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In bringing this subject to a close, which has now had a full and perhaps sufficient discussion in our pages, the Editor wishes to make a few further remarks.
It is very gratifying that a question, which might have induced some angry and unpleasant expressions, has, at all events, been canvassed in a kind and Christian spirit. One or two Correspondents (and there have been many in addition to those who came before the reader) have thought the Editor a little too caustic, if not satirical, in his original remarks; yet it tells well for the prevailing spirit amongst schoolmasters, that, even where they might seem a little provoked to somewhat of offended feeling, they have forborne to manifest it.
The Editor would regret if he had needlessly wounded the feelings of a single individual. Yet he can never be otherwise than thankful to have elicited so much of Christian sentiment and spirit.
And now, in winding up the subject, I cannot help expressing the convictions of my own mind, on a calm and general survey of it. I wish it to be distinctly understood, that I go every length with those who advocate the policy and propriety of better salaries. Not only is there a general propriety of application in the Scripture rule, “the labourer is worthy of his hire;” but there is no reason in a schoolmaster's salary scarcely reaching the minimum of that of a clerk in a counting house. We all agree here. But then I cannot bring myself to the conclusion which so many do, that the sole, or the chief, or even the material reason, why we have not better schoolmasters is because they have not better
salaries. And I have two difficulties in coming to this conclusion, on which it may be not without its use to dwell for a few moments. 1. In the first place if I adopted this view, I feel that I
should fail to recognize the only fundamental principle on which a just expectation of an efficient master can
be founded. 2. And in the second place, that I must of necessity
expect to find the efficiency of schoolmasters proportioned to the adequacy of their salaries. A proposition which experience refutes.
Now for the first point. Of course, they who advocate “good salaries, good masters,” dwell much upon
the influence which good salaries will have in prospect on men's choice of a profession. But I hesitate not to say, that if this be the ruling principle in men's selections, they are better out of the profession altogether. I cannot regard the schoolmaster as a secular character. I magnify his office as associated with the ministers of Christ in the high and holy calling of being fellowworkers with God. And though some have repudiated the comparison I have already drawn between the clergyman and the schoolmaster, yet I fear not to maintain, that as they are assimilated together in the same blessed work, and have in their respective sphere the same responsible objects in view, so the same principles should be at work in the choice of their calling, in the selection as well as in the prosecution of their profession.
And what should I say to the young man, or expect from him, whom I saw determining his entrance on the ministry on the sordid consideration of the pounds, shillings, and pence! balancing between the prospects that the ministry held out to him, and others of a secular character! We know very well that there are individuals who go this way to work; and we know the sort of ministers that they turn out: “dumb dogs that cannot bark”—“blind leaders of the blind”
-a scandal to Christianity-a disgrace to their profession--the ruin of immortal souls !
But the man who enters worthily on the ministry is influenced by higher considerations. He has felt the malady of sin; he has discovered its remedy. He feels for those who labour under the same malady; he longs to make known the remedy he has discovered—to advance in the world the glory and honour of Him to whom he owes his all. To proclaim the unsearchable riches of Christ to his fellow-sinners from a heartfelt discovery of their value, is his one grand object. In prosecuting this, he confers not with flesh and blood. He determines to know nothing save Jesus Christ and him crucified. These are the honest, healthy principles on which the ministry is selected, and in the face of poor uncertain curacies, with the certainty of stipends not equal to a clerk's in a counting house, or even a letter sorter in a post-office, with no hope or prospect whatever of speedy advancement in the Church; without patrons, without interest, aye, and with principles that must be carried out and maintained, but which form not the high road to preferment, hundreds of young men go forth to preach the everlasting Gospel, not counting their lives dear to them (the comfort or the security of their lives) if they can only finish their course with joy, and the ministry they have received.
And further than this: how many there are under the influence of the principles I have described, who volun. tarily abandon a lucrative post absolutely in possession, and, to achieve the work they have at heart, deliberately, but cheerfully, take in lieu the poor and scanty remuneration of a stipendiary curate.
But these are the men who are doing the Lord's work throughout the land; who are making full proof of their ministry; to whom the Lord is giving many precious souls for their hire; and who shall be found hereafter to shine as stars in the firmament of heaven.
We might speak to the case of Missionaries. Would a man's character possess one feature of promise, if in the choice of missionary work he were balancing the value of posts at this or that station, or reckoning up his chances for securing the most lucrative? What a touch. ing account a cousin of mine sent me from India lately of a German Missionary he had met with, who had come unsupported by friends or any religious institution, rich
with the love of Christ in his heart and faith in his
pro. mises, and resolved, not to unfurl the banner of the Cross in this or that most healthy locality, or where he would be well supported; but there was a people to whom no one would go; a district in which human life could scarcely exist; the very birds are known to leave it by instinct as the most unhealthy period advances; and there, to the Nepaulese country, beneath the Himmalye mountains, the man of God must go, with his life in his hand, and strong in the conviction that he was invulnerable till his Lord summoned him. Here was a dispensing with every
consideration but that of love to Christ and souls for which Christ died; and who will have a heartier welcome from his Saviour in the last day than this poor German! No! the consideration of salary may ensure schoolmasters of higher standing in society, intelligence, and acquirements; but it will not ensure the principles on which the whole real efficacy of a schoolmaster's labours will depend. Without the principles of vital, practical, evangelical godliness, we may have schoolmasters of acuteness and science, men well acquainted with the machinery of education, and possessed of ecclesiastical orthodoxy and propriety, yet they will only communicate a power to the rising generation, which, if unaccompanied by the influence of Scriptural principles, will be wielded for mischief instead of good.
II. But I must pass on to my second difficulty. If I am to believe that the reason why we have not better schoolmasters is because they are so ill paid, then I must expect to find that the best paid are the best masters. All my experience, however, goes against this supposition; as I think that of others does too. I am perfectly persuaded, that whether we look at efficiency in their profession, or exemplary, unblameable conduct, and, I hesitate not to add, the possession of high respect and esteem amongst others, we shall find that these are not in any degree proportionate to or dependent upon the scale of salary. It is the man, not the purse, that will tell. If a man is doing his duty in that station of life in which God has placed him, be it high or low, rich or poor, he will make his way. Patient, plodding, perse