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o your notice. This I propose to do in the few plain remarks which Ere now before me.
This is the proposition,—“The best method of conducting a Sabbathchool, as respects the mode of teaching, conveying religious truth, and maintaining order and attention.”
And herein lies a variety of opinions; there are scarcely two schools hat are conducted on precisely the same plan, and yet no doubt there vill be found excellencies in each. I do not lay claim to the epithet hat is applied in my text, and call the plans that I may mention the best; but having followed some of them for a long time, and having mad twenty years' experience as a superintendent, I give them as comnended to me by experience and reason.
The Sunday-school system is, no doubt, capable of much improvement; there may be many things allowed and practised which, when epenly canvassed in meetings of this nature, will be found wanting. I herefore conclude that much good will result from the discussions of his Conference. I would wish to leave behind me such of my plans as may be antiquated and imperfect, and to substitute for them, others that may here meet with more in accordance with nature, and the laws of mental and moral science.
Of late much has been said and written on the means of improving Sabbath-schools; numerous plans have been proposed, and many rules levised, to effect this desirable object; but in many of these proposicions, it appears to me we have lost sight of a great principle, and that is Ehe principle of simplicity; that in our anxiety to improve our schools, we have multiplied rules, and added to our laws, until we are fettered rather than facilitated; so that much mental and physical power, and valuable time that ought to have been directed to the immediate result, have been expended on the machinery. Not that I would say, do away with law and rule; no, but that in all our operations we should endeavour to follow nature, where we see the simplest laws producing the mightiest effects, and not, as with us, extensive and complicated contrivances for small and inadequate results. I remember an instance in point: it was in a Sabbath-school containing more than an average share of intelligent men, who became dissatisfied with the state of their school, and thought that it might be much improved. It was their impression that a new code of rules would answer the purpose, and produce the desired effect. Application was made to the best conducted schools for copies of their rules; advice was sought where it was thought it could best be obtained ; the teachers were assisted in their deliberations by a minister who was at their head, capable of rendering essential service. These meetings were protracted night after night, and week after week; every foot of ground occupied was examined and re-examined, until every department had its appropriate law, and every moment its peculiar duty. The teachers stood or sat according to rule; they came and they went according to rule; they read, they prayed, they sang, according to rule. Well, how long did all this last, and what was the result? I will tell
The teachers soon found that instead of being helped they were hindered; they discovered that they had surrounded themselves with a net, in the meshes of which they were constantly entangled, and all freedom of action was taken away, and for fear of doing wrong they were not able to do right. The result was, that this code of laws, so judici. ously prepared, so beautifully printed, and so unanimously adopted, continued in force for about the space of two months, and was then abandoned as a yoke too grievous to be borne. On principle I would therefore advocate, in all Sabbath-school arrangements, simplicity in opposition to complexity, and nature rather than art.
The efficiency of a Sabbath-school does not mainly consist in the best mode of keeping a class-book; it matters comparatively little whether you give half a mark for late attendance, or a whole mark for total absence; whether the proficiency be indicated by perpendicular, horizontal, or oblique lines; these are secondary matters, which may be attended to if you have teachers in sufficient numbers; but these are not the great objects that should be aimed at in the important work that is given us to do. Let me not be misunderstood : I would not have a school without plan; no, I would seek out and adopt the best; my de. sire to make my school efficient would lead me to do this. But I would prefer to be governed by great principles rather than by petty details ; I love plans so far as they assist me in the government of a school; but when they become so numerous, and so complex, as to prove burdensome, then they are an evil and not a good.
The great desideratum in our schools is, teachers thoroughly imbued with the spirit of their office; whose minds are resolutely bent on accomplishing the objects before them; earnest, pious, devoted men and women, who fully realize the responsibilities of their station, who carry about them that zeal and earnestness which would overcome every difficulty, and make even an imperfect plan productive of abundant good. “ An exquisite performer can bring better music out of a bad instrument, than a bad musician can out of a good one.” As a superintendent I would say, give me the right men, and right method will be sure to follow.
It has been said, that anybody will do for a Sabbath-school teacher. My friends, that day is gone by.' It would be a stigma, an eternal disgrace, to allow such things to be said now. Our Sunday schools want, and they must have, the best men that our churches contain; the men of sturdy mind, and moral influence; men of matured judgment, and intellectual power. Sunday-schools ought not to be left entirely in the hands of the young, on whom this work is too frequently devolved. It would be well if these truths were wisely and temperately argued in our churches, until those who stand aloof are roused to inquire, “What can I do?”
Having obtained within the school the best men that our churches can furnish, and having adopted a few plain and simple rules as to the hour of commencement, and some other general division of time, proceed to a wise choice of a superintendent; if possible, be unanimous in your election. Let him be one who is likely to have the confidence of the teachers, and the affections of the scholars; one who has his heart in the work, who will make the school his delight, who will think of it, pray for it, labour for it, not merely on the Sabbath-day, but every day. I lay more stress on men than on plans. Let the teachers be of the right kind, and success is almost sure to follow. There is no secret in the matter ; you
ay make your Sunday-school almost what you will, providing you will at the requisite expense of time and toil. Sunday-schools will rise as e teachers themselves rise. It has been said, and truly, that Sunday-school teachers are not so icient as they might be. This is acknowledged ; let but this truth be nerally felt, and one essential point towards future amendment is ined ; this is the first step in the right direction; our standard of iching must be higher than it has been ; our preparation more thorough; r biblical knowledge more extended ; the range of our vision widened; must not be satisfied with present attainments; here, “forgetting things which are behind, we must press on to those that are before,” ling assured that God will most bless those efforts which in themselves the likeliest to succeed.
(Concluded in our next.)
CHAPTERS ON SENSATION.
Teacher.— Well, Edwin, have you thought over our conversation ? Edwin.— Yes, Sir; and I told them at home all that you had told me; d although I knew what you said, yet I found that it was difficult to ike my brothers understand so easily as you did me. T.- Very likely, my boy: but do you remember the question that I t asked you? E.—Yes, Sir; you asked me to tell you when we next talked together, at were our special organs of feeling. T.-Aud since you have thought, you can tell me I should think ? E.Of course, Sir—the fingers. T.-Well, how do you feel with your fingers ? E.-Feel with my fingers, Sir—what a curious question! but did you tell me that the tips of the fingers were very sensitive, and that they
therefore a great number of nerves. T.-And what is a nerve ? E.-I found a book yesterday that says it is a kind of telegraph wire, aning from the skin to the brain, and is useful to carry messages, and Eng back answers.
I also learnt that there were thousands of these es running to and from the brain all over the body, and that I could
force the needle's point into any part of the skin without piercing of these nerres, and causing pain. T.- Quite right, my boy: I am pleased to see that you are anxious inform yourself upon these points, for then you can more easily unstand me. Now, suppose that a fly alights upon your hand, the ves irritated by the movement of its legs, convey the news of the boyance to the brain, and the brain or mind sends a message back another set of nerves, which act upon the muscles of the hand upon zich the dy is, exciting them to move the limb and shake off. Your nd would frequently be much burnt, owing to the liability of placing inwarily upon hot bodies, it the sense of pain felt by the nerves, did E cause you instantly to withdraw it. If your eyes were shut and I re to place anything into your hand, you could tell we whether it was and or square, &c. ?
T.-But you do not know why. Now, suppose I give you a ball, when you have shut your eyes. Your fingers move over its surface, and the signs of form that the perves receive, they convey to the brain or mind, and the mind reasons upon them, and from the various impressions received, it comes to the conclusion that it is round. And by the same means you can also tell me its size and weight, and the form or size and probable weight of any thing in the room, only by passing your fingers over their surfaces.
E.-That is very easy, Sir.
T.-This sense is susceptible of remarkable improvement. Many instances may be mentioned of its peculiar development, where it has been more used and depended upon, in consequence of the loss of its fellow-sense,-sight. John Gambasius, of Voltera, a sculptor, who have ing felt over a marble statue of Cosmo de Medicis, made one of clay so like it as to astonish all who saw it. N. Saunderson who, though he lost his sight at two years old, acquired such a reputation as a mathematician, that he obtained a Professorship at Cambridge. There was a blind lady at Liverpool who could, by merely running her fingers over stained glass, tell the colour of each piece. And I know two little Chinese girls, whose eyes had been put out by their cruel parents, and they both could readily distinguish the colours of a shawl, by their touch.
E.—Yes, and our old clockmaker is blind, yet he can make watches and clocks by instruments of his own turning, and he can tell the colour of ivory and ebony, &c., and all the varieties of wood by the tips of his fingers.
T.—This is very wonderful, and the thought of it should lead us to thank God for that mercy which prompts him to make us reparation for the loss of one sense, by the superior acuteness with which he endows the remaining ones: a deaf person sees what you say, that is, he can tell from the motions of your lips the words you make use of. There is also another peculiarity of this sense in man, and, indeed, in all animals.
E.—The manner in which we are affected by heat and cold is mentioned in the book I have: is this what you mean, Sir ?
T.-Yes, it is. The sense of heat or cold, which we derive from bodies around us, is conveyed as before by the nerves to the brain, where conclusions are formed upon it; but we learn the state of a body of liquid by comparison. Do you see what I mean?
E.- Not exactly, Sir. T.-Give me your attention, then. You have no direct evidence upon which to base your ideas of the state of a body or liquid, except you ascertain its relative state. You dip your hand into a basin of water, and can tell me if it be cold or warm; but you do this by comparison, because you compare the temperature of the water with that of your body or hand. If it be hotter, you say it is warm or hot; if colder, you tell me it is cold: so that only in proportion to the temperature of your own hand can you judge of that of the water. Suppose you plunge one hand into a basin of hot, and the other into a basin of cold water, and then put them both into a basin of tepid water, the hand that was
in the hot will feel cold, and the one that was in the cold water will feel hot.
E.-Yes; and if I go away from the fire in winter time, into the cold air, I feel cold.
T.-Just so; and any one coming from a deep cellar into what you call cold air, would very likely say, “ How warm it is here." So that you see it is general to compare our own sensations with the temperature around us in any place. There is a curious circumstance, and I may as well tell it you, for you can try whether or not it is true when we get home-it is this: a weak impression on a large surface seems more powerful than a stronger impression made on a small surface. For instance, if you dip the fore-finger of the right hand into very hot water, and the whole of the left hand into cooler water, you will think that the cooler water is the warmest. How is this?
E.-I do not know, Sir, unless it is because there are more nerves exposed to the water by the whole hand, than by the finger.
T.-Quite right, Edwin. The great number of weaker impressions produces a stronger effect than the few powerful ones. Now let us talk about this sense of feeling as we see it in animals and insects. You told me that the fingers were our chief organs of touch; but what special organs are given to the horse, cow, the wild beasts, and our domesticated animals ?—for those parts which are similar to our hands, &c., are adapted only to support their bodies, and are therefore hard, being covered with horny claws and hoofs, or tough elastic teguments.
E.-The book that papa gave me about natural history, says that the lips and tongue of the horse and cow, and such animals, are organs of special sense; that the elephant possesses very acute sense in the end of bis trunk; and from an interesting account about bats, I found that the tips of their wings acted much like our fingers, but possessed greater acuteness of feeling. You remember, Sir, that we saw Mr. S- -'s blind bat flying about the room with great swiftness, turning and wheeling as quick as thought, without striking anything; and when a number of threads were hung across the room, at different heights, he darted in between them just as if he could see.
T.—Yes. Some men have from the unerring accuracy of the bat, judged it to possess some extra sense; but the eminent naturalist Cuvier, proved that its special sense is owing to the delicate membranes of the wings, and that it ascertained from the motion of its wings whether it was near any body, by the measure of resistance given to the air it beat down at every flap by such body.
E.—And birds use the tip of their beaks as feelers, do they not, Sir? And then there is the whole tribe of insects,—what do they use for feelers ?
T.-You have seen the fly upon the window-pane, projecting and withdrawing a proboscis like that of the elephant.
E.— Yes, Sir, and the butterflies show the same sort of thing when they are settled upon the flowers.
T.-Then there are the bettles. They possess two or more manyjointed hard feelers, springing from each side of the head, branching out much broader than their bodies. These are called antenna, and their flexibility enables them to be turned towards any object that is to