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Let us mount upon their shoulders, not grovel at their feet. Let us take the stuff which they provide for us, and mould it for ourselves, to suit our own peculiarities of language, habit, genius, wants, and prospects. Let our books be English, not Anglo-French or Anglo-German. Let us not make them as the Chinese tailor made the tar's new jacket, with a patch to suit the old one.
To return to grammars-though what we said above may seem directly applicable only to those written in one language to explain another, it applies, a fortiori, to what are called native grammars, which are merely designed to reduce into systematic form the knowledge previously gathered by empirical induction. To those who have become familiar with a language in the concrete by extensive reading, such works are highly useful and need no translation. To beginners they are useless; for they presuppose the knowledge which beginners want. Besides, they are untranslatable, as Mr. Smith justly affirms-with special reference, indeed, to Bahth El Mutalib, of which we know nothing but through him. We may add, however, that even if that work admitted of translation, it would scarcely throw more light upon the subject than de Sacy's lucid digest (pre-eminently lucid after all deductions, drawbacks, and exceptions) the fruit of most laborious and long continued study of numerous authorities-a work, too, which has had more indirect influence on biblical philology than many are aware of.* When de Sacy has been mastered and exhausted, he may very fairly be condemned and thrown aside. To those who would prefer a shorter grammar and the Latin tongue, Rosenmüller's book may be safely recommended. It is Erpenius re-written, with improvements from de Sacy. Meanwhile, we look with some impatience for the forthcoming work of Ewald, whose acuteness, ingenuity, and habits of research, afford the promise of a masterly performance.
It must be owned, however, that we do need reading-books, or Readers, for beginners. Most of the Chrestomathies prepared in Europe appear to presuppose some acquaintance with the Koran. For us this will not answer. Here, where the study is, at most, but nascent, we need an introduction to
* No one, we think who is familiar with de Sacy's noble work, can fail to recognise its agency in giving form, perspicuity, and richness to the famous Lehrgebäude of Gesenius.
+ Sce, for example, the preface to de Sacy's Chrestomathie Arabe, Paris, 1826.
the Koran itself. We have often thought, that a selection of historical passages from that book, reduced to order, with grammatical notes and a vocabulary, would answer the ends of a chrestomathy for mere beginners most completely. It is highly important that the learner's first acquaintance with the written language, should be formed upon the Koran. Amidst all the dialectic variations of a tongue which is spoken from the great Sahara to the steppes of Tartary, there is a large proportion, both of words and phrases, every where the same. These are the words and phrases of the Koran, which religious scruples have preserved from change, and religious use made universally familiar. He who is acquainted with the language of the Koran, has the means of oral access to any Arab, and to almost to any Mussulman. He may not underderstand as yet the many variations of the vulgar from the sacred tongue, much less the local diversities of speech; but he has the foundation upon which these rest, the stated formula from which they are mere departures. He will also have acquired a measure of that knowledge, with respect to facts and doctrines, which no man can dispense with, who would either vanquish or convert the Moslem.
ART. VI.-ON CERTAIN ERRORS OF PIOUS STUDENTS IN OUR COLLEGES.
It is pleasing to observe that, in our Church, almost all disputes with regard to the importance of an educated ministry have died away. Great as is the demand for labourers in the Lord's vineyard, it appears to be acknowledged that ample literary and scientific discipline is equally demanded. Hence the eyes of Christians are turned with peculiar interest towards the hundreds of young men, who are at this time engaged in preparatory studies, with a view to the sacred office. Of these, a large number are to be found within the walls of our colleges, engaged in that part of their preliminary discipline, which, when we look to its bearings on future usefulness, must be seen to yield to no other in momentous importance. It may be assumed, as a maxim universally conceded, that the first steps in all mental and moral training are most carefully to be directed and watched, as giving character to
all that follow. Yet next in the order of importance to the earliest lines of intellectual discipline, we are constrained to place that part of education which is effected at college. It is here that the boy, just rising to adolescence, and escaping from the more arbitrary rules of the ordinary school, begins to contribute towards the formation of his own character, undertakes to judge for himself, and marks out his future path, with some degree of boldness and independence. It is here that the nobler foundations of the structure are to be laid, in the acquisition of languages, sciences, literature, history, and the principles of taste, philosophy, and morals. And from the critical period of human life in which these acquisitions are made, the tone of future character is usually taken, and that for life, during the academical course.
If this statement, even in general, or to any considerable extent, is just, it needs scarcely to be added that no caution can be superfluous, no solicitude unwise, which is directed. towards the regulation of minds,, subjected to concurrent influences so varied, perilous, and operative, at this turning point of life. Much of the hope of the church is staked upon the faithfulness, diligence, and discretion of the beloved youth who are placed in these circumstances, and it cannot be inappropriate to present some hints and cautions, with special reference to their necessities and danger.
There is a measure of humble docility, which is absolutely requisite in every one who sustains the character of a learner. This is due, under all circumstances, from youth to age, from the incipient scholar to the learned guardian and mature instructer; but more especially under circumstances like these, where the voluntary pupil submits himself to the guidance of experienced wisdom, and in order to usefulness in the Church, enters that path which the Church has marked out. Christian student is bound, for a season, to suspend his private judgment, as to particular branches of study, in filial reliance upon the prudence of those whose superior opportunities and experience enable them to make a wise decision. It is worthy of consideration by our youthful candidates, that the course of study in all our colleges is substantially the same; and that, as it now exists in most of them, it has been framed with reference to the Church, and in a great number of instances by those who have been taking counsel for the education of ministers. Hence every scholar might be justified in the presumption, that it is the course most approved by the
unanimous wisdom of discreet and pious men, and therefore worthy of a fair trial.
We regard this docile temper, and modest subjection of mind, in the young, as no small part of that moral discipline which collegiate education promotes, and which is necessary for future advancement. Youth is proverbially impatient, and fond of seeking compendious methods, royal roads to science and active usefulness. Those who are tempted to such irregularities, should be reminded, that it is just here. they should apply the curb to their restive propensities, and check the inordinate desire of freedom; that their situation, time of life, and inexperience, unfit them for judging aright with respect to the path in which they ought to walk; and that the most honourable, the safest, and the most Christian course, is to consign themselves, with undeviating regularity, to the guidance of those under whose care they are provi dentially placed.
A little observation upon this subject, under circumstances not unfavourable for a correct estimate, has led us to believe that the error to which we have alluded is common in all our institutions; and, unfortunately, oftener observed in candidates for the ministry than in others. For this there is an obvious reason. Young men of zeal and piety long to be actively employed in the Lord's vineyard, and view every thing as an unwelcome hinderance, which does not appear to them to have a direct and immediate bearing upon their great work. They judge thus of many subjects, indeed, which are of the greatest moment, and sometimes neglect the very discipline which their minds most need. There are some, for instance, who, from sloth or impatience, become disgusted with the study of the languages. They are unable to perceive what connexion there is between classic poesy or heathen fables, and the preaching of the Gospel. Forgetting how much of a faithful minister's life should be spent in examining the original Scriptures, and how much the knowledge of one language contributes to the acquisition of all others, they suf fer the only period of life in which they have all the necessary facilities for this attainment, to pass by unimproved.
A more frequent occurrence is a similar judgment with regard to mathematical science. Ignorant persons can scarcely ever be made to understand how abstract reasoning about number and quantity, ratio and equality, can be of any use: and ignorant students are often found to cast aside (as far as
they can) the pursuit of these studies, with the pitiful sophism, that they never expect to be surveyors, almanac-makers, or navigators. It is only necessary here to allude to the truth that it is the intellectual habits formed by these studies which give them value in a collegiate course. Tradition attributes. to Dr. Witherspoon the adage that Euclid is the best teacher of logic; and in this pithy saying the whole argument lies in a nutshell. When we have heard a young man decrying the study of mathematics, we have generally found that it was precisely the kind of culture which he needed to systematize his vagrant thoughts, discipline his feeble reason, and give some stability to his vacillating judgment. No man ever undervalued the science who knew any thing about it. And since the ministry of the gospel demands minds trained to habits of close and rigid investigation, there is no part of our academical education which should be more sedulously cultivated. The idle and imbecile should not be encouraged in their discontents by youth who are preparing for usefulness in the cause of the Redeemer. Let the latter take counsel of learned friends, and they will soon be convinced, that deserters alone speak evil of this cause.
Similar observations might be made respecting almost every item on the catalogue of studies. To every objection, there is one answer, which we desire to be pondered by pious students. No young man, at the commencement of his course, is qualified to pass judgment upon any part of it. It is absurd to pronounce upon a way before one has travelled it; or, standing at the entrance, to receive the testimony of the feeble or fearful renegades who rush backwards with precipitation, taking offence, peradventure, at the impracticable pons asinorum, and, like a certain fabled fox, desiring to inveigle others into the same fellowship of ignorance. Let those be consulted who have mastered the difficulties of the journey, and, with one voice, they will exhort to the undertaking.
It is one of the signal advantages of a public education, that it trims down the arrogance of youth with regard to the studies which they shall pursue. The private scholar is governed by his likes and dislikes, his caprices and disguste; and as it is usual to hate an enemy whom we cannot conquer, it is common to hear every science in its turn maligned by those who have left it unmastered. In a well regulated college, there is a force put upon these petulant whims, and the pupil is constrained to go so far in each walk of varied knowVOL. IV. No. II.—2 G