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forward to—a prospect that he can somewbat elevate his position in society; enlarge his sphere of usefulness, and at the same time increase the comforts of his family and himself : and that hope will give him the energy and industry to fit him for the higher and better position to which he then may look forward.
The defects in the present state of education may in a great measure be accounted for, by its being in a transition state. It should be remembered, that thirty years back, any system of general education for the great mass of the people was unknown. I think that it must be acknowledged that very much has been done, although there is no doubt much more remains to be effected. If we go on in anything like arithmetical progression, the improvement in the next thirty years will be great indeed.
The censure your correspondent passes so summarily upon committees is, I think, undeserved. Any interference upon the part of committees should be imputed to their zeal for what they may consider the better management of their schools. And perhaps we are apt to take offence, before any is meant. We are necessarily obliged to be rather despotic; in school our will is law, and we perhaps carry unintentionally, unknowingly, somewhat of the same feeling out of school, and think that fault is being found, when the intention is only to advise. I certainly have not found any proneness to interference on the part of committees, either with respect to the management of the school or the extent to which the education should be carried; their only condition being, what every one will acknowledge to be indispensable, that the education given should be based upon religion,-the religion of the Church of England.
I certainly think, that schoolmasters have frequently “improved their condition by teaching reading, writing, and arithmetic well.” It must be acknowledged, that these elements are indispensably necessary, and must, to a certain extent, be made standards of election ; for, however great the genius of the schoolmaster may be, unless he is thoroughly grounded in elementary knowledge, he must fail in the education of the young.
The treatment of schoolmasters may not be all that they wish, or that they deserve ; but it will generally depend in a chief measure upon their deserts-upon their conduct and deportment in school, and out of school--in fact, upon the efficient fulfilment of their duties, both public and private. The respect that we pay to our commit. tees and subscribers, will in some measure be returned from them to us.
Venturing to indulge the hope, that “ Presbyter's Plea for the Admission of certain Schoolmasters into Holy Orders,” will not be entirely lost sight of; or, rather, that it will be well discussed in all its various bearings upon the church, the school-room, and the population at large, especially the middle classes, and that it may lead in good time to some practical result.
I have the honour to be, Rev. Sir,
Your most Obedient Servant, Nov. 17th, 1843.
A SURREY NATIONAL SCHOOLMASTER.
A PRACTICAL HINT OR TWO TO SPONSORS.
DEAR SIR,—Your Magazine is designed to be a medium of communication for all who are engaged in the work of education, among whom you justly enumerate the numerous, but I fear negligent, class of sponsors.
I am sorry that you have hitherto neglected to remind sponsors of their office, unless their attention has been called to it by the title page, and I forward a few observations, which may perhaps rescue your first volume from the charge of overlooking this important subject.
What, Sir, is the general manner in which sponsors attempt to fulfil the solemn charge which the church has given them, namely, to see that the child for whom they have answered at the font, “ be virtuously brought up to lead a godly and a christian life.”
To confine my remarks to our own sex, may it not be said, that with few exceptions, nothing more is done than this :-sponsors, by virtue of their relation, show a certain attention to their godson, and take some interest in the boy; they present him with a bible and prayer-book, and give him cause to remember them by pecuniary presents.
But, Sir, ought this to satisfy a godfather or godmother, who is really desirous that the child, being engrafted into the body of Christ's church, may lead the rest of his life according to this beginning?
I know well, that sponsors are not designed to supersede parental authority ; that they are to be regarded as accessories rather than principals ; but yet, it seems to me, that there are ways in which sponsors may assist parents in their work, without taking it out of their hands.
I will not attempt to describe the various modes which may be invented under particular circumstances, but I would suggest one hint, which may very readily be carried into effect.
The general custom of presenting a godchild with a hible and prayerbook, commends itself to our feelings as reasonable and good; would it not be well for sponsors to extend and enlarge this custom, by putting into the hands of catechumens some of the valuable works which are to be found on the appropriate subjects of their instructions, viz., the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments ?
What, for instance, can be easier, than for every sponsor to present his godchild with some one treatise by a standard writer on these compendiums of christian faith and duty, with an intimation that inquiry will be made on some future day as to the manner in which the work has been turned to account.
This suggestion is so simple in its nature, that some may be incredu. lous as to any real efficacy which could result from its adoption.
In my opinion, however, the effect would be most valuable, if the present were attended with no further benefit than this--that the child felt his sponsors to take a real interest in his soul's health, by their showing an anxiety to do their parts to remind the youth, that the time was approaching when he would be expected, intelligently and deliberately, to confirm and ratify with his own mouth and consent, all that his sponsors undertook for him.
There are several reasons why works on these compendiums, rather than on other subjects, should be brought by sponsors under the notice of their godchildren.
First, these are subjects which, by virtue of their office, they are especially charged in the baptismal service, to take care that their children shall learn.
Next, the number of divines who have written on these subjects, presents so large a field for selection, that treatises may be pointed out suitable for all classes, from the humblest scholar in our national schools, up to the most advanced pupil in our most famous seminaries, for sound learning and religious instruction. Secker on the Catechism, Anderson on the Lord's Prayer, are from price and style within the range of the former class ; while the works of Pearson, Barrow, &c., afford ample scope to exercise the superior faculties and powers of the latter.
A third advantage which arises from works of this nature is, that, though the field for selection is most extensive, we can hardly make a wrong choice. The differences of opinion which prevail among various classes of theologians, are seen the least in their treatises on these points. In expounding the Creed, the Lord's Prayer, the Ten Commandments, nearly all writers speak the language, if they do not breathe, the spirit of the church universal.
I mentioned, that sponsors give their godchild cause to remember them by pecuniary presents. Every thing which evinces kindly feeling on their part, or can create affectionate remembrance in the other, is to be cherished and maintained. But, Sir, ought not sponsors gravely to inquire, how far, by these well-intentioned presents, they forward or defeat the great object they should have at heart? What effect do these acts generally produce on the child ? Do they tend to mortify or to cherish the covetous desires of the world, and the carnal desires of the flesh ?
This has brought me to a subject which admits of considerable discussion. Without entering into it now, I would only add, that I feel convinced of the desirableness and necessity for boys to have money which they can call their own; but it seems to me far more mischief arises from an abundant, than could possibly arise from a stinted supply. The extravagance which is laid to the charge of young men at college, or wherever they may be placed, seems to me to be a natural consequence from the injudicious kindness of parents, sponsors, and intended friends, in furnishing them at school with an immoderate allowance.
Yours most faithfully, St. Olave Jewry.
W. W. *** The following was sent us by an esteemed friend some time ago on a card, the former part printed on one side and the latter on the other. It will sufficiently explain itself, and may of course be reprinted :
Thy vows are upon me, 0 God.—Psalm Lv1, v. 12. In remembrance of the day when
as one of the Sponsors in behalf of
did solemnly engage before God and the congregation assembled, to see that this Child should be taught as soon
as he should be able to learn what a solemn vow, promise, and profession was made in h name, at
184 Sponsors' Duties. 1. Pray for this Child Daily. 2. See that this Child be instructed, “ so soon as he will be able to learn,” in
the meaning of the baptismal promises and vows. 3. Do your diligence that this Child, when of a proper age, be brought regu
larly to church, and that h education be directed, as far as possible, by
the parish clergyman. 4. Take care that in due time this Child be brought to the Bishop to be con
firmed by him. 5. Order your own life and conversation after the rule of God's commandments,
and regularly attend the most Holy Sacrament of the Lord's Supper, and
all other ordinances of grace, that you may be enabled to do so.' And may God help you in this your endeavour to glorify His name, to serve His church, and to strengthen the hands of His ministers.
AT WHAT AGE SHOULD A CHILD BE TAKEN TO
CHURCH? Rev. Sır,—In the hopes of exciting some discussion on a very interesting question, and of obtaining an answer that may satisfy my own doubts and be of service to your readers, may I ask, " at what age you recommend a child to be taken to church.”
Some recommend a very early age, with the idea, that impressions are then made on the young mind of a wholesome, deep, and serious character; others would not take the child to the public services of the sanctuary, until he can in some degree enter into and appreciate the employment of prayer and praise.
May I respectfully ask for your opinion on this subject, or such notice of it in your Journal as may elicit the thoughts of some of your correspondents. I remain, Rev. Sir, your obedient servant, Oct. 18th, 1843.
W. B. A.
THE KNOWLEDGE OF LANGUAGE MORE IMPORTANT
THAN THAT OF OBJECTS.
Rev. SIR,—An interesting article, illustrative of the generally defective education of female servants in the Scotch metropolis, appeared in Chambers' Edinburgh Journal a month or two ago. The facts embodied in it, though somewhat ludicrous, are important in an educational point of view, and merit the attention of the philanthropist. It is not, however, my intention to offer here any comment upon them. I merely allude to the article, as having reminded me of an anecdote of a servant, whose mistress found it necessary to part with her for a fault, different from any of those recorded by the fair journalist, and which happens to be more in our way. A lady had selected from a school for the lower classes a girl, whom she intended to train as a domestic. The lady is well known for her talents and amiability of character, and is peculiarly qualified to initiate a young person into her duties. She, however, found that her most persevering efforts were in this case completely baffled by a want of language in her pupil. No article could the girl call by its proper name; every one, whatever might be its form or use, was with her a “thing." Finding that her pupil was really incapable of receiving her instructions, or in other words, that there existed not between them any medium of communication, the lady felt herself compelled to relinquish with vexation her endeavours. The school from which the young person had been taken, did not at that time afford many opportunities for the scholars to become acquainted with domestic details. As an improvement, the lady suggested that some instruction of the sort should be given. This plan was so far judicious. It was to a certain extent following the advice of the Grecian philosopher, who, when asked what was most useful for boys to learn, replied “that which they will require to practice when they become men;" and if in the education of the working classes, nothing more were contemplated than their initiation into a certain amount of routine duties, the object might in this way probably be effectually gained. But if the object of our school instructions be to expand their intellect, to elevate their feelings, and to purify their affections, surely we must not stop here. No, Sir, if we would mitigate the evils, thought by some to be inherent in our advanced state of civilization, and the extent to which the division of labour is carried in our arts and manufactures, we must endeavour to extend their vocabularies (and, consequently, if wisely done, their conceptions) to objects and relations different from, and superior to, those by which they may happen to be surrounded in their daily vocations. The author of “ The Wealth of Nations,” in speaking of the influence which the division of labour has in cramping the intellects and energies of the operative, observes that:
“In the progress of the division of labour, the employment of the far greater part of those who live by labour, that is, of the great body of the people, comes to be confined to a few very simple operations, frequently to one or two. But the understandings of the greater part of men are necessarily formed by their ordinary employments. The man whose whole life is spent in performing a few simple operations, of which the effects too are perhaps always the same, or very nearly the same, has no occasion to exert his invention in finding out expedients for removing difficul. ties which never occur. He naturally loses, therefore, the habit of exertion, and generally becomes as stupid and ignorant as it is possible for a human creature to become. The torpor of his mind renders him not only incapable of relishing or bearing a part in any rational conversation, but of conceiving any generous, noble, or tender sentiment, and consequently of forming any just judgment concerning many, even of the ordinary duties of private life. Of the great and extensive interests of his country, he is altogether incapable of judging; and unless very particular pains have been taken to render him otherwise, he is