« AnteriorContinuar »
found how well it stated those views, which they had only been able to describe in very loose and unwieldy paragraphs. Emm. Do you
think this would be interesting ? Aug. I am sure of it. For intelligent children, liking to make discoveries, this independent research, this hunting after compendious phrases, and this happy finding of some printed summary exactly answering their purpose, would have especial charms,
Emm. What do you mean by calling the answer a moral ? Aug. I mean it may become the theme of some interesting tale which may clearly and forcibly point it out. Such a story would become a practical commentary. Mrs. Sherwood showed how cleverly this could be done in her “ Stories on the Church Catechism," a new and cheaper edition of which I hope will soon appear.
Ed. I think your views of catechisms and their right uses are on the whole correct. But what led you to mention the subject : Aug. A batch of books just arrived from the "
Sunday School Union.” They set me thinking of the many helps now furnished to the teacher, and how he is inexcusable if he goes on in the old jog-trot way of mechanical repetition. And then, this naturally led my thoughts to catechisms, and I thought it might be possible for teachers, with such
present Tesources, to redeem the character of these manuals of instruction, But you will like to examine these books. Here is the BIBLE CLASS MAGAZINE, which keeps up its character as a cheap, spirited companion for the senior scholars. The NOTES ON THE LESSONS form quite a body of divinity ; brief, terse, pointed, and suggestive. A teacher who thoroughly masters them before going to his class, need not fear that the time will be long or dull. The Class REGISTER AND DIARY is an ample provision of ruled lines for Sunday notes and memoranda, a boon for the methodical. The CHILD'S OWN MAGAZINE is a volume full of halfpenny astonishments. CONCENTRATION is an earnest address to teachers; and the MOTTO FOR LIFE a simple and childlike address to children.
Mrs. M. I have been reading HYMNS FOR THE SUNDAYS AND HOLY DAYS IN THE YEAR.* They originally appeared in the Church of England Magazine, and are reproduced in the shape of the present volume. They are suggested by some portion of the service for the day.
Aug. Something like the “ Christian Year.”
* London: Hughes.
plan of the work, the design being the same as that adopted by the poet of the Christian Year;' he has, however, carefully avoided taking the same subjects for his hymns as those selected by that writer, and has striven not so much to create a poetic effect, as to embody the grand leading points of the topics presented by the Church for the spiritual edification of her children.” In this design, the author has, I think, thoroughly succeeded, and I heartily join with him in hoping that those who peruse these hymns “may derive profit and consolation."
Emm. The next book is EMILY VERNON, * another of Mrs. Drummond's tales for young people.
Aug. What is it about?
Emm. Designed to exemplify filial piety, in which it thoroughly succeeds.
Aug. No faults:
Emm. Faults! Yes, plenty. I read it immediately after “Hope Campbell,” which was unfortunate for Mrs. Drummond.
Emm. Because “Hope Campbell” was better written, more natural, and the characters were better developed. The present story is interesting, but old-fashioned in its plot, not well contrived in its story, the conversations not such as young people really talk, the characters, with two exceptions, feebly drawn. Two of the three marriages which “ followed hard upon" the incidents of childhood, might well be spared. There-do you want any more faults?
Ed. No, you have mentioned sufficient. What are the “ two exceptions”?
Emm. Aunt Martha and Nurse Janet. The former (who disappears, however, without any astonishing conversion,) is natural enough; and the latter is drawn in a strong and graphic manner, resembling a portrait from life.
Āug. This annotated edition of PARADISE Lostt will be invaluable to ordinary readers. The many classical allusions render it difficult to most persons to understand the author's meaning, although they serve to illustrate the varied research in which Milton must himself have indulged. The notes in this modest volume have been partly selected from the voluminous collections that have been amassed by a succession of learned commentators, and partly written by the editor. The notes are condensed into a small space, are sufficient as a commentary, and appear carefully edited. * London: Nelson and Sons
of his ancestors, predicted his own future renown. His manhood richly fulfilled their auguries.
Whereas all his predecessors had been embroiled in contentions and wars, he consented to take the crown, A.D. 871, that he might inaugurate the era of peace.
His heart, set upon this, was not discouraged by his long adversity, and in the midst of absolute poverty he often shared with the very poor his humble lot.
As long as history remains to Britain, two incidents in Alfred's career will be preserved in it. On a winter day a pilgrim asked bread at the hut where the fugitive king dwelt. There was a loaf on the table, and it was the last one. The king divided it with the beggar, saying to his companion, “God, who could feed five thousand with five loaves, can make this half loaf enough for us."
The other incident, often quoted incorrectly, is too well known to need citation. Everybody knows how the king burnt the cakes in the swine-herd's cottage, and was called a lazy fellow for his pains. Greatest in adversity, he bore the taunts of the busy housewife without rebuke, for his heart was full of the woes of his suffering country. After many years he formed the bold resolution to drive out the cruel Danes from his territory. Endowed with a bravery and courage befitting his resolve, he went in the disguise of a bard, with but one follower, into the very camp of the enemy, and while they were enchanted by his songs, occupied himself in noting the positions and defences of his foes. He formed his plan of attack, and, going forth, rallied his friends, surprised the camp, and led captive Guthrum and the main part of his vanquished army.
Alfred hated bloodshed, and instead of putting multitudes to death, he allowed them to quit the island, while many remained to become good subjects of so merciful a prince.
Guthrum himself was publicly baptized and received the Christian (that is, the Saxon) name of Athelstan. Hence the term now in use amongst us of Christian name.
Thus the great Alfred held his throne in peace, and the people, busy, prosperous, and happy, enjoyed for the first time the fruits of their own toil.
Their king became their teacher. Having no clocks or watches, he invented candles, which, burning inch by inch, marked the time, and having regulated their time-keeping, he taught them how to divide their day, devoting one part to prayer and the other to business and rest. He constrained bis nobles to educate their children. He built ships, and sent them to bring from France and Italy stores of books, then written with great labour, and men learned and fit to teach. Thus schools began, and Oxford university was founded.
More than this, the good king translated the four gospels from Latin into the English tongue. He gave laws to the nation, prescribed the bounds of its divisions, and raised a force equivalent to our police; and so honest did people become in those days, that the law of meum and tuum was everywhere respected. It was said that if golden bracelets had hung upon the trees in those days, none would have taken them.
He well earned the title of GREAT and GOOD, so freely conferred on him, and died just as the invasion of Hastings seemed to threaten to disturb this scene of tranquillity and peace.
In his last hours he called his son Edward to his side, and delivered this memorable farewell :
“Thou, my dear son, sit thee now beside me, and I will deliver thee true instructions. I fear that my hour is coming. My strength is gone, my countenance is wasted and pale, my days are almost ended—we must now part. I go to another world, and thou art left alone in the possession of all that I have thus far held. I pray thee, my dear child, to be a father to this people. Be the children's father and the widow's friend. Comfort the poor-protect and shelter the weak—and with all thy might, right that which is wrong, and, my son, govern thyself by law. Then shall the Lord love