« PreviousContinue »
they might not be obliged to wander, like the children of Israel, many years in the wilderness. I might recite the complaint of Austin, “that little boys are taught in the schools the filthy actions of the Pagan gods, for reciting which," said he, “I was called a boy of promise;" or the complaint of Luther, “that our schools are Pagan rather than Christian.” I might mention what a late author says, “I knew an aged and eminent schoolmaster who, after keep ing a school about fifty years, said with a sad countenance, that it was a great trouble to him that he had spent so much time in reading Pagan authors to his scholars; and wished it were customary to read such a book as Duport's verses on Job, rather than Homer, &c. I pray God to put it into the hearts of a wise parliament to purge our schools; that instead of learning vain fictions and filthy stories, they may become acquainted with the word of God, and with books containing grave sayings, and things which may make them truly wise and useful in the world.” But I presume little notice will be taken of such wishes as these. It is with despair that I mention them.
Among the occasions for promoting religion in the scholars, one in the writing schools deserves peculiar notice. I have read of an atrocious sinner who was converted to God by accidentally reading the following sentence of Austin, written in a window: "He who has promised pardon to the penitent sinner, has not promised repentance to the presumptuous one." Who can tell what good may be done to the young scholar by a sentence in his copy-book? Let their copies be composed of sentences worthy to be had in everlasting remembrance, of sentences which shall contain the brightest maxims of wisdom, worthy to be written on the fleshly tables of their hearts, to be graven with the point of a diamond there. God has blessed such sentences to many scholars; they have been useful to them all their days.
In the grammar sch also, the scholars may be directed for their exercises to turn into Latin such passages as may be useful for their instruction in the principles of Christianity, and furnish them with supplies from “the tower of David.” Their letters also may be on subjects which may be friendly to the interests of virtue.
I will add, it is very desirable to manage the discipline of the school by means of rewards, rather than of punishments. Many methods of rewarding the diligent and deserving may be invented; and a boy of an ingenious temper, by the expectation of reward (ad palmæ cursurus honores), will do his best. You esteem Quintilian. Hear him: “Use stripes sparingly; rather let the youth be stimulated by praise, and by the distinctions conferred on his classmates." If a fault must be punished, let instruction both to the delinquent and to the spectator accompany the correction. Let the odious name of the sin which enforced the correction be declared; and let nothing be done in anger, but with every mark of tenderness and concern.
Ajax Flagellifer may be read in the school; he is not fit to be the master of it. Let it not be said of the boys, they were brought up in the "school of Tyrannus." Pliny says that bears are the better for beating. More fit to bave the management of bears than of ingenious boys, are those masters who cannot give a bit of learning without giving a blow with it. Send them to the tutors of the famous Lithuanian school at Samourgan. The harsh Orbilian way of treating children, too commonly used in the schools, is a dreadful curse of God on our miserable offspring, who are born “children of wrath.” It is boasted sometimes of a schoolmaster, that such a brave man had his education under him; but it is never said how many, who might have been brave men, have been ruined by him; how many brave wits have been dispirited, confounded, murdered by his barbarous way of managing them?
[The same estimate of the schoolmaster's mission, the same educational spirit, pervades his Funeral Discourse on the death of Mr. Ezekiel Chever in 1708.]
Rev. Dr. Cotton Mather“ improved the occasion" of the death of this “ faithful, successful, venerable, and beloved teacher," by preaching a Funeral Sermon, in which he set forth in his own peculiar pedantic manner and style, the duty of towns and parents to provide schools, employ, pay, and honor competent teachers, and look diligently after the good education of children. This sermon, which the author pronounces A doing of Justice, was printed with the following title page.
MR. EZEKIEL CHEEVER
the Ninety Fourth Year of his Áge.
By one that was once a Scholar to him.
Vester (CÁEEVERUS,) cum sic moritur, non moritur BOSTON, Printed by John Allen, for Nicholas Boone, at the Sign of the Bible ir
From this pamphlet, now rarely to be met with even in the collections of antiquarians and Historical Societies, we proceed to give some extracts, both for the light they throw on the character and services of Ezekiel Cheever, and for the substantial and wholesome doctrine, which is as good now as it was a hundred and fifty years ago, when it was uttered by Dr. Mather. His motives for publishing the Sermon and Essay, are thus set forth in the “ Historical Introduction":
“DUTY to the Merit and Memory of my Departed MASTER, is now in its Operation. The Fifth Commandment well considered will demand such a Duty. When Quirinus made a Marble Monument for his Master, there was this Effect of it, Invisunt Locum Studiosi Juvenes frequenter, ut hoc Exemplo Edocti, quantum Discipuli ipsi præceptoribus fuis debeant, perpetuo meminisse velint. Scholars that saw it, Learnt from the Sight what Acknowledgments were due from Scholars to their Masters. I with my little feeble Essay for Mine, may in any measure animate the Gratitude of any Scholars to their Well-deserving Tutors.
A due Care about a Funeral for the Dead, among the Jews had that Phrase for it; A Bestowing of Mercy. But the Sermon which I have Employ'd on the Funeral of my Master, must be called ; A Doing of Justice. And I am very much misinformed, if this were not the General Voice of all the Auditory.
After apologizing for the imperfection of his work, and giving the principal incidents in the life of Cheever, he concludes the Introduction as follows:
“ It is a Common Adage in the Schools of the Jews ; A just man never dies, till there be born in his room, one that is like him. So Grown a Town as Boston, is capable of honourably Supporting more than one Grammar School. And it were to be wished, That several as able as our CHEEVER, might arise in his room, to carry on an Excellent Education in them. Our Glorious LORD can make such men. But, Oh! That SCHOOLS were more Encouraged, throughout the Country!
I remember, the Jewish Masters have a Dispute about the Reasons of the Destruction of Jerusalem. And among the rest the Judgment of R. Menono, was; It had not been destroy'd, but for their not minding to bring up their Children in the School. Verily, There cannot be a more Threatning Symptom of Destruction upon us, than there would be in this thing; If we should fall into the Folly of Not Minding to bring up our Children in the School
“The Pastors of the Churches must more bestir themselves. O Men of God, Awake; And let the Cares of our ELIOT* for his Roxbury,t be a pattern for you j”
The doctrine of the Discourse [That saving wisdom is to be fetched from the knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and that the early knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, is the way to be betimes made wise unto salvation,] is drawn from 2. Timothy, iii chapter, and 15th verseFrom a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation. The preacher enlarges on the “inexpressible consequence" of the right education of children. “Unworthy
Dr. Mathier, in the Magnalia, in his Life of Eliot, speaking of “his cares about the children of his people," remarks: “ I have cause to remember with what an hearty, fervent, zealous application, he addressed himself, when, in the name of the neighbour, pastors, and churches, he gave me the right hand of their fellowship, at my ordination, and said, Brother," art thou a lover of the Lord Jesus Christ? Then, I pray, feed his lambs." Besides his la. bours direct and abundant for the catechetical and direct religious instruction of children by himself, as their pastor, and, through their parents, " he showed his regard for the welfare of the poor children under his charge by his perpetual resolution and activity to support a good school in the town that belonged unto him. A grammar-school he would always have upon the place, whatever it cost him; and, he importuned all other places to have the like. I can. not forget the ardour with which I once heard him pray, in a synod of these churches, which met at Boston, to consider how the miscarriages which were among us might be prevented; I say, with what fervour he uttered an expression to this purpose, Lord, for schools every where among us! That our schools may flourish! That every member of this assembly may go home and procure a good school to be encouraged in the toron where he lives! That, before we die, we may be so happy as to see a good school encouraged in every plantation of the country. God so blessed his endeavours that Roxbury could not live quietly without a free school in the town; and the issue of it has been one thing which has made me almost put the title of Schola Ilustris upon that little nursery; that is, that Roxbury has afforded more scholars, first for the colledge, and then for the publick, than any town of its bigness, or, if I mistake not, of twice its bigness, in all New-England. From the spring of the school at Roxbury, there have run a large number of the streams which have made glad this whole city of God. I perswade my self that the good people of Roxbury will for ever scorn to begrutch the cost, or to permit the death of a school which God has made such an honour to them; and, this the rather be. cause their deceased Eliot has left them a fair part of his own estate, for the maintaining of the school in Rosbury; and, I hope, or, at least, I wish, that the ministers of Nero-England may be as ungajnsayably importunate with their people as Mr. Eliot was with his, for schools which may seasonably tinge the young souls of the rising generation. A want of education for them is the blackest and saddest of all the bad omens that are upon us."
• Under the lead of the Rev. John Eliot, sundry inhabitants of Roxbury, in 1645, only fifteen years after the first settlement of the town, bound themselves and their estates for ever for the payment of a certain sum yearly for the support of a Free School. In 1669, Mr. Thomas Bill bequeathed a large estate, in Roxbury, to Mr. John Eliot, “in trust for the maintenance of a school-master and a Free School, for the teaching and instructing of poor men's chil. dren." From these beginnings grew up the “Grammar School in the Easterly Part of Roxbury," whose interesting history has been written by Richard G. Parker. This school numbers among its early teachers several men who afterwards became eminent among the divines, lawyers, and statesmen of the country. Among them we find, in 1760, the name of Joseph Warren, who, in 1776, went up on Bunker Hill, to die for his country. In 1716, in a Preamble to an order relating to this school, in the House of Representatives, it is set forth " that the said Free School is one of the most ancient famous schools in the Province, where by the favor of God more persons have had their education, who have been and now are worthy Ministers to the everlasting Gospel than in any town of the like bigness." In 1674, the Freoffees covenant with John Prudden to keep the school, in which said Prudden on his part engages " to use his best endeavors, both by precept and example, to instruct in all Scholasticall, morall, and theologicall discipline," and the Ffeoffees, on theirs, to allow him in recompence for teaching their children (he being at liberty to receive other scholars on pay), twenty-five pounde, “ to be paid three quarters in Indian Corn or peas, and the other fourth part in barley, and good and merchantable, at price current in the country rate.” In fitting up the school with “ benches and formes, with tables for the Schollars to rite,” in 1652, "a dook to put the Dictionary on " was provided for.
to be parents, most worthy to be esteemed rather monsters than parents are they, who are not solicitous to give their children an agreeable and religious education.” That children may “ learn to read the Holy Scriptures; and this as early as may be," he exclaims energetically, in capitals and italics" to SCHOOL therefore with them! Let them not be loitering at home, or playing abroad, when they should be at school. Be more concerned for their schooling than for their cloathing. If there be any, as I suppose there cannot be many so necessitous, as to call for it, let us in this town go on with our CHARITY SCHOOL.” In reply to inquiry who it is that is to teach the children" Come all hands to the work!" "The Pastors must not neglect the children of the flock. The charge of our Lord unto them is-Feed my Lambs. It is thrice proposed as if it were at least one third part of the pastoral charge." Is there not a disposition in our day to throw this whole charge upon teachers ?
“ The MASTER and MISTRESS, in the SCHOOL, may do much in this Noble Work. We read, The Little Ones have their Angels. Truly, to Teach the Little Ones, the Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, and make them Wise unto Salvation, it is a stately work; I had almost call'd it; A Work for Angels. It is an Hard Work to keep a School; and hardly ever duly Recompensed. I suppose, It is easier to be at the Plough all day, than in the School. But it is a Good Work: It is Gods Plough; and God speed it! I would not have you weary of it. Melchior Adam did well to call it, Molestissimam, sed Deo longe gratissimam Functionem; A work, tho' very Tiresome, and Troublesome to the Flesh, yet most highly Acceptable' to God. Go on with it Chearfully; And often Teach the Children something of the Holy Scriptures; often drop some Honey out of that Rock upon them. Who can tell, but you may Teach them the Things that shall save their Souls, and they shall bless God for you and with you, throughout Eternal Ages ? Every time a New Child comes to the School, Oh! why should you not think! Here my glorious LORD sends me another Object, on which I may do some thing, to advance His Kingdom in the World!
Butí Lastly, and yet First of all, o PARENTS Arise ; This matter chiefly belongs unto you ; we also will be with you. None, I say, None, are so much concerned, as Parents to look after it, that their Children be taught the Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures. Our famous King Elfred, procured a Law, That every man who had but as much as Two Hides of Land, should bring up his Children to Learning, till Fifteen Years of Age at least; that so they might Know Christ, and Live Happily; Else, he said, They were but Beasts and Sots. I am to press it, That Parents give their Children all the Learning they can ; especially that which will bring them to Know Christ, and Live Happily."
After addressing himself particularly to the children and teachers of his auditory, he concludes his discourse by the following “ lengthy" but “reasonable corollary :”
“Worthy of Honour are the TEACHERS that Convey Wisdom unto our Children; Worthy of Double Honour the Happy Instruments that Convey Saving Wisdom to them! There are some whose peculiar Profession it is, to assist the Education of our Children; and it is therefore their Endeavour to give them a Religious Education. Their Employment is to bestow Useful and Various Learning on our Children; but they make their Employment, a precious Advantage to Learn them the Holy
Scriptures, and make them Wise for Eternity. These our SCHOOL-MASTERS, deserve a great Encouragement. We are not Wise for our Children, if we do not greatly Encourage them.
The PARTICULAR PERSONS, who have their Children, in the Tutelage of Skilful and Careful School-Masters, ought to make them suitable Recompences. Their Stipends are generally far short of their Deserts. They deservo Additional Compensations. Their pains are not small. What they Do is very Great. And surely our Children are very dear to us; I need not quote Euripides to tell you, That they are as the very Life and Soul, unto all Mankind. I can't but observe it with a just Indignation; to Feed our Children, to Cloath our Childr To do any thing for the Bodies of our Children; or per to Teach them some Trifle at a Dancing School, scarcely worth their Learning, we count no Expence too much; At the same time to have the Minds of our Children Enriched with the most valuable Knowledge, here, To what purpose ? is the ory: a little Expence, how heavily it goes off? My Brethren, These ihings ought not so to be. Well-taught Children are certainly very much to he accounted of. When the Mother of the Gracchi was ask'd for the sight of her Ornaments, how instructively did she present her Two Sons brought up in Learning and Vertue, as the brightest of all her Ornaments! If we were duly sensible, how vast a comfort it is, how vast a Concern, to have Well-taught Children, we should study all the ways imaginable, to express our Thankfulness unto the Teachers of them. And it will not be complain'd, That a Mecenas is to be no where found, but in Horace's Poetry. The Christian Emperour Gratian, One of the Best men, that ever Sway'd the Roman Scepter, conferr'd Riches and Honours on his Master Ansonius, and he sent him that agreeable Compliment with them ; Sir, I have paid what I owd, and I still owe what I have paid. Language agreeable to the Spirit of Christianity! Yes, a Zeno, that was a Stranger to it, yet has this recorded in his Commendation, That he would give his Master as much again as the wages he ask'd of him. I hope, he won't be the only One, that shall have such a thing spoken of him!
And the more Liberal Provision the PUBLICK does make for Industrious, Well-accomplished, Well-disposed School-masters, the more is the Publick Wisdom Testified & Propagated! Ammianus Marcellinus, the Historian, tho' a great Admirer of Julian & of Paganism, yet condemns his prohibition of School-masters unto the Christians : Illud autem inclemens obruendum perenni silentio, quod arcebat_docere, Magistros Rhetoricos et Grammaticos, Ritus Christiani Cultores. But, Syrs, If you do not Encourage your School-masters, you do a part of Julianism, and as bad as Prohibit them. Certainly, If something of Julianism did not prevail too much among us, (which among a People of our Profession is highly scandalous,) we might ere now have seen, besides the petty Schools of every Town, a Grammar-School at the Head Town of every County, and an Able School-master with an ample Salary, the Shepherd in it; a Thing so often, so often unsuccessfully petition'd for! We hear Good Words now and then spoken for the Tribe of Levi. I desire, to speak one for the tribe of SIMEON. The Simeonites were the School-masters that were Scattered in Israel. I assure my self, That Ours, do watch against the Anger which is fierce, and the Wrath which is cruel ; and that they use not Instruments of Cruelty in their Habitations;
but prudently study the Tempers of the Children, they have to deal withal. Tho' Moses left them out of his Blessing ; (the Tribe not having then done any thing since Jacobs dying Oracles, to signalize them.] Yet our Glorious JESUS, has a Blessing for them. They Serve Him wonderfully. His People will also Bless them, and Bless God for them. And so will I this Day do for MY MASTER, in this Congregation of the Lord.
SCHOOL-MASTERS that have Used the Office well, purchase to themselves, a Good Esteem to Out-live their Death, as well as Merit for themselves a good Support while they Lide. 'Tis a Justice to them, that they should be had in Everlasting Remembrance; And a place and a Name among those Just men, does particularly belong to that Ancient and Honourable Man; a Master in our Israel; who was with us, the last Time of my Standing here ; but is lately Translated unto the Colledge of Blessed Spirits, in the Mansions, where the FIRST RESURRECTION is Waited and Longed for. Allow me the Expression; For I Learn't it of my Hebrew Masters, among whom, 'tis a phrase for the Death of Learned and Worthy men, Requisiti sunt in Academiam Cælestem. Verrius the Master to the Nephews of Augustus, had a Statue Erected for
And Antonius obtained from the Senate, a Statue for his Master Fronto. I am sorry that Mine has none. And Cato counted it more glorious than any Statue, to have it asked, Why has he None ? But in the grateful memories of his Scholars, there bave been and will be Hundreds Erected for him.
Under him we Learnt an Oration, made by T'ully, in praise of his own Master; namely that, Pro Archia Poeta. A Pagan shall not out-do us, in our Gratitude