« AnteriorContinuar »
There are trials of the soul, when the sad heart is grieved at the wickedness of kindred hearts, and could almost wisla itself accursed for the sake of tbose on whom it dotes.
But while we have been gazing the sun has risen; the darkness has disappeared, and the sunny side of SchoolLife is pleasanter than ever before. It is pleasant to drink at the fount of Science, and experience the vigor and energy imparted by the wholesome draught. It is pleasant to detect the rigorous exactness of Mathematics; notice the regularity of its reasonings, and the certainty of its conclusions, or trace its risings, step by step, from the simplest axiom, till it is lost in Infinity. It is pleasant to search out the truths of Natural Science—with the chemist, to seek for the elements of matter, and observe their peculiar essence with the philosopher, to witness the phenomena of Nature, and decipher her mysteries :—with the astronomer, to wander among countless worlds, and appoint for the stars their seasons:—with the physiologist, to study the structure of the human body, that only persect machine with the Botanist to scan every flower of the valley, and detect beauty which the careless observer eces not: to behold a splendor in the lily, which “ Solomon in all his glory” could not equal; and to find in every leaf of the forest, and in every Alpino shrub, a proof of the handiwork of God.
It is pleasant to delve in classic loro, and read the record of immortal deeds :-to go with Ulysses in his wanderings far from his rocky Ithaca, and to learn wisdom from the virtue of his faithful Penelope:--to behold Prometheus, offering himself a sacrifice on the altar of a generous and manly independence :--to see Achilles giving vent to a rightcous indignation, and seeking to wreak his vengéance on the haughty Paris and the stolen Helen :-to watch the fall of stately Ilium; to follow the Pious Æneas in his wanderings ; to witness his affection for the aged Anchises ; to mark his narrow escape from the Terpist and the Harpies; to gaze with him on Scylla and
Charybdis ; to visit the palace of the Tyrian queen, and mark the conquests of Venus, and the fatal issue of misplaced affection; to reach, at length, the long-sought Latium, and behold the rising of a second Ilium; a germ, which, after the lapse of centuries, finds a complete do velopment in the Seven-Hilled City.
It is pleasant tɔ look within, and investigate the philosophy of mind; to trace the history of its development, notice the theories which have been invented to account for its phenomena, and see them passing away, like the shadow from the mountain-side. It is pleasant to fathom, in part, the mystery of mind, to feel its giant power, and acknowledge its immortality. It is pleasant to contemplate the Spiritual in man's nature ; to believe the soul to be an emanation from Deity; to lose ourselves in thought while seeking to know it in all its depth and grandeur; to contemplate its destiny; to shed the tear of penitence, as we think how sad is its fall, or be filled with ecstacy as wa read the story of its Redemption.
And, when the hour of study is over, it is pleasant to lay aside the well-used volume, and give the mind freo play, and thought the loose rein; to mingle in the social circle with friends and classmates, and enjoy the wholesome chat; to speak of conquests made in the fields of Science; of sterling thoughts awakened, which had hitherto lain dormant; of priceless truths discovered among the dingy rubbish of the Past; of purposes accomplished; of plans for future action; of nobler aspirations and holior resolves. It is pleasant to engage in the careless ramble about town or in the vale ; and, leaving, as we do, the retirement and quiet of the student's cloister, we can appreciate full well the scenes through which we pass.Every object demands a share of our attention, and contributes its portion to fill the cup of our enjoyment, as if conscious of the purpose it is ing. Every songster seems to prolong his note for our sake; the happy gwain sings his most pleasing ditty ;
the careless plow-boy becomes eloquent in bis rural barangue, and the raggedest urchin has for us a smile and fitting recognition. Nature puts on her most beautiful garb, and whether it be the deep-seated groon of Summer, the variegated garment of Autumn, or the peerless covering of Winter,-each, in turn, has its peculiar charm, as vo ramble on, and
“ find tongues in trees, Books in the running brooks ; sermons in stones, And good in Everything."
THE SCHOOL ROOM.
From the family we pass to the school. This is the next stage in our educational process, and next in importance, as a source of educational influence. The family and the school have some points of resemblance. The teacher acts in the place of the parent, and is entrusted with delegated power, to control and guide, to instruct and influence.. His object and efforts should be the same --to educate the pupil for life and immortality.
There are also some points of difference between the family and the school. Home education is private, school education public; in the family there are but few, in the school many. The school is a world in miniature, an are. na for the conflict of opposing and varying interests and passions. There meet the mild and docile with the turbulent and headstrong; the amiable and conscientious with the incipient savage. To control and guide this mass of heterogenious material, is the business of the teacher. He cannot select his pupils from those families that havo been under wholesome discipline, but must receive many who have been entirely ungoverned at bome, the current of whose evil propensities has received a steady direction and violent impulse from long years of parental misrule and vice.
Hence, the master and teacher who deserves the name, occupies an important and difficult position. He may sometimes be the sport of fools and the sneer of unwhipped insolence, yet his talents, skill and services, often de serve the admiration and gratitude of the nation.
The services of the true teacher are indispensable. Ho is the patron of society. He can do without the world, but the world, if it would remain free and civilized, cannot do without him. He could live a hundred ways with out teaching-live longer and better (it' may be) in some other employment, but the school must be sustained. Domestic education for a great majority of children, is, as things are, an utter impossibility. They must be educated at school, or not at all; and the great importance of having them educated for the good of society, shows the utility of our public schools. The school-room, then, as a source of educational influence, is very important. It supplies a deficiency that would not otherwise be provided for.
But the school must be well conducted. “Teaching is a science, the teacher an artist.” The science must be well understood, and the artist a workman.
A good school presupposes two things, viz: good gov. ernment, and thorough mental and moral discipline. By good government I mean, the government of the good old Puritan family transferred to the school-room, with all the necessary means to secure its successful operation.
This was a system of self-government. It relied much upon conscience. It aimed to impress a sense of individual responsibility, by a confidential appeal to the better principle. It would never relinquish mild persuasion, as a means of securing its object.
Again, this system of government was rigid and severe ; not to the exclusion of love and kindness, but in the er. ercise of both. The stubborn child was tahen to the altar for sacrifice-for the sacrifice, I mean, of his ungoverned passions. It was believed to be the will of God that the sacrifice be made ; hence the “soul spared not for his crying." This same system is found in theory or practice, in every good school in the nation. The utility of the rod in schools is no longer a debatable question. Its use and necessity are sustained alike, by human and divine authority, by common sense and universal experi ence.
Still, again, this system of government was efficient. It secured its object; it subdued the will, and brought the mind into cheerful subjection. Many a child has been saved in the school, that was lost in the family and society -lost for the want of proper discipline, and saved by the moral power of the rod.
Every good school has also thorough mental and moral discipline. Modern theories of education are rife with innovation. Education of the present day partakes too much of the spirit of the age. Rail-roads and telegraphs are useful to convey merchandise and communicate thought; machines serve to create enterprise and facilitate labor. But labor-saving and time-annihilating methods of education, are destructive to the best interests of society--are sure to defeat the very object they aim to secure.. Discipline is the end of teaching ; not to impart knowledge, not to constitute a mere money-making and practical man, not to fit a person for any special trade, art or profession; but to teach him to think, to give him power to become truly practical and truly successful. I repeat it, the end of education is the power or art of thinking. Anything in books or instruction that does not acknowledge this great truth, is heresy. The old saying that “knowledge is power," is true only when its possessor has power to think. But this mental must always be attended by moral discipline, as before maintained. The heart and conscience, must have their share of attention. This, too, should be the earnest business of the teacher, for every day of his life.