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the bad mold offered, as by a fixed law. There is great importance, in this manner, even in the handling of infancy. If it is unchristian, it will beget unchristian states, or impressions. If it is gentle, ever patient and loving, it prepares a mood and temper like its own. There is scarcely room to doubt, that all most crabbed, hateful, resentful, passionate, illnatured characters; all most even, lovely, firm and true, are prepared, in a great degree, by the handling of the nursery. To these and all such modes of feeling and treatment as make up the element of the infant's life, it is passive as wax to the seal. So that if we consider how small a speck, falling into the nucleus of a crystal, may disturb its form; or, how even a mote of foreign matter present in the quickening egg, will suffice to produce a deformity; considering, also, on the other hand, what nice conditions of repose, in one case, and what accurately modulated supplies of heat in the other, are necessary to a perfect product; then only do we begin to imagine what work is going on, in the soul of a child, in this first chapter of life, the age of impressions.
I have no scales to measure quantities of effect in this matter of early training, but I may be allowed to express my solemn conviction, that more, as a general fact, is done, or lost by neglect of doing, on a child's immortality, in the first three years of his life, than in all his years of discipline afterwards. And I name this particular time, or date, that I may not be supposed to lay the chief stress of duty and care on the latter part of what I have called the age of impressions; which, as it is a matter somewhat indefinite, may be taken to cover the space of three or four times this number of years; the development of language, and of moral ideas being only partially accomplished, in most cases, for so long a time. Let every Christian father and mother understand, when their child is three years old, that they have done more than half of all they will ever do for his character. What can be more strangely wide of all just apprehension, than the immense efficacy, imputed by most parents to the Christian ministry, compared with what they take to be the almost insignificant power conferred on them in their parental charge and duties. Why, if all preachers of Christ could have their hearers, for whole months and years, in their own will, as parents do their children, so as to move them by a look, a motion, a smile, a frown, and act their own sentiments and emotions over in them at pleasure; if, also, a little farther on, they had them in authority to command, direct, tell them whither to go, what to learn, what to do, regulate their hours, their books, their pleasures, their company, and call them to prayer over their own knees every night and morning, who could think it impossible, in the use of such a power, to produce almost any result? Should not such a ministry be expected to fashion all who come under it to newness of life? Let no parent, shifting off his duties to his children, in this manner, think to have his defects made up, and the consequent damages mended afterwards, when they have come to their maturity, by the comparatively slender, always doubtful, efficacy of preaching and pulpit harangue.
Dr. Bushneix. Christian Nurture.
Some recreations, to be taken from time to time, are not only always necessary, but arc also expedient, because after such pauses the children return to their studies with more pleasure and earnestness.
Playing is also in itself a mark of activity of mind; and children who play in a slow and spiritless manner, will not show any remarkable aptitude for any branch of science.
Many plays, such as the answering of riddles, strengthen the reflective faculties; and alford the teacher valuable hints as to the character and capacity of the young people.
But on this subject also a judicious mean must be observed.
In education, as in the arts and sciences, and as in virtue itself, there are three things to consider; nature, instruction, and custom or practice.
Nature without instruction is blind. Instruction without nature is faulty; practice without either of them, is imperfect.
For as in farming, there are necessary good land, a good husbandman, anil good seed, so must good natural endowments have the assistance of good teaching and admonition. Plutarch.
The younger any one is, the more easily can he be improved in morals; for virtue is in its essence natural to men, while vice is strange to them.
It is an evil thing when by reason of severe punishments, children become angry at their parents, or at enmity with their teachers.
For many unskillful school-masters injure excellent minds with their banging, scolding, rapping and beating, treating the children exactly as hangmen and jailers do a thief.
Solomon, who was a judicious school-master, did not prohibit scholars from sports at the proper time, as the monks do their pupils, who thus become mere logs and stocks, as Anselmus says.
A young man shut up in this way and kept apart from men is like a youii^ tree which ought to bear fruit, but is planted in a kettle.
The monks shut up the young, as people do birds in a cage; so that they can neither hear nor see anybody, nor talk to any one. Such treatment is dangerous to youth.
Therefore they should lie allowed to hear and see, anil go about to various places, but should at the same time be made to behave decently and orderly. Lutiikh.
The reflecting understanding teaches what is expedient with a view to goodness. But it is habit which gives men the real possession of the wisdom which they have acquired, and gives enduring strength in it.
This is the most excellent way of living; to devote only so much enre to the body as is sufficient for the health.
It should be kept under somewhat strict subjection, so as not to be disobedient to the mind.
Bodily exercises, if they arc moderate, arc useful, but those are harmful which are excessive, and make athletes. These latter obstruct the yo.ith of the mind.
Light and easy exercises on the other hand, such as running races, swinging weights in the hand, and dancing, are beneficial.
Almost any bodily exercise, however,"may be taken, if the student soon returns to his studies again.
The mind should be exercised both by day and by night Moderate labor strengthens it
Be solicitous to acquire one possession which will be sure to grow more valuable with age—good health.
The young ought not to sit constantly over books and by the study table.
Some repose should be given to the mind, but such as lo refresh it; not to relax its efforts entirely.
However difficult it may be to root out bad habits when once lixed, still we ought no more to despair of doing it, than a physician should of curing a tedious disease, when the patient also is opposed to him.
Spoken words more easily make an impression, and are mure easily remembered.
Mo lesty should be carefully cultivated. As long as it rem tins in the soul, there is hope of improvement.
Solitude is in various ways calculated to betray youth into all manner of wickedness.
As unhealthy localities endanger the firmest health, so are many places dangerous for the best dispositions.
Knowledge of youthful faults is the beginning of their cure. For how can he lay aside his vices, who considers them virtues?
For noble souls! work is nutriment.
It is not enough to begin the education; it must be continued.
It is better for a young man to be serious, than to be jovial and a favorite in large companies.
For it is with young people as it is with wine; that which is harsh when new, gains a tine flavor when it is old; but that which is sweet t» begin with does not long retain its goodness.
For the sike of accommodating the weakness of pupils, speak to them often in parables.
In order to prepare good soil for the reception of instruction in wisdom and virtue, delusion and error must be extirpated.
As leaves can not grow green by themselves, but must have ;i twig to stand on and to draw sap through, so do the best precepts perish, if they stand alone, without being based upon substantial principles of instruction, an 1 being rooted in such knowledge as is consistent with right and virtue. Sknkca.
"Yes," people say, "they arc only children; they do not understand what they are doing."
It is true.
But animals do not understand what they are doing; and yet we teach them to go and come, and to follow us, to do or not do this and that thing.
Wood or stone does not understand that it is proper to build houses of; but the artizan puts it into the proper shape.
How much more should the like be done for man!
Or do other people's children understand what they are doing, and is it your own children only who do not?
People who indulge their children must bear their sins, as much as if they had thc.nselves committed them.
Another class of people who destroy their children are those who deal with them by shameful words and curses, and also who present to them evil examples and conduct.
These will in the end be well paid for their folly, because they will often feel grief and sorrow of heart by reason of their sons.
Also, children, as is the custom of liery youth, are inclined to evil lusts and to anger.
Therefore is it necessary that their parents should give them no further occasion for such actions by words or gestures.
For what else can you expect :i child who hears cursing an foul words at home, to learn, except cursing and foul words?
A third class who destroy their children, are those who teach their children to love the world; who care for them in nothing except to see that they go bravely, can dance and adorn themselves, can please people, gratify their desires, and make themselves part of the world.
No one ought lo become a lather until he is able to repeat to his children the ten commandments and enough of the gospels to make them good Christians.
But many persons hasten to enter the sacrament of holy matrimony when they can scarcely say the Lord's Prayer. They know nothing and can therefore neither recite nor teach their children anything.
Parents should instruct their children aright in the fear of God.
If Christianity is to become part of their mental character, instruction must he given from childhood up. I would even permit it to be given in the cradle.
I say and admonish; that children should timely be taught by warnings, fear, admonitions and punishu.uit, to abhor lying, and especially of calling God to witness it.
It is most excellent to watch carefully over the young, and keep them under good discipline and in good habits; and to this end all possible industry should be exerted, to keep the young boys and girls from seeing and hearing any shameful thing; for they have abundance of evil desires in their blood without it Lithf.r.
To learn is, to proceed from something that is known, to the knowledge of something unknown.
Everything is learned, either by example, rule, or practice.
The truth is what must be held up before the understanding, the good before the will, the possible before the executive faculties; to which may l>c added practice, governed by rules.
Utiles should not be set forth before examples.
In this particular arti/.ans must be initiated ; who do not deliver a theoretical lecture to their apprentice upon their trade, but cause him to observe how they, the masters, set about it.
Doing can only be learned by doing; writing by writing, painting by painting.
No second thing should be taken up until the first is well learned.
In connection with the second, repeat the first.
Teaching should be progressive; should proceed from the easy to the diflicult; from few to many; from the simple to the compound; from the near to the more distant; from the regular to the irregular.
Actual intuition is better than demonstration.
It is useful to apprehend the same thing with several senses.
A matter is understood, when its inner nature is recognized in like manner as is its outer nature, by the senses.
For this inner comprehension is requisite a correct mental vision, a definite object, and persistent study.
Only one object should be considered at one time; and the whole of it first, and its parte afterward.
Memory has three purposes; to receive, to hold fast, to render up again.
The matters to be remembered must be distinct, connected, well-ordered; the mind not over-loaded with impressions, which will confuse each other, but calm, and directed only to one thing, and that with love or admiration.
Retention in the memory is facilitated by repetition; and recollection, by associated ideas.
The youngest children shoulil be instructed in tilings visible.
Upon such, pictures make the deepest impression.
Examples arc for them; and precept; but not abstract rules.
The teacher should not be too much of a genius.
Or if he is, let him learn patience.
It is not always the pupils who understand Quickest who are the best.
The sloth of pupils must be compensated by the teacher's industry.
Beginners must work slowly; and then faster and faster, as they advance.
Learning will be pleasant to the pupils, if their teachers treat them in a friendly and suitable manner; show them the object of their work; do not merely listen to them but join in working with them and converse with them; and if sufficient variety is afforded.
It is especially important that the pupils should themselves be made to teach; Fortius says, that he learned much from his teachers, more from his fellow-pupils, and most from his scholars.
The school is a manufactory of humanity.
The art of training up men is not a superficial one, but one of the profoundest secrets of nature and of our salvation. Comknius.
Be careful of your children and of their management. As soon as they begin to creep about and to walk, do not let them be idle.
Young people must have something to do, and it is impossible for them to be idle.
Their bodies must be kept in constant activity; for the mind is not yet able to perforin its complete functions.
But in order that they may not occupy themselves in vicious or wicked ways, give them fixed hours for relaxation; and keep them all the rest of the time, as far as possible, at study or at work, even if of trilling usefulness, or not gainful to you.
It is sufficient profit if they are thus kept from having an opportunity for evil thoughts or words.
Therefore it is that children arc nowhere better situated than at school or at church. Moschkkoscii.
Domestic government is the first of all; from which all governments and dominions take their origin.
If this-root is not good, there can be neither good stum nor good fruit from it.
Kingdoms, moreover, are made up of single families.
Where fathers and mothers govern all at home and let their children's obstinacy prevail, neither city, market, village, country, principality nor kingdom can be governed well and peacefully. Luther.
Doctor Martin Luther wrote to his son as follows: Grace and pence in Christ, my dear little son. I see with pleasure that you learn well and pray constantly. Continue to do so, my son. When I come home, I will bring you a beautiful present.
I saw a beautiful pleasant girden, where many children were walking, with golden clothes, anl eating beautiful apples under the trees, and pears and cherries and plums, and were singing and jumping and enjoying themselves; and they had beautiful little ponies with golden bridles and silver saddles.
Then I asked the man who owned the garden, what children these were. And he said, "These are the children who pray willingly, learn well and are good."
Then 1 said, "Dear man, I also have a son, called Hanschen Luther. May he not also come into the garden, so thaf he can eat such beautiful