one of Xenophon's account of the exercise given to the judicial faculties of the boys among the ancient Persians, which has been generally regarded as an instructive fiction, rather than as truth. If such exercises were pursued systematically, they would be nearly identical with those oral instructions in morality which we are about to recommend. But knowledge conveyed in this way will generally be fragmentary, unsystematic, confined to a narrow sphere, and more likely to go over the surface of morals than to reach to its centre.

We come finally to instruction, in which moral precepts take a distinct and separate form, and in a certain sense adopt the shape of a system. On such instruction, as it seems to me, we must chiefly depend for the knowledge of morals which is to be imparted to children. There ought to be at least two grades of such teaching: one the simplest possible, containing the most elementary principles, as apprehensible and compendious as the arithmetic which is earliest put into the pupil's hands; the other, if two only are used, adapted to the capacity of older if not of the oldest scholars. The teaching, in the simplest form given to the younger children, should be oral if possible ; and the use of a book here would be to guide and to furnish suggestions to the instructor, rather than to supersede his own independent teachings. The teaching given to the highest class also ought to be oral, provided the art of teaching and the culture of teachers had reached that degree of excellence which should render their oral communications pleasant, systematic, without being formal, accurate, and comprehensive. But successful oral teaching without a text-book, is, we think, a rare and difficult attainment; and there is always a danger that the teacher will content himself with instructing, and will neglect the more laborious process of examining upon his instructions. Thus only transient impressions will be made, and the benefit from pains-taking acquisition will be lost. For such reasons, I suppose that the older classes, at least, ought at present to have text-books especially adapted to their capacities. The lessons which such books should convey ought not to assume a properly scientific shape. They should be in a synthetic, probably, rather than in an analytic form. The discussion of the scientific foundations of morals might be avoided, and to the whole should be given a thoroughly practical cast.

I should like to have such a book take the form of question and answer, which has for young minds the advantage of confining the attention upon a precise point, and of helping the child to understand the question and the answer, each by the help of the other. There is also in this method, particularly if it is used in oral teachings, a stimulus to the child's intellect; he derives pleasure from the visible progress he is making, and from his own efforts in bringing truth to light.

The main object of all such instruction should be to draw the attention onward from the outward act to the inward desire or state of soul which prompted it; to show that conscience and the moral system involve the Creator's abhorrence of evil, and his love of goodness; and to teach, that, by an unchangeable law, evil in life and character, if uncorrected, is in the long-run linked to suffering and retribution.

Let me be allowed to illustrate what I would wish to see done by a specimen of instructions pursued after this method. For the sake of greater clearness, I will put it in the form of question and answer.

Teacher. Suppose a man intended to kill another by shooting him. Is his crime taken away by the fact that he failed to kill him? for instance, that he aimed too high, or that his gun missed fire ?

Ans. Not in the least. I feel that he is just as wicked as if he had killed him. It is true, that, as it happened, he did no harm to the man whom he tried to kill. But this does not alter his wrongdoing.

T. Suppose, on the other hand, a man without any carelessness had fired a gun off, and unintentionally killed a man.

What do you say of him? Ans. I say, that although he has done harm, and, it may be, great harm, he has done no wrong. It is not a wicked deed which he has committed ?

T. In what, then, did the guilt or wickedness consist, when a man tried and failed to kill another ?

Ans. In an intention to do evil to a fellow-man, which led him to use the means for that purpose, that is, to try to kill him.

T. Suppose that he had hated his fellow-man, and wished him evil, but had been afraid to try to kill him, what would you say now?

Ans. I would say that he had an evil disposition, a wicked state of mind.

T. For what is a man accountable, then ?

Ans. For the outward act, and for the state of mind which led to it.

T. Suppose a man had thrown a stick of timber down from the top of a house, knowing that people might be passing by, and yet giving no warning; and the timber had struck somebody, so as to occasion his death. What do you say of this act ?

Ans. I say that he did a very wrong thing, but not so wrong as if he had intended to kill the man whom the timber struck.

T. In what did the wrong here consist?

Ans. In being regardless of the welfare of others. In doing a thing which might be likely to do harm to others, and taking no pains to prevent such harm.

T. Was it here the harm, or the want of regard, which was wrong?

Ans. It was the want of regard for the lives of


others. It was the state of mind of him who did the deed.

And so I would have the child led along through the crimes and wrong-doings until he should be convinced that men are responsible for their state of mind ; that qualities of character growing out of inordinate desire, as covetousness, or out of want of thought, as heedlessness, is evil; that habit of evil formed can be no excuse for the commission of evil. If this instruction did any good, the pupil would be brought to the point to which the Saviour brings men in his Sermon on the Mount. In fact, I would make the Sermon on the Mount the basis of this part of morality.

The same kind of instruction may be carried into the department of political obligation. Here theory must as little as possible enter into view; the child need have little to do with the source of State right, or the limits of law, except so far as human law encroaches on the province of conscience. We need say nothing to him about universal or restricted suffrage ; nothing about many of those topics on which political parties contend. But his thoughts are to be turned to moral duty in the various political relations, and to this almost exclusively.

As a foundation of the whole body of instruction, I would begin by showing him that every right has a correlative obligation, so that all men are bound to

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