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fore it can excite ideas, we do indeed manifold mischief, but we do nothing to excite affection. We present no images of beauty and love to fill his heart with delight, and we leave no impression but one of tedium from listening to or repeating unintelligible sounds. If, however, we do not content ourselves with such mindless repetition, but succeed in communicating distinct impressions, not of the merciful and loving Father, the Author of the infinite variety of our happy feeling, and of the wondrous beauty with which creation teems, but of the Avenger and terrible Judge, who will inflict everlasting torture on transgressors,—then we pot merely fail to excite love to God, but lay a lasting foun. dation for feelings which, as long as they exist, render that love impossible. If "perfect love casteth out fear,” it is because these feelings are mutually destructive. Terror is opposed to love. It is allied to hate, and wants only courage to show abhorrence. If we make the idea of God terrible on the impressible and retentive mind of childhood, religion will become a painful weight, which ordinary minds will escape from when they can—which the more feeble (often, like Cowper, the most finely organized of our race) will sink under—but which the vigorous few will, at maturity, fling boldly off, incurring, as the cost of their mental freedom, whatever injury to their moral nature may follow from the loss of their early faith.
Infinite, therefore, is the mischief of disregarding the operation of the laws, according to which the Author of nature has made our feelings to grow up; and incalculable would be the good of humbly following those laws, in rearing up the religious being of the child. By the delight which he has in loving human beings, his mind may be raised in affection to God. The reality of human love is the germ of that deeper, purer love, or rather loving veneration, with which it is the highest characteristic of the human mind to regard the Deity. The moments of enjoyment, in which the little heart is full of gratitude, -of vague, indistinct, but loving impulses,—should be seized to give the idea of the great cause from which its happiness springs. The idea should be associated with every thing that is pleasant and beautiful, and invested with the parental character, to which the love of human parents can be extended. We shall thus make the love of God a reality. If we continue to link it more and more closely with whatever dearest, by systematically calling it forth, in conjunction with the operation of all faculties, and by making it enter into all enjoyments, it would acquire that mastery over the character which our present ignorant and neglectful treatment of children insures to the lower passions.
Whatever is beautiful or noble in conduct requires only to be presented to the young mind to excite its sympathy and admiration. The New Testament, properly used, is the best of all books for a child, as well as for a man. Its stories, so simple and beautiful, are exactly fitted to attract his attention, and supply his imagination and moral feelings with the food proper for each. Used with a constant regard to its effect upon his thoughts, so as to stimulate his mental activity and give it a right direction, it must be a grand instrument of moral and religious education, even in their very early stages. The deeds of great men--of those who have acted and suffered in all ages for the benefit of their fellow-creatures—will likewise bave immense power. The histories of the Oberlins, the Pestalozzis, the Howards, and the Clarksons, the true heroes of our race, are the best commentaries on the Christian Scriptures. These chosen missionaries of God have left no richer heritage behind them than the unconquerable and self-sacrificing zeal for human improvement, which their example will inspire in generation after generation,
But, while we should commence the child's moral education by surrounding him with all influences of love and happiness, and lay the foundation of religion deep in his nature, by associating its primary ideas with what is most loved, it does not follow that we should withhold all knowledge of God's severer dispensations. The great law of education, as of all science, is Truth. We must lead the child to know things as they are, and, therefore, he must know what is terrible in appearance, as well as what is kind in God's dealings with mankind. But if there be some aspects of the providential dispensations so awful that the firmest faith can not look upon them with a steady eye, of how much consequence is it that the feeble and susceptible mind of childhood should be preoccupied with ideas which give it strength while they excite its love, before it is acquainted with these that re fearful. The first gs color the after-life. When a child's first impressions of the Divine Being represent him as a loving father, and when these have been confirmed by repetition, we may gradually show to the opening reason that it is sometimes the part of a father to chasten those whom he loves. As the child's faculties ripen, we may lead him more and more to understand the wholesomeness to the moral being of many of the miseries and misfortunes of life, until he is left at maturity in the best plight that the care and culture of others can leave him, to combat the temptations of the world, and struggle with the awful mystery of evil. Thus by acting on the mind according to the laws of its moral development, we might insure that whatever peculiar doctrines the individual afterwards took up, the great moral principles of Christianity would have taken root in the depths of his nature, and would be interwoven with his earliest prejudices. The spirit of love and hope, and faith in good, would remain unshaken by calamities, sliedding perpetual light on the dark and thorny path of life, revealing in the present evil the future good, and clothing the changeful incidents of this shifting scene with the hues and harmonies of a better existence. We can, indeed, scarcely conceive the purity, the self-denial, and the power, that might be given to the human character by systematic development. Recollecting how the finest minds have bad to struggle with bad passions strengthened before the maturity of reason, and how much power has been expended in those internal strivings, who shall set limits to the moral force which might be attained by one trained from the first to combat and keep down its selfish impulses? What mighty object for the regeneration of mankind might not be accomplished by a mind impelled from the outset in one direction, and instead of working with what energy remains after its self-conflicts and dubious wanderings in speculations darkened by passion, directing its full unwasted endowment of will against external obstacles ?
Veracity-truthfulness in thought, word, and deed—is a tirst principle of morals. It would almost seem as if we need not teach children truthfulness, provided only we could avoid teaching them falsehood. The child's impulse is unreservedly to believe and to speak the truth. We teach him doubt and falsehood. We teach him doubt by repeatedly deceiving him. We teach him false. hood by our own example, and by making it easier for him to say what is false than what is true. That truth is the natural impulse of the mind, is manifest from the slightest consideration of the laws of its development. The ideas of the objects or events which have had words associated with them (i. e., which the child has learned to speak of) invariably call up in his mind those words and no other. If the child is questioned about any particular occurrence, the words which describe what he thinks to have taken place are precisely those which present themselves. The ideas in his mind call up the words which have been associated with them, and it requires an effort to reject those, and call up others expressing something which did not take place. This effort the child makes only from a motive, and after he has seen it made by others. We use words to him expressing what he discovers to be contrary to the fact. We parry some inconvenient query by an invention; or we attempt to quiet him by threatening something frightful, which does not come. He witnesses falsehood in many of the daily transactions of life. Thus the natural association between words and the things they represent is broken. He soon learns the convenience of falsehood. He is questioned as to some little mischief, which he, without suspicion or hesitation, confesses; and he is punished. He sees a servant or a play-fellow escape by denial. He associates punishment with confession, and impunity with falsehood.
We must take care of this. Our intercourse with children, and, if only for their sakes, with others, should be marked by perfect truthfulness. It will preserve the confidence of the child, which is one of the most powerful, nay, indispensable, instruments for his improvement. His own veracity we must preserve at all events. Full, frank confession should always obtain its reward of approbation, even if it does not wholly remove the displeasure at what has been done wrong. This fearless spirit of truth, so beautiful in childhood, and the companion of all noble virtues in mature life, requires only not to be withered in its first shoots by severe rebuke, or cold displeasure. Severity is one of the chief causes of falsehood. It excites terror, and terror seeks refuge in deceit. Fear will oppose falsehood and cunning to the force with which it can not openly contend. The acuteness of the mind is tasked to devise the means of successful duplicity, and its beautiful structure runs out into a distorted development, which future training can do but little to alter. We must preserve, therefore, in our own affairs, a supreme regard to truth. We should hold it up as a glorious principle worth suffering for, and show our warm admiration for those men who in various ages have chosen neglect and poverty and death for truth's sake.
It would, perhaps, be generally admitted that, upon these great principles of love to God and to man, and perfect truthfulness, (if the two former do not include the latter,) we ought to shape the moral being. This would seem less difficult if the mind were, as Locke supposed, like a sheet of white paper on which we might inscribe what characters we pleased. Our task is very different wllen we know that it is a germ with distinct tendencies folded up within it, and that, although we may, make it flourish or decay, the form which it will take is not what we might arbitrarily determine, but one mainly depending on its own internal forces, and which can be only modified by the treatment it receives from us. We are not, then, to expect that by mere appeals to the child's capacity for loving, and bis impulse to truth, he can be made loving and truthful; these feelings are obstructed and modified by other powerful impulses, which show themselves at the earliest period of his being. Such are the animil appetites; irrascibility, or the impulse to anger; fear; love of distinction or attention :—tiese impulses are perpetually crossing the more elevated ones; and by one or other the character is borne along. The main difficulty in moral education is the subjection of these impulses (their suppression being neither possible nor desirable) to the higher feelings. And here, as elsewhere, we must be guided by the laws according to which these passions are strengthened in the mind.
The appetites necessary for the preservation of our physical frame are felt at the earliest period of life,-hunger and thirst are among the first sensations of the infant. They are, for a long time, the strongest and most constantly recurring of all impulses. This arises, necessarily, from the constitution of the human being, which requires that its physical powers should be the earliest developed, afterwards its observational and intellectual, and lastly its moral faculties. Hence it happens that the impulses for the satisfaction of these wants, which we have in common with animals, are confirmed by repetition into habits long before the higher principles of our nature. We can not alter this; and our business is, first, to avoid any more excitement of those appetites than is necessary for the fulfillment of their functions; secondly, to prevent them, as far as possible, from coming into collision with the higher impulses of justice, kindness, generosity; and lastly, when such collisions can not be prevented, to strengthen the child's better nature to deny the appetite.
In the first place, we must avoid all undue excitement of the appetites. Children are often treated as if eating and drinking were their only pleasures. They are made the great rewards,—the motives of action. “Learn your lesson and I will give you a sugar-plum." "Be good boys, tell the truth, and you shall have a peach after dinner.” Sugar-plums and peaches are made to sweeten the bitters of intellectual exertion and moral conduct. By exciting the imagination to work upon the appetites, we open an indefinite field for their extension, and we subject to them the intellectual and moral being. The pleasures of eating and drinking fill the thoughts, and ingenuity is tasked to obtain them. The character is borne onward by one impulse, acquiring intensity by daily gratification, until it settles into that most debasing form of selfishness in which the appetite is made a god; all affections, charities, human feelings, are sacrificed at its shrine, and whatever power of intellect or graces of imagination linger serve only to decorate its altar.
The appetites of children are unnaturally excited when they see us make the gratification of our own subjects of conversation and anxiety. To save them from the mischiefs of inordinate appetite, we must be simple and moderate our. selves. We must show that we regard eating for its use; that it occupies little of our attention, and forms no part of our favorite enjoyments. Undue excitement may also be avoided by giving children their meals with perfect regularity, 80 that the appetites may be babituated to arise at fixed times, and at no others. Nor should meals ever be made use of for the purposes of reward or punishment. Either will give them a mischievous importance, and we should avoid whatever makes them a subject of attention until they arrive. Eating and drinking will, under any circumstances, be positive and very vivid pleasures, and therefore must be made subservient to moral education. Moals should, wherever it is possible, be taken by several children together, and without allowing discussion as to rights or quantity, the strictest justice of distribution should be observed. Each child should have his attention called to the gratification of his companions, and he should be encouraged to contribute to their enjoyment. Many beautiful impulses of generosity, and of that sympathy which is the foundation of politeness, would be observed in such a group, where nature had not been corrupted by unnatural stimulants. The pleasure of society, and of communicating enjoyment, would soon be felt more vividly than the mere gratification of appetite. Dinners would come to be regarded as dull and cheerless without the cir. cle of happy faces; and thoughts of pleasures of the palate would be clustered round and interwoven with ideas of similar gratification in others. Many & warm and benevolent heart has been first moved to its good work by feelings which, if analyzed, would present, simply, a deep and strong conception of the physical wants of others.
We may thus do much to prevent the clashing of appetites with higher impulses. If a child is debarred from the gratification of his natural appetite, he will use any means in his power to obtain the requisite satisfaction. His appetite is a powerful impulse growing continually more urgent. If he can set it at rest by falsehood or theft, he is certain, after more or less hesitation, to do so. The principles of truth and justice, in a child of the best organization, are feebler than the principle of appetite; and where we compel a collision in which these forces are left to their own unaided strength, the appetite must prevail. Whatever the Spartan discipline might have been able to effect in more advanced youth, such self-coinmand as would maintain truth and justice against cravings of a growing appetite is not possible in childhood.
The general rule, therefore, should be to avoid such collisions. But it is necessary that the man should be able to control his appetites, and, therefore, the child must attempt it. The early strength of these impulses is probably not more necessary for the preservation of our physical frame, than for our moral probation and advancement. We must begin with the slightest trials. If the child's attention has been awakened to the pleasure or pain of others, he will often be disposed to give up a pleasure in order to relieve pain, or to make another happy. All such impulses and acts should receive their due reward of affectionate encouragement. He should be made to feel that such things, above all others, win for him our esteem; and his own feeling will teach him that selfdenial has its reward. His imagination should be excited by brief and vivid anecdotes of those who have given up their pleasure to benefit mankind; but particularly of Him so humble and so gentle, the friend of little children, and so like one that little children would love; who gave up all for the good of men; and rejecting the bright road of ambition and of royal power, took up the bitter and humiliating cross. But we must guard against any unnatural forcing. We must beware of exciting a false and calculating benevolence. Every act of kindness in the child should be followed by its precise natural consequences, both painful and pleasant. All education ought to lead the mind to a more perfect acquaintance with the realities of nature and society—the real properties of things, the real consequences of actions. If a child has willingly sacrificed his own enjoyment for another, he must suffer the loss, and find his reward in the pleasure of doing the kindness and of seeing the happiness he produces. But if we, as a reward for his benevolence, pamper the appetite which he has denied—if we restore the apple or orange which he has given up that he might bestow a penny in charity, we do much to destroy the good of his action and to teach him the trick of hypocrisy. On the next occasion he will expect his loss to be made good, and he will readily vleaso his teacher, or his mama, by be