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the principle of collective or simultaneous teaching, that has not introduced at least a resemblance to some characteristic feature of his system. We purpose to explain in this and future numbers one or other of these characteristics, assured as we are that they have but to be fully understood in order to excite an admiration of their fitness to raise spiritually, intellectually, and physically, the condition of the hitherto neglected classes of labour, who form so important an element of the social body.
In all our numbers we shall make it our main object to be eminently practical. Notes of lessons, more or less expanded, to suit the abilities of different teachers, or as the subject seems to demand, will form an important portion of each number, which will aim not so much to save the master from the trouble of preparatory study, as to stimulate his mind, and make each lesson
mental exercise for himself, and a source of abiding impression upon the children. Articles where some important principle in education will be expounded, will be introduced, that the teacher may receive more intelligent conceptions of the nature of his profession, while letters of enquiry upon any essential point of practical improvement, offering the benefit of the writer's experience, or in any way written for mutual encouragement, will be admitted.
BETTER DAYS. One
purpose which we wish these papers to serve is to spread an interest and mutual sympathy in their work amongst Masters in our Elementary Schools. Their lot is, in most cases, an isolated one. It has its toils and perplexities, and these are borne alone. They must often crave a wider acquaintance with their class and order, with its position and prospects. They must want to know also whether more just and earnest views on popular education are taking root in the public mind, and whether they have the sympathies of their countrymen with them in their Schools. Men feel new strength when they see others around them impelled by common aims with themselves, and find that they are not singlehanded in their efforts. The mere consciousness of association is power.
Our special business with the Master is in his School. We would enter with him into the little world where he is stationed, and help him to shape the plastic child-nature which is confided to his care. But the school-hours wear on : the youthful group breaks
and disperses homewards, and the day's work closes. And now we have to tell the Master that he is joined with others in a great social enterprise, which his help may make more real and useful.
One of the most hopeful signs in English society is the active interest which is now shown in the welfare of the humbler classes. It is, we think, widely felt that some more serious effort must be employed in their behalf. Their condition presses upon the nation's conscience. It has sunk deeply into the minds of the most thoughtful and large-hearted men amongst us. Its causes and the remedial measures it suggests are the foremost social problems which demand solution.
For it is known that in this Christian land, and underneath our high civilization, there lies a dark dense mass, where our human nature unfolds itself in such shapes of Ignorance, and Wretchedness, and Crime, and where there goes on, day by day, such a fearful waste of mental and moral life that any nation must tremble at the spectacle.
And this dark mass lies embedded amongst those, by whose toil and sinews England has grasped her empire and influence. Do not suppose that we confound with it, in loose terms, the whole class which lives by manual labour. The story of the working classes, we well know, has its bright heroic pages,-its records of life-long endurance in want and sorrow,-of hard patient struggles for daily bread borne amidst the glare of wealth and splendour,-of household affections and large human sympathies which outward circumstances cannot deaden,-of great silent deeds of charity and selfdenial done by the comfortless and needy,-of strong Christian faith put forth in lonely garrets, and learnt beside poor men's graves. We know, too, there are many among them who have striven hard for self-culture, and who are labouring at this moment to spread intelligence and high moral aims amongst their order. But these will be the first to tell us stern facts about interior social life in their own class, which must be thought out to the bottom. The facts themselves are seen everywhere; every day drags them forth to public view from mines and factories, and cottages in fields, and desolate rooms which hide themselves behind the broad streets in cities. We meet them in our newspaper columns. They are proved before the Houses of our Legislature. And their results are seen in an inert stolid pauperism, which occupies our Union-houses and burdens industry; they are written in frightful characters over the vast area of our penal settlements.
The facts themselves are patent. Then the question comes—How may we best deal with them?
Political questions do not lie within the domain of these papers. But we shall not dare to undervalue those social and economical reforms which are urged in behalf of the working classes. Government can do much to improve their outward circumstances, and to place
them under conditions more favourable to moral and intellectual culture. This is one of its highest functions, one which will probably be more and more developed in modern society. , It is well that our first political thinkers are seeking these objects through a wise distribution of taxation and other channels. And we must regard with especial interest those efforts to raise provident institutions amongst the poor, and to diffuse light and health and comfort through their dwellings, which have seized on public attention.
But further measures than these are wanted. We must seek to reach the heart and mind of this wide multitude. Men of the working class must feel surely that political reforms will not remove the most serious obstacles in their path, or minister to their deepest wants. They know that their condition, as we read the other day, “ is something more than a mere knife and fork question.” And we believe that numbers amongst them take part in a strong solemn conviction, which is working at the roots of English opinion, that we must have a better kind of Education for the people and must spread its influences more widely, if we would open out for them a brighter, better existence in the future, and help them to exert those higher powers which our common Father in Heaven has distributed amongst us, without respect of ranks or circumstances, and which He has placed us here to use and expand.
We have written before these lines the words Better days. Many earnest eyes, looking into the future, seem to see them coming; many hearts are filled with hopes and prayers for their approach. Busy, resolute hands, in various ways, are at work around us, making a path for them. We are sure that much may be done in our Schools to help them rd.
A few plain words to Schoolmasters, and we have done. You have, we would say, an instrument placed in your hands, which may be applied to noble ends. It may diffuse happiness and awaken thought in the workshop, and beside the cottage hearth ; it may strengthen social order, and give stability to our national institutions; it may serve the great interests of morality and religion. See, then, that you take it up as a high trust, and strive to use it well.
There is much going on around you to stimulate and encourage exertion. We have spoken what we thought on the state of a large portion of the working masses in this land, -the wretched privations and low interests by which their existence is so often bounded, the thick, fatal darkness where intellect and conscience are stifled, and which bars out the blessed light itself which came from Heaven. But it is right now to say that strange new feelings towards these. classes are working in many hearts, breaking through the crusts of narrow prejudices, wakening up remembrances of past neglect and thoughtlessness, flashing convictions upon men's minds that they are their brothers' keepers after all. A strong deep current of public sympathy with the humbler classes is setting in, and will assist all wise and practical endeavours for their good. Again, National Education has come to be invested with new interest and larger hopes. No provision indeed, commensurate with the country's educational wants, has yet been made; but, even under present arangements, there has been important progress, and much valuable experience has been acquired. Education has been extended and improved. Inspection has infused new life into Schools where charlatanism before prevailed ; better methods and appliances have been introduced; the interests of Managers and Teachers has been aroused. Perhaps the most marked feature in recent educational measures is the effort which has been made by the apprenticeship of Pupil Teachers, and the creation of Normal Institutions, to prepare the Schoolmaster for his functions. Already your office has attracted more interest and public regard; far greater importance will be attached to it. In all this you have encouragement.
But it must be a real education which you give in your Schools. It should be considered in relation to the sphere which the child will inhabit, and look forward to the special dangers and duties of industrial life. Encourage in him habits of spontaneous right-doing, that he may be able to grapple with the perilous education of circumstances which awaits him. Keep in distinct view the formation of character as your great end. And let the knowledge and information imparted be selected with a view to after uselet it deal with such familiar objects and agencies as will surround the future man. Teach the child to think and observe, so that the incidents of every-day, life afterwards may be turned into practical instruction.
Strive, too, we would add, that Christian influences may underlie
your whole school-work, and govern its action. The power of Christian dnty should pervade the entire conduct and procedure of the School; from the Master it will take its tone and colour. Remember that within that mysterious hidden organism—the child's mind-vast powers lie infolded which connect him with a higher life, but must be strengthened and developed here. Teach him to reverence and love the great merciful Father who made the Stars, and the Ocean, and all this fair green Eaath around us. And, with kindly gentle words, speak to him of the world-wide story of the Redeemer's love towards the young children who were brought unto Him, which tells us that unto them, even as unto the weary and the poor, the Kingdom of Heaven has been opened.
If these lines shall have awakened one desire for greater usefulness amongst those for whom they were written, their object will be attained. May we all rise up to a more thoughtful recognition of the sacred trust which has been committed to us, and labour with good heart and earnest purpose in that work-field where we have been placed. It is thus we shall best clear the ground for the approach of Better Days.
Lutes of a Bible Lesson.
“He found him in a desert land, and in a waste howling wilderness : He led him
about."-DEUT. Xxxii. 10.
I. The Israelites' passage through See the light reaching from earth to the Wilderness.
heaven, and spreading its radiance all II. Compare with this a Christian's around. passage through life.
"By night Arabia's crimson'd sands I.
Returned the fiery pillar's glow.” 1. God's method of guiding the Israel- The pillar was also a protection. In ites was different from the ordinary the day it was a shade; in the night it manner in which He conducts the affairs screened them from the attack of wild of the world. It was miraculous. In. beasts; prevented a thousand calamistance the manna; water from the ties; and, doubtless, served them by rock; and the pillar of cloud and fire. creating amazement in the minds of
2. This method was, nevertheless, their foes. simple. The pillar was easily seen, and 4. It never forsook them till they every Israelite knew, when it rested on arrived in Canaan. Again and again the Tabernacle, that he must rest; and the Israelites murmured and rebelled when it moved, that he must follow. against God, and often provoked His This was easy for children even to indignation ; but He was “long sufferunderstand, (Numb. ix. 21). The ing" and "slow to wrath ;' the Israelites were surrounded by dangers, guiding and protecting pillar never and were constantly ready to fear and forsook them, till it was no longer doubt; but God simplified His provi- needed. dence condescended to their weak
II. ness : they had only to look at the 1. God's mode of conducting a Chrispillar and be safe.
tian through this life is in many respects The pillar was a guide and protection. miraculous. The gifts of repentance, They not only knew when to move, but faith, and all the graces of the Holy in what direction. Whenever they were Spirit;-the consolation he receives in to proceed, the pillar left its resting trouble,—the strength in weakness,place, and went on before. It was the guidance in perplexity, are all always in advance; but how can a supernatural. But yet, cloudy pillar guide in the night-time? 2. This method is marked by its “When the darkness comes on,” they simplicity ;—"Believe in the Lord Jesus might have said "what will become of Christ, and thou shalt be saved;"—put us?" Mark God's wonderful kindness. a child-like trust in Him; look to Him, “ It shall come to pass that at eventide acknowledge Him, and He will direct it shall be light.” i Zech. xiv. 7). The thy paths. There is no need of a night approaches; the aspect of the multiplicity of ceremonies, and penpillar changes—the cloud is fire now !! ances, or of any devotion to saint