BLTC Press Titles

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Mortal Coils

Aldous Huxley

The Fairy Tale of the Green Snake and the Beautiful Lily

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Thomas Carlyle, Rudolf Steiner

The Secret Doctrine, Volume I Cosmogenesis

H. P. Blavatsky

Novalis Including Hymns to the Night

Novalis, George MacDonald, Thomas Carlyle

How to teach in Sunday-school

by Theodore Emanuel Schmauk


In higher schools, the scholar is invited. through an elective system of studies, to choose what he will and to walk like a king through the gardens and palaces of learning. The will of the scholar and his interest and good feeling at the moment are the teacher's only dependency.' The new way in education is a good thing. Joy in work leads to harder work and larger results, and children are not naturally lazy. If you give boys and girls a difficult game or a hard puzzle to solve, they will put no end of energy into the task. Every healthy youth is a storage battery of power waiting for opportunity. The scholar needs active work in which he is interested. Instead of "discipline and repression" the new education sets up the motto of "development and expression."


All this is good, and is a great advance on the narrowness of the old time. But it is an extreme. One cardinal fact in human nature, and in this sad world of ours, is left out of consideration. This is the fact of sin. Our boys and girls today, no less than in time past, are born a perverse and stiff-necked generation. In bringing up children, we are not dealing with baby angels. Father and mother have discovered that. Satan quickly plows an avenue through the infant heart to corruption. Human nature is not a steady bit of energy which needs only "a little intellectual delight" to incline it to the good.

The new education has made things charming by putting "delight in doing" in the foreground. But it has done a sad thing in putting the word "duty" in the background. Children are raised under the idea that only that which interests them and for which they have a natural attraction, is what ought engage their attention. They are left under the impression that no one has a right to impose on them anything from without. This is a background of pure selfishness from which the future activities of life are to spring. In so far, the new education is an extreme; and time will show that it is perhaps as evil as the other extreme of olden days in which the inclinations of the scholars were not consulted in childhood.

It is not what a boy or girl likes, nor even what he feels he needs, that should be our chief concern in developing his character. If Christianity amounts to anything, and "love of God above all" is the ideal of the Christian; and if the chief concern of our young people is really to be a "seeking of the kingdom of God and His righteousness," then that system of education which depends for its results on the child's own delight and pleasure, rather than on the law and the love of God in Christ, which the teacher is to bring to the child from without, and which are to be made the real potential factors within his development, is a failure; and will prove itself to be such as the generations go on.


In this respect the new system of education is

wrong. It makes no proper allowance for the disinclination, the evil disposition, in human nature. It has no method of drowning the old Adam. It tries to develop the new man, instead of getting the heart, in Christ, to put on the new man. It assumes that all that is needed to educate our young people is the proper expression of their own inner nature. The old education failed in trying to impose a system of knowledge and power on the child; the new education fails in trying to develop everything out of the child's own inner nature. Both are wrong. As over against the old, we have learned from the new that education is self-realization. As over against the new, we ought learn, as spiritual creatures, that the starting point in education is regeneration.

We must unite the old and the new and avoid the evil extreme in each. We cannot develop a good manly character out of the natural materials as given in the boy. This is another way of saying "That which is born of the flesh is flesh." On the other hand, we also hold with the new education that we cannot preach or pound character into any youth. We recognize the great pedagogical fact that expression is a part of the process of acquisition.

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