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deem religious education almost superfluous, is by no means sur. prising. However, such characters would slight all my admonitions, and therefore it is in vain to address them. Those whose attention I would solicit, are decent and respectable parents, who wish to entertain those views of human nature, and of the duties of man, which the Holy Scriptures exhibit. That such persons should venture to hope that their children will perform, in subsequent life, the duties they owe to God and their fellow crea. tures, when little care has been taken to prepare them for this great work, is perfectly astonishing. Do we form such absurd expectations in other things? Does any man suppose that his son will be fit for any profession or business, without substantial and persevering instruction? Does he venture to send him out into the world as a lawyer, a surgeon, or a tradesman, without a long preparation, expressly calculated to qualify for the line of life to which he is destined? And yet how many fathers expect their children to maintain the character of Christians, with very little appropriate education to lead them to conquer, through divine grace, their natural aversion to God, and to become new crea. tures under Christ their Saviour. God does not treat man in this manner, but furnishes him, in the Scriptures, with most august and persuasive teachers, and the greatest variety of instruction and exhortation, calculated to turn him from darkness to light, and to induce him to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts. But man, deaf to the divine voice, which says "Go and do thou likewise," and deaf also to the call even of parental affection, not seldom suffers the early years of his offspring to pass without
any systematic and adequate plan of instruction and discipline, expressly calculated for the attainment of those great ends.”
Judging from the impression made on our own minds, we cannot but think that any parent, on reading the entire chapter of which the above is only a single paragraph, instead of complimenting himself on any supposed measure of parental fidelity, will be constrained to confess that he has not yet begun to act on this subject, in a manner that corresponds either with the importance of the object he has in view, or with his own ordinary course of action for the attainment of an end in other things.
In the second chapter, the author confines his remarks to the period of infancy; or to the time previous to the child's being taught to read.
He animadverts with much justice and point on the erroneous course ordinarily pursued by parents and nurses during this period—shows that the child is now in a very plastic state—that much, consequently, depends on the present treatment—that moral culture should now be commenced, and every suitable effort be made to implant the seeds of piety before a noxious growth of temper and habits, congenial to the natural heart, and often fostered and forwarded by evil management, shall spring up, to render less hopeful, if not utterly useless, any subsequent efforts for the salvation of the child.
The following extract, the beauty of which we admire, and in the sentiment of which we fully concur, while it is a fair sample of this part of the volume, affords a practical lesson to mothers and nurses which they ought carefully to learn, and at least a useful bint to teachers and governors of children, which they ought not to despise:
“Let me appeal to every mother, who delights to view her infant as it lies in her arms, whether it does not soon begin to read “the human face divine,” to recognize her smile, and to show itself sensible of her affection in the little arts she employs to en. tertain it. Does it not, in no long time, return that smile, and repay her maternal caresses with looks and motions so expressive, that she cannot mistake their import? She will not doubt, then, the importance of fostering in its bosom those benevolent sympathies which delight her, by banishing from the nursery whatever is likely to counteract them. She will not tolerate in a nurse that selfish indifference to the wants of an infant, which sometimes leaves it to any accident, while she finishes her breakfast or chats with a companion. Much less will she tolerate passionate snatches and scolding names, and hard and impatient tones of voice in the management of her child. I may be pronounced fanciful; but I certainly think it would be of importance to keep sour and ill. humoured faces out of a nursery, even though such faces were not commonly accompanied by corresponding conduct. I am persuaded that I have seen a very bad effect produced by a face of this kind on the countenance and mind of an infant. Is it not reasonable to suppose, that if an infant sympathizes with a smile, it may also sympathize with a scowl, and catch somewhat of the inward disposition which distorts the features of the nurse? Thus begin the efforts of a parent to cherish all that is benevolent and affectionate in the bosom of a child, and to prevent the growth of every thing of an opposite nature. And who shall presume to assign limits to the importance of such efforts in the education of a being, whose leading disposition, if it fulfil the will of its Maker, must, both through life and through all eternity, be love ?” The third chapter is occupied with some general observations, in the form of counsel, designed to guard parents against certain evils, not uncommon even in Christian families. They are advised first, to be particularly on their guard against their faults and weaknesses in the presence of their children; secondly, never to make mere playthings of their children; thirdly, to consult the good of their offspring rather than their own ease in the management of their family; fourthly, in correcting a fault, to look to the heart rather than to the outward act; fifthly, to be on their guard against the little wiles and artifices which children will soon employ to obtain their ends, and with which the parent is often pleased as an early indication of extraordinary talent, not understanding that the practice is destructive of the simplicity and integrity of character on which every thing good depends; sixthly, to study consistency of system, and harmonious co-operation between the father and the mother—a recommendation than which, certainly, nothing can be more important; seventhly, to be much with their children, and to encourage them in a free and unreserved intercourse with their parents.
The following remarks from what our author says on the last particular, may serve to recommend the whole, viz.;
6. The mother is much more with her children than the father, but generally, I think, not as much as she ought to be. his is the more to be lamented, because women are admirably fitted for training their offspring in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They have a remarkably quick insight into character; and a warmth of affection, a tenderness, and a delicacy, which win the affection of others, and enable them to correct faults without giving offence, and to present Christian principles and virtues to their children in their most amiable form. I believe there has seldom been a man who had a good and amiable mother, that has not, in after life, looked back on ber instructions and example with new concern and delight. Cowper's admirable little poem on viewing his mother's picture, touches the hearts of all of us, because it describes scenes and feelings dear to every virtuous mind: scenes and feelings of which many of us have partaken, and all wish to partake."-pp. 64, 65.
In the next chapter the author treats of the second period of childhood, or that between the first use of a book, and the age at which children are often sent from home to public schools. He shows the vast importance of a proper attention, on the part of parents, to this period-speaks of the different objects of education, and their relative value—of the commencement of instruction in reading—of choice of books-of tones and articulation-of the care that should be taken in the use of religious books, that their great object be constantly kept in view; of the sacred Scriptures, and some other suitable books on religion-of the use of catechisms—the committing of Scripture to memory by daily lessons, &c. &c.
The fifth chapter is properly a continuation of the preceding, and exhibits some views that ought to be most religiously regarded in the instruction of children. The following passage, at the opening of the chapter, relates to an evil, of which we have seen so much in common schools, and of the injurious effects of which, in preventing both mental and moral improvement, we are so deeply convinced, that we hardly know how to repress our indignation while speaking on the subject.
" It often happens that reading is made too mechanical. If the words are properly pronounced, and attention is paid to the stops, and the parts of the sentence are put together with tolerable propriety, the teacher rests satisfied, though the understanding of the scholar has been little employed. This is very generally the course with village-school masters”—(teachers of common schools)" and many parents of education too nearly approach it. Even the mere reading, were this alone the object, as it often is in a school, can never be good when the mind does not thoroughly enter into the sense; but that parents whose views extend much farther, should ever acquiesce in their children's pronouncing sentences somewhat like parrots, and missing a large portion, at least, of the information and improvement which it was the intention of the author to convey, is really surprising. When this kind of reading is permitted, I believe it is owing, in a good measure, to their not being aware, how imperfectly their little scholars understand what is so plain to themselves. The evil in question is of far greater importance than may at first appear. The child is led into a habit of reading without thinking, and of resting contented with a very confused notion of what is read. Scarcely any thing can be a greater obstacle to the acquisition of sound and useful knowledge, and of vigorous habits of investigation. If these are not acquired, the mind will generally become a prey to frivolity and intellectual idleness; and it is well, if it do not also resign itself to low pursuits and sensual indulgence.”pp. 97, 98.
To prevent this mechanical mode of reading, the author suggests, with great propriety, that the utmost care should be
taken, as soon as a child begins to read, to make him understand what he reads, and to give an account of it afterwards. To this we would also add, that the child should be furnished with a facility of understanding what he'reads, in the adaptation to his capacity of the first books that are put into his hands. There is an incredible number of spelling books (not less than one or two hundred different kinds) in use in this country, each designed by its author as a primary book for children; and yet there is not one among them all that is well adapted to the purpose. What can be more absurd than to put, not only long columns, but many successive pages of disconnected, and often uncommon and difficult words, into the hands of a little child as a means of teaching it to read intelligently; and who can wonder, if, after the weeks and months of drilling and drudgery that the little sufferer passes through, in these elementary exercises, it should turn out that he can now read, or, rather, repeat words with as little understanding as his teacher. It is here, in our judgment, that the foundation of a mechanical kind of reading is laid, and, consequently, here, that the correction should be first applied. Let the child begin the use of a book with reading-lessons, adapted to his infantile capacity-with lessons of short simple sentences, consisting of easy words, and conveying ideas of things with which he is familiar, and if the teacher know how to read himself, he will find no great difficulty in teaching his pupil to read with understanding also.
A spelling book may have its place in a course of education; but its place is certainly not the first in order. All the spelling with which a child should be occupied until he begins to read, is the spelling of the words that compose his readinglessons.
The author further goes on, in this chapter, to show that school-lessons ought to be made to promote moral qualitiessuch as obedience, regularity, attention, patience, and' alacrity; and speaks at some length of their qualities, as the happy fruits of a proper mode of education.
The sixth chapter is occupied with the subject of rewards and punishments in the education and discipline of children; and the seventh treats of example, emulation, effect of personal character of parents, &c. These subjects are ably discussed, and claim the careful attention of both parents and teachers. We fear, from what we have seen in families and schools of an angry and peevish administration of discipline,