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of religious proselytism. But surely this is a which will not stand the test of examination. Because one branch of moral duty (that which relates to religious doctrine) is properly rejected, on account of this peculiarity in the state of society, does it follow that every species of moral training must be excluded ? Does not this circumstance rather enhance the necessity of a peculiar attention to that part of moral instruction to which no such objection can apply? Is there not an extensive field, which may be regarded as common ground, in respect to which every portion of society, whatever be their religious belief, are perfectly agreed ? Is there any parent, who does not desire his child to be trained to the practice of virtue, and to the avoidance of every vicious habit ? that he should be inspired with veneration, gratitude, and love, to God ? that he should be hon
faithful, humane, and gentle ; obedient to his parents, true to his word ? that he should possess moral courage and self-control ; industry, perseverance, economy, and temperance ; patience, fortitude, magnanimity, and cheerfulness? Surely not. On these and such like points, we shall meet with perfect unanimity.
The force of these considerations is much increased by the reflection, that moral training, to be effectual, must be commenced in early youth. And here have once more to lament the same fundamental error, so repeatedly noticed in our review of intellectual education,—the adoption of a wrong course in the first steps. Thus, while some would frighten children into goodness, or place morality on an equally false foundation, others would leave youth almost without instruction, in the delusive hope, that experience will teach wisdom, that they will know better, as they advance in life. But, alas! what then availeth knowledge ? In a state of innocence, knowledge is all in all. But, when the mind has become accustomed to guilt, which makes its approaches, perhaps, in the guise of pardonable frailties, rising, by slow degrees, into blacker and blacker shades of vice ; at first, attacking only occasionally, and finally becoming settled, by habit, into a part of man's very nature ; when the
passions, hitherto dormant, are gradually awakened, and, from the total want of resistance, are enabled to fix their roots deep in the soul ; then mere knowledge is powerless. In this state of mind, hardly any thing short of miraculous
power will restore man to the state of childlike innocence from which he has departed.
If, then, we would renovate society, we must not wait for the maturity of reason, and then expect to root out evil habits that have grown with our growth and strengthened with our strength. It is from the beginnings of vice, that we must be saved, if we would be saved from vice itself. The conscience must be developed on the first dawning of reason; it must be cultivated and strengthened by constant appeals to its jurisdiction ; and a habit must be acquired, of listening to, and following, its monitions.*
* The following observations were intended for another meridian ; but they are so applicable to our situation, that we cannot resist the temptation of copying them.
“What is the nature of the education of the humbler classes, which is extending in England, and has been so long established in Scotland ? Is it of a kind to impart useful, practical knowledge for resource in life? Does it communicate to the pupil any light on the important subject of his own nature and place in creation ; on the conditions of his physical welfare, and his intellectual and moral happiness? Does it, above all, make an attempt to regulate his passions, and train and exercise his moral feelings, to prevent his prejudices, suspicions, envying, selfconceit, vanity, impracticability, destructiveness, cruelty, and sensuality? Alas! No. It teaches him to READ, WRITE, and CIPHER, and leaves him to pick up all the rest as he may.
It forms an instructive example of the sedative effects of established babits of thinking, that our ancestors and ourselves have so contentedly held this to be education, or the shadow of it, for any rank of society. Reading, writing, and ciphering, are mere instruments ; when attained, as they rarely or never are, after all, by the working class, to a reasonable perfection, they leave the pupil exactly where he would find himself, were we to put tools into his hands, the use of which, however, he must learn as he may. We know well, that he will be much more prone to misapply his tools, and to cut himself with them, than to use them aright. So it is with his reading ; for, really, any writing and accounting of this class, even the most respectable of them, scarcely deserve the name, and may be here put out of the account. Reading consists in the recognition of printed characters, arranged into syllables and words. With this most abstract accomplishment may co-exist unregulated propensities, selfish passions, sensual appetites, filthy and in
If these views be correct, our course, here, is plain and obvious. First, we should exclude every subject, having the slightest reference to religious faith or modes of worship, confining ourselves, exclusively, to those topics which will unequivocally command the assent and approbation of all. And, secondly, we should point out the best mode of developing the moral faculties of children, of strengthening their good habits, and repressing those which tend to evil. Towards these important ends, then, shall our most zealous endeavors be directed ; and, though our weak efforts may not be able to accomplish much, we shall have reason to be well satisfied, if we can only make a beginning in the right course.
Of all the moral powers, the most important is that denominated CONSCIENCE, or the faculty by which we are enabled, instinctively and instantaneously, to feel approbation of what we consider as right, and disapprobation of what we consider as wrong.
This is a faculty which may and ought to be developed in very early youth ; for then it is pure and uncontaminated ; and not, as too frequently in afterlife, perverted by the appetites, passions, and prejudices. It is also of the first importance that it should be called into action, and be kept contemperate habits, profound intellectual darkness, and moral debasement ; all adhering to a man as closely after, as before, he could read ; and, be it marked, these qualities will give their bias to his future voluntary reading, and assuredly degrade and vitiate its character ; it will tend to strengthen his prejudices, deepen his superstitions, flatter his passions, and excite his animal appetites. Well is all this known to the agitator, the quack, and the corrupter. They know, that the manual laborer can read ; but they know, as well, that he is incapable of thinking, or detecting their impositions, if they only flatter his passions. No just views of life have ever been given him ; no practical knowledge of his actual position in the social system. We are always told, that the majority of criminals cannot read, as if the mere faculty of reading would have diminished the number of criminals. This is a great delusion. For the reasons I have stated, mere reading might have increased the number of criminals ; it would be quite ineffective in diminishing them. But, if the investigation had gone the length of ascertaining with which of the criminals had an attempt at moral training and useful knowledge ever been made, we should have found that column of the table a blank, and something like cause and effect would begin to dawn upon us. It is needless to pursue so obvious a matter further." Simpson, on Popular Education.
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stantly in use ; for, like all the other faculties, it is cherished and strengthened by exercise, enfeebled and deadened by inaction. We see what power of muscle the arms of the blacksmith acquire, by the habitual use of the ponderous sledge ; and we learn, what wonderful strength the memory attains, in those who constantly exercise that faculty. In like manner, are all our moral faculties strengthened by use, and weakened by disuse ; and none more so than the faculty of conscience. frequently we use our conscience,” says President Wayland, “ in judging between actions, as right and wrong, the more easily shall we learn to judge correctly concerning them. He who, before every action, will deliberately ask himself, · Is this right, or wrong?' will seldom mistake what is his duty. And children may do this, as well as grown persons.
The teacher, then, who would perform his duty, by developing the moral, as well as the intellectual, faculties of his pupils, should suffer no opportunity of appealing to the conscience to pass unimproved. As an example of the manner of making such appeals, let us suppose a class was engaged in reading the following story of
THE ILL-NATURED BOY.
There was once a little boy, who was so unfortunate as to have a very bad man for his father, who was always surly and ill-tempered, and never gave his children either good instructions or good example ; in consequence of which, this little boy, who might, otherwise, have been happier and better, became ill-natured, quarrelsome, and disagreeable to every body. This little boy had a cur dog, that was the exact image of himself. He was the most troublesome, surly creature imaginable, always barking the heels of every horse he came near, and worrying every sheep he could meet with; for which reason, both the dog and the boy were disliked by all the neighborhood.
One morning, his father got up early to go to the tavern, where he intended to stay till night, as it was a holy
day ; but, before he went out, he gave his son some bread and cold meat, and told him, that he might go and divert himself as he would the whole day. The little boy was very much pleased with this liberty; and, as it was a fine morning, he called his dog Tiger to follow him, and began his walk. He had not proceeded far, before he met a little boy that was driving a flock of sheep towards a gate, that he wanted them to enter. “Pray, master,” said the little boy, “ stand still, and keep your dog close to you, for fear you frighten my sheep.' "Oh! yes, to be sure, answered the illnatured little boy ; " I am to wait here all the morning, till you and your sheep have passed, I suppose ! Here, Tiger, seize them, boy!” Tiger, at this, sprang forth into the middle of the flock, barking and biting on every side ; and the sheep, in a general consternation, hurried each a separate way. Tiger seemed to enjoy this sport equally with his master ; but, in the midst of his triumph, he happened, unguardedly, to attack an old ram, that had more courage than the rest of the flock. He, instead of running away, faced about, and aimed a blow, with his forehead, at his enemy, with so much force and dexterity, that he knocked Tiger over and over, and, butting him several times while he was down, obliged him to limp, howling, away. The ill-natured little boy, who was not capable of loving any thing, had been very much diverted with the trepidation of the sheep, and now laughed heartily at the misfortune of his dog ; and he would have laughed much longer, had not the other little boy, provoked beyond his patience at this treatment, tbrown a stone at him, which hit him full upon the temples, and almost knocked him down. He immediately began to cry, in concert with his dog ; and, perceiving a man coming towards them, who, he fancied, might be the owner of the sheep, he thought it most prudent to escape as speedily as possible. But he had scarcely recovered from the smart which the blow had occasioned, before his former mischievous disposition returned, which he determined to gratify to the utmost. He had not gone far, before he saw a little girl leaning against a