Archibald Forbes.

The Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 online

. (page 89 of 121)
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arranging them into six or seven classes, beginnmg
with views of snch moontains as those of Scotland,
Wales, and Ireland, which do not moch exceed
4000 feet, and gradually proceeding to snch as the
Cordilleras and the Himalaya, whose summits reach
an elevation of above 90,000 feet.— 14. Models of
particular countries might occasionally be made of
wax or other oMiterials, particularly ot mountainous
regions, for the purpose of exhibiting an idea of the
scenery of a oountrjjr, the windings of its rivers, and
the comparative height of its mountains above the
^neral level of its surface. No map can convey an
idea of such particulars, or of the general appear-
ance and prominent features of any country, similar
to that of a well-executed model. I have seen in
the Museum of the Universitv of Edinburgh, seve-
ral models, of the kind to whicn I allude, of the vales
and mountainous regions of Switzerland, in which
the position of the towns, the course of the rivers,
the lakcM, the lines of roads, the vales, the rocks, the
forests, and the comparative elevation of the moun-
tains, are exhibited, as if one were looking down
upon the country fVom the cloads. The only ob-
jection to such models would be the difficulty of
getting them executed, and the consequent expense
which would be incurred. But, if one model were
accurately executed, others could easily be taken
from it, on the same principle as phrenologists take
easts of the human skull.

By the assistance of such maps and delineations,
and with the aid of a judicious text-book, compris-
ing a comprehensive view of the outlines of pnysi-
ed, mathematical, civil, statistical, and historical
geography, an enlightened teacher will be enabled
gradually to lead his pupils forward to luminous
views of this interesting subject In describing the
different countries, he should give a comprehensive
outline of whatever is peculiar to each country, and
select, for particular description, whatever interest-
ing objects of nature or art may have a tendency to
excite the attention and gratify the curiosity of his
pupils, referring them to their larger systems of
(geography for more minute details. In such descrip-
tions, the details of OKMral, statistical, and religions
geography, should occupy a more prominent place
than they generally do in our systems ofgeography
and scholastic courses on this subject. The statis-
tics of our own cotmtry, of the various states of
Europe, and particularly of the United States of
America, which are very imperfectly known, and
respecting which there exist numerous misconcep-
tions and unreasonable prejudices on this side of
the Atlantic, should be particularly detailed. The
moral and mental degradation of the heathen world ;
the nyssionary stations which have been fixed in
^iibrcnt parts of it for counteracting the influence
of barbarism and idolatry, and diflusing the light
of divine knowledge; the variotB success which
has accompanied such undertakings; and the phi-
lanthropic epterprisea which are now going forward
hi difRsrent countries fbr the moral renovation of
mankind, should be depicted to the view of the
irooBg with all the vividness and energy which the
importsnee of such subjects demands, In order to aU
tore them to the cottsiderati(m of sueh objects, and to
secure their endeavors in promoting them. It is a
strildnf aid metancboly feature in the records of
otir race, that almost the whole of history and his-
torical geography is occupied with details of the
miseries of mankind, prodticed by ambition, avarice,
and injustice, the tyranny oS de^ts, and the dtto-



lations of war ; and that scarcely a bright spot can
be perceived on the surface of the globe, and amidst
the gloomy records of past generations, on which
the eye of benevolence can rest with unmingledde-
ligh t. Hence it has happened, that we have scarce-
ly a history of the operations of pure philanthropy,
except in the instance of our Saviour and his apos-
tles. And now. when philanthropic plans have
been formed, ana benevolent enterprises are carry-
ing on, our geographers and men of science, so long
accustomed to blaze abroad the exploits of ambition
and malignity, will scarcely condescend to notice
or record the operations by which the moral world
is beginning to be enlightened and regenerated. —
This is not what it ought to be, or what we ought
to expect from those who are engaged in the difit^
sion of knowledge. Ail knowledgiB should be di-
rected so as to have a moral bearing, and to stimu-
late the mental activities of the young to those be-
nevolent exertions by which the best interests of
their fellow-men, in every land, may be promoted.
Geographical compendinms for the use of schools
should be clear and comprehensive In their details,
and enlivened with occasional picturesque dejcrip-
tions of human scenerjr and of natural and artificial
objects, which mav be illustrated with neat engrav-
ings. They should also aboimd with questions and
exercises of every description connected with the
subject, to affi>rd scope for the industry of the pupil,
and fbr the exercise of his judgment and reasoning
powers. But, however excellent the plan and de-
tails of any school-book may be, it ought by no
means to be considered as superseding the more fa-
miliar illustrations of the teacher, and the conver-
sational lectures alluded to above. No man can be
a successful teacher of this science, but he who has
a familiar and comprehensive knowledge of all the
subjects connected with it, and who can, at any
time, illustrate its nrinciples and fkcts by am voct
descriptions and elucidations, which always make a
deeper impression on the young mind than can be
produced oy the mere perusal of the best treatises.
In working the usual problems on the terrestrial
globe, (some of which are of little practical impor-
tance,) due care should be taken, that the pupils be
not guided merely by the rules given for the respec-
tive problems, but that Mev wi4er$tand ihi reatdns
why they turn the globe in this or that direction— ele-
vate the pole to a certain degree above the horizon—
or set the horary circle to a given hour. In proMema
which have a reference to the difference or time at
different places, they may be taught to perfbrm the
operations by a mental calculation, and to aacertain,
in the course of a few seconds, what nations have
noon, midnight, morning or evening, at a given
hour, or summer or winter, spring or autnmn, on a
given day or month. In commencing the study of
geography, a plan or map of the town or village in
which the pupils are taught, ak)ng with the adjacent
coontry, and some of its prominent objects, might
be laid before them, as introductory to the «udy
and explanation of maps. On this map, they might
be directed to attend to the cardinal points of the
compass, the boundaries of the town, tlie streamlets
or livers, ponds or hills, and the bearings of the
different streets, lanes, public buildings, and other
objects, fi^m each other ; and various qnestioiM and
exercises in reference to such objects might be pro-
posed, which would excite a spirit of observation, and
prepare them fbr understanding maps of countries
on a larger scale. A map of the county, and then
a map of the state or kingdom might next form the
subject of attention, which would prepare them for
the study of the particular Quarter of the globe in
which they reside, and of all the other countries,
seas, and oceans, dispersed aver the surface of the
earth. This plan is evident^ in ccnfbrmttj to the



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MORAL IMPROVEMENT OF MANKIND.



f]



prder of matare, alUioogb directly oppoidte to tbe
order gcaeraUy panned.*

SicnoN yil.^ Gtologf.

GeologT is a science which, of late years, has
excited tae attention of philosophera, oatnralists,
and theolonans ; and, in consequence of the re-
searches of its votaries, many striking and impor-
tant facts in relation to the stmctare of the earth
and the changes it has undergone, have been
bronght to light. Bfany of the fiicts which this
science discloses have a tendency to convey to the
mind impressions of the wisdom, and particularly
of the jTMMT of the Creator, in those stupendous
forces which produced the convulsions and changes
which have taken place both on the surface and in
the interior strata of the globe. They are likewise
applicable to various practical purposes. A minute
and circumstantial knowledge of the various facts
which have been ascertained by geologists in differ-
ent countries^ may be of extensive use to those em-
ployed in mming operations.^ when searching for
coal, fossil salt, or metallic vems, and might prevent
many ruinous speculations to which ignorant pro-
jectors are frequently subjected. In excavations

• Since writing the preceding parts of this work,
I have been favored, tnrough the liberality of a re-
spected literary correspondent in the State of Con-
necticiUf North America, with a varied of school-
books on feographf and other subjects, which have
an extensive circulation in the New England States.
Among these are the following :»1. Woodbridge's
" System of Universal Geo^phv, on tbe princi-
ples of comparison and classification. 5th edition,
1833." This work, comprised in a thick 13mo. vo-
lume of 500 very closely printed pages, compre-
hends an immense mass of mformation on pkifstcaly
ehil, and tUUisHcal geography, including descrip-
tions of a great varietv of mcts in relation to the
geological structure of the earth. It is illustrated
fy nearlv a hundred engravings of natural and ar-
tificial oojects: such as sections of rivers, canals,
comparative elevation of mountains, cataracts, races
of man. ^reological sections, cities and public build-
ings, winch both enliven and elucidate the descrip-
tions. Appended to this work, is a lucid and juai-
cious compend of "Ancient Oeo|j^raphy, as con-
nected with Chronology," including sketches of
sacred history, mythology, and the early history of
mankind, by Mrs. Willard— a lady who appears to
have made considerable researches into the differ-
ent departments of geographical science, and to
have promoted the cause of general education.—
Both these works are admirably calculated for the
higher classes in schools, and abound with a great
number of questions and exercises, for stimulating
the attention and ingenuity of the young. Had this
volume been sparsely printed, according to the
fiuhion that prevailed 90 or 30 years ago, like
" Playfair's Geography" and other works, it would
have occupied two or three quarto volumes of 1500
pages.— ft. Woodbridffe's " Rudiments of Geogra-
phy, on a new plan," 18mo. containing 906 closely
pnnted pages, and about 170 cuts, and comprising
a very considerable portion of information on the
diffisrent departments of geography. It may be con-
sidered as partly an abridgment of the larger
work noticea aboTe, and partly an introduction to
It. The cuts, though small, are sufficiently vivid
and distinct to convey an accurate idea of the ob-
' jects they are intended to represent. It has passed
through seventeen editions, comprising more than
900,000 copies. Mr. Woodbridse is a correroond-
ing member of the Geographic^ Society of Paris,
and Editor of the American " Annals of Ednca-
tim ;" and a gentleman who appears to be quite fa-



for the purpose of forming canals, tunnels, and rail
roads— operations which are now going forward ia
almost every part at the civiliaed worM— a know-
ledge of this subject could not fail to be highly be-
nencial to all parties enga^ in such projects. Be-
sides, the study of this science is intimately con-
nected with Scripture history and theology, and its
facts, when viewed in a proper light, have a tenden-
cy to elucidate certain portions of the sacred writ-
ings, and to illustrate tne harmonjr and the connec-
tion which subsist between the visible operations of
the Creator and the revelations of his word. For
these reasons, it might be expedient to communi-
cate to tbe young a general adea of some of tbe
leading facts connected with geology, wiihont per-
plexing them with any of the speciuations of phi-
losophers, or the theories which have been formed
to account for geological phenomena ; leaving then
to deduce their own conclusions at a future period,
when their knowledge of sodi subjects shall be in-
creased, and their judgment matured.

A brief description mifht be given, in the fint
place, of the solid parts of the earth, or the variow
strata of which they are composed, and of the clat-
sifications which geologists have made of the diflin^



miliar with all the departments of geographical,
phvsical, and mathematical science. His geographi-
cal works are rich in information in respect to eve-
ry topic connected with his general subject, and
have received the approbation of the Geograpnical
Society of Paris, and of many scientific characten
on the continent of Europe, particularly Humboldt
and Fellenbeig.— 3. ** A Practical System of Mo-
dem Geography," by J. Olney, A. M.— an 18ma
of S88 peiges, closely printed on a plan somewhat
simili^r to Woodbri<l^'s Rudiments, illustrated with
nearly a hundred engravings, and containing a veij
considerable portion of useful information. This
work has passed through fifteen editions.— 4. " The
Malte-Brun School Geography," by Mr. Goodrich,
a large 18mo. volnme^f nearly 300 pages, and con-
taining about 133 engravings. This work contains
a larger quantity of letter-press than the two former,
and a great vanety of facts in relation to civil and
descriptive geography, but is not so full as Wood-
bridge's volumes in its details of pkffsieal and sta-
tistical geography. Fifteen thousand copies of this
work were sold in the space of eighteen months
from the date of it:^ first publication. The AiUutu
belonging to these works are beautifully executed,
and contain several of the projections I have sug-
gested above, besides sets (k maps as usually ddi-
neated, along with a variety of useful descriptions
and statistical tables. In tne Atlas which accom-
panies Olney's " Practical System," the pofftMtm
of the respective towns and cities can be ascertain-
ed at a glance, by means of certain characters and
figures connected with their names. Hall's " Cbild%
Book of Geography," and Peter Parley's "Geo-
graphy for Children," each of them contaiainc
about'a hundred pages, in a square 18mo. mit^ ana
embellished with a variety of maps and cuts, ap-
pear well calculated to interest the minds of youth,
and to convey a general idea of the leading iMtorrs
of the worhl. Some of the above works, with a
few alterations, might be published with advantage
in Great Britam. They contain more particular
maps and descriptions ^ the United States than are
to be found in geompbical works published on tb»
side of the AtMnuc A comprehensive and U8<^
compend of geography for the use of schools, might
be compiled fhmi the volumes now mentioned, vf
selecting the descriptions, exercises, and more nlte^
esting portions of each, and combining them into a
volume calculatad for the meridian of our own
country.



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•Bt kind of f»cl». These rocks are usaalljr amn^-
•d oader the following classes .^—l. PriMory rocks^
which compose the grand frame work of the globe,
which form the most loftj mountains, and extend
to the greatest depths yet penetrated by man, and
below all the other formations. The substances of
which such rocks are composed, are granite, gnei»,
mica-slate, homblend, granular quartz, &c. but
never contain Halt, coal, petrifactions, or anv re-
mains whatever of organised substances; and there-
fore are supposed to nave been formed before the
creation or animals or 7^[etables. S. TVansiUan
roUSj which iodnde those rocks that lie over the
primitive^ and are composed of the laiiger fragments
of the primitive rocks. They contain gray wacke,
transition limestone, slate, sand-stone, oc. Shells
are sometimes found in them, but no remains of
land animals or vegetables. It is supposed thev
were formed next after the primitive rocks, and af-
ter the creation of some kinds of organized beings.



3. Sic on dairjf rockSf which lie upon the transition
rocks, and appear like deposites, composed of grains
which once Mlonged to primitive rocks. The prin-
cipal secondary formations are eoal, ckaik, teeotuUh
ry liiMtUn4^ ooUU, «»tftl0fie, grU, Ac which con-
tain petriiactions of animal and vegetable substan-
ces. 4. T^trUarf stnUa, which consist of beds of
daf, sandj marl, and the newer limestone deposites.
These formations are considered as newer tnan ths
secondary, and contain abundance of fossil shells
and plants, along with the bones of quadrupeds «ad
fishes. 6. VUemUc and basaltic rocks, which owe
their origin to volcanic fire, and are sometimes
forced up to the surface of the earth in a melted
state, by the action of subterraneous heat. The prin-
cipal volcanic rocks are hasaU, loea, 9ndgr$enit9ng,
6. AUwaial Urata^ which includes deposites that are
made of broken strata, consistiug of sand, mud, clay^
pebbles, &c. which are formed by the currents of
rivers, and other causes now in operation.



These classifications of rocks and formations
might be illustrated by such figures as in the engrav-
ing, which is taken from Woodbridge's " System
ofuniversal Qeography," where Fig. 1. represents



the stf'ata of the earik. F the primary strata, T tran-
sition, S secondary, A Alluvial, B basaltic, V vein,
b bed. Fig. S, represents a section of the earth be-
tween latitude 40O and 4J^ north.



^



o






In conjunction with si
a cabinet of minerals s»v«um ^ j^.ww^.^^, www.»^ ,
iMg at least the following : qmartx, nUca, teic, fM- 1



t, k&mhUnd, gfpmm,
.»« ....^r^, ^^^^ .w.» ...^ has been ternicd the
oipkabHci geology. Besides these, specimens should



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MORAL IKPROVEMENT OF MANKIND.



De procured of basalt, ffneiss, graenttone, Itrh. por-
phyry, graywacke, and other substances mentkmed
•boye. Aboat thirty specimens in all are sufficient
for illnstrating the classes of geology. Without an
exhibition of these, in connection with geological
deseriptioBs, no definite ideas can be oonrey^ to
the n^d of the student on this subject^

Astronomy is a science which has for its object to
explain the motions of the hearenly bodies, their
Tarious aspects, and (he facts which have been as-
certained m the planetary system and throughout
the recion of the fixed stars. This is a subject of
considerable interest and utilinr. It is intimately
connected with geography, nayigation, agriculture,
oommeroe, chronology, and other arts and sciences,
«nd has lent its aid to promote their improyemem.
The stndhf of it is likewise attended with many
pHasores and adyantages in a moral, intellectual,
and religious point of yiew. It expands the range
of the human intellect, and imfolds to our yiew the
most striking dirolays of the perfections of the Dei-
ty, particularly the grandeur of his Ommpatence. It
sets before us objects of overpowering majgnitude
and sublimity, and demonstrates the unlimited ex-
tent and magnificence of the imiyersal empire of
the Almigh^. It has a tendency to raise the soul
above groveUing pursuits and alifections, to Inspire
hope, reverence, and humility, and to excite to the
contemplation of objects far surpassing every thlni^
we behold in this terrestrial scene, and worthy of
the dij^ity of immortal minds. In short, it prepares
the mmd for the empbyments of the future world,
and demonstrates that the Creator has it in his pow-
er to distribute endlessly diversified streams of feli-
city, among every order of his intelligent o&pring,
throughout all the revolutions of eternity. It is a
sobjectj therefore, on which a certain portion of in-
formation should be communicated to the young,
and to every human being.

In oommunicatine to the youn^ instructions on
this subject— insteaa of oommencwg with defini-
tions of astronomical terms, and a vague description
of the solar system, as is frequently done,— the pu-
pils should be graaually prepared for acquiring a
ffcneral knowledge of the pnnciples of the science,
oy being Umght to observe^ vtUk their own eyes^ the
molums and general phenimena of the heavens. The
first object to which their attention might be direct-
ed, is tne apparent motion of the mm. On .some
clear evening, in the month of June, (in our north-
em latitude,) they may be placed in a situation
where they may behola the setting sun. and be de-
sired to take particular notice of sucn objects as

* Books on geoloffy have, of late years, increased
both in number and in the interesting nature of the
discassions they contain. The names of Bakewell,
MaccuUoch, Pelabeche. Bnckland, Ure, Lyell, &c
are well known as cultivators of this department of
natural science. The new edition of Mr. Lyell's
"Principles of Gkology," in 4 vols. 12mo. lately
published, is perhaps one of the most luminous and
ottractiye works which has hitherto been published
on this subject— though perhaps somewhat deficient
in what relates to the primary and secondary rocks,
and embodying certain statements which some will
be apt to consider as scarcely consistent with the
records of sacred history. Dr. Comstock, of Hart-
ford, State of Connecticut, has lately published, in
a duodecimo vol. of about 340 pages, an interesting
work entitled, " Outlines of Geolog7,'' which con-
tains a popular and comprehensive view of this sub-
ject, and IS peculiarly adapted to tho instruction of
general readers.



mark the place of his going down. Next momimr.
or the first clear morning afterwards, they may be
placed in the same situation, and, having first re-
uuested them to point to the place where the sm
disappeared the evening before, their attention
should next be directed to the point of his risiiig,
and to mark the terrestrial objects in the direction
of which he appeared to riie. The difiTerence be-
tween the pomts of his setting and of his rising
should be particularly impressed upon their minds.
On this day, too, about twelve o'clock, they should
be directed to attend to the sun's meridian altiiode.
These observations may either be accompanied with
certain appropriate remarks, or the pupils may be
left, in ine meantime, to ruminate upon them, to
consider them simply as /acts, which may be afie^
wards adverted to, and to form their own condn-
sions. SimUar observations may be made fi'om the
same spot about the 33d September, and particular-
ly about the middle of December, when the direc-
uon of the rising and setting sim, his meridian alti-
tude, and Uie apparent diurnal arc he de^cribel^
will appear very difierent, when compared with the
observations made in the month of June. Their at-
tention might next be directed to the phases and mo-
tions of the moon. About three oajrs after new
moon, when the lunar crescent first makes its ap-
pearance, they may be directed to mark the /am of
the cresent, the most con^icuous start in its vici-
nity, and its apparent distance from the place where
the sun went down. Every clear evening after-
wards, the gradual increase of the crescent, its mo-
tion among the stars, and the apparent distance it
has moved dui^mg every successive period, should
be particularly marked, till it arrive at the easten
part of the horizon after the sun has set in the west,
when it will appear a full enlightened hemif>phere.
During the months of August, September, and Oc-
tober, when the effect of the hartest-moon is apparent,
they may be directed to trace the gradual diminii-
tion of the ftill moon, through ils different stages of
decrease J till it assume the form of a half moon or a
large crescent. During the months of BCarch or
April, their attention may be directed to the diflfer-
ence m the time of its rising on each successive day
after ftill moon, fVom what takes place during the
months of harvest,— in the one case, Bi^^]y>"^
harvest, there being only about 90 minutea of di^e^
ence after ftaU moon, in its rising on each succes-
sive day; while in spring, the difiference is nearly an
hour and a half, which prevents her, at that season,
ftrom being seen in the form of a half moon, during
her decrease, till early in the morainir ;— whereas,
in harvest, she may be seen rising in the north-east,
in the form of a half moon, about 8 or 9 in the even-

Thev may next be directed to attend to some of



Online LibraryArchibald ForbesThe Christian library: a weekly republication of popular religious ..., Volume 6 → online text (page 89 of 121)