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them at will. Here our instruction will be of material use. It will incessantly turn children's attention to the face of nature, to the economy of the family, and of society. Thus it will awaken the spirit of observation, which the faculty of perception will turn to account.
But, furthermore, our instruction will undertake to develope the inward consciousness of our pupils, to which ordinary education unfortunately never refers; and it therefore remains dumb, though it might have so much that is important to tell. The child has this consciousness from the cradle, but without any definite idea of it, without knowing how to separate it from its temporary shell. He identifies himself with the latter like an absolute materialist, because the impressions received through the outward senses are vivid, and he has eyes and ears but for them. How many people of mature age are still children in this respect, because their education has not taught them to look within! Therefore it is that they are so deficient in all that concerns mind, the Deity, morality, happiness, and a future life. Our instruction will then have the merit of early awakening and cultivating the inward consciousness of our pupils; of giving them, as it were, the key of the spiritual world, and of thus leading them on to the most important truths of life; nor can it render them a greater service.
INTELLIGENCE. The cultivation of intelligence in a course of language, must mainly depend on the nature of the exercises proposed, and of these we shall speak hereafter; but these exercises require suitable materials, and the question now is, whether those which we select are so.
If we cast a cursory glance on the subjects they enbrace, it will be obvious that they are calculated to enlarge the sphere of children's thoughts. Not only do we familiarize them with those wonders of nature which are before their eyes, but we lead them into what has hitherto been, to them, an unknown land, and introduce them to the invisible agents of nature, to the swarms of microscopic beings; and, moreover, to that inward self,
which as yet knows neither itself nor the world of spirits. Further, we endeavour to instruct our pupils in the various relationships of the family, of society, and of the whole human race, as divided into various nations. Hence arise new moral views; and they may perceive that right and wrong apply not only to words and actions, but to the thoughts and intents of the heart, from whence these words and actions flow. How this instruction both enlarges and elevates the soul! It speaks to children of our globe as of an atom suspended in the immense expanse of the starry heavens: it leads them up from the visible world to its invisible Author; to His creative power, to His goodness and His wisdom, which embrace and rule the universe: it speaks to them of His holiness, and then of virtue, by pointing to its perfect model in the Saviour of men. Beyond the boundaries of our earthly pilgrimage, it will show the glimmering of a future life, and will add to time, which is ever on the wing, an eternity which never ends. What can be better calculated than such considerations to raise the mind of youth above the grovelling pursuits of earth? But perhaps I shall be told that these subjects are too sublime for children, and to this objection I confidently reply: that they will form upon them ideas suited to their age, and that these ideas will be a precious seed which, if not checked, will hereafter vegetate and fructify. Lastly, intelligence must acquire rectitude by the instruction we propose, because errors originate in ignorance. We shall not, however, attempt to follow out in detail the various branches of knowledge we touch upon, but shall confine ourselves to the great truths of life; because, as we cannot do all at once, we shall attend first to that which is most pressing and important. When once the character is strongly sketched out, the finishing touches will be easily added. Undoubtedly our instruction will do much towards forming correctness of mind; for it bears
various subjects which give solidity to the thoughts: it enlarges their range, and accustoms them to generalization; it traces effect
up to cause, and from cause deduces effect, and thus gives a habit of observation; and, moreover, it awakens and fosters the love of truth and precision. We do not indeed pretend that it will suddenly transform children into men; but it will have done much if it makes them less childish.
This faculty will not be neglected in our teaching, which will intrust to its keeping all the most important and exalted truths of life. But the memory which will be cultivated is that of things, not of words, which is but secondary, and if taken alone is rather hurtful than beneficial in education. Nevertheless, this secondary branch will not be overlooked, for things cannot be separated from their signs.
On the other hand, as our instruction will labour to give clearness and precision of thought, it will define accurately the sense of the expressions it uses, and they will therefore be more easily retained. The idea will recall the word, and the word the idea, and thus intelligence and memory will go hand in hand. Moreover, our instruction will promote the interests of memory in another way. First, the subjects of it are deeply interesting to children's natural curiosity, and they retain with ease and correctness what they learn with interest; which is more than can be said of the dry rules and definitions of our grammars. And, secondly, our instruction forms one complete whole, of which all the various parts are mutually connected, and will therefore recall each other; and do we not thus largely assist the association of ideas, which is the very essence and main-spring of memory?
With regard to imagination, the duty of education is to discipline it, and restrain its action within due bounds. By this treatment, the real interests of life will gain largely, for certain it is that many individuals, aye, and families too, are the mournful victims of the fictitious dreams in which they indulge.
Nevertheless, while our instruction would discipline,
it would by no means extinguish imagination. It directs the attention of our pupils to the study of nature, and enables them to draw from thence the worthiest images, wherewith to clothe, as it were, spiritual objects, as did our Lord himself. Thus He pointed out in nature whatever might avail as a type or symbol of the various points of his doctrine; and this delightful style of poetry will not be neglected in our teaching.
We shall also turn the imagination of our pupils to account in order to give them the habit of putting themselves in the place of others, that they may feel for them in all the various vicissitudes of life. This sympathy is the work of the imagination, which transports us out of ourselves; and thus Christian morality and charity need
agency for their perfect developement. He identified himself with the whole human race, who said,
“ Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these my
did it unto me.” We are then authorized in coming to the conclusion that the instruction which we have selected for the developement of the faculties in childhood, fully accomplishes its object; for it not only works upon and calls into action the various powers of the mind, but it harmonizes them all, and this should ever be the aim of education.
Exercises in Language adapted to the Developement of the
AFTER having stated the instruction which will be comprised in our course of language, it remains to determine the means of imparting it to our pupils, so as for it to produce the intellectual developement which we propose; but before we enter directly upon this subject, it will not be superfluous to pass in review two diametrically opposite systems of education; and thus ascertain the just medium between two extremes.
Some teachers have no confidence whatever in the capacity of children; and think they must be taught everything word by word; thus reducing them to the dull and abject duty of merely listening, reading, and learning by heart, in order to recite accurately. They take young heads in the light of empty jars, into which you may pour what you please, and pour it out again unchanged. This method has but too many followers; and therefore it is that we see so many adults who are incapable of reflection, and are but mere echoes of the thoughts of others. By this deplorable treatment the mind remains uncultivated, whether as regards intellectual developement or positive knowledge; for the latter is only entrusted to the memory of words. But as the mind has never assimilated these words, it will soon cease to retain them, for they have, as it were, only skimmed over its surface, like a film which is swept away by the first breath of wind.
The opposite system denies all direct instruction to children; and confines itself to stimulating their intellectual faculties, that they may acquire for themselves whatever knowledge is desirable. Its maxim is that man only learns thoroughly what he teaches himself; and its advocates claim the authority of Socrates. But are they warranted in doing so? for Socrates, in his conver
versations, had not to deal with children, but with men of mature age, who had already studied and taken part in the business of life. The interlocutors understood the questions propounded by the philosopher; and he knew the opinions which he wished to correct or to develope in his disciples. The object was to regulate and give more sequence to their ideas; and to assist their further developement. Now, it is not so with children; if, indeed, you compare them with what they were in the cradle, you will find that, thanks to maternal solicitude, they have made considerable progress for their
consider the object at which education aims, you will see that what remains to be done cannot be accomplished by mere questions, which ask, and give nothing.
Where would arts, sciences, and trades be, if every one had to begin afresh, and invent for himself?