« EelmineJätka »
Some seem to suppose, that very little attention on their part to the mental and moral culture of iheir offspring, is sufficient for all the purposes of education. They appear to imagine, that the child will grow up, of his owo accord, intelligent and virtuous, and that left to bimself and to the influence of circumstances, he will acquire such habits and form such a character, as will best fit bim to act an honorable part in life. A little occasional counsel or correction at most, is all that is needed. No special pains are requisite to check his propensities, to restrain his appetites and passions, and to govern and direct bis will to the choice of suitable objects of pursuit. Entertaining such views, or at least acting under such impressions, parents often attach an inferior importance to domestic education, and overlook the greatness and difficulty of the work. Hence their sense of parental obligation is diminished. They have little disposition to engage faithfully in the discharge of their duties. They allot but a small portion of time to the instruction and discipline of their children. They leave them to form their purposes, and consequent habits, under the promptings of a depraved nature, without proper check or restraint. The child begins to act in obedience to wrong propensities, while the parent takes little pains to implant feelings and principles which are right. He grows up a narrow-minded selfish being; and it is well, if thus lest to himself, be is not educated for profligacy and ruin, to bring both his father and his mother to shame.
Every parent ought to feel, that the training up of his offspring to proper mental and moral habits, is a work difficult, responsible, and of sufficient importance to engage his chief attention and care. He ought to be thoroughly impressed with the greatness of the obligations which devolve upon him, and with constant vigilance and unremitted effort, endeavor to come up to the full measure of his responsibilities. For his encouragement, he has a right to expect the blessing of God on bis exertions, and 10 hope for success in educating the immortal souls committed to his care,
3. Another defect in the education of children, and the last to which we shall refer in this article, results from the character of the parents themselves.
There is often a failure on the part of the good and virtuous, to exhibit at all times in the presence of their families, right feelings and principles, and to maintain in all things a consistent example. The best of parents sometimes err; but many, who have a just claim to moral worth, are in part under the influence of passion, prejudice and unholy desires. They take a wrong view, and form a wrong estimate of things. They set their affections on wealth, or popularity, or worldly pleasures. They have selfish feelings, are sometimes envious, occasionally passionate, and not unfrequently appear to great disadvantage, as it regards their real
character. These things are perceived by children at an early age; and ihough they may be condemned as wrong, nevertheless they have their influence on their education. They often do away the effect of many salutary counsels, and weaken the moral power of the parent. The child begins to think, that he is excusable for imitating parental example, though precept, and instruction, and conscience too, are opposed to it. If the father's principles are wrong, this is an excuse, and not unfrequently an occasion for embracing the same principles. If the mother exhibits improper feelings, they are authority for an indulgence of the same. If parental example is sullied with many dark spots, the shade of these will be darker as they are reflected on the infant mind, and through childhood and youth, obscure the light shed upon it from other
But what shall be said of the example of vicious parents, as influencing the character of their offspring? Can the children of the profane, the intemperate, the licentious, be trained up to virtue and fitted for usefulness ? Not without counteracting influences, sufficient to destroy the pernicious effects of parental example. Unless inuch greater moral power can be brought to bear upon their case, multitudes, of succeeding generations, must follow the steps of those who are the pests of society and their own destroyers. Toward these, let the sympathies of the church be directed. Let them be brought under religious instruclion in sabbath-schools, and in the house of God. Let them be pledged to temperance, and let all proper means be used to make them virtuous men and good citizens. Finally, let it be remembered, both by parents and all others, that, upon the education of youth, the destinies of this nation depends; and not only the destinies of this nation, but the salvation of the world.
ART. V.-INFLUENCE OF RELIGION UPON THE HEALTH. Observations on the Influence of Religion upon the Health and Physical Welfure of Munkind. By A Mariah BkIGHAM, M. D. Boston: Marsh, Capen & Lyon.
How delightful the ease with which this tribe dispatch every thing! They will prove a servant for you in two minutes, better than all the testimonials in the world. Their thumbs will solve you in a breath the guilt or innocence of a culprit, more certainly than the twelve wits of a jury could do it in a week. They will tell you what is in your child's head, as easily as they would tell a good egg; and by what sort of incubation you may best hatch the thing, they will as easily tell you, for they have science of education also in their fingers. And then, in mind itself and morals, where philosophers have toiled so vainly at the mystic depths, why, they will show you in a short space every thing there is in man, even the whole thirty-five things, and tell you within half an inch the precise corner of the soul they are in. And what is better than all, they will make you philosophers without thought, and christians without repentance,-every thing is to them so easy.
Here is a book in the same delightful strain. Never before did author accomplish so much in three hundred pages, and with such infinite ease and satisfaction. Besides telling us how to be just religious enough to be healthy and wholesoine to God, which is certainly no inconsiderable task in itself, he has accomplished many other things that are well-nigh prodigious. Historically, be has given us the records of religious madness and extravagance, as seen in the rites and manners of every sect, of every god, in the world. Philosophically, he has taught us, that all these come of that hateful bump of reverence, so unfortunately stuck on the apex of man. Philologically, he has shown us, that fasting, the Lord's supper, baptism, and the special agency of the Holy Spirit, besides being unhealthy, are contrary to the bible. And practically, he has told the people how preferable are ministers of the lymphatic temperament, how often it is best 10 hear them, and how far to regard what they say; ministers, also, he has told what books to read, how to interpret scripture,what, and when, and how, and how much to preach ; and all this, reader, without difficulty, and with half the thought it would have cost soine men. On the menorable 185th page, he does for once record his “deep embarrassment”; but then, as he would seem to inform us, rather in the way of saving our astonishment, than because he could not see his way with perfect satisfaction.
To speak more seriously, this is a most extraordinary book; not because of the facts it contains, for these, many of which have been contradicted, were mostly familiar before, but for the almost ludicrous effrontery with which the author enters upon things which his mind has never digested, and the air of authority with which he noises the opinions of men, in matters of which he has no insight whatever. It is precisely the book, however, that we have been wishing to see; because it is in every respect a fair exhibition of the phrenological doctrine and spirit in reference to religion. It has been much insisted on by some of the teachers of phrenology, that it has no irreligious tendencies; perbaps having been men of religious habits before they took up the subject, and so having never felt the proper and legitimate effects, they have even been so far deluded as to fancy, and soberly to argue, after their fashion, that it would be an important aid to religion. Very few men are competent to seize upon the moral tendencies of a philosophical system, and therefore many true christians hare too hastily credited the shallow but somewhat plausible evidence of
the “science.” Indeed, there is something very fascinating to a certain class, in seeing a geography and atlas of the faculties, that they can understand! That looks like philosophy! and though a man is certainly no wiser for being told that be thinks a certain thing at a certain spot on the map of bis brains, than be is to know that he thinks it with bis mind; yet the mass are wonderfully tempted, when they can put their finger on the very spot, to forget that they can only know what and how they think by thinking. We bave therefore been hoping to see a true exbibition of phrenologized religion, or, if it should so fall out, christianity; well knowing that this would do more to open the eyes of the public, than the most labored proofs of the sensuality and inherent infidelity of the doctrine. It was necessary that the legitimate effects of the doctrine should be seen ; and perhaps it is not amiss, that they may be secn on a mind rather superficial; for it is not philosophers who need to be guarded by such an example. Furthermore, the practical tendency of any sect is more completely exhibited when it takes possession of a mind destined to borrow its materials; for then, no largeness of view or inward force overleaps the narrow confines of error and remains unsubjected, to temper or soften the natural and legitimate effects.
In this point of view, or, as a witness for the phrenological spirit, the work of Dr. Brigham has a degree of importance, to which it is by no means entitled by the gravity of its materials; and it is in this point of view only, ihat we volunteer a mention of it in our pages. We do it, not so much with a design to refute its doctrines, as 10 show from it the proper caliber and spirit of the "new science," when brought into the province of religion. Here, doubtJess, is the weak side of a philosophy eminently weak every where.* Though we shall speak our minds plainly, we shall intend no disrespect to many in our country, who call themselves pbrenologists. There are many who become such, raiber as anatomists
* We are tempted to subjoin, as it may be long before we notice phrenology again, the substance of a few notes which it occurred to us to make, when reading the late work of Combe. It is very evident that this science cannot (as distino re) teach us what we think; for that must be found out by thinking, and not by sight or touch. Neither can it tell us how to think, or give us the law of intellectual or moral development.
If it have any peculiar value, it rests in this, that it gives the character in ward. ly froin external examination of the head. What, ihen, we inquired, is the probability ibat ibis doctrine, when applied in a given case, affords a true result? We were struck on observing the immense number of concurrent chances necessary to a true result, sume of which we noted down. As the popular mind is noi sufficiently aware how improbable an event nay be, which depends on the concurrence of many events that are even probable in themselves, we venture to construct the following table or estimate.
1. There is the chance that the doctrine be correct, viz. : that the faculties give en as elementary be true elements; that they be all the elements. (as they must be if " combination" only is to adjust a sour
result,) and th all the elements be rightly assigned to their place in the brain. We inean to be very courteous, -- say then, though it make fouls of all the philosophers that ever lived before, that the chance is in their favor as nine to ten.
2. The chance that one who is to apply the doctrine have good form, size, and
locality, (p. 85.) in order to estimate the volume and relative force of organs. We admit, of course, that none but plurenologists are so endowed; but since Gall hiinself had neither form nor locality, (p. 362.) we can hardly believe that mor than nine tenths are thus fortunate.
3. The chance that one who is to apply the doctrine understands it. In order to this, he must have all the 35 organs in good power; for it is a phrenological principle, as well as one of common sense, that a good ficulty is necessary well to apprehend the same. (p. 65, et passim.) Poor Spurzheiin could not understand what Combe meant by concentrativeness, because it was so diminutive in his own head. (p. 138.) See also Spurzheim. The chance of having all the 35 faculties in good power, is almost infinitely less, as every one who knows the doctrine of chances will admit, than the chance of having three. But the phirenologists are wonderfully fortunate. Say, then, four to five.
4. The chance that being thus equipped, the disciple accurately measure the volume of any particular organ. This determines the power of it. Aud as every organ is an inverted one, (p. 84.) with the base outward, as a trifle only of variation in measuring ibe base of a cone, makes a greal error in the solid contents; and as there is no line of boundary visible on the outside, or even defined, (p. 85.) it is certainly indulgent to say an even chance, one to two.
5. The chance that one oryan has been so largely developed as 10" encroach" on the proper province of its neighbor. (p. 87.). As we have no conceivable means or judging how often this bappens, call it an even chance, one to iwo.
6. The chance, on the basis of the two just named, that all the organs be rightly ineasured, (as they must in order to correct "combination,” which is the only basis of sound judgment.) is really but an infinitesimal, but call it one to ten.
7. The chance that ihere be no “frontal sinus," -a large vacant space between the inner and outer bone of the forehead, which is not detected, (p. 77.) Say nine to len.
8 The chance that "the fineness of texture” (p. 94.) in the brain be accurately judged, as it can be only guessed at. Call it one to two.
9. The chance that iemperament be rigbily judged, though obviously difficult, (pp. 29—31, and 93—4.) Call it nide to ten.
10. The chance that education mny not have given a power to the character not indicated by the organs, (p. 94.) if there be any such chance at all, as education of some kind is universal, must be very small. Say one to ten.
11. The chance that the powers inay have been direcicd 10 vice instead of virtue, by external causes ; in which case the whole character, intellectual and moral, may be mistaken; (p. 94.) together with the chance that external stimulants may have served, in tlie place of a deficient temperament, (p. 97.) can be no belter than even, one to two.
12. The chance that certain combinations of " propensities" and "sentiments," favorable or not, to activity of some particular organ, be rightly estimated. (p. 97.) We will call it nine to ten.
13. The chance that a certain organ be "naturally more active than another, without reference to size," (p. 97.) if such a thing niay be, cannot of course be determined, though said to be unfrequent; therefore we will call it an even chance, one to two.
14. 'l'he chance that the same be true of each of the organs singly, is 35 times more adverse to correct combination, that is, one to seventy, but call it one to ten.
15. The volume, temperament, activity, education, etc., etc., of every and all organs being determined, w cust a correct result in any trait of character, on the principles of combination, would be no inconsiderable task, even if all the organs (which is impossible) were reduced in their power to determinate nunibers. How much, for example, would a certain quantity of acquisitireness affect a certain quantity of philoprogenitiveness? And as every faculty must have on effect upon every other, how much will all the other faculties, alimenticencss, destructive