« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
MR. WINNING AND THE IRISH SCHOOLS.
In the course of the present month the subject of Irish Schools was brought before the religious public of Belfast, by the Rev. Mr. Winning, in several discourses delivered in various places of worship, and in public meetings assembled for the purpose. At these meetings four of the Irish Teachers were examined in their knowledge of the Irish language, and their ability to translate it into English, as well as in their understanding of the Scriptures, and their leading doctrines, In their examinations they discovered an amazing degree of scholarship and biblical knowledge. The crowded meetings that assembled, time after time, seemed truly astonished and delighted, and all appeared to be convinced that in this society was the key to the Irish heart, and the most likely means of Ireland's regeneration. Considerable sums of money were obtained at the meetings, for the purposes of the society-more was raised by collections, taken from house to house, by Mr. Winning, and some christian friends that accompanied him. The whole amount, it is our pleasing duty to announce,raised in a few days was upwards of £300. Surely it may be hoped there is somewhat of Christian principle leavening society, when it manifests so deep an interest in so good a cause. Let Mr. Winning and his friends persevere, and let the christian public continue to give their aid as Belfast has now done, and it will not be long till this desert land shall rejoice, and blossom as the rose. Much of the society's success, it is obvious, will depend on the character of the teachers; and to enable our readers to form some opinion of that, we subjoin the following letter, addressed by a large number of them to Mr. Winning :
23d December, 1834. REV. SIR,
We, the Scripture Teachers, in connexion with the Irish Society, have, by the blessing of the Lord, through that instrumentality, been brought to read, study, and learn the Holy Scriptures—to view thena as the only rule of faith and practice,-the supreme tribunal, to whose testimony every thing in religion is to be referred.
Sensible from these Scriptures, that it is our duty and privilege to partake of Christian ordinances, and many of us, for years, being deprived of that privilege, and living disobedient to the command of Him who has said, “Do this in remembrance of me;" we now, from sincere and conscientious motives, desire to have the holy ordivance of the Lord's Supper dispensed to us in a Scriptural and Christian manner,
We believe the definition given of that ordinance, to be truly Scrip. tural, “the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as a means whereby we receive the same, and a pledge to assure us thereof,” We believe that the bread
broken is an emblem of our Lord's body broken and pierced for us, and that the wine in the cup is emblematie of Christ's blood, that was shed for us, poor, miserable, and wretched sinners. We believe, as the bread and wine nourish our natural bodies, that the body and blood of Christ, spiritually (of which the bread and wine are emblems,) nourish and feed the soul of the true believer. We believe, that Jesus Christ has ascended with his glorified body into heaven, to remain there “until that great day when he will come to judge the world in righteousness," and that we are pot to have his corporeal presence until then. We believe, that as often as we approach the Lord's table, with humble, contrite, and believing hearts, and with a sincere desire of holding communion with our Lord, and acting in all things to his glory, that our approach will be acceptable, and that through “ the outward and visible sign,” bread and wine, partaken in faith, our love to God and man will be increased, our affections spirituali. zed, and Christ, and the blessings of the covenant of grace represented, sealed, and applied to our souls.
With these impressions upon our minds, we entreat of you, Sir, to request of the Rev. Mr. Radcliff, or the Rev. Mr. Daly, or the Hon. and Rev. Archdeacon Pakenham, (of whose piety and godly sincerity we can bare no doubt,) to come down to the Kingscourt District, one of the approaching Sabbaths this very solemn season, and with you, Rev. and Dear Sir, meet us and Mr. Russell, as Christian brethren, at the table of the Lord, that we may there solemnly partake of the emblems of the body of our Lord, broken for us, and of his precious blood shed for us : in the hope that we may feed on him, in our hearts by faith, with thanksgivings; and in doing so you will, Rev. Sir, much oblige, and, we trust, much spiritually benefit, the souls of your humble brethren in the Lord.
DESIGNATION OF A MISSIONARY TO JAMAICA.
REV. THOMAS LESLIE.
The designation of the Rev. Mr. Leslie to a Missionary Station in Jamaica, under the Scottish Missionary Society, took place in the Presbyterian Church, May-Street, on Wednesday, the 18th inst. There were two public services. At the first, the devotional exercises were conducted by the Rev. Mr. Morgan; a sermon was preached by the Rev. Mr. Waddel), (Missionary from Jamaica ;) the designation prayer was offered up by the Rev. Mr. Park, of Ballymoney; and the services were concluded with a charge to Mr. Leslie, by the Rev. Dr. Cooke. In the evening the services were conducted oy the Rev. J. A. Canning, of Downpatrick, and the newlyappointed Missionary. Mr. Waddell's discourse was founded upon the command of Christ to his apostles in Mark xvi. 15. and was simple, judicious, sound, and seasonable. The sermon of Mr. Leslie was on the corresponding passage in Mat. xxviii. 19. and was characterized by good sense, apparent sincerity, and just views of Missionary labours. The events of that day, it is to be trusted, will not be soon forgotten. Mr. Leslie has broken new ground, being the first Missionary to the heathen from the Synod of Ulster; and we hope he has set an example which will before long be followed by many. He addressed himself ably and earnestly to the students who were in attendance; and, we doubt not, the Spirit of God sent his words home to the hearts of some of them. May a future day reveal that it was even so! Mr. Leslie departs from among us with a pure and elevated character; he
with the prayers and sympathies of the church ; and the confident expectation is that, under the blessing of God, his services will be faithful, persevering, and successful.
LITERATURE FOR THE BLIND.*
Tøe subject treated of in the volume whose title we have announced, is one exclusively of modern times. The peculiar privations of the blind seem to have called forth few systematic attempts for their alleviation un. til the latter part of the last century, and to be very inadequately con. ceived of by the mass even of the benevolent and Christian community of our own day. The situation of those who are shut out from the visible world has, indeed, awakened much sympathy, and led to the erection of many asylums for their reception ; nor have these attempts been directed to the supply of their external wants alone ;-the outline of their minds, and the systematic communication of knowledge to them, bave been gra. dually becoming objects of deeper interest. Yet it must be evident to all who are acquainted with the state of this portion of the community, that very inadequate ideas are still formed of their physical and mental privations. In these respects, however, we hope the period is near when their wants will be more generally and better understood, and more effectually and permanently relieved. This hope is founded on the steady advance in the number and efficacy of the benevolent attempts made to better the condition of the blind, and on no facts more than those which form the subject of the volume before us the formation of a tangible alphabet for the blind, the devising of a method of teaching them to read and write, and the publication of a series of books fitted for their
These important objects have been accomplished chiefly by the ingenuity and the indefatigable zeal of the author of the volume.
He commences with pointing out the peculiar privations of the blind their entire dependance on the kindness and attention of friends, both in a physical and moral point of view; their concealment from the public gaze, in the bosom of their own families; with the exception of the few maintained in public institutions, and their being found-from many causes easily accounted for-chiefly among the poorer classes, He then
"A Historical Sketch of the Origin and Progress of Literature for the Blind ; and Practical Hints and Recommendations as to their Education. With an Appendix, containing Directions for teaching Reading and Writing to the Blind, with and without a regular teacher. Ву James Gall. 8vo. P.p. 388. Edinburgh : GALL. 1834,”
proceeds to detail at considerable length the first and progressive attempts towards the formation of a literature for them. The first attempts to teach them to read were made at Paris, in 1784, but were unsuccessful, owing to the letters being made of the ordinary form, which made it necessary that they should be very large, and to their retaining of the capital as well as the small letters, which doubled the difficulty of learning to read. These causes conspired to repress the first attempts to teach reading to the blind and provide books for them; and no additional attempts were again made until about 1826. To the author, the benevolent public, and especially the blind themselves, are indebted for the formation of the al. phabet which now bids fair to remove the causes of the former failure. By multiplied experiments he found that angular letters are much more tangible than the common ones which are in great part curved ; but the principal point to be decided in adopting an angular alphabet was, whether to adopt an arbitrary character, or such a modification of the Roman alphabet as should be at once angular and sufficiently like their original form, to be easily recognized. The advantage of the former is the ex. treme simplicity of which it is susceptible. That of the latter is that it can be read with ease by all who can read ang ordinary English book. This advantage the author correctly considercd of paramount importance, because, however simple an arbitrary character might be, extremely few would or could qualify themselves to teach the blind, by first learning to read it themselves. In proceeding, therefore, with attempts to introduce an anguiar alphabet modified from the Roman, and without capitals, he experienced a series of difficulties that for several years retarded his progress, and which nothing but the perseverance of genuine Christian benevolence has enabled him ultimately to overcome. These arose from the well-meant, but not equally well-judged attempts of others to introduce a variety of arbitrary alphabets, from the necessity of obtaining types, by means of matrices and other implements for the express purpose, and at the author's expence, and from the numerous experiments requisite for ascertaining the tangible powers of the letters, and the smallest size that could be read with ease, so as to give the books the utmost possible portability. We perosed--and we think those who read the book must peruse with interest-his narrative of the progress of the work of procuring books for the blind, in the face of many difficulties, in addition to those mentioned. It ought not to be omitted that he proved the efficacy of bis system by a variety of experiments on adult pupils, before committees formed by the Principals of the Edinburgh and Glasgow Universities, and in the London Incorporation for the blind. In all these instances the system recommended itself to the approbation of those appointed to judge of its merits, and drew forth resolutions of their cordial thanks to the author. Distinguished honours were conferred on him by the Directors of the last-named institution ; and in addition to this we learn that he has lately been elected an honorary member of the Verulam Philosophical Society of London.
The latter part of the volume is occupied in removing objections not merely to this or any particular system, but to the possibility and usefulness of all attempts to teach the blind to read and write, and also in a lengthened address to the blind, on the importance of the literature for them, and on the duty devolving on them to be diligent in mastering it, and in cultivating their minds by its means, and, as immortal and ac. countable creatures, to make a practical use of the knowledge thus aequired. This part of the work, though ostensibly an address to the blind, appears to us at least an equally suitable address to those who can see, and certainly much more likely to be perused by them, than read to the blind ; perhaps it might also be considered rather more lengthened than this part of the subject required. But we feel little disposed to indulge in trifling strictures on a work, the design wbich must com. mand universal and unqualified approbation, and the execution of which reflects honour equally on the intellect, the taste, and the Christian feeling of its author. Towards the last it contains a considerable quantity of matter, which, though rather digressive from the subject, we read with pleasure, embracing a familiar and endearing exhibition of the love of God in Christ Jesus, and other fundamental principles of the gospel, as the basis and the motive of the great duty of Christian philanthropy.
In the course of the work the author introduces some excellent observations, on the practicability of educating individuals labouring under the double and deplorable privation of deafness and blindness. He proves the possibility of this from various analogies, and shows that even to them, the art of reading, by means of the tangible alphabet, may be rendered useful, though it is obvious their education would be slower in progress than that of those who are simply blind. He also explains in an interest. ing manner the way in which the blind and the deaf may, with ease and considerable facility, converse together. This part of the subject ought not to be overlooked; for though very few are born blind and deaf, the blind may lose their hearing, or the deaf their sight; and it is now shown that artificial language, with all its advantages, is in the power even of such individuals.
An appendix is added, containing concise, but sufficient and easily understood directions to the blind in learning to read and write, either by themselves or with the assistance of a teacher, including a description of a real and convenient apparatus for writing.
The author's attempt to better the intellectual and spiritual condition of the blind, especially when taken in connexion with his original and excellent means of Sabbath-School instruction, and his praiseworthy and unwearied labours in various ways of doing good, cannot fail to endear him to the hearts of Christians generally, and to build up for him a monument of imperishing fame among the benefactors of mankind. His system of literature for the blind will form a new and conspicuous era in the brigbtening prospects of that scattered portion of humanity; and such a work as that before us was necessary not merely to develope the principles of the newly-invented art, but to prevent the history of it from becoming a matter of speculation and mystery to after generations, as the origin of many useful arts is to us, and must always remain. Feeling assured that the perusal of the book will be both interesting and profitable, we cordially recommend it to the attention of our readers.
It may be interesting to the public, in connexion with this subject, to know, that in Belfast the education of the blind, as well as of the deaf and dumb, is efficiently and systematically carried on. In addition to the regular weekly school for the deaf mutes, which is supported by the contributions of the religious public, there is a Sabbath-School both for the deaf and the blind, in which they are not merely taught to read, but this part of their education is made the instrument for inculcating the principles of the gospel. The lesson-system of instruction, which owes its origin to the excellent author of the work noticed above, is found by ex. periment to be as advantageous in the education of the blind and of the deaf, as in that of ordinary pupils.