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Letters to a Mother, upon Education.
On the question of Public or Private Education.
THE opinion which I shall endeavour to recommend in this Letter is, that, in many important respects, the parent should prefer that his son should be sent to school, rather than to supply him even with the highest advantages of private tuition under his own roof.
In the first place, the system of private education is exceedingly apt to foster and to establish many habits of mind and body, which would be detrimental to the welfare of your son. Upon this supposition, your son, and one or two of his brothers perhaps, and the tutor, would form the school. Their acquaintance with boys of their own age would be exceedingly limited, it being the very principle of a private education, that the subjects of it should be kept by it from mingling with other boys, and thus preserved from the contagion of bad example. Accordingly, your children will only or principally be each other's companions. But we all know, that whatever may be the degree of affection and good arrangement in a family, boys will seldom engage with their own brothers from year to year in those sports and exercises, which in former Letters I have frequently recommended. Besides, it is almost an unavoidable evil in private education, that the elder children successively rule over each other, and the eldest son over the whole. Hence a habit of dominion very injurious to the governor and the governed is, I believe, universally in such cases established. Should your son alone be privately educated, the attendant evils are still more numerous and formidable. No boy will ever alone engage in the robust exercises needful to him for the development of his constitution and the establishment of his health. It is true that the tutor may walk out every day with him, but there will be little congeniality in their minds while thus engaged. The matured and contemplative mind of the tutor can scarcely, however he may endeavour, respond to all the gaiety and exhilaration natural to a healthy child.
The evils produced upon the mind next deserve attention. One of those which I believe to be nearly inseparable from the system is, that your child under such circumstances would have no one with whom to compare himself in the several stages of the process of education. Hence, when his tutor is satisfied (for I hold that no positive expression of praise ought ever to be heard in the course of education), your son would of course be led to think that he had attained so much as even to satisfy his tutor. Hence his vanity will be excited. In nothing, perhaps, is the system of private education so hurtful. It always makes the subject of it vain; that is, thinking more highly of himself than he ought to think. The cause is, he has no one with whom to compare himself: he knows of no one cleverer than himself, and he can only judge of what he does know. All these feelings will be fostered by the praises and commendations, or indirect tokens of complacency, which if you and his tutor properly abstain from giving, you cannot prevent him from receiving from other persons. Add to which, that his mind, by the continual contemplation of itself, acquires the tendency of becoming self-enamoured. All this, however, serves but to foment his vanity; and vanity is the bane of all persons who live and study much alone, and especially of those who are privately educated. At the same time no habit is so difficult to be eradicated in after-life. When your son comes to mingle with the world (and he must mingle with it), he will find mankind, apparently to
himself, most insensible to his superior qualifications. Hence he will consider himself injured by mankind, and will learn to avoid, if not to hate them. Should he, which is very likely to be the case, meet with many persons equal or superior to himself, this discovery will but add to his chagrin. Vanity, the most selfish of all passions, abhors that its own excellencies should be shared by another. The vain man will indeed often be kind, but it will be to his inferiors in some decided respect; to his equals he will be distant: yet the great concerns of human life, the discharge even of the moral duties, calls upon us to mingle much with our equals. Virtue, too, is chiefly to be estimated by our conduct to such as are upon the same level of human life with ourselves.
Finding, however, the society of equals, from these and other causes, less pleasing, he will be in danger of delighting in low company, the invariable tendency of the vain mind; or he will be disposed to be servile towards his superiors, no person being capable of greater apparent humility than those whose predominant passion is vanity. It should also be remembered, that owing to the very circumstances selected by the vain man, this ill habit of mind can scarcely ever be corrected. Collision with society, the reciprocal conduct of man with man, is the cure, but this he shuns. The disease therefore takes possession of the heart, and at no distaut period perhaps degenerates into a selfishness, whose least repulsive characteristic is misanthropy, pouring forth its querulous accusations upon the baseness, meanness, inconstancy, and wickedness of mankind. The other only alternative is the pursuit of ambition, to which vanity not unusually is directed. Under either result you will be aware of the vast mischief produced by this passion to your offspring, and to all those of his fellow-creatures standing to him in any relation of human life. Yet I believe that this habit, like most others, is implanted in childhood, and is derived from the early circumstances of education: it may be traced to the nursery.
The system of private education renders the subject of it peculiarly liable to this desolating passion. I believe that the morbid sensibility (another word for the consuming influence of vanity) which was the bane of the late Lord Byron, is to be attributed to this cause. This result is however precluded, if a boy be sent at a proper age to a good school, composed of not less than fifty boys, of different ages, and intended for different pursuits in future life. There your son will find himself surrounded by many who are his equals, and probably by many who are his superiors, in abilities and acquirements. He will find, that if he has any wish to shine, he can derive no gratification to his desire from the plaudits of friends and relatives. He must gain each succeeding elevation as the result of industry, merit, and good behaviour. Should he then be ambitious, by nature or by the influence of early circumstances, he will find that the indulgence of his wish occasions him to become diligent and accomplished. Though not the most desirable principle, perhaps, yet, under these circumstances, as far as acquirements are concerned, it is productive of the most desirable results.
On the other hand, should he, notwithstanding all your watchfulness, have acquired habits of vanity, during those years when his education was conducted under your own inspection, he will infallibly be cured of them if sent to school, provided that this remedy is applied early enough. His schoolfellows, from the very first hour, will perceive it: they will read it in his solemn countenance, his reserve, his distance, his disdain to mingle in their pursuits. And no sooner will they see these things, than they will begin the process.
Vanity is a weakness, and weakness invites insult. I sympathize with his feelings, writhing and indignant and helpless under the lash; but I sympathize with him as I should with the pangs of a patient under an operation which will save his life. After a few days or months of suffering, during which he will plainly be told the cause, and read it in their conduct, he will reflect and examine himself: he will compare his own condition with that of other boys: he will see them, notwithstanding their acknowledged ability and acquisitions, contented and happy. He will discover that the reason is, that they really do what he would wish others to think him capable of doing: they really are what he would fain rest contented (for no passion is so indolent as vanity) with their thinking him to be. He learns his mistake, applies himself diligently to his studies, and either gains the eminence he wishes upon proper and solid ground, or, finding his inability, gives up the vain and troublesome profession of it without the reality.
Should, however, he be sent to school or to college too late-should he be eighteen or nineteen years old before he mingles with the world — he will endure indeed all the process, for mankind will infallibly inflict it. Whenever the vain man, like the owl at noon-day, comes abroad, he will assuredly be recognized and tor mented. But in vain : his habits are fixed: the period at which habits are changeable is gone by. It is scarcely possible for him to imagine the cause. Should it ever for a moment force itself upon his attention, he will dismiss it, unable to bear the humiliating thought, unable perhaps to endure the idea, that every person concerned in his education was mistaken. Self-love will present the barrier of pride to the supposition; and he will, on the contrary, lay all the blame upon an unrefined and sordid world, whom he will be prepared to desert, to despise, and hate.
(To be continued.)
EXPLANATION OF 1 COR. XI, 10. "For this cause the woman ought to have power on her head, because of the angels."
"Sir,―The text, 1 Cor. xi, 10, has always appeared to me to have a deal of obscurity in it. Pray, Sir, can you explain what relations the angels have to the woman, that through them she should have power on her head? If you can spare room in your valuable little work to answer this, you will oblige, Sir, yours, &c.
A CONSTANT READER."
MANY a "CONStant Reader," even of the Holy Scriptures, has been perplexed, we have no doubt, by the passage under consideration. We ourselves were perplexed by it in early life, and considered it, as our Correspondent does, characterized by "a deal of obscurity." Dr. Doddridge remarks, in a Note on this verse, Locke acknowledges, with a modesty which does him much honour, that he did not understand this text; and many seem to have darkened it by their attempts to explain it."
To understand this passage aright, it will be necessary to consider the design of the apostle. Dr. Doddridge, in a Note referring to verse 4, says, "It was certainly (as Dr. Whitby and others have proved) the custom among the Greeks and Romans, as well as the Jews, to appear in worshipping assemblies with the head covered; and it is certain the Jewish priests wore a kind of turban, when ministering in the Temple. But it seems that the Corinthian men wore a veil, out of regard to Pharisaical traditions, and in imitation of the custom prevailing in the synagogues, which therefore the apostle disapproved. The women seem to have worn their hair
dishevelled, when praying by divine inspiration (which seems to have been the only case in which they could regularly pray in public); this made them resemble those pagan priestesses, who pretended to be actuated by their gods; the apostle therefore with great propriety discourages it."
The principal difficulty in the passage arises from the words "power on her head,” and “angels.”
Without troubling our readers with the different, contradictory, and, many of them, absurd expositions, which have been given of this text by learned commentators, supposing" angels" in this place necessarily to mean superior spirits, some interpreting it of the good, and others of the evil angels, we proceed to give that which appears to us the only rational and consistent, and, we believe, its true signification. "Power on her head," here manifestly refers to that subject, concerning which the apostle is discoursing in this long paragraph, from ver. i to 16-the propriety and decency of women ap pearing in the assemblies for public worship, or even praying and prophesying by inspiration, having a veil or covering," ver. 5, 13, 15. Hence the marginal note to covering," in ver. 15, is "veil"-and to the word power," ver. 10, it is, “a covering, in sign that she is under the honour of her husband.”
Angels" properly signifies "messengers," sent for any purpose; and the holy spirits before the throne of God are so called, because of their being employed as messengers," to execute his righteous commands. The messengers of John the Baptist, Luke vii, 24, were two of his disciples, see ver. 19: the "messengers,” Luke ix, 52, whom Jesus sent, appear to have been two of his disciples: the "messengers," James ii, 25, whom Rahab received, were two men sent by Joshua to explore the city and country of Jericho. But in all these places the original is in the very same Greek words as the original of the text in question, 1 Cor. xi, 10.
The messengers received by Rahab, are properly called "spies" by the apostle, Heb. xi, 31; and such we believe to be intended by the Holy Spirit in the pas sage before us.
Now let our "Constant Reader" consider "what relation the angels have to the woman," the text being translated, as we think, correctly; bearing in mind another part of the apostle's argument, that "the head of every man is Christ; and the head of every woman is the man;" ver. 3. "On this account, the woman ought to have a veil (or covering) on her head, because of spies."
That there were " messengers" (in Greek “angels") sent by the idolatrous Corinthians to act as "spies," or observers, in the assemblies of the Christians, is certain from the apostle's directions concerning propriety in public worship, contained in this same letter to that church (see chap. xiv, 23), “If — there come in those that are unlearned or unbelievers," &c. We presume that our friend will find, on reading this chapter, that the translation here given renders the argument and reasoning of the apostle consistent, beautiful, and edifying; especially when he recollects the customs of the East in reference to women, and the design of the apostle in reference to the exercises of social worship in the primitive churches.
CASE OF CONSCIENCE. — HEB. X, 26. SIR,- I hope you will excuse the liberty I have taken; but knowing that it is with pleasure you afford instruction on passages of Scripture, I have been induced to send you one which has been much upon my mind, as I cannot comprehend the meaning of it: Heb. x, 26, “If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth, there remaineth no more sacrifice
for sins." I feel that I have in many points done according to the former part of the verse. I have not prized the word of God so much as I ought to have done: I have not practised secret prayer so much as I ought to do: I feel my heart prone to wander from God and from the things that make for my everlasting peace. These I know to be sinful; but whether these are amongst those that the apostle alludes to, I know not: but, Sir, if you please, give some thoughts on that passage, and I shall feel very thankful, as it has been of great discouragement to me. W.
An Answer in our next Number. - EDItor.
MY SCRAP BOOK.
"The Bee that wanders, and sips from every flower, disposes what she has gathered into her cells."-SENECA. REMARKABLE ANECDOTE OF REV. JOSEPH SHERWOOD.
Soon after his ejectment by the Bartholomew Act, he was cited to the Spiritual Court for not going to church. He appeared, and gave for a reason, that there was no preaching, and he could not with any satisfaction =attend there merely to hear the clerk read the prayers; but promised to go the next Lord's day if there was a sermon. Finding upon inquiry there was no minister then, he did not go; so he was cited again, and gave the same answer. The Lord's day following, being informed by the churchwarden, who was his friend, that there would be no sermon, he determined to go to church, when great numbers out of curiosity followed him. He seated himself in the clerk's desk all the time of the prayers, and then went up into the : pulpit, and preached from Lev. xxvi, 25, “I will bring a sword upon you that shall avenge the quarrel of my covenant." The rumour of this was soon spread abroad; but such was the affection of the people for Mr. Sherwood, that though there was a crowded congregation in a large church, his enemies could not get any one to lay an information against him; till by artifice, they got an acknowledgment from his friend the churchwarden, and by threats frightened him into a formal information. He was carried to a petty session of justices, where one Major Robinson, a member of parliament, sat as chairman, who bitterly reviled Mr. Sherwood, calling him a rebel, &c. This he bore very patiently, making only this reply, "That as he was a minister of the gospel, and at the church where there was so great an assembly, he could not but have compassion on the multitude, and give them a word of exhortation." Robinson. "But did ever man preach from such rebellious text?" Mr. Sherwood. " Sir, I know man is a rebel against his Creator, but I never knew that the Creator could be a rebel against his creature." On which, Robinson cried out, "Write his mittimus for Launceston jail;" and then turning to Mr. Sherwood, said, "I say, Sir, it was a rebellious text." Mr. Sherwood, looking him full in the face, addressed him in these words, "Sir, if you die the common death of all men, God never spake by me." sent to prison, but being favoured by the keeper, he had liberty to walk about the castle and town. son returned home; and a few days after, walking in the fields, a bull that had been very tame, came up to a gate where he stood, and his maid servant before him, who had been milking; the creature turning her aside with his horns, ran directly upon Robinson, and tore out his bowels. The Major's sister, hearing of this disaster, came, and said, "Alas! brother, what a heavy judgment is this." He replied, "It is a heavy judginent indeed." He was carried home, and soon died.
This remarkable providence, brought to recollection what had passed at the sessions. In a little time, Mr. Sherwood was released and returned home; but was shortly afterwards sent for to Penzance, where some justices met. He immediately went, expecting to be sent back to jail. But when he came there, Mr. Godolphin came out, and taking him into another room, said, "Sir, I sent for you, to learn how you came to express yourself as you did when we committed you? You know, I suppose, Sir, what has since befallen Mr. Robinson." Mr. Sherwood replied, "Sir, I was far from bearing any malice against Mr. Robinson, and can give no other auswer than that,' When we ure called before rulers for his name's sake,' whom we serve, it shall be given us in that very hour what we shall speak' (Matt. x, 19). To which Mr. Godolphin answered, “Well, Sir, for your sake, I will never more have a hand in persecuting Dissenters." And he was as good as his word. See this extraordinary story well attested in CALAMY, vol. iii, p. 215.
ADDRESS TO THE DEITY.
GREAT SPIRIT! whose creative breath,
Above them all the loftier song.
Or tread the smiling meadows green,
Let him view Gon in every scene.
THE DUTY OF SERIOUSNESS.
Ah, my friends! while we laugh, all things are serious around us. GOD is serious, who exerciseth patience towards us: CHRIST is serious, who shed his blood for us the HOLY GHOST is serious, who striveth against the obstinacy of our hearts: the HOLY SCRIPTURES bring to our ears the most serious things in the world: the HOLY SACRAMENTS represent the most serious and awful matters: the whole creation is serious in serving God and us: all that are in heaven and hell are serious: how then can we be gay? Sir Francis Walsingham.
LINES IN MEMORY OF H. W.
Who died May 10, 1833, aged seventeen years. How soon are the dawnings of Providence clouded! How soon bends the flower with a withering breath! So soon were her youth and her loveliness shrouded, And the spark of her genius extinguish'd by death. How rich were the gems that her young fancy scatter'd! How pure were the first emanations of mind!
But the silver cord 's loos'd, and the golden bowl shatter'd,
The spell that enchanted no longer can bind.
When sinking to rest, there was glory around her ;
She drank of the waters that flow from that River, Whose streams heal the soul, and give strength to our youth.
And the halo of mercy encircled her pillow;
A seraph hung over her fluttering breath;
And the voice that could calm ev'n the turbulent billow Cheer'd her soul through the shade of the valley of death.
Now see her with minist'ring angels surrounding;
SUBSTANTIAL PLEASURE. ADDRESSED TO YOUTH.
I WOULD therefore exhort you earnestly -- you who are yet unskilled in the ways of the world to beware on what object you concentre your hopes. Pleasures may allure, pride or ambition may stimulate; but their fruits are hollow and deceitful, and they afford no sure, no solid satisfaction. You are placed on the earth in a state of probation: your continuance here will be, at the longest, a very short period; and when you are called from hence, you plunge into an eternity, the completion of which will be, in correspondence to your past life, unutterably happy or inconceivably miserable. Your fate will probably depend on your carly pursuits : it will be these which will give the turn to your character and to your pleasures. I beseech you, therefore, with a meek and lowly spirit, to read the pages of that book, which the wisest and best of men have acknowledged to be the word of God. You will there find a rule of moral conduct, such as the world never had any idea of before its divulgation. If you covet earthly happiness, it is only to be found in the path you will find there laid down; and I can confidently promise you, in a life of simplicity and purity, a life passed in accordance with the Divine word, such substantial bliss, such unruffled peace, as is nowhere else to be found. All other schemes of earthly pleasure are fleeting and unsatisfactory. They all entail upon them repentance
and bitterness of thought. This alone endureth for ever-this alone embraces equally the present and the future--this alone can arm a man against every calamity - can alone shed the balm of peace over that scene of life when pleasures have lost their zest, and the mind can no longer look forward to the dark and mysterious future. Above all, beware of the ignis fatuus of false philosophy: that must be a very defective system of ethics which will not bear a man through the most trying stage of his existence; and I know of none that will do it but the Christian.-H. K. WHITE.
THE SCRIPTURE TEACHER'S ASSISTANT, With Explanations and Lessons. Designed for Sunday Schools and Families. By Henry Althans. London: Sunday School Union Depository. 18mo. pp. 140. Sunday School Teachers and Families are indebted to Mr. Althans for other valuable works besides this "Assistant;" and this little work, so worthy of its title, will increase the obligation. It contains Fifty-two Subjects from the Gospel History of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, arranged according to Dr. Doddridge's Harmony. We think this an admirable guide to mothers and governesses, in their infinitely important work of Scripture instruction on the Lord's day; and in that view we especially recommend it to our Readers. Eleven interesting "Subjects for Bible Classes," are added in an Appendix.
KING GEORGE THE THIRD'S OPINION OF
The late Bishop F. of Salisbury having procured a young man of promising abilities to preach before the King; and the young man having, to his Lordship's apprehension, acquitted himself well, the Bishop, in conversation with the King afterwards, wishing to get the King's opinion, took the liberty to say, "Does not your Majesty think that the young man, who had the honour to preach before your Majesty, is likely to make a good clergyman, and has this morning delivered a very good sermon?" To which the King, in his blunt manner, hastily replied, "It might have been a good sermon, my Lord, for aught I know; but I consider no sermon good that has nothing of Christ in it.”—Dr. A. Clarke's Commentary.
Death of W. Wilberforce, Esq.
THIS highly-distinguished and venerated Christian philanthropist finished his earthly course on Monday last at the house of Mrs. Smith, in Cadogan Place; having heen permitted to see the great object of Negro Emancipation, to which the best energies of his mind had been so many years devoted, just on the eve of its accomplishment before his removal. The sorrow which must be produced by the loss of so bright a luminary in the Christian world, will, we trust, be tempered by gratitude that he has been spared so long, and enabled to accomplish so much; and by a sincere and ardent desire to emulate the example of his benevolent life on the same principle of a living faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. Mr. W. was in his 74th year; and we understand has directed that his body shall be interred in the grave of a relative at Stoke Newington, in a strictly private manner. We shall give a Memoir of this eminent inan in an early Number.
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Son BETHLEHEM OF JUDAH. ni EXCEPTING the "Holy City"-the "City of God" Jerusalem, no place upon earth has been so deservedly celebrated as BETHLEHEM. Here, as is supposed, is laid the delightful scene of the beautiful narrative of Ruth. In this distinguished city, David, the royal psalmist, was born, and spent the early years of his life, under the tuition of the Holy Spirit, qualifying him to become "the sweet singer of Israel," and the universal instructor of the Christian church. But its most transcendant honour is, that here was the first exhibition of GOD INCARNATE! "without controversy the great mystery of godliness, God manifest in the flesh," for the redemption of a ruined world!
Divine inspiration foretold this glory as appointed to rest upon the favoured city. Micah, the holy seer, in his prophetic strains, sung, And thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me, that is to be ruler in Israel, whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting." Mic. v, 2. Agree
Modern Bethlehem is described by travellers as at first view somewhat imposing in its appearance, covering the ridge of a hill on the southern side of a deep and extensive valley extending from east to west. most conspicuous object is the monastery, which superstition has erected over the supposed "Cave of the Nativity," and its walls and battlements have the seen on the east below, seemingly at but a short distance. air of a strong fortress. From this point, the Dead Sea is