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and well-lighted schoolroom in which the members of the aqua pura Band of Hope hold their monthly meetings. As we ascend the stairs, we are jostled and pushed about in a style which shows that the young hopefuls have not been taught to regard courtesy as a cardinal virtue, but at length we effect an entrance, and find ourselves in the presence of some hundred juveniles of both sexes, varying in age from seven to seventeen, some of whom, to judge from their personal appearance, only cultivate an external acquaintance with aqua pura on very special occasions.
The meeting bas not yet commenced, so, in the interim, the audience are amusing themselves in various ways. Some of the elder boys are grimacing at the girls opposite ; others are whistling, singing, or hooting, as their fancy dictates; while the more favoured portion are discussing the merits of oranges, tarts, and other refreshments. As we near the desk or rostrum, we perceive the conductors are about to open the meeting, having secured partial silence by giving out a temperance hyinn, which is sung with much spirit to some such tune as
Wait for the Waggon," or I wish I was with Nancy.” A prayer is then offered up, and the business of the evening is fairly afloat. Some of the members oblige with recitations, others sing, and another portion, having formed a “ drum and fife," or " brass band," perform a little instrumental music. Addresses are also delivered on temperance principles, but owing to their monotonous verbosity and wearying prosiness, the infliction is usually accompanied by a continuous shuffling of feet, and other signs of impatience, and often comes to a premature conclusion amid general disorder ; but if all goes on well, the proceedings terminate about ten o'clock, with the singing of another temperance hymn -- this time an outrageous parody, almost amounting to a blasphemous burlesque upon some popular psalm or hymn; and the juvenile abstainers are dismissed until their next meeting, but will probably continue to roam the streets for an hour or so, to the great discomfort of the neighbours, and the imminent peril of their knockers and bell-roper; and we have heard of some complaints in which it was proved that the conduct of an inebriated tavern rabble was orderly in comparison with that of some members of Bands of Hope.
We shall be glad to learn what good even the most sanguine of our friends expect will result from such meetings as the one described above; and will now proceed to point out one or two of the evils wbich impress us as most important.
First. We are of opinion that the promoters of this movement ought not to induce the juveniles to pledge themselves to abstain for an unlimited period, seeing that they do not fully comprehend the importance of the matter.
Secondly. We believe that the meetings are productive of more evil than good, and that the nonsensical twaddle with which the children are bored will decidedly prejudice them against the cause when they arrive at more mature years.
Thirdly. We hold that a large portion of their literature, and more especially their hymnology, is an outrage upon good taste, and does them infinite discredit.
Lastly. We find that it is the exception, and not the rule, for the juveniles to adhere to their principles in after years.
Did time and space permit, we might offer many other reasons for our scepticism in this matter ; but for the present, these must stand as our apology for daring to doubt the beneficial tendencies of Bands of Hope, as at present constituted and conducted. Тав. .
PRACTICAL HINTS ON STUDY AND SELF-FORMATION.
BY ONE WHO HAS TRIED AND SUCCERDED. I. INTRODUCTORY.
:-To give advice is one thing, and the gift is easily made; to follow the advice is another, and a widely different thing. It is proverbial that some persons who are niggardly in the bestowment of other gitts are profuse in tendering advice, especially where it is not desired. Indeed, if everybody were to follow the advice given by everybody else, the direst confusion would result. Perhaps it is safe to conclude that nine. tenths of the counsels and recommendations mutually given and received are not carried out. If A. asks the opinion of B. upon a given subject, the probability is that A.'s mind is already made up, and that bis private intentions will be fulfilled, whatever B. may say. So, if B. tenders his opinion unasked for by A., the chances are that A. will resent it as intrusive ; and if he had before resolved on adopting the course now suggested by B., he will change his determination on the instant.
Lct another fact be connected with this. Men purchase wisdom by experience, and occasionally the purchase is a costly, one. This is a law in the existing order of things. A child learns to walk after, and partly by means of, repeated falls. The know. ledge of the properties of heat and cold, and of the taste of things pleasant and repulsive, is obtained, slowly and painfully, by experience. One who through error of judgment has brought upon himself disappointment and trouble, may be desirous to warn others who are in danger of committing similar mistakes. Kind parents do their utmost to screen children from youthful follies and vanities ; but the old adage proves true about old heads on young shoulders. Here and there one will be guided and warned by the experience of his seniors, but the generality of young people choose to purchase wisdom by their own experience. These facts must be accepted just as they are.
A healthy mind
will not judge them to be an unmixed: evil. They are parts of the discipline through which each has to pass; and the end is not yet.
II. EXPLANATORY.—While conscious of all this, the writer of these Hints” presumes to offer his advice, and to cull a few passages out of his own experience for the benefit of the readers of the British Controversialist. Gladly and thankfully would he have received some such“ Hints" ten or twelve years ago, when engaged in the difficult work of self-formation. Possibly certain mistakes and failures might have been avoided, and some things would not have been learned, the necessary unlearning of which has been a painful process, if a wise and kind Mentor had indicated the sunken rocks, the quicksands, and the eddying currents.
Todd's “Student's Guide " is admirable of its way, but general readers discover that it sins in two opposite ways-by, excess and by defect. It supposes the student to be devoting all his time and energies to an ultimate object, and it contains some chapters and many allusions which have only a remote bearing upon the work of self-education ; wbile it fails to meet the case of persons who are daily engaged in laborious pursuits, and can only snatch an hour or two for mental improvement; and it also passes over some of the commonest difficulties which lie in the path of such persons. At the same time it must be remembered that the “Guide was produced by the estimable writer ehiefly for the benefit of young men pursuing a collegiate course ; and it ought to be carefully read by all who are desirous of cultivating their intellectual powers.
The writer of these “ Hints" is indebted to his friend the Editor of the British Controversialist for permission to address the readers in this mode. As he writes, he looks up to a shelf in his study, on which stand the successive volumes of this work, from the first thin, modest volume of 1850, and pleasant memories of bygone years steal over him. He feels grateful to the Edito and to the various contributors, for the healthy stimulus imparted to a youth then in his teens. He has not the honour to know the author of the “ Art of Reasoning," and of the articles on Rhetoric,” but he cherishes very kind thoughts towards that efficient instructor.
Since penning the above sentences, the writer has taken down from their honoured place some of the earlier volumes of the British Controversialist, and he has turned to certain pages in which he feels a paternal interest. He quietly smiles at sundry passages, which were deemed very smart and effective at the time they were written, and now he only wonders that they did not receive a severer castigation, for their matter and manner richly merited it. He recognizes, too, many of the initials and subjects in the Neophyte Writers' Society;" and the recognition calls up mingled emotions. Some of those early coadjutors have gone the way of all the earth; the rest are widely dispersed. A few bave disappointed the expectations formed of them, the buds of youth having been blighted in manhood; while others are occupying useful stations with credit to themselves.
But possibly some readers are becoming impatient, and ask, " Who is this inflicting his reminiscences upon us?” Gently, dear reader. Let me assume the personal form, and have a quiet chat with you, as if it were by my own fireside. This Magazine has a history, with the early part of which I am identified. Hence the interest which I feel in its welfare. The last ten years have witnessed a new generation of readers. Some of you were little people at the time to which I have been referring; but now you form an important part of the constituency of the British Controrersialist. I am not yet what is vulgarly but expressively termed
"old fogey;" still, I think it is in my power to offer, with all kindness, a few plain, practical “ Hints," which you are at full liberty to accept or reject, as you please. As to who and what I am, these are indifferent matters ; though, if you be the discerning reader that is usually supposed, you may, by close attention and comparison, infer something ere I have done. My kind friend the Editor knows what you are so curious to know. But he will scold me if I linger upon these preliminaries.
III CAUTIONARY.--It is impolitic to attempt too much at the same time. The tyro imagines that by learning cognate languages together he is greatly helped; but it is not so. I once began to learn Latin, French, and German, devoting an hour a day to each. At that time I was closely occupied for eight hours every day in exciting commercial pursuits, and I found it impossible to keep my attention strained for three hours upon pbilological subjects. Moreover, not a little confusion arose among the conjugations of verbs in the different languages, and I found it expedient to lay aside the French and German for a time. Afterwards, when some progress had been made in the Latin, great assistance was derived from my knowledge of it in acquiring the modern tongues. Young men, in their eager impulsiveners, act as Solomon did. He tells us,
• I applied my heart to know and to search, and to seek out wisdom and the reason of things.” Or they burn with desire to " understand all mysteries and all knowledge,” aud determine that they will become great pbilosophers, and great politicians, and great divines, and great writers, and great speakers; and all this when, perhaps, they have but two or three hours a day at command, in which to prepare for the roseate future of their imagination.
Now this is a mistake. 1 be Admirable Crichtons are exceptional cases. Our own Lord Brougham is an instance of marvellous versatility of talent; but how many such has the century produced? For one man who at one hour of the day can occupy the highest judicial bench, and at another can preside in the House of Peers, and at a third can write a treatise on natural theology, and at a fourth can investigate an abstruse point in science, and at a fifth can throw his energies into a grand social work, such as education, or the freedom of the sluve, and can do fifteen other things with equal ease and efficiency,- for every one such there are a hundred, perliaps ten thousand, who could accounplish one of the twenty things, but
who would fail in the other nineteen. A young man, about twenty years of age, recently sought my advice as to what studies he should pursue. Knowing well his character and attainments, and position and prospects. I recommended a certain course. But he had some vague plan of his own (and this illustrates what I have already said about advice-giving); and he wanted to obtain a smattering of logic, history, biography, French, music, astronomy, mathematice, botany, and a few other slight matters. He followed his own plan, and in a couple of weeks became tired and disgusted. With very limited time, and his mental powers under no proper discipline and restraint, such a result was to be anticipated. I am sure that in numerous instances much precious time is lost, and, what is worse, incurably bad habits are formed. in thus attempting too much. One of two issues is sure to follow : either the becoming disheartened, and abandoning the work, as in the case just specified ; or the derelopment of a conceited coxcomb, who has a smattering of everything, but a knowledge of nothing.
To guard against this, it is wise to determine what are your personal aptitudes. In what studies do you feel most interested ? Of course, I exclude now all light and transient reading, such as sentimental ladies call fascinating, and I use the word study in its legitimate sense. What, then, are your mental aptitudes 1 There must be some subject in which you are more deeply concerned than in others. One book is dry and repulsive ; another seems instinct with life. You weary of the former ; the latter you delight to read and to study. A friend of mine, a preacher of great and acknowledged power, has never been able to master Greek. sense of duty, he has toiled through the rudiments of the lavguage, so as to get over a passage by the belp of crutches for such cases made and provided, but Greek is to him an abomination. Yet in metaphysical subjects, for which his mind has a liking and an affinity, none can surpass him. It is possible for you to determine, by careful experiment, whether your aptitudes are for the exact sciences, or for theology, or for history, or for the law, or for some pbysical science. All studies must be prosecuted in conformity with the known laws of mind.
But intimately associated with this is another guiding principle in the selection of mental avocations--the specific end to be attained. What do you propose as the great object in life? The traveller pursuing a lengthened journey, finds it convenient and helpful to divide it into imaginary stages, and this appears to shorten the journey, and to render it less tedious and wearisome. So is it in the world of mind. Let some definite and worthy object be kept in view as the goal of your ambition. For its attainment ever strive, and towards this let all your studies tend. When this is secured you will be able to make a fresh start for another and a higher object, and so on to the end. I am able to illustrate this very effectually. I know a gentleman-a member of a legal firm of high repute in the city of London--who started in life with me,