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ing wheel, and they become-what? Machines, at which a North American savage would look with more astonishment, than at the first steam-boat, that broke the stillness of the western waters; and which an Icelander, fresh from a page of Homer or an Eddaic Ode, could not understand to be any thing more, than a superior kind of Ourang Outang. Nor does the manner in which agriculture is pursued, in most of the countries on the continent of Europe, permit the peasant to rise much above the English operative, though it is impossible to pursue this branch of labor without some redeeming effects. The idea of amassing wealth, as wealth, seems never to have entered the mind of the Icelander. Indeed he has been cut off, by the peculiarity of his situation, from the indulgence of that love of money, which is now the impelling power, that keeps the machinery of most governments in motion. When therefore his limited wants are provided for, he turns his attention to the culture of his mind, until for the purposes of intellectual and spiritual existence, for pure and elevated enjoyment, for manly and disinterested traits of character, for justness and originality of thought, the common people of this island are probably superior to those of any nation in Europe. The books to which they have access are very few, but this can scarcely be called a disadvantage. When an Icelander reads Homer, or the Edda, or the Sagas, to him the depository of national law and national history, he puts forth his energies to grasp whatever is high and elevated in thought, and whatever reveals new and sublime ideas pertaining to the unseen world. His mind comes directly in contact with the comprehensive and daring intellect, that is treasured up in
"Thoughts that breathe and words that burn,"
and thus is he awakened to the communion of a higher life. With us, books are so numerous, that to each individual must be parceled out that which belongs to his appropriate business, and as to having intercourse with those minds which ranged not only through the whole world of matter, but almost through that of spirit; most even among the higher classes have no time! We could not attend to the calls and the proprieties of life; and he that is inattentive here will be out of fashion-the laughing stock of the fewthe laughing stock of the many. To be sure we have Shakspeare, and Milton, and Thomson, and Cowper, and Wordsworth, and above them all, we have the bible, the most glorious of all repositories for principles in literature, for all the elements of thought and feeling, and this in every man's hand, but how few have time for such studies! We spend a week in obtaining some little convenience, and in the indirect cultivation of a refined selfishness, while we have not an hour for the bible, or for Milton, or for
Wordsworth. In every neighborhood, there are works, which if read and digested, would make a vast addition to our intellectual strength, but which are now only glanced at, because Mrs. Hofland, or Miss Porter, or Lady Morgan, or Sir Walter Scott are at the door, furnishing volume after volume, written and printed at full speed, and which must be read too at the same pace, or we shall be left behind by the passing fashion of this world. Such attempts at acquiring knowledge, only make the public mind a lumber room, where fragments of thoughts alone are found. It is too much forgotten, that the period in our national history which constitutes our pride and our glory, was not a reading, but a thinking and an acting period; that had it been less a thinking era, its actions would have been rash and foolish, and had it been less an acting era, its thoughts would have been framed into ideal creations, beautiful but Utopian. It presents a state of things, therefore, more worthy of ourstudy, than all the forms of European society, and all the promised advantages arising from commercial or inanufacturing regulations.
Division of labor seems scarcely to exist in Iceland, and of course its inhabitants are destitute of that national wealth, which arises from the concentration of many minds to one species of employment. Every clergyman is the cultivator of his own farm; and every farmer is his own smith and mechanic. How destitute such a people must be of most that constitutes our comforts and conveniences, and how great a loss of time must result from these rude efforts at doing every thing, we need not say. Still with their love of knowledge, and high standard of morals, this very fact contributes to their intellectual improvement. The long leisure of the winter, gives them an opportunity to store their minds with valuable thoughts. The state of society, and the situation of each household, calls for the continual exercise of the mind and heart, so that all the intellectual attainments are called forth, in some form, producing an accuracy and an enlargement which is often very surprising.
One of the most serious evils, on the contrary, to which the youth of our country are exposed, is the facility of obtaining knowledge without thinking for themselves. This evil is greatly enhanced by the mode of teaching which prevails in a large proportion of our schools and higher seminaries of learning. The mind of the pupil is treated like a reservoir which is to be filled, not a living principle whose powers are to be expanded into instruments of original thought. It is perpetually forgotten, at least in practice, that a child may be kept for years at his studies, and have a vast amount of knowledge pass through his mind, and yet bring away with him but little that is valuable in facts, principles, or mental habits. The
receptive faculties may be highly disciplined, while the active pow ers, which are employed in forming new combinations of their own, are suffered to lie wholly dormant. Thus in our grammar schools, boys are taught for years to construe and parse Latin sentences, until every form of construction in the language has passed under their view a hundred times perhaps, and yet, in most instances, are left in total ignorance of the fundamental principles on which those sentences are framed. Ask them, Is this good Latin, or bad; ought the subjunctive, or the indicative to be used here; what law controls the use and sequence of the tenses; what rules determine the order and collocation of the words," and they will tell you with an air of surprise, that they know nothing of such matters, that they have been accustomed to take sentences as they come, without any thought of the principles on which they are constructed. And yet all the varieties of usage in this respect, have been constantly passing before their eyes; and a knowledge of the principles in question, is absolutely necessary, in a multitude of instances, to decide the true meaning of an author. But unhappily, such have been our modes of teaching for many years past, that instructors themselves have in general but little acquaintance with this part of the subject; though a few months' attention to Latin composition, with the aid of such works as Zumpt's Latin Grammar and Crombie's Gymnasium, would prepare them to teach the language with incomparably more precision and effect. Of classical studies as they are too generally conducted among us, it is emphatically true, that a person may be "ever learning, and never able to come to a knowledge" of the subject; and we hazard nothing in saying, that one who should be taught, as in Germany, to write and speak Latin for a twelvemonth, not merely by the aid of books which furnish him with the words and forms of construction, but by his own efforts under the guidance of a competent teacher, though he may have read but few authors, would have the foundation of better scholarship, than a large part of those who graduate at our colleges. What is thus true of classical instruction, is true also of the manner in which most branches of knowledge are taught. The pupil is habituated chiefly to receive instruction; not to combine anew, to carry out principles into their results, to resolve individual cases into general laws, and by arranging his acquisitions for himself, to fix them permanently in his memory. We know there is much difficulty in the case; that children and youth are far more willing to take things as they come, than to make things as they should be, to receive principles upon trust, than to investigate and decide for themselves. Nor do we suppose they will succeed, except very imperfectly, in their first attempts; or that teachers
can ever lead them forward in the course of mental discipline pro
posed, without adroitness, patience, and a thorough acquaintance with the subject. Still we contend, that this ought with every instructor, to be the object at which he aims from first to last. Principles or facts inculcated in any other way, are rarely remembered by the pupil, except in connection with his text book.
Our fathers were not very extensively instructed in the learning of the schools, except a few who first came from England, but they were men of sound mental discipline, accustomed to call forth the resources of their own minds, and apply them to the business in hand; and were obliged to study the structure of society for the sake of making it, what the principles in their own bosoms demanded society should be. Nor were they hedged up within the narrow compass of mechanical modes of life; their minds spread out upon every thing. A mother, instead of teaching her daughters to arrange a parlor in the most showy manner, or to fit a Leghorn to the newest fashion, was obliged to instruct them in all the diversities of household work, and the varieties of intellectual employment. She, and not the boarding school, was made the teacher, and the guardian of their principles, herself being the exemplification of their value. The father taught his sons at his own fireside, in law, history, and politics, so far at least as these were necessary to make them good patriots, and enlightened republicans. The business of life was but the reduction of these principles to the exigencies of the growing society. But now all such matters are committed to a few books, which are said over at a high school, or a female academy, and the progress which is made in actual knowledge-in facts and principles established in the mind, is too often exceedingly limited. We have more display than forinerly, more apparatus, more books, more schools, vastly more talk about education. And in too many instances this is all. By aiming to cover too much ground; to make every thing easy, as if one object of study was not to break in the mind to painful effort; and above all by crude notions about a practical education, which in the view of many embraces nothing that cannot be reduced to immediate practice, the cause of sound instruction has suffered very greatly in this country. Many enlightened men have, unhappily, through such causes, become disgusted with the whole subject; and are too much disposed to overlook the improvements which can and ought to be made in our modes of teaching, and which the superficial character of the age peculiarly demands. But we have dwelt on this subject longer than we intended, and must return to the work before us.
Dr. Henderson's Journal, as well as that of Messrs. Tyerman and Bennett, is a happy exemplification of the advantages which may be conferred on the cause of general information, by the la
bors of our great religious charities. In this point of light, we consider the influence of these works as highly salutary. Such contributions to our stock of knowledge respecting distant countries which have been but little explored, raise the character of our Missionary and Bible Societies, in the view of many who have been heretofore accustomed to regard them with coldness or contempt. For this reason we think increased attention should be paid to the preparatory studies of our missionaries in this respect. They ought to be men of science and general information, qualified when they enter on the field of their labors, to collect and arrange the knowledge which falls in their way, with scientific accuracy. With a view to this and other objects, we hope the time is not far distant, when we shall have at least one missionary establishment, connected with some of our colleges or theological institutions, where our young men who are preparing to labor among the heathen, may, while pursuing their studies in divinity, obtain a practical acquaintance with the physical sciences, and may enter, as far as possible, on those studies respecting the history, antiquities, superstitions, and philosophy of the nations which they are to visit, which are now too generally deferred till they arrive on the spot.
ART. III. THE CHRISTIAN MINISTRY.
The Christian Ministry, with an Inquiry into the cause of its Inefficiency. By the Rev. CHARLES Bridges, B. A. vicar of old Newton, Suffolk; and author of
Exposition of Psalm cxix." New York: Jonathan Leavitt. er & Brewster; 1831 In two vols. 12mo.
This work has been republished in this country with a recommendatory notice, by the Rev. Dr. Milnor of New York. We call the attention particularly of our clerical readers to it, as a practical work of high value, on the duties of their calling. It is plain, simple, and thorough in its character; evidently the production of a man ardently attached to the ministry; abounding in scriptural views of the nature of this great office; and illustrating those views, in a full and interesting manner, by the sentiments of eminent ministers of the gospel, and by pertinent anecdotes from the lives of distinguished pastors and preachers. It is not such a work, indeed, as we should expect from those profound British thinkers, Foster and Hall; but it is such a book as we most love to peruse in those moments of care and perplexity, of doubt and despondency, when we seek not for profound discussion, or new views, but when we wish for scriptural encouragement in our work, and ask for the friendly