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Looking, then, at the present situation of governesses, compared with what it was in former times, may we not say that it is essentially improved, and that there is now a strong and general feeling of what is due to them as a class ? As a class, then, we appeal to them to raise themselves—to be what the public has now a right to demand—a faithful, loving, educated Christian race of instructors, working for the highest aims, strong in Almighty strength, labouring with all diligence, in the assurance that “they that sow in tears, shall reap in joy. He that goeth forth and reapeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.”
“ Whatsoever you do, do thoroughly; let the whole man be seen in every action of your life; do it with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind. And tell me not that I am profaning sacred words—if you were duly conscious of God's omnipresence, you would not make so frivolous an objection.”
GUESSES AT TRUTH.
THERE is a story told of a man, who arrived
which he was obliged to cross, in order to reach his home. With some difficulty he found that there was a narrow bridge over it, and feeling his way thus he passed safely to the other side. But when he awoke in the morning, and saw the fearful dangers he had escaped in the darkness, he died overwhelmed with terror. Those who regard education as they ought, with a sense of its deep solemnity and awful results, will have something of this sentiment when they look back on the path they have trodden. At the best it is beset with innumerable difficulties and perplexities, and the only way to overcome the one, and escape the other, is to consider it a vocation from God.
The men under the Old Testament dispensation who looked into the ark or touched it presump
tuously were smitten with death-it was a standing testimony to warn others of lightly or irreverently thrusting themselves into offices, to which they were not appointed, and is it not a sin to undertake carelessly, and from a mere desire of gain, the work of education, solemn in its consequences to parents, to children, and to the teacher herself?
Mental qualifications are not those here alluded to, but deeper and more essential ones—the moral and spiritual fitness for training a soul for immortality. Many a good and conscientious governess will tremble when she thus regards her calling, whilst a thoughtless one would not hesitate to rush into it; but let the former be encouraged by the assurance, that according to her need strength will be given her, that if she lack wisdom she may ask it of God, and that “them that honour Him He will honour.” The knowledge of her own heart teaches her to expect trials, and convinces her that “in wayward childhood” she must look for varieties of temper and disposition, want of application or of ability, and that many will have acquired from previous mismanagement habits which it will be difficult to eradicate, or notions which it will be still harder toefface; she knows hat in some families she may be exposed to negiect, or want of cordial co-operation; she is aware that some will look down upon her, and in fact that her life will be a scene of conflict: but none of these things depress her, because she has counted the cost; she knows that in the world she shall have tribulation, and that it is so in every state of life; she therefore determines to look
peculiar trial, whatever it may be, as the one she needed, because it is the one appointed for her; she believes that 6 our places are chosen for us, our work is appointed us, we ought to use our utmost endeavours to find out what it is, and having done so, if we become dissatisfied with it, and go out of our way to do something else, however excellent in itself, we break God's order, and introduce confusion.”
A person thus prepared will be sure in the end to be blessed, because she takes a right view of life and of her duties in it; disappointments will not sour her temper or break her spirit, they will only drive her nearer to God, and make her earnestly desire a more hearty consecration to Him, a more single aim in all she does.
Many get dissatisfied because they set out with too high a notion of their power of setting every thing to rights. It is well to be enthusiastic in whatever we undertake, and to cherish hope, and to set a high standard before us—and to be continually pressing on towards it; but this feeling is sometimes marred by self-complacency. “These are my plans, my way of teaching—see how my pupils advance.” When once this spirit creeps into the mind, the teacher is spoiled, because she lacks humility. Self-complacency is the bane of improvement. Who would go on climbing who fancied themselves on the summit of a hill?
Plans and systems of education have been po
pular, because they fostered this feeling. A sort of knack had to be learned, and then any one was qualified to teach, and learning was made easy. Ādmirable plans of communicating instruction may undoubtedly be invented; but, as in religion, assuming a party name makes a mere professor pass current; so in education, a great deal of the same quackery has prevailed, and the more any one sees the length and breadth of what it is and what it means, the less will they feel that they yet know anything about it—the less also will they feel inclined to decry all the old systems which have stood the test of ages, and must therefore contain in them much that is deep and practical.
The self-opiniated are to be condemned as teachers, but a they are wiser in their generation” than the others, because if any one assumes a position the multitude will generally believe that they deserve to hold it, and the indifferent will be glad to save themselves the trouble of dethroning them. It is only on this principle that we can account for the success which has attended the shallow and pedantic of all classes. The outside is at
So an accomplished governess can readily display her gifts, whilst one whose qualifications consist in deep practical acquaintance with sound studies, requires to be known to be truly valued.
The improved tone of instruction will, we trust, have its due influence in raising this class to their right place in society, and their value will be esti