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SUMMARY OF SACRED HISTORY,
IN BIBLE LANGUAGE,
THE USE OF SCHOOLS AND FAMILIES;
QUESTIONS FOR EXAMINATION AT THE END OF EACH
TEACHER, LATE OF CRIEFF.
“ Search the Scriptures : they are they which testify of me"-CHRIST.
GLASGOW: H. CAMPBELL.
In the day in which we live, much has been said and written respecting National, Denominational, Secular, and Religious Education. Bills have been framed, brought in, and thrown out of Parliament, again and again, without settling to us, the Inhabitants of Scotland, what our national system of education at present really is. Thus, “hope deferred hath made the heart sick.” In the public discussion of these all-important subjects, much has also been said as to the time and manner in which religious instruction should be conveyed, and the sources from which it should be derived.
Having taught a Primary School for more than fifty years, were I to be asked to give my humble opinion as to the time when the training of the young, both for time and eternity, should begin, I would say, with the wisest of men, and the greatest of monarchs-in childhood. “ Train up a child in the way he should go," &c.
Those who believe in this royal and sacred mandate, believe also, that education, for good or for evil, for God and His glory, or for sin and its miseries, begins as soon as children can form an idea or express a feeling. Children, at a very early age, are capable of reasoning, comparing different objects with each other, and drawing conclusions from them. Hence the mode in which a child is trained during the two or three first years of its life, will in a great measure depend the comfort of its parents and its own happiness during the succeeding periods of its existence. How necessary, then, that every parent commence the early establishment of an absolute and entire authority over his children. I need no apology for quoting what Mrs Wesley has said on this subject. “In order to form the mind of children, the first thing to be done is to conquer their will, and the sooner done the better. As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes it in children, insures their wretchedness and irreligion; whatever checks and mortifies it, promotes their future happiness and piety."
It is not my design in this Introductory Notice, to give any lengthened exposition, either on the Physical, Intellectual, or Moral Training of the rising generation. Out of the many valuable works published on these highly interesting subjects, I would most heartily recommend “The Philosophy of Education,” by the late James Simpson, Esq., Advocate, Edinburgh; and “The Home School,” by the Rev. Norman Macleod, D.D., Glasgow. Having thus merely glanced at the time when Training should begin, I shall now as briefly notice the sources from which it should proceed, and some of the means to be employed in its communication. It has been well stated, that the work and responsibility of training children for two worlds must commence and rest with parents. This is undeniable. Parents, because they are parents, must look their duty fair in the face. No one person in the world has such unbounded influence over the understanding and affections of another, as a judicious Christian parent can command among hisown children. Occupied as many parents are, they are obliged to engage others to take part in their children's education. Still, the responsibility of parents can never be delegated. A teacher is but an instrument in your hand. You can never make him your
substitute. A teacher can give your children secular learning without you; but he can do very little towards forming their characters, unless they feel that he is backed by all the weight of your supreme authority. Thus the parents ought to be the chief source of instruction to their children both by precept and example. Though both parents are equally responsible for the discharge of the difficult, yet delightful and important duties of training their offspring for both worlds; we find that, in
general, the Mother takes the precedency. In order to succeed in this great, grand, and glorious undertaking, personal piety is absolutely necessary. It has been truly said, “ that a parent can no more bring up his children religiously without possessing personal religion himself, than he could teach musio who cannot distinguish sounds." Children are quick-sighted observers. Nothing unreal satisfies children. They can soon tell whether your heart rejoices in the consolations of God, which you urge them to seek. Let the parents' first duty be, to counteract and uproot all the inherent atheism which sin has planted in every heart, giving all diligence that their children shall meet them at God's right hand when life is over. As a mean for accomplishing so desirable an end, let parents be sure that the moral atmosphere in which their children breathe be pure and healthy. Remember, that the example they witness, whether in the nursery or elsewhere,—the conversation they hear -the actions they see- -the likings and dislikings which others around them express,—these things will make lasting impressions on their character.
It is now generally admitted by all right thinking persons, that intellectual education—that is, mere reading, writing, arithmetic, and a knowledge of natural science,-are not sufficient to form a virtuous character; hence it is absolutely requisite that moral and religious instruction be conjoined. “The only sure foundation of a proper moral and religious education is the revealed will of God, as contained in the Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments; and the proper standard of morals therein inculcated by precept and example ought to be held up to the understanding, to the love, and to the practical habits of children. In endeavouring to teach youth the morality of the Scriptures, it is not enough that the precepts therein contained be merely announced, read, or recited; they ought to be pointedly applied to every moral incident that may occur, and to whatsoever tempers or dispositions may be displayed in the every-day transactions of children, either in their pastime or their study. It has been well observed, that the Bible is one