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terminates at a common school. Of these lessons twentyfive are upon Natural Philosophy, seventeen on Astronomy, nine on Chemistry, eight on Electricity, Galvanism and Magnetism, nine on Mineralogy and Geology, eight on Botany, seven on Zoology, thirteen on Political Economy and Government, five on Physiology, and the rest on a great variety of curious and useful subjects.
Such a work well executed, must evidently be of the greatest utility. We do not agree with the Rev. D. Blair, quoted in the Advertisement, that there are any compositions, proving the wit and genius of an author, 'which do not teach any thing;' but we would readily agree that they may not teach those things, which it is most desirable for all young persons to learn. The compilations under the titles of Speakers, Readers, &c. teach them one, and a most rare thing, the accomplishment of fine reading, far better than a Scientific Class Book. But certainly this charming accomplishment is far from being so essential to the great mass of those who issue from a common school, as the knowledge of the properties of the bodies by which they are surrounded.which continually meet their eyes, and with which, and upon which they must always act. Delightful as it is to be able to read well, it is far less important than to be able to think well, and judge correctly, and to be well informed on our capacities as intelligent men, our duties and rights as citizens, our relations as social creatures, and our hopes as Christians. The art of reading, by which we have access to written learning, is an indispensable part of instruction; and to read naturally and gracefully, is, and always must be, a most desirable and uncommon accomplishment, not to be attained without a melodious voice, a quick eye and understanding, a clear judgment and refined taste. Instead, therefore, of saying with Mr Blair, that such books as Enfield's Speaker teach nothing, we should say, that they teach an art, which most persons will never have time or capacity to learn, and which therefore should not be the main object in books intended for the use of the great body of the community.
That ought to be learned at school, which will be useful in life. Some knowledge, then, of the nature of soils, and of the metals and minerals found in the earth, of animals and vegetables, of air, of water, and the substances which form our food and clothing, and the modes of their preparation; of the contrivances by which our natural strength of body is increased and applied in the construction of cities and navies, of the manner of crossing the ocean with certainty and safety, of the laws of society, and especially of that society and country of which we are members and citizens, of the structure of our own bodies p
and their liability to harm, of the faculties of our minds, of the agents and laws of nature by which the Creator effects our happiness and touches our hearts; in short, some knowledge of those things which are the subjects of this book, should be considered all-important. These things, and such as these, should be taught at our common schools. It is surprising that books like this, should not have been introduced into them before now. Such will doubtless be the books used hereafter, for instructing the future farmer, mechanics, navigators, and merchants of our country, distinguished among all others in no respect more honorably, than in affording the means of instruction to all.
We accordingly approve very highly of the plan of this work. Of the execution, also, we ought not to speak otherwise; for it is very much better than in a book unfortunately so novel in its design, and embracing so great a variety of subjects, could be expected. Parts of it are exceedingly well done; simple, intelligible, and well arranged. The definitions, however, do not in our opinion add to its usefulness. Every child who can read well enough, should be furnished with a dictionary, and all the uncommon words in each lesson should be looked for. Such collections of definitions, as are here given, perhaps do more harm than good; as they do not contain all the words which ought to be learned, and yet seem to preclude the necessity of a dictionary. It may be said that many schoolmasters will not require their pupils to use a dictionary, and that therefore it is better that a few words should be defined than that none should. But every inducement should be given instructers to require this mode of learning, and these definitions, as far as they operate at all, have a tendency to produce the opposite effect.
The questions at the end of the chapters are very good, judging from the few we have examined, and numerous enough to embrace most of the material facts and reasons in the lessons. Appended to reading lessons, they cannot fail to be useful; although, when appended to lessons only to be learned, we are inclined to doubt it, unless they are sufficiently numerous to touch upon every important particular contained in the lessons, in which case they become very bulky, and, at best, are of little use but to poor or indolent instructers, and badly taught pupils.
There are some faults of arrangement, such as placing some of the more difficult lessons first; but these are not of great consequence, as such lessons, being in general disconnected, may be omitted at the discretion of the teacher. The book, such as it is, we should gladly see introduced into all the public schools in New England; not to take the place of Readers and Speakers,
but to fill a most important place of its own, and to supply that knowledge, which is at once entertaining, and suitable to all young persons, and which will furnish most valuable materials for thought, and principles of action in future life.
19. A Sermon preached at the Ordination of the Rev. Benjamin Kent, as Associate Pastor with the Rev. John Allyn, D. D. in the Congregational Church in Duxbury, June 7,1826. By Convers Francis, Minister of Watertown. Cambridge. Hilliard & Metcalf 1826.
The introduction to this excellent sermon, is employed in bringing distinctly into view,that remarakable feature of the apostolic epistles,—their perfect freedom from all assumption in matters of faith. The text is the passage of St Paul's second letter to the Corinthians, in which he so unequivocally characterizes his manner of addressing the understandings and affections of men. 'Not for that we have dominion over your faith, but are helpers of your joy.'
'This man, with all his gifts and graces, eminently distinguished as he was among the followers of Jesus, advanced no lordly or unreasonable claims; but wished to be known, merely, as the friend and helper of his fellow Christians. He might, doubtless, have used his ascendancy to strengthen his personal power. But ho was not the man to convert into tyranny the just influence, which tenderness of character, unwearied zeal, and extraordinary qualifications placed in his hands. The high honor and trust, in which he stood among the defenders and preachers of the new religion, awakened not the feelings of requiring arrogance, but of deep and fervent solicitude to promote the true joy, the moral and spiritual welfare, of his brethren.' pp. 4, 5.
The sentiments and example here brought forward, were admirably adapted to the occasion of the sermon, and the author has unfolded and enforced them with his usual ability. Instead of indulging in remarks of our own upon the subject, we shall fill the little space we have to spare with extracts. Under the first division of discourse, the preacher observes, that—
'To have no " dominion over faith " implies, in general, that the christian minister is forbidden to assume prerogatives, or to intrude overbearing claims. It precludes him from none of that honest influence, that affectionate respect, which the faithful discharge of his duties may procure for him. It leaves him in full possession of all that weight of character, whirh'a good, useful, and zealous man naturally has with others; of all that heartfelt welcome of kindness and profound esteem, with which the gratitude of men repays those, who labor for their good. But the christian minister must learn, that the time has passed, or is passing away, when he could find admission for any other pretensions, than such as are founded on piety, sound sense, usefulness, and devotion to the cause of religion ; that he must rest his expectations of being received with confidence and regard, precisely where other men rest theirs, on the possession of merit, on exertions to do good, and to promote truth and righteousness; that there must be something more than mere sanctity of office, to arrest attention, and secure permanent attachment; that the man should adorn the office, and not the office be expected to throw a false reverence around the man; that the only sense, in which he can be said to be commissioned from God, is the same, in which all good men, who put forth their energies in imparting salutary influences, and performing duties essential to the best interests of society, may be said to be commissioned from God; and that whoever pretends to any other divine commission, either deceives himself, or is willing to deceive the world.' pp. 6, 7
Next follows a word of caution to the gospel minister against attempting in any way to 'fetter the spirit of enlightened and serious inquiry.' There is much good sense forcibly expressed in this connexion, which naturally leads the author to speak of the character and demands of the times, which he has sketched with a bold and free hand. But we hasten to a passage containing a lesson put into form for the shepherd, but which more especially concerns the flock at large.
'— Duty requires of the christian minister not to countenance any such views of his relation to the people for whom he labors, as may lead them to expect from it what it not designed to accomplish, and cannot accomplish. He will be most likely to "fulfil his ministry," in a just sense, if they are taught to depend on him no otherwise, than as an assistant, an instructor, and a devoted friend. The present times may seem to need no caution against exaggerated notions of the efficacy of clerical ministrations. And to a considerable portion of society, it may be true that such a caution is unnecessary. Yet, perhaps, it will be found, that the spirit, which was the growth of former days, has not wholly disappeared, though it exist in a less exceptionable form. There is still a disposition, in the minds of some, to identify religion with its ministers in such a way, that while they give them their support, respect, and affection, they persuade themselves that they satisfy the claims of religion itself. It has been well remarked, that " every individual must be the curate of his own soul." Perhaps this truth is too often forgotten. Pure and good associations with those, who minister at the altar, may sometimes be mistaken for the influence of religion on the heart. Errors of this kind lead to false estimates and expectations. Men acquire the habit of regarding themselves as, in some sort, passive in their religious relations, as those, for whom the clergyman labors and prays, but who have little or no personal part to take in effecting the purposes of religion. Mistakes of this nature sometimes appear in obvious forms. Many, for instance, seem to think, practically at least, that there is really a saving power in the prayers of the minister, on the bed of sickness, or at the hour of death,—that there is an efficacy in his services at such a time, simply as his, the want of which nothing can supply. Doubtless the affectionate pastor will promptly and feelingly do what he can to smooth the pillow of suffering and to sustain the fainting heart, by bringing to view the rich mercy of God through Him, who " is the resurrection and the life." But never should he permit his fellow beings to cherish the delusion, that they may depend on his services in any such way, as to expect them to alter in the least degree the consequences, which God has annexed to character and habits; and therefore he will strive to make them feel, that it is vastly more important to live well, than to die well.' pp. 13—15.
Francis's Ordination Sermon. 335Having finished his remarks upon that part of his text which forbids the minister of Christ to usurp ' dominion over the faith,' the preacher passes to that which requires him to be the ' helper of the joy' of his fellow Christians. This he must be in two ways; by his private exertions and influences, and by his public instructions. In his public instructions, he will not—
'— spend bis strength upon vague statements of the general benefits of religion, but will be mainly anxious to make his hearers feel it to be a personal concern. It is very easy to talk and think of Christianity as something of great value; to grow warm over the beauty and sublimity of its doctrines; to have an impressive sense of the blessings it has shed on man, as it has come down the course of ages; to feel its importance in calling the thoughtless prodigal to his Father's home, in pouring comfort into the bosom of the good, and in lighting up a rainbow even on the darkest cloud of sorrow ;—it is, I say, very easy to speak and think thus, and yet have no sense of a personal interest in the most blessed gift of God to man. We may consider it in every respect, except as it touches our hearts, and addresses itself to our souls. We may regard it as that, in which man in general has a deep interest, but not as that, in which we have a peculiar interest. Now this loose and superficial mode of viewing Christianity will not answer the purposes of spiritual edification; and therefore, the preacher of the Gospel will not bo satisfied with it; he will tell men that they must go with religion into their closets, and commune with it alone, and ask of it how it stands related to themselves,—that they must frequently retire from those wide considerations, which present it in its connexion with the human race, and view themselves as the peculiar objects of its counsels, its precepts, and its warnings,—that they must apply the solemn truths of Christianity to their own moral state, however painful the application may be. It is true, there are abuses of religious sensibility, as well as of other
§ood things. But outcry, passion, and fanaticism no more resemble the eep moral solicitude, which the enlightened and faithful preacher would recommend, than the lurid glare of a volcano resembles the pure and steady splendor of the sun. He would not, if he could, inspire his hearers with that diseased feeling, which makes men noisy and ostentatious under pretence of being religious, which carries them from agony to rapture, and from rapture back again to agony,—but with that pure and holy feeling, which goes into the heart with a calm but strong power, and ever makes us afraid that we have not done all that we could, in the cause of duty, of improvement, and of God.' pp. 18—20.
We cannot refrain from making one extract more, for it successfully meets a common objection to Unitarian preaching.
'The preacher will best accomplish the design of" helping the joy " of Christians, by making his preaching, as directly as possible, an instrument of moral purposes. By this I mean, that it should not consist in the inculcation of theological systems, as such, but of those truths, which are adapted to soften and purify the heart. Nothing, I think, is more barren and unprofitable, than what is usually denominated doctrinal preaching. I do not mean that we ought not to treat of doctrines; on the contrary, it is doubtless our duty to defend such doctrines as Christianity appears to us to teach But never should they be proclaimed from the pulpit, merely as points to be maintained and contended for; they should be exhibited only for the sake of their moral relations, their moral aspects, and moral uses. They should not be insisted on as having any worth, separate from their