Page images
PDF
EPUB

In London also the houses of the students at the Common Lawe are these :

Sargeants Inn.
Grales lon.
The Temple.
Lincolnes Inn.
Davids Inn.
Staple inn.

Furnivals Inn.
Cliffords Inn.
Clements Inn.
Lions Inn.
Barnards Inn.
New Inn.

And this much in generall of our noble Universities, whose lands some greedie gripers doo gape wide for. But who are those that have attempted this suit, other than such as hate learning, pietie, and wisdom; or else have spent all · their own, and know not otherwise than by incroaching upon

other inen, how to maintaine themselves ? When such a motion was made by some unto king Henrie the eighth, he could answer them in this manner : “Ah sirrah! I perceive the abbie lands have fleshed you and set your teeth on edge to ask also those colleges. I tell you sirs, I judge no land in England better bestowed than that which is given to our Universities, for by their maintenance our realme shall be well governed when we are dead and rotten. I love not learning so ill that I will impaire the revenues of anie one house by a pennie whereby it may be upholden.” The same suit was once again attemped in king Edward's daies, when saith the duke of Somerset ; "if learning decaie, which of wild men maketh civill, of blockish and rash persons, wise and godlie counsellors, of obstinate rebels, obedient subjects, and of evill men good and godlie christians, what shall we look for else but barbarism and tumult ?" In the time of our gracious queene Elizabeth, it was in talke the third time, but without succes as moved out of season, and so I hope it shall continue forever.

[ocr errors]

ART. V.-LECTURES to Sabbath School TEACHERS, ON MENTAL

CULTIVATION, delivered at the Odeon, in Boston, September 1838, pp. 115. Boston published by Whipple & Damrell.

Among the influences which are to operate strongly and widely on the future character of our country, that of the

Sabbath School must not be overlooked. It forms already an important element in the education of the young among us, and is destined we doubt not, to a vast increase and extension of its powers. Sabbath Schools constitute a great system of instruction, sustained at an immense expense of time, and labor, and money, controlled by great associations with innumerable auxiliaries, and which have given an energy, directness and unity to its efforts which no department of secular instruction can claim. It has moreover created a new and peculiar literature, and more than a single series has been given to the world of books prepared (how skilfully we do not say) to form men in the period of their earliest flexibility, to the duties of virtue, and instruct them in the sublime doctrines of religion. In a community in which the moral education of the young is insisted on, and justly accounted of so vital consequence to the well being of our nation, the actual influence of such an Institution ought to be most deliberately weighed and most thoroughly understood. The questions how far its objects are attained, and with what wisdom its methods are chosen, are questions in which we all have an interest; the scholar and manof letters, who desires that the true principles of art shall be recognized in all that is addressed to the young, not less than the parent whose labors may be aided, or the teacher whose labors may be lightened.

The right instruction of the corps of teachers, who are to affect for good or for evil so many minds is of importance not less than that of the system itself and proportionate to the objects it aims at; and we are glad to see as evidences of an interest in that subject this volume of Lectures to Sabbath School Teachers. As the friends of education and of this especial department of it, we are rejoiced that minds so active and able have given themselves to this labor. The volume contains two discourses. The first on “the influence of the Bible on the intellectual powers," is by Rev. Dr Stone of St Paul's church. It is a brief but comprehensive and eloquent discussion of that great subject, full of hints which the reader must unfold for himself and which will well repay all the attention and thought he can bestow upon them. The second, on “ the cultivation of the mind,” by Rev. Mr Winslow, who is well known as the author of several popular

and useful works, besides urging the importance of the subject with great force of argument, furnishes specific directions of great value, to all who desire to learn that they may teach. We should be pleased to quote largely from this volume, but our want of room confines us to a single selection from each discourse. The first is from Dr Stone.

“ The Bible, moreover, is a book of philosophy; of philosophy the deepest and most spiritual ever studied. I do not mean that it analyzes, arranges, or teaches philosophy as a system. But it is philosophy. It knows what man is made of; it enters into man; it finds him out thoroughly; it has power over the secret workings of his heart; and it can carry a torchlight of truth into the very darkest closets of the soul. The Bible is not a theory spun out of the human brain ; but it is practical philosophy, taking man just as he is, and making him feel that he has a Master, who has studied him deeply, and who understands the darkest mysteries of his spirit. This feature is one of the best proofs that He who created man, indited also the Bible.

Again: The Bible is a book of thought. In a manner, it may be said, it is all thought. No book speuds so little time as this on the accessories or embellishinents of thought; none so little in unfolding and pursuing thought. It has been well said, that it is a book

full of the seeds of things.' It is a book in wbich systems often lie compressed within the limits of a sentence; or in which many a lofty tree, covered with the flowers, foliage, and fruit of expanded and ripened thought, may, by the skilful eye, be seen comprehended as yet in the unbranched root of a single word. It is a book full of biots, suggestions, sketches, outlines; in taking, following, filling up, and finishing which the mind may work for ages, and yet leave its work growing under its hand, and waiting for its last and perfecting touches. Heuce the Bible never tires, and is always full for those who wish to draw; full of thoughts, no one of which is light or trivial, but multitudes of which are profound as eternity, and rich with the interests of salvation to the soul.

“Once niore: The Bible is a book of the Spirit. Its great, philosophical, moral, and spiritual truths have all been revolved in the mind of God. His Spirit taught them to holy minds of old. His Spirit taught those hands to trace only truth on the sacred page; truth without a tincture from error. And his Spirit is still the couipanion of his Holy Word; shining in its truths, speaking in its thoughts, and acting through its philosophy.

“Hence, combining all the characteristics which have been named, the Bible is, emphatically, a book of power. No other book, nor all other books, can match it. It is to the minds of men like the atmosphere to the earth; which moves resistlessly the ocean or the land, according as the mighty one may bid it blow. The Bible is a book of power, not as the masterpieces of men are books of power. Its great strength does not lie in harrowing up the passions, in throwing the bosom into unnatural tumults, or in leading away the mind amidst the mazes of metaphysical, or along the track of logical reasoning. When it acts on the individual mind, its power is that of a silent light, of a purifying fire, of a comforting energy, of a new-creating touch. And when it acts on the collective mind, it is that of a universally applicable agency, capable of reaching, with its influences, all times and all places; capable of working up permanent features on the face of nations; capable of breathing an undying spirit into the dead bodies of earthly dominions.

“ Clothed, then, in these characteristics, and with this power, it is not a matter of wonder, as it is a matter of fact, that the Bible has not only had, but actually made, more students than any other book, perhaps than all other books on earth; and that it has left the traces of its influence more widely and more indelibly than any, or than all, on the literature, the history, the living men, of the world. Looking back over the wide past, we can see its deep marks alınost every where; and in numberless cases where we cannot see them, we know nevertheless, that they are, or have been felt. pp. 30-34.

Mr Winslow, among other means of mental cultivation, insists on the following.

“Formn right habits of reading.

“ There is a way of reading which iinproves the inind; there is one which enfeebles it. If you read at random, read whatever happens in your way, without any object, and when you have read a book, throw it aside, and think no more of its contents, you might as well not read at all. Always read with an object in view, and see that you secure the object.

" Reading may be divided into three kinds–First, that of elementary and standard works. These are to be read with very close attention and repeated thought. When seeking acquaintance with an important subject, cousult some competent adviser for the best book upon it. Do not borrow the book, but purchase it; for you should keep it for reference. A good book is worth much more to you after you have read it, and marked it, and thus prepared it to become to you a book of future reference and instruction. Read the book at intervals, very slowly and attentively, always pausing and thinking as you proceed, till you get full possession of ihe author's meaning. You are not of course to take his opinions for granted, but to consider them, weigh them, apply to them the test of principles which you may have previously settled; then, so far as you see their truth and importance, incorporate them with your own views.

“ Mark with a pevcil, for future consideration, passages which you do not understand, or of which you have doubts, or which contain the gist of the matter, or some important principles, or striking thoughts, or splendid imagery. Proceed step by step in this way, and if it is a book of intellectual power, before you have proceeded far, it will begin so to kindle up your thoughts, that you will perhaps wish to inake a book yourself upon the same subject. It will put your mind in possession of the subject, add greatly to your interest and profit from future discourses or conversations upon it, and will thus make you a more capable teacher.

“ The second kind of reading is that of bistory, biography, works of literary taste, &c. Here the object should be to acquire a know

ledge of historical facts; to furnish your mind with materials for thought and argument; and to enliven your imagination, and cultivate the beauties of tasteful composition. Here, again, be very choice in your selection of books. In reading history, fix the most important facts in your mind, in their natural order; but do not attempt to retain all the particulars. Be able, when you have read a volume, to state the substance of its history. Mark the most important facts for future reference. When you have gone through the history, it is well to write off froin memory a brief synopsis of it. This will help to arrange it in your inind, and to imprin: its facts upon your memory.

" It will assist you to remember history, as well as to secure the advantage of it, if you read it not merely to learn its facts, but to think upon them, to reason from them, to deduce from them principles of action, and to employ them for argument and illustration.

“ Works of taste and imagination should be read with similar care. Mark the richer and more spirited passages; read them over and over; ponder them; study the secret of their charm; catch their beauties, and impress them strongly upon your imagination. By this means, your literary taste and power of description will be constantly improving.

“ The third kind of reading is that of miscellaneous subjects, floating literature, newspapers, &c. These should usually be despatched with much brevity. Still there are occasionally important facts, and sometimes jewels of thought, scattered here and there in them, which are worthy of special attention.

" The world groans with books; but few of them can be read, From the vast library select a few of the very choicest; do them full justice, and let all the rest alone. By mastering a few of the best books on different subjects, you learn all that is valuable in all the rest:- like the botanist or the mineralogist, who, by carefully studying a single plant or mineral of a particular genus, learns the qualities of all the rest of the same genus; while a superficial and untaught observer might wander through a whole kingdom of them, and not learn the qualities of a single one. So fares it with us in reading books. It is the principal design of a collegiate education to take the minds of pupils off from a careless reading of the great world of books, and to confine them down to a close and faithful study of a few of the best of them. Follow up the same design, and your mind will grow." pp. 97-101.

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »