« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
Avoid sectarianism.-Common ground.-Exemplified.
When I say religious training, I do not mean sectarianism. In our public schools, supported at the public expense, and in which the children of all de nominations meet for instruction, I do not think that any man has a right to crowd his own peculiar notions of theology upon all, whether they are acceptable or not. Yet there is common ground which he can occupy, and to which no reasonable man can object. He can teach a reverence for the Supreme Being, a reverence for his Holy Word, for the influences of his Spirit, for the character and teachings of the Savior, and for the momentous concerns of eternity. He can teach the evil of sin in the sight of God, and the awful consequences of it upon the indi vidual. He can teach the duty of repentance, and the privilege of forgiveness. He can teach our duty to worship God, to obey his laws, to seek the guidance of his Spirit, and the salvation by his Son. He can illustrate the blessedness of the divine life, the beauty of holiness, and the joyful hope of heaven ;-and to all this no reasonable man will be found to object, sc long as it is done in a truly Christian spirit.
If not in express words, most certainly his life and example should teach this. Man is a religious being. The religious principle should be early cultivated. It should be safely and carefully cultivated ; and, as this cultivation is too often entirely neglected by parents, unless it is attempted by the teacher, in many cases it will never be effected at all.
Of course all those poirts which separate the com
Danger of skepticism.-Who is sufficient ?
munity into sects, must be left to the family, the sabbath-school, and the pulpit. The teacher is responsible for his honesty in this matter.
While he has no right to lord it over the private conscience of any one, he is inexcusable, if, believing the great truths of the Bible, he puts them away as if they concerned him not. They should command his faith, and govern his
, conduct; and their claims upon the young should not be disowned.
At any rate, the teacher should be careful that his teaching and his example do not prejudice the youthful mind against these truths. It is a hazardous thing for a man to be skeptical by himself, even when he locks his opinions up in the secrecy of his own bosom ; how great then is the responsibility of teaching the young to look lightly upon the only book that holds out to us the faith of immortality, and opens to us the hope of heaven! Let the teacher well consider this matter, and take heed that his teaching shall never lead one child of earth away from his heavenly Father, or from the rest of the righteous in the home of the blest.
In view of what has been said, the young candidate for the teacher's office, almost in despair of success, may exclaim, “Who is sufficient for these things ?” “ Who can meet and sustain such responsibility ?" My answer is, the true inquirer after duty will not go astray. He is insufficient for these things, who is self-confident, who has not yet learned his own weakness, who has never found out his own faults, and wh
Inexcusable indifference.-The honest inquirer may hope.
rushes to this great work, as the unheeding “horse rusheth into the battle,” not knowing whither he goeth. Alas, how many there are who enter this profession without the exercise of a single thought of the responsibleness of the position, or of any of the great questions which must in their schools for the first time be presented for their decision! How many there are who never reflect upon the influence of their example before the young, and are scarcely conscious that their example is of any consequence! Such, in the highest sense, will fail of success. How can they be expected to go right, where there is only one right way, but a thousand wrong? Let such persons pause and consider, before they assume responsibilities which they can neither discharge nor evade. Let such ask with deep solicitude, “Who is sufficient for these things ?"
But to the young person really desirous of improvement; to him who has taken the first and important step toward knowledge, by making the discovery that every thing is not already known; to him who sees beforehand that there are real difficulties in this profession, and who is not too proud or self-conceited to feel the need of special preparation to meet them; to him who has some idea of the power of example in the educator, and who desires most of all things that his character shall be so pure as to render his example safe ; to him who has discovered that there are some deep mysteries in human nature, and that they are only to be fathomed by careful study; to him who really feels that a great thing is to be done, and who
Visit to the prison. -Neatness and order.-An inquiry.--Library.
has the sincere desire to prepare himself to do it aright; to him, in short, who has the true spirit of the teacher, -I may say, there is nothing to fear. An honest mind, with the requisite industry, is sufficient for these things.
SECTION III. - THE AUBURN STATE PRISON.
During my visit at Auburn in the autumn of 1845, I was invited by a friend to visit the prison, in which at that time were confined between six and seven hundred convicts. I was first taken through the various workshops, where the utmost neatness and order pre vailed. As I passed along, my eye rested upon one after another of the convicts, I confess, with a feeling of surprise. There were many good-looking men. If, instead of their parti-colored dress, they could have been clothed in the citizen's garb, I should have thought them as good in appearance as laboring men in general. And when, to their good appearance, was added their attention to their work, their ingenuity, and the neatness of their work-rooms, my own mind began to press the inquiry, Why are these men here? It was the afternoon of Saturday. Many of them had completed their allotted work for the week, and with happy faces were performing the customary ablutions preparatory to the sabbath. Passing on, we came to the library, a collection of suitable books for the convicts, which are given out as a reward for diligence to those who have seasonably and faithfully performed
Wyatt the murderer.--Sabbath morn.-General view.
their labor. Here were many who had come to take their books. Their faces beamed with delight as they each bore away the desired volume, just as I had seen the faces of the happy and the free do before. Why are these men here? was again pressed upon me;why are these men here?
At this time the famous Wyatt, since executed upon the gallows for his crime, was in solitary confinement, awaiting his trial for the murder of Gordon, a fellow-prisoner. I was permitted to enter his room. Chained to the floor, he was reclining upon his mattress in the middle of his apartment. As I approached him, his large black eye met mine. He was a hand
His head was well developed, his long black hair hung upon his neck, and his eye was one of the most intelligent I ever beheld. Had I seen him in the senate among great men,-had I seen him in a school of philosophers, or a brotherhood of poets, I should probably have selected him as the most remarkable man among them all, without suspecting his distinction to be a distinction of villany. Why is that man here? thought I, as I turned away to leave him to his dreadful solitude.
The morrow was the Sabbath. I could not repress my desire to see the convicts brought together for worship. At the hour of nine I entered their chapel, and found them all seated in silence. I was able to see most of the faces of this interesting congregation. It was by no means the worst looking congregation I had ever seen. There were evidently bad men there ;