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BIBLE CLASS AGENCIES.
PROBABLY few will be disposed to deny, that however successful Sunday schools may be, when conducted in an exclusively religious spirit, they flourish better when they have also the benefit of those secular agencies which are strictly compatible with the great principles of Christianity. The Sunday school is an institution whose primary object is to benefit spiritually those children who may come within its pale; but if I rightly understand the object Sunday school teachers have in view, it is not only to teach and impress the principles of the Bible upon the minds of their charge upon the Sabbath, but also to endeavour to make them reduce those principles to practice during the week; hence, the friendly and familiar communication of the teacher with his class during the week is generally productive of great benefit to both.
It is to be feared that there are some worthy people, who, in their hypercritical prudence, quite defeat their own object. They do not like children to read fiction, so they provide them with a mass of learned lumber in the shape of "Lectures," "Discourses," "Sermons," and "Treatises; " literature which the minds of children (and of many adults too) are utterly unable to grasp: consequently they are driven to the meretricious novels, which are so fatally attractive to young people. Where a school is conducted in this exclusively religious spirit, where all secular books are forbidden the library, and all secular recreation prohibited at the children's festivals, it is no wonder that the children regard such a school with something like disfavour.
In this short paper, however, I purpose to confine my remarks to one or two agencies that might be beneficially employed in connection with Bible classes.
I have no hesitation whatever in mentioning elocution classes as most invaluable aids to Bible classes. Young men will have associates of their own age and sex, and if they do not find them in connection with their own school, they will find them in far less reputable places. The advantages they would derive from being active members of elocution classes, are neither few nor small; they would have the benefit of co-operating with each other in all the affairs of the class; they would have one object, that object their mutual improvement. Thus a love of reading and study would be engendered; a desire created not only for each one to benefit himself, but to benefit his fellow-members. At the meetings of the class
the members would read, recite, or make short speeches; when the speaker had concluded, the others would criticize him. If he had pronounced a word incorrectly, some one would tell him of it; if he had failed to catch the author's meaning, the other members would give their opinions upon the passage, and so on. It may be urged, perhaps, that this personal criticism would be likely to excite illwill; such, however, is very seldom the case, and a judicious chairman would have no difficulty in maintaining a kindly feeling among the members. Where it is possible, the teacher of the Bible class should be the president of the elocution class.
A Manuscript Magazine is a valuable auxiliary to an elocution class; it might be issued monthly or quarterly. In the class the members would learn pronunciation, and acquire a habit of studying and correctly interpreting the thoughts and language of others; but by contributing to the magazine they would learn to think for themselves, and to express their thoughts in a graceful manner. magazine should also contain blank pages, in order that each contributor might criticize the sentiments, composition, spelling, &c., of the others.
It would not be wise, perhaps, for young women to be members of the same elocution class as the young men, but I see no reason why one upon a similar plan should not be formed in connection with the female Bible class; of course, both sexes might be contributors to the magazine.
I can speak from observation respecting the benefits of elocution classes, and manuscript magazines. I could name three or four young men, with whom I am personally acquainted, who attribute nearly all their self-acquired knowledge to their belonging to an elocution class, and to their contributing to a manuscript magazine in connection with it. It was only this morning that one of them, a mechanic, took train for Glasgow, in order to enter the Glasgow University; he had, entirely unaided, saved sufficient money for that purpose. I have seen the contributions of another in this very "Sunday School Teachers' Magazine."
Singing classes are also exceedingly useful in connection with Bible classes. Teach the young men and women rational songs glees, and anthems, and they will not so easily learn the vulgar and unmeaning rubbish which is so popular, but which is so unpleasant to "ears polite."
A CONVERSATION BETWEEN A TUTOR AND HIS PUPIL.
NEXT morning Hugh and Harry went out for a walk to the top of a hill in the neighbourhood. When they reached it, Hugh took a small compass from his pocket, and set it on the ground, contemplating it and the horizon alternately.
"What are you doing, Mr. Sutherland?"
"I am trying to find the exact line that would go through my home," said he.
"Is that funny little thing able to tell you?" "Yes; this along with other things.
Isn't it curious, Harry, to
have in my pocket a little thing with a kind of spirit in it, that understands the spirit that is in the big world, and always points to its North Pole?"
"Explain it to me."
"It is nearly as much a mystery to me as to you."
"Where is the North Pole ?"
"Look, the little thing points to it."
"But I will turn it away. Oh! it won't go.
back, do what I will."
"Yes, it will, if you turn it away all day long.
It goes back and
Look, Harry, if you were to go straight on in this direction, you would come to a Laplander harnessing his broad-horned reindeer to his sledge. He's at it now, I daresay. If you were to go in this line exactly, you would go through the smoke and fire of a burning mountain in a land of ice. If you were to go this way, straight on, you would find yourself in the middle of a forest with a lion glaring at your feet, for it is dark night there now, and so hot! And over there, straight on, there is such a lovely sunset. The top of a snowy mountain is all pink with light, though the sun is down-oh! such colours all about, like fairy land! And there, there is a desert of sand, and a camel dying, and all his companions just disappearing on the horizon. And there, there is an awful sea, without a boat to be seen on it, dark and dismal, with huge rocks all about it, and waste borders of sand-so dreadful!"
"How do you know all this, Mr. Sutherland? You have never walked along those lines, I know, for you couldn't."
"Geography has taught me.'
"No, Mr. Sutherland!" said Harry, incredulously.
"Well, shall we travel along this line, just across that crown
of trees on the hill?"
แ Yes, do let us.”
"Then" said Hugh, drawing a telescope from his pocket, hill is henceforth Geography Point, and all the world lies round about it. Do you know we are in the very middle of the earth?" "Are we, indeed ?”
the middle of it ?"
you know any point you
"Oh! yes-of course."
like to choose on a ball is
"Very well. What lies at the bottom of the hill down there?" "Arnstead, to be sure."
"And what beyond there?"
"I don't know."
"Look through here."
"Oh! that must be the village we rode to yesterday-I forget the name of it."
Hugh told him the name; and then made him look with the telescope all along the receding line to the trees on the opposite hill. Just as he caught them, a voice beside them said:
"What are you about, Harry?"
Hugh felt a glow of pleasure as the voice fell on his ear.
It was Euphra's.
"Oh!" replied Harry, "Mr. Sutherland is teaching me geography with a telescope. It's such fun!"
"He's a wonderful tutor, that of yours, Harry."
"Yes, isn't he just?
But," Harry went on, turning to Hugh,
We can't get farther for that hill."
"what are we to do now? "Ah! we must apply to your papa, now, to lend us some of his beautiful maps. They will teach us what lies beyond that hill. And then we can read in some of his books about the places; so go on and on, till we reach the beautiful, wide, restless sea; over which we must sail in spite of wind and tide-straight on and on, till we come to land again. But we must make a great many such journeys before we really know what sort of a place we are living in; and we shall have ever so many things to learn that will surprise us.' "Oh! it will be nice!" cried Harry.-David Elginbrod.
EDUCATION IN RUSSIA.
(Concluded from p. 243.)
IT may be interesting to English readers to know how history is proposed to be taught. "It is limited to those general events, and those principal persons, in whom and in which is embodied the political, intellectual, and moral progress of the life of the people; with a general review of such facts in universal history as have exercised an influence on the historical development of our country." Geography beyond the Russian Empire, is to be studied with special reference to "countries most remarkable for commerce and manufactures." Though the Institutes will have a yearly vacation of some two months, the pupils will, even then, be under the direction of the Council as to the disposal of their time.
Having thus afforded a succinct view of so much of the projected Statute as relates to elementary teaching, and to those whose office it will be to give it, we need not, at least now, add a similar account of those chapters which pertain to the progymnasiums and gymna siums, the stepping-stones to that higher education which is completed at the University. For similar reasons, we omit what belongs exclusively to private schools, whether day or boarding, and to private domestic tuition. We may add, however, a few peculiarities of female schools, divided into three categories, the two highest of which, by the bye, are placed " under the protection and patronage of Her Majesty the Empress." Each school is to be managed by a Directress, who must "possess at least the designation of domestic governess;" and to be presided over by a Curatress "from among the most honourable and respected persons of the town." To provide for higher exigencies, those girls whose parents desire it, may learn French and German, music and dancing, and other extra subjects.
Special regulations are proposed for Sunday schools. These are thus described: "Sunday schools, while not differing in any par ticular from daily schools for reading and writing, are destined for the education of persons of the working and labouring classes of both sexes, who do not enjoy the opportunities of profiting daily by educational training." In every primary Sunday school there must be a manager responsible for the maintenance of order; this duty the founder may perform in person. The diocesan authorities are to be early apprised of the opening of Sunday schools, whether by associations or by individuals, with the names and designations of the manager and teachers; and the Ordinary is "bound to ap