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i; but when they are misplaced and extravagant, when they command us and are our masters, they then become morally evil, and the most troublesome things in the world, both to ourselves and others." Now the predominant passion in the female character is love. Woman is a creature of love. The sweet Psalmist of Israel in his pathetic lamentation for his royal kinsmen, Saul and Jonathan, attributed the excellence of strength to lions, of swiftness to eagles, of terrestrial love to women. Love is the distinguishing characteristic of women. It was a remark of Madame de Stael that "Love is but an episode in the life of man; it is the whole history • of the life of woman."
And a modern poet says,
"What I most prize in woman
The infinitely wise Creator has implanted this passion, or rather we would say this attribute, firmly in woman. Its effects are seen in the most barbarous, as in the most refined regions of the earth. The little girl who fondles her doll with mimic maternal solicitude proves how strongly affection is implanted in the female heart. The elegant educational writer, Aime-Martin, an author from whom we differ in principle in more than one particular, speaking of the admirable work, "De l' Education des Filles," which he truthfully calls "a chef d'veuvre of delicacy, grace, and genius, of which the simple and maternal doctrine is but the love of Christ for littlechildren; an inimitable model, because it is impressed with the soul of its author; a treasure of truth and wisdom, the best treatise on practical education yet given to the world," observes, " Fenelon had consecrated the first ten years of his career to the instruction of female Catholic children. He had read in the hearts of these young children all the secrets of another age. He had learned from their innocence the art of directing their passions, and from their simplicity the art of forestalling them. This delightful study, whilst exhibiting to him women in their proper character, showed him at the same time the necessity of strengthening them, because they are weak, of enlightening them because they are powerful." The same writer, in another place, says, "The education of women is more important than that of men, since the latter is always their work. Such is the doctrine of Fenelon—such is the substance of his book."
It is not only a false delicacy, it is a pernicious principle, to endeavour to stifle instead of carefully developing the Divine principle, Love, in the youthful female heart; the consequence of such endeavours is a dangerous reaction. Were it carefully, prayerfully developed upon Christian (and therefore eminently moral) principles, its place would not be, as, alas! it too frequently is, usurped by a morbid, depraved sentimentality, an ungovernable tumultuous passion!
It is as absurd to leave the development of the tender passions "to the course of nature," as it would be to leave other human faculties unaided and unguided. They must and will be developed, and we speak advisedly when we say that female education is in general so conducted, that "the development of the noblest and tendercst passions of humanity is left to the novelist or to the tragedian." Whether novels or histrionic performances have a beneficial or a baneful effect, is a subject upon which it is not our purpose now to enter. But let us admit, for the sake of argument, that under due restrictions and guided by judicious counsels, in short, altogether under favourable circumstances, novel-reading and play-going are not objectionable, we ask, is it wise, is it justifiable, to leave the development of the tender passions to such agency? This is a serious inquiry; let not a mawkish sentimentality, a simpering mauvaise honte, prompt us to evade it. It may be urged, very plausibly, too, that a premature development of the tender passions would be equally, if not more dangerous than their sudden development. Granted. But is it not an educational axiom that the premature development of any faculty is dangerous? It is a law of nature: whatever is premature is unnatural; it is out of order, and "order is Heaven's first law." Teachers, it was the dread of premature development that long enslaved the world, that enslaved your country, that now enslaves millions of earth's inhabitants, and it may be that now enslaves many of you; for
"He is a freeman whom the truth makes free,
Is it not nauseating to hear many talk about the premature development of the moral faculties, who do not scruple to task the mental and physical faculties even beyond their strength? The evil thus done to society is incalculable. Human nature will, depraved as she is, assert her right, and, unless restrained by Divine grace, will lead her children in that downward course which, since the fall of our first parents, has lain open with so wide a gate, so broad a way. Teacher! God works by means, and often by very insignificant means. Plead not your unworthiness to do His work, even though your utter unworthiness be known to no other mortal than yourself. Think, that when a pupil is committed to your care, there is a voice which with awful solemnity say3, "Take this child, and nurse it for me." It is the voice of God, and you are indeed unworthy to be a teacher, unless you feel your own unworthiness, and resolve to do your duty in the strength of Him in whose service every teacher should consider herself engaged. The teacher who thus, in hopeful dependence upon Divine guidance and blessing, determines to educate as well as to instruct, will rarely or never fail in her attempts to develope the moral faculties safely, if not fully.
Every girl, however exalted or however debased her social condition, should be trained as an educator, as a mother. Love—not the wildfire of the novelist, or the mere animal propensity of the sensualist, but the noble heaven-born principle, the bond of every holy union in heaven or on earth—should be inculcated in her mind, not by dry formal lectures, not simply from the moral class-book, nor even from the letter of Holy Writ, but by the tone and character of the education given to her, and by the manner in which it is imparted.
Much judicious watchfulness is, however, necessary. The Romish confessional has often suggested crimes to those who attended it; books intended as "companions" or manuals for youth have often put ideas into the minds of readers that have operated in a manner quite the reverse of what was desired. We were on one occasion present when an Inspector of schools was examining a class of girls w a mixed school (girls and boys); he was questioning them upon the meaning of the Third Commandment, and he said, "Suppose you saw something that surprised you, and you said, ' O Christ!' would that be right?" We thought, and still think, the question a very injudicious one, but the reverend examiner went still further into detail. His next question was, "Would it be right, if you broke a cup or a dish, to call out, 'O, good God Almighty ?'" We were assured by the teacher, who had been for some years in the school, that such expressions were never heard from the children. Of course, every child knew full well that such exclamations are profane, and we could not help thinking that the examiner was himself guilty of profanity (although unintentionally), and evinced a censurable want of judgment in thus suggesting what he wished to discourage. There is a Spanish proverb to the effect that "hell is paved with good intentions." Certain it is, that the way to much evil on earth is "paved with good intentions," and amongst good intentions of a mischievous tendency, we must class the compilation of many works designed to guide and direct the young, especially females. They contain, it is true, much excellent advice; they represent religion as the chief good, and they pourtray virtue and vice with faithful accuracy, but withal they recommend and teach a kind of fictitious or conventional morality that will not stand the test of reason, much less the test of revelation. Nor is this all; such works generally treat of love, courtship, &c, and enter into details upon such subjects in a manner calculated to raise the curiosity or to fire the imagination of youth. A girl of an ingenuous, lively disposition reads such a book, perhaps in solitude, perhaps with a companion, with whom she laughs over the author's most pathetic sentimental passages; by-and-by, she feels an inclination to try experiments, the wish of her heart is that she may have attentions proffered by the opposite sex, and that she may have the opportunity of receiving them in the manner best suited to her inclinations; she becomes a coquette, from a mere love of frivolity, or from an affected contempt for the sombre sentimental precepts contained in such works as "Gregory's Legacy to his Daughters." The fallacies and fictitious morality advocated by Dr. Gregory are so glaring that no young woman whose moral faculties have been properly developed could be misled by them; but it is generally the imperfectly educated who read such works and are influenced by them, and this too at an age when what in common parlance are called "natural propensities" have become deeply rooted, when the mere knowledge of what is right will not restrain, and unsound but specious propositions will mislead them.
The sum and substance of most works of the kind to which we now refer is to induce young women to become religiously virtuous as regards themselves, and pleasing as regards society. We say religiously virtuous, because we all know that although a really religious person must of necessity be virtuous, there is a recognised conventional virtue, which, although itself the offspring of religion, has no immediate connection with it.
We say that such writers aim at inculcating right principles, and educing pleasing manners, in short, they aim at rendering women proper and agreeable companions of men. This is well, but they should stand on higher ground, and take higher aim.
Woman has a more important, a holier mission than that of pandering to the pleasures and catering for the comforts of man; she was designed by God as man's Help, not as his drudge nor as his plaything. Now in what does man require more help than in the development of the faculties. of his offspring? All admit that woman was designed by God to be a help meet for man, but the construction commonly put on the words of the proposition is that a woman is to be an assistant to her husband. Woman, whether married or single, whatever her social relationships, is a help meet for Man. This important truth is not sufficiently set before the youthful female mind. Even the enlightened Hannah More, in addressing a young lady, wrote,
"Your best, your sweetest empire i>—to please."
To please! to do anything, everything, that is not egregiously wrong, »that you may please. Teachers, can you not perceive the fallacies of such advisers as those to whom we have alluded? Can you not perceive that on the one hand they do too much—they particularise and specify where it would be more judicious and equally effective to generalise, and they generalise where they should particularise? Let girls be thoroughly trained, thoroughly educated, and let them be taught to take the word of God as a light unto their feet and a lamp unto their path; and it is no less needless than unadvisable to bring to their notice follies and vices of which possibly they may have no idea. Let them be taught that it is their mission to educate, that the principle of love is that by which they must educate, and depend upon it they will Please.