« AnteriorContinuar »
they teach, others by the salutary exercise they exact. Painting is too sedentary; but gardening, turning, and the like, are full of pleasure and advantage, and the example of the ancients sufficiently demonstrates how consistent such exercises are with true honour and dignity. The passion for gaming is a proof of the restlessness of human nature, which must always have some vent for its superabundant activity. This, therefore, ought to be diverted from a vicious direction, and turned upon harmless but agreeable amusements, like those mentioned ; and there are such a multitude and variety of ingenious arts, that it is impossible but that every man may find someone to his taste. Nor is the art and practice of keeping accounts less necessary for a gentleman; it will preserve his estate, and enable him at all times to know his real condition. It would be well if the father required of his son to account for the expenditure of whatever money he gives him; but this, only for the sake of keeping up so useful a habit, and not with the intention of prying into all his son's affairs, which no liberal-minded parent will do who remembers how he valued his own freedom when he was young
Travel, which is usually deemed a necessary part of a gentleman's education, and is so, is yet generally deprived of its beneficial effects by being taken at the
Young men are sent abroad at an age when their minds are no longer susceptible of those advantages which travelling should give, and when their passions, on the other hand, are especially susceptible of every mischievous impression. The proper season for travel is--either boyhood, that is to say from seven
to fourteen or sixteen years of age, and with a tutor,-or perfect manhood, when his own discretion will be a man's sufficient monitor. In the former case, he will eagerly digest all the information his guide can give him, and will make more progress in language than under any other circumstances. In the latter case, he will benefit most from the observations he will make on the laws and manners of other countries, and from the conversation of foreigners, being then better qualified to form a correct judgment in matters of politics and philosophy.
Preached in the Parish Church of Christ Church,
London, on Thursday, May 9, 1745; being the time of the Yearly Meeting of the Children educated in the Charity Schools in and about the cities of London and Westminster. By Joseph BUTLER, LL.D., Lord Bishop of Durham.
PROVERBS xxii. 6. Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he
will not depart from it.
HUMAN creatures, from the constitution of their nature, and the circumstances in which they are placed, cannot but acquire habits during their childhood, by the impressions which are given them and their own customary actions; and long before they arrive at mature age these habits form a general settled character. And the observation of the text, that the most early habits are generally the most lasting, is likewise every one's observation. Now, whenever children are left to themselves, and to the guides and companions which they choose or by hazard light upon, we find by experience that the first impressions which they take, and course of action they get into, are very bad; and so consequently must be their habits, and character, and future behaviour. Thus, if they are not trained up in the way they should go, they will certainly be trained up in the way they should not go ; and in all probability will persevere in it, and become miserable themselves and mischievous to society: which, in event, is worse, upon account of both, than if they had been exposed to perish in their infancy. On the other hand, the ingenuous docility of children before they have been deceived, their distrust of themselves, and natural deference to grown people, whom they find here settled in a world where they themselves are strangers, and to whom they have recourse for advice as readily as for protection,--which deference is still greater towards those who are placed over them, these things give the justest grounds to expect that they may receive such impressions, and be influenced by such a course of behaviour, as will produce lasting good habits; and, together with the dangers before-mentioned, are as truly a natural demand upon us to “ train them up in the way they should go,” as their bodily wants are a demand to provide them bodily nourishment. Brute creatures are appointed to do no more than this for their offspring, nature forming them by instincts to the particular manner of life appointed them, from which they never deviate. But this is so far from being the case of men, that, on the contrary, considering communities collectively, every successive generation is left, in the ordinary course of Providence, to be formed by the preceding one; and becomes good or bad, though not without its own merit or demerit, as this trust is discharged or violated, chiefly in the management of youth.
We ought doubtless to instruct and adınonish grown persons, to restrain them from what is evil, and encourage them in what is good, as we are able ; but this care of youth, abstracted from all consideration of the parental affection, I say this care of youth, which is the general notion of education, becomes a distinct subject and a distinct duty, from the particular danger of their ruin, if left to themselves, and the particular reason we have to expect they will do well, if due care be taken of them. And from hence it follows that children have as much right to some proper education as to have their lives preserved ; and that, when this is not given them by their parents, the care of it devolves upon all persons ; it becomes the duty of all who are capable of contributing to it, and whose help is wanted.
These trite but most important things, implied indeed in the text, being thus premised as briefly as I could express them, I proceed to consider distinctly the general manner in which the duty of education is there laid before us; which will further show its extent, and further obviate the idle objections which have been made against it. And all this together will naturally lead us to consider the occasion and necessity of schools for the education of poor children, and in what light the objections against them are to be regarded.
Solomon might probably intend the text for a particular admonition to educate children in a manner suitable to their respective ranks and future employments; but certainly he intended it for a general admonition to educate them in virtue and religion, and good conduct of themselves in their temporal concerns. And all this together in which they are to be educated, he calls “ the way they should go," i. e. he mentions it not as a matter of speculation, but of practice. And conformably to this description of the things in which children are to be educated he describes education itself; for he calls it“ training them up,” which is a very different thing from merely teaching them some truths necessary to be