Imatges de pÓgina

tellect above the point at which it finds it; at the same time that distinct impressions are conveyed in a manner calculated to interest or catch the mind of a child. The following are the subjects of the lessons in their order :

12. Prayer to God.

10. Boys

1. The creation. 2. The fall of 5. The tower of Babel. 6. The

SECTION I-1. The works of God, in short sentences. 2. The senses. 3. The instruments of motion in animals (poetry). 4. Miscellaneous. 5. Story of the storks, that were fed by their young. 6. Habits of animals. 7. The boasting fox. 8. Cold and heat, &c. 9. How a pin is made. pelting frogs. 11. The quarrelsome dog. SECTION II.-Words of two syllables. man. 3. Cain and Abel. 4. The flood. sheep, its uses the dressing of wool, and making of cloth and clothes. 7. The hen. 8. The cat. 9. The ant. 10. Land and water, introductory to geography. 11. The robin. 12. Bread, the process from ploughing to baking. 13. The sloth and the squirrel. 14. The oak and its uses. 15. Little birds and their nests. 16. The seasons. 17. The cuckoo. 18. Milk, butter, and cheese. 19. Grammar. 20. The herring. 21. Fuel-turf, coal, wood, peat, &c.

SECTION III.-Words of three syllables. 1. The call of Abraham. 2. The parting-of Abram and Lot. 3. The deliverance of Lot. 4. The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. 5. The duty of children to their parents (poetry). 6. The farmer and his sons. 7. Love between brothers and sisters. 8. The lark and her young. 9. The young recruit (poetry). 10. The old man and his ass. 11. Signs of rain. 12. The stable. 13. Changes of nature (poetry). 14. Fruit. 15. Father William. 16. Map of the world. 17. Seeking God (poetry). 18. The adjective and adverb. 19. The voice of spring. 20. The flower garden. 21. Good resolutions (poetry).

SECTION IV.-Words of four syllables. 1. The little philosopher—a boy who was happy and wanted nothing. 2. The contented blind boy. 3. Lessons to youth. 4. Heavenly wisdom. 5. Cruelty to insects. 6. The ant or emmet. 7. Benevolence. 8. Compassion. 9. The dutiful son, and Frederic the Great. 10. My mother (poetry). 11. The daw with borrowed feathers. 12. The kite, or pride must have a fall. 13. Anecdote of George Washington. 14. Against lying. 15. The works of God. 16. Addison's hymn, "The spacious firmament." 17. God's family.

The Third-Class Book consists of Fables, in prose and verse; lessons in Natural History; the Animal and Mineral kingdoms; lessons on Geography, and remarkable places; Religious and Moral lessons, principally drawn from the Old Testament, including the history of Joseph,-Moses, the delivery of the law, &c.-and a variety of religious pieces in verse. The miscellaneous lessons are more numerous, and comprise a variety of subjects; among which are some interest ing and useful ones, in money exchanges, commerce, and coin ; written, we presume, by some member of the Board. Each lesson is prefixed in columns by the more difficult words found in it, to assist the children in pronouncing the words, and to exercise them in spelling a great improvement to which would be their signification in simple language. Attention is particularly directed by the Board to the lesson on glass, in the first section, which has been taken, with a few alterations, from lessons on objects, according to the system of Pestalozzi; and is intended to show the master how to make his pupils familiar with the general and distinguishing properties of all material substances; and they are recommended to provide themselves

with specimens of all the inanimate objects mentioned in the lessons, and with drawings of all the animals. There has been also introduced in this volume, a lesson, containing the principal English prefixes and affixes employed in the formation of words; but this appears of rather too abstract a nature for the pupils at this stage of their education. There is one simple arrangement in this volume, which struck us as particularly happy-namely, the subjoining of a fable, in which the animal introduced in a foregoing lesson, is brought out again in "moral relief," through a fable, thus after the fox, we have the fox and the the goat: after the lion, the lion and the mouse; after the tiger, "poetry against quarrelling and fighting;" after the wolf, the wolf and the lamb; and so on through the section. A very considerable portion of poetry is introduced, and the taste displayed in its selection is exceedingly creditable to the compilers, and proves that they have a proper feeling of its importance and value in the education of the feelings and improvement of the heart.

The Fourth Book is compiled on similar principles, and comprises Natural History, Geography, Political Economy, and useful Arts; Religious and Moral lessons, bringing down the history of the Jews to the birth of Christ; the ancient and present state of the Holy Land; the Hebrew Common-wealth; the Jewish festivals; the teaching and character of Jesus Christ, translated from Chateaubriand; the death and sacrifice of Christ, Blair; the Christian's Salvation, Thomson. The section on Political Economy is, above all, peculiarly interesting, as it is the first attempt to introduce the subject to the children of the poor, although undoubtedly of the highest importance to them. The series comprise two chapters on value, three on taxes, one on wages, one on rich and poor, three on letting and hiring, one on the division of labour, with many others. These appear to have been drawn up by some one not only intimate with the subject, but also as intimate with the construction of the human mind. A professor of logic, and the first of political economists could not have done them better: they are full and lucid expositions of the subjects, and so written to be of interest even to the mind of a child, which is the highest recommendation to be offered them. We wish they were in every National and British school in England, as they would have a powerful effect upon that political clamour of the lower classes, which arises from their ignorance of the rights of property, and of the true objects of Govern


The Scripture Lessons comprise one volume, from the creation to the death of Joseph; one containing the whole of the Gospel of St. Luke; and another, the whole of the Acts of the Apostles, compiled as stated in the preface, "In the hope of their leading to a more general and more profitable perusal of the word of God." The method employed, has been to take the historical parts of the Scripture as a foundation, and to attach to it other portions of the Scripture, relating to the narrative either from the Old or New Testament. Thus after the narrative of the creation, extracts from the psalms followed relating to the creation; and after the narrative of the deluge, there have been inserted those comments on that event found in the New Tes

[ocr errors]

tament. The translation has been made by a comparison of the authorized and Douay versions with the original. The language sometimes of one, sometimes of the other has been used; and occasionally deviations have been made from both, for the purpose of obtaining greater correctness. Explanations of words and passages are freely afforded, and looking over them, there are none that can be construed as leaning to Protestanism or Catholicism: at all events not to the latter, as evidenced by the translation of the word penitentia, from the Latin vulgate, into" repent," which the Roman-Catholics translate "do penance. To this even the Catholics cry content, and by their allowance of so large a portion of Scripture history, and of the word of God, to be introduced, as is done in these volumes, we may fairly infer the increased and increasing liberality of that body; and nothing gives us greater pleasure than to see such a readiness manifested in them, as in others of our own principles, to give up the little nonessentials that so grievously separate us. Upon the whole, the government we think has acted wisely: in advance, perhaps, of the religious spirit of the times; but certainly not in advance of those great principles of civil and religious liberty and toleration, of which all of us boast so much. The Board seem only zealous to carry out the liberal spirit of the originators of the plan-and composed of men of almost every shade of opinion, we may safely calculate that they will continue to direct their attention to essentials rather than non-essentials; to the upholding of great principles, rather than to the furtherance of the interests of any sect or party; and that the following General Lesson, which is ordered by the Board to be hung up in every Irish National School, will ever be their text and motto.


"Christians should endeavour, as the Apostle Paul commands them, 'to live peaceably with all men," even with those of a different religious persuasion. "Our Saviour Christ commanded his disciples to love one another: he taught them to love even their enemies: to bless them that cursed them, and to pray for those who persecuted them. He himself prayed for his murderers. Many men hold erroneous doctrines; but we ought not to hate or persecute them. We ought to seek for the truth, and hold fast what we are convinced is the truth, but not to treat harshly those who are in error. Jesus Christ did not intend his religion to be forced on men by violent means: he would not allow his disciples to fight for him.

[ocr errors]

"If any persons treat us unkindly, we must not do the same to them; for Christ and his apostles have taught us not to return evil for evil. If we would obey Christ, we must do to others, not as they do to us, but as we would wish them to do to us.

"Quarrelling with our neighbours and abusing them, is not the way to convince them that we are in the right, and they in the wrong. It is more likely to convince them that we have not a Christian spirit.

"We ought to show ourselves followers of Christ, who when he was reviled, reviled not again (1 Peter chap. 2 v. 23), by behaving gently and kindly to every one."

While such continues to be the spirit, and such the principles, upon which Education is carried forward in Ireland, we cannot but think that the blessing of the MOST HIGH will rest upon it. And we fervently hope that the commissioners may still continue in the unity of

that spirit, and the bond of that peace, which is the certain and lasting inheritance from above of all those who would take their Redeemer as their pattern, make his spirit their guide, and his word the rule of their conduct.*



Quo semel est imbuta recens servabit odorem

Testa diu.


MANY admirable things have been said on the subject of education, both by the ancients and moderns. The author who has furnished us with a motto, intimates, that we should be careful what lessons are given in early life, as the impressions made at that interesting season, are often durable. The new vessel, he prettily remarks, takes a lasting tincture from the liquor which is first poured into it. Perseus observes, "that the soft clay, and the tender mind, are readily fashioned into what form you please." On the same subject, Mr. Addison, alluding to a passage in Aristotle, says, "That a statue lies hid in a block of marble, and that the art of the statuary only clears away the superfluous matter, and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone, the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to a block of marble, education is to the human mind. The philosopher, the saint, or the hero, the wise, the good, or the great man, very often lie hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to light." Mr. Locke, remarks, that, "Of all the men he had met with, nine out of ten, were good or bad, useful or not, according to their education."

We would by no means recommend, that our youth should indiscriminately, be taught to read the Greek and Latin classics. Some have neither a taste or a capacity for such studies; and the attempt to make them classical scholars, would be much the same as endeavouring to teach music to those whose ears are not attuned to harmony. And there are not a few to whom, on account of the path in which they expect to be called to walk in through life, they would be of little worth. But where all circumstances are favourable, we are clearly of opinion, that a knowledge of the best writers of antiquity in their own tongues, is of much utility. As the authors we refer to, present a model of beautiful style in every species of composition; they also contain a multitude of useful, and even of splendid thoughts on an immense variety of topics; and they furnish a singular felicity (curiosa felicitas) of expression, for their ample discussion. The tutor who teaches his pupils to disregard these great originals, would act as senseless a part as the painter who should charge the young artist to pass by, neglect, and contemn, the noble works which have been left us by a Claude, or a Titian, by a Salvator Rosa, or a Raphael.

But there are other points of view,- -we mean those of a moral and religious description, in which the judicious tutor may make a very advantageous use of the Greek and Roman classics. And we fear * For an account of other Educational Societies in Ireland, see the "Notes on the Month."

that this is but too much forgotten in all our public seminaries. We spent some of our earliest years in the first classical school belonging to the principal college at our leading university, and we do not recollect, though the master was a clergyman, that any remarks of the kind we refer to, were ever made in our hearing. We think that a truly Christian tutor, who of course, would be solicitous to do his duty, would take any classic writer, and make the work a text book, from which he might rationally, and with effect, enforce on his youthful charge, not a few of the great sentiments of morals and religion. Without such a plan, we fear, the reading of the classics will be productive of much mischief to individuals, and to society.

More fully to explain what we mean, let us suppose a truly Christian teacher to have been the tutor of Alexander, instead of Aristotle: suppose we could have visited the master and his pupil whilst engaged in reading the first of the Greek poets, we should certainly have heard the teacher pointing out the melody, and the majesty of the diction, and of the verse; we should have heen delighted whilst he dilated on the propriety and elegance of the metaphors and comparisons employed by the poet; and on the consummate beauty of many of the descriptive passages. But such a tutor would have utterly condemned the cruel, revengeful, and warlike spirit, which breathes throughout this wonderful production. He would, no doubt, have warmly inculcated the god-like virtues of humanity, forgiveness, and benevolence. And, if his pupil had been docile, we might reasonably have expected, that, instead of unjustly invading the dominions of others, Alexander might have nobly employed his life, in being an Alfred in his own; instead of inhumanly dragging the governor of a town, as he did, bound to his chariot, in imitation of Achilles; that he would have made him an illustrious instance of his clemency; and that, instead of making it the business of his whole existence to subdue and destroy his fellow creatures, it would, on the contrary, have been the summit of his noble ambition, to be hailed as the benefactor and father of mankind.


We are confirmed in these views, by the remarks of a profound, original, living writer. 'Who can tell," says he, "how much that passion for war, which, from the universality of its prevalence, might seem inseparable from the nature of man, may, in the civilized world, have been reinforced by the enthusiastic admirations with which young men have read Homer, and similar poets, whose genius transforms what is, and ought always to appear, purely horrid, into an aspect of grandeur? Yet the reader of Homer will find the mightiest strain of poetry employed to represent ferocious courage; and those who do not possess it, as worthy of their fate-to be trodden in the dust. He will be taught,—at least it will not be the fault of the poet if he be not taught,-to forgive a heroic spirit for finding the sweetest luxury in insulting dying pangs, and imagining the tears and despair of distant parents and wives. He will be incessantly called on to worship revenge, the real divinity of the Iliad, in comparison of which the thunderer of Olympus is but a despicable pretender to power. He will be taught, that the most enviable and glorious life, is that to

« AnteriorContinua »