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such young men a3 prefer the church, are left to seek the knowledge suited to their professional views, wherever they think themselves most likely to find it.
In our universities,' says an author who has recently addressed the public on this subject, 'both law and physic have, equally with theology, their professors and lectures; but, in neither of these faculties, does any man aspire to practice, nor indeed will he be admitted to do so, till in another and exclusive school, he has abstracted himself from a general to a strictly professional and technical education. But for church candidates, where do we find a suitable and peculiar school? Where are we to send our sons to be trained for the arduous and responsible duties of the christian ministry: since, in most colleges, after the attainment of the first degree, none except fellows ever remain. As for the examination for deacon's orders, a few weeks reading in some diocesses will quality a young man who has passed through college, and possessing ordinary capacity, to undergo it with the utmost ease. Something inore in these days is required.'*
When we consider the importance of good education in clergymen, and the extensive and difficult subjects which that education embraces,—the whole doctrines of natural and revealed religion, the various sciences connected with theology, as also the several languages of the east; without a competent knowledge of which, no man can be esteemed an accomplished divine; -it cannot jail to excite surprise that theological instruction in England should still be so loose and defective, and so unlike any thing that might have been expected from the piety and learning of the many celebrated men, who, from time to time, have adorned the national church.
These objections are not to be answered by the usual remark, that, notwithstanding the defects now mentioned, the learning and professional eminence of English divines, will not suffer in comparison with those of any other establishment. I am not disposed to lessen the reputation which has been conferred on that meritorious body of men; but, assuredly, if there be any connexion between professional education and professional distinction, it is our business to improve the former to the utmost of our power, in the full confidence of gaining a beneficial end. To men of great abilities, the aids supplied by mere systems of academical instruction are, it is owned, of comparatively little importance, and most of the theological writers, accordingly, to whom the church of England is indebted for her fame, were under no obligations to the wisdom or efficacy of their college studies. It is, therefore, by the good effects which an improved method of teaching would produce on the clergy at
* See An loquiry into the Studies and Discipline adopted in the two English Universities, as preparatory to Holy Orders in the Established Church; by a Graduate, !921.
large, that we must measure the utility of public institutions, and not by the individual exertions of a few men of genius who owed nothing to the established routine of education, but whose names are used too frequently to apologise for the defects of a system which cannot be defended on the ground either of reason or expediency.
That the learning of which the clergy of England are most accustomed to boast, is not the best calculated to secure professional usefulness, is readily admitted even by themselves. The author to whom I have already referred, very properly asks: What avails a proficiency in writing Latin prose and Greek verse, if accompanied, (and accompanied it often is and has been,) with the want of correctness, perspicuity, ease, and fluency in English composition? Few in a country, or indeed in a city parish, will be inclined to relish, or even competent to understand such accomplishments, (should they exist,) while all will understand and appreciate a correct, chaste, and graceful English style. How many young men, on entering the church, are deterred at once from composing their own sermons, owing to the difficulty, (arising from the want of knowledge or practice in the art of writing,) which they find in commiting their thonghts to paper. But as our school and college education is now conducted, where is the noviciate to learn the principles and practice of English composition? Where has be heard, or can he hear, explained and exemplified the science and method of sermon writing? Not at college, most certainly. If a young man has attained any facility or superiority in this, be must, too generally, be wholly indebted to his own good sense and unassisted endeavors. But is this dealing fairly or honestly with our youth? Is this strange and unaccountable negligence to be found in any other profession, or even in any common trade? The art of composition is one of no easy attainment; nor will a knowledge of Greek and Latin qualify their possessor for writing English, without careful study and constant habit, in endeavoring to acquire it.'
As the influence of our holy religion depends not a little on the character of the clergy, and the esteem in which they are held by the people among whom they minister, it is to be hoped that the great and good men who preside over the church of England, may be able to devise some method of improving theological education, on principles of economy and strict discipline. In many important particulars, the dissenters have set an example which deserves their attention. Candidates for the ministry among them are instructed with increasing care and success; and it is unquestionably a very singular fact, that the establishment of England, the largest, the wealthiest, and most influential body in the protestant world, has no regular, authorised plan for the education of their clergy.
[From Mr. Carter's Letters on the Free Schools of New-England.]
The success of our schools depends as much on the principles, by which they are governed, and the school books, as on the personal and literary qualifications of the instructer. This is the sphere for useful exertion, and the source, to which we may look, for the greatest improvements. The succeeding remarks, however, are exclusively confined to the subject of School Books, and the general principles of communicating knowledge, or the Science of Instruction.
Defects in the state of school and text books, are less likely to be felt, because we have all been instructed from them, and our minds are formed upon them, as upon certain models. Reformation is on all subjects progressive. Even reformers themselves cannot, at once, shake off the many associations which obscure their judgement. And reformation, or rather improvements in the principles of instruction, are more slow and difficult to be made, than in those of almost any other subject. This is partly because the subject is one of intrinsic difficulty; but more because so many prejudices are to be encountered. Our prejudices, however, on this subject are all honest, for they are wrought into our very nature, from our earliest infancy; and they are the stronger, precisely, because all acknowledge the subject to be of the utmost importance, and take particular care, that all should be taught according to the most approved and philosophical plan; that is, just
we ourselves have been taught. Every age and generation think, that they have just arrived at perfection. And they take care accordingly, that their children shall never relapse to the ignorance of their ancestors. This would be well, if they did not take almost as effectual care, that they should never be wiser than their fathers. But this is provided against with most pious care. The very best men of all ages, those, who can hardly find good enough to do, in this short life, to satisfy themselves, would, with very few exceptions, be heartily glad to freeze or petrisy the world, in the perfect and consistent form, in which they are about to leave it, lest a rash and wicked posterity should jostle it out of shape.
As the principles of religion, and the principles of instruction are more important than others; so they are proportionably well guarded against all innovation, even if it should be an improvement. Every change, therefore, in either of these subjects, especially, when fundamental principles are called in question, must
force its way against fearful odds. It must encounter all the deep and firm prejudices of early education,-all the authority and personal influence of our teachers,—and the almost overwhelming influence of the oldest institutions in the world.* Still every age does make some improvement upon the one before it. And though we may be insensible of the progressive motion, at short intervals; yet, at the end of a hundred years, we have left our landmarks far behind.
But besides these general and honest prejudices, which no one believes he possesses, yet all do possess; there are others, in the particular case in hand, which are not entitled to so much respect. In the case of school books, there are prejudices of ignorance and interest to be encountered. The mass of instructers in the primary schools, who have most influence in the selection of school books, had commonly much rather teach an old book, which they themselves have been taught, than be at the trouble of learning a
Indeed, so superficial has the education of most instructers of common schools been, that a new book is to them, a new subject. The particular form and words, in which the principles of any branch of learning have been expressed, and the principles themselves, are with them, identical; and if the words are varied, the principles are not recognised.
Could they be divested of all the prejudices, they imbibe from early education, it is believed the repugnance of the method, upon which school books are written, to the acknowledged principles and laws of the human mind, would be at once felt. Indeed, the whole range of text books for elementary instruction, is liable to the same remark. Since the inductive method of Lord Bacon, the sciences have undergone, and are still undergoing, an essential change. The object of pursuit, by the new system of logic, is more steadily kept in view, and facilities are added to the means of pursuit. Discoveries have, consequently, been made, which have quite transformed the whole circle of the sciences. The identity of some principles, which had been before considered different, has been established; and others have been separated, which had before been identical. Order has taken the place of confusion in all the sciences. Chemistry has declared independence of Natural Philosophy, and assumed the dignity of a separate science. Political economy has been added to the sisterhood, and, like all young children, bids fair to be the pet of the family.
*The venerable English Universities, 'Oxford and Cambridge', in the fine met. phor of Dugald Stewart, care immoreably moored to the same station by the length of their cables, thereby enabling the historian of the human mind, to measure the rapidity of the current, by which the rest of the world are borne along.' [In. gersoll's Discourse.]
Is it not astonishing, that, while all acknowledge the importance of the new method of interpreting nature, and adopt it in all their own pursuits, none yet seem to feel, that the same principles are equally applicable to communicating the sciences to others, or the science of instruction? The grand principles of instruction are much the same, they were before the time of Bacon; but the philosophy of Mind as well as Matter, has assumed another form. The elementary principles of the human mind' are the same at sis, at sixteen, and sixty. They exist in different degrees of strength and improvement at different periods, and they change their relative weight, as elements of a character; but no new power is created, precisely at the time, the learner throws off the thraldom of a system of discipline, calculated to impede, rather than develope the mind, and pursues truth in the most direct and natural way. Yet this would seem to be the inference from the fact, that a method of communicating knowledge is retained, which is acknowledged to be different, and if examined, will be found to be repugnant, to the method, the mind pursues, when left to make its own acquirements. All, who have attended in the least to an analysis of their own minds, at the different stages in the progress of their developement, must be conscious of having to unlearn, if it may be so called, most of the acquirements of youth. That is, they must break up the arrangement and classification of their knowledge, which have been made upon a method repugnant to the principles of the mind; and make a new classification upon the correct principle. This, all must do; 'whether they are conscious of it or not, who are destined to make much progress in knowledge. Although this is not so difficult a process, as might, at first, be imagined; yet, the powers of the mind must be somewhat paralysed in their derelopement, and checked in the acquirement of knowledge, by the change of important principles, in the method of acquirement. The advantage of taking the correct and philosophical method at the earliest age, and pursuing it without interruption or change, can hardly be estimated. This is an achievement, which remains yet to be made; and it is one, whose influence on the sciences, and the condition of mankind, cannot be distinctly foreseen.
The triumph of the inductive logic, although it is a cause, which has more changed the state of the arts and sciences, and consequently the whole face of the world, than any other, which has operated within the reach of history, is but half complete, till it is carried into the subject of education. The principles of the inductive philosophy should be as rigorously followed in education, as any other department of human knowledge. The school books, and we may add the text books of the colleges, are certainly not written upon the inductive method. And these are our instructers,