« НазадПродовжити »
those pursuits, that would be injurious to our present en joyments, but it also gives the highest degree of encourage
ment and perfection to all those pleasures, that really tend to make us happy even in this world. A.
THE harps of the Angelic hosts were employed to announce the first appearance of that glorious personage whose religion was to proclaim 66 peace on earth and good will to man;" and it is a very striking feature in the Christian religion that enjoins the active discharge of those duties which are due to ourselves and to each other as members of the same common family. In this particular our own happiness, as well as the happiness of others, is peculiarly concerned. For activity is an essential attribute of the human mind, and a strong desire of occupation is intimately woven into our constitution by the finger of God. It is this activity of mind only that gives us superiority over the animals and elicits every thing great and noble in our characters. It is not, however, merely the source of our excellence, but it also gives rise to some of our most refined enjoyments.
Have not the most exquisite pleasures been found in the rewards of virtue-the approbation of conscience, when in the cool and silent hours of reflection, the Christian has been able to look back on some portion of his existence which has been peculiarly distinguished by the active performance of duty? How vast
PLEASURES OF RELIGION.
then is that field which presents itself to him, where he may reap the richest fruits of pleasure-a field as extensive as society and various as the wants and infirmities of man !
Do you not feel a pleasure superior to any that the world bestows, and of which the world cannot deprive you, when through Divine assistance you have obtained a triumph over some of the corrupt propensities of your nature? Do you not experience that "luxury of doing good," with which a stranger cannot intermeddle, when you are the instrument of restor ing an erring brother to paths of virtue and of truth-when you can calm the turbulent passions of men, and deprive party spirit of its bitterness and asperity-when you impart instruction to the ignorant and gladden the heart of desponding poverty-when you cause the beams of joy to sparkle through the tears of sorrow and mingle the balm of comfort in the cup of afflic tion-when you have presented your ardent supplications at the throne of grace for those whom your counsels cannot reach nor your exertions relieve?
Religion also affords enjoyment in the improvement of our minds and in the cultivation of the benevolent affec
tions. The mind of a Christian is conversant with subjects of the most sublime and exalted nature; and in exact proportion to the magnitude of the objects with which it is familiar will be the mind's expansion or enlargement. The more our minds are enlarged, the more pure and extensive will be our pleasures ;-And the pleasures of intellect as far excel the pleasures of sense, as mind excels inactive and unconscious matter.
Mental improvement and the exercise of pure and ben evolent affections will probably constitute an important and perhaps an essential part of the happiness of heaven. At least we are assured that they must be cultivated here in order to render us capable of that immortality of joy.
which awaits the righteous, Hence religion is perpetually suggesting those topics of conversation that tend to enlarge our views, to elevate our thoughts and to confer dignity on the mind. We are also furnished with the most weighty motives to prompt us to purify and ameliorate our affections;—And are moreover promised the assistance of God's holy spirit to cleanse our hearts and to enable us to triumph over the corrupt propensities of our natures. It is by these means that religion enables a good man to partake of the highest pleasures of which his nature is susceptible while on earth, and he is even allowed a foretaste of those joys which await him in heav. en. A.
THE DUMB SPEAK.
Extracts from An Address, written by Mr. Clerc, and read by his request at a public examination of the pupils in the Connecticut Asylum, before the Governor and both houses of the Legislature, 28th May, 1818. The following address is entirely the original production of Mr. Laurent Clerc, who was born deaf, and has never heard a sound or uttered the simplest phrase of speech.
LADIES AND Gentlemen,
THE kind concern which you were pleased to take in our public exhibition of last year, and the wish which you have had the goodness to ex
press, to see it renewed, have induced me to comply with the request of the Directors of the Asylum, to deliver this address. I at first intended to write two or three pages, that I might not fatigue the attention of our Auditors, but my thoughts have led me farther, and I flatter myself that you will attend to and keep the memory of these particulars, as a small token of our gratitude for all the favours which you have vouchsafed to confer both upon us and our pupils.
The origin of the discovery of the art of teaching the Deaf and Dumb is so little known in this country, that I think necessary to repeat it.
A lady, whose name I do not recollect, lived in Paris, and had among her children two daughters, both deaf and dumb. The Father Famin, one of the members of the society of Christian Doctrine, was acquainted with the family, and attempted, without method, to supply in those unfortunate persons the want of hearing and speech; but was surprised by a premature death, before he could attain any degree of success. The two sisters, as well as their mother, were inconsolable at that loss, when by divine prov idence, a happy event restored every thing. The Abbé de L'Epée, formerly belonging to the above mentioned society, had an opportunity of calling at their house. The mother was abroad, and while he was waiting for her, he wished to enter into conversation with the young ladies; but their eyes remained fixed on their needle, and they gave no answer. In vain did he renew his questions, in vain did he redouble the sound of his voice, they were still silent, and durst hardly raise their heads to look at him. He did not know that those whom he thus addressed, were doomed by nature never to hear or speak. He already began to think them impolite and uncivil, and rose to go out. Under these circumstances, the mother returned, and every thing was explained. The good Abbé sympathised with her on the affliction, and withdrew, full of the thought of
taking the place of Father Famin.
The first conception of a great man, is usually a fruitful germ. Well acquainted with the French grammar, he knew that every language was a collection of signs, as a series of drawings is a collection of figures, the representation of a multitude of objects, and that the Deaf and Ďumb can describe every thing by gestures, as you paint every thing with colours, or express every thing by words; he knew that every object had a form, that every form was capable of being imitated, that actions struck your sight, and that you were able to describe them by imitative gestures ; he knew that words were conventional signs, and that ges❤ tures might be the same, and that there could therefore be a language formed of gestures, as there was a language of words. We can state as a probable fact, that there was a time in which man had only gestures to express the emotions and affections of his soul. He loved, wished, hoped, imagined, and reflected, and the words to express those operations still failed him. He could express the actions relative to his organs; but the dictionary of acts, purely spiritual, was not begun as yet,
Full of these fundamental ideas, the Abbé de L'Epée was not long without visiting the unfortunate family again; and with what pleasure was he not received! He reflected, he imitated, he delineated, he
wrote, believing he had but a language to teach, while in fact he had two minds to cultivate! How painful, how difficult were the first essays of the inventor! Deprived of all assistance, in a career full of thorns and obstacles, he was a little embarrassed, but was not discouraged. He armed bimself with patience, and succeeded, in time, to restore his pupils to Society and Religion.
Many years after, and before his method could have attain ed the highest degree of per. fection, of which it was susceptible, death came and removed that excellent father from his grateful children. Affliction was in all hearts. Fortunately the Abbé Sicard who was chosen for his successor, caused their tears to cease. He was a man of profound knowledge and of a mind very enterprising. Every invention or discovery, however laudable and ingenious it may be, is never quite right in its beginning. Time only makes it perfect. The The clothes, shoes, hats, watches, houses, and every thing of our ancestors, were not as elegant and refined as those of the present century. In like manner was the method of the Abbé de L'Epée. Mr. Sicard reviewed it and made perfect what had been left to be devised, and had the good fortune of going beyond all the disciples of his Predecessor. His present pupils are now worthy of him, and 1 do not believe them any longer unhappy. Many are married,
and have children endowed with the faculties of all their senses, and who will be the comforters and protectors of their parents in their old age. (The United States is the first country where I have seen one or two deaf and dumb fathers, some of whose children are deaf and dumb like themselves. Will this prove that the Americans are worse than Europeans? By no means. It is the result of natural caus es, which I shall explain hereafter.) Many others of the Deaf and Dumb are the instructers of their companions of misfortune. Many others are employed in the offices of government and other public administrations. Many oth ers are good painters, sculptors, engravers, workers in Mosaic, while others exercise mechanical arts; and some others are merchants and transact their own business perfectly well; and it is education which has thus enabled them to pursue these different professions. An unedu cated Deaf and Dumb would never be able to do this. Let us now speak of instruction, and say what Mr. Sicard did while teaching me. By reading or hearing this, you may pretty well judge how we teach the American Deaf and Dumb.
The sight of all the objects of nature which could be placed before the eyes of the Deaf and Dumb, the representation of those objects, either by drawing, by painting, by sculpture, or by the natural signs which the Deaf and Dumb
employ, or invent themselves, or understand with an equal facility; the expression of the will and passions, by the mere movement of the features, combined with the attitude and gestures of the body; writing traced, or printed, or expressed by conventional signs for each letter, or even simply figured in the air, offered to Mr. Sicard many means of instructing those unfortunate beings, to whom he had resolv. ed to devote his life.
Mr Sicard's first steps, and even the difficulties presented to him by his pupils, made him soon feel the necessity of proceeding according to the strictest method, and of fixing their ideas as well as the knowledge they were progres sively acquiring, permanently in their memory, so that what they already knew, might have an immediate connection with what they were to learn; his pupils unable to comprehend him, if the instruction which he wished to give them, did not coincide with that which they had received before; for thus they stopped his progress, and he could not ac. complish his purpose but by resuming the chain of their ideas, and constantly following the uninterrupted line from the known to the unknown. It was thus that he succeeded in making them comprehend the language of the country in which he instructed them. This natural method is applicable to all languages. It proceeds by the surest and shortest way, and may be applied to all the, channels of
communication between one man and another.
It is by this method that Mr. Sicard has brought the Deaf and Dumb to the knowledge of all the kinds of words, of which a language is composed, of all the modifications of those words, of their variations and different senses; in short, of all their reciprocal influence.
He advanced a step further, and the access to the highest conceptions of the human mind was opened to them. Mr. Sicard has found it easy to make them pass from abstract ideas, to the most sublime truths of religion. They have felt that this soul, of which they have the consciousness, is not a fictitious existence, is not an abstract existence created by the mind; but a real existence, which wills and which produces movement, which sees, which thinks, which reflects, which compares, whick meditates, which remembers, which foresees, which believes, which doubts, which hopes, which loves, which hates. After this, he directed their thoughts towards all the physical existences submitted to their view through the immensity of space, or on the globe which we inhabit; and the regularity of the march of the sun and all the celestial bodies; the constant succession of day and night; the return of the seasons; the life, the riches and the beauty of nature; made them feel that nature also had a soul, of which the power, the action, and the immensity, exten through