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"NATURE" AS UNDERSTOOD BY PESTALOZZI.
virtue, dwelling in the child. This, unless the power spoken of be a divine power, distinct from “human nature,” in the English sense of the word, would militate against the fact, expressly averred by Scripture, and no where denied, on the contrary frequently referred to, by Pestalozzi, that man is in a fallen condition, whereby his nature, again in the English acceptation, has become totally corrupt. And yet it is equally true that, in many instances, Pestalozzi himself speaks of the goodness of man in so unqualified a manner, that no other explanation seems to suggest itself, but that of a vague use of terms, without sufficient distinction, which is warranted by other apparent contradictions in his writings. Be this as it may, if Pestalozzi had been driven to a point on this subject, he would either have been obliged to set himself in direct opposition to Scripture, by asserting a source of goodness and truth in the actual creaturely nature of man, thereby substituting the English to the German meaning of the word; or, if he remained consistent to his belief in Revelation, and especially in the doctrine of the fall, he would then be obliged to assert the indwelling of the divine nature in human nature, the “shining of the light in darkness,” in explicit terms. But with this he would get into another difficulty; for he would be told by a large portion of, at least the English, religious world, that there is no such thing as an universal indwelling of “the word” in human nature, but that it takes place only in the regenerate, the predestined, the elect. From this difficulty he could extricate himself in no other way than either by acquiescing in the exclusive doctrine, in which case he would have to disavow every word of what he has so universally stated, concerning the “
, pure impulses of nature;” or, on the other hand, by taking his stand with us on the express declaration of St. John, that he that was made flesh in the person of Jesus Christ, is, “the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world,” or, asit ought to be translated, more explicitly,“the true light that lighteth every man as he cometh* into the world.”
• Πάντα άνθρωπον ερχόμενον not τον ερχόμενον. .
MEANING OF THE TERM IN THE PRESENT WORK.
Our readers have now the case fairly before them, and may choose between these three propositions :
1. Pestalozzi rejects the authority of Scripture.
2. Pestalozzi gives up the fundamental principle of his views on education.
3. Pestalozzi believes in the universal presence of the divine life in the soul of man, from the moment of birth.
As for ourselves, being obliged to make our choice, in the extracts we give we shall adhere to the view which we have ever entertained on this subject, and for which we refer those among our readers who wish for a more full illustration of this important doctrine, to our Lectures, published under the title “Christian Education," p. 61–72. Meanwhile we beg them to bear in mind that we ourselves do, and desire that they likewise will, associate with the terms “nature,” “the voice of nature,” and others which inevitably occur in the present extracts, not any part of the creaturely nature of man, but that divine power of “light and life,” which the apostle has pointed out as universally indwelling in man for the purpose of his restoration. In this sense we can fully join in Pestalozzi's remark, that "it takes a long time for the blindness and folly of mankind, to succeed in suffocating the voice of nature in the child's heart and mind!
But it is time that we should let him speak again for himself. He continues thus to argue in support of the influence of “ nature”
“God himself has deposited in our bosom a counterpoise against our raving self-destruction. The life of surrounding nature, and the truth of which it is the expression, forms a support to this counterpoise, and contributes to the accomplishment of the everlasting will of our Maker, who desireth not that the sanctuary of our nature should be concealed in weakness and unconsciousness, but that all the children of men should have an infallible standard of right and truth to guide them, until they reach the point when, being aware of the high calling of their immortal nature, they cannot forfeit it, except through their own guilt, by losing themselves, in full consciousness of that guilt, in the labyrinths of error, and amidst the pre ipices of vice. But the great majority of the men of this time hardly know what God has done for
THE WAY OF DEVELOPMENT TRACED OUT.
them, nor do they allow any weight to that powerful influence which nature exercises upon our development; every trifle, on the contrary, by which they wrest and pervert the grand course of nature, they swell out so as to lead one to think that mankind are indebted to their own art for every thing, and to nature for nothing. And yet it is nature alone that does us any good; it is she alone that leads us incorruptibly and infallibly unto wisdom and truth.
“Of this my experiment furnished me with striking proofs. The more I pursued the track of nature, the more I strove to connect my endeavours with her workings, and exerted myself to keep pace with her, the more did I perceive the immense progress of her course; and, to my astonishment, I found the child endowed with sufficient power to follow her. The only weakness I met with, was the inability of turning to account what was already in existence; I found myself guilty of the weakness of presumption, in making myself the moving power, instead of merely collecting materials for an internal power of action; or rather, in attempting to cram that into the child, which is only to be drawn forth out of him, as it is primitively deposited in him, and requires nothing but a stimulus of life to give the impulse for its development. I now thought thrice before I presumed to imagine any thing too difficult for the children; and ten times before I ventured to say: 'It is beyond them.' ...
“ By degrees certain fundamental points established themselves in my mind, and guided me in the further pursuit of my object. I became every day more convinced that reasoning with children, at an early age, does no good whatever ; but that the only way to a real development of their mental faculties is :
“1. To enlarge gradually the sphere of their intuition ; i. e. to increase the number of objects falling under their own immediate perception.
“ 2. To impress upon them those perceptions, of which they have become conscious, with certainty, clearness, and precision.
“ 3. To impart to them a comprehensive knowledge of language, for the expression of whatever has become, or is becoming, an object of their consciousness, in consequence either of the spontaneous impulse of their own nature, or of the assistance of tuition.
“ As these three leading points were fixing themselves in my mind, I began to understand more clearly, likewise, the means of accomplishing my task and I found:
“1. That intuitive* books for elementary instruction are an indispensable requisite.
* It is impossible to avoid the occasional appearance of this term, in its native garb, strictly interwoven as it is with the whole train of Pestalozzi's ideas. It is easily enough understood, when we speak of intuitive knowledge : but when intuitive methods, intuitive books, &c. are spoken of, there seems to be some reason to doubt the propriety of such, an application. And yet it would
MEANS REQUIRED FOR THAT PURPOSE.
“ 2. That the method of elucidation traced out in these books must be distinguished by clearness and precision.
“3. That upon the ground of the knowledge of things, gained in the order and manner prescribed by these books, the children must be led to a knowledge of names or words; and exercised in the use of them, so that they may acquire ease and propriety of expression, even before the period when they are taught spelling.”
be impossible, without a most tedious circumlocution, to convey Pestalozzi's meaning in many cases in which he uses it in this manner. His leading idea was, that the child should be taught, as much as possible, by his own examination of things; his knowledge was not to be founded on hear-say evidence, but on his own ocular inspection. This he called, very appropriately, intuitive knowledge ; the method by which the teacher lea bis pupil to acquire such knowledge was called the intuitive method ; and the manuals, by which the teacher was to be guided in the course of his instruction, were termed intuitive books. At a subsequent period, when Pestalozzi pursued the subject of education to a more advanced age, and wben he penetrated more deeply into the mysteries of human nature, he spoke, likewise, of mental, moral, and religious intuition ; that is to say, of a perception of the understanding, the moral feelings, and the religious faculties of man, which is distinct from all information derived from outward sources, inasmuch as it rests altogether on internal consciousness. The ideas conveyed, usually, by the terms “light of reason, light of conscience, and inward divine light,” bear a faint analogy to what Pestalozzi meant to express, when speaking of different sorts of internal, or spiritual intuition. This latter acceptation of the terms “ intuitive” and “ intuition” belongs, however, as has been stated, to a later period; though some traces of it occur already in the present work. After this explanation, which may serve as a sort of passport to two “hard words,” we hope that the promise of using them as rarely as possible will ensure us the indulgence of our readers in those cases, in which we cannot avoid them without a lengthy paraphrase.
Pestalozzi's first Assistants.-Kruesi's early Career- His Views
of the Method.
Having seen in the preceding Chapter, in what light Pestalozzi himself viewed the subject of education at this period of his experiment at Burgdorf, we shall now take the opportunity of making ourselves acquainted with those men who were the first to share his labours and privations. They were all three individuals of humble station in life, and, with the exception of Tobler—who had for some time been feeding upon the crumbs which fall from the table of science,--almost totally illiterate. This, however, so far from incapacitating them, on the contrary rendered them the more fit for becoming Pestalozzi's fellow-teachers, for this simple reason, that it rendered them more inclined to become his fellow-learners. Among the numbers of literary men from all countries, who, at a subsequent period, repaired to Pestalozzi's establishment, experience has in too many instances attested the truth of the remark, that the learning imparted by the forms and systems of “the schools” proves an almost insurmountable obstacle to the understanding of Pestalozzi's principles and his method. And how should it be otherwise? The scholar's very frame of mind, the lack of true humility which it generally carries along with it, will prevent him from descending so low, as to look up to the elements of knowledge as a source of information for himself. The utmost he can bring himself to, is to give a scrutinising look at the new manner in which those elements are presented, either because he wishes to form an opinion on the