Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/237

This page has been validated.

ess in life to understand, to receive, to unload, as it were, that which others have put aboard. At least ability in this line is what we need infinitely more than the mere art of conveying thought. The number is comparatively small of those who are called upon to create, to body forth the soul either as orators or writers. The truth is, within the proper and legitimate sphere of school-reading, the cultivation of the organs of speech should be strictly subordinate to the great end of acquiring and retaining thoughts. The voice and ear have just that kind of work to do, and no other, which is performed by the gauge upon the steam-boiler, viz., to afford a means of judging of the condition of things within—the one of the pressure of steam, the other of the clearness and coherence of ideas. The paramount object in learning to read is to acquire the power of obtaining from the printed page, and by means of the eye only, ideas clearly and quickly. This should be the foremost thing with every teacher. Tone, emphasis, inflection, and general expression are, or should be, only the test-marks to indicate to the teacher whether or not the thought as presented by the printed words is fairly lodged in the mind of the learner. This perfectly subsidiary character of oral reading and the actual comprehension of the thought are almost entirely lost sight of. The subject is taught as a fine art, an art of expression only, the same as music, instead of the art of soul-perceptions, the art of seeing and feeling ideas and sentiments.

Such are some of the faculties which need attention in making good readers, and some existing faults which need correction.



AT the outset I drew a distinction between theology and religion. Theology I considered to be the intellectual or scientific knowledge of God, religion the imaginative or sympathetic knowledge of him. After examining, then, to what extent theology is modified by the omission of the supernatural source of knowledge, after showing that it is in no way destroyed, since it has always been of the essence of theology to inquire what is the relation of the universe to human ideals—and this inquiry remains legitimate, necessary, and all-important, whether we appeal to natural or supernatural evidence—I pass on to consider the modification produced by the same omission in religion. With what feelings should we regard God contemplated only in Nature?

It will be evident, from what was said at the close of the last chapter, that the common impressions about the worship of Nature are

  1. From a series of papers, in Macmillan's Magazine, on "Natural Religion."