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prompt to remember law, quick to take advantage of others' ideas and mould them over into their own. We value physiology not as teaching how to make plump bodies merely, but that a scholar may see where his unnoticed and uncared-for organization
may be only friction to the sweep of his mind. We are sure that many people would be better if they did not know that they ever breathed, or that there was an atmosphere, or that they had any heart and lungs, or that there were any books which told them what invited sickness, and what would give vernal bloom and health. The efforts to save people from sickness and death are often in the end very destructive. Therefore we would leave this physical culture much to the boy's spontaneous action, unchecked, free as the mountain air. Give him the good seat, the moderate light, the temperate atmosphere, without putting him upon too much thought of the need of such things, and avoid the monstrous folly of forcing him to an exercise for which he has no heart. Let him go, with the reins thrown upon his neck. Let him run, and wrestle, and throw, and push, with a toil harder perhaps than that to which you would put him, but useful and joyous, because all the time changing his muscles and freshening his frame.
A teacher once came to us, saying, “ What shall I do with this boy who has been fighting another because he called him hard names ?” “ Did this lad who called the names,” we said, “come in, full of life, mentally excited, flushed with enthusiasm, ready to argue his case before your tribunal ?” “ Yes!" “Well, then, we believe we must say, that ,
had better let the fight take its ordinary course, for probably the slow fellow has been pounded into a mental activity which days of your efforts would not produce." These contests of the
. play-ground are not like the bully-fights of a city. They are soon over. Boys and girls let alone, turned out to hop or skip, slide, skate, or run, will be prompted by nature to secure the best physical vigor and freshness. The principal connection of a school with physical culture is to provide a place for study, where the energy and freshness which, undirected, unforced, has been secured outside, may not waste and decay. Sometimes the community seems crazed to multiply new helps for
physical training, forgetful of the great fact that the mind, active, thinking, and earnest, makes the current of life flow full, strong, healthful, along our veins. The grand idea for a scholar as for a Christian is to think but little of himself, and to spend his spare bits of time in anything rather than in rummaging over his bodily sensations to see if he cannot find the beginnings of trouble. Turn the child out, not for duty, but for sport. Rejoice in his mud-dams, his snow-houses, his coursing against the wind, his flying kites, his mimic soldiering, his wrestlings, and tumblings, and all his varied spontaneities. Else, while you attempt to deprive the muscles of the free outbursts of the inner life, and fashion a body of yourself, you may leave it as miserably maimed as the Indian when he has flattened the head, or the Chinese when they have shrivelled the foot, or the Parisian belle when she has reduced the waist to the minimum that life can endure. The best part of the article in a late “Massachusetts School Teacher on physical culture was this : “ At an early period I followed the rule given to rise from the table hungry, but did not secure health. After several years I began to eat
Ι and drink about as much as I desired, and experienced a cessation of indigestion and the many ills to which it gives rise.” Juvenal doubtless had something like this in his mind when he wrote in one of his “ biting satires” that if you drive out Nature with a double-pronged pitchfork, she will be sure to come back again and demand her rights.
The religious culture cannot be left to this natural action. The Saviour, who knows best, tells us, that the heart left to itself does not develop things which are very favorable to an intellectual life. Therefore an actively controlling process here is necessary. The question is settled by the voices of history that a mind without a religious nurture is only a half-developed mind.
The religious ideas are necessary, or the sphere of literature and science will be very incompletely occupied. A witty mind, that can sparkle in comedies or shine in small conceits, may be fostered in the school, without religion. But the tragedies of Shakspeare could never have been created except by a mind largely infused with the religious element. It is remarkable that although Voltaire ignored religion in his lighter pieces, he uses its ideas profusely in his higher and
tragic compositions. It probably was a truth, when he told the pious old lady who said she was afraid to stay with him in the house during a thunder-storm, that he had written more in favor of religion than her devout life had spoken. The infidelity of the school-room unchecked would palsy its intellectual life. The school-room is the proper place to check it. It is monstrous to say that this subject is to be attended to only in our churches and homes, when the home has often no religion and when large masses of the children never see the inside of a church. Daniel Webster said, at the time of the revision of the Constitution of Massachusetts, that the Commonwealth was bound to provide for its children a spiritual as well as an earthly light; and he might have added the reason because the earthly will not burn and glow without the celestial. Coleridge says that he once told his school-master that he should not get his Bible-lesson, for he was an infidel. “ Hold out your hand, then," said he. Coleridge adds: “I remember this, that the whipping was sound,' and that it undermined my infidelity much better than an argument, which would only have flattered my pride.” Now this may not be the way to break the religious sluggishness of a modern school-room, but it must be broken up if it shall give us a symmetrical and strong intellectual life.
“ Strong links and mutual sympathies connect
The moral powers, and powers of intellect.
Like vestal flames, to purest bosoms given,
And kindled only by a ray from heaven." It is sufficient to specify this connection of religious with intellectual instruction. The sectarian objection is hardly worth our notice. The religious element enters largely into American life, and the American scholar will hardly find himself at home in the lyceum, the court-room, or the periodical, unless the words and phrases of the Bible are quickly thought of, and aptly introduced. As for the prayers, a man would be afraid of his own shadow, who could fear that they would much strengthen any particular religious sentiment. They are too often so meagre in the senate-chamber and the school-room that you may say respecting them as a hearer once said of his celebrated pastor, that he liked him wonderfully, for his sermons never meddled with politics or religion.
These observations upon the school-room must close. It is long since we left it. If we could claim any title to scholarship, we should trace it as much to the discipline of the schoolroom, as to the later discipline of the college. The old instructors were not such fossils as they are sometimes deemed to have been. They had a strong “thought-life,” and that life they were sure to communicate with more or less gentleness according to the brain upon which they had to operate. The old school-room may adopt the last words of Webster, and say, " I still live.” It lives in the discipline it gave. So will the modern school-room live. It may not have titles; but it will have strong thought and pure feeling and cultivated language, which are to form the glad stream that is to make this desert world blossom as the rose.
THE PRESENT STATE OF THE COUNTRY HISTORI
The History of the United States of North America from the Plan
tation of the British Colonies till their Assumption of National
Independence. By James GRAHAME, L.L. D. 2 vols. History of the Colonization of the United States. By GEORGE
BANCROFT. 3 vols. Speech of Hon. Alexander H. Stephens, Vice-President of the
Southern Confederacy : Delivered at Savannah, March 21,
1861. The Uprising of a Great People : The United States in 1861.
By COUNT AGENOR DE GASPARIN.
We place these works at the head of our remarks, not to indicate any purpose of making them objects of formal review, but rather to make reference to certain authors whom we accept as authorities, and to mention some landmarks of divergent social progress in the land, while considering the present condition of the Republic.
We have reached a grand epoch in the national life. The forces native to it, and those long associated with it, act no longer together, but separately and apart. In the organized system, there is repulsion, and convulsed action. The sections and energies of the country are wrought up to the tension and vigor of a life-and-death struggle, and the result hangs in suspense. Whether, in the fierce encounter, vigor shall become exhausted and life extinct, or whether obstacles shall be thrown off and the Republic make a signal advance in the career of greatness, none can tell. In one thing, however, all true men may rejoice :
“ We are living, we are dwelling,
In a grand and awful time;
To be living is sublime.”