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communicating general knowledge by the delineation of objects. The importance, however, of introducing into this colong the elements of manufacturing skill, which are mainly dependent upon a knowledge of design, can scarcely be overrated.
Music, also, has not been neglected as a powerful instrument of social amelioration. Mr. G. Allan was appointed as singing master on 1st April, 1853, and has since then been unremitting in his exertions in the principal schools of Melbourne, and its immediate vicinity. The results of his unaided efforts were shown on a recent occasion, when about 500 children were collected at the Mechanics' Institution, and their performance was considered highly creditable.
The amount appropriated by the Board in aid of the erection of school-buildings in 1853 was £19,743 10s. 3d., while the amount subscribed locally for the same purpose was £11,023 13s. 9d. Of these grants, two only were for teachers' dwellings, two were for tents and apparatus at the gold-fields, three lapsed owing to a change of plans, and thirty-five were in aid of the erection of school-rooms, including, in some cases, temporary accommodation for teachers. Out of the whole amount granted by the Board for buildings, £12,881 18s. 2d. was claimed and paid on the execution of the work during the year, indicating the bonâ fide character of the efforts made to supply accommodation for scholars.
On the gold-fields, strong indications of zeal in the furtherance of education have been given by the spontaneous formation of seventeen separate schools (or nine school establishments), with 662 scholars on the roll, in connexion with the Board, since the beginning of 1853-and of these, eleven since the beginning of 1854; all of which have emanated from the exertions of the inhabitants in co-operation with a very small number of resident clergymen. The union of educational with religious influences will, without doubt, liave a powerful influence in redeeming the digging population from the evil tendencies to which they are exposed.
Several teachers of British schools have recently been selected by H. M. Inspectors, to fill important situations in the schools of New South Wales. Among them is Mr. James Page, of Lambeth, who has been well known for many years to the teachers of the Metropolis, as an active and very valuable member of various associations for mutual improvement. We believe that he carries with him the best wishes of all with whom he has been thus connected, and have no doubt that a course of much usefulness and honour lies open to him in the new world.
Causes of Bad Reading.-"The subject of reading has been insufficiently attended to in Yorkshire, and, in general, the power of reading with ease, accuracy, and expression, is very small. There are not half-a-dozen schools under inspection where the children, even of the first class, read well, in any sense of the word. And I have often been struck with the difference between their expression of the subject matter of a lesson in reading it, and their intelligent reception of it. The common custom has been, nay, still is, in Yorkshire schools, for the children to read one after another in the order of their standing; to be hastily helped when they stop at a hard or an unusual word; to be hastily corrected when they make a mistake, the teacher making no difference between an error of carelessness and an error of ignorance, offering no reason as to the right or the wrong of the matter, setting no example before them of tone, time, articulation, and posture of head and body, nor giving any model lesson, to which all eyes and ears are to be attentive.
There are none of these necessary aids and steps to reading well. There is nothing but the dul interchange of monotonous drawl and hurried gabble on the part of the children, and of ill-timed, because unexplained, interruption on the part of the teacher."-Rev. F. Watkins's Report on Yorkshire Schouls.
THE PRODIGAL SON, (Luke xv. 11-32.) EXPLANATION AND DESCRIPTION.-(1) Of Terms. (2) Of Feelings. (1) Terms. (a) His living. His worldly possessions.
(6) To feed swine. An occupation the most degrading in the eyes of a Jew. The hog an unclean animal.
(c) The husks. Here understood to mean the pod or fruit of the carob tree, still, as formerly, used as food for swine. (Describe, or, if possible, show one.)
(d) Swine. (Pigs.) Mentioned in connexion with one of our Lord's miracles. Matt. viii. 30--52. (Derived from Saxon plural sowen.) (e) The best robe.
Peculiar marks of respect. (9) Music and dancing. Customary in the East, even at the present day, to bire musicians and dancers at all seasons of rejoicing.
(h) Fatted calf. Best of the herd. This was probably intended for another occasion.
(2) Feelings. (A) The Prodigal's. (B) The Father's. (C) The Brother's.
(a) When he came to himself. When he began to reflect upon his position. It would appear by this phrase that, up to this period, he had been blind to his own interest.
(6) How many hired servants, 8c. Perhaps some night, after the toils of a sultry day, he lays bimself upon his rude couch to rest. He dreams. He is in an oriental palace--his father's home; walls decked with purple and gold, floor covered with a rich carpet. He reclines upon an ottoman. All kinds of luxuries are spread before him. Slaves surround and do every thing at his bidding : some cool him with fans; others supply him with wine and delicious fruits. Music, and the hum of merry voices, reach his ears. He is preparing to join in the mirth-to be as happy as they,--akes,-finds his carpet the cold ground, and his companions the swine. He is more abject than those beings who had once trembled at his commands. What must have been his feelings?
(c) I will arise. It just now occurs to him that he has a forgiving parent,- knows that if he returns in penitence to him, he shall receive pardon for all his past offences.
(B) The Father's.
(a) Had compassion on him. How anxious the father must have been - will not wait for the son's approach, but " when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion on bim, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him."
(C) The Brother's. (a) He was angry. Jealous, would more properly indicate his present feeling.
(6) Neither transgressed 1, &c. He must have been self-righteous likewise. He extols his own good conduct.
(c) This thy son. Will not call him “brother." The father afterwards shows his indignation by saying, “This thy brother," showing him that, however sinful he might be, they still bore that relationship.
Lesson 1.-Contentment. Had the prodigal been satisfied with his position in his father's house, the evils of his after-life might have been averted. Verifies the proverb, “ A rolling stone gathers no moss."
LESSON 2.--Temperance. The “ portion that fell to bim was sufficient to have
supplied his daily wants, had he lived temperately; but he thought not of the future, of the "evil days," of which he was doomed to say, “ I have no pleasure in them."
Lesson 3.- Forgiveness. A more noble picture of this attribute could not have been drawn. The parent' receives with open arms the son who had brought misery and disgrace upon his house, and welcomes him as one long thought dead.
LESSON 4,-and principal. The infinite mercy of God towards penitent sinners. It is this attribute, which in its perfection belongs to God alone, that the Saviour wishes to illustrate. He shows us that there is no sin which man may have committed without the pale of God's mercy through Christ. “ When the wicked man turneth away from his wickedness that he hath committed, and doeth that which is lawful and right, he shall save his soul alive." “ Thongh your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
saith the Lord, with all your heart, and with fasting and with weeping and with mourning, ..., for he is gracious and merciful, slow
anger and of great kindness, and repenteth him of the evil.” W. C. P.
THE STUDY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE. A modern student, whose early cultivation has been neglected, and who desires in later life to supply his deficiencies, finds the task far easier than many of his predecessors in the same rough and toilsome road. In all departments of study, elaborate attempts have recently been made to simplify what is difficult, and to disentangle what is complex; and for the most part this has been done with such success, that many studies, which two or three generations ago could not be pursued without a teacher's aid, are now brought within reach of the solitary learner, and made completely intelligible to him by means of books. Hence the number of self-taught men is increasing among us, though not to the extent which might be desired or expected. And so long as stores of learning and of thought continue to be cheapened, translated, or otherwise made readable and attractive, it may reasonably be expected that the number will continue to increase.
Such a person will feel, with peculiar sensitiveness, the need of ripe and accurate knowledge on the subject mentioned at the head of this paper. He will be reminded of his deficiencies in this department more painfully than in any other; as he moves among educated persons, and as he meets continually, in the writings of modern authors, with allusions to facts and names he does not recognize, and references to subjects he does not understand. And if he then sets himself to acquire a more extensive knowledge of the past literature of his own country, he will find that the undertaking has its own peculiar snares and difficulties. To study a branch of mathematics up to a given point, is comparatively an easy-certainly a definite and intelligible thing; one or two standard treatises on the subject, a little steadiness and patience, and the object may soon be attained. So the learning of a language, or of some branch of physical science, can be compassed by any one with ordinary powers of mind, with methodised habits, and with enough of moral resolution to pursue the subject vigorously. But the field of English literature is a wide and varied one; the subjects to which it introduces us are so numerous, that perfect acquaintance with it is next to impossible ; and it is well if a student does not get bewildered with its vastness, and either despair of making any advance in it at all, or rely on such desultory and unsystematic reading as chance may throw in his way.
If this subject be undertaken in the same way as others, the earliest desideratum would seem to be a text-book or manual of directions, to guide the reading of the student, and to furnish him with information about the principal English authors. Such guides are easily accessible. Perhaps the best is Hallam's “ Introduction to the Literature of Europe.” From its learned and discriminating pages, one may learn much respecting the growth of our language; the several schools of poetry and literary art which have existed among us; and may gather many just criticisms, not only on the writings which are enumerated, but upon the place they occupy as monuments of our language, and the influence they have exerted upon our literary history.
Among books of humbler pretensions, but similar purpose, may be mentioned Professor Craik's work, published in “ Knight's Weekly Volume;" Shaw's • English Literature," and Professor Spalding's recent treatise, bearing the same title. These works differ much in the mode of treatment, and somewhat also even in purpose, but are, on the whole, candid and judicious, and may be consulted with great advantage. Johnson's “ Lives of the Poets,” Warton's “ History of English Poetry," and the admirable introduction and critical biographies in Thomas Campbell's “ Selections from the British Poets," will furnish all the information a student can require as to the development of one particular branch of our literature; while Sir J. Mackintosh's and Dugald Stewart's “ Dissertations on the History of Philosophy,” are copious and accurate catalogues raisonnées of the national stores, in another.
Yet, although the study of works of this kind is undoubtedly valuable, it is necessary to recollect, that it is only so to a very limited extent, and is but preliminary to the attainment of the main object. It is our literature itself, and not what has been said and written about it, which demands and repays the learner's attention. All really sound and efficient acquaintance with the standard authors must be got by a perusal of their works, and must not be taken at second-band. Moreover, a large portion of any compendium of English literature is occupied with matter not purely of fact, but of speculation ; grouping of authors into schools ; classification of the works of a given period; select extracts from the principal writings, or critical judgments upon them.
Now, it is not too much to say, that however interested a student may be in the perusal of such extracts and criticisms, he ought to be greatly dissatisfied with them, and they simply ensnare him, if they serve any other purpose than to stimulate other researches, and to direct him in making them. We believe, that to every real student, a book of extracts, or “ beauties” of a certain author, is a very unsatisfactory thing. He is reluctant to accept the extracts as really typical of the writer's style or purpose. He would like to refer to the unabridged works of the writer in question, make his own selection, and form his own opinion as to “ beauties disfigurements. Still more does he hesitate to recognise the propriety of those bold attempts at classification which abound in text-books, because he feels that such classification is sometimes arbitrary and capricious, and always difficult ; can be accept the critical estimate of the value of writings which he has never read.
There is good reason for such doubt and diffidence as this; he who feels none of it on commencing the study of the literature of his own country, has yet to learn some of the most elementary, and yet most important lessons which that study can afford. He has no right to adopt the opinion of a critic as to the style or worth of a given book, until he is himself familiar with that book. Facts, of course, are always valuable, and must in this, as well as in all other departments of our knowledge, be accepted on trust; but sentiments have no value, unless they are our own, and are inductions from our own experience. So much, therefore, of a treatise on English literature as is critical or speculative, should be read with extreme caution, however great may be the confidence which we feel disposed to place in the author's judgment. In regard to this subject, every man whose opinion is worth having at all, is an eclectic, and not a disciple of a particular school. He does not begin with a body of opinions, or a system of classification ; but forms them as he grows older, and as his knowledge of the subject becomes more detailed and exact. In fact,
sweeping generalisations are especially to be avoided here; perhaps there is no subject in connexion with which they are more misleading.
It is important, also, to avoid being beguiled by books into a desire to traverse the whole field of English literature. It is impossible for any learner to become acquainted with the works of all who fill even an honourable place in the noble roll of British authors. He must, therefore, make a selection; and in doing so, he will be guided by the peculiar bent of his own mind, not merely as a matter of necessity, but because, in this branch of learning, the special tastes and sentiments of the learner ought to determine his course. There is little room, in the pursuit of ordinary branches of scholastic instruction, for the exercise of choice; in mathematics, in history, or science, we are not to linger here and there as we please, to skip parts which do not interest us, and dwell on those which seem attractive. It would show a presumptuous and unteachable spirit were we to do so. But our acquaintance with our vernacular literature is the one acquirement which should reflect our individual character most, and which should be determined, in the case of each of us, by considerations personal to ourselves. Of course, every student will feel bound to follow the beaten track in some respects. He will read Shakespeare and Milton, Hooker, Addison, and Johnson, not because he is predisposed in favour of the subjects of which those authors have written, but in deference to the universal opinion of his countrymen, which has placed such names foremost in the ranks of English authors, and assigned to their works a literary value, arising not from the matter only, but also from the method in which the resources of our language have been applied to the exhibition of that matter.
Any attempt to cover the whole area of our literary history, and to probe its entire surface to a uniform depth, is sure to end in failure and disappointment. For example, the student will, of course, learn something of the life of Chaucer, and will associate his name with Gower, with Mandeville, with Wycliffe, with Wykeham, and with many historical circumstances of deep significance connected with the intellec. tual life of England at the end of the fourteenth century; and it would be unpardonable ignorance if he were not to do so. From the same book or chronological table he may perhaps learn that Elkanah Settle flourished in the time of Charles II., and, under the patronage of Lord Rochester, achieved a transient success as a writer of plays for the stage. A mere pedant values all such statistics alike; but to a rational student, such dates and details as these have no meaning or purpose unless they illustrate his reading. He is glad to gather statistics and obscure names, as his knowledge of the more important facts ramifies and extends itself; but otherwise he refuses to encumber his memory with them.
In connexion with the study of English literature, it is desirable also to pay close attention to the growth of our language. There is no incidental advantage connected with this study so important as the discovery of the different significations in which words have been used in the several stages of the formation of our mother tongue. Each age, almost each generation, bas had its own peculiar forms of speech, and a careful investigation of these is an interesting and indispensable part of the work which the student should accomplish. In the selection, therefore, of the works to be read, he should, in the first place, take care to choose representatives of each of our great literary epochs. In poetry, he will find the earliest forms of modern English represented in the Canterbury Tales ; Spenser's Faery Queen and the dramas of Shakespeare embody the language of the Elizabetban era. George Herbert and Quarles furnish specimens of the quaint and fanciful religious poetry of the elder Stuarts, while Milton and Dryden exbibit, each in his own characteristic way, the power and dignity which the language bad attained in the latter half of the seventeenth century, and the noble uses to which it could be appropriated. Pope's smooth and polished philosophical poems are the best specimens of the best style prevalent in the time of Queen Anne, though not the most characteristic examples