Page images
PDF
EPUB

Mistakes in regard to Ministers.

313 his disposition, increase the miseries of a temperament already sufficiently miserable, or he will take him wholly away from labor, and consign hin over to books, schools and colleges.

Now either of these courses of conduct is exceedingly wrong, especially the latter. The very reason why the boy who takes to learning,' as it is called, and dislikes labor, is indulged in it, is the very reason why he should not be indulged in a course which bis depraved habits incline him to. Or rather the possession of a constitution which naturally leads to all this, should induce the father and mother, at a very early period of his infancy, to direct his attention to those employments to which he is better adapted.

A large proportion of our ministers--to say nothing of our teachers and other professional men-are from the class of children to which I have alluded. I know there are some happy exceptions, but they are not very numerous. But this is extremely unfortunate, both for themselves and for the cause they serve. That they are exceedingly useful, as they now are, I do not undertake to deny. No class of citizens deserve more of the love and respect of their fellow men than the Protestant ministry, especially that of New England.

Still ministers are by no means what they should be. How many of them break down in early life, under the burden of their numerous and weighty responsibilities! No one expects them to improve in health-nor do they even expect it themselves-after they enter the ministry. If they are settled at the age of twenty, and if they can retain their health, so as not to be broken down by the time they are thirty or thirtyfive, or at most by forty, they are supposed to be fortunate. The truth is that multitudes begin to fall off before they are thirty, and are obliged to go to the springs, or to the West Indies, or to Europe ; or what is worse still, to take medicine. Whereas, they ought to be gaining in activity and health, both of body and mind, till they are thirtyfive, at least, if not till they are forty. At this latter age, instead of being good for nothing, (unless it be by their miserable appearance to frighten people away from the church instead of inviting them thither by their buoyant spirits and active cheerfulness) they ought to be just fitted, in body and mind, to commence a career of forty years of such usefulness as the world at present seldom knows anyıhing of.

Instead of being selected from the feeblest of a family of children, the candidate for the sacred desk should rather be selected from the most robust and healthy. It is those alone who already possess vigorous bodies, who are fit to go through with that course of preparatory study which should be required of a minister.

314

Mistakes in regard to Daughters.

If, however, the custom is to be continued of introducing the feebler and more puny into the pulpit, let study be combined with labor. I am aware that something has been done, and is doing already, by means of manual labor schools ; but nothing in comparison with what should be done. To that class of the young who incline to study—the mentally precocious, as I have called them-regular and cheerful labor three or four hours a day is indispensable ; nor should it be discontinued with the discontinuance of school and college exercises; it should be carried through life.

The other example of parental error in education to which I shall allude, is the case of the factory girl. I have visited our factories. I have been at Lowell. i have seen a hundred girls in one room there, and have been pained to look around and see fifty at least, of that hundred, suffering from the bad state of the air, the nature of their occupation, iind the want of due exercise. There are those who may work in our factories, at least a few hours of each day, with comparative safety. But it is death to the majority of females, to employ them indiscriminately in factories; and it is death to all to employ them there, as they are now usually employed. Of course I mean not a sudden, but a lingering death; a death not the less sure, though it is slow. Diseases are implanted which hurry them prematurely out of the world, and make them less happy and useful while they live in it; to say nothing of the consequences to those who come after them. But I am grieved, more than all, to see a young girl, of slender form, light complexion, light eyes, light or sandy hair, with a long neck, narrow chest, and shoulders projecting like wings, plunged into these confined rooms with their poisoned air, and subjected for ten, twelve or fourteen hours a day, to its influence. I wonder not that they are soon compelled to leave. I wonder not that a galloping consumption soon carries off many of such youth, and that a lingering one, fixes its not less deadly grasp on a much larger number. The wonder is that so many survive to transmit debility and disease-of body and mind-to numerous rising families.

I know of no remedy for these mistakes of parents and others— for if a part of our factory inmates are orphans or servants, the mistake is still made by somebody-but the diffusion of a knowledge of the laws of animal life. Parents must study Physiology and Hygiene, or they are unfit, in the present artificial condition of society, to educate children. They must understand, at a very early period, for what einployments and modes of life, each child entrusted by the Creator to their care is, by his constitution of body and mind, best adapted. Some, as I have alClothing of Children.

315

ready said, may go into the factory with comparative safety, but to others, house work-the broom and the spinning wheel-are equally indispensable. Some boys may study, a part of the day, with safety; and in due time may become useful teachers, ministers, physicians, &c.; but to many, confinement to study without agricultural or 'horticultural exercise, would destroy them. It is the business of the parents, with the help of a knowledge of Physiology and all the light they can get from their family physician and others, to decide for what employment or trade or mode of life they are best adapted. The question should not be, In what way can they get the most money? but; In what way can they do the most good? We should take them as the gift of God, just as they are—and make the most of them; and we should endeavor to form their taste in conformity to our own judgment respecting them. No matter how or where they are employed, so the cause of God and man can be best subserved by their labors—whether in America or in Asia—whether in raising corn and wheat, in making mechanical instruments, in teaching A. B. C., or in proclaiming the doctrines of the cross. Let them be educated and employed according to the will of God; and then the world will receive the full benefit of their labors, and the Science of Life will have accomplished its full purpose respecting them.

ESSAYS ON PHYSICIL EDUCATION.

NO. I.-CLOTHING.

The subject of physical education, so long neglected in our families and schools, is beginning at length to receive a measure of the attention it deserves. The importance of the best and purest air, the best and most appropriate clothing, the best food and drink; of attention to the quantity, quality and circumstan- · ces of sleep, to cleanliness, to exercise, to ventilation, to temperature, and a thousand other things, is beginning to be recognized. To have sound minds, we must, as a general rule, have sound bodies. Nor are we sure that the heart is less affected by the condition of the body than the head. We have sometimes said that our love and our hatred, our hopes and our fears, our sorrows and our joys, were as much modified by the state of the internal organs, as the mere thinking part of our being. But be this as it may, of one thing we may be certain, that there is a close connection between all these; and that when one mem

316

Simple Dress of a Little Girl.

ber or faculty or affection suffers, all the rest suffer with it; and when one of these, in the beautiful but highly figurative language of scripture, rejoices, all the rest rejoice with it.

For the present, our remarks will be confined to dress. We are led to this part of our subject, by the return of the warm season, and by the errors which we observe around us, and which seem to be more numerous at this season than at any other.

[graphic][merged small]

The general rule,' says Dr Dick, which reason suggests in regard to the clothing of children, is that “a child have no more clothes than are necessary to keep it warm, and that they be quite easy for its body.” In conformity to this rule, the dress of children should be simple, clean, light and cheap-free, wide and open, so as neither 10 impede the vital functions, nor the free and easy motions of the body; nor to prevent the access of free air, and it should be easily put on or taken off. Pins should be used as little as possible, and the clothes fastened with strings, which would prevent the occasional scratching of their tender skins, and those alarming cries which so frequently proceed from this cause.

Such a light and simple dress would induce children to live with less restraint in the society of each other; and check that silly pride which leads them to ape the fashions of their superiors, and to value themselves on account of the finery of their clothes.

[ocr errors]

Covering of the Head and Breast.

317

[ocr errors]

During the first months, the head and breast may be slightly covered; but as soon as the hair is sufficiently long to afford protection, there appears little necessity for either hats or caps, unless in seasons of rain or cold. By keeping the breast and neck uncovered, they acquire more firmness, are rendered hardier, and less susceptible of being affected with cold. Besides a child has really a more interesting aspect, when arrayed in the beautiful simplicity of nature, than when adorned with all the trappings which art can devise.

"The following anecdote, related by Herodotus, illustrates the advantages, connected with a cool regimen of the head :After the battle fought between the Persians, under Cambyses, and the Egyptians, the slain of both nations were separated ; and upon examining the heads of the Persians, their skills were found to be so thin and tender, that a small stone would immediately perforate them; while, on the other hand, the heads of the Egyptians were so firm, that they could scarcely be fractured with a stone.” The cause of this remarkable difference was attributed to the custom of the Egyptians shaving their heads from earliest infancy, and going uncovered in all states of the weather ; while the Persians always kept their head; warm by wearing heavy turbans.'

We seem to be required, by these remarks of Dr Dick, to keep the breast and neck of infants uncovered. Now much will, in our view, depend on other circumstances. If the principle here recognized, that of keeping the bodily movemenis unimpe led by dress, is the only principle which is known by a parent; if while the dress is from the first loose, and flowing, and rather thin, the apartments which the child occupies are kept very warm, or are unventilated; if he sleeps in soft beds of feathers or down, and eats and drinks nothing but what is high seasoned or over stimulating, or smoking from the oven or stove ; and if a feeble puny frame is his lot either from inheritance, or from too much drugging, then the keeping of the neck and breast uncovered may be a source of evil rather than of good, and may expose him to throat and lung diseases. And yet, if the laws of health are obeyed in all other respects from the very first—and if the law of hereditary descent has imposed nothing which is peculiarly unfavorable, the course advised may be the very best for health which could possibly be adopted.

As to covering the head and breast slightly during the first month,' this may or may not be necessary. If we keep the nursery-as has been already said-as hot as an oven, and if the child is to be exposed, every now and then, to currents of very cold air, there will be a necessity of defending the head against

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »