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to the top.-4. The sun shines from the heavens, and gives us light all the day. He is so bright that we can scarcely look up to him. If we were to look straight towards the sun, it would dazzle our eyes. But if we take a piece of glass that is red or dark green, or a glass that is covered all over with the smoke of a candle, we may look through this glass to the sun without dazzling our eyes. The sun sometimes shines very bright, and sometimes he is covered with clouds. The sun is giving us light at this moment, but we cannot see him. Can any of you tell the reason why the sun is not seen just now when he is giving us light? What hides him from our sight? The sky sometimes appears clear, like a large blue dome or half-globe, and sometimes it is all over covered with dark clouds. When the sun rises in the east, that part of the sky is often covered with bright red and yellow clouds; and when he sets in the evening in the west, the same kind of clouds are sometimes seen. God made the sun, the moon, and the stars; he also made the fields, the trees, and the corn; he formed our bodies and our souls; he gave us eyes to see with, ears, that we might hear, hands to handle with, feet to walk with, and he preserves us every moment. He is present with us in this place, and sees all that we do, though we cannot see him. Let us give thanks to God, for he is good, and let us do what he commands.
None, I presume, will be disposed to deny, that children of five years of age, who have been previously accustomed to observe the facts around them, may easily be made, under the guidance of an intelligent teacher, to understand every idea contained in such lessons as the above. The lesson should first be distinctly and deliberately read over by the class two or three times, and then illustrated by objects and experiments. Lesson 1, may be illustrated by a small hand-bell, a key, a wine-glass, and a piece of wood; and some of the children might be permitted to try the experiments, which would gratify their natural curiosity, and excite an interest in the subject of their lesson-it being always understood that the teacher accompanies such experiments with familiar explanations and remarks.-For illustrating Lesson 2, it would be requisite to have a large white pasteboard painted with the seven primary colours of light, so that the pupils might be exercised upon it, in naming and distinguishing the different colours. The objects whose colours are stated might be shown them; or if any of these objects are not at hand, they may be exhibited by coloured engravings.-To illustrate Lesson 3, a pair of scales, a bason of water, a piece of cork, and three pieces of iron, copper, and lead, of equal size, will be required, and then the experiment of weighing the pieces, and plunging them into the water, may be exhibited to the class. When explaining Lesson 4, a piece of stained or smoked glass may be put into the hands of the pupils, when the sun is visible, that each of them may try the experiment. The questions proposed in this lesson, which are not answered, may serve to exercise the judgment of
the pupils. They are understood to refer to the circumstance of a cloudy day. Various simple questions of this description should be embodied in the lessons, to give scope to youthful judgment and ingenuity. The latter part of this lesson might afford an opportunity to the teacher of impressing the minds of the class. with a sense of the presence, goodness, and universal agency, of the creator. It will scarcely be denied, that in this way instruction may be blended with amusement, and that a considerable variety of useful knowledge might be gradually imparted to the juvenile mind.
Descriptions of animals would form another interesting class of lessons for the young, as in the following example:
The Peacock is the most beautiful bird in the world. Its beauty excels that of all other animals. Its bill is about two inches long, and is of a brown colour. Its head and neck, and part of its breast, are of a dark blue colour. On the top of its head there is a tuft of pretty green feathers, which adds to its beauty. Its neck is long and slender, and its back of a whitish grey colour, spotted with black. But the plumage and tail of this splendid bird are the most beautiful parts of its body. They are adorned with colours so rich and various, that no human art can make any thing like them. When this bird walks in the sunshine, every moment produces a thousand shades of colouring, which are beautiful and ever varying. These fine colours exceed the lustre of the finest flowers of the fields and gardens. But, like the flowers, they fade every year, and the feathers drop from their bodies, and are again renewed every spring. The length of the peacock, from the tip of the bill to the end of the tail, is about three feet eight inches. Some of its longest feathers are four feet long. This bird appears haughty and proud, and loves to display its fine colours to those
who are looking on, like those little boys and girls who are proud of their fine clothes. The peacock perches upon high places, and lives upon barley and other kinds of grain. Its beautiful plumage does not appear before it is nearly three years old. When it drops its fine feathers in the time of harvest, it does not like to be seen, but seeks to hide itself in some gloomy place. Though the peacock is very beautiful, it utters a very harsh and disgusting cry. For whole hours it will repeat the cry of Eko, eko, eko, with the most hideous noise. It cannot sing a pleasant song, like the linnet and the blackbird. It is so wicked that it will scarcely live with any other bird, except the pigeon; and it tears and spoils every thing it gets a hold of with its bill. This bird was first brought from a far distant country, from the East Indies, and it lives to the age of twenty-five years. Little boys and girls, be not like the peacock, proud and vain, on account of your beauty and your fine clothes; for humility and goodness are always to be preferred to beauty.
In teaching this and similar lessons, a stuffed specimen of the animal described should be placed on a table opposite the class, and its different parts and colours pointed out; but if a specimen is not at hand, a coloured engraving should be exhibited, either in the class-book, or on a large sheet pasted on a pasteboard. The terms, tuft, plumage bill, perching, &c. should be explained by a reference to the figure or specimen, and the length of a yard, foot and inch, or any number of these combined, should be distinctly explained and exhibited, by means of rods of different lengths. There is another class of lessons for the juvenile classes, which might consist chiefly of descriptions and exhibitions of entertaining experiments. For example
The Sagacious Swan.
There is a nice little amusing toy which is sold in some toy-shops, called the Sagacious Swan. This swan is made of very thin tin-plate, or other light substance, and is hollow within. Near its mouth, in the inside, is fixed a small magnet, or load-stone. The swan is placed in a large bason full of water, in which it swims. A small rod of metal about five or six inches long, with a piece of bread fastened to one end of it, is held out to the swan, at the distance of an inch or two from its mouth. The swan then moves forward after the rod, as if it wished to take hold of the piece of bread. If you move the rod gently from the swan, it will swim after it all round the bason, and from one side of it to another, as if it were a living swan swimming after its food. But if you present the other end of the rod to the swan, it will swim backwards, and try to avoid it, as if you were wishing to mock or insult it.-The rod on which the piece of bread is fastened is a so a loadstone. A loadstone attracts or draws to it needles, and any small bits of iron or steel that are near it. Every loadstone has two ends, which are called its north and south poles. When the north pole of one loadstone is brought near to the south pole of another, they will attract each other. But when the north pole of one is brought near to the north pole of another, they will repel or move from each other. When a small loadstone is placed on a piece of cork or light wood, and made to swim in
a bason of water, it will turn itself round, till it point nearly north and south. The compass which directs sailors in their course along the sea, consists of a small loadstone, which moves upon a pivot. It shows them how to steer to the East and the West, to the North and the South. By means of this small bit of loadstone, they can find their way over great seas and oceans, to the East Indies and America, and round the whole world. God created the loadstone for this purpose; and if we had never known its properties, we should never have been able to bring tea from China, or sugar from the West Indies, or to send Bibles to the people that dwell in the far-distant isles of the sea.
This lesson would of course require to be illustrated by the philosophical toy which it describes. This toy could be easily constructed by any ingenious mechanic, or it may be purchased for about five or six shillings. The experiment of placing a small magnet upon a piece of cork, and suspending it on the water, to show how it fixes itself north and south, might also be exhibited; and by taking another magnet, and suspending it in the same manner opposite to the first, the attraction and repulsion of the different poles of the two magnets might be shown, which would explain the phenomena of the sagacious swan. The power of the magnet in attracting needles, small keys, penknives, &c. might at the same time be shown. A pocket-compass might likewise be exhibited, and its use described; and the attractive and repulsive powers of the magnet shown, by presenting it alternately to the north and south poles of the compass-needle. It might also be shown, that the magnetic power passes through interposing substances, by placing a board between the pocketcompass and the magnet, and causing the pupils to observe, that the needle is made to turn round, by the influence of the magnet transmitted through the board. This is only one example, out of a hundred that might be produced, of rendering entertaining experiments interesting and instructive to children; and when truths are, in this way, associated with sensible representations and experiments, they are seldom erased from their minds to the latest periods of their existence.
In the next stage of English reading, the pupil might enter on the perusal of a volume containing lessons on subjects of a higher order, such as those formerly described-which might be substi tuted in the place of our common school collections. The lessons in such a volume should be distinguished for the perspicuity and neatness of their style, although specimens of what is termed elegance and fine writing may be occasionally introduced. The following may serve as a specimen of the manner in which such lessons may be constructed :—
Description of Volcanoes.
Volcanoes are mountains, generally of a large size, from the summits of which issue fire and smoke. On the top of these mountains there is a vast opening called the Crater, sometimes two or three miles in circumference, reaching from their summits to an immeasurable depth in the bowels of the earth. From these dreadful openings are frequently thrown up to an immense height, torrents of fire and smoke, clouds of ashes and cinders, and red-hot stones, together with torrents of melted lava, which roll down the declivity of the mountain like an immense flaming river. These alarming appearances are frequently accompanied with thunders, lightnings, darkness, quakings of the earth, and horrid subterraneous sounds, producing the most terrible devastations through all the surrounding country.-Previous to an eruption, the smoke, which is continually ascending from the crater, increases and shoots up to an immense height; forked lightning issues from the ascending column; showers of ashes are thrown to the distance of forty or fifty miles; volleys of red-hot stones are discharged to a great height in the air; the sky appears thick and dark, the luminaries of heaven disappear. When these alarming phenomena have continued for some time, the lava, or stream of melted minerals, begins to make its appearance, either boiling over the top, or forcing its way through the side of the mountain. This fiery deluge runs down the declivity of the mountain, forming a dismal flaming stream, sometimes 14 miles long, 6 miles broad, and 200 feet deep. In its course it destroys orchards, vineyards, corn-fields, and villages; and sometimes cities, containing 20,000 inhabitants, have been consumed and buried under the burning lava.-There are reckoned about fourteen of these volcanoes in Europe; of which the principal are Mount Hecla in Iceland, Mount Vesuvius, near the city of Naples, Mount Etna in Sicily, and Stromboli in one of the Lipari islands. Etna and Vesuvius are often quiet for many months, and even years, without the appearance of fire, though the smoke is always ascending from their craters; but the mountain Stromboli is ever at wor and appears to be the only volcano that burns without ceasing; and for ages past, it has been looked upon as the great lighthouse of the surrounding seas. Several phenomena of awful sublimity and terrific grandeur frequently accompany the eruptions of these volcanoes. Hecla in Iceland, is a mountain nearly a mile in perpendicular elevation, and a considerable portion of it is covered with snow. In an eruption of this volcano in 1775, a stone weighing 290 pounds was thrown to the distance of 24 English miles. Not far from this mountain, in the year 1783, there happened a most dreadful and appalling eruption, which was preceded by a violent earthquake, which lasted for a fortnight; after which the lava broke out from the earth, in three different places, forming three dreadful Fire-Spouts. These fire-spouts, or streams of burning lava, after having risen a considerable height into the air, united into one, arriving at last at such an amazing altitude, as to be seen at the distance of more than 200 miles. The height to which this fiery stream ascended was reckoned to be not less than two miles above the surface of the earth. This fire first became visible on the 8th of June, and continued to produce devastation and terror till the 16th of August following. In one direction, it formed a lake of fire spreading out itself in length and breadth more than 36 miles; and, having converted all this tract of land into a sea of fire, it stretched itself out in another direction, and rushed down the channel of a large