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KNOW YOUR SCHOLARS.
[From the German.] The gardener and the husbandman can accomplish nothing without a knowledge of the soil; so, too, the teacher can effect nothing without a knowledge of his pupils. This knowledge is indispensably necessary to him for the moderation of his expectations, for the determining of his treatment, and for the confirming of his satisfaction. For the moderation of his expectations. For whence comes it that so many teachers expect and require from children of twelve or thirteen years of age all the earnestness of manhood, and vex themselves because a boy of this age does not recognise so fully and feel so deeply as they do, the importance of this or that branch of instruction ? Such teachers know not the child, and know not what they ought to expect from him; they know not what to him is natural and what is unnatural. I am just as little pleased, I must confess, with a manlike child as I am with a childish man. Whence comes it that so many teachers have the individual favourites? They know not such children aright, and perceive not the conceit which they thus foster in them, and thus convert their industry itself, I might almost say, into a vice. Whence comes it that so many teachers expect from all children an equal facility in committing to memory, in thinking, and in expressing their thoughts ? Such teachers would have all mankind formed after one model, whereas God, in his infinite wisdom, endows men with faculties and capacities almost infinitely varied. Whence comes it too, that many teachers inflict chastisement with extreme rigour upon the child, for faults which are, perhaps, rightly attributable to its parents, or to the situation in which it is placed ? Is it not because they know not the child, and are ignorant that under the circumstances in which he was placed, it was almost impossible for him to act otherwise! O ye teachers ! tyrannize not over these defenceless creatures by imposing upon them unnatural tasks ! Only ask yourselves what you were at their age, and what you could then effect? Require not from this high spirited boy the same circumspection which you may expect from his more drowsy and differently constituted conpanion, nor the same quietness and demureness. Call nature to your aid in seeking to acquire a knowledge of your pupils individually, and attempt not to eradicate the talents implanted in them; for should you, you will thus undertake a labour in vain.
And what a multitude of faults in our treatment of children originate in our want of a propor knowledge of them! Thus it is we often mistake nascent wickedness for childish frolic, and know not, or forget, that “the child is the father of the man." Thus one is often inexorably rigorous, where a word or a hint would have perhaps effected more than severe punishments. One does, in the presence of the children, this or that, and thinks they will not observe it, imitate it, or misuse it. But the child, in this respect, is often sharper than seven wise men; and be it remembered, too, that the purer the paper is, so much the more indelibly does that remain which is inscribed upon it. Again, some would make everything as easy to the child as possible, as if any one power could thus become developed by exercising it but little; and as if an intense application of the
And you, my
powers were not the surest means of invigorating them. dear readers, if you are ignorant of children in general, and you own pupils in particular, do, with the very best intentions, commit every day a multitude of faults which your pupils in after life will probably severely pay for. You may attempt to dispense the secrets of the healing art, but if you know not the nature and the wants of your patient, you will do him more injury than good.
But perhaps you will ask me, How must we proceed to acquire this knowledge of our pupils ? I am now addressing teachers, and for them I can. scarcely do more than, pointing to their schools, say, He that has eyes to see let him see; and the point of view, too, in which the subject ought to be contemplated might be inferred from what has already been said. As a further, though partial answer to this question, we add a few suggestions :
Quicken your powers of observation and of penetration, by reading good books on the subject of educating children. It would be out of place here to point out at length those that have the greatest claim upon your attention, or the manner in which they may be most profitably perused. Reflect upon the years of your own childhood.
For myself, at least, many of the scenes of my early life so flit before me, and are so impressed upon my memory, that I cannot be mistaken respecting them.
Consider, then, how you as children conducted yourselves towards your parents, your elders, and your playfellows. What were the inmost thoughts of your soul? You may calculate upon it with great probability that your children, upon the whole, think very much as you thought, and act very much as you acted, and the fuller and more perfectly you realize to yourselves the picture of your own childhood, so much the keener and fuller an insight will you have into the characters and dispositions of the children around you.
Observe your children how they conduct themselves when under your superintendence. During all the hours of instruction be all eye and ear. Without keeping any special book for the registration of conduct, you will soon know to which of those classes, which we have briefly pourtrayed, each child in the school belongs; who exhibits most quickness or dullness, most levity or steadiness, most facility in comprehending, or fidelity in retaining, &c. I say without keeping any special book, for I think the man who gives six or eight hours' instruction a-day, besides spending considerable time in preparing himself, ought to be burdened with as little extra writing as possible. Study also the train of your children's ideas; become as familiar as possible with the extent of their attainments and their dispositions, so that you may know what to expect from each, and what not to expect, as also what would be agreeable to each, and what would be disagreeable or unpleasant. Notice, especially, how each is affected by success and by failures in his school exercises, by praise and by censure, by reward and by punishment. If your eye is sharp (and will become so by exercise), each of your children will appear to you to possess a distinct and peculiar character; and seldom will his after-life contradict the opinion which you have thus formed of him, especially if you allow children to
express themselves with a proper degree of freedom. A school in which all the children are trained to be equally clever is an army of soldiers, a machine moved by the word of command. The teacher who maintains a too rigid discipline, enhances to himself the difficulty of observing the characters, &c., of his pupils. On the other hand, the teacher who allows the pupil a proper degree of freedom know the more certainly what is in him, and what he has to fear, and what to hope from each. I always, when I meet with a child, enter into conversation with him, and seldom do I part from him without profiting by the intercourse. Converse with your pupils not only in the school, but when you have an opportunity on everyday things. Observe them also during their play. Here it is one sees most completely the germ of the future character. That teacher but ill understands his own interest who so conducts himself that the children who are at play will cease to do so and separate as soon as he makes his appearance. And one need not fear that by a proper degree of familiarity here he will lose his respect, if he knows how, by his abilities and his earnestness, to preserve that respect when he is engaged in earnest things.
RELIGIOUS INFLUENCE OF A LITTLE GIRL. [The truth of the following incident of the awakening in the United States is vouched for by the editor of the paper in which it appeared.]
The little western settlement which I shall call Cranberry Meadow, was one of the last to feel the influence of the recent revival of religion. It was not that the little unpretending village had not suitable subjects for such a moral and spiritual renovation. Perhaps, the fact was partly owing to the absence of any organized body of Christians there, with whom such a movement usually commences. Perhaps, it might also be attributed to the unusually quiet and phlegmatic temperament of the villagers, who were content to pursue the even tenor of their way without much communication with the world around them. For weeks after the rich displays of Divine grace had visited nearly every Eastern city and village, the inhabitants of Cranberry Meadow remained apparently unmoved and unaffected. The little Sunday school which had been a few months previous established there, by the agent of one of our benevolent Sunday School Associations, still held its weekly sessions. But the superintendent of the school had been smitten down with severe illness, and was compelled to return to the East, as the only means of regaining lost health.
At length a letter was received from him by the school, giving an interesting account of the religious movement at the East, and expressing a hope that the work had extended to them, and would result in great and blessed changes in all their homes and hearts.
Solemn and tender as this letter and appeal were, there was one heart only in the school that seemed to feel their force and power.
Little Clara Gale, a modest quiet child of about ten years, wept freely over the loving message of the absent superintendent, and could not be soothed by the assurances of her parents that he did not mean a child like her. that she was a sinner, She knew that she had never experienced in her
own heart such a blessed operation of the Spirit as that letter described. She was conscious that although guiltless of any outbreaking sin, she had lived for herself, and not to please and serve God, her Creator, Father, and best friend. Now Clara was the only child of her parents, and they could not see a fault in one whom they almost idolized. She was as lovely as any übregenerate child could be.
Her father was man of taste and wealth; had been formerly distinguished at the East as a man of education and influence, and in his successful prosecution of the legal profession, had added to his unlimited wealth. But he was ambitious to a fault; and having failed to secure a high civil and political trust when it seemed just within his grasp, he was so mortified at his defeat, and so disgusted with the treachery and trickery of party politics, that he resolved to bury himself and family in some obscure village at the far West. So he came to Cranberry Meadow, when the little Clara was three or four years old. Four children much older than Clara he had buried at the East; and when he saw her whom he had also feared to lose, grow healthy and strong in her western home, he was satisfied and content. The villagers greatly esteemed Squire Gale, and almost worshipped the little daughter; and when the Sunday school agent went from house to house, to gather the children into that institution, the first question asked by each parent and child was, “ Will Clara Gale go ?"
The agent had met Clara before he reached her father's house, and had secured her interest in his enterprise. And when Squire Gale was asked for his sanction to her attendance, although not a pious man, yet he remembered the conservative tendencies of Sunday schools at the East, and readily promised his name and influence in their favor. He had been pleased to recommend the thing to his neighbours, and felt rather flattered with their unhesitating adoption of his counsel. Though not concerning himself much as to the instruction which his daughter received at the Sunday school, yet he was pleased with her enjoyment in going, and felt no misgivings at the propriety of his course. But when Clara came home in tears, and her father found that he could not soothe her into forgetfulness of the truths which had so impressed her, he was troubled and perplexed. It was in vain that he assured her that "she had no cause for alarm or sorrow -that she was a good child, and always had been." Her conscience was convicted of sin. She resorted to her Bible; and its declarations harmonizing with the voice of conscience, deepened her convictions. She knew not where to go for relief or direction; and shrank, indeed, from making her feelings known to any one. At length a happy idea entered her mind. She would go to the gentleman who had received, and read to the school, the superintendent's letter, and beg it for perusal. She obtained it, and carried it to her chamber. She read and re-read its entreaties that the dear scholars would seek of Jesus pardon for their sins, and reconciliation with their offended Father in heaven. “Read your Bibles, and pray the God of the Bible, for Christ's sake, to show you the way of salvation; and believe that he will fulfil his promise, ' Him that cometh me, I will in no wise cast ont.'” These were the closing words.
The troubled child saw in them light and hope. She believed the Divine promise; and committiug herself thus to the declared ability and willingness of God to save her, she found“ him faithful that had promised.” Love for her good and gracious Redeemer, sorrow for her sinful neglect of him, gratitude for his assurances of pardon, now filled her heart; and a new-born peace spread over her young face. Rumour and gossip soon sent the account from house to house.
A neighbour called on Squire Gale to talk the matter over. " It's all nonsense,” said the man, " for your Clara to think she has been converted. She's just like a little angel always. I don't believe in religion's making her any better ; she's good enough before. If Dan Hunter, now, could be turned round, and made a Christian of, I'd believe in it.” Clara heard this conversation, and her heart beat with pity and desire for poor Dan, whom she well knew to be one of the worst of sinners. He was idle, profane, thievish;
and a miserable cripple besides. As soon as the neighbour referred to had left the house, Clara sprang to her father's side. “Papa, may I go and see old Dan Hunter?" What for, my child ?" "I want to tell him Jesus died for him." The father could not, dare not oppose her wish. Speeding along with all a child's alacrity and hopefulness, and with a silent prayer to God for help, she reached the comfortless shanty which Dan Hunter called his den. Once before she had been there, with her father, when the miserable man lay ill with his broken leg, and had carried him food and medicine. He was surprised then to see her, but more astonished now. "Did you s'pose I was sick again, little lady ?" was his first greeting, and a more civil one than Clara had dared to hope for. “Yes," said the child, " I knew you were sick. I've been sick myself, and I've come to tell you how I was cured, and to beg you to be cured too." And opening the little Testament which she had brought in her pocket, she read of him who came to heal the sin-sick soul. She told the wicked man before her what a sinner she had felt herself to be, and how the blessed Saviour had made her to trust in him. And with loving heart and tender tones, she asked him “If he was not a sinner too, and if he did not need the same Saviour whom she had found ?" Poor, old Dan! nothing, nothing had ever so touched his heart. He fell upon his knees to the ground, he smote upon his breast and cried out, “Lord, ha? mercy on the worst of sinners, the worst of sinners !" God heard that earnest penitent cry; and when Clara left the old man's den, she left him praising the mercy which could save a wretch like him. Dan Hunter went from house to house, to tell the story of saving grace. And to all he met, he would say, “ It's the same gospel, the very same gospel that so blessed little Clara Gale. You wouldn't think it could be such a dreadful sinner as I've been-but the same good Lord who takes little children in his arms and blesses 'em, saves the chief of sinners too. It's true, it's true, · Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.'”
In a few days Cranberry Meadow was the scene of a blessed revival.
THE STAFFORDSHIRE MINER. AM too ill to attend to you, child," said a poor suffering workman, in one of the iron mines of Staffordshire, to his daughter Susan, a little Sunday school girl, who had learned the way to heaven, and who was repeating to