the last day?" Every one answered, “ We shall rise." "And what of the sea ?" must give up its dead.” “Then, when the Sydney went down one March, containing, as I bope it did, many good Christians, would they hope to sleep for ever ?" "No." What thought do you think would flash across their minds?" “That they would rise again.” And to whom among the crew would this thought be a happy one?”

“ To those who were good Christians" “ What sort of a thought would it be to those in the vessel who knew that they had not tried to serve God?”. " A miserable one." we have learnt that the resurrection is Gospel to the good, and misery to the wicked ; strive therefore, children, to be among the good. Who will help you to do so ?“God."

I was much pleased with the opening of the lesson; and admired the master's tact in availing himself of the incident of the shipwreck, which they had spoken about out of doors. In fact, bis abrupt way of commencing the subject with the words, “ Yes, children ; she went down at night, and all on board perished,” was electrical. He riveted their attention at the commencement, and sustained it by the sequence of his questions. Each question arose naturally out of the preceding one ; and he led them at last to the source of all goodness and strength. I may say, that I have never yet beard a good teacher who did not pursue much the same course; that is to say, he struck the attention at first, and made his questions grow out of each other. The method is explained by George Herbert in the chapter of his Country Parson called “the Parson catechising I shall now give a sketch of the master's lesson, and the “ notes” which be used. The notes, as the reader will perceive, are very full.

“We must believe in a resurrection,” he said, “because God bas declared it; but admitting, for sake of argument, that the infidel is right, and that the resurrection is a foyth, the Christian bas lost nothing by believing its truth, he is as happy as the infidel in this life; but admitting that the infidel is wrong, as he may be, the Christian has gained every tbing and the infidel lost every thing. There are promises of a resurrection in the Old Testament (Daniel xii., Job xix.), and examples of it, shunamite's Son, &c.; and yet Christ is called the first-fruits of them that slept, because they rose to die again ; but over Him death was to have no more dominion. But first-fruits imply after-fruits, and

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

"" Then


[ocr errors]

who are these but ourselves ? In nature there are many things to remind us of a resurrection, as a corn of wheat (John xii. 24); spring following winter, making every thing burst out into new life ; morning following night. Our bodies will be raised, hence we should keep them pure. Changes will pass on them ; they will be raised spiritual bodies, with spiritual affections. We kick our foot against the dry, dead-looking root of a plant, and think of its apparent deadness, yet in summer it bears beautiful flowers; so our bodies, when raised, will be more glorious than they are now. Whenever we are tempted to sin with eye, hand, tongue, or ear, we should think of our resurrection, and pray that God would daily raise us from the death of sin to the life of holiness.”

“And now, children," said their teacher, “let us sing the beautiful hymn on the resurrection you learnt last week.” At this invitation, they sang in sweet tones the hymn which I mentioned at the opening of this sketch as having attracted my attention two years afterwards in another part of the country. I have never forgotten two of the

I give them entire. It was at my request that the “notes” of the afternoon's lesson were written out for me, and I append them, as likely to be useful to the reader. 1.

Although in grief and gloom,

The crown the Saviour gives
Within the silent tomb

To him who in Him lives
We lay them down;

Will never fade;
We hope tho' death destroy,

'Tis woven by His hand,
To life they'll rise in joy,

Whom leader of their band
And hail their crown.

In life they made."


[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Notes" of the Lesson on the Resurrection. 1. The Resurrection of the Dead is declared by God. We lose nothing by believing it, should it not be true; and should it be true (as it undoubtedly is), we gain every thing. The feelings of most persons attest a resurrection, as utter annihilation is repugnant to them. Man's superiority and capabilities point to it, and he is created for God's glory.

II. Predictions and Examples found in Scripture : Dan. xii. 2 ; Job xix. 25, 26, 27. Son of the Widow of Sarepta, Shunamite's son, the man that was let down into Elisha's sepulchre, 2 Kings xiii. 21; Lazarus, Jairus' daughter.

JII. The future resurrection will be different from that of these persons. We rise like Christ (the first-fruits) to die no more. Christ rose by inherent power; we shall be raised.

IV. Types in Nature.—Spring following winter, the growth of corn, John xii. 24; morning following night; the growth of flowers from dead brown-looking roots.

v. Our bodies will be raised spiritual bodies, and will last for ever.

VI. Lessons flowing from the Doctrine.-Since our bodies will enter into glory, they should be kept pure here; bodily suffering will leave us, hence we should cheerfully bear it; the resurrection will be the greatest evil to the wicked and impenitent, but to the holy the best of blessings; we should daily rise above this lower world in heart and life: “ Awake thou that sleepest, arise from the dead; and Christ shall give thee life.” We should think of the resurrection if our eye inclines to evil like that of Eve (Gen. iii. 6), Achan (Joshua vii. 21), and David (2 Sam. xi. 2); or our tongue, as that of Shelomith's son (Lev. xxiii. 11), or Gehazi (2 Kings v. 25), or those of the children of Bethel (2 Kings ii.), or of Ananias and Sapphira; or our ear, as that of Herod (Acts xii. 23), or our hand, as that of Cain (Gen. iv. 8), Ahitophel (2 Sam. xvii.), Jeroboam (1 Kings xiii. 14).

It was late in the evening when, in company with the curate, I walked up to the school to look over the books of the school lending-library. I took occasion to ask the master, who joined us in the class-room, what principles he laid down for his own guidance in giving catechetical instruction.

"Well, sir,” he answered, “I fear our fault in schools generally, in teaching Scripture and Catechism, is that of questioning in a matter-of-fact way on the mere historical details or doctrinal points. We do not use sufficient imagery, nor endeavour enough to make the Catechism a thing of every-day life, weaving itself into the texture of our daily experience. Every thing should be referred to it-births, deaths, accidents, shipwrecks, storms, joys, sorrows; they all may be made to strike the child's heart as connected with his religious instruction. To speak concisely, I hold these principles before myself in giving Catechetical lessons :

“ I. To feel earnest myself in what I teach.

' II. To seize upon matters of daily experience as illustrations. III. To use very simple language and short sentences.

IV. To prepare the child for his future struggles, by not disguising the temptations he will meet with, and by dwelling on the beauty of goodness.

V. Always to prepare "notes,” and not to say too much."

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

I confess, I left the school more seriously impressed with the exceeding value of the Catechism as a basis of conduct than when I entered it; and I shall never forget the curate's remark when we got outside : “ That man," said he,“ has found out by experience what is right, and he does it. It is folly to say that a good teacher is not respected, or that his social position is an anomaly. That man is a Christian teacher, and he is valued and respected wherever he goes. His influence on character is marvellous ; for Sydney (who spoke about the Sydney to-day first, and was saved from the wreck) is exactly like him, and I wish I was too. We want such men as he.”

A. (The Geographical Lesson will be the subject of the next sketch.)


RELIGIOUS TEACHING IN SCHOOLS. Sir,- I am struck with the communications from two of your Correspondents this month. As I think they call for a word of notice, I will, with your kind permission, notice them both. The first is from your correspondent “ A.," under the head of “Sketches of Schoolwork: The Bible Lesson, No. 1.” In the latter part of his communication he says, referring to the former master, whose teaching he had been describing (see p. 175):

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,' 'map-drawing,' and 'horizontal dip;' but the formation of Christian character was wanting.”

The other is from “ Maître d'Ecole.” He says (see p. 177):

“I am constantly being annoyed and discouraged by the remarks of lady patronesses, who say that 'such extreme education is an evil; it is quite enough when they can read their Bibles, write their names, and distinguish a sixpence from a shilling.' One lady, on seeing my first-class girls draw the map of Europe from memory, remarked: Is it not ridiculous to see girls, who will probably be my servants, taught to do that which I cannot do myself? I merely replied, 'Improve your time; practice makes perfect; in elevating the mind we elevate the body.'

Here, then, we have apparent contradiction in the expressed opinions of your two correspondents on the subject of education, though I trust not in their real sentiments.

First, allow me to thank“ A.” for his communication, which I think valuable in many respects.

The two hints as to preparing of lessons and commencing the day with catechetical religious instruction are very important. It is well to recollect David's resolution, “ Neither will I offer burnt offerings unto the Lord my God of that which doth cost me

And, surely, if any part of a teacher's work is worth bestowing labour upon-and what is good without labour?-it is that which relates both to the bodies and souls of his children, both to that life which now is, and to that which is to come, for both which “godliness is profitable." So far, then, he is right.

But "knowledge is power," of whatever kind it be; and as “ Maitre” says, “In elevating the mind we elevate the body.” But is elevation of body the only object to be aimed at ? or, what are power and elevation of mind and body without judgment and principle and direction ? Is it not to put a drawn sword into the hand of an infant, or to set Phaëton to drive the chariot of the sun ?.

Let “Maître d'Ecole” show by example, not only that his pupils can draw maps from memory, but also, that instead of their attainments making them conceited and proud, they are more humble, modest, obliging, self-denying, ready and willing to do their duty in whatever station of life God may be pleased to call them. That they are, in short, servants of Christ, and not of man only, " obedient in all things to their masters according to the flesh; not with eye-service, as men-pleasers, but in singleness of heart, fearing God; and whatsoever they do, doing it heartily, as to the Lord and not unto

and then, I think, he will not find any longer a complaint of too much learning. Let their religious training be not merely theoretical, but practical ; and let a portion of time daily, and, if possible, the first portion, be given to this kind of training.

Thus a good foundation is laid ; and frequently during the day may illustrations be drawn and allusions made from other lessons to the one thing needful.” Let them be taught that the first and truest knowledge is to “know thyself,” to know the pride and deceit of the human heart, the need of a Saviour, the character of Him who died for our sins, the privileges of His members, and the promised aid of the Holy Spirit to renew the depraved will and corrupt affections. Let them be taught to seek for that light and wisdom from above which is only given to those who know their own ignorance ; let them learn " that the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.

And do we not find in her Majesty's School Inspectors' reports often great complaints


« AnteriorContinuar »