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commending such books, for teacher or for pupil, as will lead children up from morality to natural religion, from this to Christ. There will remain, after these great bodies are satisfied, a few dissidents, possibly, who believe that the child's mind ought to be a tabula rasa in relation to religion ; a few others, atheists or sceptics, who in their hearts will often be glad to have their children fortified by religious truth, and, if not, will submit to the prevailing sentiment; and, finally, that important Church, one of whose essential principles would confine the influence over their own children to their own schools and clergy. In regard to these, if there can be union on any terms not requiring an abandonment of religious teaching, well; if not, and if it should be found inexpedient to allow any sectarian schools to be aided by public money, all that can be said is that we must go as far as public sentiment will suffer in introducing religious instruction, even to the point of inculcating the truths of a common Christianity, notwithstanding the complaints of a small minority. Of course the system within the school is to be so arranged as to grant all necessary indulgence to tender consciences.
4. If, however, union of Christian sects in requiring the teaching of religious truth on a broad, scriptural basis, in conjunction with moral teaching, should be found impossible, we can still have the moral teaching by itself, which is far better than nothing. So much, at least, is essential; and without this,—to say nothing of the interests of the individual soul, of the ultimate prosperity of our country I have little hope. The race of precocious, smart, self-relying, all-daring children, which an education merely intellectual under our free institutions would train up, would be without doubt a dangerous race; and a State could not last long where such a training of the intellect only was not balanced by better influences.
THE INDIRECT BENEFITS OF SCHOOL
BY ERASTUS OTIS HAVEN, D. D., PRES. OF MICHIGAN UNIVERSITY.
It has often been said of the celebrated naturalist, Cuvier, with an expression of wonder akin to our amusement at the exploits of a magician, that, if a single bone of a fossil was presented to him, he would from that reconstruct a picture of the entire animal. This reconstructive power is a high accomplishment, and is not confined to the production of megatheriums, mastodons, and other monsters, which, by reversing the prophetic telescope, science beholds wandering about on the young earth. This faculty is also employed by the archæologist, by the critic of ancient writings, sacred or profane. What an eloquent teacher to an acute numismatist is an old coin, or to an antiquarian is an inscription in an unknown tongue ! The analytic power has been tasked to the utmost to decipher the fragmentary lore of antiquity. And though enthusiasts may have been deceived, sometimes intentionally, by “modern instances” clothed in artificial moss, yet the true exploits of the human mind in this direction challenge our highest admiration.
This mental faculty, requiring as it does acuteness of perception and comprehensiveness of generalization, may be exercised on modern things, and enables its possessor not only to reproduce the past, but also more fully to understand the present, and to provide both things for the future.
This faculty ought to be directly trained and exercised in our schools, in a series of studies which would naturally follow Object Lessons. The pupil should be trained not only to describe the actual, with the object before him, but also to project the actual, past, present, or future, with only imperfect fragments of the suggestive objects before him. He should be taught to be a creator as well as an observer, for only he who can create is competent to control.
Given, for instance, a microscope, what might you justly infer of the people by whom such an instrument was invented and employed ? Recall the observation, the knowledge of light, of chemistry, the mechanical ingenuity, the curiosity, requisite for its production, the necessity of laws among such a people, the division of labor, and the parallel sciences involved, and you have the material for investigation which will not only task the highest powers of the mind, but fit him who accomplishes it to grapple with the most difficult problems of actual life. How crowded full of thought is a watch, a railroad ticket, a postage stamp, a government note with coupons attached! Such an object found among the ruins of Herculaneum or Pompeii would revolutionize our ideas of Roman society. A nation has an organic life ; and as, to the physiologist, a fragment of bone or flesh, or a drop of blood, is sufficient to reveal manhood, in distinction from lower life, so any inconsiderable object will often disclose the vitality of the nation.
No better test of the life of a people can be found than any one of its schools. Would you see embodied in miniature the forces and developments of modern civilization, look at any one of our public schools. He is no Cuvier who could not find in any one of them glimpses of the type, the plan, the idea, of the whole vitality. The heart alone of an animal will show whether it is warm blooded or cold; whether its structure is simple or complicated ; whether it burrows in the earth, swims in the water, or soars in the air. A school alone is sufficient to reveal the nature and power of the nation.
Let us casually notice one of these suggestive objects — an American public school. We will select one of the most perfect of its type. Externally the building is beautiful and attractive, one of the most