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deficient in. I am unaccustomed to children, and I am so afraid I shall not understand them.”
“Yes, you will in time, and much sooner than you think. You have the hearty desire to do so, and my belief is that nothing is impossible where this is the case. I believe the best way to reach a child's heart is to place yourself in her position, to see with her eyes, and think with her thoughts for the time. We are all too apt to forget the very small world of thought and feeling in which chil. dren move. Their pains and their pleasures, small and unimportant as they seem to our larger field of vision, are quite as much pro. portioned to their powers of enjoyment and of suffering, as our own; and I think by appreciating this duly, we get possession of a clue, by which to reach that inner world of thought and motive, in which the unseen character is moulding. I often think how small our concerns must appear in the eyes of an angel, or, to go higher still, how they
must appear to the eye of God; and yet He deigns to take interest in all. 'In all our affliction He is afflicted,' and in all our joys He sympathizes."
“With what very different powers children are born, Mrs. Thornton, and how unwise it is to expect the same of all.”
“Yes, it shows great ignorance, and it is an injury in every way; the clever are puffed up with conceit, the less gifted are depressed. I am so anxious that my children should rightly understand this, and look upon all their powers as gifts or loans from God, not as anything attaching to themselves.
“I think the best way of fastening this thought firmly in the mind," said Helen, “ is to remember, how a slight fit of sick. ness can prostrate all our powers; how the vigour of mind in which we are apt to pride ourselves, is oftentimes wholly dependent on causes over which we have no control, and of which the wisest are ignorant; and, therefore, we are really as dependent upon God for this blessing, moment by moment, as we are for every breath we draw."
“This is a great truth, and my little Flora must have the full benefit of it. She wants encouragement and self-reliance ; she needs to be taught, that, small as her powers are, the 'well done, good and faithful servant,' is awaiting her, if she will rise up to the faithful use of her one or two talents.”
“How much that is taught in childhood, and well-taught, too, is utterly forgotten in after years! I wonder what is the cause of it?” said Helen.
“All is not forgotten that seems to be. The young mind is very tenacious, and gathers up a mass of information; but it undergoes a process of interweaving, and combination, so that we do not recognize the materials when we see them again. But education, as I have been accustomed to view it, is not so much the storing the young mind with knowledge, as the awakening in it a hunger and desire for its possession. We must put
it in a position, in which it can lay hold for itself, of all those ennobling truths which lie around us in the works of God, as well as in His word. It is not, I think, till the years of childhood are passed, that the real work of education begins. The previous time is all preliminary, just the alphabet and rudiments; but upon this foundation the whole superstructure is to stand ; how important then our work becomes !"
“Do you think, Mrs. Thornton, that the present extensive plan of education for girls is wise or not?”
“Do you mean, my dear, accomplishments, and the lighter portion of the work ?”
“No, I mean the study of the abstruse sciences, and the close mental application to which many of them are subjected."
"No, as a general rule, I think it is very unwise ; but in this, as in every other point, I think we should be guided by the individual mind. In nine cases out of ten, the simple studies which fit a woman to perform the simple though sacred duties of her calling, are all that she will need to undertake; but in these simple studies I include perhaps a great deal. I think a certain knowledge of the works of God around us, a very indispensable part of a woman's education.”
“Why, Mrs. Thornton ?”
“Because, my dear, we are by our nature so very much the victims of imagination; we are so apt to live in an unreal world, and to cause ourselves and those around us so much suffering, by giving way to this infirmity, which clings more or less to us all, and the truth and reality of God's beautiful world acts as a certain antidote to repress this. I once heard an eminent physician say, that in cases where the nervous system had become in any way impaired, or over sensitive, he found that if he could succeed in engaging his patient in any course of natural history, requiring, as it does, patient investigation, and healthy thought, it almost invariably ended in his completo recovery; and I have seen so many