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2. So too, it is one of your distinctions that you are church schoolmasters. I do not think I am likely to speak or to think meanly of that title. I cannot imagine a nobler one. I rejoice especially that you should claim it, because it marks you out not merely as churchmen, but as church officers, as having a ministry in the church already; whatever further sign and warrant of that ministry you may receive hereafter. I rejoice in it, because it asserts a true and noble position first for the church, next for the schoolmaster. But here the same danger recurs. In times of wars and tumults, of public meetings and debates in the House of Commons, this name becomes rather a badge to denote one class, either for honour or reproach (the reproach on the whole, is the best worth having of the two) than a witness to us of great privileges and great responsibilities. In this year of comparative quietness we have been learning, I trust, to look upon it as having a much higher signification. To regard your pupils as connected with you in a great living society, of which Christ himself is the head; to feel that the poorest and most ignorant of them has the same claim to belong to this society, as you have, or the clergyman, or the bishop, or the queen has; to know that both they and you are placed under a series of gracious orderly heavenly influences, which are meant to cultivate all the powers, affections, sympathies, which are in you, or in them, that each may act rightly, submissively, and freely in the station wherein God has placed him ; this is your right as church schoolmasters, a right to be remembered reverently and thankfully, but which we are apt to mistake or misuse when we talk of it loudly and confidently.
Every one of those committed to your care, you must look already the subject of divine care; you must feel that you are only the instruments for carrying out the divine charity towards him. This thought is so very solemnizing and ennobling a one, and yet so quiet and humble withal, that it cannot well dwell in company with any proud and turbulent feelings of difference from other men or superiority to them. But if it be once received into the heart, every day of quiet toil and duty will strengthen it and deepen it; you will find that the belief of dews falling from heaven regularly, not merely at hazard, or at intervals, upon the hearts and spirit, is a real honest belief; no dream, but the most necessary conviction for waking and acting men, one which hallows every occupation, one which makes yours the most sacred of all, and without which it would be the dreariest. And that great truth which I said, came out in the study of the Scriptures, and which, indeed, alone connects the different parts of scripture together; the truth that we are all members of one body, and so are attached to the generations behind us, as well as to those before us; this truth, vast and profound as it may seem, and as it is, will nevertheless commend itself gradually even to children; it will reveal itself to them as they are able to bear it, in histories and parables, in memorial feasts, even in commemoration of their own birth-days and the birth-days of their parents ; it will grow with their growth, and strengthen with their strength ; above all, it will grow in them as it grows in you, and as you shew it forth in acts of care and affection to the lambs of Christ's flock.
Many questions which divide men grievously from one another, when they look upon them theoretically and from the outside, will solve themselves to you in the course of your practical labour ; you will feel that the great object which you are to keep in sight, is that you may build up spiritual temples to the honour of God, and that to set up any outward thing in place of this, or in comparison with this, any formalities or ceremonial, is to forget your vocation. But you will feel at the same time, that all outward things are intended to serve this highest purpose, and more wisdom will be imparted to you, as you seek it more, respecting the ways in which they may be most effectually used. Nothing would seem to me as a blessing so worthy thankfully to be recorded in this year, nothing so good a prospect for the next, as that we have grown, in some small measure, in these feelings and perceptions. And again, I would remark that it would be a growth, and not a mere progress; that when we become more humble and charitable in our churchmanship, and bring it more to bear upon our education, we do not cast away anything that we had won before, or any heirloom that had descended to us; we merely wipe off a little of the dust that had cloven to us, and had kept our treasures out of sight; we learn more of the value of those treasures, and better how to dispense them."
3. Perhaps, the words ‘national and parochial teachers' are so associated in your minds with the word Church, that you will be surprised at my addressing you in that character under a separate head. Associated they are, and I hope always will be; still these words have a different import; they tell us something which the other does not tell. They remind you that you are Englishmen; that you are all of you connected with this country generally, and each of you with some local division of it. Thank God for this ; thank God that you are not merely members of a fraternity diffused through the whole world, but that
you have the exceeding blessing of being also bound to your fathers of this land; that you have sirnames, as well as Christian names, and not only this, but that you are tied to some one neighbourhood, and are able to share in the joys and sorrows of those who dwell in it. These things are necessary to a schoolmaster; I do not see how he can do his work well without them. I do not see how he can teach his children that they too are bound to this English soil, and to the parish in which their fathers and mothers dwelt, and that wherever they may roam, they will still have duties to each. But these distinctions too, in such years as those we have passed through recently, may become occasions of vanity. Under pretence of being Englishmen, we may become mere John Bulls, despising foreigners, thinking every thing they do foolish, or wrong, and fancying all our own plans must be the best possible, not only for ourselves, but for all others. This habit of mind is dangerous to us all ; but it becomes especially dangerous in those who are to form the hearts, and extend the minds, of children. To be sure, our poor boys and girls may never visit other lands; but they will be sure to see people who come from them; and if they never did that, at least one desires for them that they should be Christians, loving all people every where, honouring them with their hearts if they never see them with their eyes. There is a fear therefore, if we let this temper
get a-head, that our character of church schoolmaster may not only not be identical with this of national schoolmasters, but that one may mar, nay even destroy, the other. In this respect, I hope, that this season of rest from educational strifes may have done us all good. If there be one thing which properly distinguishes an Englishman, I believe it is as I have often heard it remarked—the feeling of duty. Other people may have their own high objects—perhaps higher than ours. But this word Duty, either has charms for our ears, and a power over our hearts, which we do not feel in the word Fame, or Glory, or any other; or else it rises up as a more terrible witness in our consciences of opportunities abused and days wasted, than the word Punishment or Retribution, or any similar one. That is, as I believe, an English disposition, and it is one to keep and to prize. But then it follows that it is in the simple quiet fulfilment of our duties we most realise and exhibit our national virtue; we lose it when we leave off working and begin to brag
Before I leave this point, I would say one other word which is suggested to me by the remark I just made about duty and punishment. Though it be true that we do not in our hearts think about punishment half so much as duty; at least, till we become very bad; yet it is also true, that we are apt to visit the violations of duty with terrible punishments. We are, it must be confessed, a severe people. We used to be noted for it in our code of laws, and our schoolmasters in old times were certainly the greatest floggers in Christendom. And we cannot, I think, quite shake off this character; I doubt whether it is well for us that we should. Our severity has a good side in it; it is connected with a righteous feeling that all wrong doing must be visited on the wrong doer. What we want, is to bring out the the other side, that which is properly the church side, the Christian side, of our characters, to keep this English sternness in balance. We need to regard our pupils with much hearty love, to feel that there is something much better in them than that evil which starts up to provoke our indignation, that they are in truth God's children and our brethren, though they may be shewing every day what rebellious natures they have towards him and towards us. We need to feel that our main business, as God's ministers, is to call forth this truer, nobler thing, his image, which he desires should be purged of all that degrades and faces it; then we shall understand better what processes are necessary to keep down inclinations, which try to master the child and make it a slave. Love will be at the root of our punishments as much as of our encouragements. In this, too, I seem to see many signs of growth-of growth, I would say again, not of mere progress ; for I will not admit that this is a new notion, or one which is in the least a departure from our own maxims, or from those of our forefathers. If I had given the lecture I intended about the Normans, I should have read you a passage from the life* of one of the most remarkable men as a scholar, thinker, and divine, who ever lived in this country-he was not, indeed, a native of it, yet we
See Eadmer's Life of Anselm. I hope to translate the passage for some number of the English Journal.
have a claim
upon him as he was one of our Archbishops of Canterbury)—a prelate of the eleventh century, telling how he scolded certain wise monks, who informed him that they had a set of boys under their care whom they flogged night and day, and yet who were the most wilful, hopeless little urchins ever created. You would have been struck, I am sure, with observing, how exactly his arguments against this method of proceeding, and to prove that the results which followed from it were the most natural in the world, are what we should think reasonable in the present day. So that neither in asserting the duty of christian mildness and love, nor the necessity of righteous strictness, are we leaving older men behind us ; we are only learning to reconcile the different hints and examples which they have left us, and to bring them both together into practical use.
4 I have spoken to you of the names which you bear, and of those all important characteristics of your teaching to which these names point. I would now say a word or wo about other branches of instruction in which it has seemed to me that there has been a very evident growth latterly, I doubt not even within this year, First, as in duty bound, in this place where you have devoted so much valuable, and I am certain well rewarded, time to that study, I would touch upon Language. There was nothing that struck me and delighted me more in the lecture of your president upon this subject, than the way in which he connected it with reading and learning to read. One very anxious about Progress in education could have told you how entirely new a topic this was to bring under the notice of national schoolmasters; above all, to introduce into your schools. He showed you, that so far from this being the case, you had always been busy about this very matter; you had always been teaching language. You could not set your pupils to read a page of their primer, to say nothing of a chapter in their bibles, without giving them a lesson on language. The important thing is to perceive this necessity, and to feel how very much the study of language has to do with the clearness of your pupils' thoughts and of your own; nay, with their knowledge and yours of every possible subject, from the highest to the lowest, which you have to teach them. That you understand this is clear enough, from the zeal with which you have applied yourselves to the honest examination of your own language, and of one which is so closely connected with it, and from which so much of it is derived. I will not talk to you about the freshness which the pursuit gives to the mind ; about the surprise with which you detect whole treasures of thought, --worth mines of gold, -lying in some common phrase which
every market woman is using every day; or of the kindlings of the eye, the joyful recognition with which your pupils hail these discoveries, when you impart any of them to them. Of this you
have had experience already, and will have more. Words are indeed wonders ; the more one probes them and dwells upon them, the more wonders they disclose to us ; the more ashamed one feels of the vain uses one has continually made of them. I do not know any study after that which directly refers to the nature of God himself, which more tends to awaken reverence, and something even of fear, than this; such a strange world seems to lie so very near us,
5. With scarcely less pleasure I have noticed an increased attention to the study and teaching of Arithmetic. Some of your own members have been contributing very useful manuals in this department, and I see continual references to it in the English Journal of Education. I am rejoiced to think that those who have so much experience are exercising their minds on this subject; for I am sure the exercise must be profitable to themselves as well as to their pupils. The profit, I fancy, will come in this way. We are so apt to associate numbers merely with mercantile transactions, to think of them only as having to do with pounds, shillings, and pence, that we are almost surprised when any one tells us that there is a very curious relation between them and our minds. But, so soon as you begin to attend to mental arithmetic, you cannot help making this discovery; you find that the study of numbers is a belp in awakening faculties in your children which would be otherwise asleep. Although you do not value them less than others for their direct tangible uses, this presents itself as a higher and more remarkable use still. But here, again, I am more anxious to trace a growth than a progress. A progress in the study of arithmetic is likely to mean a greater expeditiousness in reckoning, a greater knack of giving long answers in a short time. Growth in this study implies a greater clearness in perceiving what the different operations which we perform mean; in finding out a principle for the different rules which have been given us, or for the practice which we have adopted without any rule.
6. I shall allude to but one more branch of instruction, in which I think there can be no doubt that our schools have improved greatly during the past year, I mean Music. You know how confidently people speak when they are ignorant, and I am going to speak on this subject with the confidence of utter and profound ignorance. For I think my ignorance enables me to bear my practical testimony on some points, respecting which better informed people only discourse from hearsay. They do not know what it is to be deficient in the great faculty of uttering and receiving harmonious sounds,-I do. They only guess what a blank the absence of it leaves in a large portion of the mind; I have experience of that blank. And therefore, as it must be a pleasure to a blind man to consider what a beautiful world there is lying about him, though through one entrance it is shut out from him ; and to think, too, what a number of people everywhere are enjoying it, I find a real delight in remembering how many poor boys and girls have now the advantage of me, and what a treasure it is of which they have got possession. This song must be to them, I am sure, like the language of another world; it must come to them amidst the poverty and pains which they see their parents suffering, and which they may begin to be suffering themselves, with strange intimations of a home, and of a blessed fellowship between them and the creatures who dwell in it, or' will hereafter dwell in it. I should own the absurdity of speaking in this way of music when it is used for finery or display; but I cannot but deem high thoughts respecting it rational, when it is redeemed from such degradation, and made the expression of the actual feelings and longings of those who are cut off from many sources of outward enjoy