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Now, in this part of the country, it is generally nine o'clock, (exeept in some schools, during a short time in winter,) therefore it is in favour of closing the school after the singing, immediately before the prayer is commenced.
Let us suppose that, on a cold frosty morning, the mother, from prudential motives in regard to the health and comfort of her children, does not send them away till within sufficient time for the children to get to the school in time for the commencement, and so the children have to walk rather smartly, and so will get warmed by the walk; but suppose the clock happens to be too slow a few minutes, or some person meets them, and says a word or two to them, the poor children are consequently too late for the singing, and so they are kept waiting twenty minutes shivering in the cold, which endangers their health. This won't do for the mothers.
And now, let us suppose it is a beautiful summer morning, and similar events occurs : the Teachers will find that the children do not stay long unemployed, for he will see by their idle looks, the tittering mood, and the playful disposition, that they have been having a bit of fun. This won't do for the Teachers.
The evil still occurs in a less degree, when the doors are shut during prayer.
There are many boys and girls who come from about a mile or two from most schools. Would you keep those children, if they happened to be a few minutes out of their reckoning, a quarter of an hour or so, and deprive them of both praise and prayer too ?
Indeed it seems stretching the point, and drawing the cord too tight, to shut the door, and bolt out those who would if they could arrive in time for the singing, but were by circumstances prevented.
However, the children who arrive after the singing is commenced, ought to be marked late in the class books, and encouraged to come in time for the commencement of the singing; and here, I beg to say, that Teachers ought to set the example to their children, of punctual attendance, always to be there at least ten minutes or'a quarter of an hour before the singing commences; for example is a better and more effectual remedy than precept.
My humble opinion, Sir, on this subject, is, let the doors remain unclosed till the time the prayer begins, and then exclude the loiterers. Though I am perfectly aware that there are some, perhaps the majority, who might have come earlier, but would not, or did not care to do so; but in this case, those should be let in for the sake of the few that endeavoured, and were prevented coming earlier, or else it would be putting the bad and good on an equality.
It is much to be lamented, that the scholars are so void of punctuality; and every measure that is deemed capable of amending it, ought to be resorted to; but, before doing so, the amendment ought to have the serious, calm, unprejudiced consideration of those who are going to endeavour to amend it.
Perhaps some of your correspondents could give their opinion upon this point; and so by comparing the arguments of all, one with the other, the right course may be adopted. I beg to remain, Rev. Şir, faithfully yours,
WM. July, 1845.
Rev.SIR,—Your Correspondent who addresses you on the subject of “Emulation,” is perhaps desirous of being informed how a school can be conducted without it. My opinion is that, in a monitorial school, under any practicable system, it will exist in a greater or less degree. But there are some systems (as the Madras and Lancasterian) which aremore calculated to draw forth this feeling than others. These plans are not required generally in Sunday-schools, as each class has an adult Teacher, who, if he is skilled in teaching, is able for the most part to govern his scholars, and keep up their attention without them. Still the feeling is even here at work, if the Teacher adopts the plan of questioning; for, in answering, each tries to excel the others, which is emulation, and which is too often attended with its scarcely inseparable feelings of pride, envy, &c. The grace of God only can enable us to repress them.
I subjoin the opinions of Dr. Short, bishop of Sodor and Man, and Mr. Dunn, secretary of the British and Foreign School Society. Dr. Short says, “Emulation is a dangerous element of government, though no government can be carried on without it; for you cannot exclude its influence from the human mind. Under a good master, probably no evil effects would be produced; but if a master tried to supply his own want of powers, in governing by exciting a spirit of emulation, he would greatly injure those under his care.” Mr. Dunn says, “I know it is a question with many, whether emulation ought, under any circumstances, to be used as a motive to induce the young to apply themselves to the acquisition of knowledge. Essays and papers innumerable have been written, to show that this principle is ranked by the Apostle Paul with the works of the FLESH, and should, therefore, find no place in schools where the spirit of Christianity is intended to be inculcated. These writers
associate with the term pride and vanity, hatred and envy, ambition and selfishness. Others understanding by emulation simply the desire of surpassing, and considering that in this primary sense it has no moral character whatever, but is good or bad, according to the objects and motives with which it is associated, maintain that emulation is one of the most important springs of action, and ought on no account to be dispensed with. It is plain, that the whole controversy, so far as Scripture is concerned, turns on the meaning attached to the word. I confess to a decided leaning towards the opinions of those who take the more favourable view. Bad as our nature is, I cannot but think that there is such a thing as a generous rivalry. I know that it is no uncommon occurrence for wellmatched competitors to be the dearest of friends; and though envy may sometimes be stirred up for a moment, in consequence of discomfiture, I cannot but think that if the parties 'strive lawfully,' resentment, if at all excited in the vanquished, will be short-lived. That competition has an important use in teaching children their relative powers, cannot, I think, be disputed. This species of selfknowledge, so valuable in future life, and which no books can teach, can be gathered only in the field of contest. That struggles of this character are necessarily connected with a selfish desire of personal distinction, with comparisons flattering to self, and injurious to others, with jealousy, envy, and ill-will, I can by no means admit. At the same time, it is quite plain that great care should be taken not to push rivalry too far, and that the desire of superiority should always be made subordinate to the cultivation of kind and generous feelings.” It will occur to the Teacher also, to remind his scholars that after they have done all, they are unprofitable servants; they have at best only done that which it was their duty to do: that every good gift is from above, &c.
The plan which excites the least emulation, is perhaps the lecturing system, in which the Teacher imparts instruction in the shape of an address to his scholars, without putting them a question, which, of course, produces no rivalry, but instead of it, an exceedingly inattentive or disorderly class, and is impracticable in a monitorial school. I am, Rev. Sir, yours respectfully,
A DEVONSHIRE TEACHER. P. S.-It is scarcely necessary to remark, that any system of rewards or prizes produces emulation.
HISTORY OF THE BIBLE. Rev. Sir,-I beg to inform “a Teacher," in answer to his question as to the best catechism of Scripture history, chronology, &c., that the best works of the kind that I know of for imparting to our youth a thorough knowledge of Scripture history, chronology, Bible characters, and Bible geography, are the books and charts of Mr. Baker, of Doncaster. And I strongly recommend your correspondent, and all friend of Scriptural education, to avail themselves of Mr. B's. valuable publications. A catalogue of them may be had of any respectable stationer. I am satisfied they need only to be known to be appreciated.
I have used Mr. Baker's “Tabular View of the Old Testament History," and his book of “ Bible Characters,” in the school with which I am connected, and I have much pleasure in bearing testimony to their adaptation to the wants of the rising generation.
A. M. Carlisle, August 12, 1845.
Rev. Sir,-In answer to "a Teacher's” first enquiry, I beg to inform him, that a very useful work entitled a “Tabular View of Old Testament History,” comprising its Chronology, History, and Geography, arranged for students and families, by Charles Baker, author of the “ Book of Bible Characters,” &c., dedicated to his Grace the Archbishop of York. Is published by T. Varty, 31, Strand. And also, a small book of “ Exercises," on the same, containing 3000 Questions.
I may add, that I have used the above in my school for nearly two years, and consider them very useful publications, and just such as your correspondent desires. Mr. Baker has also published similar works on the New Testament.
If expense is an object, the exercises can be used without the tables, but much better with them.
I cannot better describe them than nearly in the Author's own words : “ These views present in periods the most remarkable events of the Bible history, and have been prepared to assist in keeping in the minds of pupils the SUCCESSION of events, as well as the EVENTS themselves, and the PLACES at which they occurred; affording in a compact form, a series of lessons on all the more prominent occurrences recorded in the Scriptures, with reference to the sacred authority, on which the tables and questions have been framed." I am, Rev. Sir, yours very respectfully,
T. P. B.
THE CHURCH CATECHISM.
DEAR SIR,-Let Teachers carefully listen how their scholars repeat the answer to the following question in the Catechism, and then ask the class what the word “both” refers to. Both what? And I suspect, that in most cases, the sentence will be found to be not rightly understood.
Question.—“Why then are infants baptized, when by reason of their tender age they cannot perform them ?”
Answer:-“Because they promise them both by their sureties," &c.
The children generally, I observe, pause after them, and lay stress on the word, sureties; thus, “because they promise them both by their sureties,”' &c.
Will my fellow-labourers allow me to remind them-what, indeed, is evident enough, only children are so apt to be guided by sound, rather than sense, in their lessons—that the both refers to repentance and faith, as stated in the former question and answer; and I have found it useful to explain the answer thus : “Because they promise both these, viz., both repentance and faith," &c, It serves also, I think, to give a clearer view of this part of Catechism, to make the scholars first repeat the third answer in the Catechism, and then to show them therefrom that repentance is promised in “ renouncing the devil,” &c., and faith in “I believe all the articles,” &c.; thus connecting both parts, and pointing out what was promised by the sureties. I have found it well at Christenings, (which are performed here on Sundays at the close of the afternoon service,) sometimes to place four or five of the elder scholars by the side of the sponsors, and before I commence the baptismal service, to ask them those questions from the Catechism which relate to the Sacraments, as far as the end of the word, “perform," and familiarly to point out to them “the outward and visible sign,” and the infant and the sureties. This renders both the service and the Catechism more intelligible.
Rev. SIR,Having noticed in your number of “The Teacher's Visitor" for July, a letter signed, “F. A. S.,' requesting some “Scriptural proofs of the Athanasian Creed,” I enclose the following from "A Systematic Arrangement of Scripture for Sunday