Oldalképek
PDF

then remarked upon the necessity of having the best possible instructors for their schools. When he first set himself to work in bringing about a better education of the working classes, he set it down as a settled principle that they must have the best possible teachers. And he was happy to say that on all occasions he had been satisfied that they had obtained the best instructors. He thought that the examination that evening would show that the instructors at the model school were not only intelligent, but “apt to teach.” Many of them would remember that according to the old fashioned system of education, any man, however broken down, was considered fit for a parish schoolmaster. Persons unfit for any other situation were generally selected as schoolmasters; whereas the principle they acted upon was to select those who were fit for any other situatic n. Hence arose the change in the system of education. He ought perhaps to mention that the Manchester Road or model school was opened on the 19th of October, 1842; since that period 3,000 factory children had passed through the school, and he would venture to say that they had carried away with them a large amount of useful information, at least they had obtained that elementary knowledge which was the groundwork of a useful education. Since the establishment of Stotthill and Eccleshill schools 6,657 children had passed through them. In addition to these schools there were three others in connexion with the parish church, through which 1,385 children had passed, making a total of

8,042. Then there were the Sunday schools in connection with the church, where the children were receiving a sound religious education; the number of children who had passed through these schools since 1839 amounted to 3,106. He could assure the meeting there was nothing that had occurred since his labors in that parish which had given him greater satisfaction than to know that these dear children were trained up by a system of education of so superior a character. The rev. gentleman then announced, that the examination would conclude by the children singing the national anthem. After which the apostolic benediction was pronounced, and the pleasing and instructive ceremony terminated.

We cannot close our account of these interesting proceedings without again noticing the extraordinary proficiency of the children brought under examination, and to none did that proficiency appear to give more unbounded satisfaction than to Dr. Scoresby. The audience (which was of a highly respectable and influential character) frequently testified their approval of the excellent system under which the children had evidently been trained ; and many a mother returned silent but eloquent thanks, by her happy countenance and tearful eye, for the religious instruction her child had received. Altogether the evening's proceedings were full of interest, and must have produced a powerful impression upon every christian and philanthropic heart. From the Halifax Guardian.

[ocr errors]

DURING the last month the following books have been received:—
Letters on the Unhealthy Condition of the Lower Class of Dwellings, especially
in large towns; founded on the Report of Health of Towns' Commission. With an
appendix, containing Plans and Tables. By the Rev. C. Girdlestone. 8vo. pp. 114.
(Longman & Co.)
The Nursery Governess. By the Author of “The Week.” 18mo. pp. 188. (Seeley).
Arithmetical Questions; comprising a Systematic Course of Mental Arithmetic.
Part 3. The Theory and Practice of Fractional Arithmetic. By W. M'Leod.
12mo. pp. 78. (Longman & Co.) -
Gilbert's Geography for Families and Schools.
A New French Grammar, with Exercises.
Glasgow. 12mo. pp. 327. (Oliver & Boyd.)
Correspondence—Suivie et Variée, a l'Usage des jeunes dames.
Benoist de Malroy. 18mo. pp. 150. (Longman & Co.)
A Manual of Phonography, or Writing by Sound. By Isaac Pitman.
12mo, pp. 64. (Bagster.)
The Phonographic Class Book. By J. Pitman. 12mo, pp. 24.
The Phonotypic Journal. 8vo. January to July 1845. (Ibid.)
A Plea for Phonotypy and Phonography. By A. J. Ellis, B. A. 8vo. pp. 40.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

REASONS SUGGESTED WHY SO MANY OF OUR YOUTH
DO NOT BECOME PERMANENTLY ATTACHED
TO THE CHURCH.

REv. SIR,-‘‘The church neither follows the course of the sun nor moon, to number her days and measure her seasons, according to their revolution; but Jesus Christ being to her as the only sun and light whereby she is guided, following his course alone, she begins and counts on her year with him.” In the revolution of this ecclesiastical year, our attention is most effectually called to the successive facts of our redemption, the doctrines arising therefrom, and the dispositions suitable to be entertained. We are prevented from exalting any one part of the christian scheme into a favourite sentiment, while the others lie obscured and unheeded. The humiliation and the glory, the cross and the crown, the death unto sin and the triumph unto life, the way of sanctification trodden by her head and to be walked in by his members, the church thus exhibits. To the observant and attentive there need be no crude notions of religion, no indistinct perceptions of the work of Christ. The man of God, with a plain honest understanding, may see to a great extent what he is, what has been done for him, what he is to do himself; and moreover, he is supplied with the most illustrious examples of faith and works. It is impossible for even a casual observer of the means of grace, and of the methods of communicating religious knowledge and stability, not to see the great advantages thus secured by the formularies of our church, compared with the unsystematic developments of conflicting and contradictory sects. Dissent, as far as is practicable, has blotted out of the tablet of its recollection, both the persons on whom the superstructure of the church rests, and the events which constitute the distinctive features of christianity. The church, on the other hand, has engraven upon her ensigns the history of our faith, and has marked each event with its peculiar devotional exercises, and in commemorating the character and achievements of departed saints, she bears unequivocal testimony that her constitution and principles are catholic. In pursuing the enquiry, why so many of our youth become dissenters, or become altogether irreligious, let us glance at the course of services prescribed in the prayer book, with the manner in which they are taught to observe them. The three greatest festivals of the year, Christmas, Easter, and Whitsuntide, are known to them because they are then allowed a cessation from school duties. On Christmas-day, probably, they are assembled for church service; and on Easter-sunday and Whitsunday, between the school and an occasional sentence in the sermon which may meet the level of their capacities, they derive some intimation of the events at these times commemorated. When the Sunday is over, they are dismissed to take their worldly pleasure. The impressions they have received are necessarily of an indistinct character, and the trace of them is immediately lost in the engrossing occupations of sensual amuseVol. III.-Septem BER, 1845. S

ments. Can any sufficient reason be assigned why the Monday and Tuesday of these weeks should be an utter blank to them, as far as regards the services of God's house Surely we should have forgotten the festivals of Christianity altogether, if it had not been for the calendar of the church; and it seems utterly inconsistent in us who undertake to train children in her footsteps and guide them by her light, systematically to disregard the manner in which she consecrates these portions of our time. We ought to set ourselves to implant deeply in the minds of the young this important principle, that recreation, joy, feasting, &c., ought to be “sanctified by the word of God and prayer.” We ought to seek to elevate the religious over the worldly concerns of life, the spiritual over the sensual. This we do as far as a great deal of precept goes; but we omit to use the very force we have at command, to form corresponding practical habits. The church prescribes and enjoins formal religious services as the fundamental parts of our festivals. We depress this fact, or place it as a secondary consideration; and we permit, if we do not enjoin, an observance precisely of a character with that of dissent. The historical facts connected with the three festivals alluded to, may perhaps not be erased from the minds of those who either observe or despise the associated ordinances of religion. An important church principle is, however, by our indifference, sacrificed, viz. that religious facts, to be worth anything, must be commemorated by religious worship, and thus form a basis on which every individual may shape an appropriate private life. It would be interesting to some to know in how many of our church seminaries the holy season of Lent is practically recognized by an enjoined abstinence from some amount of ordinary gratification; and in how many church schools, during the course of “the holy week,” an appropriate service is performed. In a visit I lately made to some neighbouring schools, I met with one instance of the kind, and where, too, on every Friday, the boys are made to know and practise the duty of humiliation, by a cessation from their customary cheerful songs. This is an instance of attempting to train up children in true church principles, which, let us bear in mind, consists not merely in laying before them a certain amount of information, but also in making them practically to digest it. It is thus that religious realities will become matter of life, and not of speculation merely. As churchmen, we may legitimately boast of an order of ministers who are the successors of apostles; and the fact of such succession we are in honesty bound to impress upon the recollection of our scholars. But if we habituate them to undervalue or everlook the days and services specially dedicated by the church to the memory and achievements of the holy apostles themselves, what wonder if the foundations of their belief herein are weak and indistinct, and that their minds fail to anchor themselves upon that firm ground 2 Again, the festival of the Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ, so essentially connected with those “gifts” of the christian ministry for which we are anxious to inspire reverence, passes over without observation, though it is one of the days on which the church especially appoints the holy communion to be administered (see the special preface). So with the festivals of the Circumcision of our Lord, the Epiphany, the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, the Annunciation, St. Michael and all Angels, all Saints, &c., &c. But the most astonishing mistake ever made by those who seek to educate in church principles, is the omission of the daily prescribed worship. We assemble the youth of a parish together for the avowed purpose of making them consistent members of the church, and then, for reasons which ought to make us blush for shame, we lead them not to worship God oftener than one day in a week. Now, what is this but to come down to the grovelling of dissent, and that, too, from the loftiest and holiest exercises in which the mind and the body can be engaged 2 We none of us should hesitate to judge generally of a man's churchmanship by this criterion :-Does he attend the daily services of God's house, if perchance he have the opportunity ? But in our school system we provide not for the formation of such a habit, which is as essential a duty of our spiritual being as the eating of food is for the preservation of our bodily strength. Our progress as a nation in ignorance and infidelity, has been marked among many other departures from church ordinances, by the gradual removal of “the daily sacrifice,” in place of which hath come in “the abomination which maketh desolate” the courts of our God. Now in the present miserable lapse of society from the faith and devotion of our forefathers, a fairer opportunity for reviving the long neglected services of the church, than is afforded by our national schools, could hardly be desired. Two important points may be gained at once –1st. Does any minister of Christ lament that the place of God's presence would, if opened, be sought by none but himself Here stand a goodly company, out of whose mouths “God hath or- dained praise,” and whose melody may be made acceptable to him and grateful to man. 2ndly. The foundation may be thus laid for raising a generation who will not be alike ignorant of their duty and indisposed to perform it. “But the schools open and conclude with prayers.” Yes, and it is hoped that some of the children know what it is to be gathered round the family altar, and also that they are habituated to repeat their private devotions. But what of these things, good though they be 2 The ordinances of God’s sanctuary, with the principles which they embody, are after all the grand outward distinctions between the church and dissent. Where and when has dissent prescribed morning and evening worship The thing is utterly foreign to its nature and tendency, and so it must be to the hearts of thousands now under our charge, as it is to the hearts of thousands who have been schooled before, if we rise not to the full practical recognition of this plainly enjoined duty. As far as our schools are themselves generally concerned, there is no reason whatever why the morning and evening worship of Almighty God should not constitute a part and parcel of our educational system. I have heard it admitted by competent judges, that three successive hours of school application, is too long for the youthful mind; and any one may see the weariness that comes over a school at the end of that time, in spite of every stimulus that the master can apply. Half or three quarters of an hour might well be spared for the above purpose ; and while it would attach consistency to our efforts, and rescue from oblivion the most important principle that can animate the human heart; while it would infallibly elevate the moral perceptions, and add a dignity to the lives of the most humble; and while it would form a certain and safe bias to the will, the understanding, the imagination, and the affections, it would at the same time render lighter and more energetic the duties of imparting and receiving the instruction of the schoolroom. Before any reader dismisses this subject as chimerical, or at least impracticable in the present state of affairs, let him bestow some close attention upon its intrinsic importance; and if it be found to contain elements of high and holy training, which have been too much lost sight of, let his faith rise to a higher standard, and the works shall follow. I have neither the time nor the ability to meet and dispose of the many minor considerations that might be urged against the adoption of the course here advocated. I see, however, a mighty auxiliary to the enemy in church education neglected, in the disregard paid to the services and sanctuaries of God; and I would fain hope that the matter may dwell upon the minds of those who can more ably and fully develop its momentous bearings. I will conclude with the following remarks:— 1st. In seeking to plant sound church principles in the hearts and minds of the young, we must correctly estimate the relative authority of the prayer book to the church on the one hand, and to the bible on the other. Now we are in consistancy bound to admit, that, though the principles and doctrines of the Anglican Church are embodied in holy scripture, it is not there the unlearned and ignorant are to find them duly developed and systematically arranged. If, therefore, we are to teach church principles, we must look closely to the church's own expression of them, as contained in her liturgy; and let it be remarked, that the principles of truth herein handed down to us, are not expressed in an abstract form, to invite argument or encourage speculation; but they are presented as being established, certain, and unalterable; and moreover, they are inseparably associated with a routine of practical observances. 2ndly. A course of prescribed outward observances is better adapted to form in children a definite and fixed faith, than mere discourses upon doctrine, though we may seek to establish it by a thousand texts of scripture. 3rdly. The neglect of the services of the church is not overlooked by those whom we educate. They see a most flagrant discrepancy between the book of common prayer and our obedience to it; and though they may say nothing, the conviction settles down in their minds, and grows with their growth, and strengthens with their strength, that it occupies not the ground of a true and authoritative exposition of our common duties.

T. F. Cornwall Central School, August, 1845.

« ElőzőTovább »