DELIVERED JULY 10, 1846,
ON THE OCCASION OF THE
COOPER FEMALE ACADEMY, DAYTON, O.
BY REV. J. W. HALL.
PUBLISHED BY THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
R. N. & W. F. Comly, Printers.
EDUCATION, as the etymology of the word indicates, consists in the drawing forth, or development of the powers or faculties of a human being. It pre-supposes three things, as a matter of course--a SUBJECT, an OBJECT, and MEANS. A subject, for without something to be drawn forth or developed, there can be no drawing forth or development--and the subject must be one endowed with powers capable of development. A mineral, or a dead piece of deal, may be shaped, but not educated; for the simple reason, that although it has susceptibilities capable of being acted upon by mechanical agencies, it has none capable of being operated upon by educational influences. If, then, in all education, we must first have a subject, and a subject capable of being acted upon by educational influences, then the first inquiry to be raised in a discourse on education, must relate to the nature of the subject to be educated. Such an inquiry, is not only interesting in itself, as every inquiry of science is, which has some practical object in view, but interesting from the fact, that in this case, the very process of the education itself, must depend in a high degree, upon the peculiar nature or character of the subject to be educated. We would educate a parrot or a falcon, a horse or a human being, each by a different process.
The second inquiry of the educator, must relate to the object contemplated by his labors; for if he have not some object before his mind, to be accomplished by his efforts, how can he know what kind of means to employ?
In the third place, assuming that the educator has a knowledge of the materiel on which he is to operate, and a distinct conception of the object at which he is to aim, in the employment of his art, a third, and by far the most practical, and at the same time most difficult inquiry, will remain, viz. what are the best means to be employed, in order to accomplish the ends or objects of education, not only in general, but in each particular case; for without means, and suitable means, we, who are only instruments in this, as in every other work, can accomplish nothing.
If, then, to understand the art of education in general, we must necessarily consider the subject, object, and means of education, then, in the matter before us to-day, which is FEMALE EDUCATION, we must confine our thoughts to the subjects, objects and means, of this particular branch of education.
We have said, that a knowledge of the nature or character of the subject on which he is to employ his delicate and noble art, was a necessary qualification to the educator. And surely this fact will get granted, for if he knows not the nature, and hence the susceptibilities of what is to be educated, how can he proceed with his work, with any judgment or skill? How can he know what kind of means to employ? And if he go to work in this way, he must needs go to work at random, and in such a case will he not be as likely to injure as to benefit his pupils?
If it is necessary to the sculptor to know the kind of marble on which he is to employ his chisel, in order to bring forth from it the beautiful creations of his genius—and if it is necessary for the chemist to know the nature of the elements which he is to employ, before he can proceed with any certainty to the work of the laboratory--and if it is necessary that the surgeon and physician would have some knowledge of anatomy and of the human system, if he would not imperil the life of his subjects--and if the farmer should know something of soils, the carpenter of wood, the brick maker and potter of clay--if, in a word, it is necessary to every kind of workman to know something of the nature of the materiel on which he is to operate, the surely analogy would lead us to infer, that in education, which is the highest and most difficult of all arts, some knowledge of the nature of the subjects on which he is to operate, would be necessary to the educator, especially the female educator, he would not mar, or permanently injure, that delicate godlike material, which is delivered by affectionate and confiding parents into his hands. And the more accurate and thorough his knowledge of the nature and character of the material on which it is his vocation to operate, the more skillfully, of course, he can proceed with his delicate and truly responsible work. The nature or kind of knowledge which we should demand of him, should correspond with the nature of the subjects which he is to educate. If his pupils possess a threefold nature, physical, intellectual and moral, separable indeed in theory, but not so in fact, but united into one by strange ties and mysterious sympathies, so that they always affect and are affected by each other—and if each
pupil possess a specific as well as generic character, then the educator should have a knowledge of anatomy, physiol ogy, intellectual and moral science, and especially of divine revelation, for that alone truly and truthfully teaches the moral nature of the human race; and the knowledge of that portion of our nature just as it is, we hold to be essential to the successful educator. Besides this general knowledge of the physiccal, mental and moral nature of his pupils, he should endeavor to acquire a knowledge of the specific character of each of his pupils, for there is in the human race, as in every other class of the Creator’s works, an infinite diversity, as well as a generic unity—and every school presents this unity and diversity to every intelligent and observing educator; and will suggest to him, if he be wise, a specific as well as general treatment of his pupils. For it is not reason, that the strong and the weak, the timid and the bold, the taciturn and the noisy, the diffident and the self-conceited, should all be dealt with after the same fashion. The female educator, in addition to all the kinds of knowledge of which we have spoken, should take into consideration the peculiar physical, intellectual and moral constitution of woman, and her specific character and sphere as woman, if he would have a clear view of the work which lies ahead of him, and be qualified to conduct it with success.
Thus qualified for his peculiar department in the work of education, so far as a knowledge of the nature and character of the subjects on which he is to employ his art, is concerned, the next thing that should occupy the attention of the educator of woman, is the object of her education.
Now, when we raise the question as to the object of female education, we raise at once a question to which different answers will be given, according to the different views which may be taken of the sphere which Providence intended her to occupy in the social system—and these different views will modify, and ought, of course, to modify, the manner of her education, just as they differ from each other. If, as among savages, we think it is, and ought to be, her destiny to be the slave of her husband, to till the ground, cut the wood, bring the water, tend his horses and dogs, and carry the burdens of her master; and if she ought to do all this, without thanks, without reward, and even without sympathy, why, of course, her physical powers should be chiefly educated or developed, that she may thus be enabled to bear her burdens with the least possible degree of fatigue --and her sensibilities should all be schooled into the most
perfect apathy, that she may thus be enable to endure indifference, neglect and insult, without murmuring or repining at her lot. If, on the other hand, we should think, as her lords among the semi-civilized tribes of the East seem to think, that she was intended to be merely the voluptuous toy of man—subject entirely to his will—captive of his harem—equally ready to subserve his pleasure, or be strangles with the bowstring, or encased in a sack and thrown into the river without resistance or repining—and if, as many of the Mohammedan Doctors of Divinity zealously contend, she is without an immortal soul, unless her husband shall very especially desire, from the nature of the Paradise promised him, he can have little or no motive—why, then, the object of her education should be to qualify her, as far as possible, to be merely a fascinating, quiet, gentle, submissive Odalisque, perfectly content with her silks, her jewels, her nargilch, her cage, her monotonous life, and her mortal, and only mortal destiny. Or if, repudiating the savage of the Sultan view of woman, we should think with the Spartans and ancient Germans, that it is her destiny to be the mother and companion of warriors, why, then, as a warrioress and the mother of a warlike race, let her be educated. Let her physical powers, like those of the Spartan women, be developed by severest muscular exercise, such as running, wrestling, pitching quoits, throwing darts—and let her warlike spirit be cultivated by stories of war and carnage, the glory of courage and the shame of cowardice, so that she may so far overcome her natural timidity, as not to fear the clangor of arms herself, and so far overcome her natural tenderness towards her offspring, as to teach them "to overcome in the battle-field or be borne home on their shields." If, as in the age of chivalry, she is to be regarded as a goddess, and served with knightly adoration, why, then, let her education look mainly to the position which she is to occupy in the social Pantheon. But, if all these savage, Sultan, Spartan and knightly views of woman’s sphere and destiny be erroneous or defective, and if she was not intended to be either the slave or the toy of man, a rude amazon, or a goddess, but the equal, the companion, and the best friend of man—his solace in solitude, and the soother of his cares—his help-meet in the mutual labors of home—and his efficient co-laborer, in her own sphere, in the great work of human improvement—and if she is endowed by nature with those qualities precisely, which, under proper culture, might fit her to become what she was intended to be in all
these relations to man, then it should be the aim and the ambition of her educators so to employ all the skill of their craft, as to qualify her to fill them in the best possible manner.— They should labor so to do their part, that in every case, if possible, like Cicero’s Tullia, she might be a justly beloved daughter—like Lucretia, a pure and honorable wife—like Cornelia, the mother of the Gracchi, and Mary, the mother of Washington, she might be a noble and honored matron—like Hannah Moore and Isabella Graham, an example of piety --like Felicia Hemans and Lydia H. Sigourney, an ornament of Literature, and, like the Marys of the New Testament, a devoted Christian, ready, if need be, to follow Christ to the cross—aye, even to the tomb. Not only so—it should be their aim so to educate her, that after she had fulfilled her mission well on earth, she might stand at last before the throne of God, like the woman in the Apocalypse, "clothed with the sun" of moral beauty, and on her head "a crown with many stars," and being accepted in the Savior whom she had been taught to love, and in whose righteousness she had been taught to trust, she might enter into Heaven itself --and there enjoy that blessedness unspeakable for which we hold she was created, and towards which, as the great concern of life, her education should be chiefly directed.
Supposing the educator to have attained to a clear conception of the subject and objects of female education, the next, and, as I have already intimated, by far the most difficult question, will still remain to be settled, viz: the best means to be employed to accomplish the objects of this particular branch of education—in other words, the art of female education itself.
Now, if the art of education in general consists in the developement of the powers, and of all the powers of human beings, in the best possible manner, that is, in the manner best adapted to answer the ends of their existence, then, in the first place, it should be the aim of the educators of woman to employ the best and most suitable means of developing her physical powers in such a way as to qualify her to fill her predestinated sphere of existence in the most suitable and appropriate manner of which her physical constitution is capable. This is all he can do. It is not in his power, nor is it in the power of any one, to remedy any radical or constitutional defect or deformity, for it is his business, not to create, but to educate what has been put into his hands; he cannot be expected to give the highest polish and elegance of form and manner, where his materials are naturally coarse and rough.
The best sculptor is not expected to make a Venus, a Madonna or an Eve, from the coarse cliff rock. But, ordinarily, where the material by nature is none of the finest, much more might be done by parents and teachers, than is usually imagined.
With our views of the place and sphere of woman in the social system, we think her physical education of the first importance. Every one knows that the character of every nation and people depends upon the character and influence of their women—and every one knows how much the character and influence of woman depends upon her personal appearance and manners, and how much her personal appearance and manners depend upon her physical education. We think it may be safely affirmed, that without that health, strength, graceful form, easy motion, genteel carriage and physical beauty or agreeableness of appearance which it should be the aim of physical education to give, it is impossible for woman to exert that refining and elevation influence upon social life which it was intended by the author of her being that she should exert. But if this be so, then great pains should be bestowed upon this part of her education. The art of physical, as well as of every kind of education, will be found, upon examination, to consist mainly of three things --precept, example and exercise. By precept, the pupil should be taught what is to be done, and what is to be avoided—by example, the precepts of teachers should be exemplified, as far as practicable, in themselves—and by exercise, the pupil should be taught to imitate the example, and obey the precepts—and this course should be pursued by parents and teachers from earliest childhood to maturity. A slight injury of the seedling may mar forever the straightness and symmetry of what otherwise might have been a beautiful tree. Of precept and example we shall say nothing at present, only that they are altogether secondary in importance, in our judgement, to exercise; for no matter how wise the precepts, or faultless the example of preceptors, they will be of little utility to the pupils, unless they are taught to develop, and really do develop their physical powers by appropriate exercises. It is an established law of nature, that exercise is the means, and chief means ordained for the development of all our powers. But if this be so, then in every school of female education, there should be a system of scientific exercises prescribed, which should be adapted to develop the physical powers of the pupils in strength, symmetry, grace and beauty. The system of Calisthenics adopted in some female
seminaries, is an approximation to such a system. In such a system of exercises, whatever it may be, we think that the art of the teacher should be similar to that which Horace prescribes to the poet, when he says, Ars celare artem. For it is the highest perfection of the art of the educator, so to conduct the process of education, as to accomplish the object at which he aims, with as little knowledge or consciousness of that object, on the part of his pupils, as possible—and this is especially desireable we think in conducting the physical education of woman, the object of which is mainly external appearance and personal accomplishments. At any rate, we do not think that it would be very judicious in a teacher to tell his pupils, that such and such exercises were intended to give them bright eyes, blooming cheeks, quick ears, a delicate touch, a beautiful form, and a graceful carriage, that thus they might become objects of admiration; but he should rather prescribe such a course of exercises for sense, muscles and physical system in general, as would accomplish these objects, without the consciousness of his pupils that he was thus training them. If he can do this, the grace, ease and beauty of his pupils will be unconscious grace, ease and beauty—and the more they are so, the more lovely they will be; for are not all those forms of nature the most beautiful which are the most natural—the least artificial? The lily, the rose, the palm tree, are all of them beautiful forms; but they are educated—that is, brought out from their original germs, by the soil, the air, the sunshine and the showers, by the Great Educator, according to the laws of Nature; and they are all unconscious of the process of their development, and of their beauty. The fawn of our own woods, and the gazelle of the East—how beautiful they are in form, and how elastic, easy and graceful are their motions! And how much do we admire them! But how much does our admiration of them arise from the fact that, beautiful as they are, they seem altogether unconscious of their beauty? How different would be our feelings towards them, if they moved with a conscious, vain, stiff, strutting, mechanical, artificial step? To either style, woman may be educated, we think; either to a style of unconscious ease, beauty and grace, or to a style of stiffness, awkwardness, affectation and vanity. The latter is the style, it would seem, that the taste of the age prefers—and to gratify this taste, the natural and beautiful form of woman, it seems, must be sacrificed—and to this end, a conspiracy has been formed against her, to which, alas, she doth not herself unwillingly submit, in which parents, shoe-makers, dress-makers, stay-makers, bustle-makers, have all
combined; and the consequence is, that when she comes forth with all her accomplishments from their hands, her form, instead of that perfect form which we admire in the ancient ideals of Greek beauty, comes forth, attenuated to the shape of a wasp; her skin, instead of having the whiteness of the lily, has the whiteness, or rather the yellowness of death upon it; her cheeks, instead of having the redness of the rose of health upon them, have only the redness of the cosmetic or of consumption blooming there; and then her carriage—instead of reminding us of the fawn or the gazelle, by its unconscious ease and beauty, rather reminds us of—we are at a loss for a comparison, unless we should adopt that of the naughty Satirist, and say:
"Should I speak of her gait or her air,
You might think I intended to banter;
She moves with more grace, you’d declare
Than a foundered horse forced to a canter."
And all this sad and ludicrous perversion of woman’s form would seem to have arisen from the erroneous idea that it was the business of her educators, not to develop her physiccal constitution and faculties as God gave them to her, but to mend, and patch and fashion them over again, and thus make improvements upon what we are told God made perfect at first. Eve, when she came from the hands of her Maker, we are told by Milton, was a perfect specimen of female beauty;
"Grace was in all her steps, Heaven in her eye,
In every gesture, dignity and love."
and to similar beauty, grace, heavenly radiance, dignity and love, might great numbers of her daughters attain, if their parents and teachers could but just abandon the notion that they could improve upon that which does not need improvement, but only proper development—and proceed accordingly, leaving God’s work to vindicate itself, without aid from the cramps, cords, stays, hoops, pads or pigments of man— and as we should avoid all that would mar the health, strength and symmetry of the body, so we should avoid all those places where our daughters would be educated to stiffness, formality and affectationof manners, and to this end we advise generally against sending them to those schools where manners, so called, are professedly taught—for, in the nature of things, where manners are the main things profes sedly taught, if the teaching succeeds, it can only result in mannerism—and mannerism, in man or woman, is it not
detestable? For what is it but a species of hypocrisy according to rule?
In close connextion with the physical, we must consider the intellectual education of woman. The art in this, as in physical education, is mainly the same—precept, example, exercise—chiefly exercise; and such exercise as is adapted to develope all the intellectual powers, each in its full strength, and all in harmony with each other, that thus the pupil may be able to gain, preserve and use knowledge, for these are the objects, mainly, of mental education. It is the smallest part of the office of the educator to impart knowledge—it is rather his office to teach his pupils the art of acquiring if for themselves. It is not, therefore, his business to stuff, but to strengthen their brains; not to fill the chambers of memory with the mere words of knowledge, but with the knowledge which these words represent—or, which is still better, to teach them how to use their minds so as to acquire knowledge for themselves, and to convey it to others by means of the most appropriate, expressive and elegant signs.
It was once wittily said of a distinguished professor of dogmatic theology, that on receiving a pupil under his care, the first thing he did was to make a hole very carefully in the hinder part of his cranium, and then carefully take out all his natural brains, and when he had succeeded in so doing, he next proceeded to fill up the cavity with his own theology, and in this way the strange fact was accounted for, viz: that while the heads of his pupils were uniformly stuffed full of his theology, they had no brains. We may indeed smile at the absurdity of such a mode of accounting for such a fact, and yet how much does the aforesaid process of the learned professor, in educating his pupils, differ from the process by which too many calling themselves educators, pursue in imparting what they call mental education. To be sure, they do not literally take out the natural brains of their pupils, but if they do not, they seem to regard them as of no use, or as merely a passive recipient of words and signs without ideas, or as a mere burden bearer of the wares and merchandize of knowledge, but like the mule, whose office is a similar one, without any knowledge of the value or uses of its burden. Now, such a process as this is not education of the mind, but oneration, strangulation, suffocation, de-education—any thing else but education. Better it were, that our daughters were left to get such education as nature, and their own native energies would give them, than to be put under such a brain-burdening, brain-weakening process—just as we hold that it were better that their bodies were left to develope themselves in the free
air of Heaven, with only the teaching which Nature’s school would give them, rather than be cramped up in Chinese slippers and French corsets, or be put into the hands of some old primp personification of artificial manners, or some affected posture-master, who of course would teach them every thing else but grace, ease and naturalness of carriage.
If the physical education of woman is important, and her mental education more important, her moral education is most important of all. For what are physical beauty, grace, the highest intelligence and the most exquisite manners, withput moral worth in woman? They are of nothing worth— they are even unseemly, incongruous. For, "As a jewel of gold in a swine’s snout," saith Solomon, "so is a fair woman without discretion." On the other hand how lovely is woman when clothed in virtue as well as intelligence and beau ty—and how beautiful is Solomon’s picture of such a woman, as a wife, a mother, and a member of society. His picture of her may be found in the xxxi ch. of Proverbs—and it is a picture which parents and teachers would do well to consider, and teach their daughters and pupils to consider, admire and imitate, instead of contemplating, admiring and imitating the sickly creations of romance, and the too many silly and vain creatures of modern society.
The woman whom Solomon teaches us to admire, and to esteem of more "value than rubies," is a woman of sound moral principles, and firm in her adherence to them—one that speaks the truth and not falsehood—a woman of candor and not of hypocrisy—one that is given to charity and not censoriousness; to kindness of language, and not bitterness or mischief of speech; to industry, and not idleness; to economy, and not prodigality. She loves her home, and prefers it to mingling in scenes of show, dissipation, vanity and vain-glory; she is faithful as a wife and a mother, and her children and her husband confide in her. She loves her God, and she shows her love to Him by discharging the duties of that sphere in which Providence has cast her lot, without murmuring, but with cheerfulness and resignation; and possessing such a character, as a daughter, she is beloved; as a sister, she is the pride of her brothers; as a wife, she is doated upon by her husband; as a mother, she is a blessing to her household; as a friend she inspires universal confidence; as a Christian, she is an ornament of the church to which she belongs; in a word, she is in every respect what the great poet said woman was intended to be:
"Heaven’s last, best gift to man."
"The crowning glory of humanity, and the chiefest beauty of the visible creation of God."
But if she is such, or if she is to become such, she is not, nor will not be such, by chance, but by education and Divine grace --for she is not such by nature, any more than the coarser sex. Of the latter influence, it is not our purpose at present to speak, only to remark, that in conducting her moral education aright, we have just reason to expect that it will not be withheld, nay, that it will crown our labors with abundant success—perfecting that in which we should have utterly failed, if it had been withheld. In conducting the moral education of woman, we must, as in both the other kinds, rely chiefly upon precept, example and exercise—and as in them, mainly upon exercise—the exercise of the moral virtues, from earliest childhood. Our children should be taught not only what to do, and what to avoid, but they should be taught to conform scrupulously to their teaching—so that right theory maybe become right practice—and single acts of goodness and righteousness, settled habits of moral virtue.— The slightest aberration from those right principles, right feelings and right actions which constitute the worth and the moral loveliness of woman, should be checked, guarded against and corrected at once—while every tendency to that which is right and good, should be countenanced and encouraged. In this truly divine and difficult work, we cannot begin too early, labor too earnestly, nor watch against counteracting influences too closely, for
"Character growth day by day, and all things aid it in unfolding,
And the bent unto good or evil may be given in the hours of infancy.
Scratch the green rind of a sapling, or wantonly twist it in the soil,
The scarred and crooked oak will tell of thee for the centuries to come.
Even so mayest thou lead the mind to good, or to the marrings of evil;
For disposition is builded up by the fashioning of first impressions.
Wherefore, though the voice of instruction waiteth for the ear of reason,
Yet with his mother’s milk the young child drinketh in education.
Patience is the first great lesson they may learn at the mother’s breast,
And the habit of obedience and trust may be grafted on his mind in the cradle.
Hold his little hands in prayer, teach the weak knees their kneeling,
Let him see thee speaking to thy God; he will not forget it afterwards.
When old and grey he will feelingly remember a mother’s tender piety,
And the touching recollection of her prayers shall arrest the strong man in his sin."
Such is our theory of the art of education—so far as we have any control over it, it consists of three parts—precept, example and exercise—the constant exercise, in a proper manner, of those powers, faculties or affections which are to be educated. The theory we think correct, but we are aware
that in this, as in every other art, wherein we endeavor to reduce the ideal to the actual, we shall meet with many difficulties—so many, and so formidable, that our success in general will be but partial, and never altogether perfect, but at best only an approximation to perfection; and for the plain reason, that men of the purest intentions are limited in their powers, and in education, they operate upon beings imperfect in every way. Besides the difficulties which arise from the mutual imperfections of pupil and preceptor, other embarrassments arise continually, if not entirely to defeat, still to counteract in a great measure the best intentions and the loftiest zeal. Over some of these embarrassments, neither parents nor teachers can have any, except a very indirect control,--over others, their control is more direct. With regard to those over which they have no control, we need not speak, but we think it right to notice some of those over which they manifestly have control. And one of the most common obstacles with which teachers have to contend, is the want of countenance and co-operation on the part of parents. This hindrance and vexation appear in many ways. Children are not sent to school regularly, or they come in at irregular hours, or they are not furnished with suitable books or other apparatus for conducting their studies, or they are not taught to obey their teachers, or submit to the rules and discipline of the school—and sometimes, if they are not taught directly to resist the authority of their teachers, their rebellion is connived at, and they are upheld and protected in it—so that, because of these and other hindrances, wittingly or unwittingly thrown in the way of teachers by ignorant or injudicious parents, they cannot be said to have their pupils under their care in such a way as "to make full proof" of their powers to educate them; and if they do not succeed in such cases, they are not responsible for the failure—for it is expecting too much of the best educators, to suppose that they can counteract, not only the ignorance and waywardness of children, but the ignorance and waywardness of parents also. If parents did but know it, the main secret of success in educating their children is in selecting just such teachers as they have entire confidence in, and then yielding them up entirely to their hands, countenancing them, co-operating with them, and sustaining them in all their work. If this be done, success is almost certain, to the extent of the time, capacity and opportunities which the pupil enjoy. But instead of this judi cious course, how often is not merely the countenance of parents withheld, but how often do teachers experience actual counteraction from them—and such counteraction as is almost
intolerable. The teacher insists upon regular hours—the parents interfere by sending them at irregular hours; the teacher insists upon certain class books—the parents send just such books as they please; the teacher insists upon neatness, cleanliness—but the parents counteract this teaching by an example of slatternliness themselves; the teacher insists upon a natural, easy, modest carriage—the parent teaches affectation; the teacher shows scientifically to his pupils, the fatal tendencies of certain habits of dress and life, and insists that they shall avoid them—but their parents force them to the altars of fashion, to be immolated there, as thousands have been before them. For human sacrifices have not yet ceased--on the contrary, as of old, the flower of the country is still sacrificed. Teachers insist upon the seclusion of their pupils from entering mixed society, and especially from going to dancing schools, balls, parties, and other places that tend to withdraw their minds from their books and studies; and yet how often are girls sent to such places, the only tendency of which, as every teacher knows and will testify, is to disqualify them for the grave and serious studies of the school room. The teacher insists upon solid learning, the parent seems to care for nothing but light and airy accomplishments. The teacher insists upon a thorough course of training, the parent only cares for a smattering, superficial course. The teacher insists that moral worth is the chief gem of woman’s beauty, and that moral character should be cultivated by her and prized by her above every thing else; and that, while she ought to be thankful for wealth and family and other blessings of Providence, which enable her to enjoy the means of education, yet that what she is, not what she has, should constitute the standard by which she should try herself, and by which she should form her estimate of others. But how often do parents indirectly, if not directly, teach their daughters, that what they have, and what people may think of them, not really what they are, is the standard to which they should look continually—and as in such cases true moral worth is not sought or cultivated, it is not, of course, attained.
Finally, if teachers insist upon the necessity, obligation, fitness and even beauty of piety in woman, and insist that their pupils should seek its sanctifying spirit, and consecrate the bloom of their youth to God—alas, how often do parents show too plainly, that they would prefer to see their daughters figure in the saloons of fashion, rather than see them entering the church of God. Thus, physical, mental, moral and religious education being counteracted, education, in that high sense in which we use the term, is just simply
impossible. But where teachers are conscientious and competent, and parents countenance and co-operate, with the materials that Providence puts into our hands abundantly, the results might be every where the most gratifying. The form, the mind, the heart, all thoroughly educated, and the blessing of God, which in conscientious training we may always expect, being bestowed, in the language of inspiration, "Our sons would grow up as plants in their youth, and our daughters as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace"—or, as this verse is beautifully paraphrased by an old commentator, "Our sons would grow up like young flourishing trees, till they attained their full strength and stature, and our daughters be tall and beautiful, like those polished pillars, which are the ornaments of a royal palace."