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E sincerely hope that the Brooklyn Institute of Arts and Sciences will secure the famous collection of Tissot paintings which have recently been on exhibition in New York, Boston and other cities. There are over four hundred of these striking, lifelike pictures of the life of Christ. The whole collection can be secured for $60,000. We examined these paintings, while in Boston, with ever-deepening respect for the artist's skill and power and faithfulness to detail. But we were a little surprised that the ruddy, noble English face of Gladstone should be used to represent the father of the Prodigal Son.


HE International Congress of the Educational Press will be held at Paris, August 9th to 11th. The following topics are announced for papers and discussions :


1. Province of the educational press in all countries; the means by which it may influence public opinion and public authorities. 2. Organization of an international bureau for the exchange of information.

3. Influence of the educational press upon popular education.

4. Its influence in harmonizing the different grades or orders of instruction.

5. Means by which the press may interest families in the work of formal education.

6. Development of the sense of common interests, both moral and material, among the members of the press.

Applications for membership and all other communications in regard to the Congress should be addressed to M. P. Beurdeley, President of the Association of the Educational Press, à la Mairie de l'Élysée, 11 rue d'Anjou, Paris.


OR the first time in the history of foreign missions a place has been assigned to professional educators, in the program of the Ecumenical Missionary Conference which is to be held in New York, April 21st to May 1st. This is creditable to the committee of arrangements and the makers of the program, because it recognizes. the need and value of coördinating educational missionary work with the advanced ideas of professional education. It shows progress in general missionary management, for justly or unjustly such manage

ment often has been accused of being belated. The United States Commissioner of Education, Hon. William T. Harris, is to be one of the speakers, although his subject is not yet announced. The Educational Section of the Conference is to be in session Wednesday morning, April 25th, in Carnegie Hall, and the educational part of the program is as follows: "Place of Education in Christian Missions," by Rev. W. T. A. Barber, M.A., B.D., General Secretary Wesleyan Missionary Society, London; Hon. William T. Harris, LL.D., Washington; "Necessity for Training in Teaching," by Rev. John W. Conklin, Professor of Sociology and Missions, Bible Normal College, Springfield, Mass. Normal training will be the theme of a special meeting, and its program will consist of an essay by Principal Myron T. Scudder, Ph.D., New York, on the "Ideas of Special Value to Teachers." A session of the Conference will be devoted to the "Higher Education" in mission fields, with papers by the Rev. Stuart Dodge, D.D., Secretary of the Trustees of Syrian Protestant College, Beyrout; Rev. D. Z. Sheffield, D.D., President of the North China College of the American Board of Foreign Missions, Tung-Chow, China (18 miles from Peking); and the Rev. George B. Smyth, D.D., a missionary in China of the Methodist Episcopal Church; attention will be given to Elementary Schools," and a paper will be read by Frank Morton McMurry, Ph.D., of the Teachers' College, Columbia University, New York, on "Controlling Ideas in Curricula." "Educational Philanthropic Work" consists largely in "Work for Orphans," a theme that will be considered by John Cross, M.D., missionary in China of the Presbyterian Church of England; and C. F. Harford-Battersby, M.D., of the Livingston Medical College, England. The "Industrial Training of Natives" will be considered by the Rev. James Stewart, M.D., D.D., missionary in Lovedale, South Africa, representing the Free Church of Scotland Missions. It is obvious that educational work holds a large place in missionary work, and that there is eminent need of making it scientific, literary and thorough, as well as Christian.



NE of the most characteristic features of the American common school is its astonishing vitality and power, almost of self-propagation. The weak point in all the European systems of public education is their dependence on a centralized government. Having practically no initiative, even in some cases all private schools existing at the pleasure of the supreme power, the people wait for the signal from up aloft, and conform to what is inevitable. But the American

system began in the habit of the families of the Massachusetts Bay colony, teaching, first, their own, and then a collection of the children in one neighborhood in a private house, or some convenient place. From that it was but one step to a school supported by the free gifts of a district or town, and only one more step to the law of 1647, by which the schools then existing were placed in public charge, attendance made practically compulsory, the people still raising a portion of the fund by a tuition fee. In this way the great new departure was taken of the whole people undertaking to educate all the children through the agencies, first, of the colonial, and finally of the state, town and municipal government; a new departure of which Horace Mann says, "More cogent arguments could be adduced against it and a greater weight of authority opposed than against any reform since the origin of the Christian religion." Indeed, this original common school was the beginning of the American system of republican government, in a more vital sense than either the church or the state. It was born out of the very heart of the new civilization, the family training its own children for self-government. For this reason it has developed a flexibility and a power of adaptation to the increasing demands of American society incomprehensible to the advocates of the centralized systems of the Old World. When we are told that the common school system of to-day, reaching all the way from the "little red school house" and the plantation primary to the state university, is a violent departure from the ideas and practice of any sect of "the Fathers" at any particular time of their existence, we reply, There never was and cannot be a time when the common school was a finished product, and no generation has authority vested in it to compel adherence to its own policy. The common school is exactly what the people of any State elect to make it; and within this general inclosure of the State system there is always such liberty that every city or even school district can "keep school" after the fashion that commends itself to a flexible voting majority. If the people can be persuaded by some enthusiastic stickler for a purely elementary education at public expense to abolish the secondary department and put all their money into the primary, they can work on that theory until they discover, as they always do in time, that the nimblest feet and most shapely pair of legs are of little importance in a walking match to a man without a head. There is no state, city, township or school district in the Union that has not been educated to its present method of school keeping through a series of experiments ranging from the despotism of one man to the anarchy of a city council or town meeting in

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a craze for some absurd "reform." But the one new departure fatal to the common school is its abandonment by the people. Even the placing of its educational side exclusively in the hands of expert professionals is like shutting a family up in a house built, arranged and cared for according to the most approved ideas of the architect and the sanitary commission, but with no communication with the open air and the world outside. The great merit of the American school is that it is always in elbow-touch with the whole American people, and without any revolution can be invigorated, enriched, expanded, as the community in which it works "grows in grace" by the operation of all the forces of our American order of society. A people's school under the absolute control of educational experts would be like a church governed by a priesthood, infallible or otherwise, or a state governed by a self-elected superior class. Thus, while we favor all rational methods of improving the teaching class and placing education under skilled supervision, we hold that the school board should contain representatives of every great interest, and everything inside the school house should pass in review before a body that brings to bear upon its estimate the united wisdom, experience and common sense of the whole people. For the same reason the common school can never be killed by adverse legislation. While one political party or hostile interest may for a season withdraw its supplies and attempt to starve it out or upset it by some freak of public lunacy, the best people are all the time at work in the interest of their children in a thousand ways that cannot be checked by legislation, creating a public opinion that in due time will make things right. There is no more interesting study in American history than the manner in which the common school system in any really American community, in a way that nobody can explain, outgrows the diseases of its childhood, reforms itself and like, the wild flower that would seem to be at the mercy of every change in the weather, grows, blossoms and lives its appointed life through sunshine and storm, frost and torrid heat. So does this most characteristic agency of a republican Christian civilization. go on developing new and unsuspected capacities for dealing with new situations; wrestling with new and obstinate conditions; and emerging from every backset with a valuable added experience; best of all human institutions realizing the poet's line "Cannot without annihilating die."




NE morning in early March I entered and stood within that unroofed sanctuary, the woods, that temple made by God where men go and worship in spirit and in truth. I walked out onto the ice of a small pond near at hand. The ice was thick, white, and honeycombed with bubbles; safe enough in cold weather, but of such a fickle nature that it would require but one or two warm days to make it rotten.

Near the center of the pond was a space of firm, transparent ice which from a distance looked black. I sat down beside this clear space and looked into it as through a plate-glass window. The water was quite shallow, and the mud on the bottom appeared dark and repulsive, but the water grasses were growing luxuriantly, and each blade was coated with a semi-transparent green slime, which made it appear about twice its natural size. Occasionally one of the grasses waved very slowly from side to side two or three times, then stopped; and after a pause another took up the movement. They seemed to be signalling, giving warning to one another of dangers invisible to my eyes. I looked closer and saw minute specks moving about in the water, travelling in straight lines, sometimes singly, and sometimes in groups of three or four. They started from some point and went slowly at first, then gradually increased in speed until their force became spent; then they slowed down and finally came to a stop, only to start off again after an instant's pause and retrace their paths in the same manner. When several moved together they appeared to be racing; sometimes one would win and sometimes another, but the winner always waited for the others before starting again. After a speck had travelled over one course two or three times it would pause as if to take its bearings, then turn in another direction like a surveyor running a line. These motions hinted at the various movements of the water that must exist even when a pond is covered with ice. A brook flowing into it, as was true in this case, causes the water to move, especially near the inlet, while springs coming up from the bottom create more or less turmoil; and then, as Thoreau has pointed out, the wind causes the ice to undulate like water, and if the ice moves the water must move also.

I left the pond and went into a pine grove to listen to the wind. All seemed still, but presently I heard a distant swishing sound, faint at first, but gradually increasing in volume as it grew nearer, until it sounded like a full-toned organ; now bold and strong like grand words of truth, now sweet and tender like the sincere voice of friendship.

I love to rest alone among the pines. There I may have quiet and may let my rude work-a-day thoughts hang loose below me, and weave a few golden strands into the silver thread to which I must cling in order not to lose my hold upon the Infinite. For will not the golden strands be counted? and will not their value determine my fit

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