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THE SCHOOL AND THE HOUSE.
the twelfth chapter of our book;* 'a pious mother, who herself teaches her children, seems to me to be the finest sight on the earth.'
“• It is a very different one from a school-room, at all events,” said Josiah. “ Eliza.— I did not mean to say that schools are not very good.'
Christopher.—Nor would I allow myself to think so.' “Josiah.—'Well, and it is true after all, that nothing of what the schoolmaster can say, will ever reach children's hearts in the same way as what their parents teach them; and, generally speaking, I am sure there is not in school-going all the good that people fancy there is.'
“ Christopher.—I am afraid, Josiah, thou art rather straining thy point. We ought to thank God for all the good that there is in the world, and as for the schools in our country, we can't thank Him enough for them.'
“Josiah.—Well spoken, master. It is well that there are schools; and God forbid that I should be ungrateful for any good that is done to us. But with all this I think that he must be a fool who, having plenty at home, runs about begging; and that is the very thing which our village folks do, by forgetting all the good lessons which they might teach their children at home, and instead thereof sending them every day to gather up the dry crumbs which are to be got in our miserable schools. I am sure that is not quite as it ought to be.'
“ Christopher.—“Nor is it, perhaps, quite as thou hast put it.'
“Josiah.— Nay, Master! but only look it in the face, and thou'lt surely see it the same as I do. That which parents can teach their children is always what they stand most in need of in life ; and it is a pity that parents should neglect this, by trusting in the words which the schoolmaster makes them get by heart. It is very true they may be good and wise words, and have an excellent meaning to them, but, after all, they are only words, and coming from the mouth of a stranger they don't come half as near home as a father's or a mother's words.'
“ Christopher.—'I cannot see what thou wouldst be at Josiah.'
“ Josiah.—“Look, Master! The great point in bringing up a child is, that he should be well brought up for his own house; he must learn to know, and handle, and use those things, on which his bread and his quiet will depend through life ; and it seems to me very plain that fathers and mothers can teach that much better at home, than any schoolmaster can do it in his school. The schoolmaster, no doubt, tells the children of a great many things which are right and good, but they are never worth as much in his mouth, as in the mouth of an upright father, or a pious mother. The schoolmaster, for instance, will tell the child to fear God, and to honour his father and mother, for that such is the word of God; but the child understands little of what he says, and mostly forgets it again before he comes
• This chapter represents Gertrude in the midst of her children, teachi at the same time that they are engaged in spinning.-B.
THEORY AND PRACTICE.
home. But if at home his father gives him milk and bread, and his mother denies herself a morsel, that she may give it to him, the child feels and understands that he ought to honour his father and mother, who are so kind to him, and he will not forget his father's word which tells him that such is the word of God, as easily as the empty word of the schoolmaster. In the same way if the child is told at school to be merciful, and to love his neighbour as himself, he gets the text by heart, and perhaps thinks of it for a few days, till the nice words slip again from his memory. But at home he sees a poor neighbour's wife calling in upon his mother, lamenting over her misery, her hunger, and nakedness; he sees her pale countenance, her emaciated and trembling figure, the very image of wretchedness; his heart throbs, his tears flow; he lifts up his eyes full of grief and anxiety to his mother, as if he himself was starving; his mother goes to fetch some refreshments for the poor sufferer, in whose looks the child now reads comfort and reviving hope; his anguish ceases, his tears flow no longer, he approaches her with a smiling face; at last his mother returns, and her gift is received with sobs of gratitude, which draw fresh tears from the child's eye. Here then he learns what it is to be merciful, and to love one's neighbour. He learns it, without the aid of words, by the real fact; he sees mercy itself, instead of learning words about mercy..
“ Christopher.—'I must own I begin to think thou art not quite mistaken in saying, that too much value is put upon the schoolmaster's teaching.'
“Josiah. Of course, master! If thou sendest thy sheep up into the mountain, thou reliest upon their being well kept by the shepherd who is paid for it, and thou dost not think of running about after them thyself; but if thou hast them at home in thy own stables, thou lookest after them thyself. Now it is just the same thing with the school; only there is this difference, that it is easy to get for the sheep pasture which is infinitely better than the food they have in the stable; but it is not so easy to find a school in which the children are better taught than they might be at home. The parents' teaching is the kernel of wisdom, and the schoolmaster's business is only to make a husk over it, and that even is a great chance whether it turn out well.'
“ Eliza.—“Why Josiah, thou makest one's brains whirl all round, about one's children. I think I see now what thou art at; and I fancy many a poor ignorant mother who now sends her children to school, without thinking any thing about it, merely because it is the custom to do so, would be very glad to be taught better.' “ Josiah.—There is yet another part of the story, master.
What helps the common people to get through the world, thou knowest, and to have their daily bread, and a cheerful heart, is nothing else but good sense and natural understanding; and I have never found in all my life a useful man who was what they call a good scholar. The right understanding with the common people is, as it were, free and easy, and shows itself always in the proper place and season; so that a man's words don't fit but at the very
SEASONABLE AND UNSEASONABLE WISDOM.
moment when they are spoken, and a quarter of an hour before or after they would not fit at all. But the school understanding brings in all manner of sayings which are fit at all times, in summer and winter, in hot and cold, in Lent and at Easter; and that is the reason why this school understanding does not do any good to common people, who must regulate themselves according to times and seasons; and that is the reason again, why their natural understandings which are in them, ought to be drawn out more. And for this there are no better teachers than the house, and the father's and mother's love, and the daily labour at home, and all the wants and necessities of life. But if the children must needs be sent to school, the schoolmaster should at least be an openhearted, cheerful, affectionate, and kind man, who would be as a father to the children; a man made on purpose to open children's hearts and their mouths, and to draw forth their understandings as it were from the hindermost corner. In most schools, however, it is just the contrary; the schoolmaster seems as if he was made on purpose to shut up children's mouths and hearts, and to bury their good understandings ever so deep underground. That is the reason why healthy and cheerful children, whose hearts are full of joy and gladness, hardly ever like school. Those that show best at school are the children of whining hypocrites, or of conceited parish-officers; stupid dunces, who have no pleasure with other children; these are the bright ornaments of school-rooms, who hold up their heads among the other children like the wooden king in the ninepins among his eight fellows. But if there is a boy who has too much good sense to keep his eyes for hours together fixed upon a dozen of letters which he hates; or a merry girl, who while the schoolmaster disourses of spiritual life, plays with her little hands all manner of temporal fun under the desk, the schoolmaster, in his wisdom, settles that these are the goats who care not for their everlasting salvation. .....'
“Thus spoke good Josiah, in the overflowing of his zeal, against the nonsense of village schools, and his master and mistress grew more and more attentive to what he said.
“Well, I trust,' said Christopher at last, “there still may be some other light to view the matter in.'
“But Eliza replied : “There may be twenty more lights to view it in, for aught I know. But I care not; I know this one thing, that I will have my children more about me in future; it seems very natural indeed, that fathers and mothers should themselves teach their children as much as they possibly can. I think there is a great deal in what Josiah says, and one really shudders, when one comes to reflect what sort of people our village schoolmasters generally are. There are many of them, I know, Christopher, whom thou wouldst not trust with a cow or a calf over winter; and it is very true that one ought to look more one's self after one's children, and not fancy all is well, provided one sends them to school.””
Inquiries into the Course of Nature in the Development of the
Human Species—A plain Picture of Man.
It is the inevitable doom of light appearing in a world of darkness, after giving the first evidence of its existence, to be enveloped for a time in impenetrable mists, raised up against it, in desperate self-defence, by the light-abhorring elements to which its radiant influence speaks as a message of destruction. Thus against the rising sun the fogs are gathering thicker and thicker, until he dispel them by the strength of his noonday beam; and thus against the Eternal Light, ever since the heavenly hosts celebrated his descent on earth, sin has been, and still is, gathering its blackest clouds, and will continue to do so till that overwhelming day when, in final triumph over all darkness, his glory shall be made manifest. This great and awful truth, equally attested by the evidence of every new day, and by the mystery of ages, finds its confirmation in the experience of every individual; and in proportion as we see the effulgence of light divine beaming in the human eye, in the same measure deep, we may conclude, has been the darkness through whose horrors the mind has penetrated to the bright regions of faith, love, and hope. Such a nightly passage was the period of Pestalozzi's life, which elapsed between his first unsuccessful experiment at Neuhof, and his renewed and more prosperous exertions for the cause of education at Stanz and Burgdorf. The former was a mere indication of those truths which, to bring into full consciousness within himself, and to realize in the world, the hand of Supreme Wisdom fitted him by affliction and disappointment of every kind. Of the deep
A FEW HARD QUESTIONS.
gloom by which his soul was oppressed at that time, he has left a striking monument behind him in his “Inquiries into the Course of Nature in the Development of the Human Species,” a work which, as it appears primâ facie to contradict his other writings, preceding as well as succeeding, can be understood in the connexion which it has with them, only, when considered as expressive of the tumult which the misanthropic suggestions of experience raised up in his soul against the oracles of faith and love so loudly declared in his bosom. To analyse its contents, to place its truths out of the false light in which they appear, into the light of verity in which they ought to stand, to trace its errors to their fountainhead, and to correct them, would be an undertaking far beyond the design of the present pages, involving a depth of metaphysical research, and an extent of volume, which would not easily be endured; but to extract a few of the most characteristic passages will be of great avail in illustrating the tortuous march of Pestalozzi's genius.
The questions which he proposes to himself at the onset are the following:
“What am I? What is the human species ?
“I want to know what the course of my life, such as it has been, has made of me? and I want to know what the course of life, such as it has been, has made of the human species ?
“I want to know on what ground my volition and my opinions rest, and must rest, under the circumstances in which I am placed ?
“I want to know on what ground the volition of the human-species and its opinions rest, and must rest, under the circumstances in which it is placed ?"
As a preliminary to their solution, he gives this compendious outline of the “march of civilization :"
“ By the helplessness of his animal condition man is brought to knowledge.
“ Knowledge leads to acquisition, acquisition to possession.