Imágenes de página
PDF
ePub

their ear become weary of it? Nay, is it not admitted that in our very universities little is learnt from the written lectures of the professors compared with what is imparted in the tutor's class, where each in his turn is probed, and where habit teaches the tutor the readiest means of exciting attention.

Yet, without pursuing this part of the subject, is it not manifest that you must deal differently with the adult and the child? The vocabulary of the one is to be acquired; that of the other nearly matured. Every day makes fresh demands upon the accurate language of the man; his thoughts expand his stores; his business increases them. He mixes with others undergoing a similar process. He learns, inevitably, a smattering of popular science; something of the history at least of his own times, its controversies, its phases, its geographical needs, &c. How circumscribed is the experience, and how meagre in consequence the vocabulary of our young ones. And yet, because once a week these children are addressed in measured language-in compositions where any thing sparkling would be noted as irreverent, any thing striking as bad taste-you take it for granted you have done your work of impregnating with religion the children of your National schools.

Our space does not allow us to enter upon the question of the Sunday School. But suppose it is either abolished or reformed, what shall we do for the public teaching of our young? We believe that the first step must be classification. Till the age of four or five, it is very doubtful whether a child should be taken to church; even then it should be rarely—two or three times a year-just to excite the child's wonder, and to set at work his desire to go oftener. Two hours on the Sunday might be usefully employed by the master, instead of going to church, in teaching the young, till the age of twelve, some simple scriptural truths; an hour in the morning before service, and an hour in the afternoon during service. At the age of six or seven the child should be regularly taken to church for an hour, where he might join in the liturgy, and leave when the sermon commenced. Or where the clergymen are sufficient in number, would not a short selection of prayers from the reading desk, followed, without change of place, by a simple address, be likely to benefit our young ones? If this was elementary, and the nearest seats appropriated to the children, why should not adults be admitted? Are we not all the better for truth arrayed in simple guise ? Have the mass of our poor risen above this necessity?

But here it would be very needful to guard against a common error. Don't let the clergyman, answerable for such a service, think he has an easy task. To do it well, we know of none more difficult. He must learn plain good racy Saxon English ; speak fluently, and yet not rapidly; strikingly, and yet not flippantly; tenderly, yet without twaddle, for children are wise in their generation. Long preparation would give a man an aptitude for this sort of teaching. But assuredly the needful discipline is not to be despised ; and children must be much studied; we must live amongst them, and observe their ways; and surely these little animated beings are as well worth study as the dead stones of the Geologist, or even the living flowers of the Botanist.

Surely if we would but put a premium upon better books for our children; if we would, in the truest spirit of the soundest churchmanship, break through the church order of the last three centuries; if the vast endowments of our church, her honours and rewards were given for any thing but the purposes of the blindest nepotism, we might put our hands to this and other needful work, which has called long and loudly, yet, alas! till now in vain.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

EARLY JEWISH HISTORY.

From Tacitus.

GOT is both curious and instructive to observe how Tacitus, in the Fifth

Book of the Histories, speaks of the origin and peculiarities of the o Jewish people: curious, because it is almost the only such account

that can be found in ordinary classical writers; and instructive, as 2y showing the unsatisfactory manner in which an historian, generally

so accurate, speaks upon subjects on which he had no means of y verifying his information.

Being about to give an account of the taking of Jerusalem by Titus, he thinks it necessary to give some particulars about the Jewish race. He mentions several opinions; first, that the name Judæi was a corruption of Idæi, and that the origin of the race was from the neighbourhood of Mount Ida in Crete, which they left when Saturn was expelled by Jupiter: another account states, that in the reign of Isis in Egypt, the superabundant population overflowed into the neighbouring countries, under the leadership of Hierosolymus and Juda; one of whom gave the name to the city, the other to the people. (The name Jerusalem was by classic writers considered to be of Greek derivation ; Hierosolyma, The Holy Solyma.)

A more generally received account was, that they were of Ethiopian origin, and left their country under King Cepheus, celebrated in Greek legends as the father of Andromeda, of Joppa. According to others, a body of Assyrian settlers, for whom there was not room in their own country, occupied part of Egypt, and afterwards obtained cities of their own in the adjacent districts of Syria and Palestine. Others derive the name of Jerusalem from the Solymi, a most warlike race mentioned by Homer, in his account of the exploits of Bellerophon.

Most authorities, says Tacitus, are agreed upon this; that Bocchoris, on the appearance of a skin disease in Egypt, was ordered by the oracle of Ammon to clear his kingdom of all infected persons, and to transport them into other countries. The multitude thus collected were left in the wilderness; and were abandoning themselves, without an effort, to despair, when Moses, one of the number, bade them expect no help either from gods or men, but trust themselves to him as a leader sent from heaven. They agreed, and began to move forwards wherever chance might lead them : but soon were distressed for want of water. and numbers of them lay dying on the ground; when a herd of wild asses were seen making their way towards a rock not far off, overshadowed by trees : Moses followed, and observing that the vegetation grew abundantly, discovered there a copious supply of water. Encouraged by this, they travelled on for six consecutive days, and on the seventh, by ejecting the former settlers, occupied the land in which they established their city and temple.

Moses, to make the people from henceforth securely his own, instituted for them laws and rites differing from any other nation. Things which we decm holy are disregarded among them; and, on the contrary, what is considered immoral among us is lawful among them.

TOY

EARLY JEWISH HISTORY.

They set up in the most sacred part of the temple an image of the animale through whom they found relief from their thirst and wanderings : sacri- :: ficing a ram, as an insult to the Egyptian god Ammon, (who had caused their expulsion, and was worshipped under that form.) Oxen also are used in sacrifice, because sacred in Egypt to Apis. They make no Use of swine, on account of their connection with the destructive skin disease * which caused so much destruction among them. By the long fasts which they yet observe, they continue the memory of their famine in the wilderness; and the origin of the unleavened Jews' bread is to be referred to the corn which they seized by force, and hurriedly dressed. It is said that they at first chose the seventh day for rest, because on that day they came to the end of their troubles; but that afterwards the love of indolence persuaded them to set apart the seventh year likewise for idleness. Others look upon that as an honour paid to Saturn, either derived with their religion from the Idæi, concerning whom we have stated the belief that they were fugitives with Saturn, and the origin of the Jewish race; or else it may be because the star of Saturn is the chief of the seven stars by whose influences the affairs of mankind are governed; and, besides, the number seven may be observed to be of importance in all things concerning the heavenly bodies.

Their customs, thus far, whencesoever they may have been derived, have antiquity to justify them: not so the rest, which gained ground solely through their infamous nature; and thus the offscouring of other nations, abjuring their own religions, enriched the Jews by their contributions of gifts and yearly payments. Among themselves they are unflinchingly faithful and ready to show kindness; but all others they hate as enemies, refusing to eat with them, or to use the same bed; and though they are most unbridled in their lusts, they have no intercourse with women of other nations: To distinguish themselves, they institute the custom of circumcision. All who join them adopt this also, and the first things they learn are to abhor the gods, to cast off all regard for their own country, and to look upon their parents, children, and brothers as worthless things. Still they are anxious for the increase of their nation: they deem it a sin against heaven to cause the death of any of their own relations, and affirm also that the souls of those who perish in battle, or as criminals, are immortal. Hence they take delight in adding to their families, and look upon death without fear. They do not burn the corpses, but preserve them as the Egyptians; having the same anxiety as they concerning the bodies of the dead, and the same belief concerning all that is beneath the earth : though far otherwise concerning the things of heaven.

The Egyptians worship almost all animals, and also images compounded of the shapes of animals; the Jews have their notions of a deity in the mind alone, and worship one God. They deem it unholy to represent a God by a human shape and formed from earthly materials : saying that the Deity is all powerful and everlasting, and cannot change or perish. Therefore they refuse to admit into their temples, or even into their cities, any image whatever, even of their own kings or of the Roman emperors. From the circumstance that their priests used the flute and drums, and wore garlands of ivy, and also that a golden vine was found in the temple, it has been supposed that the object of their worship was Bacchus, the conqueror of the East; but the nature of their customs does not suit this, since the rites which Bacchus instituted were festive and joyous; those of the Jews gloomy and unnatural.

Thus far Tacitus: he thence proceeds to give an account of the natural features of Palestine, and afterwards proceeds to the campaign of Titus in Judea. He, as well as Suetonius, mentions the belief then current throughout the East, that the books of the Jewish priests had foretold that some one should come from Judea who should be the master of the world : but explains it to have been fulfilled in the person of the Roman emperor, Vespasian. Josephus's two books against Apion notice most of the calumnies and misrepresentations current about the Jews: and Justin (Book 36) contains an account similar to that of Tacitus. Orellius's edition illustrates the whole passage in an excursus. It would not be easy to trace the origin of each statement; though a solution of one of the most curious, the story about the wild asses, may be found in the uncertainty of the Hebrew words for a mule and for a spring. (See Genesis xxxvi. 24.)

F. I.

EDUCATION FOR THE PULPIT.

SPURGEON. roE hear much in these days about preaching. We are told that it

is at a low ebb in the Church of England. We admit this. Many reasons might be assigned for this oratorical poverty, You have not paid, you are not willing to pay, the price of the

article. If you find a gifted man, you do not reward him. We O recollect how our youth was dazzled by the eloquence of Melville.

Remember this man was no charlatan; you could not bring against him any of the charges which dullness multiplies against success. “ Folly loves the martyrdom of fame,” yet you could not say this man had been plucked at the university, or had failed to carry away prizes, for he was the first mathematician of his year. You could not say he wanted training, for he had been many years tutor of his college, and had fulfilled the usual academic offices. He had the proper stamp on him. No glaring heterodoxy nestled under his wing; he wasa consistent churchman. Yet, after fourteen years of unexampled success, he sought in a civil appointment the income the church would not give him. Whilst drowsy mumblers ripened into incumbents, and fellows of colleges, whom the world knew not, into archbishops and bishops, this man, who stirred slumbering consciences, and woke an echo in the infidel's heart, at fifty-five was still unbeneficed.

We have heard much lately about the right man, and the right place. When the Times next gives us diatribes about preaching, we hope that able journal will add something about rewarding it. But we ask, has any thing been done to make preachers ? Among the Dissenters, to use their own phrase, each candidate for pulpit honours passes through a long curriculum. He is taught the tricks of oratory; how to use his voice; inflate his lungs; change his tones; what pauses to make; what inflections; how to suit the action to the word. He declaims in public, his fellow students his audience. A teacher superintends these exercises ; marks his defects ; his comrades are not apt to let his blemishes off too easy. Very often, as an exercise, he is sent into the streets, to preach to those whom he may gather. In fact, as far as the outward gifts of voice, action, and posture go, he passes through a sharp ordeal.

Suppose all this training added to the comparative refinement of our universities, to their careful mental drill; suppose you thus put the coping stone upon ten years of school and four of college,--surely it would be no such difficult thing to make preachers. Whether you would reward them after the present system, which ignores claims, and seems to dread pulpit efficiency, is another thing. Do we not, however, prohibit success in a great measure and in many instances, by prohibiting extemporary preaching?

The study gives us essays, correctness, well-weighed statements; it cannot give us life. We read no histories in men's faces there, there is no mass of forms, of colours, of thoughts that breathe, eyes that speak, to kindle us with their sympathy, to prompt our inquiries, to stir our memories, to awake our imagination. When we preach, we are not working out a problem, where the mind must be undisturbed, the attention rivetted only on the subject before us. The heart, the life, the very undress attract. The force even which forgets connection, the appeal which the exordium has not begotten, that which startles, so that it offends taste, all are better than the common places of a Blair. Perhaps, however, we shall compass our end more readily if, to use the language of the anatomy school, we can get hold of a subject, and dissect him.

Shall we take you, gentle reader, to hear Spurgeon ? We will suppose you were with us last Sunday, and although we have not got his sermon in print, it shall be our endeavour, from memory, to give you the substance of it, before criticising his style, or attempting to account for his success. The text then, he tells you, is an old text-"Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” Now, said he, I cannot do better than suppose a case, by way of telling you what that means. Suppose then a Red Indian to come over to this country. He wishes to see the Queen, to be admitted to the Court in which she lives. But you tell him he has not been born in England; the rule is absolute; etiquette demands that it should be kept; he cannot get in. He tells you he has learned your language, so that he can speak it. He does not address you in the Sioux tongue; he has long studied this your language, so that its idioms are familiar to him. Still the rule is absolute, for he was not born an Englishman. But, says he, I dress like an Englishman. I have cast aside my mocassins; I have washed off the war paint; my garments sit close to me as yours do; what lack I yet? The rule is absolute; you were not born an Englishman. And so we say here. The Bible tells us, “Except a man,” &c. But you say this is harsh, unjust. I cannot help it, it is not my command, it is the command of my master; I have taken your message up to him; he won't see you; don't blame me, here are his orders, “Except a man," &c.

Puseyism tells us that men are made regenerate in baptism; if you sprinkle a few drops of water in that child's face, he is born again. Why, that prize fighter, who was drunk from Monday till Saturday, who beats his wife, neglects his children, whose talk is blasphemy, whose life is debauchery, was born again then. That man that uses strychnine, the murderer, whose appearance wakes a yell from the mob as he mounts the gallows, that man was born again. Oh! this may be a religion of taste, a Beau Brummelism of religion; but my common sense revolts against it; I don't believe it, I won't have it. I know, on the other hand, there is much to disgust; much cant; people spinning yarns about their experience. Still here it is—“Except a man be born of the Spirit, he cannot enter into

« AnteriorContinuar »