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With regard to the education of
from taking effect. He conceives that "the moral corruptions of the higher classes, he has favoured men," meaning flagrant vices, "and me with a translation from the Gerthe defects of their intellectual man, made by a friend of his, of a character often arise from bodily portion of a letter on the subject, debility, from the depraving increase in which he says,of sensual wants, and the consequent subjection to immoral tendencies. This, indeed, often results from want of energy, from the want of perceiving how time might be profitably employed, or from a want of knowing how to execute conceptions. On this account action should always follow as closely upon instruction, as the thunder upon the lightning." A good preceptor, he holds, ought to be an experienced friend, who will guide the direction of energy; rather than a master, and especially an irritable master, who does but command. M. Fellenberg is no imitator of Procrustes: there is nothing arbitrary, as there is no harshness, in his method of education. He fits the means of instruction to the child, and not the child to the means. If a boy in Vehrli's school discover extraordinary talent, the advantages of the Institute would, in due course, be accessible to him; and those of a university would not finally be withheld. I did not hear of any whose minds had been found of so remarkable a cast as that M. Fellenberg had been induced to go to that expense; but he deems it his duty to foster extraordinary talent, though his general plan is rather to provide suitable instruction for pupils of moderate ability. ⚫ In making these observations M. Fellenberg might be alluding to the same frailties and infirmities which Sir Joshua Reynolds adverted to when he remarked, that "Treatises on education and methods of study have always appeared to me to have one general fault. They proceed upon a false supposition of life as if we possessed not only a power over events and circumstances, but had a greater power over ourselves than I believe any of us will be found to possess." I may add,
that I fear neither the British artist, nor the Swiss philanthropist, had any just notion of what constitutes, in the Scriptural sense, "the moral corruptions of men." I have before noticed this fundamental defect in M. Fellenberg's system.
"We commence our task with the conviction, that the destination of every child is indicated by Divine Providence, in the natural turn of his mind; and that no educator should allow himself to misapprehend or prevent, according to his own confined ideas, that which the Creator has ordered in infinite wisdom. Society has provided with great care for the temporal inheritance of our youth, which consists in visible and tangible property; but, on the other hand, that far more precious, imperishable endowment which every child receives at the hand of his Creator-that individual capital, which consists in the sum of his intellectual and moral faculties, and on which depends not only the acquisition and proper use of wealth, but the elevation of man above all earthly dependance on earthly possessions, is generally consigned to the absolute, and often blind, disposal of the parental or public guardians of youth, without rendering them in the slightest degree responsible for their conduct. By this neglect of duty on the part of society, both the temporal and eternal welfare of innumerable children, and of society in general, are seriously and unwarrantably hazarded. In this dreadful guilt, I would have no share. On the contrary, the object which I have most at heart is, to point out, by means of the facts to be observed at Hofwyl, and in other institutions which may arise from it hereafter, what society should do in order to fulfil those duties which Christianity imposes upon it, in reference to every child born within its limits. Jesus Christ has described these duties in the following terms (M. Fellenberg here cites Matt. xviii. 10, xix. 14, Mark ix. 42, and Luke xviii. 17, and then continues):
"The most important means of securing a happy result in every species of education and instruction, is to preserve as much as possible the child-like innocence of the pupil, and that cheerfulness which is its inseparable companion. He should be brought up to desire, in the sincerity and joy of his heart, the welfare of his fellow-creatures, and to feel the warmest interest in their happiness. On this sentiment depends, not only his most valuable enjoyments, but also his resemblance to the Deity, and his noblest distinction from the brute creation."
"An education like this," he proceeds, "is the only sure mode of preparing him to comprehend Christianity thoroughly, and embrace it cordially. In order to accomplish these objects, he who educates must be, like the Saviour, the child's best friend. He must never forget that the powers of man are indeed excited to action from without, but that the personal activity of the individual operating upon himself, and upon the materials which are furnished him for the exercise of his faculties, is the only means of their complete development and cultivation. The more animated and earnest these efforts, the more satisfactory will be the result; and the interest which enlivens the pupil in his employments, will also increase his cheerfulness and happiness. The objects of education will then be more fully attained, in proportion as he is interested in a well-arranged course of studies, cheered in his progress in them, and encouraged to farther exertions. In fact, the great art in education consists, in knowing how to occupy every moment of life in well-directed and useful activity of the youthful powers, as that nothing evil shall find room to develop itself.
"It is also of great importance, that the child should never be employed with exercises or objects which are above his comprehension. The development of the character which should take place at this age,
must otherwise suffer. It is not reasonable to bring down to the level of a child's capacity what presupposes the intelligence of manhood *. It is folly to attempt to make an immature mind pursue the train of thought of the greatest men, as is often done in the classical and scientific schools. The infantile conceptions of great objects which are thus produced are, in effect, an obstacle to its improvement; and the important lessons to be learned from antiquity are thus debarred all access to the comprehension of the cultivated youth, and to the feelings of the mature man. These, and similar mistakes, we carefully endeavour to avoid.
"On the reception of a new pupil, our first object is to obtain an accurate knowledge of his intellectual character, with all its resources and defects, in order to aid in its further development, according to the apparent intention of the Creator.
To this end, the individual independent activity of the pupil, is of much greater importance than the ordinary busy officiousness of many who assume the office of educators and teachers. They too often render the child a mere magazine of knowledge, collected by means purely mechanical, which furnishes him neither direction nor aid in the business of life. The more ill-digested knowledge a man thus collects, the more oppressive will be the burden to its possessor, and the more painful his helplessness. Instead of pursuing this course, we endeavour, by bestowing the utmost care upon the cultivation of the conscience, the understanding, and the judg
A critic, in reviewing Taylor's collective works of Dr. Sayers, makes the following excellent and apposite remark: "The moral faculties cannot be accustomed to discipline too early, that they may receive their growth in time; but there is a danger of weakening or distorting the intellectual powers, if you interfere too soon with their free growth. To make boys critical, is to make little men of them, which is the surest way to prevent them from ever becoming great ones." Quarterly Review, Jan. 1827, p. 177.
ment, to light up a torch in the mind of every pupil, which shall enable him to observe his own character, and shall set in the clearest light all the exterior objects which claim his attention.
"A great variety of exercises of the body and the senses are employ ed, to prepare these instruments of the human soul for the fulfilment of their destination. It is by means of such exercises that every man should acquire a knowledge of his physical strength, and attain confidence with regard to those efforts of which he is capable, instead of that fool-hardiness which endangers the existence of many who have not learned to estimate their own powers correctly.
"All the various relations of space should be presented to the eye, to be observed and combined in the manner best adapted to form the coup d'œil. Instruction in drawing, renders important service in this respect. Every one should attain the power of reproducing the forms he has observed, and of delineating them with facility, and should learn to discover the beauty of forms, and to distinguish them from their contrasts. It is however only where the talent is remarkable, that the attempt should be made to render the pupil an artist.
"The cultivation of the ear, by means of vocal and instrumental music, is not less important to complete the development of the human being. The organs of speech, the memory, the understanding, and the taste, should be formed in the same manner by instruction, and a great variety of exercises in language, vocal music, and declamation. The same means should also be employed to cultivate and confirm devotional feelings.
"In the study of natural history, the power of observation is developed in reference to natural objects. In the history of mankind, the same faculty is employed upon the phenomena of human nature and human relations, and the moral taste
is cultivated. At the same time, the faculty of conceiving with correctness, and of employing and combining with readiness, the materials collected by the mind, and especially the reasoning faculty, should be brought into exercise by means of forms and numbers, exhibited in their multiplied and varied relations.
"The social life of our pupils contributes materially to the formation of their moral character. The principles developed in their experience of practical life among themselves, which gradually extends with their age, and the progress of their minds, serve as the basis of this branch of education. It presents the examples and occasions necessary for exhibiting and illustrating the great principles of morals. According to the example of Divine Providence, we watch over the little world in which our pupils live and act, with an ever-vigilant but often invisible care, and constantly endeavour to render it more pure and noble.
"At the same time that the various improvements of science and arts are applied to the benefit of our pupils, their sound religious education should be continually kept in view, in every branch of study. This is also the object of a distinct series of lessons, which generally continue through the whole course of instruction, and whose influence is aided by the requisite exercises of devotion.
"By the combination of means I have described, we succeed in directing our pupils to the best methods of pursuing their studies independently. We occupy their attention, according to their individual necessities and capacity, with philology, the ancient and modern languages, the mathematics, and their various modes of application, and a course of historical studies, comprising geography, statistics, and political economy.
"It is the object of our most earnest efforts, to enlarge and ennoble the ideas of our pupils in re
gard to human nature in general, as well as to their conduct in particular, by enriching their circle of experience from the records of history. They should by this means attain a thorough acquaintance with every variety of human existence and conduct, and with all the consequences of wisdom and folly, of virtue and vice. They should discover themselves, their families, their countrymen, and their country in the page of history; and we should endeavour to render them so familiar with every possible lot in life, before their own is fixed, that the most unexpected events shall not take them by surprise, or produce embarrassment. They should there observe the rocks on which human happiness is in danger of being wrecked, and learn how to avoid them, before they are hurried away by the whirlpool of passions.
"We should also draw from history a panoramic view of human nature in its purest and best forms, and in the various paths of life which are accessible to us. We should form ourselves an ideal model of the highest excellence; one so adapted to our circumstances and individual character, that we may adhere to it through life, that we may cheerfully struggle to realize it-nay, that we may be ready to live and die for its attainment.
"History should, finally, present to us the course of Divine Providence, in directing the destinies of individuals, and of the human race in general. It should produce an elevation and energy in our religious character, which should continue through our lives. This object is best attained, by presenting as early as possible to the view of the child the great books of God-that of nature, and that of providence as exhibited in real life, in history, and in the holy Scriptures. But they should be presented in a manner adapted to form his religious feelings in such a manner that the traces of the infinite wisdom and CHRIST. OBSERV. No 311.
goodness of the Creator and Preserver of the world, may never escape his observation. Such an examination of those laboratories of the creation which are accessible to us, and of the productions of the infinite skill of the Most High, is the best means of preserving us from that pride which might be excited by an imperfect acquaintance with human science and art. Where is the man-who after a religious examination of the works of God, whether in nature or in the sphere of moral and intellectual life, could neglect to do homage in humility and prayer to their great Authorwho would not attempt the fulfilment of the great ends of his being?
"In this manner, we establish our institutions upon the basis of genuine Christianity. We proceed in the commencement of our labours upon the essential principles and conditions of the Gospel. Every sound system of education must rest on the instructions of Jesus Christ. In these instructions is given the substance of its theory : the best practical example for the educator is to be found in the Saviour of men; and in the result, we should aim at no other object than the realization of that kingdom of God to which he has directed mankind."
I have inserted this long passage for the sake of much that is highly valuable in it; and which the Christian reader will know how to separate from the inexplicable theology which runs throughout the whole. It is too clear that, notwithstanding the frequent reference to the New Testament, to Jesus Christ, and to the precepts of his religion, that the system goes not beyond the inculcation of a species of morals called Christian, but, alas! unconnected with the essential features of Christian doctrine. What may be M. Fellenberg's religious tenets it is not for me to decide, and I am as far as possible from wishing to judge harshly in the matter; but I should 2 R
not be justified in exhibiting his educational plans in your pages, if I did not put the reader upon his guard against supposing for a mo
RELIGIOUS CHARACTER OF THE
IN the interesting notice of the religious character of the Emperor Alexander, in your last Number, an allusion is made to the interviews between Mr. Lewis Way and the Emperor, and to other sources of information respecting his religious character, subsequently to the period at which M. Empeytaz's narrative is brought to a close. I should feel indebted would you permit me to direct the attention of such of your readers as maintain a correspondence with Christians on the continent, to a source from which, I doubt not, very valuable information might be derived.
ment that a child thus trained would Tothe Editorofthe Christian Observer. be truly brought up in "the nurture and admonition of the Lord." The contemplation of "the infinite wisdom and goodness of the Creator and Preserver of the world," even as exhibited "in the Holy Scriptures," is not more than a Socinian, or even a Deist, might inculcate; unless that wisdom and goodness were set forth, where most brightly they shine, in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; of which the above extract says nothing, any more than of that awful fact which must never be forgotten in Christian education, the fallen and guilty condition of mankind, and the necessity of conversion to God through the power of the Holy Ghost. Truly does M. Fellenberg remark, " Every sound system of education must rest in the instructions of Jesus Christ;" but those instructions contain infinitely more than is developed in the above passages. I have merely offered these cautions, to prevent misconception in so important a matter. Education may be essentially defective, nay, positively injurious, by being grounded on false or inadequate views of religion, as well as by a neglect of moral culture. M. Fellenberg has done well in shewing that the heart, as well as the understanding, is to be educated: and those who take infinitely higher views than appear in the above extract, of what constitutes spiritual education-the Christian education of the heart-may profitably avail themselves of many of our philanthropist's suggestions, and much of his machinery; while they ground the whole upon those celestial principles which alone lead the wandering sinner to the kingdom of God.
(To be continued.)
A Protestant-catholic minister of the name of Lindl, whose labours in his own parish (Gundremningen) in Bavaria appear to have been remarkably blessed to the conversion of many of his people, set out for St. Petersburgh in the autumn of 1819. In an extract from a letter which he wrote from that place, and which was published in 1820 in the "Magasin Evangelique *" at Geneva, occurs the following passage: "On the 28th of November I preached my first sermon, before several persons belonging to the court. The Lord strengthened me, and I preached with power, and with a blessing, on that which is the life and essence of Christianity. My discourse was mentioned to the Emperor; and that prince desired me, through his minister of religion, to wait upon him the next day. Expression fails me to describe the goodness, the humility, of this sovereign. He made me sit down
This respectable work, which did not proceed beyond two or three volumes, was edited by the pious and able translator of Mr. Scott's Commentary into French.