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in the designs of God, there is laid down for each a defined course of obedience, be his situation in life what it may; and that he has been placed where he is, in order that he may work out such course.
Now the chief value of a parish is, that it presents to our mind a particular section of the great field of the Church's operation. Its circumscribed limits furnish us with a direct answer to the question,—Who is my neighbour ?---in such a way as to call upon us to work for his good.
The lesson it teaches is not vague, but practical: we can deny, indeed, to no one the name of neighbour ; but the members of the parish have a claim upon our interest next to those of our family.
Just, however, as there is order in a well regulated family, so in the parish every relation must be observed ; so also must we be anxious to carry into the parish that cordiality of feeling of brotherhood which subsists in the family.
In applying the foregoing considerations to the question of adult schools, it seems to me that no system will work well and be permanent, which is either subversive of ecclesiastical or political order, or neglects the sympathies and charities which are due to all as brethren.
Whatever be the arrangements of such schools as to detail, these broad features or principles must be kept in view.
The clergyman, for instance, must ever be regarded as responsible for the spiritual state of the parish. He is appointed to watch for souls as one that must give account. Having this responsibility laid upon him, adequate means of discharging it ought to be secured to him. No teaching, therefore, should be allowed which has not his sanction; and if any question should arise as to the soundness of that teaching, it will be remembered that the church has provided an appeal to the bishop, who again has the laws of the church for his guidance.
Although, however, the clergyman may justly demand an ecclesiastical authority—the regulation of all parochial teaching, he cannot lay claim to any political authority in the parish, but such as he derives from the state. Again : however wealthy or important as to station individual laymen may be, they cannot in any way take the place of the clergyman ; they cannot be justified in interfering with his duties.
Still they have as real a relation to their poorer brethren as he has, and are consequently as responsible for the due use of the particular means they possess of doing them good. They are as much bound to labour in their own sphere for the spread of sound principles as he is in that special office which he holds.
If they put impediments in the way of his usefulness by negligence, evil example, or direct opposition, they thereby cause offences in the church; and woe be to that man by whom offence cometh.
Hence I infer, 1st, that adult schools, to form part of the parochial system, ought to be under the clergyman of the parish as to the matter of instruction; and, 2ndly, that the lay members of the church should be willing to co-operate with him, each according to his station and ability, in carrying this important object into effect.
ON THE ENGLISH POSSESSIVE CASE.
Rev. Sir,--In the March number of the English Journal of Education, there appeared a paper on the Possessive Case of the English Language, and the writer having signified his wish to have the opinions of others on the subject, I shall feel obliged by the insertion of the following remarks :
The circumstance of the possessive case of our language being derived from the Saxon, and retained on account of its great utility, was very positively asserted in a small grammar, written many years ago, by Bishop Louth, and several examples adduced to show the error that the generality of English writers, heretofore, had fallen into on the subject; namely, that of considering it as a contraction of the pronoun his ; although many examples from old and good authorities, went far to strengthen this opinion, such as :-“ Nevertheless, Asa his heart was perfect with the Lord” i Kings, ch. xv, v. 14. “ To see whether Mordecai his matters would stand," Esther, ch. iii, v. 4; together with some examples extracted from more modern works, of which the following is one from Pope's Odyssey, “By Young Telemachus his blooming years.”
This peculiarity of the English language, the sign of the genitive, is noticed by Addison in the Spectator, who there says :-"the same simple letter s on many occasions does the office of a whole word, and represents the his and her of our forefathers ;” and when we consider that the translators of the bible have used the pronoun his on several occasions, instead of the letter s, to denote ownership or possession, we must confess, that the idea of the sign of the genitive now used being a contraction of the pronoun, rests upon something more than mere supposition.
The view taken by all writers on English grammar is, that, independent of the diversity of opinion respecting its origin, there is but one case belonging to our language, of both singular and plural nouns ; and that this is the possessive, formed by annexing the letter s with an apostrophe, except when the noun ends in s, and in that case by the addition of the apostrophe alone.
That the old writers may have written the plural nouns without the sign of the genitive, does not in any way affect the general practice, which has certainly continued more than a century; and in many instances it would be impossible to denote ownership or possession as regards certain words in the plural number, without having recourse to it. It is evident such sentences as the following, “the children's bread,” “the oxen's food,” could not convey their respective meanings otherwise than by annexing the casal termination, or by employing the preposition “ of.”
The true and simple view of the subject seems to be, that the sign of the genitive, either derived from the Saxon, or formed by the contraction of the pronoun his, was, at a very early period, justly estimated for its importance; and that during the time that our language was undergoing rapid improvement, and began to be used generally as a me
dium for conveying thoughts, ideas, and events, it underwent various changes in common with almost every word and particle in the language, until at last it assumed the form we have at present of an s with an apostrophe for both singular and plural nouns, except in the case where a final s requires for euphony's sake the apostrophe alone.
The writer of the article in the last Journal seems to object, not to the annexing of the apostrophe to plural nouns, but to the assumption that it is a representative of the Saxon genitive; and confesses his opinion to be, that the apostrophe is merely a sign to distinguish the possessive from the other cases, and does not denote, as the apostrophe of the singular does, the omission of an e or i, much less the omission of another s: from what source it could have derived its origin, such being the case, other than the Saxon genitive, or the contraction of the pronoun his, appears a difficulty that requires some explanation.
Since there is but one casal termination belonging to the English language, it is strange that its origin should remain in obscurity; and as unity of opinion and practice is so necessary in every point connected with the signs we use to express our thoughts and ideas, any information you may be able to produce on this subject, must prove interesting to the readers of the English Journal of Education. I am, Rev. Sir, your most obedient servant,
CONFIRMATION CLASSES. [The following remarks on the desirableness of forming confirmation classes as a permanent parochial institution, have been extracted from the introductory observations prefixed to a short series of tracts on confirmation, printed at Melton Mowbray, last year, but apparently not published :)
It seems desirable that classes of this description should exist, as a permanent institution, in every parish. They might be organized after the celebration of each confirmation, and kept in operation until the return of the next. All the young persons likely to offer themselves for confirmation on the succeeding occasion, might be enrolled without regard to rank, except in the formation of the particular classes.
It would be a convenient arrangement, probably, for each class to meet separately, for instruction, once a month ; and for the whole to assemble together, to be addressed, once a quarter,
There would be no difficulty, in general, in inducing young people to enrol themselves in these classes. The poor would feel it an honor to partake of instruction, which they knew was imparted to the children of their betters, as well as to themselves, and to belong to the same system of classes. To pass from the sunday school class into the confirmation class, would be regarded as a step in advance; and this is what most of those would willingly take who now leave the sunday school simply in consequence of their becoming older or bigger than the majority of the scholars. Servants and apprentices might be expected to be permitted by their masters to attend, when attendance was required only once a
month. The children of the classes above the poor, who do not attend the sunday school, might indeed demur, but this is not probable; and, should they attend, they would have an opportunity of receiving private religious instruction, of which-unless their parents instruct them, or they be at a day or boarding school where instruction in religion is imparted—they are now quite destitute, excepting, indeed, where classes, tantamount to what are now advocated, already exist.
By means of such classes, the young would be kept under the immediate superintendence of the clergyman (as from the Rubric at the end of the Catechism, it seems they ought), until they were prepared to be received into the full enjoyment of church privileges at the time of confirmation.
The benefits to be derived from the adoption of the proposed arrangement are obvious enough.
Young persons would be brought under those improving influences, which are experienced by them during the season set apart for the preparation for confirmation, at an earlier date, and continue under them for à longer time. The solemn act of self-dedication, involved in confirmation, would be kept for some length of time before their minds, and serve as a salutary restraint; and this would continue to be the case, long enough to accustom them, in some measure, to a sense of that more than ordinary responsibility, which is incurred by a confirmation, before they were actually required to be confirmed. This, in itself, would be favourable to the formation of a saber, thoughtful, and religious character; and that, too, during the season in life (between the age of 13 and that of 16 or 17), when the character begins to be formed, whether for good or for evil. Besides, during this critical and interesting period, when the powers of the mind, and the affections and passions begin to act with that vigour which makes restraint and guidance essential; —when principles begin to be adopted, habits to be formed, and friendships to be contracted—and, when temptation is felt to be most seductive, and we are the least furnished with experience to resist it-the young would have the advantage of being placed within the immediate range of specific religious instruction and direction, and of living under the restraining and plastic influence of pastoral superintendence. They would not be exposed to the world without experiencing, in some measure, the parental protection of the church into which they have been baptized ; and, probably, they would be best taught, not only to see that they are members of the church, but also to love and to value the sacred relationship, by experiencing in the advantages they derived from their pastor's instruction and advice, the blessed effects of her nurture and admonition. At least, a reasonable effort would be made, on her part, to perform her maternal duty to the younger members of her household, by endeavouring to impart to them religious habits and a christian character ;-—such a character, as would make it proper, that when by the ceremony of confirmation they came to be delivered from a state of pupilage, they should join in her communion at the table of her Lord; and such religious habits, as would make it probable also, that they would afterwards continue in an affectionate, faithful, and pious attendance upon her ordinances.
IMPROVED WRITING MODELS.
Rev. Stro-Having for several years felt the want of some writing copies for the upper boys in my school, which, at the same time that they improved the writing, would exercise the understanding and elevate the imagination ; and having repeatedly urged this want upon many whom I knew to be well qualified to supply it, without ever seeing the work taken in hand; I recollected the proverb, “God helps them that help themselves,” and taking Young's Night Thoughts—the first suitable book that presented itself—I made the following extracts, which have been, with benefit, I hope, used as writing copies by my first class. I intended also to have made selections from other standard authors, a specimen of which I enclose; but it has occurred to me, that as many of your contributors are more competent to the work than I am, can give more time to it, and have access to mo abundant sources than I have, some of them may be induced to forward to you other pieces of a similar nature, which perhaps you would kindly publish in the English Journal of Education. These could be copied by any master for the present use of his own children, and after a time, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, or some other publishers of educational works, might take up the subject, and have such as were approved of engraved in a neat current hand for general use.
I would with deference suggest, that the extracts should not exceed six lines ; four will do very well, that being a convenient number for copying twice on one page of the writing books, with the author's name appended in small ornamental hand. When a sufficient number of extracts could be drawn from one author, I think it would be well to have a book for that author only, siinilar to this I send you. A set of books of this description, with the writing neatly executed, and only the right hand pages filled, would be an interesting addition to a boy's library. Another, and indeed the principal reason why I would have the extracts as short as possible, is, that the whole attention being directed to one idea at a time, the subject will be well understood and deeply imprinted on the memory.
THE FOLLOWING ARE THE EXTRACTS FROM YOUNG'S NIGHT THOUGHTS.
Beware what earth calls happiness; beware
Night I, line 340.
Where is to-morrow? In another world.
Night I, line 375.