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APPENDIX [OJ. 469 [0.] Part IV. Chap. II. § 5. p.359. (( It need hardly be observed how important it is, with a view to these objects/' (the training of children in sound and practical religious knowledge) (( to abstain carefully from the practice, still too prevalent, though much less so, we believe, than formerly, of compelling, or encouraging, or even allowing children to leam by rote, forms of prayer, catechisms, hymns, or in short anything connected with morality and religion, when they attach no meaning to the words' they utter. (t It is done on the plea that they will ltereaftm' learn the meaning of what they have been thus taught, and will he able to make a practical use of it. But no attempt at economy of time can be more injudicious. Let any child, whose capacity is so far matured as to enable him to comprehend an explanation e. g. of the Lord's Prayer, have it then put before him for the first time, and when he is made acquainted with the meaning of it, set to leal'll it by heart; and can anyone doubt that in less than half a day's application, he would be able to repeat it fluently? And the same would be the case with other forlllil. All that is learnt by rote by a child before he is competent to attach a meaning to the words he utters, would not, if all put together, amount to so much as would cost him, when able to understand it, a week's labour, to learn perfectly. But it may cost the toil-often the vain toil-of many years, to unlearn the habit offormalism; of repeating words by rote without attending to then- meaning: a habit which everyone conversant with education knows to be, in all subjects most readily acquired by children, and ",rith difficulty avoided, even with the utmost care of the teacher; but which such a plan must inevitably tend to generate. C( It is often said, and very truly, that it is important to form early habits of piety; but to train a child in one kind of habit, is not the most likely way of forming the opposite 470 APPENDIX [0]. habit; and nothing can be more contrary to tl'ue piety than the superstition (for such in fact it is) of attaching efficacy to the repetition ofa certain form of words, aB of a charm, independent of the understanding and of the heart *. (( It is also said, with equal truth, that we ought to take advantage of the facility which children possess of learning words: but to infer from thence, that Providence designs us to make such a use (01' rather abuse) of this gift, as we have been censuring, is as if we were to take advantage of the readiness with which it new~born babe swallows whatever is put into its mouth, to dose it with ardent spirits, instead of wholesome food and necessary medicine. 'Ilhe l'eadiness with which children learn and remember words, is in truth a most important advantage, if lightly employed; viz. if applied to the acquiring of that mass of what may be called arbitrary knowledge of insulated facts, which can only be acquired and "* We have spoken with so much commendation of the' Hints on,Early Education' [Mrs. Hoare's], that we feel bound to notice incidentally a point in which we think the author, if not llmself mistaken, is likely to lead her readers into a mistake. 'PUBLIC WORSHIP. Silence,' says tllC author, , self-subjectioll, and a serious deportment, both in family and public worship , ought to be strictly enforced in early life; and it is better that children shouIrlnot attend, till they are capable of behaving in a proper mannel'. But a practical regard for the Sabbath, and for the sel'Vices of religion, is but an effect of that reverence for everytking sacred which it is of primary import.. ance early to establish as a habit of mind.'-pp.172-173. "Now jf • revcmnce for things sacred' be the only habit we wish to implant, the caution here given is sufficient: but if we would form in the child the much more important habit of hearty devotion, .as distinguished from superstitious formalism, we should wait for his being not ollly •capable of be. llaving' with olltWal'd decorum, but also of understanding and joining in the Service. "We would also (leprecate, by the way, the practice (which...


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