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Reflecting afterwards, on what I had seen and heard, “What is. this world," I exclaimed, “but an extensive elegant hospital, in which are congregated the sons of men, afflicted, more or less, with all manner of diseases. From the palace to the cottage, from the monarch to the peasant, all, all are affected with a malady which no mortal can cure: a malady that renders them miserable, abridges their comforts, and exposes them to destruction, to the worm that never dies, to the fire that cannot be quenched !”
The malady that affects the world is sin: It is this that has converted it into a hospital. It has so deranged the mental system that “the whole head is sick, and the whole heart faint.” It is a fever which burns and rages; a palsy which renders men incapable of performing the duties which God requires ; an apoplexy which makes them insensible to their state; a deafness which excludes the voice of warning, exhortation, and threatening; a blindness which shuts out the beauties and excellencies of real piety; a lameness which incapacitates the sinner from walking in the paths of holiness.
“Sin, like a venomous disease,
And the physician, God.” To realize this, a glance into the world will suffice. Under the influence of this malady, men “call darkness, light, and light, darkness; evil, good, and good, evil.” Neglecting God, his creatures seek after vanities; the miser leaves durable riches and righteousness, for riches that satisfy not; the libertine neglects the pleasures that are at God's right hand, for the transient, unsatisfying pleasures of sin; the ambitious turns from the honour that comes from God, and pursues the honour that comes from the creature. O what pains and agonies are produced by this dreadful malady! What bitter reflections, what poignant regrets, what dismal fears! Often have the miserable patients been driven to desperation; the wounded spirit, unable to bear its agonizing reflections, seeking rest but finding none, madly rushes into eternity by means of a pistol, or a rope, or the watery element, and dares to appear before God, with all his guilt and sin unpardoned, unatoned ! In the metropolis, what madness reigns in public gardens, and in gin-palaces on the Lord's day. At some of the club-houses, gambling is
carried on to an awful extent; and the wretched victim having staked an immense sum, finds himself a loser, and to discharge " a debt of honour," involves himself in inextricable difficulties.
The awful influence of this malady might be traced still further. Duelling, drunkenness, loose and disorderly conduct, domestic strifes, litigious processes, defamation and other things, of which it were a shame to speak, are all associated as the effects of sin. But the greatest evil is neglect of Christ; the soul-destroying sin of unbelief. God has, in the plenitude of his mercy, sent his own co-equal and co-eternal Son, to be the Saviour of the world. He comes with offers of pardon, proposals of peace; and an exceeding and eternal weight of never-ending felicity. Yet, such is the influence of this infatuating disease, that men despise his grace, disdain his overtures, treat even the Son of God with indifference, and will not come unto him that they may have life; thus rejecting the counsel of God against their own souls. One pleads his youth ; another, the press of business ; a third, the cares of a family ; a fourth, the influence of relatives, and thus with one consent, refuse the remedy, or defer the acceptance of it till some future period. Meantime the disorder continues to advance. Many become hardened through the deceitfulness of sin; resisting the Holy Spirit, despising his reproof, trifling with the means of grace, trampling on their resolutions; they continue to oppose God, till their consciences become seared as with a hot iron, and being past feeling, they live without God, and die without hope.
But although so many perish by the malady of sin, there are, blessed be God, vast numbers, who accept the merciful offers of the Great Physician, and, under his hands, receive health and a perfect cure. It is his great character, that he heals all manner of diseases. He gives the blind sight, by opening their understanding to understand the scriptures; he removes their deafness, by causing them to hear his voice and live; he removes their insensibility by giving a feeling heart. No case is too difficult for his skill, too desperate for his interference. Saul, maddened with rage and cruelty was, by Him, rendered mild and gentle as a lamb; crouched at his feet, wept floods of penitential tears, and for his sake, endured reproaches, and torments, and imprisonment, and, at length died in his service, sealing his attachment to him, with his blood. O my dear reader, laden with sin and iniquity, if even full of the sins of your youth, come to this Great Physician; he gives you advice and healing gratis. These are his terms; Do you feel your sinfulness? Come to him for pardon : Do you lament your worthlessness? Come to him for merit: Are you miserable ? He will make you happy : Has the world deceived you? You will find in him, faithfulness and truth; a fulness of joy, satisfying pleasures, enduring riches, and unfading glory. Place yourself at once under his care. You will receive from him the kindest treatment, the most tender attention, and a perfect cure. More than this, he will load you with blessings, adopt you as his child, appoint you a portion of all necessary good, receive you into his house, and finally, seat you on his throne.
" Jesus, our Great Physician, Thee we seek!
WHAT TO TEACH AND HOW TO TEACH IT. This is the title of an intelligent, well-digested, systematic, practical work, on education, which the courtesy of its author has just placed upon our table. But having paid this tribute to the talent it displays, we must claim the privilege of speaking our whole mind with reference to the principles it is designed to incul. cate; and whilst anxious to get good from any and every quarter, endeavour to neutralize, or at all events to qualify, any evil which we conceive to be mixed up with it. Whilst we cannot but feel the vast responsibility imposed upon us in providing for the intellectual appetites of our young and endeared charge, we are far from cherishing that narrow and illiberal spirit which would lead us to look for wholesome aliment only amongst those who entertain, on all points, precisely the same views with ourselves. Were it otherwise, our reading would necessarily be very limited indeed, for we should be sorry to give our full assent to all the principles
or doctrines inculcated in any work of mere human authority with which we are acquainted; and yet very few persons are greater readers than ourselves; our practice being, under Divine guidance as we trust, so to refuse the evil and choose the good, as to grow wiser and better by the knowledge we may thus acquire. We never read for opinions: we read for facts; and indeed we feel no hesitation in rejecting much that passes under the latter name, our rule being that of the apostle-to prove all things by an appeal to the only judgment that is just the decision of the Word of Truth.
Having premised thus much, let us take a glance at our author's mode of teaching, and the objects which he brings before us as necessary to be taught. We are glad to find him protesting in the outset of his essay, against the commonly-received opinion that the arts of reading and writing are, in themselves, sufficient antidotes to the love of evil-doing. “It is my deliberate opinion,” says the author, “that Mavor is no preventive to murder, nor Vyse any corrective of vice. And I cannot, by any course of reasoning, bring myself to perceive that our inability to read and write must be generally accompanied by a like inability to distinguish between right and wrong; as if the question of meum and tuum had more to do with Lindley Murray, than morals.” Having summarily, but in our opinion satisfactorily, disposed of the fallacy that reading and writing stand in the same relation to morality and intelligence, as cause to effect, we are next shewn in a beautiful eulogium, in what these useful though not fundamental arts really consist. “A knowledge of reading and writing, far from being the base, is rather the elaborate capital of the pillars of wisdom; and instead of tending to educe the powers of the young mind, it serves, like the bandages applied by old women to the infant's body, only to impede and cripple its natural vigor and development."
Whatever may be the prevalent opinion on this subject, we think our author is decidedly right in thus bidding these elements, as they are commonly called, stand by for a season. But that he does not undervalue them in their proper places, is fully evident from the eloquent tone in which he discourses of them when treating of their nature and advantages. We suspect that many of our more prejudiced readers will experience some difficulty in divining how the mind can go to work without a thorough knowledge of these arts, but we much question whether the most opinionative amongst
them would not feel some misgivings, when plied with the commonsense arguments of the writer of this essay, though we cannot fully agree with him in the sweeping assertion, that none of the present systems of education do positively any thing else than parrotise the pupil. There are many schools, and some systems, especially amongst those intended for the poorer classes, where the intellect is decidedly set in motion-where the answers given, as well as the questions proposed, are for the most part thought out and elaborated, in some instances, as we ourselves have witnessed, with surprising tact and ingenuity. It is nevertheless generally true, according to our author's statement, that grammar is supposed to constitute the chief ingredient of genius, and knowledge of the dead languages, the grand aim and end of existence; while to classic eyes, Latin appears to be the chief good, and Greek the Beautiful of life.
Deprived of the two recognized principles of all knowledge, reading and writing, how is it possible that the mind of a child can be educated ? Simply by bringing the senses in contact with outward objects—by leading out and expanding his intellect, and inculcating habits of intelligence.
“The word intelligence is compounded of two other words, inter signifying between, and legens, gathering ; and consequently refers to the act of gathering something that exists between two or more objects. Now, the only thing which can exist between two or more objects, is an agreement or difference among them in some circumstances or quality. They are these agreements and differences which constitute what are called the relations of things; and it is therefore to the act of gathering these relations, or agreements and differences, among objects, that the term intelligence, in its proper signification, always has reference. Hence when we speak of the intelligence displayed in a particular observation, we allude simply to the perception it evinces respecting the circumstances or qualities in which several things or events agree or differ one with another; and it is solely the habit or tendency in a certain person to perceive and gather these relative circumstances or qualities, among objects in general, that marks or distinguishes what is called a habit of intelligence in that person. The term intelligence, therefore, signifies the act of perceiving or gathering the relations, or points of agreement and difference between the various things and