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reproof of their folly in making Abimelech their king, “and ran away and fled before the enraged Shechemites could reach these inaccessible heights by the laborious, circuitous route by which they are still ascended.
These sacred scenes have been consecrated yet again by the presence of the Saviour, in the instructive incidents of his conversation with the woman of Samaria at the mouth of Jacob's well. At the base of the mountain, where the vale of Shechem opens out from the pass, between Ebal and Gerizim, Jesus seats himself by the side of the well at midday, faint and weary, as the traveller still halts, in quiet 'contemplation amidst the hallowed associations of the scene. His disciples pass up the gorge to the city to buy bread for their midday meal. The woman of Samaria comes down in the mean time to draw water, and the conversation proceeds which the beloved disciple has detailed with inimitable simplicity and force. John iv. 1–43. Above them rises the sacred mountain, crowned by the ruins still remaining of the temple, where, according to the fathers of the Samaritans, men ought to worship, while Jesus informs the wondering woman: “The hour cometh and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth; for the Father seeketh such to worship Him." But these Samaritans are blinded still as to the character and coming of Messias; “for to this day remaineth the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament.” In their blindness they still worship, as their fathers did, “in this mountain,” in vain expectation of the coming of Messias, “which is called Christ,” not knowing that at his coming, “the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from heaven, with his mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
ART. III.- The Great Schools of England : an Account of
the Foundation and Discipline of the Chief Seminaries of Learning in England. By HOWARD STRATTON. London, 1865.
ENGLAND has no corporate establishments more remarkable than her two grand old universities, and her great collegiate schools. Most of them were the offspring of medieval times, and the birth of some of them belongs to a period so distant from our own, that the most laborious antiquaries have not been able, with certainty, to fix their date. But far back in the Middle Ages as that date may carry us, we have every reason to believe that academic life which was then called into being, has flowed onward through the centuries, in a continuous and unbroken stream, from that day till now. Italy and France could once boast of universities, which had become famous seats of learning long before Oxford and Cambridge existed, of which indeed the latter were copies, but amid the revolutions of continental Europe these most ancient institutions have been destroyed, or radically changed.
At the present day, no country in Europe possesses educational institutions of any sort, which are the copy or the counterpart of the universities, or of the collegiate schools of England. These schools and universities so peculiar in their organization, as well as venerable for their antiquity, though quite independent of each other, are still in various ways interconnected, and have many features in common. Both schools and universities have ever been, and probably are still, the noted seats of the most intense and immobile conservatism, so called. Hence time has made comparatively little change in . their corporate constitution, social economy, usages, even in the costume of their members, and their modes of teaching. The striking lines addressed to one of them, by one of the most accomplished jurists and statesmen of England, Sir Roundel Palmer, may be applied to all of them.
Pour hundred years and seventy-one, their rolling course have sped,
And still his seventy faithful boys, in these presumptuous days, Learn the old truth, speak the old words, tread in the ancient ways; Still for their daily orisons resounds the matin chime, Still link'd in holy brotherhood, St. Catherine's steep they climb; Still to their Sabbath worship they troop by Wykeham's tombStill in the summer twilight sing their sweet song of home. But earnestly as they have clung to the past, and stoutly as they have for the most part resisted everything that wore the garb of innovation, they have been compelled to yield to the progressive spirit of the present, and reform has, at last, effected an entrance within their sacred and well-guarded precincts. It was high time that such an invasion should be made, and we have no doubt that ere long persons of all shades of opinion and feeling, even those who have been most clamorous in asserting that “things as they are, are just as they ought to be,” will confess that the triumph of reform was most desirable for the sake of these venerable institutions themselves, as well as the coming generations of English youth. For long years the condition of some of the most splendid colleges of Oxford, and some of the grandest of the Great Schools of England has shown how completely the spirit of an ancient charter may be lost, while its letter is maintained with pharisaic scrupulosity, and how ingeniously the generous purposes and magnificent gifts of the large-hearted men of other days have been perverted, or defeated by the very parties who enjoy their benefactions and profess to idolize their memory. No intelligent person can doubt that the founders of these colleges and schools, who built palatial residences for their members, and endowed them with princely revenues, intended to open fountains of learning, to which the youth of England should have free access; and that even the restrictions by which some of their foundations were hedged around, originated in no narrow spirit, but were designed to meet some manifest exigency of their times. But however far short these Great Schools may have come of the ideal of their founders, it must be owned that all connected with them may look with no little pride on their past history, for on the rolls of their alumni will be found the names of those, who, during the last three centuries, have been most illustrious among the statesmen and the scholars of England.
Our readers, of course, are familiar with the names of Winchester, Eton, Rugby, Harrow, and of other great schools of England, but many of them, we dare say, have little knowledge of their history, of their peculiar constitution, and of the points in which they resemble and differ from the colleges and academies of our own country. The volume before us contains the most complete and satisfactory account of these schools that we have met with, but as it is not probable that it will be republished here, we propose to give our readers the substance of it. The subject, let us here say, is one not simply of historical interest, but is worthy the attention of all who are concerned with the business of education, and is well fitted to stimulate those among us who possess abundant wealth, to devote a portion of it to the service of coming generations. From the history of these great schools of England, it will be seen that they are not, as many imagine, national establishments, founded and endowed by the church or the state, at the public expense, but that most of them owe their origin wholly to individual munificence. The memory of such men deserve to be held in perpetual remembrance. Dead for many centuries, they still live and speak in their noble works. Their benedictions are as affluent and effective now as they ever were; and in such an age as ours, with its immense material enterprise, and the ever-growing demand of the millions for intellectual and moral culture, such examples of benevolence and beneficence may be very properly pointed out to our princely merchants and other men of wealth, as worthy of their study and imitation.
In our notices of these great schools we shall take them in their historical order.
Winchester was founded in 1373 by William of Wykeham, at that time Bishop of Winchester, as well as one of the ablest and most influential statesmen of his day. His father is said to have been a yeoman or small farmer, though his mother was of gentler blood, and the son seems to have inherited the shrewd sense and aptness for business of one parent, and the refined tastes of the other. Though he had not the advantages of a learned education, he evinced at the early age of twenty-three
such rare talent as an architect and engineer, that he was employed to erect numerous fortifications on the southern coast of England, and to repair and alter the castles of Winchester and Windsor. The latter now appears nearly as he left it. So well did he acquit himself in these occupations, that he won the special regards of the king, and various dignitaries, civil and ecclesiastical.
In 1366, Wykeham was raised to the see of Winchester, and was also made Lord Chancellor, though he resigned the latter office in 1371. When nominated to the bishopric, some of the older prelates reproached him for his want of scholarship. He is said to have made to these objectors the following truly noble reply :-“I am unworthy, but wherein I am wanting myself, that will I supply by a brood of more scholars than all the prelates of England ever showed.” The boast proved not to be an empty one.
His college at Winchester was established in 1373, but the splendid structure designed to be the home of his scholars was not completed until 1393; meanwhile he had prepared the way for the erection of one at Oxford, which was to be the complement of that at Winchester, and in 1380 he laid the foundationstone of “Sainte Marie College of Wynchestre in Oxenford,” which took and has ever since borne the name of New College, and is one of the richest and most magnificent in that city of colleges.
Wykeham lived many years after the completion of his two colleges, and enjoyed the rare and supreme delight of seeing them increase in fame, and bring forth those good fruits for which he had founded them.
Of the buildings devoted to collegiate purposes, with their quaint and quiet quadrangles and cloisters, their spacious halls, refectories, common rooms, libraries, chapels with “storied windows richly dight,” all of them in the highest style of Gothic architecture, and surrounded by velvety lawns and exquisite gardens, it is not easy to give an untravelled American an exact idea. In a word, they form un tout ensemble, on which the eye of no one with scholarly tastes can look, without feeling Milton's wish awakened in his heart