« AnteriorContinuar »
of these superior men, who have sought the best means of introducing moral reform, we believe it is possible to add to that which they have commenced, and in a manner to complete their work.
Every man who has some ideas of order and economy, or even obeys the instinct of self-interest and self-preservation, allows not a piece of gold, or even of silver, to escape from him without knowing pretty nearly what becomes of it, and he employs it only to procure something agreeable or useful. When a piece of money has been expended or lost, that expense or loss can be made up by a happy combination of circumstances, or by exertion. But when a fraction of the current coin of time, called a day, is lost, who can retrieve it? Who can compensate us for having allowed it to pass by without any agreeable or useful result, or, as is too often the case, for having wasted it by plunging, through heedlessness, imprudence, levity, or the impulse of the passions, into an abyss of misfortunes?
How happens it that we take less heed of the expenditure of our time, than we do of the outlay of our money?
It is often said, that time is a treasure which we should guard with a miser's care. But the consequences which naturally flow from this thought have never been fully deduced.
It has, therefore, appeared essential to us to construct for the use of children or youths a Regulator, which, whatever may be its form, shall be fitted to render of easy application a regular and economic method of employing each day's time, and to furnish the means of knowing, with all possible accuracy, in what manner each hour has been spent.
The old precept, which, the Roman satirist tells us, descended* from heaven, Tv σEAUTÓV, Know thyself, has been reproduced in all ages, among all nations, and in all tongues. The question is, how to make the application of it easy and general.
We have drawn out, after an idea suggested by Franklint, a regulating-table, which will in about five minutes allow any individual to record, every morning, upon a single line, the various occupations, and the principal results of each hour of the past day.
The Regulator is a series of small tables composed of columns representing all the possible employments of human life, and all the relations of the social state.
The first and second column to the left of the table in
E cœlo descendit yvwdi grautóv.
See his Life and Posthumous Works.
dicate the day of the week and the name of the month. The third column, more ample in size, is designed for an account of the daily variations of temperature, variations which exercise a natural and necessary influence over man and upon his conduct. The fifteen columns which follow, from the fourth to the sixteenth, express, by the figures to be written in them, the number of hours given to each of the divisions of life, physical, moral, intellectual, social, and passive or vegetative. A column much larger than the preceding (Remarks or Reflections) is designed to receive in two or three lines, corresponding to the line of the day, the explanation of those columns which are for that day the most charged with incident; and it should contain at the most twenty-five or thirty words of observation, in order to recall the names of persons, places, establishments, or the most remarkable objects which have been seen during the day, or the most important things which have been done. The eighteenth or last column (appreciation of conduct) is designed to receive a secret sign, (as a note of music, a letter of the alphabet, an algebraic character, or any other figure,) which shall faithfully recall and render visible to the eye, or as it were intuitive to the mind, the good, bad, or indifferent impressions which the past day has left in it.
Thus three tables of ten days each, containing thirty or thirty-one lines, will describe a month. Thirty-six tables, making 365 lines, will represent the twelve months of the year; and, followed by a final recapitulatory table of twelve. lines, for a summary account of the twelve months, constitute the Regulator.
We give here the form of a table of the different employments of daily life for the month of January alone, which can be easily repeated twelve times for the twelve months of the year.
Note. We should advise the employment of initial letters for the purposes of the table, as saving time and space.
FORM of the REGULATOR OF Life,
Considered under the Five Relations of Physical, Moral, Intellectual, Social, and Passive or Vegetative.
1 Rainy, To bed
Monday, 2 cold, dry, at.. 7h.
3 fine, hu-Rose at 6h. Running 3 back. 3 Politeness. Humanity Sobriety. 4 mid, &c. Ill 2h. Rowing 2 Dancing 4
5 Tempe- Refresh h. Walking 3
Poetry. 2 Language Chemistry CorreReading 1| 1spondence tion
Conversa- Society 3Lost time Rouen, Monu
2 ment of Jean
By means of the Regulator, any one who may use it can retrace each morning in his mind the events of the preceding day, which must have been employed either in a good or bad, satisfactory or unprofitable manner. In whatever way it has been passed, all is consummated. The irresistible stream of time has engulphed the past day. But for the very reason that the latter exists no more but in the memory, that its results are no longer susceptible of change, it is important that the fruits of observation should be stored; the moment is come to select and preserve in the most analytical, abridged, and complete manner, all that has permanent value. A single inspection of the line thus traced is an indirect but eloquent lesson; and it will be difficult, when making the entries in their appropriate columns, and considering and comparing the lines which follow one another in each page, to avoid being induced, by the force of reflection and reason, either to modify the conduct by the experience of the preceding day, or to resolve upon continuing the same course of action, if conscience has allowed a sign of contentment to be affixed to the recording line.
Man has a body, and thence a physical life and physical wants. He has a soul, and moral wants; an intelligent spirit, and wants and relations intellectual; he has a nature eminently social, and with it wants, relations, interests, and social duties, in regard to his kind.
The Regulator unites the two advantages of recalling exactly the infinite diversity and degrees of occupation, of circumstance, of impression, of feeling, of pain, and pleasure, which are the elements of life's fugitive essence; and of giving a great regularity to the actions, of which it classes methodically the most important results, without fatiguing the mind or exacting any other sacrifice than a conscientious record of the thoughts for the space of five minutes each morning.
But if the Regulator may powerfully contribute to inculcate good habits-the object of moral education-the presence of a master under the name of Educator specially charged with this branch of teaching, is not less desirable from the salutary influence which he may exert over the minds of his pupils; for although God in creating man has implanted in his breast the capacity to understand that eternal principle of morality, Do unto others as you would they should do unto you:' this principle is not morality, but its germ. Man must become enlightened before he can know that which he ought wisely to choose for himself. The ignorant man errs through ignorance, and not through malice, and may commit evil even in doing to others that which he would wish done to himself. The savage of the wilds of America
slays his vanquished enemy; but when he is in his turn conquered, he submits to the laws of war, and murmurs not at his fate. The experience of ages has not yet taught him that the different tribes are not different races of beings, like tigers and panthers, and that men are formed for unity and love, and not for strife and destruction. It is necessary, therefore, to wake into life the moral feeling. Now this is precisely the office of the Educator. We desire to see established in every school a class solely for moral education, which should be entrusted to a master whose information and intelligence might enable him daily to treat progressively, with clearness, method, and simplicity, all the moral questions which have relation to ordinary life. These conversations, carried on in a familiar manner, and stript of that pompous display of severity which certain instructors affect, often only to mask the extent of their own ignorance, should be presided over by the teacher, who might point out the questions in morality which ought to be discussed, by commencing the development of them himself, and afterwards make a summary of each discussion. The importance and efficacy of such discussions in forming the moral dispositions of the pupils who are put in possession of the Regulator would soon be perceived. How greatly would they develop, enlighten, and fortify those dispositions! The whole difficulty in such an undertaking hinges upon the mode to be adopted to ensure a proper choice of masters.
We have heard that in some places in Switzerland, the situations of primary schoolmaster were publicly disposed of to the candidates whose terms were the lowest. The same custom existed in Ban de la Roche, before the care of that village was confided to M. Stuber, predecessor of the celebrated Oberlin. At Bâle, half a century ago, they drew the professors by lot. We do not intend to occupy
ourselves with these singular modes of election; but we shall speak of the usual methods adopted in the choice of teachers.
Examinations are in our opinion very objectionable. The qualities to which they have reference are not precisely those which it is most important that the master should possess. The degree of proficiency in science which the candidate may have attained is the principal point to which inquiry is directed; but the talent for placing science within the reach of youth, and rendering it interesting to them, the power of judgment, the moral direction of the ideas, and the intellectual capacity, are very imperfectly appreciated. Nevertheless, these powers are what should be imperatively required in an instructor; for, with zeal and natural capacity, knowledge is readily acquired by study.