« 上一頁繼續 »
he nullifies the whole doctrine of sacrifice and expiation, and travels half-way to Socinianism.]
The Christian Offering for the year 1832. Bound in embossed leather, and embellished with elegant engravings. Boston.
Babington on Education. With a Preliminary Essay, by T. H. Gallaudet.
Dr. Young's Egyptian Dictionary. London and Edinburgh.
Clarke's Scripture Promises. With an Introductory Essay by Dr. Wardlaw.
Rev. J. Latrobe on Church Music, 8vo. London.
pp. 110. 8vo.
The Constitution and Laws of the Board of Education of the General Assembly. 1831. Philadelphia.
Pulpit Oratory in the time of James the First, considered, and principally illustrated by original examples, A. D. 1620, 1621, 1622. By the Rev. J. H. Bloom. London.
The American Infant School Singing Book, designed as the first book for the study of Music. By E. Ives, jr. Principal of the Philadelphia Musical Seminary.
The entire works of the Rev. Robert Hall, with a brief memoir and sketch of his Literary character, by Sir James Mackintosh; and a sketch of his character as a Theologian and a Preacher, by the Rev. John Foster. Published under the superintendence of Olinthus Gregory, L.L. D. 6 vols. 8vo. London.
The Biblical Cabinet Atlas, containing finely executed engravings of all the tribes and countries mentioned in Sacred History. London.
Anecdotes, Religious, Moral, and Entertaining. By the late Rev. Charles Buck, author of the Theological Dictionary. Alphabetically arranged, and interspersed with a variety of useful observations. Two vols. in one. J.C. Rickes. New York. pp. 202 and 190. 8vo.
Errata in the last No. of the preceding volume.
p. 459, line 6th from bottom, for communion read circumcision. p. 583, line 10th, for pretty interrogatories read pithy interrogatories. p. 584, line 27th, for reasonable read seasonable.
Book on the Soul, First part. Book on the Soul, Second
part. By the Rev. T. H. Gallaudet, da
THERE is, perhaps, no field for benevolent enterprise, which has been more neglected, or which promises a richer harvest to the cultivator, than the preparation of suitable books for children. It is somewhat surprising that the attention of philanthropists has been so little turned to this subject, and that while so much has been published of late on the importance of education, and of commencing our efsorts early, so little has been done in the way of furnishing the means of communicating knowledge to the minds of children. At first view, it seems an easy task to prepare such books as are needful for the instruction of youth; yet when we come to ponder the subject deeply, we cannot but confess, that it is a work of extreme difficulty. We do not speak of the elementary books which are needful. to teach the art of reading: these, however useful, communicate no instruction to the mind; they only furnish one means of acquiring knowledge. We refer to books adapted to the minds of children in the several stages of their developement, and which are calculated, especially, to train the thoughts, to teach the young idea how to shoot;' and by which their
VOL. IV. No. II.-T
faculties may be invigorated, and habits of distinct and correct thinking established. It is, in our estimation, a common and pernicious error in education, that the first and principal object should be to store the mind with knowledge: for the chief end at which we should aim is, to prepare it for the acquisition of knowledge. Until the faculties are developed, exercised, and invigorated, the communication of knowledge, to any considerable extent, is impossible. The memory may, indeed, be loaded with ideas on a great variety of subjects; but this is not the way to acquire useful knowledge: The mere accumulation of ideas in the memory, tends rather to weaken than to strengthen the mind. Even the best books are in a great measure useless, until the mind, by various exercises, becomes so disciplined, as to be susceptible of improvement from the writings of profound think
Injudicious parents are often misled on this point. They hear a particular author extolled by persons in whose judgment they repose great confidence; and without considering the age or improvement of their children, they insist upon their studying the work which has been so highly recommended. Even grave instructers often fall into this error, and put into the hands of children, books which, however excellent at a future period, can be of no manner of use at the present. We have known a case, where a boy of twelve years
of age, feeling a desire to begin a course of useful reading, upon applying to his reverend instructer, had the Tatler put into his hands, which he found he could neither understand nor relish. In going into the house of a friend, we observed a little girl poring over an octavo volume; and upon inquiry, found that she was studying “Watts on the Improvement of the Mind.” Often such works as Locke on the Understanding and Butler's Analogy are read when they can bé of no real use to the pupil, and when the only effect produced is a distaste for those authors, which cannot afterwards be overcome, without great difficulty. Education is thus far a mere matter of experiment; and we are restricted from making new experiments which might lead to important discoveries, by the preciousness of the material on which we operate. No man, who is wise, is willing that his son or daughter should be conducted along some untried course, to verify some new hypothesis. Still there are many empirics who profess to work wonders with the human mind; and there are parents foolish enough to credit their pretensions,
and to subject children to their new processes of improvement.
But when it is conceded, that the primary object of education is the developement and invigoration of the faculties, and the constitution of good habits and associations, it may still be a question of great importance, whether we should hasten the developement of the intellectual faculties by such stimulants and exercises as may have that effect, or wait until nature brings forward her work, and then endeavour to guide and assist her efforts. This is a point which has not been sufficiently considered; and, therefore, there has been no hesitation among parents and teachers in accelerating, as speedily as possible, the developement of every faculty; an early indication of the mental power is hailed as a happy omen of success; and the more premature the developement of any faculty may be, the more pleasure, as well as wonder, does it excite. But all analogy is in favour of following, rather than going before nature, in her operations. Vegetables forced in a hot bed, produce earlier fruits than those which come forward under the common influence of the elements, but these precious fruits are seldom as good as those which arrive at maturity in the usual way; and it is so common for such plants to decay soon, that the fact has given rise to a proverb in many languages, that, that which is soon ripe is soon rotten. The same remarks are applicable to the growth of animals. And as far as there are facts within our observation, we cannot but think, that the analogy holds good in regard to the business of education. Hence it is, that many who are considered prodigies, when children, never arrive at any eminence of talent in mature age. Hence also, those children who are most constantly under the tuition of officious teachers, do not improve ultimately as much as some others whose education has been greatly neglected. In this, as in many other things, we do injury rather than good, by interfering too much with the processes of nature. There is a culpable vanity in most parents with regard to their children. They are extravagantly elated by their apparent success in literary pursuits; and both by parents and teachers the prir.ciple of emulation is too much excited; which, though naturaland innocent in its proper exercise, readily degenerates into a vicious ambition; and in this form it is commonly found to exist in schools and colleges, where it is much calculated on as a means of accelerating the literary progress of the scholars.
It is admitted, that there is a certain period of human life, at which the mind has attained its highest vigour; when all the faculties are finally developed, and are in their freshest vigour. After this period, knowledge may be acquired even with more facility and celerity than before, but we expect no new strength to be added to any of the faculties of the mind. Now this period of time occurs much later in life with some minds than others, and it deserves to be well considered, what relation this may have to the mode of education; and whether it is not a fact, that precocity of intellect reaches this acme much earlier than that which is slower in its progress. And it should also be considered, whether an undue maturity is not followed by feebleness, and a premature decay. We observe, in regard to this last particular, a remarkable diversity. The mind of one man begins to fail at the age of forty-five or fifty, while that of another flourishes in vigour to the advanced period of eighty. And this cannot be attributed to the more sound state of the body in one case, than in the other; for in regard to this, there may be no difference; or the advantage as to bodily health, may be altogether on the side of the person whose mind is subject to an early decay. Indeed, in general, strength of mental powers has a slender connexion with health; a soul of mighty energies may dwell in a frail tottering tabernacle.
And, while on this subject, we would remark, that we know of no method of postponing the decay of the intellectual faculties so effectual as to keep them in vigorous exercise. Let the old man never indulge the thought, that the time for mental exertion is over let him never suffer his mind to sink down into indolence and apathy—let him still keep his eyes open, and his attention awake to all the objects of knowledge which interest others, and thus the rust of the mind will be prevented from accumulating.
Another mistake in education, which has some affinity to the one already considered, is, that of giving undue exercise and disproportioned energy to some one faculty, while the others are neglected. It is possible to concentrate much of the strength of the body, we know, in particular members; or so to direct and exercise its energies, that it shall be rendered capable of performing extraordinary acts of a particular kind. Thus blacksmiths and hammermen, have unusual power in their hands and arms; and balance-masters, vaulters, &c. are able to do what is impossible to others. But it