« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »
Example of Defining.
501 distance, weight, contents, &c. Indeed it is next to impossible to pass through life with any good degree of satisfaction, or with any good degree of usefulness, without knowing how much is an inch, a foot, a yard-an ounce, a pound, a ton-a pint, a gallon, a barrel—a second, a minute, an hour-a rod, a rood, a mile,-&c.
Another species of knowledge which is likely to be passed over, unless it is communicated in a familiar conversational manner, is the knowledge of ourselves. By this it is not meant that anatomy, and physiology, and hygiene, and moral and intellectual philosophy cannot be taught, in any degree, without conversation. We do mean however, that they will never be applied to the individual, that is, made practically useful, without it. We do mean to say that without it all the study of books, and the set recitations in the world, unaccompanied by conversation, will in the case of children and youth, fall far short of doing the good they ought to do.
But with this preamble—and it seemed to us indispensablewe proceed to give another example or two of the importance of conversational instruction. And first we will take for this purpose, a scrap we have this moment found in a newspaper before us. We do so to show how often it is that the commonest articles are far from being understood.
• We learn that the steeple of Park Street Church, according to a recent admeasurement, is two hundred and eighteen feet and three inches above the level of the side-walk.'
Now to say nothing of the doubt in which many persons will be left who see this paragraph in various papers, what Park Street Church is meant, since there are churches by this name in several of our cities, there are several things in it which to thousands of persons will be of no more value than Latin or Greek, for want of that kind of elementary instruction which it is the object of these essays to encourage.
Of this description are the words feet and inches. We know it will startle some—but we shall not be the first to affirm it, even in this journal—when we say that the majority of our community neither form nor attempt to form any adequate ideas of the height of this steeple when they read this sentence. And this, too, for a very natural reason ; few have any correct ideas how much a foot or an inch js.
Since we commenced writing this article we have read this very paragraph to an individual who was many years engaged in school keeping; and we believe with what is usually denominated 'good success. After reading it we inquired; Now have you any idea how great a distance 218 feet and 3 inches is?'
• Not in the least,' was the reply. • But do you make no comparisons? Do you not think within yourself, Why it is so many times as high as my fathers house ; or so many times as high as a certain tree, said to be 30 or 50 feet high?" No; I have no such data, as to distance or height, to start from.' • Do you not know how much an inch or a foot is?' • Not clearly.' How much is the length of that?' we said, pointing to a small object
• About two inches. It was nearer three inches than two, and if my friend's foot was proportionably long, it would be a very long foot. Perhaps under these circumstances it is well that no attempt was made to form a correct idea of the height of the steeple of Park Street Church, for assuming the smaller measure as my friend's standard of distance, he would have conceived of it as about 300 feet high.
But this is not all. Multitudes of our scholars, male and female, who have very large collections of testimonials to their scholarship, do not form any thing like an accurate idea of the meaning of many other words which occur in this single short sentence. Such are recent, admeasurement, level and side-walk. We have found advanced scholars who did not know whether admeasurement had any other meaning-more or less-than measurement. Others cannot give a satisfactory definition of the word level. They know its meaning, perhaps they will say; but they cannot express it in words. This may sometimes be the fact; but it is more generally the case that there is no knowledge at all on the subject. And side-walk is as little understood, except by the few who live or have visited our cities.
We have one more common newspaper paragraph, to present as an illustration of the importance of our subject.
A Boston paper says that Caradori Allan, the distinguished vocalist volunteered to sing for the benefit of the Orphan's Asylum of New York, and afterwards sent in her bill for $500.'
Now how few-how exceedingly few-readers get any thing like an adequate idea of the meaning of this short paragraph ? Is there one person in a hundred, out of the circles of fashion and frivolity in our cities and towns, who ever heard of Caradori Allan? Is there one in a hundred, in city or country, who knows the full meaning of the words vocalist and volunteered? And how few know any thing about the Orphan Asylum in N. York, or about sending in bills, &c.
A teacher who was thoroughly bent on making every thing intelligible to his pupils, and who was not wanting in moral courage, in reading the foregoing passage in his school or requesting a pupil to read it, would pursue something like the following course of instruction in relation to it.
What do any of you know of Caradori Allan? Have any of you ever heard or read of any other distinguished public singer? Do you think every body could be taught to sing as well as she? Why do you think they could not? How many of you can sing? Those among you who cannot sing, but who mean to learn, may raise your hands.
What is the meaning of the word vocalist ? What is the meaning of volunteered ? Did you ever volunteer to do a thing? If I should ask you to bring me some water, and you should do it, would that be volunteering to do it? If a poor woman asks you to do her a kindness, and you grant her request, is that to volunteer to do it? Which is best, to volunteer to do kindnesses, or to wait till you are urged to do them?
What is an Orphan? Do any of you know? Are there any orphans in this school? Are there any here who are not now orphans, but who may possibly yet become so? Are orphans to be pitied? Why so? What should be done for orphans? What can you do for them? What is an Orphan’s Asylum? Do you know of any other, besides that in New York? (Here, and elsewhere, in similar circumstances, the teacher gives them the required information.) Do you think Orphan's Asylums are useful institutions?
What is a bill? Was it proper for Caradori Allan to send her bill? Why was it wrong? Would it have been right for her to send in her bill for a smaller sum ? Why not ?- Are we quite sure the story is true? Are the stories in newspapers of ten untrue ? Is it as bad to tell a falsehood in a newspaper, as it is to tell one to a neighbor or a circle of neighbors ? Why so ?
HEALTHY EFFECTS OF OBEDIENCE.
(From the Library of Health.) HONOR thy father and thy mother, that thy days may be long in the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee,' is the only command of the decalogue with which the promise of a temporal blessing is especially connected ; although there is little doubt of the healthy tendency of several, if not all of the others.
If it should be said that the promise here related to the Jewish nation alone, and to their posterity in the land of Canaan, the reply is, first, that Paul understood it otherwise ; for when quoting and enjoining it on his Ephesian brethren, who certain504
Promotion of Health, a Moral Duty.
ly had very little to do with Palestine, he repeats the promise in connection with the command, and makes the same application of it in substance, which had been made on Mount Sinai• That it may be well with thee, and that thou mayest live long on the earth. Secondly, facts seem to sustain us in making the application, to all ages and countries.
It was the opinion of the late Dr Dwight, that children who were obedient to parents, were, of all others, the most healthy. At first we were disposed to doubt the possibility of any direct tendency of this sort, and to suppose that the superior health of obedient children, if indeed it actually existed, was owing more to those other virtuous habits, which are almost if not quite inseparable from obedience. But farther reflection, and not a little observation, have convinced us that Dr D.'s opinions on this subject are wholly correct ; and that there is a direct connection between the spirit of genuine obedience in all circumstances, and physical health and happiness and longevity.
It is an established maxim, and a true one, that no one is fit to command who has not first learned to obey. But this ability to govern others is not the end of obedience; for of what use would it be in itself, merely to keep up in the world a constant series of obeying and governing? There must be some important end to be secured, of which obedience is the means.
In obeying and governing others, the immediate object is selfgovernment. He has obeyed to little purpose, who has not, by his obedience, acquired strength to govern himself; and it is to as little purpose that we have governed others, if our efforts have not afforded them aid in prosecuting this great work of selfgovernment and self-education.
Yet this education itself is not an end, but only a means. We should govern ourselves that we may be happy and holy. But holiness, in our estimation, includes physical purity and integ. rity, as well as moral. We regard it as no less a moral duty to promote our health of body, than to promote health of mind and soul. It is the will of God that we should be sanctified wholly, not partially. We are to present to him, as a living sacrifice, our whole being; and not a mere fragment or division of it.
The sanctification of body and soul, in fact, must proceed together, if it proceed at all. Vain is the hope of him who expects to cleanse the thoughts of his heart, even by aid of the inspiration of God's Spirit, while his body is not in a proper condition. We do not mean to say that nothing can be done, where the purpose of the heart is right, without the aid of the body; for there is no one perhaps in whom there are not some remains of
Fretting, &c., in Families.
physical integrity. But God will not dwell in man, as the apostle John expresses it, except in proportion as the body is duly prepared, by temperance and purity and holiness, to be a meet habitation or temple for his residence.
The point at which we are aiming in these remarks is, the announcement of the great truth long ago set forth, both in scripture and poetry, that disobedience brought death into the world and all our wo;' and that it is by virtue of obedience, in its largest and most scriptural or evangelical sense, that all our wo,'—physical wo of course included—is to be expelled from the world. In this use of the term disobedience, we include the idea of natural as well as revealed law. Both must be obeyed before man can be truly happy, and the former no less perfectly than the latter.
Perhaps no one will doubt that the constant indulgence of the bad passions and affections—anger, hatred, grief, envy, inordinate ambition and emulation, fear, melancholy, &c.-impair slowly the health. But has it been enough considered, that every degree of this indulgence produces more or less of the same effect? Has it been enough considered that all the unnecessary impatience, and fretfulness, and grief, and anger, and envy, of unrestrained or misguided infancy and childhood, is slowly but unnecessarily expending the vitality of the human system, and thus cutting away, one by one, the threads of human life?
Compare then, for one moment, the families in which there is the true spirit of parental obedience, with those where all is insubordination and disobedience. We do not ask you actually to enter the domestic circle for this purpose. You have already seen families enough of both kinds, but especially the latter; and have only to tax for a moment, your powers of recollection.Were the children as happy in the families where there was no subordination, as in those which were truly obedient?
In the obedient family, where the voice, nay, even the look of either of the parents is the law, and is promptly and unhesitatingly obeyed, as if the impulse were instinctive, do we find as much fretting, and crying, and worrying, as we do in a family of the contrary description? Do we not find the obedient child habitually more sweet in disposition and temper, more mild, and more happy? The well governed child will be happy, even alone; but much more so in the society of others who are equally well governed and well educated.
The disobedient child, on the contrary, is seldom quiet and happy himself, or a source of quiet and happiness to those around him. As the former is a peace-maker, he, on the contrary, is a fomenter of wars and disturbances among his companions. Half