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gion, and to strengthen their faith in its irresistible power, by showing them how light and truth have ever gained the victory amidst all the oppression and persecution they have endured.
The progress of light was traced; the earnest and useless groping after truth described, which preceded the coming of the Saviour, and was only satisfied by his instructions. The political and civil condition of the world at the Christian era, and the influence which Christianity has had in changing or modifying it, by the mutual and undistinguishing benevolence it requires between individuals and nations, and the equal rights which it thus establishes, was made the subject of particular attention. But the attention of the pupils was principally directed to the internal condition of the Christian church in the first three centuries, while it remained comparatively pure: they were pointed to the influence of Christian feelings and a Christian life in the family, the community, and the state ; to the invincible power of that faith, and that love to the Saviour and to one another, which triumphed over ridicule and suffering, and martyrdom itself in its most horrid forms. The errors in principle and practice of this early period were also exhibited, with their sad consequences; and the effects of the various extremes to which they led-of slavish formality or lawless licentiousness; of intolerance and of hypocrisy; of superstition and fanaticism ; of ecclesiastical despotism, and of anarchywere presented in such a light as to point out the dangers to which we are still exposed. The time did not allow the extension of the course to later periods of history.
Principles and Precepts of Christianity. The religious instructor observes, that he endeavored to present this part of his subject in its biblical form, and to show his pupils the inexhaustible richness of Divine wisdom exhibited in the Scriptures, to which reason, when duly enlightened as to its proper sphere, will come as a pupil, and not as a teacher. This revelation, he remarked, made in the language of men, should be the rule by which the exhibitions of the Deity, in nature, and providence, and the mind of man, must be judged. On the other hand, he presented the leading doctrines contained in the formularies of the Swiss churches, but still as subordinate to the biblical exhibition of truth with which the teacher in Switzerland is chiefly concerned. The first subjects of instruction were the general nature of religion, the peculiar character of Christianity, and its adaptation to the nature of man, the admirable form in which it is presented, and the importance of taking the Savior as a model for the methods of religious instruction. The Scriptures were next examined as the sources of religious truth, and the principal contents of the various books described, with the leading evidences of its historical authority, of its inspiration, and of the credibility of the principles it contains. The leading doctrines maintained in the national church were then presented, each accompanied with the evidence and illustrations afforded by the Scriptures, and followed by an exhibition of the duties involved in it, or founded upon it. At the same time, illustrations were derived from nature and from the human heart; and directions were given as to the best mode of teaching these truths to the young.
Methods of Religious Instruction. The method of giving religious instruction was also taken up in a special manner, at the conclusion of the course: the first object was to point out the manner and order in which the various principles and precepts of religion should be presented to the young in correspondence with the development of their faculties; and the importance of preparing their minds to receive the truths, by making them familiar with the language, and the objects of intellect and feeling in general, instead of calling upon them to pass at once from the observation and the language of the material world, to the elevated truths of religion expressed in terms entirely new, and which leave so many minds in hopeless confusion, if not in absolute ignorance of their real nature. The distinction of essential and non-essential doctrines was adverted to, and general directions given as to the methods of narrating and examining.
Anthropology, or the Study of Man.—This course was intended to give a general idea of the nature of man, and especially of the construction of our bodies, with a view to illustrate at once their wonderful mechanism, and to direct to the proper mode of employing and treating their various organs. The teacher adopted as his leading principles, to exclude as much as possible all that has not practical importance, and to employ the most simple terms and illustrations which could be chosen. The first great division of the course was devoted to the structure of the human body: it was opened with a brief introduction to natural history, and a comparative view of vegetables and animals, and man, and of the several races of men. The elementary materials of the human frame were then described, and the great and wonderful changes they undergo in receiving the principle of life, and becoming a part of man.
The various systems of the human body, the bones, muscles, vessels, organs, and nerves were next described, and illustrated by a human skeleton and by preparations of animals: the offices of each part were described in connection with its form and situation; thus uniting anatomy and physiology. At the same time, reference was made to the mode of employing them; the common accidents to which they were liable, as dislocations, fractures, &c., and the mode of guarding against them. The second portion of the course was devoted to the subject of Hygiene, or Dietetics; the proper mode of employing and treating the various organs, in order to preserve health and strength. It was opened with some views of the nature and value of health, and the causes which most frequently undermine it. The first object of attention was the organs of reproduction, their important destination, their delicate nature, and the evil consequence of too early excitement or abuse on the rest of the system; with the indications of abuse, and the methods of restoration. The nervous system, in its connection with the subject, led to the consideration of spiritual life, and its connection with the body, through the medium of the nerves. The various passions and affections were particularly described, with their influence upon the health; and the rules of education derived from this topic. Sleeping and waking were then treated as phenomena of the nervous system ; and the distinction to be observed between children and adults on this subject was pointed out. The importance of attending to the structure and use of the bed-room and the bed, and even the position in sleep, was also adverted to.
The organs of sense, especially the eye and the ear, were minutely described, with the diseases to which they are liable from improper use or neglect, or from causes injurious to the brain and nervous system in general. The importance of the skin and its functions, and of maintaining its cleanliness by frequent changes of clothing and bathing; the necessity and methods of useful exercise; the precautions which ought to be employed to secure the purity of the air, especially in schools, and to guard against diseases of the organs of respiration, were the subjects of particular instruction. The formation and uses of the blood, the influence of food, and the circumstances in its condition or preparation which render it injurious, the evil effects of alcoholic drinks, and the most obvious causes of injury to the digestive organs, or of interruption in their functions, were afterward discussed in a practical manner. The course was closed with simple directions as to the treatment of injuries produced by sudden accidents, falls, wounds, drowning, freezing, fits, &c., during the time which must elapse before medical aid can be procured, or when it is not within reach-a species of knowledge for want of which many a life has doubt. less been lost, and which is peculiarly important to one who is entrusted with the care of a large number of young persons. Indeed, what more valuable gift could be made to a collection of American teachers than such a course of instruction; a course which every well-informed physician is capable of giving?
Geography.—The course of instruction in geography was designed to point out the best methods of teaching facts already familiar to the audience. Two principles were laid down as fundamental :41. To commence with giving the pupil distinct ideas of hill, valley, plain, stream, and lake in his own circle, and the characteristics of his own neighborhood; and thus to become familiar with the elements, and to proceed from particular to general views. 2. That the geography of their native country should be made familiar to the pupils of the common school, before they are confused or attracted by the peculiarities and wonders of foreign countries. A course of instruction was described for the canton of Berne in conformity with these principles, and the necessary references given to the authorities from which the teacher should derive his information. As a part of the course, each teacher was required to write an account of the place of his residence; and was taught how he should direct his pupils in the observations and inquiries necessary for this purpose, and fitted to develop the habits of quick and accurate perception and patient research.
History of Switzerland.-It was assumed as a principle, that history should not be taught as a whole in common schools; because young minds are incapable of understanding the causes and connection of events which involve the ideas, and plans, and motives of warriors and statesmen. On the other hand it was deemed of great importance to present the leading events of history to the young, in order to impress the moral lessons which they furnish, and especially those which belong to their own country. To the teachers, however, it was considered necessary to give a complete view of the history of Switzerland, in order to enable them to select and explain better its individual portions. It was accordingly narrated, so far as the time would admit, in several great divisions: the primitive period, the Roman period, and the period of transition, introduced the Swiss confederation; the heroic or warlike period, the period of political decline, and the period of revolution, (since 1798.) embraced the history of the confederation. This view of the course will be sufficient to show the general principles on which the method of instruction in this subject is founded.
Agriculture. -A course of lectures on agriculture was given to the assembled teachers by Fellenberg himself. The audience were reminded of that wise Omnipotence which presides over the circle of human activity, and of the manner in which it operates incessantly to prepare man for his higher destination, by rendering all his efforts dependent on this parental guidance for their success; and by leading him through all the variety of events in the material world, to that higher moral existence for which we are made. The lecturer pointed out the wisdom of this arrangement, and the defects which would exist in our education, as men, without these external means. He stated that he had assumed it as a part of his task to illustrate, by the evidence of facts, in a rational system of agriculture, that man is called upon to become like God-in governing himself, and in controlling the material world, for the good of his fellowmen; and that he observed constantly more and more the powerful influence of well-conducted plans of agriculture exerted in counteracting the spirit of indolence and habits of idleness. The first subject illustrated, was the power which a knowledge of the great principles of agriculture confers over the operations of nature, by giving a suitable direction to the cares and labors of its possessor; and the wretched slavery of the ignorant to the mere changes of matter, and to those effects of the elements which the Creator gives us the capacity in some measure to employ for our own benefit. He next considered the best mode of rendering agriculture a means of exciting mental activity in the children and parents of a village, and of forming their character. Many sources of poverty and suffering in Switzerland were pointed out, which arose from the neglect of this subject, and the intimate connection between the improvement of agriculture, and the increase of intelligence and comfort of those who are engaged in it, with the prosperity and the free institutions of the country. Various leading principles of agriculture were then taken up; such as the removal of all the obstacles to vegetation-stones, weeds, excessive water, &c.; the rational preparation and use of manure; the proper forin and employment of the plough; and the succession of crops. The influence of these principles, and of the knowledge of the elements that compose the materials employed in cultivating the earth, on the products and the facility of labor, were clearly exhibited, and were illustrated by a reference to the improved fields and increased products of Hofwyl. In short, the great object of this course was, not to teach the science, but to give such general views as should lead the teachers to appreciate and inculcate its importance, to observe and reflect on the prevailing evils and their remedies, and to excite their pupils to observation, as a means of rendering their very labors a source of intellectual and moral improvement.
A brief course of instruction was also given by Fellenberg, on the constitution of the canton, and the rights and duties of citizens. It would, of course, be out of place to enter into the details of the Berne constitution; but we can not give a correct view of the spirit of this course of instruction without describing the peculiar manner in which he introduced it.
He observed that the merely material interest of civil and political life forms a foundation too sandy and unstable for the life of the family or the state. A constitution truly free, and filted to promote the higher moral ends of our existence, can find no firmer basis, no more noble and appropriate means, no higher ends, than in the message of peace on earth, and good will to men,' which was brought by our Savior. No book of freedom can better satisfy its true friends than the Bible, with its evangelical complement, if its instructions and its objects are rightly understood. Since I have sought here the sources and objects of a constitution, I have felt a higher value than ever for the Scriptures. The constitution presents the good of all as the great object; and this is the end of the Divine government. It calls upon each citizen to live and die for others—the object of our Savior's instructions and example. The Creator makes no distinction in the birth and death of men; and the constitution only follows his example in giving equal rights to all. The Savior teaches us to regard our fellow-men as members of the same family; the constitution simply enforces and carries out this principle. It acknowledges that 'the welfare or misery of a state depends on the moral and intellectual cultivation of its citizens, and that their sound education is among its first duties, and thus admits the great principle of the Gospel in relation to the affairs of this world. Such is the spirit which Fellenberg wishes to pervade every course of instruction.”
The success of the Normal course of instruction at Hofwyl, in spite of the petty jealousy with which the patriotic and benevolent labors of its founder was followed by the government of Berne, led to the establishment of two Normal Schools in that canton, and of similar institutions in most of the cantons of Switzerland. Fellenberg was elected a member of the Legislative Assembly, on the adoption of the new constitution, in 1831. On his motion the following article was introduced into the fundamental law : h t !
• The welfare or woe of every state depends on the moral worth of its citizens. Without the cultivation of the mind and heart, true freedom is inconceivable, and patriotism is an empty sound. We must labor for our moral elevation, for the highest possible cultivation of the powers we have received from the Creator, if we would partake of the happiness which a free constitution should afford. The zealous promotion of this object is recommended by the Constituent Assembly to all future legislators, as holding a higher place in importance than all other objects."
Although the teachers of the canton were prohibited by a vote of the Education Department of the canton from attending his Annual Normal Course, a society was formed in 1832, with the name of the “ Cantonal Teachers Society of Berne.” The following account is given by Mr. Woodbridge, in 1834:
BERNE CANTONAL SOCIETY OF TEACHERS. “This society was formed by the teachers assembled for instruction at Hofwyl in the summer of 1832, and consisted of 154 members, with few exceptions, teachers of ordinary schools. Fellenberg was chosen president; and Vehrli, the excellent teacher of the farm pupils of Hofwyl, vice-president. Its constitution presents, as the great objects of the society, union and co-operation in promoting the education of the people, and elevating the character of the schools. The means proposed were, free communications between its members, consultations concerning the best modes of advancing the cause of schools and improving the condition of teachers, and direct efforts to excite the attention of the people to the defects of present plans and methods of organizing and instructing the common schools of the country.
Among the important topics in the school itself which are proposed by the Society of Berne, to be presented in the meetings of its auxiliary societies, the first named is a careful inquiry into the condition of the pupils of their schools, and the proper means for their moral improvement. For this purpose they urge that every effort be made to give the pupils constant employment, and to guard them against the temptations of idleness; to preserve a mild but firm course of discipline; and to promote fraternal affection among them. They urge, that every branch of instruction, from the highest to the lowest, be discussed at these meetings; and that there should be a steady effort among the teachers to advance in knowledge and skill. Would that the last object could be impressed upon the minds of the multitude of teachers in our country, who wrap themselves up in the consciousness of having attained the ne plus ultra of skill and knowledge, or lie down in listless apathy, after their daily task is performed, with no anxiety but to get through the business of to-morrow as early as possible.
The second meeting of the Berne Society of Teachers was also held at Hofwyl. It was opened by an interesting address from the president, full of truth and energy, of which we can only give a few opening sentences:
Guardians of the spiritual life, the personal wealth, of the children of our people! we have assembled to ratify our bond. We have pledged ourselves that in our schools shall grow up a noble, well-taught generation of the people; true to the principles of the Gospel, devoted to God, and faithful to men; a people whose characters shall not be unworthy of the scenes of grandeur and beauty which the Creator has assigned as their native land !
"In this great object we shall succeed only so far as we follow the Savior's example, and imbibe the fullness of his love to man, and trust in God, in forming the hearts of those who are committed to us, in extending the influence of the school to every household, and in warming the hearts