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pleasure. Do not press them; you will attain your object, even with understandings not above mediocrity; you have only to leave them unconstrained, and let their curiosity be gradually stimulated. "But," you will say, "how can we relate these stories in a lively, concise, natural, and agreeable manner?" "Where are the governesses who are capable of doing this?" To this I reply, that my object in proposing this, is, to induce the choice of persons well qualified to take the charge of children, and to inspire them, as far as practicable, with a fondness for this method of teaching; each governess will follow it according to the extent of her own capacity; in fine, however little enlargement of mind those who engage in this employment may possess, the work of education will be conducted in a less erroneous manner, when they are habituated to this method, which is simple and natural.
Conversation on these subjects may be assisted by means of such engravings or pictures as give a pleasing representation of sa
cred history. Engravings will be sufficient, and may be furnished for common use; but should an opportunity offer of showing children good pictures, it should by no means be neglected; for the vividness of the colors, together with the size of the figures, will affect their imaginations much more forcibly.
We have already remarked that early infancy is not adapted to the exercise of the reasoning faculty, on account of the limited knowledge of children, and their natural disinclination to observe and connect their thoughts. We should, nevertheless, endeavor, without placing their faculties under unnatural restraint, gently to turn the first exercise of their reason to the knowledge of God. Imbue their minds with Christian truth, without suggesting subjects of a doubtful nature. They see some one die; they know that he is interred; you can say to them, "Is this dead man in the grave?" "Yes." "Is he not then in heaven?" "Pardon me; he is there indeed."
"How is he then in the
grave and in heaven at the same time?" " It is his soul that is in heaven; his body is laid in the grave." "His soul, then, is not hist body?" "No." "The soul is not dead?" "No; it will live forever in heaven." You may say in addition, "And do you wish to be saved?" "Yes." "But what is it to be saved ?" "It is to have our souls go to heaven when we die." "And what is death?" "The separation of the soul from the body, and the return of the body to the dust."
I do not assert that you will at first lead children to such answers; I can aver, however, that several have made me similar replies, when at the age of four years; but if the understanding be less quick and active, you have, at the utmost, only to wait patiently a few years.
You can show children a house, and accustom them to comprehend that this house was not built of itself. "These bricks," you "were not laid without the help of some person to bring them." You may even
show them the masons that built it; then make them look abroad upon the heavens and the earth, and the principal things that God has made for the use of man; say to them; "You see how much more grand and beautiful the whole world is, than a house." "Was it made of itself?" "No, doubtless it is God who has built it with his own hands."
At first follow the method of Scripture; affect forcibly their imaginations; propose to them nothing that is not arrayed in the garb of sensible images. Represent to them the Deity, seated upon a throne, his eyes more glittering than the sunbeams, and more piercing than the lightning. Introduce him as speaking; describe him as hearing every thing, as sustaining the universe in his hands, with his arm constantly raised to punish the wicked, yet with a heart overflowing with the tenderness and affection of a father, ready to render all that love him happy. The time will come when their knowledge of all these subjects may be made more accurate. Observe