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word which expresses it better, and if I had my catechism I could
The catechism was given her, and she pointed out the expression, “ fore-ordained !” I then asked her what was meant by being “ called according to his purpose.'
"" Is not the meaning of it, called by grace-- turned away from sin-brought to God?”
• Soon after she had Clarke's Collection of Promises given to her, she remarked that there was one sweet promise not contained in it. I told her I supposed she had not searched for it sufficiently; and that she would find it under some different head. She replied that she had looked the book through :-she referred to that promise• In six troubles I will not leave thee,' &c. On careful examination I found that she was correct: I mention this as an instance of her diligence, and of her recollection of the Scriptures.
On the evening of the 29th, sitting alone with her, she was beginning to express her feelings, when her aunts entered, and she could not be induced to continue the conversation. When she retired to rest, I asked her what it was she was about to tell me, when the entrance of her aunts had interrupted her.
• " It was this mamma-at the beginning of the week, you know, I was a little better, and I felt such a wish to know if I should recover -it was a suful thought—that verse came to my mind
• My God, I would not wish to see
My fate, with curious eyes,' &c." « « And why did you cease speaking, when your aunts entered the room?"
"“I did not wish them to hear my sinful wishes and thoughts: with you I have a great deal of secret conversation, and, mamma, I confide in you."
"“Do so, my love. But I hope you are willing that your dear friends should know what the Lord has done for you, and how he is comforting you?"
• “ Yes, but I should not like that what I say to you often, should be known.”
A few minutes after this, she told me she had had many fears of death. Seeing her always so composed on this subject, I inquired if it was some time ago.
• “ It was at the time when I used to be so well in the afternoon, though I had such bad nights. I was thinking of recovery then ; but, at last, I began to compare myself at that time, with what I was when I came from school, and I was greatly surprised at the alteration."
• “ Have you those fears now?"
"If mine be a death-bed affiction, it is very light. Oh, dear, it is so light-it is nothing-wliat a mercy-what a mercy. (She seemed at a loss to express her gratitude.) I think of poor cousin S. (a relative who was ill at this time, and who died soon after,) what pain is his!--and I suffer nothing scarcely. I do feel for him."
After three months' severe suffering, the young invalid expired at the age of twelve years and ten months.
• It is just possible,' remarks the Editor, that this little book may meet the eye of some individual, whose first impulse will be to consider all that was felt and expressed by the subject of it, as no more than the natural result of her having been trained in a particular system, and learned a phraseology peculiar to a creed. "It would do credit, however, both to the candour and to the discrimination of such a reader, to admit, that the unsolicitous manner of the narrative, and the truly child-like style of expression, not only vouch for the authenticity of the record, but afford the strongest presumption in favour of the genuineness of the feelings expressed. And would it not be wise to suspend the exercise of ridicule, and to check the bigotry of scepticism, while he listens to the expression of elevated christian sentiment, and the high themes of a future world, uttered in the artless accents of childhood ?'
Art. VIII. Hints for the Improvement of Early Education and Nursery
Discipline. Second Edition, 12mo. pp. 188. Price 3s. 6d. London.
1819. VERY few words, if we can find any sufficiently emphatic,
will serve to express our opinion of ihe merits of this little volume. To say that it deserves the attentive perusal of every mother, of every elder sister, and of every confidential nurse, is saying much; but it does not convey our full impression of its value. It is a manual in which all the important principles that should regulate early education, are, with inimitable simplicity and clearness, epitomized in the shape of a few golden rules of the most obvious practical application. It is the work of no theorist; it is the result of a mother's experience, who has verified ber own pbilosophy. Were but these Hints followed up with steadiness and perseverance in every nursery, a happier childhood for its inmates, is the least advantage which we should confidently predict as the consequence. And we do not know why our prisons only should be submitted to such experiments of reform. We have domestic prisons, and infant culprits in them, upon whom the Fry system of discipline might be brought to bear-who knows with what success? And seriously, if any individual should be happily instruinental in bringing about an improvement in nursery discipline, reseipbling in any degree the almost romantic success which has crowned the calm perseverance of that inestimable individual, she would deserve to be scarcely less honoured as a benefactress to her country.
Lest any of our readers, however, shouid suspect that these “ Hints" are designed to recommend a reformatory system of dull method and irksome restraint, we must transcribe the Vol. XIII. N. S.
Author's judicious remarks upon this very point, which occur in the Introduction.
· The principles touched upon in the following Remarks may be applied to education in general ; although they are brought forward with a more particular reference to the earlier periods of childhood. It is probable that education may be begun sooner than is generally supposed. The sympathies, even of infants, are quick, and powerfully affected by the nianner, looks, and tones of voice, of those about them. Something, therefore, may, undoubtedly, be done toward influencing the mind in the first two or three years of infancy; but this will be effected more by avoiding what is hurtful, as irritation or alarm, than by aiming at premature excellence. The minds of children, as their bodies, are not to be forced. We are to follow the leadings of nature" to go her pace"-to be ever watchful, diligent, and alert, to make the best use of the opportunities and advantages which she throws in our way: for, it is to be remembered, that nature may be cramped and forced, rather than corrected and improved; and that, in every doubtful case, it is wise to incline to the lenient, rather than to the severe side of the question ; because an excess of freedom is safer than too much restraint. pp. 5–6.
The general rules which are laid down as fundamental principles of universal application in executing the subsequent directions, are, that' success in education depends,
First, - More on prevention than cure ; more on securing our children from injury, than on forcing upon them what is right. If we wish, for instance, to render a child courageous, we shall effect it, not so much by urging and compelling him to feats of hardihood, as by guarding him from all impressions of terror, or from witnessing a weak and cowardly spirit in others.
• Secondly, - On exurple rather than on precept and advice.
• As the bodies of children are imperceptibly affected by the air they breathe, so are their minds by the moral atmosphere which surrounds them ; that is, the tone of character and general influence of those with whom they live.
• Thirdly,-- On forming habits rather than on inculcating rules.
• It is little to tell a child what to do, we must shew him how to do it, and see that it is done. It is nothing to enact laws, if we do not take care that they are put into practice, and adopted as habits. This is the chief business of education, and the most neglected; for it is wore easy to command, than to teach and enforce. For example ; a child will never know how to write by a set of rules, however complete: the pen must be put into his hand, and the power acquired by repeated efforts, and continued practice.
Fourthy,- On remulating our conduct with reference to the formation of the character when matured ; rather than by confining our views to the iminediate effect of our labur.
Fremature acquirements, premature quickness of mind, premature feeling, and even premature propriety of conduct, are not often the
evidences of real strength of character, and are rarely followed by corresponding fruits in future life.
· Lastly,--On hearing in mind a just sense of the comparative importance of the objects at which we aim,
As in the general conduct of life, it is the part of wisdom to sacrifice the less to the greater good; so is this eminently the case in the subject before us. Now the primary, the essential object of education is this,-- to form in children a religious habit of mind, founded on the divine principles of Christianity, and leading to the habitual exercise of practical virtue. To this, all other attainments are wholly subordinate. pp. 7–10.
Nothing can be more simple, and intelligible, and some persons may fancy, obvious, than these general principles ; but it would be one way of determining their value, if the pavent or governess who should be disposed to regard them in this light, would conscientiously examine how often, in the course of one day, her own practice has involved a violation of them It is the property of all truths to be obvious after discovery; and it is the fate of most truths to be disregarded in proportion to their obviousness. And this remark applies to no class of general principles more closely than to those which relate to early education.
The directions which trace out these fundamental rules into their bearings upon the formation of character, are erranged under the following beads : Truth and Sincerity. Authority and Obedience. Rewards and Punishments. Temper. Justice, Harmony. Generosity and Benevolence. Fearfulness-Fortitude-Patience. Independence. Industry, Perseverance, and Attention. Vanity and Affectation. Delicacy, Manners, and Order. Religious Instruction and Religious Habits. Conclusion. An Appendix treats of the 'motives that should induence a purse. The following remarks occur in the section on Industry.
• It is to be regretted that the common mode of teaching has more to do with the memory than the understanding. With
children whose innumerable • tasks are painfully learnt and darkly understood," the memory is exercised, not to say, burthened, whilst the real cultivation of the mind, the improvement of the reasoning powers, and the formation of good intellectual habits, are overlooked. Is it not to this cause that often may be attributed the imperfect and super. ficial knowledge, the want of literary taste in those who have been taught merely by the common school routine,--and is it not desirable that such deficiencies be remedied as far as possible, during the intervals of time passed at home, by directing the attention to English reading-to the study of natural history, and other interesting pursuits ? As it is sensible objects which the soouest attract attention in early life, the works of nature may easily be rendered the medium of con-. tinual instruction and amusement to childreo. On this account, natural history, in its various branches, is particularly useful, as both
pleasure and improvement may be derived from the habit of observing and examining the various objects with which we are surrounded.
• A high standard is desirable in intellectual pursuits, as well as in those of still greater value. Nothing can be less ornamental than accomplishments performed in a poor style, and with bad taste, or than that superficial and imperfect knowledge which
is proud that it has learnt so much " But whilst we endeavour to inspire our children with a desire to do well, whatever they undertake, whilst we endeavour to turn to the best account, both their time and talents, we must beware of raising our expectations too high ; for if an ambitious spirit insinuate itself into the business of education, it will be a source of mortification to the parent, and of irritation to the children. It is but too probable that in this case the latter will be over-urged by the former; and, thus, those very objects frustrated, which have been pursued with too much eagerness.
• In cultivating habits of industry, application, and perseverance, we are to remember that there is a medium to be observed in this, as in every other branch of education. These qualities are of so much value, that they demand a full share of our attention : but we are not so to pursue them as to infringe upon the necessary liberty, and the truest enjoyment of children. It ought again to be repeated, that all unnecessary restraint is only so much unnecessary evil. We must also treat with much tenderness that Jassitude and apparent indolence, which even slight indisposition will occasion in children. In the short time devoted to lessons, we may gradually employ a stricter discipline ; but, in play-hours, although it is a positive duty strongly to op: pose listlessness and indolence, yet, with healthy and well-trained children, we shall find little else necessary than to direct their activities, to encourage their projects, and to add to their pleasures,' pp. 110_114.
There are some admirable remarks on the danger of flattering the vanity of children by repeating their sayings in their presence, and on the importance of upholding the beauty of hu
mility as the chief ornament of childhoud.' But we must content ourselves with one more extract; and we select the 6 Conclusion.'
• In concluding this little work, the Author would once again remind all who are engaged in the care of children, that much patience and much perseverance will be required in the fulfilment of their duties toward them ; and that they may hope to succeed, “not so much by the vehemence, as by the constancy of their exertions." We must not expect to witness the immediate fruit of our labour. husbandmen scatters his seed, and hath long patience for it ;" and we are commanded, “ in the morning to sow ihe seed; and, in the evening to withhold not our hands, for we know not whether shall prosper.” To those who are conscientiously employed in the business of education, there is the most solid ground for encouragement; and it is of no small importance that they should cherish a hope.