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The object of the present work is to give a comprehensive and systematic description of Palestine, and the principal cities and towns in Asia Minor. The recent researches of travellers have thrown much additional light on many Scripture localities; and it seemed desirable that a work embodying the result of these researches, should be made available for the purposes of Instruction. It is needless to dwell on the utility of Sacred Geography; for, wherever the Bible is read, and Religious Teaching forms an essential element of Education, an acquaintance with Scripture allusions and localities will not only render the contents of the Sacred Volume more intelligible, but will also give to its narrations a deeper interest.
The work is designed principally as a Text Book for Masters and Pupil Teachers, from which they may prepare their lessons on Scripture Geography. It may also, however, be used in the same manner as ordinary class Reading Book.
The minute description of places, the connecting with
them the events recorded in Scripture, and the geographical index, will also make it available as a book of reference to students and others engaged in Theological pursuits. Although it has been deemed advisable to give the modern names of places, the Teacher need not require his children to learn them, unless he considers such an exercise necessary. He must use his own discretion in this matter.
The Questions at the end of each section will be found useful, especially to Pupil Teachers and Monitors. These questions have been given, because, in our present educational condition, there is a necessity for such aids to intellectual progress.
Besides being questioned in the ordinary way at the termination of a lesson, the children should be required occasionally to write from memory an abstract of the lesson. This is an excellent exercise in spelling, grammar, and composition; and fixes, also, the places, facts, and events more firmly in the mind.
The following plan may also be adopted. Write a series of questions on the black board, and let the children give answers to these questions either on paper or on their slates. These questions should be numbered 1, 2, 3, &c., and the children are to adopt the same order of arrangement in writing their answers. This method keeps the one answer distinct from the other, and tends to teach the children habits of order and neatness. Care should be taken in the framing of these questions; they should not be such as to require merely an affirmation or negation; but they should be distinct propositions to which the children cannot give answers without due exercise of their mental powers.
The plan of introducing poetical quotations has been occasionally adopted; if a more frequent use of them, however, seem desirable, a Teacher can have no difficulty in finding quotations suited to his purpose. Any piece of poetry, or any marked and beautiful expression, which conveys the idea you wish to impart concerning any place, is seized by children with avidity, because it gives to the place a more tangible existence. " It will contribute,” says Professor Pillans, “ to give additional interest and impressiveness to geographical instruction, as well as to improve the taste and store the mind with rich imagery and pleasing associations, if a selection of passages from the poets of antiquity, where they describe or allude to, either the local peculiarities, or the mythological and political history of the places and scenes enumerated, be brought under the eye of the learner, and made so familiar to him as to recur along with the names, and even committed to memory.
The Teacher should always use the black board when giving a viva voce lesson on Geography. Whenever a place is mentioned, it should be written down, so that the children may see, as well as hear, the word that has been pronounced. He who adopts this plan has a double power; for the mere enunciation of a word, especially if previously unknown, leaves but a faint impression on the mind. This truth should be ever present to those engaged in the education of children, namely, that nothing should be taught through the ear alone, that can be taught also through the eye.*
Segnius irritant animos demissa per aurem,