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observed an apple falling from a tree; and from that simple fact, he went on, from one particular to another, till he grasped the all-pervading law of gravitation. He began with an apple; he ended with the universe. So with his inquiries respecting the laws and properties of light; and just so with all the discoveries and inventions that have ever been made.
No truth, either in the physical or moral world, has been discovered, or applied, without a minute examination of the particulars that compose it. The principle seems to be universal ; and as every learner is discovering truths new to himself, we ought to take a similar course in teaching him not only the elements of science, but the doctrines of the gospel, and the various lessons of virtue and piety.
For this mode of instruction, we might quote the highest authority. Socrates, the wisest of the ancient philosophers, employed it with signal success, against the quibbling and unprincipled sophists of his day. The Bible is a store-house of examples on this subject. We find not a few scattered through the Old Testament; and the record of our Saviour's instructions is so full of them, that he is said, by one of the Evangelists, never to have taught the people “ without a parable.”
Consider, then, the pre-eminent utility of this method. We might infer its usefelness from its actual success, and especially from the example of our Saviour ; but a little reflection must show any one its peculiar adaptation to interest, convince and impress.
This method secures attention. It has a peculiar charm for every class of hearers. Introduce a pertinent and vivid illustration ; and you will find the old and the young, the ignorant and the learned, listening to you in breathless silence. Such things interest alike the peasant and the philosopher. Every one, familiar with the life of Whitfield, knows with what success he often employed such simple and popular weapons of eloquence. When a favorite sermon of the late Carlos Wilcox was published, thousands in different parts of the country were surprised and chagrinned at not finding in print, the incident which had, in the delivery, produced so deep and delightful an impression on their minds.
Instruction given in this way, is more intelligible to all classes. A child understands it, and is thus enabled to grasp at truths otherwise beyond his reach. Disciplined thinkers may thread the most abstruse and complicated process of reasoning ; but the young and uneducated require a simpler and more direct pathway to the same result. Could such minds have been made, by the abstractions of logic, to understand
what our amthor teaches with so much perspicuity and force, in some of the extracts we have taken from his book? Could the importance of mental cultivation, and the nature of the evidence which is to be expected in matters of religion, have been rendered to common, or even cultivated minds, equally plain, without the example so happily employed ?
This mode of instruction is also more impressive. We refer to the examples we have quoted, and appeal to the common sense of our readers, whether the same truths, taught in an abstract form, would have touched the soul with equal power. Would a metaphysical disquisition on the mutual relations of mankind, have awakened as much feeling as the story of the Good Samaritan? Had our Saviour justified his kind and condescending attentions to sinners by alluding in general terms to the tenderness of a father for a profligate son, returning in penitence to his arms, he would have used essentially the same argument that is made to live, and breathe, and speak in the touching parable of the Prodigal Son ; but would he have drawn forth from his hearers an equal gush of emotion ?
But we need not dwell on a point so universally conce led ; for every one knows that a truth taught by an illustration, strikes us more forcibly, and far more deeply moves the heart, than the same truth when filtrated through the technicalities of logic. The latter is a skeleton of dry bones and shrivelled sin- . ews; the former is the same frame-work of nature, covered with flesh, formed into beauty, and animated with life, and thought, and all the variety of human feelings.
It is obvious, then, that such instruction will be much better remembered. Recollection depends on the attention we give, on the distinct and vivid conceptions we form, and the impression made on our fancy and feelings; and facts and familiar illustrations have, in all these respects, a decided advantage over abstract reasoning. Relate an interesting incident; and while nine tenthts of your hearers forget your whole train of reasoning, every one will remember the incident.
How easily, how fondly does a child treasure up the history of Joseph, and the parables of the Prodigal Son, and the Good Samaritan! but the same lessons of truth and duty, communicated in syllogisms or in tropes, would have melted from the memory like dew before the sun, or like sand swept away by a mountain torrent. In this particular, there is no room for comparison between the two methods; and we all know that the best instructions, not remembered well and long, can never exert the permanent, allpervading influence necessary to prepare men for heaven.
This mode of instruction is also more likely to produce con. VOL. VI.-NO. VI.
viction. It disarms prejudice, lulls the bad passions aslesp, and takes possession of the mind before depravity has time to shut its eyes against the evidence of truth, and motives to duty. It opens every avenue to the understanding, the conscience and the heart. In this way, our Saviour silenced his wily and captious adversaries, and gained the assent of common minds to what they would have been slow in receiving through the medium of dry logic, or direct instruction. Every student of history well remembers the magic influence which the fable of Menenicus Agrippa, very like one of our Saviour's parables, had on the mutinous and highly exaperated populace of Rome.
Now, does not an age of extensive and deep-rooted prejudices against “ the faith once delivered to the saints,” call aloud for a similar mode of instruction, to disarm these prejudices, and inculcate truth upon reluctant and embittered minds? "Technicalities will no longer do; they have lost their power, and become objects of suspicion, and watch-words of alarm.' T'he consecrated phrascology of our fathers is covered with a cloud of prejudices that neutralize their influence; and views, once conveyed by this phraseology, must now be communicated in some other way, fitted to open the mind to a free and cordial admission of “the truth as it is in Jesus."
This kind of instruction can be applied with far more facility and success. It teaches duty, not by abstractions, but by living realities. We see the precept exemplified in practice; and we have only to perform the comparatively easy and delightful task of imitation. We all know how much easier it is to follow an example than to decypher and apply bare instruction. A watch-maker might tell his apprentice very minutely how to put a watch together ; but would not the boy by seeing his master do the thing himself, acquire more skill in one hour, than he could have gained by the other method in a fortnight? Should a teacher write down for his pupils, a very plain rule for working a difficult sum, they might still be sorely puzzled to put it in practice; but let him work out the sum himself so slowly that all can mark every step of the process, and the dullest intellect among them will find little difficulty in applying the rule. Bating the enmity of the carnal mind against the truth itself, similar is the case in all the departments of moral instruction; and this view of the subject suggests the vast importance of adopting such methods of teaching as will most effectually prompt and enable the hearer to practice what he learns, or leave him without excuse if he neglect it.
Our limits will not let us proceed with our remarks; but we did int ud to show how this mode of instruction would increase the power of truth, by presenting it in a more interesting and less objectionable form: and how it would then tend to insure a steadier, more rapid, and more permanent growth of moral and intellectual character.
We would not urge this method alike on all; nor will we, while we commend it in general, conceal the conviction we feel of the need of caution in adopting such a parabolic, narrative mode of instruction, especially in the pulpit. Every one has not the natural talent to do it with success, and of those who have, too many have not the necessary degree of sanctified affection, and simplicity of desire to glorify God and save souls. The preacher may easily make himself interesting by adopting it, but it is not every one, by any means, in our judgment, who can do it wisely throughout. None can do it as Christ did. Every thing was holy as he employed it; and from relation to him, illustrations from the Bible, however familiar, never desecrate ; but not a few from common sources are liable to, except in uncommon hands.
Not that we would retract any thing we have said. We think highly of this method of instruction; and, generally, we have long thought that preachers of the gospel spend far too little pains on THE SCIENCE AND ART OF INSTRUCTION. Not a few seem entirely to overlook it as a distinct part of edu cation, and exhaust nearly all their strength in collecting ideas which they know not how to bring into full and effectual contact with other minds. They are deficient, not in learning,
, but in the art of imparting what they know. This part of their education they have neglected. They have found time for mathematics and metaphysics, for didactic and polemnic theology, for church history and ecclesiastical polity, for Greek and Hebrew, and perhaps German and Syriac, but scarcely none at all for the unwelcome labor of acquiring skill to use their acquisitions. We have often wished, that some voice of authority might speak effectually on this subject. Here is a crying delinquency. Educated men do not turn to practical account one-fourth, scarcely one-tenth part of their learning. There is a prodigious waste of talent and knowledge in the ministry; and many a man, coming from a theological seminary, with his mind well stored with learning, is compelled to see a halfeducated preacher run away with the people, and actually do far more than himself in “ turning them from darkness to light, from the power of Satan unto God." He wonders at this, and chafes his spirit at the comparative barrenness of his own ministry ; but he ought to have reflected long before, that his knowledge must have a tongue in order to speak; and that his
talents and learning can be useful, only so far as they are brought into favorable contact with other minds.
Our feelings plead to linger still longer on this subject; but we must take our leave of it; and this we do by commending the Young Christian to the teachers of morals and religion. We will not make ourselves responsible for every thing in the book; but as a whole, we 'deem it worthy of high commendation. We might perhaps suggest some improvement for a second edition ; and the rapidity with which it is passing into circulation, increases our desire to see it as perfect as possible ; but such suggestions would be of little use to our readers, and, if desired by the author, can be better communicated to him in
BEIEF REMARKS ON THE HISTORY, AUTHORITY AND USE OF THE SABBATH. By Joseph John
GURNEY. From the second London edition. With Notes by M. STUART. Flagg, Gould, and Newman ; Andover, 1833. 18mo, pp. 120.
That feeling is apt to exert a powerful influence upon perceptions and belief, and, in religion in particular, often leads men to reject or falsify the most obvious truths, and to receive as valid what is altogether destitute of foundation, is a matter of act, too notorious to be questioned. No wonder then, that, under its influence, different men should, from the very same data, draw dissimilar or even contradictory conclusions, in respect to those points in Christian ethics which are usually con, sidered as somewhat obscure. Perhaps, however, it is not sufficiently attended to, that this very obscurity, was designed by the Holy Spirit as a delicate test, to try the integrity of the heart. No danger could in this way accrue to the genuine Christian ; as there is always a safe side in respect to those points, which he, who is full of love to God, can easily discover, and which he will surely take,-a word to him who is piously wise and zealous for the honor of his master, being sufficient. The question which has often been agitated respecting the Christian Sabbath, whether or not it be a divine institution, and as such, entitled to universal observance in the church, is of this character ; and, like other similar questions, it has been answered in different ways, according to the