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قراءة كتاب The Orbis Pictus

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The Orbis Pictus

The Orbis Pictus

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دار النشر: Project Gutenberg
الصفحة رقم: 6

sometimes an eminent Schoolmaster in LONDON, touching a work of this Nature; in his Gate to Science, chap. 2.

Certainly the use of Images or Representations is great: If we could make our words as legible to Children as Pictures are, their information therefrom would be quickned and surer. But so we cannot do, though we must do what we can. And if we had Books, wherein are the Pictures of all Creatures, Herbs, Beasts, Fish, Fowls, they would stand us in great stead. For Pictures are the most intelligible Books that Children can look upon. They come closest to Nature, nay, saith Scaliger, Art exceeds her.

As there are some considerable Alterations in the present Edition of this Book from the former, it may be expected an Account should be given of the Reasons for them. ’Tis certain from the Author’s Words, that when it was first published, which was in Latin and Hungary, or in Latin and High-Dutch; every where one word answer’d to another over-against it: This might have been observ’d in our English Translation, which wou’d have fully answer’d the design of COMENIUS, and have made the Book much more useful: But Mr. Hoole, (whether out of too much scrupulousness to disturb the Words in some places from the order they were in, or not sufficiently considering the Inconveniences of having the Latin and English so far asunder) has made them so much disagree, that a Boy has sometimes to seek 7 or 8 lines off for the corresponding Word; which is no small trouble to Young Learners who are at first equally unacquainted with all Words, in a Language they are strangers to, except it be such as have Figures of Reference, or are very like in sound; and thus may perhaps, innocently enough join an Adverb in one Tongue, to a Noun in the other; whence may appear the Necessity of the Translation’s being exactly literal, and the two Languages fairly answering one another, Line for Line.

If it be objected, such a thing cou’d not be done (considering the difference of the Idioms) without transplacing Words here and there, and putting them into an order which may not perhaps be exactly classical; it ought to be observed, this is design’d for Boys chiefly, or those who are just entering upon the Latin Tongue, to whom every thing ought to be made as plain and familiar as possible, who are not, at their first beginning, to be taught the elegant placing of Latin, nor from such short Sentences as these, but from Discourses where the Periods have a fuller Close. Besides, this way has already taken (according to the Advice of very good Judges,) in some other School-Books of Mr. Hoole’s translating, and found to succeed abundantly well.

Such Condescensions as these, to the capacities of young Learners are certainly very reasonable, and wou’d be most agreeable to the Intentions of the Ingenious and worthy Author, and his design to suit whatever he taught, to their manner of apprehending it. Whose Excellency in the art of Education made him so famous all over Europe, as to be solicited by several States and Princes to go and reform the Method of their Schools; and whose works carried that Esteem, that in his own Life-time some part of them were not only translated into 12 of the usual Languages of Europe, but also into the Arabic, Turkish, Persian, and Mogolic (the common Tongue of all that part of the East-Indies) and since his death, into the Hebrew, and some others. Nor did they want their due Encouragement here in England, some Years ago; ’till by an indiscreet use of them, and want of a thorow acquaintance with his Method, or unwillingness to part from their old road, they began to be almost quite left off: Yet it were heartily to be wish’d, some Persons of Judgment and Interest, whose Example might have an influence upon others, and bring them into Reputation again, wou’d revive the COMENIAN METHOD, which is no other, than to make our Scholars learn with Delight and chearfulness, and to convey a solid and useful Knowledge of Things, with that of Languages, in an easy, natural and familiar way. Didactic Works (as they are now collected into one volume) for a speedy attaining the Knowledge of Things and Words, join’d with the Discourses of Mr. Lock* and 2 or 3 more out of our own Nation, for forming the Mind and settling good Habits, may doubtless be look’d upon to contain the most reasonable, orderly, and completed System of the Art of Education, that can be met with.

Yet, alas! how few are there, who follow the way they have pointed out? tho’ every one who seriously considers it, must be convinc’d of the Advantage; and the generality of Schools go on in the same old dull road, wherein a great part of Children’s time is lost in a tiresome heaping up a Pack of dry and unprofitable, or pernicious Notions (for surely little better can be said of a great part of that Heathenish stuff they are tormented with; like the feeding them with hard Nuts, which when they have almost broke their teeth with cracking, they find either deaf or to contain but very rotten and unwholesome Kernels) whilst Things really perfected of the understanding, and useful in every state of Life, are left unregarded, to the Reproach of our Nation, where all other Arts are improved and flourish well, only this of Education of Youth is at a stand; as if that, the good or ill management of which is of the utmost consequence to all, were a thing not worth any Endeavors to improve it, or was already so perfect and well executed that it needed none, when many of the greatest Wisdom and Judgment in several Nations, have with a just indignation endeavor’d to expose it, and to establish a more easy and useful way in its room.

’Tis not easy to say little on so important a subject, but thus much may suffice for the present purpose. The Book has merit enough to recommend it self to those who know how to make a right use of it. It was reckon’d one of the Author’s best performances; and besides the many Impressions and Translations it has had in parts beyond Sea, has been several times reprinted here. It was endeavor’d no needless Alterations shou’d be admitted in this Edition, and as little of any as cou’d consist with the design of making it plain and useful; to shun the offence it might give to some; and only the Roman and Italic Character alternately made use of, where transplacing of Words cou’d be avoided.

J. H.

July 13, 1727.

* Mr. Lock’s Essay upon Education.
Dr. Tabor’s Christian Schoolmaster.
Dr. Ob. Walker of Education.
Mr. Monro’s Essay on Education.
—His just Measures of the pious Institutions of Youth, &c.