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what is right; but it is well known what a difference there is between the knowledge and the practice. To • practise the good we know is a very different merit from that of only knowing it, and is not acquired by the same means. We can be made learned without being sure of being made moral, and we know that the greatest casuists are not always the most estiinable men,
It follows, therefore, that there is something extremely erroneous in that disposition of mind which leads us in the present day to expect the perfection of morals solely from the cultivation of the intellect, and which induces us to neglect in education, as useless, all effort and every exercise which makes their formation its immediate object.
But it does not follow that, because there is nothing established in schools to effect this object, it cannot therefore be attained ; that because the art of forming morals can scarcely be said to exist at all, it is therefore impossible to form them. Virtue may be taught and learnt as well as anything else. What says Plutarch? “ Men can fit themselves for everything, and yet we cannot teach them the art of living well in the world! Men learn to sing, to dance, to read, to write, to dress, to cultivate the earth, to subdue the fiery horse; and yet that for which all other things are learned—a wellregulated and orderly life, and practical wisdom-depends entirely upon chance, and is the only thing that can be neither taught nor learned !"*
Montaigne observes, after Xenophon, that the Persians taught their children virtue as other nations taught their children letters. Rousseau
Rousseau is of opinion
* “Virtue may be taught and learned." - Moral Works, chap. vi.
that there is no virtue to which we cannot serve an apprenticeship; and adds, further, that constancy, firmness, and the other virtues, are the apprenticeship of childhood. This novitiate is certainly not easy, but it is possible. Every one has not the same disposition for it; we are more or less qualified for virtue as we are for science, we are more or less fitted for a particular virtue as we are for the study of a particular science; but there is no virtue to which we cannot in some degree form our will, as there are no ideas with which we cannot in some measure familiarize our understanding.
We can not only learn virtue, but we know what are generally the means of being successful in the study. It is by practice. “Vouldrais-je," asks Montaigne,
que le Palluel oú Pompée, ces beaux danseurs de mon temps, nous aprinssent les caprioles à les voir faire seulement, et sans bouger de nos places ?”* Well, then, if we cannot learn to cut capers merely by seeing them performed by others, much less can we learn virtue from only seeing it practised. Locke observes, “ It seems plain to me that the principle of all virtue and excellency lies in a power of denying ourselves the satisfaction of our own desires where reason does not authorize them. This power is to be got and improved by custom, made easy and familiar by an early practicet.” Children," adds the same writer, not to be taught by rules, which will be always slipping out of their memories. What you think necessary for them to do, settle in them by an indispensable practice, as often as the occasion returns; and if it be possible, make occasions. This will beget habits in them which, * Essais, tome i. ch. 25, de l'Institution des Enfants.
t On Education, $ 39.
being once established, operate of themselves easily and naturally, without the assistance of the memory."
It is true that those philosophers who are most decidedly of opinion that the will can only be formed by exercising it, and calling it into action the same way as the understanding, are very much puzzled to say what those exercises are which are best calculated to discipline this faculty: how, for instance, to teach courage, patience, sobriety, justice, &c.; and yet, notwithstanding all this, there is no doubt but that there are methods for regulating the will, and there are means of forming
There are persons who are particularly qualified to form the character, as there are others who are especially fitted to educate the mind. There might be establishments for the former of these branches of education, under the superintendence or direction of professors who might take the title of educators, in the same way that seminaries now exist for the second branch, which are in the hands of instructors; or at least the schools established for the education of our intellectual faculties might be so arranged as to include the cultivation of our moral faculties, which object is almost effected in the admirable institution of Zellweger, in the canton of Appenzell in Switzerland, assisted by M. Krusi, one of the teachers of this institution, and an old friend of Pestalozzi's. What should prevent a course of virtue or morality (which are synonymous) from being gone through in a well-organized school, as well as a course of science, or a course of gymnastics.
We see in the Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin, that at the period of his life at which he formed, as he expresses himself, “ the bold and difficult plan of arriving
* On Education, § 66.
at moral perfection*,” he was able to unite to his labours and studies a practical course of study in the principal virtues in which he felt it necessary to improve himself. Nothing could be more ingenious and simple than the method he adopted. He drew on an ivory tablet, which he always carried with him, a certain number of lines transversely, in the margin of which were written the names of the different virtues which he wished particularly to acquire. These lines were intersected by seven perpendicular lines, with the days of the week written at the top. On this tablet he prosecuted his task. He rigorously devoted his attention for an entire week to each one of the virtues inscribed in the margin of his tablet, leaving all the others to take their chance, and he carefully noted the faults of the day every evening. The following week he turned his attention to the virtue which he had placed in the second transverse line, the next week to the third virtue, and so on to the end of the list. He thus went through a complete course in thirteen weeks, and four courses in a year. As he persevered in these useful exercises, he had the satisfaction to see the marks which noticed his faults become less numerous, while he made actual progress in morality. What is to prevent a similar plan from being adopted in schools of both sexes ? Why should not a table of the good habits we wish to be inculcated be drawn up for each class according to the age of the pupils ? Why not let each of the virtues in its turn become, for a specific time, the common study of all the children in the same class? Why not excite their emulation to practise it by persuasion, and gentle, affectionate, and sen. sible exhortation? Why not notice the efforts osten
* See his Life and posthumous Works.
sibly made by each pupil to attain to it, and accustom them to examine their youthsul consciences every evening themselves, and to recall to mind the faults they have committed during the day? The efficacy of these plans might be increased by a judicious use of all those stimulants which are suited to make the will act in the direction we wish it to take,--by mildness, by good example, by appeals to the good feeling of the pupils, by exercising a careful influence over their reason, by explaining to them with simplicity and truth the consequences resulting from good or bad habits, by teaching them how habits are acquired or lost, how much easier a first action or a first self-denial renders a second, how we may accustom ourselves by degrees to perform actions or suffer privations which at first sight appeared to be painful, -&c. It is easy to perceive that so difficult an art as that of a practical moralist is not to be learnt in a moment; and though it is hard to say all that ought to be done, it is quite clear that something can be done. It would be easy, for instance, to inculcate such a love of truth as would influence a child's conduct through“ life, and form the basis of a good and decisive character. The misfortune at present is, that most children are brought up without any character at all, and of course are subject to be influenced by such motives as circumstances present to them.
If, then, little time and attention are bestowed, in most schools, on the formation of moral habits, we must allow that it is not for want of means, but because the means are not used. There is no doubt but that schools might as well be appropriated to the education of the will, as to that of the understanding; we might be taught the art of leading a virtuous life, as