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O LIGHT celestial, streaming wide
Through morning's court of fairy blue O tints of beauty, beams of pride,
That break around its varied hueStill to thy wonted pathway true,
Thou shinest on serenely free, Best born of Him, whose mercy grew
In every gift, sweet world, to thee. O countless stars, that, lost in light,
Still gem the proud sun's glory bed,
A softer, holier influence shed —
Unfailing vestals of the sky,
The soul ye court to muse on high.
In many a tint o'er lawn and lea,
A dream of happier infancy ; And even on the grave can be
A spell to weed affection's painChildren of Eden, who could see,
Nor own His bounty in your reign? Owinds, that seem to waft from far
A mystic murmur o'er the soul, As ye had power to pass the bar
Of nature in your vast control, Hail to your everlasting roll
Obedient still ye wander dim, And softly breathe, or loudly toll,
Through earth and sky the name of Him.
O world of waters, o'er whose bed
The chainless winds unceasing swell, That claim'st a kindred over head,
As 'twixt the skies thou seem'st to dwell;
Amid their realms to wander free
Thou deep, eternal, boundless sea.
In blackening chaos o'er the world,
Mid clouds in sightless fury hurlid,
With mercy's soft, redeeming ray,
Ye wake to own and to obey.
Thou glorious realm of earth and sky,
When all of thine hath wander'd by, Throughout thy range, nor tear nor sigh
But breathes of bliss, of beauty's reign,
The soul is taught to meet again.
This beauty-breathing world of thine,
Amid its sweetest flowers to twine,
And turn'd aside from duty's call,
And wilder'd hope and darken'd all.
EDINBURGH SESSIONAL SCHOOL.*
MR. Wood's method of examination two commandments ?' The law and far exceeds, in accuracy and compre- the Prophets hang on them.' "What hensiveness, even that of Dr. Bell. are the law and the Prophets said to
“ In the national schools, Dr. Bell do?' "They hang.' On what do introduced a method of examination, they hang ? "On these two comwhich, though not without its use, was mandments.' But of what is meant obviously quite inadequate to accom- by the Law,' by the PROPHETS plish the objects we had in contempla- HANGING on the two commandments, tion. In explaining, for example, the no explanation would in all probability text, “On these two commandments be given. We shall not say that, unhang all the law and Prophets,' which, der this system, no teacher ever carwe think, is one of those that Miss Ham- ried the explanation farther than we ilton tells us was all her life connected have here mentioned. But after the in her mind with an absurd associa- most anxious inquiry at the numerous tion formed in early youth, the exami- visiters of the Sessional School from nation, according to this method, England, who take a deep interest in would in general be of the following education, we may venture to assert, description : "What is said of these that the contrary is the common, it
* Continued from page 78.
not the invariable practice. Hence We find it impossible-within reathe surprise which such visiters ex- sonable bounds—to explain Mr. press, on examining our school, and Wood's mode of teaching the alphathe extravagant praise which they are bet—the reading of words of two syltoo apt to bestow upon it. Hence, lables—and then the reading of three. too, the erroneous tendency on the A chapter is given to such explanapart of those, who know the explana- tion--and none but the silly and the atory method only on the narrow shallow will smile at the details. How scale we have just described, to think the greater number of « children of a lightly of its importance, and to ima- larger growth” now in the world, at gine, that it can be carried to no far- the bar, in the army and pavy-physither extent than that to which they cians, professors, poets, and editors, have been accustomed.”
ever came in early life to read words The meagreness and insufficiency of not only of two-but absolutely of the method of explanation practised three-nay of four letters, lies far out under the Madras system was soon of the region of our conjectures. apparent. More life and energy was Much misery did they all endure infused into it-it was made more ra- long ago-before they knew the word tional and intellectual-in short, the CAT, for example, when they saw itpupil was made to understand as well without being in imminent danger of as read, to use as well as name his tools. declaring it aloud to the whole school It is pleasant to read what follows to be “ dog.” To our eyes, in the
“ In accomplishing this object, we prime or decay of life, these two monwere in some measure guided by the osyllables-cat and dog--are as unlike recollection of our own early education. each other as the creatures they seHow different, we well remembered, verally denote; but it was far otherin point both of interest and utility, wise long ago; they were then as like from the dry translations of ordinary each other—and they could not be teachers, were Dr.Adam's lessons, en- liker-as “ cow” and “ nag.” For livened as they were with every species our own parts, we learned to read by of illustration, etymological, grammati- a continued miracle. We do not cal, historical, antiquarian, and geogra- doubt that in one month at the Sespbical, bearing reference one while to sional School, any boy of about the the sayings of the wise ancients, at ano- same average capacity as ourselves ther time to the homely proverbs of were when boys, would be made to our own country. How much better read not only small single words—but did his pupils acquire a knowledge of sentences of small words far better the idioms of the latin language, from than we could do after a summer and the variations, wbich he required them a winter's hammering, frequently with to make, in the construction of the a blind headach. We well remember passages which they happened to read, that about four-and-twenty of us urthan from all the rules in his grammar! chins, all in a row, used to keep sitWhile the formal lessons, which he ting, first on the one hip and then on was himself in the habit of prescrib- the other, with unhappy paper coning as tasks, from his own excellent cerns held up in both hands till they work on Roman Antiquities, were touched our noses, called “London generally most irksome, and forgotten Primers." Not one in the whole almost as soon as read, the lesson of class could read a new word-except to-day expelling that of yesterday by daring-indeed desperate conjecfrom the memory, how much more ture. And yet, the moment one of pleasingly, distinctly, and durably us rose up in his place—for of course were the same instructions impressed the examination, as it was called, went upon the mind in an incidental form, on standing, -and instead of wasp, through the medium of the ordinary for example-no easy word-drawled reading !"
hesitatingly and tremblingly out
« task”-a very creditable conjecture, he bids it set. He doth give the rain and no unfelicitous hypothesis-then and the dew to wet the soil ; and at down came a long black hard lignum his will it is made dry. The heat vitæ ruler on our head, in the hand and the cold come from him. He of a Master of Arts in the University doth send the snow, and the ice, and of Glasgow, no less distinguished for the hail; and, at his word, they melt the extent of bis erudition than the away. He now bids the tree to put gentleness of his temper-and thus on its leaf, but ere long he will bid we were taught to know “wasp" the leaf to fade, and make the tree to from “ task," although to this day we be bare. He bids the wind to blow, start with horror at the name or na- and it is he who bids it to be calm. ture of either-just as to this day we He sets a door, as it were, on the sea ; are lost in perplexity at Curfew-tolls. and says to it, thus far only must thou
Let us come, then, to the chapter come.' in which the sinall student is seen er- “On the above passage, the child ployed in the use of his knowledge, is asked some such questions as the after he has become master of lessons following :-Who bids the sun to in words of three letters. Then, he rise ? What is meant by the sun is no longer allowed to linger on the rising? Where it rises ? When it threshold. No more tables of uncon- rises? What its rising occasions ! nected words, nor even any more de- Who bids it set ?' What is meant tached sentences, are presented to by setting? Where it sets? When him ; but he is now, by the perusal it sets ? What its setting occasions ! of interesting and instructive passages, What is meant by • dew ?! What is initiated into the real benefit, as well meant by (soil ?' What good is done as the practices of reading. He is by wetting the soil ? When the tree furnished with the means-small as puts on its leaf?' What is meant by they appear to be of knowledge, the leaf fading,' and the tree being which, even in his case, is felt to be bare ?' When this happens ? What both pleasure and power.
is snow,' and ice,' and hail ?' “The first passages, indeed, con- What causes them? Who sends the sist of words having not more than cold? What makes them imelt ?' four letters : but, without any per- Who sends the heat ? What is meant ceptible injury to the instruction, the by the word 'calm ?' What is meant cbildren are in this form presented by saying, "He sets a door on the with a pretty long passage on God, sea ?' [Here we may remark in and with the histories of Adam and passing, that children come both to Eve, Cain and Abel, and Noah. understand and to relish a figuratire We may here remark, that we have expression much sooner than we found no narratives more pleasing to might naturally be led to imagine.] children, than those which relate to When the passage is concluded, the the antediluvian and patriarchal ages. child may be asked, Who does all Both the manner and the incidents re- these things of which he has been lated possess a simplicity peculiarly reading ? and, What he thinks of one, delightful at their years. And when who can do all these things, and is so we tell them that such narratives are wise and so good as to do them ? None to be found in the Bible, they natural- of the questions, however, are put in ly contract a desire to become ac- any one form, but vary according to the quainted with the other contents of nature of the answers received. In that sacred volume.
nothing has the skill of our monitors “ From the article on God we ex- been more admired by strangers, than tract the following paragraph, in order in this adaptation.” to illustrate our mode of explanation Articles are next admitted, conin use at this stage.
taining six letters, in which they re" God bids the sun to rise, and vert to Scripture History—that of
Abraham and Lot, and so on and on, article as glass, could be made out of as they become familiar with words— so gross a substance as sand? Yet through that of Isaac and Jacob, and it is the fact, that glass is made by Esau, and Joseph. These histories mixing sand with the ashes of certain present them with much useful in- burnt plants, and exposing them to a struction in the departinent of Natural strong fire.' History.
« On this passage the child, besides The various lessons, or readings, are describing generally how glass is from the First and Second Book, com- made, is asked, What is meant by piled or rather composed for the art ?' What is meant by human school. The children have not these art and ingenuity ?! What are 'nabooks at home. They are all the tural productions ?' Can you tell me property of the school, and remain any of them? What is a “shroud ?' there. The whole information, there- What worm has its shroud 'converted fore, which the children communicate into an article of dress?' Can you to questions put to them, bas been ac- tell me the various changes through quired from the reading in school, and which that worm passes ? Do you from the previous examination of their know any of the uses to which silk is. young teachers. There is a specimen put? What plant is it of which the of some of the questions put-in pre- fruit is converted into an article of sence of strangers, to a very young dress ? Are there more than one class taught by a monitor, without any kind of cotton plant? Which is the other aid than the little bistories best? Do you know anything that themselves, contained in his book, and is made of cotton ? Can you tell me the previous general training which he any plant of which the fibres are had bimself undergone. In every one converted into an article of dress ?' case the questions were correctly an- Do you know any piece of dress that swered by one or other of the boys is made of flax ? Do you remember in the class, and in the greater num- the various hands through which the ber of instances by the boy to whom flax must pass before it becomes a the question was first addressed. The shirt ? What do you mean by 'transfew failures were almost entirely on formations ? What is meant by a the part of children, who had not en- gross substance?'" &c. tered the school at the time when After finishing the second book, the part of the lessons, to which the ex- children, besides Scripture, which is amination extended, was read by the in regular use in all the higher classes, rest of the class.
read the “ National School CollecSeveral other examples of reading tion," originally compiled, like all the lessons are given—and we quote-as a other books of the series, for the use good one-the introduction of the ar- of this seminary. This compilation ticle on glass.
consists of religious and moral instruc««You have already, in the course tion, a collection of fables, descripof this little work, read of several tion of animals, places, manners, and very extraordinary changes, which historical passages, and other useful human art and ingenuity have been and interesting information for youth. able to make upon natural productions. As the pupils advance in each hookYou have heard of the shroud of a each passage, besides being fully exworm in its lifeless state, of the fruit plained in all its bearinys upon the of one plant, and the fibres of ano- subject in question, is subjected to a ther, being all converted into articles of still more minute analysis, than had dress for hutnan beings. But perhaps been practised in its former stage, none of these transformations has sur- with the view of giving them the full prised you more than that which you command of their own language, and are now to hear of. Would you be- such general information as the pas lieve that so clear and beautiful an sage may suggest.
14 ATHENEUM, VOL. 2, 3d series.
It has, it seems, been argued against pletely into the spirit of what they the system by persons who never were read, or could give a more accurate in the Sessional School in their lives, and clear account of it to others-tells that though the pupils are taught, per- one or two most beautiful little anechaps, the meaning of words, they are dotes, in proof of the clear understandnot enabled by such means to compre- ing of the pupils. One gentleman of hend the general scope of the passages talent and virtue had his doubts, and which they read. By the way, selected a passage of Dr. Johnson on « General Scope" is an old veteran, “the varying aspect of nature, as well who has seen a great deal of active adapted to man's love of novelty," service, fought in many campaigns and examined upon its import the and to storm strong fortresses often least, though certainly not the lowest, has he been sent at the head of the boy in the class. “Our sense of deforlorn hope. General Scope, then, light," quoth the Doctor, “ is in a is something formidable and fearful, great measure comparative, and arises and not a little mysterious in his very at once from the sensations wbich we name. Ask not a mere boy—but any feel, and those which we remember." man, if he understands « General Now, “What,” said the gentleman to Scope," and he will be shy of saying the little boy, “ do you mean by our « Yes.” This being the case, in sense of delight being comparative ?" fairness we ought not to insist on all "We enjoy health a great deal better the little fellows in the Session- when we have been sick," answered al School understanding “ General the little boy-thus speaking in the Scope.” A wiseacre might puzzle spirit of a beautiful passage in Gray's them not a little, and a wiseacre Ode to Vicissitude. “ Pray, then, might be not a little puzzled by them put into other language, the sensain return. No doubt, they, just like tions which we feel, and those we re. their elders, seem to know-think they member.'” And instantly the little know-not a few things, of which they boy improved, in our opinion, on the are ignorant-but what then? Is it style of Dr. Samuel Johnson" Prenot sufficient that the boys thus taught, sent and past sensations.” That we probably know much more, and that call a pretty little anecdote. more much better, than boys of their On a different occasion, a person of own age who are taught in any other a different character, a stranger, underschool in Scotland ? That they know took to question a little boy on his twice as much this month as they did opinions respecting the value of natuthe month before—and so on for a ral theology! He seemed, says Mr. year or two-till they leave the Wood mildly, very strongly impressed school, fifty times better informed with the opinion, that in order to exalt than when they entered it, and with revelation, it is necessary to maintain good habits instead of bad-cheerful that there is no such thing at all as and pleased themselves full of grati- natural religion. On occasion of tude and forward-looking hopes-yet some mention being made of the annot mannikins-by no means manni- cient philosophers, in a passage which kins—but simple sportful boys still one of the boys was reading, he asked and, so natural has their progress been one of them-a blind boy of ten years felt to be, not in the least wondering of age—“What did their philosophy " That one small head should carry all they do for them ?” The blind boy was know ?”
silent. “ Did it,” resumed the exMr. Wood, besides modestly appeal- aminer, “ lead them to any knowledge ing, which he may well do, to the of religion ?” The blind boy of ten multitudes who have visited the Ses- years of age opened his lips, and said, sional School, and especially to those «They had no right knowledge of who have examined the pupils, whe- God.”_". But could they,” rejoined ther they have “ often elsewhere met the visiter, in a marked tone of disapwith children who entered more com- probation, « be said to have any