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pressions which influence the mind on our first entrance into the relationships of our existence. Infants soon learn to connect the ideas of rectitude with the commands or the dissuasions of à parent or an instructor. They are able, very early, to understand why they should do or avoid that which a parent or a teacher shall enjoin or forbid; and their conscience thus assumes the character which the relative affections have communicated to it.
Now, although the mind of infants,' at the early age at which they are admitted into these schools, is not capable of the intellectual reception of religion, as a system of doctrine, it may
nevertheless be made the very principal part of their education, so far as it is an influence--as it offers to us a record of interesting facts and examples as it is a principle of the earlier duties of life—as it suggests and enforces those actions which are suitable to the stage of infancy, and as it is adapted to the earliest convictions of the moral powers. And since in these forms it may be taught as proceeding from one who holds relationships to man, analogous (although far more exalted) to those which call forth sympathies of which they are already keenly sensible--a parent, a friend, a teacher, a protector, the holy religion which we profess
seems to offer to us the only means of effectually enlightening and giving strength to their moral principles and their conscience.
The life of the teacher himself will thus also form in his school one of the best subjects on which the moral powers of the little multitude may be excited, and receive their direction. He may seize the frequent opportunities which are offered to him, for confessedly deriving his own conduct from the commands and the motives of the Scriptures. From these he may draw his illustrations of the lessons which he may communicate; and he should keep it ever in view to give them the habit of thinking, that there is no appeal beyond the plain and simple truths of the word of God.
There are, moreover, many subjects of religion which may be communicated to the mind of a child at the earliest age. The doctrines and precepts of the scriptures all imply the previous acknowledgment of certain principles or axioms of a religious life, which cannot be too early or too deeply impressed on the consci
Prayer, for instance, itself the most simple of all our duties; because its necessity rests on our dependance on the Divine Being, which is the first condition of our existence.
implies, amongst many others, the following principles of a religious life. God is present every where! God knows all things! God can do all things! God is merciful! God will hear the prayer of a child! Now these principles, have in them so little which is purely speculative, and are so nearly connected with the most common events of our existence, that, while the judicious teacher endeavours by them to lead his little . pupils to a more clear understanding of the nature of this duty, he may use them as an effectual means of enlightening the conscience and of giving force to the moral powers of the opening mind.
THE HEART.—When I speak, further, of the cultivation of the Heart, I intend by that term the seat or fountain of the passions, and the desires. As a subject of education, the question here solves itself into those of self-knowledge, and self-restraint. We have gained but little in the moral culture of a child, when we have brought him to start from evil only from fear of its consequences, or to regard the eye of a parent or a teacher, while he is unconscious of the saered impression of the acknowledged presence of God. Even habitual self-constraint, on these qualified principles, is very far from being the most complete victory which may be
obtained. The judicious teacher will endeavour to instruct his children in self-government on the most simple principles of religion. He will deliver the heart into the active custody of the enlightened conscience.
His lessons on self-government will not be confined to the moment of evil excitation; but when the surface is calm, and when the mind is conscious that pleasurable feelings are to be preserved only while the passions are allayed; then he will instruct them in the difficult lesson; and he will, with every hope of success, illustrate his instruction by the motives which are to be derived from the examples of the sacred scriptures, both on one side and on the other.
The remarks which have been hitherto made on the subject of instruction in an infants' school have related to the cultivation of the mind, and the improvement of its faculties. It is impossible, I would hope, to doubt, that if their education were to be confined, even within these limits, the children would, in many important particulars, be far better prepared for the schools to which they may be afterwards sent, than they could be without the intervention of such an establishment. We are now, to regard this system as preparatory to the parochial schools. It is indeed most highly desirable to make them so, and the system is eminently suitable to that purpose. The subjects of instruction in the parochial schools are, upon the whole, the best which can be chosen for infants' schools. They are there taught reading, religious knowledge, arithmetic, and writing. The difference does not consist so much in the outline as in the manner of filling it up. In the infant institutions an attempt is always made to arrive at a higher subject by those which are subordinate; and of these, the. first which is submitted to the mind is what bears the nearest relation to that which previously existed there. In common schools the course of instruction is generally through the memory to the other faculties of the mind. This system chiefly proposes, wherever it may be possible, to lead the mind by the most simple and easy approach to the right comprehension, and then to the memory of things. The more exact definitions of things are thus used, for the most part, as descriptive of that which is already known, and not as introductory to knowledge. It may be said then generally, that whatever in the national system of education can be reduced to the first and most simple principles, is a proper subject for infant education. The knowledge of the words and the forms of instruction will, for the present, remain