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the Creator. He has implanted in the mind of man an ardent thirst for knowledge. He has endowed it with capacities fitted to rise from object to object, and to range from system to system, in its search after truth, and its approximation towards the source of truth. And can this fact be reconciled with the wisdom and benevolence of such a mental constitution as makes the act of learning a mere drudgery,-an object of disgust and hatred ? No, no ; it cannot be! The healthy and assured growth of the mind, the mastery over general principles, and the conscious ability to apply them successfully in the investigation of truth, cannot but yield a pleasure, pure, solid, and satisfying. No fault can be more fatal to the true mental discipline and solid progress of the pupil, or more likely to give him a distaste for study, than an infringement of the principle embraced in a right construction of the injunction to teach “ things instead of words.” It is the humble business of the educator to consult nature, and to follow her indications in training the youthful faculties. What is her voice on the question we are now considering ? What do we observe in children, if we take the trouble to watch their infant movements ? An irrepressible desire to examine every object that falls in their way. When they get hold of a new thing, they look at it, handle, taste, smell it, and are not satisfied till after repeated examinations. And many a time has a poor urchin, condemned to pore over incomprehensible sentences, been flogged for obeying this law of his nature, when the master was really more deserving of chastisement than the scholar.
Closely connected with the reform here indicated, is another, equally needed in our schools, especially in the
case of the younger pupils, namely, the substitution, in part, of oral instructions for the printed page. The more closely the mind of the teacher can be brought into contact with the mind of the learner, and the more constantly this mental communion can be kept up, the more easy, thorough, rapid, and pleasant will be the progress
of the latter. There is nothing like the living voice, earnestly and clearly unfolding new truths, or elucidating those already known, to excite and fix the attention, to draw forth and nourish mental activity, to rectify absurd misapprehension, and to break up those mechanical habits which mere lesson-learning and repetition always engender. The known opinions of the future head of the college, and his practice as principal of the Central High School of Philadelphia, are a sufficient guaranty for the judicious arrangement of its studies, and the soundness of its modes of instruction.
The subject of moral and religious instruction in schools, in itself of the highest importance, has an extraneous interest as connected with the education to be given in the Girard College. The clause in the will, excluding clergymen of every name from all participation in the government and instruction of the school, is of a kind at which the thoughtful and the pious would naturally be startled; it is one in which all believers in Christianity, having a proper respect for its institutions, might naturally find ground of apprehension and alarm, in regard to the character of the influence that would be exerted by the institution. Now, though all would be glad if the clause had been otherwise, yet, certainly, no sensible Christian will object to the country enjoying the benefit of Mr. Girard's munificent endowment, provided there
be not, as there is every reason to believe there will not be, any thing irreligious or unchristian in the practical working of the college. It has been the impression of many that, as the clergy are excluded, the same edict of banishment would be enforced against the Bible. But it will not be so. On the contrary, the Holy Scriptures are regarded by the gentlemen who are to have charge of the college, and especially by the president, as the great repository of moral principles and motives, an unerring guide on all questions of duty, and the unquestionable standard of right and wrong. In short, while other treatises on morals, and other modes of conveying religious knowledge will not be discarded, there is ground to think that the Divine Word will be made more prominent in the direct instruction of the Girard College, than in any other institution in the country, not technically theological in its character.
Having thus introduced the subject of moral and religious instruction, I cannot let the occasion pass without offering a few remarks on this momentous question. In moral education, the objects to be aimed at are to impart a knowledge of right and wrong, to instil correct principles, to cultivate the affections, and to form right habits of conduct. That the culture of the heart, which is a single complex term, denoting all of a moral character which belongs to our constitution, is a position approaching, in its proofs, as near to demonstration as any within the range of moral and metaphysical inquiry. The acknowledged end of education is the just developement of human nature. The hunan nature to be developed consists of three classes of powers,-physical, mental, and moral. The moral powers,—the conscience and the
affections,-transcend in importance, by common consent and beyond all comparison, whatever else belongs to the nature of man. “For my part,” says Addison, “I think the being of a God so little to be doubted, that it is almost the only truth we are sure of ;” to which Dr. Barrow adds, as little more than the fair and natural inference, that the doctrines and duties of religion are almost the only study which we are not at liberty to cultivate or neglect. Admit the divine original of the Bible, and the main object of education becomes as clear as it is important;—to regulate the sentiments and form the habits of beings, degenerate indeed, and corrupt, but made by their Creator rational in their faculties, and responsible for their conduct. If it be the business of education to prepare us for life, and the business of life to prepare for eternity, and if religion alone can instruct us in the preparation suitable for securing our happiness in a future state, what can be plainer or more irresistible than the conclusion from such premises ?
One of the most difficult, as well as delicate parts of a teacher's labor, consists in the government of his pupils. The future president of the Girard College, both in his Report and in his administration of an important institution, has given abundant evidence of the soundness of his views and feelings on this point. If the only problem in school government were, how to secure order in the study-room, the task were easily achieved. Of all sorts of goverment in schools, that of brute force is not only the simplest, but the easiest. Where a sound beating is the panacea for every variety of disposition and all sorts of offences, nothing is wanting to make an accomplished disciplinarian but strength of nerve and muscle. But it may be safely assumed that the instructors of our children are responsible, in their systems of government, for something more than mere temporary results. They are bound to implant, at least to use their utmost exertions to implant, lofty principles of action, a love for whatever is excellent for its own sake, and a habit of generous, self-denying, elevated virtue. In a word, the end to be proposed is not so much to govern their pupils while they have them under their care, as to train them to a mastery of themselves, and perfect them in the noble science of self-government. The principal elements in such a plan of government are reason, firmness, consistency, impartiality, vigilance, affection, and sympathy. It was by such means as these that Pestalozzi wrought such wonders in his school at Hantz, changing, within an incredibly brief period, beggars, thieves, liars and ruffian's into industrious, honest, loving, well-mannered boys. With him the love of his pupils was little less than a passion. It was a fountain from which the streams of sympathy and kindness unceasingly flowed, and went forth to water the hearts of his pupils. If it produced extraordinary fruits, it was only because of the extraordinary strength of the sentiment in his bosom. The same love, existing in the heart, and acting by like discreet modes, will always produce effects equally striking. A kind word or act, a gentle and loving expostulation, the manifestation of real sorrow at the perverseness of a pupil, and, above all, uniform affection and kindness, will often subdue a spirit that would resist all the harshness and violence that could be brought to bear upon it. There is every reason to believe that the government and discipline of the Girard College will be conducted in full