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If we would have a moral population we must civilize and give a taste for higher pleasures. Savages are always grossly vicious, and wherever the animal nature engrosses the largest share of attention it must be so: for man has faculties of a higher order, and if these be made subservient only to the gratification of bodily propensities, the man is curtailed of his due proportions; the faculties dwindle, and the ani. mal part itself suffers from the wants which his mental powers are insufficient to provide for. The lesson which Ireland has given ought to have convinced us by this time, of the danger of leaving any part of the population in a state of semi-barbarism.
Were the method of teaching better, the time given up to it is sufficient for a much larger share of instruction than is now attained ; but the system is bad from the beginning: the parents have no idea of training their children but by blows, and the pulpit, which might be the vehicle of useful instruction on this head, is too often devoted to moral and religious admonitions of so trite a nature, that the thousandth repetition of them cannot now rouse the attention of the hearers. Constituted as the human mind is, any subject, however interesting, becomes wearisome by frequent repetition; yet the clergy persist in repeating what may be good per se, but which is not good for the people if they have heard it till they are tired of it. Were there not an almost cowardly dread of doing anything not exactly customary, the Sunday instruction from the pulpit might be made available to a thousand useful purposes, but most especially to that most useful of all, the teaching parents how to manage their young
children. They might be told how children should be dealt with by them as we ourselves are by God. He makes our sins our own scourge, and inflicts nothing arbitrarily:-so should it be in the education of children,--they should be allowed to suffer the consequences of wrong doing ; but blows are no necessary consequence of any action of theirs, and therefore give no moral les
If a child tells a lie, to disbelieve him afterwards when he is anxious that his assertion should be credited, is a proper punishment; a flogging has no connection with it, and cannot be inflicted when the boy grows up; he knows and depends on this, and punishments of this kind have therefore no permanent moral effect. The distinction between the animal and the spiritual nature might be made clear, and parents
might be instructed in like manner, from the pulpit, as to how they may avail themselves of this in the guidance of their families: the lives of good men might be given as holy lessons : the history of the progress of Christianity, of the temporal as well as spiritual benefits it has conferred,—in short, a course of instruction no less useful than amusing might be given,-if the language were made studiously plain,-which would do much towards amending the state of the lower orders.
Turn where we will, we find that what we complain of as an evil is but a result, and that to remove it we must go to the cause; as, for instance, if
you find the children in the National schools in the country districts heavy and dull in learning, it is because during their first years the mind has never been roused to thought in any way; the parent who has no concern beyond his daily food, teaches his child nothing else--the bounded interests of a country village awaken no wish for more knowledge, a little gossip respecting his neighbours fills up the time not employed in solitary labour ; the public house offers the animal luxury of stimulating liquor, and no higher or deeper thought is ever awakened. Is the child who goes from such a home likely to profit much from the school instruction, after the intellect has been in a dead sleep for seven or eight years ?-those precious years, during which the brain is acquiring its full growth, and consequently the faculties are taking the bent which they will preserve through life.
There are only two ways of meeting this difficulty-by mending the parents, and thus rendering the first impressions of the child more favourable to mental development, or, if the parents cannot be mended, by receiving the children at an earlier age—and here Infant Schools
be made of infinite use, by giving a capability for future thought; by awakening curiosity, and shewing that amusement and learning are compatible. Probably establishments on the footing of the salles d'asile in Paris might be organized in most towns in England with good effect; but in the country young children cannot be sent a mile or two from their home, and the only chance there, is by the better instruction of the parents. The example of King's Somborne and some other places, shows what might be done in this way; but till the clergy can be persuaded generally to adapt their instruction better to the capacity and situation of their hearers, little amendment is likely to be effected: for who is ever influenced by what he does not understand ? Nay, even though the preaching be intelligible, if the attention of the hearers be called rather to the abstruser doctrine than the practical part of Christianity, the spirit of the Gospel is crushed under hard, dry discussions which have little or no influence on the life, and are therefore of minor importance. It should be remembered too, that human language being originally formed only for tangible objects, is in its very nature incapable of an exact definition of spiritual things ; and probably no two minds will ever come to exactly the same notion of what is utterly intangible. It would be wiser and more charitable to avoid, as far as possible, such subjects as "minister strife," and trusting that God, who“ knows our infirmities," will pardon involuntary errors of this kind, leave each individual to shape his opinions into the form most conducive to his own spiritual progress. Let us in the mean time, like St. Paul, be content to “know Jesus Christ and Him crucified," as our example and guide,- endeavour to win men to wear His easy yoke and “ follow after the things which make for peace,