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what reasonable objection can be urged ? I know of none. That, however, which would be most likely to be urged, is this :—" the hours of the six-day season are already crowded to overburthening, with the studies of a different school from that, whose claims are now urged.”
But to this objection, what shall I say? Look at the two objects presented. The one is, to educate the children for a course of ten, thirty, perhaps fifty years of action upon earth. The other, to train them for a course of action and enjoyment, which ends not but with an unending eternity! For the former comparatively imperceptible object, you claim six unbroken days in the week. For the latter, infinite beyond comprehension, you would allow but a part of the seventh ! Now, I ask, and without a fear for the answer, which of these objects ought to give way to the other ? From which, for the promotion of the other, ought we to subtract ? Christian parents, I feel that this question may be safely left with your own hearts. I feel that you will not rob your precious offspring of those every day moments which are necessary to render their religious education pleasant and effectual, those every-day moments, which the benevolent spirit of the gospel would teach you to save from the hard-griping, all grasping spirit of this world!
I have no fear that enlightened and spiritual christians will ever suffer any thing to weaken their sense of resposibility to God for the religious education of their children, or to diminish the amount of their prayerful and diligent attention to this vastly important duty. But there are many, who are not such Christians; whose sense of obligation may more easily be impaired, and whose faithfulness in duty may more possibly be remitted. And if the Sabbath School were to have this effect generally, or extensively, I do not hesitate to say : that, peculiar as are its capabilities, and high as are its promises, of good, it had better be abandoned. Better have no such auxiliary means of doing good, if it is to become a prevalent occasion of “ weariness in well doing.” Better have no school for sacred instruction on the Sabbath, if it is to break up the school of family religion during the week. Better to connect no additional duties with the day of rest, than so to overburthen it as to render it a day of drudgery ; and thus, in the minds of children, to associate religion itself with all that is dull and dreaded !
But I repeat, that as a general result, I have no apprehension of this, any more than I have that the gospel, heaven's highest boon to man, should be so extensively abused as to render its withdrawal from the earth desirable. And I have advanced the supposition just 'made, principally for the sake of warning, with the hope that not even one will be left to abuse the Sabbath School as an excuse for “ weariness in well-doing.” This institution is a most valuable auxiliary to daily religious instruction at home; and I would fain see its value fully tested. Let me, then affectionately urge you all to use it, in the same spirit, in which you would use an excellent book on the subject of religious education ; use it as an aid to a more faithful, and therefore more successful discharge of your duties. Make a right division of time every day, between the various parts and objects of your children's education. Never neglect that, which embraces religion ; but let it mingle, in easy converse, and pleasant illustration, with the rest; and thus support and sanctify the whole. Make religion pleasant, by showing it cheerful; and exhibit its importance, by making your attention to it habitual. Give your children a previous and a pleasing preparation for the Sabbath School; and then both the Sabbath and the School will be delightful to them; and, in the great business of their religious instruction, an invaluable auxiliary to yourselves. And especially, “ Be not weary in this kind of welldoing.” The object, which we contemplate, is of infinite importance ; and may well encourage and sustain us in our exertions and sacrifices. While a languishing and lifeless Sabbath School is worse than none, a hindrance rather than a help, to the religious interests of a parish,—the institution, when flourishing and vigorous with spiritual life, may almost be considered as the best half of a pastor's means of doing good. It furnishes him with a happy introduction to that portion of his flock, to which he must look for the best fruits of his ministry. It gives him the opportunity for a pleasing and paternal intercourse with them; and thus, for gaining over their minds a gentle and saving influence. It brings into action, too, the valuable principle, or influence, of association in religious instruction. There are sympathies and susceptibilities in our nature, which, in order to be awakened and exercised, must be brought frequently and publicly into contact with kindred sympathies and susceptibilities; which lay the heart more open to the influences of divine truth, when we are in an associated, than when we are in a solitary, capacity. Hence much of the power of a public and stated preaching of the gospel. But, as this gospel is generally preached, as a formal statement and enforcement of truth from the pulpit, it is almost wholly inoperative on the hearts and minds of children. They need something more simple, more on a level with their capacities and habits. And this they find, amidst all the advantages and sympathies of association, in the plain and affectionate instructions of a well organised-well sustained Sabbath School. Without this, the ministrations of the gospel will be almost wholly robbed of their power over decidedly the most interesting and valuable part of every congregation.
Another strong encouragement against weariness in this kind of well-doing, is, the tendency of the Sabbath School to form, in its pupils, the character of active christian benevolence; the habit of doing good on christian principle. The great fault with too many eminent christians of past ages is, that they have been rather contemplative and speculative than operative and active. The present age, while it needs all the deep spirituality and thorough experience, that can be acquired in the closet and the library ; demands especially all the holy activity, all the operative benevolence, that can be gained by more practical iraining. In this respect, as in every other, the character of the Saviour of men is the christian's best model :-spiritual in prayer and meditation ; and, in doing good, energetic, patient, self-sacrificing. When this character becomes universal, christianity will make its predicted triumph. And for forming it, what discipline so promissory of success as that of the Sabbath School; where all is practical, active benevolence; where the first kindlings of holy love, the first actings of holy principle, are excited in the bosom of childhood by persevering, self denying endeavors to do good? What piety so likely to be practical, to busy itself in patient well-doing, as that, which has its origin, its birth-place, its cradle, its nursery, in this very home of benevolent effort, and of benevolent example ?
Art. V.-WHAT THE TEACHER OUGHT TO KNOW.
For the Annals of Education. GREAT complaints are made from time to time of the incompetency of those who engage in the business of instruction. To many teachers, perhaps to a large majority, at least in New England, such complaints can have no application. In many cases too, they are made without due consideration of the true standard of a teacher's attainments, or an honest estimate of their extent in a given case.
Leaving many other particulars, such as di:cipl ne, management, &c., in which it becomes teachers to be skilful, we would say a word, as to what the teacher, that he may do his duty well, ought to know.
The answer to the question thus implied will of course vary with the position the teacher holds, and the branches he purposes to teach. It seems hardly necessary to say that every teacher should thoroughly understand the subjects on which he expects to communicate knowledge to others. Yet what is meant by thorough understanding is not obvious to determine, or easy to attain. Whoever knows more than another of any science is, so far forth, competent to be the instructor of that other, however defective may be his knowledge compared with absolute perfection. This, however, is the lowest degree, and we may safely say that no one should undertake the business of instruction who has not mastered in its principles, and pursued very far into its details, the department of knowledge he professes to teach.
Take for example Arithmetic. A competent teacher needs not only a memoriter knowledge of the rules, and practical skill in the solution of problems, which alone will enable him to pass very reputably through any ordinary examination, but a minute acquaintance with the grounds and reasons of every rule and operation. He must resolve every method into its elementary and constituent parts, and be able to recompose them, that his pupil may be enabled at once to understand each particular and to comprehend the whole.
Now, though such a knowledge of arithmetic may be acquired from common treatises on the subject, yet they are not enough for a full, certain, and scientific comprehension
of the subject. Pike and Daboll will not answer all the purpose. The teacher must go higher than mere technical rules and formal demonstrations. He must go beyond the science of mere numbers, however perfect that may be in itself, to the more radical science of quantity, and make himself master of algebra, where is contained—what in those days may be called the philosophy of numbers.
We do not affirm that no one can teach arithmetic well who has not studied algebra, but we do affirm that one who has studied both accurately, will prove a more successful, because a more able teacher, than he who has studied only one. Let the case we have put, stand for a sample of all teaching, and we may conclude that one will prove a better teacher of any science who has, and because he has, an acquaintance with the science, in the same kind, next above it.
Not only does this additional, and in a sense extra knowledge aid by being an interpreter of that actually taught, by its intrinsic relation to it-but the very acquisition is an advantage. It keeps the mind open, free, and active-its curiosity is kept alive-its powers augmented,-and all this acts with great power on the pupil, though indirectly. The profession of the teacher has gained the odium of irksomeness, and the community he has taught has suffered incalculable loss, by this contentment with knowledge enough for daily duties. Hence we have so much of the tread-mill round, the eternal monotony and repetition of the teacher's life. Doubtless there is much; we cannot deny it. But we know too, that all the drudgery may be lightened and made cheerful, and the repetitions become enlivened and enlivening by this rule of constant progress.
We believe there is no department of instruction, in respect to the true standard of which, and the attainments requisite for it, more inadequate ideas prevail, than in respect to classical instruction. Now what ought the teacher of the classics to know, that he may do his work well? Is it enough for him to construe and parse Cicero's Select Orations, and Virgil ? Or even if he add to all this, what seven out of ten do not add, some knowledge of prosody and the scanning of hexameters? Or is he fit to teach, who has hastily, and with no digestion crammed down a few authors, or fragments of authors in a college course, whom