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Many Mothers may consider the performance of their sacred maternal duties as too difficult, too irksome an undertaking; they have been so enfeebled, so degraded, by a corrupt education, that it will require a strong effort on their part, to assume the necessary courage, properly to use the powers with which nature has invested them *.
Many may consider it as a matter of small moment, with whom or in what manner the early years of childhood are passed ; that patience and good nature are alone requisite in the management of infants; and that the nurse is the most proper person to be entrusted with them. Had these Mothers, in their infancy, not been left under such guidance, had their hearts and their minds been purified, elevated, and rightly directed, they could not have entertained these mistaken, paralyzing, and most pernicious notions. They would have proved, by experience, that
· * External appearance is highly cultivated, and little attention given either to the head or heart. Is it wonderful that a young woman so educated, should make but an awkward figure in educating her own children?
the part assigned to them, though difficult, is yet delightful : they would have learned that the proper development of the infant, requires powers and virtues, and an enlightened neverfailing love, of which a Parent only is capable.
But a perverted education has rendered the generality of Mothers equally insensible to the evils to which they expose their children, as to the humiliation of placing themselves under the direction of nurses and governesses : of allowing them to usurp the post, and to fulfil the sacred duties, which Parents ought to consider as their inalienable right, and their dearest privilege.
This perverted education has robbed them of the fulness of happiness; of their children, their home, their earthly Paradise; of the blessedness, the internal blessedness, a Mother should feel, in unfolding the powers of the young immortals committed to her charge.
All this PESTALOZZI would restore; he would RAISE Mothers to a state that would fit them for the performance of their duty: instead of so qualifying their duty, as to LOWER it to their now debased artificial state,
to their misdirected pleasures in worldly objects.
PARENTS! impressed with the TRUTH of the fundamental Pestalozzian principle, that females may, under RIGHT guidance, through Divine Grace, become instruments of extensive improvement, and of permanent good, no longer sacrifice your daughters at the low shrine of fashionable folly !
PERSONALLY apply yourselves to their right education! Prove your love to those beings for whose future fate you are deeply responsible, by unceasingly devoting your best endeavours towards rendering them intelligent, useful, benevolent, and happy, by teaching them to govern their conversation, and to regulate the employment of their time after the laws of reason and piety*. “ Dare to approve 6 and practise what is your duty and your “ interest, and despise all the vain cavils of “ the world, when set in opposition to the
. * Since custom is the principal magistrate of man's life, let men by all means endeavour to obtain good customs. Certainly, custom is most perfect when it beginneth in young years ; this we call education, which is in effect but an early custom.-Bacon.
word and will of your Maker.” Train them to look for their rule of conduct in the Scriptures : they will there learn that many things which pass in this world for great, and glorious, and honourable, and much-to-be-sought, are in direct opposition to its precepts, and that true greatness consists in avoiding them ; that the passions and opinions sanctioned by fashion, the trifling spirit, the unprofitable way of spending time, the levity, self-love and indulgence, the vanity of costly dress, of pompous equipage, of splendid furniture, the lust of the eye and the pride of life, are all of this world, and directly contrary to the tenour of the Gospel ; that it is impossible that a heart and a life devoted to folly, idleness, and vanity, can be an offering worthy of God.
Guard them from imagining that Religion consists in words and professions, in exactness respecting forms, times, and modes; or even in regularly attending places of worship: let them learn that all outward formality is a vain shadow, if not accompanied by a life regulated in every action by the rules of Christianity. Instead of training them to consult the opinion of the world, and to bow to its dictates, “teach them that there are many popular and fashionable usages, at which Reason smiles, and Religion blushes *;" accustom them to study the New Testament, and from that to learn the right employment of their time, their money, their talents of every kind.
It is from the New Testament that they must learn how to use the world, how to live above it, and in opposition to its spirit: that is the standard which must be taken to educate them in self-denial, humility, love, meekness, charity; which must teach them to cultivate Heavenly tempers, to consider the good of this world as a secondary object, to devote their affections to God, to aspire after Christian perfection; to have an ardent desire and a sincere intention of pleasing God, and of acting in conformity to His will, in every action of their ordinary life.
Were children educated in the practice as well as in the profession of Christianity, the world would assume a very different aspect; more than half its cares, troubles, and anxieties;
* Benson on Education.