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In this way we shall have a strong, well-knit soul-texture, made up of volitions and ideas like warp and woof. Mind and will will be so compactly organized that all their forces can be brought to a single point. Each concept or purpose will call up those related to it, and once strongly set toward its object, the soul will find itself borne along by unexpected forces. This power of totalizing, rather than any transcendent relation of elements, const.i.tutes at least the practical unity of the soul, and this unimpeded a.s.sociation of its elements is true or inner freedom of will. Nothing is wanting or lost when the powers of the soul are mobilized for a great task, and its substance is impervious to pa.s.sion. With this organization, men of really little power accomplish wonders. Without it great minds are confused and lost. They have only velleity or caprice. The will makes a series of vigorous, perhaps almost convulsive, but short, inconsistent efforts. As Jean Paul says, there is sulphur, charcoal, and saltpetre in the soul, but powder is not made, for they never find each other. To understand this will-plexus is preeminent among the new demands now laid on educators.
But, although this focalizing power of acting with the whole rather than with a part of the soul, gives independence of many external, conventional, proximate standards of conduct, deepening our interests in life, and securing us against disappointment by defining our expectations, while such a sound and simple will-philosophy is proof against considerable shock and has firmness of texture enough to bear much responsibility, there is, of course, something deeper, without which all our good conduct is more or less hollow. This is that better purity established by mothers in the plastic heart, before the superfoetation of precept is possible, or even before the "soul takes flight in language"; it is perhaps pre-natal or hereditary. Much every way depends on how aboriginal our goodness is, whether the will acts with effort, as we solve an intricate problem, in solitude, or as we say the multiplication table, which only much distraction can confuse, or as we repeat the alphabet, which the din of battle could not hinder. Later and earlier training should harmonize with each other and with nature. Thrice happy he who is so wisely trained that he comes to believe he believes what his soul deeply does believe, to say what he feels and feel what he really does feel, and chiefly whose express volitions square with the profounder drift of his will as the resultant of all he has desired or wished, expected, attended to, or striven for. When such an one comes to his moral majority by standing for the first time upon his own careful conviction, against the popular cry, or against his own material interests or predaceous pa.s.sions, and feels the constraint and joy of pure obligation which comes up from this deep source, a new, original force is brought into the world of wills. Call it inspiration, or Kant's transcendental impulse above and outside of experience, or Spencer's deep reverberations from a vast and mysterious past of compacted ancestral experiences, the most concentrated, distilled and instinctive of all psychic products, and as old as Mr. Tyndall's "fiery cloud"-the name or even source is little. We would call it the purest, freest, most prevailing, because most inward, will or conscience.
This free, habitual guidance by the highest and best, by conviction with no sense of compulsion or obligation, impractical if not dangerous ideal, for it can be actually realized only by the rarest moral genius. For most of us, the best education is that which makes us the best and most obedient servants. This is the way of peace and the way of nature, for even if we seriously try to keep up a private conscience at all, apart from feeling, faction, party or cla.s.s spirit, or even habit, which are our habitual guides, the difficulties are so great that most hasten, more or less consciously and voluntarily, to put themselves under authority again, serving only the smallest margin of independence in material interests, choice of masters, etc, and yielding to the pleasing and easy illusion that inflates the minimum to seem the maximum of freedom, and uses the n.o.blest ideal of history, viz., that of pure autonomous oughtness, as a pedestal for idols of selfishness, caprice and conceit. The trouble is in interpreting these moral instincts, for even the authorities lack the requisite self-knowledge in which all wisdom culminates. The moral interregnum which the Aufklarung [Enlightenment] has brought will not end till these instincts are rightly interpreted by in intelligence. The richest streams of thought must flow about them, the best methods must peep and pry till their secrets are found and put into the idea-pictures in which most men think.
This brings us, finally, to the highest and also immediately practical method of moral education, viz., training the will by and for intellectual work. Youth and childhood must not be subordinated as means to maturity. Learning is more useful than knowing. It is the way and not the goal, the work and not the product, the acquiring and not the acquisition, that educates will and character. To teach only results, which are so simple, without methods by which they were obtained, which are so complex and hard, to develop the sense of possession without the strain of activity, to teach great matters too easily or even as play, always to wind along the lines of least resistance into the child's mind, is imply to add another and most enervating luxury to child-life. Only the sense and power of effort, which made Lessing prefer the search to the possession of truth, which trains the will in the intellectual field, which is becoming more and more the field of its activity, counts for character and makes instruction really educating. This makes mental work a series of acts, or living thoughts, and not merely words. Real education, that we can really teach, and that which is really most examinable, is what we do, while those who acquire without effort may be extremely instructed without being truly educated.
It is those who have been trained to put forth mental power that come to the front later, while it is only those whose acquisitions are not transpeciated into power who are in danger of early collapse.
It is because of this imperfect appropriation through lack of volitional reaction that mental training is so often dangerous, especially in its higher grades. Especially wherever good precepts are allowed to rest peacefully beside undiscarded bad habits, moral weakness is directly cultivated. Volitional recollection, or forcing the mind to reproduce a train of impressions, strengthens what we may call the mental will; while if multifarious impressions which excite at the time are left to take their chances, at best, fragmentary reproduction, incipient amnesia, the prelude of mental decay, may be soon detected. Few can endure the long working over of ideas, especially if at all fundamental, which is needful to full maturity of mind, without grave moral danger. New standpoints and ideas require new combinations of the mental elements, with constant risk that during the process, what was already secured will fall back into its lower components. Even oar immigrants suffer morally from the change of manners and customs and ideas, and yet education menus change; the more training the more change, as a rule, and the more danger during the critical transition period while we oscillate between control by old habits, or a.s.sociation within the old circle of thought, and by the new insights, as a medical student often suffers from trying to bring the regulation of his physical functions under new and imperfect hygienic insights. Thus most especially if old questions, concerning which we have long since ceased to trust ourselves to give reasons, need to be reopened, there is especial danger that the new equilibrium about which the dynamic is to be re-resolved into static power will be established, if at all, with loss instead of with gain. Indeed, it is a question not of schools but of civilization, whether mental training, from the three R's to science and philosophy, shall really make men better, as the theory of popular education a.s.sumes, and whether the genius and talent of the few who can receive and bear it can be brought to the full maturity of a knowledge fully facultized-a question paramount, even in a republic, to the general education of the many.
The illusion is that beginnings are hard. They are easy. Almost any mind can advance a little way into almost any subject. The feeblest youth can push on briskly in the beginning of a new subject, but he forgets, and so does the examiner who marks him, that difficulties increase not in arithmetical but in almost geometrical ratio as he advances. The fact, too, that all topics are taught by all teachers and that we have no specialized teaching in elementary branches, and that examinations are placed in the most debilitating part of our peculiarly debilitating spring, these help us to solve the problem which China has solved so well, viz., how to instruct and not to educate. A pa.s.s mark, say of fifty, should be given not for mastery of the first half of the book, or for knowledge of half the matter in it, but for that of three-fourths or more. Suppose one choose the easier method of tattooing his mind by attaining the easy early stages of proficiency in many subjects, as is possible and even encouraged in too many of our school and college curricula, he weakens the will-quality of his mind. Smattering is dissipation of energy. Only great, concentrated and prolonged efforts in one direction really train the mind, because only they train the will beneath it. Many little, heterogeneous efforts of different sorts leave the mind in a muddle of heterogeneous impressions, and the will like a rubber band is stretched to flaccidity around one after another bundle of objects too large for it to clasp into unity. Here again, in der Beschrankung zeigt sich der Meister [The master shows himself in self-limitation]; all-sidedness through one-sidedness; by stalking the horse or cow out in the spring time, till he gnaws his small allotted circle of gra.s.s to the ground, and not by roving and cropping at will, can he be taught that the sweetest joint is nearest the root, are convenient symbols of will-culture in the intellectual field. Even a long cram, if only on one subject, which brings out the relations of the parts, or a "one-study college," as is already devised in the West, or the combination of several subjects even in primary school grades into a "concentration series," as devised by Ziller and Rein, the university purpose as defined by Ziller of so combining studies that each shall stand in the course next to that with which it is inherently closest connected by matter and method, or the requirements of one central and two collateral branches for the doctorate examination-all these devices no doubt tend to give a sense of efficiency, which is one of the deepest and proudest joys of life, in the place of a sense of possession so often attended by the exquisite misery of conscious weakness. The unity of almost any even ideal purpose is better than none, if it tend to check the superficial one of learning to repeat again or of boxing the whole compa.s.s of sciences and liberal arts, as so many of our high schools or colleges attempt.
Finally, in the sphere of mental productivity and originality, a just preponderance of the will-element makes men distrust new insights, quick methods, and short cuts, and trust chiefly to the genius of honest and sustained work, in power of which perhaps lies the greatest intellectual difference between men. When ideas are ripe for promulgation they have been condensed and concentrated, thought traverses them quickly and easily-in a word, they have become practical, and the will that waits over a new idea patiently and silently, without anxiety, even though with a deepening sense of responsibility, till all sides have been seen, all authorities consulted, all its latent mental reserves heard from, is the man who "talks with the rifle and not with the water-hose," or, in a rough farmer's phrase, "boils his words till he can give his hearers sugar and not sap." Several of the more important discoveries of the present generation, which cost many weary months of toil, have been enumerated in a score or two of lines, so that every experimenter could set up his apparatus and get the results in a few minutes. Let us not forget that, in most departments of mental work, the more we revise and reconstruct our thought, the longer we inhibit its final expression, while the oftener we return to it refreshed from other interests, the clearer and more permeable for other minds it becomes, because the more it tends to express itself in terms of willed action, which is "the language of complete men."
So closely bound together are moral and religious training that a discussion of one without the other would be incomplete. In a word, religion is the most generic kind of culture as opposed to all systems or departments which are one sided. All education culminates in it because it is chief among human interests, and because it gives inner unity to the mind, heart, and will. How now should this common element of union be taught?
To be really effective and lasting, moral and religious training must begin in the cradle. It was a profound remark of Froebel that the unconsciousness of a child is rest in G.o.d. This need not be understood in guy pantheistic sense. From this rest in G.o.d the childish soul should not be abruptly or prematurely aroused. Even the primeval stages of psychic growth are rarely so all-sided, so purely unsolicited, spontaneous, and unprecocious, as not to be in a sense a fall from Froebel's unconsciousness or rest in G.o.d. The sense of touch, the mother of all the other senses, is the only one which the child brings into the world already experienced; but by the pats, caresses, hugs, etc., so instinctive with young mothers, varied feelings and sentiments are communicated to the child long before it recognizes its own body as distinct from things about it. The mother's face and voice are the first conscious objects as the infant soul unfolds, and she soon comes to stand in the very place of G.o.d to her child. All the religion of which the child is capable during this by no means brief stage of its development consists of those sentiments-grat.i.tude, trust, dependence, love, etc., now felt only for her-which are later directed toward G.o.d. The less these are now cultivated toward the mother, who is now their only fitting if not their only possible object, the more feebly they will later be felt toward G.o.d. This, too, adds greatly to the sacredness and the responsibilities of motherhood. Froebel perhaps is right that thus fundamental religious sentiments can be cultivated in the earliest months of infancy. It is of course impossible not to seem, perhaps even not to be, sentimental upon this theme, for the infant soul has no other content than sentiments, and because upon these rests the whole superstructure of religion in child or adult. The mother's emotions, and physical and mental states, indeed, imparted and reproduced in the infant so immediately, unconsciously, and through so many avenues, that it is no wonder that these relations see mystic. Whether the mother is habitually under the influence of calm and tranquil emotions, or her temper is fluctuating or violent, or her movements are habitually energetic or soft and caressing, or she be regular or irregular in her ministrations to the infant in her arms, all these characteristics and habits are registered in the primeval language of touch upon the nervous system of the child. From this point of view, poise and calmness, the absence of all intense annuli and of sensations or transitions which are abrupt or sudden, and an atmosphere of quieting influences, like everything which r.e.t.a.r.ds by broadening, is in the general line of religious culture. The soul of an infant is well compared to a seed planted in a garden. It is not pressed or moved by the breezes which rustle the leaves overhead. The sunlight does not fall upon it, and even dew and evening coolness scarcely reach it; but yet there is not a breath of air or a ray of sunshine, nor a drop of moisture to which it is responsive, and which does not stir all its germinant forces. The child is a plant, must live out of doors in proper season, and there must be no forcing. Religion, then, at this important stage, at least, is naturalism pure and simple, and religious training is the supreme art of standing out of nature's way. So implicit is the unity of soul and body at this formative age that care of the body is the most effective ethico-religious culture.
Next to be considered are the sentiments which unfold under the influence of that fresh and naive curiosity which attends the first impressions of natural objects from which both religion and science spring as from one common root. The awe and sublimity of a thunderstorm, the sights and sounds of a spring morning, objects which lead the child's thoughts to what is remote in time and s.p.a.ce, old trees, ruins, the rocks, and, above all, the heavenly bodies-the utilization of these lessons is the most important task of the religious teacher during the kindergarten stage of childhood. Still more than the undevout astronomer, the undevout child under such influences is abnormal. In these directions the mind of the child is as open and plastic as that of the ancient prophet to the promptings of the inspiring Spirit. The child can recognize no essential difference between nature and the supernatural, and the products of mythopoeic fancy which have been spun about natural objects, and which have lain so long and so warm about the hearts of generations and races of men, are now the best of all nutriments for the soul. To teach scientific rudiments only about nature, on the shallow principle that nothing should be taught which must be unlearned, or to encourage the child to a.s.sume the critical att.i.tude of mind, is dwarfing the heart and prematurely forcing the head. It has been said that country life is religion for children at this stage. However this may be, it is clear that natural religion is rooted in such experiences, and precedes revealed religion in the order of growth and education, whatever its logical order in systems of thought may be. A little later, habits of truthfulness are best cultivated by the use of the senses in exact observation. To see a simple phenomenon in nature and report it fully and correctly is no easy matter, but the habit of trying to do so teaches what truthfulness is and leaves the impress of truth upon the whole life and character. I do not hesitate to say, therefore, that elements of science should be taught to children for the moral effects of its influences. At the same time all truth is not sensuous, and this training alone at this age tends to make the mind pragmatic, dry, and insensitive or unresponsive to that other kind of truth the value of which is not measured by its certainty so much as by its effect upon us. We must learn to interpret the heart and our native instincts as truthfully as we do external nature, for our happiness in life depends quite as largely upon bringing our beliefs into harmony with the deeper feelings of our nature as it does upon the ability to adapt ourselves to our physical environment. Thus not only all religious beliefs and moral acts will strengthen if they truly express the character instead of cultivating affectation and insincerity in opinion, word, and deed, as with mistaken pedagogic methods they may do. This latter can be avoided only by leaving all to naturalism and spontaneity at first, and feeding the soul only according to its appet.i.tes and stage of growth. No religious truth must be taught as fundamental-especially as fundamental to morality-which can be seriously doubted or even misunderstood. Yet it must be expected that convictions will be transformed and worked over and over again, and only late, if at all, will an equilibrium between the heart and the truth it clings to as finally satisfying be attained. Hence most positive religious instruction, or public piety, if taught at all, should be taught briefly as most serious but too high for the child yet, or as rewards to stimulate curiosity for them later, but sacred things should not become too familiar or be conventionalized before they can be felt or understood.
The child's conception of G.o.d should not be personal or too familiar at first, but He should appear distant and vague, inspiring awe and reverence far more than love; in a word, as the G.o.d of nature rather than as devoted to serviceable ministrations to the child's individual wants. The latter should be taught to be a faithful servant rather than a favorite of G.o.d. The inestimable pedagogic value of the G.o.d-idea consists in that it widens the child's glimpse of the whole, and gives the first presentment of the universality of laws, such as are observed in its experiences and that of others, so that all things seem comprehended under one stable system or government. The slow realization that G.o.d's laws are not like those of parents and teachers, evadible, suspensible, but changeless, and their penalties sure as the laws of nature, is most important factor of moral training. First the law, the schoolmaster, then the Gospel; first nature, then grace, is the order of growth.
The pains or pleasures which follow many acts are immediate, while the results that follow others are so remote or so serious that the child must utilize the experience of others. Artificial rewards and punishments must be cunningly devised so as to simulate and typify as closely as possible the real natural penalty, and they must be administered uniformly and impartially like laws of nature. As commands are just, and as they are gradually perceived to spring from superior wisdom, respect arises, which Kant called the bottom motive of duty, and defined as the immediate determination of the will by law, thwarting self-love. Here the child reverences what is not understood as authority, and to the childish "Why?" which always implies imperfect respect for the authority, however displeasing its behest, the teacher or parent should always reply, "You cannot understand why yet," unless quite sure that a convincing and controlling insight can be given, such as shall make all future exercise of outward authority in this particular unnecessary. From this standpoint the great importance of the character and native dignity of the teacher is best seen. Daily contact with some teachers is itself all-sided ethical education for the child without a spoken precept. Here, too, the real advantage of male over female teachers, especially for boys, is seen in their superior physical strength, which often, if highly estimated, gives real dignity and commands real respect, and especially in the unquestionably greater uniformity of their moods and their discipline.
During the first years of school life, a point of prime importance in ethico-religious training is the education of conscience. This latter is the most complex and perhaps the most educable of all our so-called "faculties." A system of carefully arranged talks, with copious ill.u.s.trations from history and literature, about such topics as fair play, slang, cronies, dress, teasing, getting mad, prompting in cla.s.s, white lies, affectation, cleanliness, order, honor, taste, self-respect, treatment of animals, reading, vacation pursuits, etc., can be brought quite within the range of boy-and-girl interests by a sympathetic and tactful teacher, and be made immediately and obviously practical. All this is nothing more or less than conscience-building. The old superst.i.tion that children have innate faculties of such a finished sort that they flash up and grasp the principle of things by a rapid sort of first "intellection," an error that made all departments of education so trivial, a.s.sumptive and dogmatic for centuries before Comenius, Basedow and Pestalozzi, has been banished everywhere save from moral and religious training, where it still persists in full force. The senses develop first, and all the higher intuitions called by the collective name of conscience gradually and later in life. They first take the form of sentiments without much insight, and are hence liable to be unconscious affectation, and are caught insensibly from the environment with the aid of inherited predisposition, and only made more definite by such talks as the above. But parents are p.r.o.ne to forget that healthful and correct sentiments concerning matters of conduct are, at first, very feeble, and that the sense of obligation needs the long and careful guardianship of external authority. Just as a young medical student with a rudimentary notion of physiology and hygiene is sometimes disposed to undertake a more or less complete reform of his diet, regimen, etc., to make it "scientific" in a way that an older and a more learned physician would shrink from, so the half-insights of boys into matters of moral regimen are far too apt, in the American temperament, to expend, in precocious emanc.i.p.ation and crude attempts at practical realization, the force which is needed to bring their insights to maturity. Authority should be relaxed gradually, explicitly, and provisionally over one definite department of conduct at a time. To distinguish right and wrong in their own nature is the highest and most complex of intellectual processes. Most men and all children are guided only by a.s.sociations of greater or less subtlety. Perhaps the whole round of human duties might be best taught by gathering ill.u.s.trations of selfishness and tracing it in its countless disguises and ramifications through every stage of life. Selfishness is opposed to a sense of the infinite and is inversely as real religion, and the study of it is not, like systematic ethics, apt to be confused and made unpractical by conflicting theories.
The Bible, the great instrument in the education of conscience, is far less juvenile than it is now the fashion to suppose. At the very least, it expresses the result of the ripest human experience, the n.o.blest traditions of humanity. Old Testament history, even more than most very ancient history, is distilled to an almost purely ethical content. For centuries Scripture was withheld from the ma.s.ses for the same reason that Plato refused at first to put his thoughts into writing, because it would be sure to be misunderstood by very many and lead to that worst of errors and fanaticism caused by half-truths. Children should not approach it too lightly.
The Old Testament, perhaps before or more than the New, is the Bible for childhood. A good, protracted course of the law pedagogically prepares the way for the apprehension of the Gospel. Then the study of the Old Testament should begin with selected tales, told, as in the German schools, impressively, in the teacher's language, but objectively, and without exegetical or hortatory comment. The appeal is directly to the understanding only at first, but the moral lesson is brought clearly and surely within the child's reach, but not personally applied after the manner common with us.
Probably the most important changes for the educator to study are those which begin between the ages of twelve and sixteen and are completed only some years later, when the young adolescent receives from nature a new capital of energy and altruistic feeling. It is physiological second birth, and success in life depends upon the care and wisdom with which this new and final invoice of energy is husbanded. These changes const.i.tute a natural predisposition to a change of heart, and may perhaps be called, in Kantian phrase, its schema. Even from the psychophysic standpoint it is a correct instinct which has slowly led churches to center so much of their cultus upon regeneration. In this I, of course, only a.s.sert here the neurophysical side, which is everywhere present, even if everywhere subordinate to the spiritual side. As everywhere, so here, too, the physical may be called in a sense regulative rather than const.i.tutive. It is therefore not surprising that statistics show that far more conversions, proportionately, take place during the adolescent period, which does not normally end before the age of twenty-four or five, than during any other period of equal length. At this age most churches confirm.
Before this age the child lives in the present, is normally selfish, deficient in sympathy, but frank and confidential, obedient to authority, and without affectation save the supreme affectation of childhood, viz., a.s.suming the words, manners, habits, etc., of those older than itself. But now stature suddenly increases, and the power of physical and mental endurance and effort diminishes for a time; larynx, nose, chin change, and normal and morbid ancestral traits and features appear. Far greater and more protracted, though unseen, are the changes which take place in the nervous system, both in the development of the cortex and expansion of the convolutions and the growth of a.s.sociation-fibers by which the elements shoot together and relation of things are seen, which hitherto seemed independent, to which it seems as if for a few years the energies of growth were chiefly directed. Hence this period is so critical and changes in character are so rapid. No matter how confidential the relations with the parent may have been, an important domain of the soul now declares its independence. Confidences are shared with those of equal age and withheld from parents, especially by boys, to an extent probably little suspected by most parents. Education must be addressed to freedom, which recognizes only self-made law, and spontaneity of opinion and conduct is manifested, often in extravagant and grotesque forms. There is now a longing for that kind of close sympathy and friendship which makes cronies and intimates; there is a craving for strong emotions which gives pleasure in exaggerations; and there are nameless longings for what is far, remote, strange, which emphasizes the self-estrangement which Hegel so well describes, and which marks the normal rise of the presentiment of something higher than self. Instincts of rivalry and compet.i.tion now grow strong in boys, and girls grow more conscientious and inward, and begin to feel their music, reading, religion, painting, etc., and to realize the bearing of these upon their future adult life. There is often a strong instinct of devotion and self-sacrifice toward some, perhaps almost any, object, or in almost any cause which circ.u.mstances may present. Moodiness and perhaps a love of solitude are developed. "Growing fits" make hard and severe labor of body and mind impossible without dwarfing or arresting the development, by robbing of its nutrition some part of the organism-stomach, lungs, chest, heart, back, brain, etc.-which is peculiarly liable to disease later. It is never so hard to tell the truth plainly and objectively and without any subjective twist. The life of the mere individual ceases and that of person, or better, of the race, begins. It is a period of realization, and hence often of introspection. In healthy natures it is the golden age of life, in which enthusiasm, sympathy, generosity, and curiosity are at their strongest and best, and when growth is so rapid that, e.g., each college cla.s.s is conscious of a vast interval of development which separates it from the cla.s.s below; but it is also a period subject to Wertherian crises, such as Hume, Richter, J.S. Mill, and others pa.s.sed through, and all depends on the direction given to these new forces.
The dangers of this period are great and manifest. The chief of these, far greater even than the dangers of intemperance, is that the s.e.xual elements of soul and body will be developed prematurely and disproportionately. Indeed, early maturity in this respect is itself bad. If it occurs before other compensating and controlling powers are unfolded, this element is hypertrophied and absorbs and dwarfs their energy and it is then more likely to be uninstructed and to suck up all that is vile in the environment. Far more than we realize, the thoughts and feelings of youth center about this factor of his nature. Quite apart, therefore, from its intrinsic value, education should serve the purpose of preoccupation, and should divert attention from an element of our nature the premature or excessive development of which dwarfs every part of soul and body. Intellectual interests, athleticism, social and esthetic tastes, should be cultivated. There should be some change in external life. Previous routine and drill-work must be broken through and new occupations resorted to, that the mind may not be left idle while the hands are mechanically employed. Attractive home-life, friendships well chosen and on a high plane, and regular habits, should of course be cultivated. Now, too, though the intellect is not frequently judged insane, so that p.u.b.escent insanity is comparatively rare, the feelings, which are yet more fundamental to mental sanity, are most often perverted, and lack of emotional steadiness, violent and dangerous impulses, unreasonable conduct, lack of enthusiasm and sympathy, are very commonly caused by abnormalities here. Neurotic disturbances, such as hysteria, ch.o.r.ea, and, in the opinion of some physicians, sick-headache and early dementia are peculiarly liable to appear and become seated during this period. In short, the previous selfhood is broken up like the regulation copy handwriting of early school years, and a new individual is in process of crystallization. All is solvent, plastic, peculiarly susceptible to external influences.
Between love and religion, G.o.d and nature have wrought a strong and indissoluble bond. Flagellations, fasts, exposure, excessive penances of many kinds, the Hindoo cultus of quietude, and mental absorption in vacuity and even one pedagogic motive of a cultus of the spiritual and supernatural, e. g. in the symposium of Plato, are all designed as palliatives and alteratives of degraded love. Change of heart before p.u.b.escent years, there are several scientific reasons for thinking means precocity and forcing. The age signalized by the ancient Greeks as that at which the study of what was comprehensively called music should begin, the age at which Roman guardianship ended, as explained by Sir Henry Maine, at which boys are confirmed in the modern Greek, Catholic, Lutheran and Episcopal churches, and at which the child Jesus entered the temple, is as early as any child ought consciously to go about his heavenly Father's business. If children are instructed in the language of these sentiments too early, the all-sided deepening and broadening of soul and of conscience which should come with adolescent years will be incomplete. Revival sermon which the writer has heard preached to very young children are a.n.a.logous to exhorting them to imagine themselves married people and inculcating the duties of that relation. It is because this precept is violated in the intemperate haste for immediate results that we may so often hear childish sentiments and puerile expressions so strangely mingled in the religious experience of otherwise apparently mature adults, which remind one of a male voice constantly modulating from manly tones into boyish falsetto. Some one has said of very early risers that they were apt to be conceited all the forenoon, and stupid and uninteresting all the afternoon and evening. So, too, precocious infant Christians are apt to be conceited and full of pious affectations all the forenoon of life, and thereafter commonplace enough in their religious life. One is reminded of Aristotle's theory of Catharsis, according to which the soul was purged of strong or bad pa.s.sions by listening to vivid representations of them on the stage. So, by the forcing method we deprecate, the soul is given just enough religious stimulus to act as an inoculation against deeper and more serious interest later. At this age the prescription of a series of strong feelings is very apt to cause attention to concentrate on physical states in a way which may culminate in the increased activity of the pa.s.sional nature, or may induce that sort of self-flirtation which is expressed in morbid love of autobiographic confessional outpourings, or may issue in the supreme selfishness of incipient and often unsuspected hysteria. Those who are led to Christ normally by obeying conscience are not apt to endanger the foundation of their moral character if they should later chance to doubt the doctrine of verbal inspiration or some of the miracles, or even get confused about the Trinity, because their religious nature is not built on the sand. The art of leading young men through college without enn.o.bling or enlarging any of the religious notions of childhood is anti-pedagogic and unworthy philosophy, and is to leave men puerile in the highest department of their nature.
At the age we have indicated, when the young man instinctively takes the control of himself into his own hands, previous ethico-religious training should be brought to a focus and given a personal application, which, to be most effective, should probably, in most cases, be according to the creed of the parent. It is a serious and solemn epoch, and ought to be fittingly signalised. Morality now needs religion, which cannot have affected life much before. Now duties should be recognised as divine commands, for the strongest motives, natural and supernatural, are needed for the regulation of the new impulses, pa.s.sions, desires, half insights, ambitions, etc., which come to the American temperament so suddenly before the methods of self-regulation can become established and operative. Now a deep personal sense of purity and impurity are first possible, and indeed inevitable, and this natural moral tension is a great opportunity to the religious teacher. A serious sense of G.o.d within, and of responsibilities which transcend this life as they do the adolescent's power of comprehension; a feeling for duties deepened by a realization and experience of their conflict such as some have thought to be the origin of religion itself in the soul-these, too, are elements of the "theology of the heart" revealed at this age to every serious youth, but to the judicious emphasis and utilization of which, the teacher should lend his consummate skill. While special lines of interest leading to a career must be now well grounded, there must also be a culture of the ideal and an absorption in general views and remote and universal ends. If all that is pure and disciplining in what is transcendent, whether to the Christian believers, the poet or the philosopher, had even been devised only for the better regulation of human energies set free at this age, but not yet fully defined or realized, they would still have a most potent justification on this ground alone. At any rate, what is often wasted in excess here, if husbanded, ripens into philosophy, the larger love to the world, the true and the good, in a sense not unlike that in the symposium of Plato.
Finally, there is danger lest this change, as prescribed and formulated by the church, be too sudden and violent, and the capital of moral force which should last a lifetime be consumed in a brief, convulsive effort, like the sudden running down of a watch if its spring be broken. Piety is naturally the slowest because the most comprehensive kind of growth. Quetelet says that the measure of the state of civilization in a nation is the way in which it achieves its revolutions. As it becomes truly civilized, revolutions cease to be sudden and violent, and become gradually transitory and without abrupt change. The same is true of that individual crisis which psycho-physiology describes as adolescence, and of which theology formulates a higher spiritual potency as conversion. The adolescent period lasts ten years or more, during all of which development of every sort is very rapid and constant, and it is, as already remarked, intemperate haste for immediate results, of reaping without sowing, which has made so many regard change of heart as an instantaneous conquest rather than as a growth, and persistently to forget that there is something of importance before and after it in healthful religious experience.
[Footnote 1: See author's Boy Life, in Ma.s.sachusetts Country Town Forty Years Ago. Pedagogical Seminary, June, 1906, vol. 13, pp. 192-207.]
[Footnote 2: Those interested in school statistics may value the record kept by a Swabian schoolmaster named Hauberle, extending over fifty-one years and seven months' experience as a teacher, as follows: 911,527 blows with a cane; 124,010 with a rod; 20,939 with a ruler; 136,715 with the hand; 19,295 over the mouth; 7,905 boxes on the ear; 1,115,800 snaps on the head; 22,763 nota benes with Bible, catechism, hymnbook and grammar; 777 times boys had to kneel on peas; 613 times on triangular blocks of wand; 5,001 had to carry a timber mare; and, 7,701 hold the rod high; the last two being punishments of his own invention. Of the blows with the cane 800,000 were for Latin vowels, and 76,000 of those with the rod for Bible verses and hymns. He used a scolding vocabulary of over 3,000 terms, of which one-third were of his own invention.]
[Footnote 3: For most recent and elaborate study of children's lies see Zeitschrift fur padagogische Psychologie, Pathologie und Hygiene, Juli, 1905. Jahrgang 7, Heft 3, pp. 177-205.]
AGAMIC. Unmarried; unmarriageable, sometimes non-s.e.xed.
AGENIC. Lacking in reproductive power; sterile.
AMPHIMIXIS. That form of reproduction which involves the mingling of substance from two individuals so as to effect a mixture of hereditary characteristics. It includes the phenomena of conjugation and fertilization among both unicellular and multicellular organisms.
ANABOLISM. See METABOLISM.
ANAMNESIC. Pertaining to or aiding recollection.
ANEMIC. Deficient in blood; bloodless.
ANTHROPOMORPHISM. The attributing of human characteristics to natural, supernatural, or divine beings.
ANTHROPOMETRY. Science of measurement of the human body.
ARTIFACT. Any artificial product.
APHASIA. Impairment or lose of the ability to understand or use speech.
a.s.sOCIATIONISM. The psychological theory which regards the laws of a.s.sociation as the fundamental laws of mental action and development.
ATAVISTIC. Pertaining to reversion through the influence of heredity to remote ancestral characteristics.
ATAXIC. Pertaining to inability to coordinate voluntary movements; irregular.
CALAMO-PAPYRUS. Reed papyrus or pen-paper.
CATABOLISM. See METABOLISM.
CATHARSIS. Purgation or cleansing. Aristotle's esthetic theory that little renders immune for much.
CEREBRATION. Brain action, conscious or unconscious.
Ch.o.r.eA. St. Vitus's dance; a nervous disease marked by irregular and involuntary movements of the limbs and face.
CHRESTOMATHY. A collection of extracts and choice pieces.
CHRISTENTHUM. The Christian belief; the spirit of Christianity.
COMMANDO EXERCISES. Gymnastic exercises whose order is dependent upon the spoken command of the director.
CORTEX. The gray matter of the brain, mostly on its surface.
CORTICAL. Pertaining to the cortex.