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the religious feeling, which is the essential basis of conduct, was to be kept up, in the present utterly chaotic state of opinion on these matters, without the use of the Bible. The Pagan moralists lack life and colour, and even the noble Stoic, Marcus Antoninus, is, too high and refined for an ordinary child. Take the Bible as a whole ; make the severest deductions which fair criticism can dictate for shortcomings and positive errors ; eliminate, as a sensible lay teacher would do, if left to himself, all that it is not desirable for children to occupy themselves with ; and there still remains in this old literature a vast residuum of moral beauty and grandeur. And then consider the great historical fact that, for three centuries, this book has been woven into the life of all that is best and noblest in English history; that it has become the national epic of Britain, and is familiar to noble and simple, from John-oʻ-Groat's House to Land's End, as Dante and Tasso were once to the Italians; that it is written in the noblest and purest English, and abounds in exquisite beauties of mere literary form; and, finally, that it forbids the veriest hind who never left his village to be ignorant of the existence of other countries and other civilizations, and of a great past, stretching back to the furthest limits of the oldest nations in the world. By the study of what other book could children be so much humanized and made to feel that each figure in that vast historical procession fills, like themselves, but a momentary space in the interval between two eternities; and earns the blessings or the curses of all time, according to its effort to do good and hate evil, even as they also are earning their payment for their work ?
On the whole, then, I am in favour of reading the Bible, with such grammatical, geographical, and historical explanations by a lay teacher as may be needful, with rigid exclusion of any further theological teaching than that contained in the Bible itself. And in stating what this is, the teacher would do well not to go beyond the precise words of the Bible ; for if he does, he will, in the first place, undertake a task beyond his strength, seeing that all the Jewish and Christian sects have been at work upon that subject for more than two thousand years, and have not yet arrived, and are not in the least likely to arrive, at an agreement; and, in the second place, he will certainly begin to teach something distinctively denominational, and thereby come into violent collision with the Act of Parliament.
4. The intellectual training to be given in the elementary schools must of course, in the first place, consist in learning to use the means of acquiring knowledge, or reading, writing, and arithmetic; and it will be a great matter to teach reading so completely that the act shall have become easy and pleasant. If reading remains “hard," that accomplishment will not be much resorted to for instruction, and
still less for amusement, which last is one of its most valuable uses to hard-worked people.
But along with a due proficiency in the use of the means of learning, a certain amount of knowledge, of intellectual discipline, and of artistic training should be conveyed in the elementary schools; and in this direction—for reasons which I am afraid to repeat, having urged them so often-I can conceive no subject matter of education so appropriate and so important as the rudiments of physical science, with drawing, modelling, and singing. Not only would such teaching afford the best possible preparation for the technical schools about which so much is now said, but the organization for carrying it into effect already exists. The Science and Art Department, the operations of which have already attained considerable magnitude, not only offers to examine and pay the results of such examination in elementary science and art, but it provides what is still more important, viz., a means of giving children of high natural ability, who are just as abundant among the poor as among the rich, a helping hand. A good old proverb tells us that “One should not take a razor to cut a block :” the razor is soon spoiled, and the block is not so well cut as it would be with a hatchet. But it is worse economy to prevent a possible Watt from being anything but a stoker, or to give a possible Faraday no chance of doing anything but to bind books. Indeed, the loss in such cases of mistaken vocation has no measure; it is absolutely infinite and irreparable. And among the arguments in favour of the interference of the State in education, none seems to be stronger than this—that it is the interest of every one that ability should be neither wasted, nor misapplied, by any one; and, therefore, that every one's representative, the State, is necessarily fulfilling the wishes of its constituents when it is helping the capacities to reach their proper places.
It may be said that the scheme of education here sketched is too large to be effected in the time during which the children will remain at school; and, secondly, that even if this objection did not exist, it would cost too much.
I attach no importance whatever to the first objection until the experiment has been fairly tried. Considering how much catechism, lists of the kings of Israel, geography of Palestine, and the like, children are made to swallow now, I cannot believe there will be any difficulty in inducing them to go through the physical training, which is more than half play; or the instruction in household work, or in those duties to one another and to themselves, which have a daily and hourly practical interest. That children take kindly to elementary science and art no one can doubt who has tried the experiment properly. And if Bible reading is not accompanied by constraint and solemnity, as if it were a sacramental opera
tion, I do not believe there is anything in which children take more pleasure. At least I know that some of the pleasantest recollections of my childhood are connected with the voluntary study of an ancient Bible, which belonged to my grandmother. There were splendid pictures in it, to be sure; but I recollect little or nothing about them save a portrait of the high priest in his vestments. What come vividly back on my mind are remembrances of my delight in the histories of Joseph and of David ; and of my keen appreciation of the chivalrous kindness of Abraham in his dealings with Lot. Like a sudden flash there returns back upon me, my utter scorn of the pettifogging meanness of Jacob, and my sympathetic grief over the heartbreaking lamentation of the cheated Esau, “Hast thou not a blessing for me also, O my father?” And I see, as in a cloud, pictures of the grand phantasmagoria of the book of Revelations.
I enumerate, as they issue, the childish impressions which come crowding out of the pigeon-holes in my brain, in which they have lain almost undisturbed for forty years. I prize them as an evidence that a child of five or six years old, left to his own devices, may be deeply interested in the Bible, and draw sound moral sustenance from it. And I rejoice that I was left to deal with the Bible alone; for if I had had some theological “explainer” at my side, he might have tried, as such do, to lessen my indignation against Jacob, and thereby have warped my moral sense for ever; while the great apocalyptic spectacle of the ultimate triumph of right and justice might have been turned to the base purposes of a pious lampooner of the Papacy.
And as to the second objection—costliness—the reply is, first, that the rate and the Parliamentary grant together ought to be
enough, considering that science and art teaching is already provided for; and, secondly, that if they are not, it may be well for the educational parliament to consider what has become of those endowments which were originally intended to be devoted, more or less largely, to the education of the poor.
When the monasteries were spoiled, some of their endowments were applied to the foundation of cathedrals; and in all such cases it was ordered that a certain portion of the endowment should be applied to the purposes of education. How much is so applied ? Is that which may be so applied given to help the poor, who cannot pay for education, or does it virtually subsidize the comparatively rich, who can ? How are Christ's Hospital and Alleyn's foundation securing their right purposes, or how far are they perverted into contrivances for affording relief to the classes who can afford to pay for education ? How— But this paper is already too long, and, if I begin, I may find it hard to stop asking questions of this kind, which after all are worthy only of the lowest of Radicals.
T. H. HUXLEY.
EW things are more astonishing in the history of philosophy than
the slowness with which ideas, which are now the common property and the life of mankind, worked their way in the world. If it be true that only in some indefinite period between the twelfth and tenth centuries before Christ the Brahminical view of the unity of God rose above the old mythology of India, then the world was at least three thousand years old, according to the ordinary computation, before that grand idea entered into the circle of human thought. If, again, Anaxagoras was the first Greek who held that Intelligence ruled the universe, then centuries more must be added before even the Hellenic mind got a glimpse of the truth. What is true of God is still more true of the clear distinction between spirit and matter. Not a child amongst us but takes in at once the notion of a disembodied soul, yet how long it was before men shook themselves entirely free from materialism. How coolly, how unblushingly, did the Stoics teach materialism, without apparently exciting any particular attention or opposition ! Of course, the great revolution in this respect was accomplished by the victory of Christianity. The new religion was distinguished from every previous one in this respect, that it was
founded on a fact. A traveller had returned from that bourne from which none had hitherto come back. There were legends enough about the appearance of beings from the invisible world. In India, gods had become incarnate ; but who had ever seen them? In Greece, the strong arm of Hercules had brought a faithful Alcestis to gladden her mourning husband's home; but who had spoken to her? Now, at last, an undoubted man of flesh and blood had been heard by thousands to allege that He came from heaven, and had died in public; and many men had gone about the world declaring that they had seen Him risen. Thenceforth the notion of a disembodied soul, and the distinction between spirit and matter, took their place among the first principles of human nature. Yet even then, how slowly did the distinction, even after Christianity, take its place in human science! Among the first Christians who began to reflect philosophically on their faith, Tertullian startles us by speaking of the body of the Deity. Commentators no doubt rightly interpret the expression so as to do away with its awkwardness; yet it is at least plain that the rude realistic mind of the Carthaginian found it hard to represent to himself the substance of God except in materialistic terms. Tertullian was a heretic, but Melito is said to have used similar language. As late as the fifth century, St. Augustine, Platonist as he was, avows that until his conversion he was totally unable to separate in his mind spirit and matter.
So slowly did this notion enter into human science, for it is of reflective thought that I speak. Of course, while Tertullian blundered, every Christian catechumen learnt the distinction in its first instruction. I do not believe that Sandilya first excogitated the unity of God, or that Anaxagoras first evolved the truth which Aristotle connects with his name. If it had been so, then th Indian and the Greek were discoverers before whom Plato and Newton would have to hide their diminished heads. Without taking into account a primitive revelation, I believe that the great thought had been working in many an untutored heart. In the same way, I have no doubt whatever that the Christian Church taught the distinction between spirit and matter from the very first. I am only pointing to the fact that some of the first thinkers found a difficulty in mastering it. In proportion, however, to the slowness of its victory was the solidity of its triumph. The great idea took its place firm and undoubted among the axioms of science. For fourteen hundred years it has maintained its place, from which even the Reformation did not cast it down. It was enshrined in the very heart of the theory of Descartes, after he had flung aside St. Thomas and the schoolmen; it survived the disintegrating power of universal doubt. It is only lately that a timid and guarded approach to a