« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Proper Spirit of a Teacher.
ciful, both to each other and to brutes. Thus half a dozen exercises, each of sufficient length for one day's lesson, might be derived from or connected with the single short sentence; Be ye merciful.
The same remarks and the same general course of proceeding are applicable to all the varied doctrines and duties of the Bible. The same course might be pursued in regard to all our relative duties, as growing out of the fifth command ; for example, our duties to parents, to grandparents, to children and grandchildren, to masters and to teachers, to magistrates, and to subjects, to neighbors and to strangers. Pupils might be required to bring together all the texts which have a bearing upon the education of children, upon our duties to the aged, upon our being kind to strangers, tender to servants, respectful to magistrates, &c. So of the various vices condemned, and virtues encouraged by the spirit of each of the commands, as the sixth, the eighth, the fourth, the ninth, &c.
A teacher who has the highly important art of story-telling, may not only introduce and sustain religious exercises like those we have recommended, but may render them exceedingly interesting by his anecdotes and illustrations. Such a man observed, he will perhaps say at one time, that if he had it in his power, he would kill every Indian in the world. Now how many of you think him wrong? And why was it wrong? And what command was it a breach of, &c.? Some of these questions might be decided, that is, an expression of opinion might be given, by uplifted hands; others by writing down texts, on the slate or on paper, as has been repeatedly mentioned.
It cannot be denied that though these and similar exercises may and should be so conducted as not to approach even the confines of sect or party; still they may possibly, by injudicious teachers, be made both partisan and sectarian. It is impossible to present or suggest any course or plan of instruction, which in the hands of those who are themselves thoroughly inbued with the spirit of party and sect, might not degenerate into the very thing which it is the object of this whole essay to prevent and preclude. It is of the first importance therefore, in order to the complete success of the best and most approved and inost conciliating religious lesson, that the teacher possess the right spirit; the spirit of Christ. Whether he belong to this or that theological school, or to this or that denomination of Christians even, is of little comparative consequence, if he has the right spirit and the right temper; and if with the general spirit and temper of Christ, he possess, in particular, a good measure of that wisdom which cometh down from above, and which is pure and gentle,
Mr Conant's Inaugural Address.
and which renders us, in our various avocations, full of good fruits. This preliminary qualification in a teacher, is believed to be indispensable, whatever other qualifications may be possessed, and whatever may be taught, whether by example, lesson, or precept. He who is like Christ, will scarcely fail to let his light shine on those around him, whether children or adults ; and to let it so shine, that good will be done, and God will be glorified. Nor are children less likely to be influenced by example, and to be transformed into the image of those whom they love and esteem, than adults. Lel the teacher of modern times therefore, in one word, possess the same mind and spirit which was manifested by the greatest of teachers 1800 years ago, and then it is impossible, in the nature of things, that he should labor wholly in vain-even though the formalities of religious instruction, were for the most part excluded, by a fastidious, erring, or infidel public sentiment.
PROPER EDUCATION OF MINISTERS.
At the beginning of an inaugural address, delivered in the Chapel of the Hamilton Literary and Theological Seminary, August 19, 1835, by Thomas J. Conant, Professor of Hebrew and Biblical Criticism, we find the following language.
• What is the proper education for a minister of Christ? The general principle is doubtless correct, that it should be such as will, at the same time, give him the most perfect command of his mental powers, and furnish bim with the largest amount of useful knowledge.'
Now, though we like the general tone and spirit of Mr Conant's address, yet we do not feel at all satisfied with his standard of ministerial education. Is not a minister a man? And does not his whole nature, as a man, need developing and training? Has he not bodily powers and functions to be invigorated? Has he not moral powers to be attended to ? Has he not, at least, a conscience to be educated ?
We have some doubts what Mr C. means, in this place, by education. At first, we were disposed to believe that in his haste he had used the term in the old fashioned narrow sense, as synonymous with mere instruction--mere mental development and cultivation-forgetting physical and moral education entirely. But when we come to read on, we find him insisting on it as the duty of the church to establish institutions subject to her con
An incorrect Physiological Doctrine. 295 trol, where she may herself dictate what advantages for intellectual, moral and religious culture shall be enjoyed. This shows, beyond dispute, that Mr C. does not forget moral and religious education. On the subject of physical culture, as a part of the education of the minister, we still find him silent.
True it is--and we ought to make every possible allowance for the fact—that Mr C.'s main object, in this address, is to show the importance to ministers, as much as to men of other professions, of a high toned and largely cultivated intellect, in opposition to that oft prevailing notion, that if the minister is called of God to his work, worldly knowledge is of little or no value. But this, we have already intimated, does not surnish a sufficient apology for presenting such a narrow view of ministerial education. It were easy to have said more, had he fully and heartily and practically believed more.
The truth is, so it seems to us, the whole subject of physical education is by many men, even of enlarged minds, overlooked and contemned. At best, there is a general, not to say almost universal, skepticism about it. There still lingers, if we mistake not, in the minds of most men who are liberally educated, the notion that there is a sort of incompatibility between a vigorous, body and a mighty intellect; and that what is added to the one is almost of necessity, so much taken off from the other.
We cannot deny that some physiological writers-Richerand for example—have countenanced this idea. “It would be difficult to find, in history,' says Richerand,“ the example of a man who has combined with the physical powers which this temperament (the muscular temperament) implies, distinguished strength of the intellectual faculties. For excelling in the fine arts and in the sciences, there is need of exquisite sensibility, a condition absolutely at variance with much development of the muscular masses.'
We are absolutely at variance with such a sentiment. That certain men who have hitherto most excelled in the department of the fine arts,' and in certain branches of what may be called intellectual education, such especially, as bring greatly into requisition, the faculty of imagination-music, poetry, &c.-have had their muscles feebly developed, may possibly be true. Nay, it must even be admitted, as a very frequent occurrence, that men distinguished for strength of the intellectual faculties,' are men of feeble bodies. But why are they thus distinguished ? Are they so highly intellectual because they are emaciated and feeble? Or are they emaciated and feeble because in their fondness for intellectual pursuits, they have sacrificed their health? We believe the latter. We do not believe men have giant in
Education on Right Principles.
tellects, as the necessary consequence of having feeble bodies, but in spite of these bodies. We believe, moreover, that these giant intellects, procured at the expense of health, and attended by ruined bodies, are diseased intellects. We believe in the sound mind in the sound body; and in that alone. All development which is not harmonious, we believe to be unhealthy development; and whether it be the mind or the heart—the intellect or the affections—that is carried in advance of the physical frame, the results are greatly disastrous. It cannot be otherwise than that the Creator has decreed to a being whose whole powers of body, head and heart are cultivated simultaneously and harmoniously, the best and happiest combination of health, knowledge and excellence; and that in proportion as either of these great departments of the being we call man, is over educated or under educated, the whole must suffer the consequen
· For whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it,' is scarcely less the deduction of observation and experience, than the voice of revelation.
It is not a healthy, muscular development, however, at which Richerand and those who entertain the same sentiments, principally aim. It is a state of fulness rather; a state, which after all, is quite at variance with perfect health. There is a very general error in regard to this point, into which, as it seems, scientific men sometimes fall. They have associated the idea of perfect health, almost without exception, with individuals who have passed beyond the line of health, to a greater or less degree of plethora, which is disease. In this state, plump and rosy faced as men look, and active in body and mind as they sometimes may seem, for a time—for they are living at the expense of life, and seldorn hold out very well-they are not remarkable for their intellectual strength. But it is in this diseased state, that men have been so often compared with those of the other extreme-men of emaciation and muscular debility, but of refined and speculative and often highly cultivated mindsand in which the former appear to so much disadvantage.
Could we see men educated on right principles, without either the inertia or the ambition of the schools ; could we see the mind, heart and body cultivated in due proportion to each other, so as to form healthy and perfect men, instead of those monsters we now every where observe: and could this course be successfully pursued through a series of generations, we have not the remotest doubt-nay, we deem it an impeachment of the wisdom and goodness of Deity to think otherwise, —that the old notion of a natural incompatibility between strength of intellect and a reasonable muscular development
Fancied Moral Ecaltation.
would pass away; and the doctrine which reason and phylosophy and revelation have always taught of the sound mind in the sound body,' and in that alone, would come to be as fashionable a truth, as the contrary is at present a fashionable error.
These views are far from being the result of mere speculation; they are the legitimate deductions of observation and experience. Acquaint yourself with some of these great men, these giantsmonsters rather-in intellect; and you will find them perfect children in some things, not to say imbecile. You will, to your probable astonishment, find them in the most profound ignorance in regard to many of the more common, and some of the more important concerns of life. Though they will carry you, by their occasional eloquence or profoundness of philosophy, beyond the highest range of ordinary thought, leaving all things terrestrial beneath your feet, they will on some subjects, only involve you, perhaps themselves, in the mazes of darkness or skepticisin. They can scan the Creator with eagle eye, while often they know not themselves, nor perceive their most obvious faults. They talk of the folly of bigotry and superstition and credulity, and of the godlike character of human reason, and yet, on some points are the completest victims of what they condemn--credulous and superstitious in the extreme. time they can tell us of the purity and divinity of our natures, and of the imperfection of human reason; at another, they can enthrone reason and put down instinct; and at another still, show most clearly, by their conduct and language, that come of the abstract perfection of reason or instinct what may, in them the development of the former, in any practical or useful direction, has been but feeble, and all true progress has been and still is, embarrassed and vacillating.
When this state of mind—this moral exaltation, as we are disposed to call it—is found in ministers, and it is in mistaken or pseudo divines that we have as often found it as any where, it produces a most unfortunate compound of character: almost beyond example without hope. They see because they are sure they see, and are pure because they are pure. They have, in the language of Locke, cantoned out to themselves a little Goshen, while all without is Egyptian darkness. We say again that the condition of such men-so se!f exalted—is all but without hope ; and however the world may honor them, as possessing giant intellects, or bow down to them as the lights of their age, -the exalted of the earth— they are really, in the end, the stumbling blocks of society. They may talk of their own moral growth and progress, and of the tendency of their own sentiments to advance social and spiritual progress, and may take to themselves