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disputed reign in public favour. There is much in generous competition; much in the division of labour; and much, very much in those personal and sectional feelings which impel good men to do more and give more for an institution near at hand, than for even a better one at a greater distance.


A Practical View of Christian Education, from the se

venth London edition, by T. Babington, Esq. late member of Parliament, with a Preliminary Essay by Rev. T. H. Gallaudet. Fourth American edition. Hartford, published by Cook & Co. 1831. pp. 212.

HAVING formed some acquaintance with this little volume, several years ago, it was with no small gratification that we recently learned a new edition had been given to the American public; and we may as well add in this place as any other, that on obtaining a copy, our gratification was not a little increased by the circumstance of the neat and inviting style of its execution.

The outward appearance of a book may be regarded by some as a small matter; but we deem it of sufficient importance to deserve remark. Indeed, if we do not mistake, the fate of a book, at least when thrown into the market unknown, often greatly depends on its outward appearance. paper be dark and coarse, the typographical impression obscure and irregular, and the binding rough and unsightly, it requires more philosophy than most readers possess, to dissociate these repulsive qualities from the inherent character of the book; and, consequently, there is danger, either that the book will not be read, or if read, that it will be read under the disadvantage of a most unfavourable association. But, on

а the contrary, when the appearance is such as to meet the eye agreeably, when the whole style of mechanical execution is neat and tasteful, a book invites attention, and at the same time gives fair promise of rewarding the attention that it secures by the pleasure and profit of the reader. Our conviction of the correctness of these remarks is strengthened by our own experience in relation to copies of a former, and of the present edition of the volume before us.

But it is to the inherent character of the work that we wish to draw the attention of our readers. It was doubtless designed by the author exclusively for the aid of parents in training up their children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord; and yet the following outline of the particular topics embraced in the volume, and of the scope of the whole, will show that teachers of common schools, of Infant and of Sabbath schools, and, in short, all who have in any way the charge of children, may find much in these pages that is applicable to them also.

The treatise is divided into nine chapters. In the first, the author shows that, notwithstanding the paramount importance of religion, comparatively little, and a very inadequate attention is paid to the subject in a course of education, and then points out some of the causes of this delinquency.

The following extract from the beginning of this chapter and of the book, may be given as a specimen of the style and spirit of the author, as well as of his mode of treating the subject in hand:

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“ Most persons have occasionally met with a new mansion, showy in its appearance, and commanding a fine prospect, but destitute of that first of all requisites-good water. Captivated by the beauties of a favourite spot, and anticipating a long and happy residence in the midst of attractive domains, the gentlemen who build houses, sometimes forget that there are certain necessaries of life, for the want of which none of its embellishments or honours can compensate. A similar disappointment, but of a more affecting nature, very frequently awaits the build. ers of that figurative house-a family of children. Their parents have taken the greatest pains to enable them to make a figure in the world; but they have neglected to use the proper means for furnishing their minds with certain items in the catalogue of qualifications for a useful, respectable, and happy life-namely, religious principles and habits. The house is erected; but alas! there is no water! That those who despise religion, should not wish the minds of their children to be imbued with it, is natural, and to be expected ; and that those who, while they ostensibly acknowledge the value of religion, yet hold that the heart of man is naturally good, and that the evils which abound in the world may be ascribed to the prejudices of nurses, the reveries of enthusiasts, the craft of priests, and the tyranny of rulers, should deem religious education almost superfluous, is by no means sur. prising. However, such characters would slight all my admonitions, and therefore it is in vain to address them. Those whose attention I would solicit, are decent and respectable parents, who wish to entertain those views of human nature, and of the duties of man, which the Holy Scriptures exhibit. That such persons should venture to hope that their children will perform, in subsequent life, the duties they owe to God and their fellow crea. tures, when little care has been taken to prepare them for this great work, is perfectly astonishing. Do we form such absurd expectations in other things? Does any man suppose that his son will be fit for any profession or business, without substantial and persevering instruction? Does he venture to send him out into the world as a lawyer, a surgeon, or a tradesman, without a long preparation, expressly calculated to qualify for the line of life to which he is destined? And yet how many fathers expect their children to maintain the character of Christians, with very little appropriate education to lead them to conquer, through divine grace, their natural aversion to God, and to become new crea. tures under Christ their Saviour. God does not treat man in this manner, but furnishes him, in the Scriptures, with most august and persuasive teachers, and the greatest variety of instruction and exhortation, calculated to turn him from darkness to light, and to induce him to crucify the flesh with its affections and lusts. But man, deaf to the divine voice, which says “Go and do thou likewise," and deaf also to the call even of parental affection, not seldom suffers the early years of his offspring to pass without any systematic and adequate plan of instruction and discipline, expressly calculated for the attainment of those great ends."

Judging from the impression made on our own minds, we cannot but think that any parent, on reading the entire chapter of which the above is only a single paragraph, instead of complimenting himself on any supposed measure of parental fidelity, will be constrained to confess that he has not yet begun to act on this subject, in a manner that corresponds either with the importance of the object he has in view, or with his own ordinary course of action for the attainment of an end in other things.

In the second chapter, the author confines his remarks to the period of infancy; or to the time previous to the child's being taught to read.

He animadverts with much justice and point on the erroneous course ordinarily pursued by parents and nurses during this period—shows that the child is now in a very plastic state—that much, consequently, depends on the present treatment—that moral culture should now be commenced, and every suitable effort be made to implant the seeds of piety before a noxious growth of temper and habits, congenial to the natural heart, and often fostered and forwarded by evil management, shall spring up, to render less hopeful, if not utterly useless, any subsequent efforts for the salvation of the child.

The following extract, the beauty of which we admire, and in the sentiment of which we fully concur, while it is a fair sample of this part of the volume, affords a practical lesson to mothers and nurses which they ought carefully to learn, and at least a useful hint to teachers and governors of children, which they ought not to despise:

“Let me appeal to every mother, who delights to view her infant as it lies in her arms, whether it does not soon begin to read “the human face divine,” to recognize her smile, and to show itself sensible of her affection in the little arts she employs to entertain it. Does it not, in no long time, return that smile, and repay her maternal caresses with looks and motions so expressive, that she cannot mistake their import? She will not doubt, then, the importance of fostering in its bosom those benevolent sympathies which delight her, by banishing from the nursery whatever is likely to counteract them. She will not tolerate in a nurse that selfish indifference to the wants of an infant, which sometimes leaves it to any accident, while she finishes her breakfast or chats with a companion. Much less will she tolerate passionate snatches and scolding names, and hard and impatient tones of voice in the management of her child. I may be pronounced fanciful; but I certainly think it would be of importance to keep sour and ill. humoured faces out of a nursery, even though such faces were not commonly accompanied by corresponding conduct. I am persuaded that I have seen a very bad effect produced by a face of this kind on the countenance and mind of an infant. Is it not reasonable to suppose, that if an infant sympathizes with a smile, it may also sympathize with a scowl, and catch somewhat of the inward disposition which distorts the features of the nurse? Thus begin the efforts of a parent to cherish all that is benevolent and affectionate in the bosom of a child, and to prevent the growth of every thing of an opposite nature. And who shall presume to assign limits to the importance of such efforts in the education of a being, whose leading disposition, if it fulfil the will of its Maker, must, both through life and through all eternity, be love ?” pp. 35-37.


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The third chapter is occupied with some general observations, in the form of counsel, designed to guard parents against certain evils, not uncommon even in Christian families. They are advised first, to be particularly on their guard against their faults and weaknesses in the presence of their children; secondly, never to make mere playthings of their children; thirdly, to consult the good of their offspring rather than their own ease in the management of their family; fourthly, in correcting a fault, to look to the heart rather than to the outward act; fitthly, to be on their guard against the little wiles and artifices which children will soon employ to obtain their ends, and with which the parent is often pleased as an early indication of extraordinary talent, not understanding that the practice is destructive of the simplicity and integrity of character on which every thing good depends; sixthly, to study consistency of system, and harmonious co-operation between the father and the mother-a recommendation than which, certainly, nothing can be more important; seventhly, to be much with their children, and to encourage them in a free and unreserved intercourse with their parents.

The following remarks from what our author says on the last particular, may serve to recommend the whole, viz.;

“ The mother is much more with her children than the father, but generally, I think, not as much as she ought to be. This is the more to be lamented, because women are admirably fitted for training their offspring in the nurture and admonition of the Lord. They have a remarkably quick insight into character; and a warmth of affection, a tenderness, and a delicacy, which win the affection of others, and enable them to correct faults without giving offence, and to present Christian principles and virtues to their children in their most amiable form. I believe there has seldom been a man who had a good and amiable mother, that has not, in after life, looked back on ber instructions and example with new concern and delight. Cowper's admirable little poem on viewing his mother's picture, touches the hearts of all of us, because it describes scenes and feelings dear to every virtuous mind: scenes and feelings of which many of us have partaken, and all wish to partake.”—pp. 64, 65.

In the next chapter the author treats of the second period of childhood, or that between the first use of a book, and the age at which children are often sent from home to public schools. He shows the vast importance of a proper attention, on the part of parents, to this period—speaks of the different

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