EDUCATION OF THE MIND

I have seen boys who would make incredible exertion to accomplish any
thing which they undertook for their own amusement; but who, when
called upon to do any thing useful, would demur and complain, put on
sour looks, and conjure up a multitude of objections, making the thing
to be done like lifting a mountain. Whenever any _work_ is to be done,
“there is a lion in the way;” and the objections they make, and the
difficulties they interpose, make you feel as if you would rather do
it a dozen times yourself, than to ask them to lift a little finger.
The real difficulty is in the boy’s own mind. He has no idea of being
useful; no thought of doing any thing but to seek his own pleasure; and
he is mean enough to look on and see his father and mother toil and
wear themselves out to bring him up in idleness. Play, play, play, from
morning till night, is all his ambition. Now, I do not object to his
_playing_; but what I would find fault with is, that he should wish to
_play all the time_. I would not have him work all the time, for

“All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy;”

neither would I have him play all the time, for

“All play and no work makes Jack a _mere toy_.”

There is not a spark of _manliness_ in such a boy; and he never will be
a man, till he alters his notions.

There is another boy, who has more heart–a better disposition. When
called to do any thing, he is always ready and willing. His heart
dilates at the thought of helping his father or his mother–of being
useful. He takes hold with alacrity. You would think the work he is
set about would be despatched in a trice. But he is _chicken-hearted_.
Instead of conquering his work, he suffers his work to conquer him. He
works briskly for a few minutes, and then he begins to flag. Instead
of working away, with steady perseverance, he stops every minute or
two, and looks at his work, and wishes it were done. But wishing is
not working; and his work does not get done in this way. The more he
gazes at it, the more like a mountain it appears. At length, he sits
down to rest; and finally, after having suffered more from the dread of
exertion than it would have cost him to do his work a dozen times, he
gives it up, and goes to his father or mother, and in a desponding tone
and with a sheepish look, he says, “_I can’t do it!_” He is a _coward_.
He has suffered himself to be _conquered_ by a wood-pile which he was
told to saw, or by a few weeds in the garden that he was required to
dig up. He will never make a man, till he gets courage enough to face
his work with resolution, and to finish it with a _manly perseverance_.
“_I can’t_,” never made a man.

Here is another boy, who has got the notion into his head that he is
going to live without work. His father is rich; or he intends to be a
professional man, or a merchant; and he thinks it of no use for him
to learn to work. He feels above labor. He means to be a _gentleman_.
But he is very much mistaken as to what constitutes a gentleman. He
has altogether erroneous and false views of things. Whatever may be
his situation in life, labor is necessary to exercise and develope
the muscular powers of his body. If he grows up in indolence, he will
be weak and effeminate, never possessing the vigor of a man. And
whatever sphere of life he may occupy hereafter, he will never possess
independence and energy of character enough to accomplish any thing.
A man who does not know how to work, is not more than half a man. He
is so dependent upon others, that he can accomplish nothing without
help. Nor can wealth, or education, or professional knowledge, supply
the deficiency. Wealth is very uncertain. “Riches take to themselves
wings;” and they are especially liable to fly away from men who have
been bred up in idle, _do-nothing_ habits. And what will they do when
their wealth is gone? They have never made any exertion, or depended on
themselves. They have no energy of character. They have no knowledge of
any useful employment. They cannot dig, and to beg they are ashamed.
They either sink down, in utter discouragement, to the lowest depths
of poverty, or else they resort to dishonest means of obtaining money.
I have before me a letter, written to a gentleman in Boston, from a
boy in the _House of Correction_, who got there by trying to live
without work. After telling how bad he felt to be shut up in prison,
and how bitter his reflections upon his past life were, he says, “I
thought that _as long as I could live without work_, and get my living
dishonestly, I would _go ahead_; but my high life was soon stopped.”
Here you perceive that his temptation to be dishonest arose from his
dislike of work. But now, he says, he is convinced that the best way to
get a living is by _honest labor_. And so you will find it. There is
no one more exposed to temptation than the idle boy.

“Satan finds some mischief still
For idle hands to do.”

One who undertakes to get a living without work will be very likely to
fall into dishonest practices, and get shut up in prison.

Equally necessary is it for a man of learning, or a professional
man, to know how to do with his own hands the most common things. If
dependent on his own earnings for a support, he will not be able to
hire every thing done to his hand; or, if able, he will not always
find any one to do it. And as to the merchant, his life, from the very
first, is a life of incessant toil and labor. The lazy boy, who goes
into a store as a clerk, with such notions in his head about work, will
be served as the working bees serve their _drones_–he will be _dragged
out of the hive_.

The boy that despises work, sets himself against nature; and if he
succeeds in making any thing of himself, he will contradict the voice
of all history. When man fell from his innocency, it was determined
that he should eat his bread in the sweat of his brow. It is in vain
for his posterity to attempt to evade this curse. If they refuse to
toil, they will suffer a worse disaster, as the penalty of their
disobedience. Disease, or poverty, or both, will follow the lazy
track of the sluggard. This result, Solomon has described, in the
most glowing terms: “I went by the field of the slothful, and by the
vineyard of the man void of understanding; and lo, it was all grown
over with thorns; nettles had covered the face thereof, and the stone
wall thereof was broken down. Yet a little sleep, a little slumber, a
little folding of the hands to sleep; so shall thy poverty come as one
that travaileth, and thy want as an armed man.”

Many of the ancient nations used to have a law requiring every young
man to have a knowledge of some branch of labor. There appears to have
been such a custom among the Jews. Paul, though belonging to a wealthy
family, and bred a lawyer, in the highest school in the nation, was
yet brought up to a trade. And when he came to devote himself to his
Master’s service, he found his tent-maker’s trade of great use to him.
And whatever occupation you design to follow, you will find use for all
the practical knowledge of _work_, of _handicraft_, or of _mechanical
skill_, you can acquire in early life.

In the empire of China, labor is held in such esteem, that the emperor,
on the day of his coronation, is required to plough a furrow with his
own hand. And if you look over the page of history, both ancient and
modern, you will find that many of the greatest men that ever lived,
were accustomed to follow some laborious occupation. David, the poet
king, the sweet singer of Israel, whose name has been embalmed in the
hearts of the pious in all ages, when a boy, was occupied in keeping
his father’s sheep. Dr. Franklin was the son of a mechanic in Boston,
and was bred a printer. Washington, the father of his country, was a
farmer. And the blessed Savior himself has set an example of industry
and love of labor, which should put to shame every _pseudo-gentleman_
who despises the labor of the hands. His apostles, also, were called
from laborious occupations to preach the gospel; and many of the most
eminent of his ministers and missionaries of the present day have been
called from the plough or the workshop; and some of them have _worked
their way_ through a long course of study, bearing the expenses of
their education with the labor of their hands.

We may safely conclude, then, that, whoever despises labor is a fool;
for he despises the only thing that can make him A MAN.

But industry is not only necessary to _make you a man_; it is necessary
to _make you happy_. Some boys have such an aversion to labor, that
they would think themselves perfectly happy if they had _nothing to
do_. But they are greatly mistaken. They might like such a life a
day or two; but they would soon get tired of it. The children at the
Sandwich Islands have nothing to do. Their parents have no employment
for them. They grow up in idleness. A missionary, writing to the
children of this country, says, “Now, does any one say, ‘Happy, happy
children, inhabiting these sunny isles! Absolutely nothing to do, but
to seek their own gratification, without fear or restraint!’ Happy?
No. The goats which graze the sides of their mountains may be happy;
or the kitten which gambols on your kitchen hearth may be happy; but
these children are not happy.” They often go hungry. Their parents
were brought up in idleness, also; and now they will not work if they
can help it. They receive no assistance from their children, and often
have no food to give them. The children frequently live upon roots,
which they dig in the mountains, or upon sugar-cane, which they find in
the fields. After spending the day in idleness, they often have to go
supperless to bed.

In many parts of the islands, also, the children, who have no
disposition to labor and obtain clothing, suffer much from cold. They
go almost naked; and when night comes, they lie down on a bare mat,
with the dogs and fleas. Would the children of America exchange their
warm beds and sweet sleep, for the leisure and hard fare of these young
Sandwich Islanders?

But in sickness, their sufferings are much greater. They are destitute
of nearly every comfort; they have no physician; and they receive very
little attention from their parents and friends. No kind mother watches
over their couch at night. If they suffer, they suffer alone; if they
die, they die unattended.

Idleness, also, makes these children vicious. Having nothing useful to
do, they are always ready for every evil work. They tempt each other to
sin. They rush together the downward road; and if spared to become men,
they are poor and degraded, diseased and miserable.

But perhaps you will say, “These Sandwich Islanders are uncivilized
heathen; and this is what makes them so wretched.” But you need not
go to heathen lands, to see the bad effects of the want of useful
employment, upon boys and young men. In the Southern States, all the
labor is done by slaves. It is esteemed disgraceful for a white man to
work. The consequence is, that the boys grow up in idleness and vice.
They learn every thing that is bad. They grow up with strong and fiery
passions, and vicious inclinations unsubdued. Among the young men,
gambling, horse-racing, and other social vices, generally prevail. But
many of them become poor; and then they are as wretched as the poor
Sandwich Islanders. There is, perhaps, no class of persons, in this
country, more degraded than the poor whites in the slave states. And
their poverty and wretchedness may be traced to the fact, that it is
disgraceful, among them, for white men to labor.

There is no country on earth where there is less of squalid poverty,
and where the people generally enjoy more comfort and happiness, than
in New England. And what is the reason? There is, probably, no other
country in the world where the people are so industrious–where _all
the people_ are engaged in some useful employment. In New England, boys
are set to work as soon as they are old enough to handle a hoe, an axe,
or a spade. Every child has something to do, which adds something to
the family’s comfort. And where, in the wide world, will you find so
many smiling, happy faces as among the children of New England? This
is the true reason why they are so much happier than the children of
the Sandwich Islands. The Yankee boy may sometimes get tired of his
work; but if he had nothing to do, he would be absolutely miserable.
It is not in the nature of a son of New England to be happy without
employment. And, where you find one of them educated, and rising to
eminence in professional life, if you trace back his history, in most
cases, you will learn that, when a boy, he worked on his father’s farm,
or in his father’s shop. And if you could see him seeking relaxation
and amusement, you would often find him engaged in the same kind of
labor that he used to perform when a boy.

When one of the convicts in the state prison has committed an offence,
they punish him by shutting him up in his cell alone, and _giving him
nothing to do_. For a little while he is glad to be relieved from his
work; but very soon, he begs for it again. Nothing is so hard for him
to bear as _doing nothing_.

If, then, you would be virtuous and happy,–if you would be qualified
to brave the storms of life’s troubled ocean,–_cultivate the love
of useful labor_. This will give you independence of character. It
will give you the ability to take care of yourself. It will make you
despise the fawning sycophant, who would sell his birthright for a
piece of bread. It will save you from the temptation to surrender your
independence, or commit any act of meanness or dishonesty for the sake
of a living.

By the _heart_, I mean the _moral faculties_, in distinction from
the _intellectual_. Any action is _moral_, which can be _praised_ or
_blamed_. The _moral faculties_ are those which determine moral action.
These faculties are, the _Conscience_, _Will_, and _Affections_. In
this division, I do not attempt metaphysical exactness, but only what
I can make my readers understand. When I speak of _educating_ these
faculties, I do not mean to separate the process from that of religious
education in general; for nothing can be well done, in the formation of
character, without religious principle and motives at the foundation.
But my object is, to speak of the specific means by which these
faculties may be cultivated.

It may be necessary for me to explain what I mean by the _Conscience_,
_Will_, and _Affections_. Yet it does not fall in with my design,
neither would it suit the age and capacities of those for whom I
write, to enter into a philosophical description, or analysis, of the
faculties of the mind, or affections of the heart. I shall only give
such simple explanations as are sufficient for my purpose, and as I
suppose will be understood by my readers.

I. THE CONSCIENCE.–This is the faculty which determines whether any
action proposed to the mind, or any feeling of the heart, is _right_
or _wrong_. If you will watch the motions of your own mind, you will
perceive, whenever any thing is proposed to be done or not to be done,
something within tells you that it is either _right_ or _wrong_; if
_wrong_, you find the same _something within_, urging you _not to do_
it; or, if _right_, the same impulse moves you _to do_ it. If you do as
you are thus urged, you find the same voice within _approving_ what you
have done, or, if you do not obey, _condemning_ you. This _something
within_ is CONSCIENCE.

You have, doubtless, lived long enough to experience many a conflict,
or dispute, between your _conscience_ and your _inclinations_. You are
inclined to do something which your conscience tells you is wrong; but
conscience not only tells you it is wrong, but urges you not to do it.
Your inclinations, or desires, urge you in the contrary direction; and
this creates a conflict. If conscience prevails, then it approves your
decision, and you feel happy. But, if inclination prevails, conscience
upbraids, and you feel miserable.

As I have defined education, you will see the great importance of
_educating the conscience_. It is the leading moral faculty, and must
have a great influence upon the moral character. For the conscience
itself may be wrong. It is not itself the rule by which you are to
determine what is right and wrong. The Word of God is the rule. The
office of conscience is, to determine whether any thing you propose
to do is agreeable to the rule, and to urge you, accordingly, to do
it or not to do it. Suppose you wish to determine whether any thing
is straight; you lay a rule upon it that you suppose to be straight,
and if they agree, that settles the matter. Your eye, comparing the
object with the rule, determines whether it is straight or not. But, if
the rule applied is crooked, your eye is deceived, and you misjudge.
Conscience is the eye of the soul, that compares an action with the
rule. The conscience, then, must be well instructed. You must learn the
_rule of right_ from the Word of God, and then conscience will always
decide right. But, if you adopt false notions of right and wrong, your
very conscience will lead you astray. The first thing, then, in the
education of the heart is, to have it filled with _right principles_;
and these you are to obtain from the study of the Bible, and from
listening to the instructions of your parents, teachers, and ministers.

The next thing is, _always to obey the voice of conscience_. If you go
contrary to it, and do what conscience tells you is wrong, or neglect
what it urges upon you as duty, you weaken that faculty, and harden
the heart. When you refuse to hearken to the voice of conscience, the
next time it will not speak so loud; and every time this is repeated,
the weaker it grows, till at length it is scarcely heard at all, and
you may go on and sin almost without restraint. If you will look back
a little while in your own experience, you will see the force of what
I say. If you have ever fallen into the habit of secretly disobeying
your parents, you will find an illustration of it. The first time you
were tempted to disobey, your conscience was very loud against it;
but the temptation, falling in with your inclinations, prevailed.
Then conscience upbraided you with a voice of terror. But you were
not discovered, and no immediate evil followed. The next time the
temptation presented itself, the remonstrance of conscience was feeble,
and its condemnation light. The next time it was feebler still; till
at length you could do with careless indifference what at first made
you shudder. But when the power of conscience is gone, there is but one
step more to ruin. If, then, you would keep your conscience tender, you
must always obey its voice.

Another means of educating the conscience is, the habit of thinking
with approbation of what is right, and putting out of the mind with
horror all thoughts of what is wrong. The most hateful things, by
becoming familiar to the sight, lose much of the horror which they
excite at first. A person who had never seen an animal killed would be
deeply affected at the sight; but a butcher thinks nothing of it. So,
by thinking much of what is wrong, the conscience becomes defiled, and
ceases to act with promptness and decision; while, if kept familiar
only with the good, it would revolt instantly from the bad.

II. THE WILL.–This is the faculty that _chooses_ or _refuses_. It
is the _decisive_ faculty. It is the power that determines action,
whether good or bad. It is the _ruling_ faculty of the soul. I said
_conscience_ was the _leading_ faculty, because it goes before the
action of the will, and moves it to choose what is right. The _will_
is the _ruling_ faculty, because it determines all action. The way to
_educate the will_ is, to accustom it to submit to the dictates of
conscience. The will, in our fallen and depraved state, is turbulent
and unsubmissive. It is not disposed to submit to the law of God,
nor to those whom God has set over us. Yet there is nothing of more
importance to our happiness and usefulness than the early subjection
of the will. If you determine that you will always have your own will,
you will certainly be unhappy; for it is impossible that you should
always have your own way. But if you early accustom yourself to give up
your own will; to submit to the will of God, as made known to you in
his word and Providence,–to submit to your parents, as those whom God
has set over you, and to your own conscience, as the faithful monitor
which God has placed in your own bosom,–then you will be as happy as
you can be in this imperfect state. This you will not accomplish all
at once. It must be the result of experience, trial, and discipline,
with the grace of God in your heart. But if you begin to cultivate the
_habit of submission_, in early life, it will save you many a severe
struggle and much unhappiness. You have doubtless learned, before
this time, that you always get into difficulty at home, when you set
out to have your own will. And perhaps you have sometimes, in your
impatience at contradiction, secretly wished that you were of age,
beyond the control of your parents, that you might do as you pleased.
But I assure you, both from my own experience and from what I have
seen of the world, that you will not find it any easier to have your
own will, after you come to act for yourself. You will not succeed in
any thing you undertake to do for others, unless you give up your own
will; neither will you succeed in making society agreeable to yourself.
Suppose you go to a shoemaker, to get a pair of shoes made, and as
soon as you begin to tell him how you wish them done, he answers, “I
understand my business; if you want a pair of shoes, I’ll make them for
you, but nobody can teach me how to do my work?” You would say, “He is
a surly creature; I’ll have nothing to do with him.” Or, suppose you
go into company, and you find a young lady who will consent to nothing
except what she herself proposes; you say, “She is a selfish creature;
let her enjoy herself alone.” But all this comes from mere wilfulness.
You never will be comfortable, much less happy, till you are willing
to yield to others, when no principle is concerned, but only the mere
gratification of your own will. And when one is employed by another, it
is perfectly reasonable that he should be directed by his employer,
even if what he is directed to do may appear to him unwise. The only
way that you can succeed, and be happy, in any thing you may undertake
to do for others, is, to submit your will to theirs, and do cheerfully,
and without objection, what they require–provided, only, that they do
not require you to do wrong. If you will look back, you will find that
this _wilfulness_ has been the cause of all the trouble you have got
into with your parents, and of nearly all the altercations you have had
with your brothers, sisters, and companions. And, if you retain this
disposition, it will make you miserable, whatever station in society
you may occupy.

A little boy, named Truman, lost his own mother; and when he was four
or five years of age, his father married again. His new mother was an
excellent lady, very affectionate and kind-hearted toward the children.
But one day, when she was teaching Truman how to read, she could not
make him say his lesson correctly. She therefore used the rod till he
submitted, and read as he ought. He was afterwards overheard talking
with himself, about his conduct:–“Tru, what made you treat your dear
mother so? Hasn’t she always been kind to you?” “Yes, I know she has.
She loves me, and tries to do me all the good she can.” “Then how
could you be so naughty, to treat her so?” “I know I have been a very
naughty boy, and treated her very bad indeed when she has been very
kind to me; and she was trying then to teach me for my own good.” “What
can you say for yourself, then? How did you come to behave so?” “I
can’t say any thing for myself; I know it was very mean. I feel ashamed
to think I could treat her so; and I’ll never do it again as long as
I live. But I thought I would just try for once, and _see who was
master_.”

The object of this little boy was to have his own will. He was not
willing to submit to his mother, till he had tried his strength, to
see whose will should prevail. He got a severe chastisement, and had
to submit after all. And so it will always be with you, if you set out
with the determination, if possible, always to have your own will. You
will be always getting into difficulty, and gain nothing by it in the
end.

III. THE AFFECTIONS.–I shall not undertake, in this place, to give
a full and complete definition of the affections. It will answer my
present purpose, to say that the _affections_ are the _feelings_ or
_emotions of the heart_. This may not be philosophically accurate; but
when my readers come, at a more advanced age, to study mental and moral
philosophy, they can enlarge their views. For all practical purposes,
this will answer. And what I mean by _educating the affections_ is,
to acquire the habit of controlling the feelings, so as to suppress
the bad and cultivate the good. You hear people talk of good and bad
_dispositions_. But a good disposition is only the preponderance of
good feelings; or in other words, where good feelings and good tempers
prevail, we say that person has a good disposition; but if bad feelings
and evil tempers predominate, we say he has a bad disposition. There
is no doubt a difference in natural dispositions. But with suitable
efforts, and especially with the aid of God’s grace, much may be done
to cultivate and improve them.

With these preliminary remarks, I proceed to give some _rules for the
cultivation_ of the affections.

1. CHECK THE FIRST RISINGS OF ILL-TEMPER.–The smith, who makes an
edged tool,–an axe, a knife, or any such instrument,–first works
the iron and steel into the form which he wishes, and then _tempers_
it. While he is working it, he wants to keep it soft, so that he can
work it easy; and this he does by keeping it hot. But after he gets it
finished, he heats it in the fire, and dips it in water, so as to cool
it suddenly, and that makes it hard. But, if he left it so, it would
be so hard that it would break all to pieces as soon as it was used.
So he holds it again over the fire, and heats it a little, to take out
a part of the temper, and make it just of the hardness that he wishes.
An instrument that is very hard is called _high-tempered_; one that is
very soft is _low-tempered_. This is a good illustration of _temper_ as
it appears in us. A _high temper_ is one that is easily excited, and
that runs so high as to be in danger of doing great mischief. A _low
temper_ is a disposition easy and indifferent, like a knife tempered
so little that the edge will turn the first time it is used. Now you
want temper enough not to be indifferent, but not so much as to fly all
in pieces. And I know nothing on which your usefulness and happiness
more depend, than in the proper regulation of your temper; and not your
own happiness alone, but the happiness of all around you. One of the
first and greatest moral lessons is, to learn to control your temper.
“He that is slow to anger,” says Solomon, “is better than the mighty;
and he that ruleth his spirit, than he that taketh a city.” But, “He
that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken
down and without walls.” By indulging an ungoverned temper, you expose
yourself to many evils. You show the weak points of your character,
and lose the good opinion of others, and your own self-respect. You
cannot help thinking meanly of yourself after having broken out in
a sudden gust of anger, or given indulgence to a peevish, fretful
spirit. To be ill-humored, peevish, or cross, is to be unhappy, and
to make others unhappy. But a sweet temper will not only make you
happy, but, like the balmy breezes of a summer evening, it will shed
a sweet fragrance all around you. Nothing will render your character
more unlovely than ill-temper. Nor, if habitually indulged at home,
can it be concealed even from the most careless observer. You will
carry the mark of it wherever you go. There will be the ill-natured
scowl, the knit brow, the distorted features, which no sweet-scented
soap can wash out, and no cosmetic hide. It will spoil the most elegant
features, and mar the most beautiful countenance. But a sweet temper
will hide a thousand defects, and render the most ordinary features
beautiful and lovely. I do not know any thing that adds a greater charm
to the youthful countenance. But, if you would have a sweet temper,
you must suppress every ill-natured feeling; never suffer yourself to
be angry at trifles, nor get into a storm of passion on any account:
neither indulge a peevish, fretful disposition; but, on the contrary,
cultivate and cherish _good-nature_, in every possible way. Strive
to be pleased with every thing around you, unless it is positively
bad; and never suffer the ill-humors of others to disturb your own
tranquillity. The noisy cataract comes splashing its muddy waters over
the side of the mountain, leaping from rock to rock, now shouting,
now murmuring, now scolding, now rushing on in the wildest fury, till
it plunges into the great river; but the river rolls quietly on its
majestic way, undisturbed by the babbling waterfall, which only makes
a momentary ripple upon the surface of its placid waters. But, suppose
the river should stop its course, to quarrel with the noisy waterfall,
what would be the consequence? The whole country would be inundated
with the fury of its pent-up waters. You cannot afford to get angry
with every one that is disposed to treat you ill. It costs too much.
Did you ever see a dog barking at the moon? And what did the moon do?
It went right straight on, and minded nothing about it. The moon can’t
afford to stop and quarrel with the dog that barks at it.

“I know it is very foolish to be angry,” perhaps you will say; “but
how can I help it? I am suddenly provoked, and fall into a passion
before I have time to think of it.” The best remedy I can recommend
is, that you make it a rule never to be angry till you have had time to
consider whether you have any thing to be angry about. And, in making
inquiry, do not ask whether the conduct that provoked you was bad;
but, in the first place, try if you cannot find some apology for it,
or some palliation; and, second, whether, admitting it to be as bad as
it seems, it is really worth so great a sacrifice of feeling, on your
part, as you will have to make, if you indulge your passions. And,
among other considerations, ask yourself how this thing will appear a
hundred years hence, when both yourself and the person who has provoked
you, will be in eternity:–“If I indulge my passions in this thing,
shall I then be able to look back upon it with pleasure?” Some such
reflections as these will tend greatly to cool your anger; and most
likely, before you have thought upon the matter many minutes, you will
conclude that it is not worth while to be angry.

So likewise, if you are given to fretfulness and ill-humor, consider
whether there is any sufficient cause why you should thus make yourself
miserable? And you will probably find that all your trouble is
imaginary. Remember that every thing that concerns you is ordered by
the providence of God; and think how much cause of thankfulness you
have, every day, for his goodness. And what has he done that you should
fret against him? He has perhaps suffered your will to be crossed;
but he has done it for your good. Think, also, how this will appear a
hundred years hence? “How will my fretfulness appear, when I look back
upon it, from another world?” And if there were no sin in it, is there
not much folly?–for “why should I make myself miserable?”

2. NEVER GIVE THE LEAST INDULGENCE TO A JEALOUS OR ENVIOUS SPIRIT.–To
be _jealous_, is to suspect others of being unfriendly to us, or of
a design to injure us. To be _envious_, is to be displeased with the
prosperity of others, especially if they are likely to excel us. The
effect of these two passions upon the disposition is very similar. If
you are jealous of any person, you will be always looking for some
evil design in his conduct; and your imagination will conjure up a
thousand things that never had any existence, except in your own mind.
This passion, habitually indulged, very often settles down into a
kind of _monomania_, or partial insanity. I have known persons, whose
imaginings, through the influence of jealousy, became realities to
their minds, and they would roundly assert as facts, the things that
they had imagined respecting others. Such persons are perpetually
in trouble, because they fancy some one is plotting against them.
Your own comfort, therefore, depends on your suppressing the first
motions of this evil affection. While you should be on your guard
against imposition, and never confide implicitly in strangers, nor put
yourself in the power of any one whose character has not been proved,
yet you should presume others to be friendly till they show themselves
otherwise, and always give their conduct the best construction it will
bear.

Let me give you an example. There is Laura Williams,–she is always in
trouble, for fear some one does not like her. If any of her companions
seem to take more notice of some other one than of herself, she begins
to be jealous that their professions of friendship are not real; and
if any one happens not to notice her for once, she considers it a
slight; and so her feelings are perpetually disturbed. She is never
happy. Sometimes she will weep, as if her heart would break, for some
fancied slight; when, in reality, she has no occasion for trouble, and
might just as well laugh as cry. She will be unhappy as long as she
lives, and perhaps crazy before she dies, if she does not overcome this
passion.

_Envy_ is a more depraved passion than _jealousy_; but the effect
upon the character is nearly similar. You will find a melancholy
illustration of the nature and effects of envy, in the story of Haman,
in the Book of Esther. Though exalted to the second place in the
kingdom, he could not enjoy his elevation, so long as Mordecai the Jew
sat in the king’s gate. He could endure no rival.

But you will find examples enough of this passion among your own
companions. There are those that cannot bear a rival; and if any of
their companions excel themselves, they hate them. But consider how
mean and ignoble such a feeling is. A truly generous spirit will
rejoice in whatever is excellent–will love excellence wherever it
appears; but a mean and selfish spirit would monopolize every thing to
itself, and be offended, if excelled by others. Every noble sentiment
revolts at the spirit of envy; so that this base passion always defeats
itself. The envious person would be exalted above all; but envy debases
him below all, and renders him despicable and miserable.

3. ACQUIRE THE HABIT OF REGARDING EVERY ONE WITH FEELINGS OF
GOOD-WILL.–There are some persons, who accustom themselves to look
upon others with a critical eye, and seem to take pleasure in detecting
and exposing their failings. This leads to misanthropy; it makes
people ill-natured. It leads them to look upon almost every one as
an object of aversion. If this disposition begins in early life, and
continues to be cultivated, it will grow and increase, till it settles
at last into a sour, morose, malignant temper, that can never look with
pleasure or satisfaction upon any human being.

Instead of indulging such a temper, you should look with feelings
of _good-will_ upon every one. Do not regard others with a critical
eye. If they are not incorrigibly bad, so as to render them dangerous
associates, overlook their faults, and study to find out some redeeming
qualities. Consider that they belong to the same great family–that
they are as good by nature as yourself–that they have immortal souls,
to be saved or lost. Try what excuses or apologies you can find for
their faults in the circumstances in which they have been bred. And
though you may not see fit to make choice of them as your friends, yet
_feel kindly towards them_. But especially, do not forget that you are
not faultless yourself. This will exert a softening influence upon your
own character; and you will find yourself much more happy in studying
the good qualities of others, and exercising feelings of charity and
good-will toward them, than you will in criticising and finding fault.
The one course will make you amiable and happy,–the other, unlovely
and miserable.

4. GIVE FREE INDULGENCE TO EVERY NOBLE AND GENEROUS SENTIMENT.–Rejoice
when you see others prosperous. Why should you be unhappy, that another
is more prosperous than yourself, if you are not injured by it? If you
love your neighbor as yourself, his prosperity will be as grateful to
you as your own. Rejoice, also, in the excellence of others. A truly
noble heart loves excellence for excellence’s sake. A generous heart
is forgetful of self; and when it sees excellence, it is drawn toward
it in love. It would scorn to put little self between it and a worthy
object.

This disposition should also be carried out in action. A generous
and noble spirit will not always be contending for its own rights.
It will yield rather than contend. Contention, among companions and
associates, for each other’s rights, is a source of great unhappiness;
and when it becomes habitual, as it sometimes does among brothers and
sisters at home, it spoils the disposition. “That is _mine_,” says
one. “No,” says the other, “it is not yours, it is mine.” And without
waiting quietly to look into the matter, and investigate the question
of right, they fall into a sharp contention. The matter in question
was a mere trifle. It was not worth the sacrifice of _good-nature_
which it cost. How much better both would feel, to keep good-natured,
and give each other the reasons for their claims, and if they cannot
agree, for one or the other to yield! Or, rather, how much more noble,
if the contention be, which shall be allowed the privilege of yielding!
There is more pleasure in one act of generosity than in all that can be
enjoyed by selfish possession; and nothing will render you more lovely
in the eyes of others than a noble and generous disposition.

5. BE GENTLE.–Gentleness is opposed to all severity and roughness of
manners. It diffuses a mild, bland, amiable spirit through all the
behavior. It has much to do with the cultivation of the affections.
Where this is wanting, none of the amiable affections will flourish.
A gentle spirit will show itself in a gentle behavior, and a gentle
behavior will react upon the spirit, and promote the growth of all the
mild and amiable affections. You can distinguish the gentle by the
motion of the head, or the sound of their footsteps. Their movements
are quiet and noiseless. There is a charm in their behavior which
operates to secure for them the good opinion of all.

6. BE KIND.–Every kind act that is performed increases the kind
feelings of the heart. If you treat your brothers and sisters kindly,
you will feel more kindly toward them; while, if you treat them with
harshness and severity, or ill-treat them in any manner, it will seal
up your affections toward them, and you will be more inclined to treat
them with coolness and indifference. If you are habitually kind to
every one, embracing every opportunity in your power to perform some
office of kindness to others, you will find your good-will toward all
increasing. You will be universally beloved, and every one will be kind
to you. See that little girl! She has run back to assist her little
brother, who has lost his shoe in the mud. How kindly she speaks to
him, to soothe his feelings and wipe his tears! Some sisters that I
have seen would have been impatient of the delay, and scolded him in a
cross and angry manner for the trouble he made. But with a heart full
of sympathy, she forgets herself, and is intent only on helping him out
of trouble, and quieting his grief. But she has hardly got under way
again, before she meets a little girl, who has just fallen down and
spilled her berries, crying over her loss. Without once thinking of
the trouble it would give her, she speaks kindly to the little girl,
helps her pick up the lost fruit, and then assists her to pick enough
more to make up her loss. Every where she is just so, always glad of an
opportunity to show kindness to every one she meets. And she gets her
pay as she goes along. The happiness she feels, in thus being able to
contribute to the comfort of others, is far beyond any thing she could
receive from mere selfish enjoyment. And, in addition to this, she gets
the good-will of others, which makes them kind to her in return.

7. KEEP SELF OUT OF VIEW, AND SHOW AN INTEREST IN THE AFFAIRS OF
OTHERS.–This will not only interest others in you, but it will tend to
stifle selfishness in your own heart, and to cultivate disinterested
feeling. Sympathize with others; enter into their feelings; and
endeavor, in heart and feeling, to make their interest your own; so
that there may be a soil for disinterested feeling to grow in. If you
see others enjoying themselves, rejoice with them. Make the case your
own, and be glad that they have occasion to rejoice. “Rejoice with
them that do rejoice.” If you have truly benevolent feelings, it will
certainly be an occasion of joy to you to see them prosperous and
happy, whoever they are. On the other hand, sympathize with misery and
distress. “Weep with them that weep.” Wherever you see misery, let it
affect your heart. And never fail, if it is in your power, to offer
relief. And, often, you can afford the best relief to those of your
own age,–your companions, but especially your inferiors,–by showing
that you are affected with their troubles, that you sympathize with
them. Cultivate the habit of _feeling_ for others. When you see or read
of the sufferings of the poor, when you read of the condition of the
heathen, who know not the way of salvation, let your sympathies flow
forth toward them. Learn to feel for others’ woe, and it will improve
your own heart. But, besides this, you will find yourself rewarded with
the affections of others.

Thus I have given you a few brief hints, to show how the affections may
be cultivated. I must leave you to apply them in practice to every-day
life, and to carry out the principle, in its application to all the
circumstances in which you may be placed; which principle is, as much
as possible, to repress and refrain from exercising every bad feeling
or affection, and to cherish and cultivate the good, bringing them into
exercise on every fit occasion, that they may grow into habits.

You will see, by what I have said under the various heads of this
chapter, that the idea of _educating the heart_ is no mere _figure
of speech_, but a reality, of great importance to your character and
well-being through life. Your parents and teachers will, of course,
pay attention to this matter; but they cannot succeed in it without
your coöperation. And with you it must be an every-day work. You must
carry it out in all your conduct and feelings, and seek the grace of
God to aid you in so difficult a work. Without an _educated heart_, you
will never make a GENTLEMAN. The fine feelings and good tempers which
I have described are indispensable to _good breeding_. You cannot have
polished manners with a _rough heart_. You may _put on_ the gentleman;
but it will appear out of place. You cannot change the nature of a
_pig_. You may wash him over and over again, and make him ever so
clean; you may even dress him up in white linen garments–but he will
immediately return to his wallowing in the mire.

The term _Mind_ is often employed to signify all the faculties of
the soul. But I shall use it in application to the _intellectual
faculties_, in distinction from the _moral_; as I have employed _heart_
to denote the _moral_, in distinction from the _intellectual_. I shall
not undertake to give a strictly philosophical distinction of the
mental faculties, but shall comprehend them in the following division,
which is sufficient for my purpose, to wit: _Perception_, _Reason_ or
_Understanding_, _Judgment_, _Memory_, and _Imagination_. PERCEPTION is
the faculty that receives ideas into the mind; as, when you look at a
tree, immediately the idea of a tree is impressed on the mind through
the sense of sight; or, when you touch an object, the idea of that
object is impressed on your mind through the sense of touch; or, you
may receive the idea of a spirit, from the explanations which you hear
or read.

The REASON or UNDERSTANDING, is the faculty that considers, analyzes,
and compares ideas received into the mind, and forms conclusions
concerning them. For example, suppose you had never seen a watch: one
is presented to you, and, as soon as your eye rests upon it, you form
an idea respecting it. Perhaps this idea is no more than that it is a
very curious object. But, immediately, your understanding is employed
in _considering_ what it is, the perceptive faculty still being
occupied in further discoveries. From the fact that there is motion,
you conclude there must be some _power_ within it; for motion is not
produced without power. Here is _consideration_ and _conclusion_, which
is a regular operation of reason. But, to make further discoveries, you
open the watch, to examine its parts. This is _analyzing_. You examine
all the parts that you can see, on removing the case. You still see
_motion_–all the wheels moving in regular order; but the _cause_ of
the motion, the _power_ that moves, is yet unseen. You perceive a chain
wound around a wheel, and attached to another wheel, around which it
is slowly winding itself; and this chain appears to regulate the whole
movement. You conclude that the power must be in this last-named wheel.
Here is a conclusion from analyzing, or examining the parts separately.

The JUDGMENT is the same as what is popularly styled _common sense_.
It is that faculty which pronounces a decision, in view of all the
information before the mind, in any given case. For example, if you
wish to determine what school you will attend, you first obtain all
the information you can respecting the different schools that claim
your attention. You consider and compare the advantages of each; and
you decide according to your impression of their comparative merits.
The faculty which forms this decision is called the _judgment_. You
will readily perceive how very important this faculty is; for a person
may be very learned, and yet a very great _dunce_ in every thing of a
practical nature, if he fails in judgment or common sense. His learning
will be of very little use to him, because he has not sense to use it
to advantage.

The MEMORY is the faculty which _retains_ the knowledge that is
received into the mind. It is a wonderful faculty. It may be compared
to an immense closet, with a countless number and variety of shelves,
drawers, and cells, in which articles are stored away for future use,
only one of which can be examined by the proprietor at the same time,
and yet so arranged that he knows just where to look for the article he
wants. It is supposed that no impression, once made upon the memory,
can be obliterated; and yet the impression may not be called up for
years. It lies there, till some association of ideas brings it up
again; the faculty not being able to present more than one object
distinctly before the mind at the same instant.

The IMAGINATION is that faculty which forms pictures in the mind of
real or unreal scenes. It is the faculty that you exercise in your
fanciful plays, and when your mind runs forward to the time that you
expect to be engaged in the busy scenes of life, and you picture to
yourself pleasures and enjoyments in prospect. It is the faculty
chiefly exercised by the poet and the writer of fiction.

You will, perhaps, be tired of this explanation; but it was necessary,
in order to prepare the way for what I have to say on the _education
of the mind_. From the definition of education already given, you will
perceive that my ideas differ very much from those entertained by most
young people. Ask a young person what he is going to school for, and
he will answer, “_To learn_.” And his idea of learning is, simply, to
_acquire knowledge_. This, however, is but a small part of the object
of education. And this idea often leads youth to judge that much of
what they are required to study is of no value to them; because they
think they shall have no use for the particular science they are
studying, in practical life. The chief objects of mental education
are, to cultivate and discipline the mind, and to store it with those
great facts and principles which compose the elements of all knowledge.
The studies to be pursued, then, are to be chosen with reference to
these objects, and not merely for the purpose of making the mind a
vast store-house of knowledge. This may be done, and yet leave it a
mere lumber-room. For without the capacity to analyze, and turn it to
account, all the knowledge in the world is but useless lumber. It is
of great importance that young people should understand and appreciate
this principle, because it is intimately connected with their success
in acquiring a good education. To this end, it is necessary that they
should coöperate with their parents and teachers. This they will never
be ready to do, if they suppose the only object of study is, to acquire
a knowledge of the particular branches they are set to learn; for they
cannot see the use of them. But, understanding the design of education
to be, to discipline the mind, and furnish it with the elements of
knowledge, there is no science, no branch of learning, but what is
useful for these objects; and the only question, where education cannot
be liberal, is, What branches will best secure these ends?

This understanding of the objects of education is also necessary, to
stimulate the young to prosecute their studies in the most profitable
manner. If their object were merely to acquire knowledge, the more aid
they could get from their teachers the better, because they would thus
obtain information the more rapidly. But the object being to discipline
the mind, call forth its energies, and obtain a thorough knowledge
of elementary principles, what is _studied out_, by the unaided
efforts of the pupil, is worth a hundred times more than that which is
communicated by an instructor. The very effort of the mind which is
requisite to study out a sum in arithmetic, or a difficult sentence in
language, is worth more than it costs, for the increased power which
it imparts to the faculties so exercised. The principles involved in
the case will, also, by this effort, be more deeply impressed upon the
mind. Such efforts are also exceedingly valuable, for the confidence
which they inspire in one’s power of accomplishment. I do not mean to
commend self-confidence in a bad sense. For any one to be so confident
of his own power as to think he can do things which he cannot, or to
fancy himself qualified for stations which he is not able to fill,
is foolish and vain. But, to know one’s own ability to do, and have
confidence in it, is indispensable to success in any undertaking. And
this confidence is inspired by unaided efforts to overcome difficulties
in the process of education. As an instance of this, I recollect,
when a boy, of encountering a very difficult sum in arithmetic. After
spending a considerable time on it, without success, I sought the
aid of the school teacher, who failed to render me any assistance. I
then applied to several other persons, none of whom could give me the
desired information. Thus I was thrown back upon my own resources. I
studied upon it several days without success. After worrying my head
with it one evening, I retired to rest, and _dreamed_ out the whole
process. I do not suppose there was any thing supernatural in my dream;
but the sum was the absorbing subject of my thoughts, and when sleep
had closed the senses, they still ran on the same subject. Rising in
the morning with a clear head, and examining the question anew, it all
opened up to my mind with perfect clearness; all difficulty vanished,
and in a few moments the problem was solved. I can scarcely point to
any single event, which has had more influence upon the whole course
of my life than this. It gave me confidence in my ability to succeed
in any reasonable undertaking. But for this confidence, I should
never have thought of entering upon the most useful undertakings of
my life. But for this, you would never have seen this book, nor any
other of the numerous works which I have been enabled to furnish
for the benefit of the young. I mention this circumstance here, for
the purpose of encouraging you to _independent mental effort_. In
prosecuting your studies, endeavor always, if possible, to overcome
every difficulty without the aid of others. This practice, besides
giving you the confidence of which I have spoken, will give you a much
better knowledge of the branches you are pursuing, and enable you,
as you advance, to proceed much more rapidly. Every difficulty you
overcome, by your own unaided efforts, will make the next difficulty
less. And though at first you will proceed more slowly, your habit of
independent investigation will soon enable you to outstrip all those
who are still held in the leading-strings of their teachers. A child
will learn to walk much sooner by being let alone, than to be provided
with a go-cart. Your studies, pursued in this manner, will be much more
interesting; for you are interested in any study just in proportion to
the effort of mind it costs you.

The _perceptive faculty_ is developed first of all. It begins to
be exercised by the child before it can speak, or even understand
language. _Reason_ and _judgment_ are more slow in their development,
though they begin to be exercised at a very early period. _Memory_
is exercised as soon as ideas are received into the mind. The
_imagination_, in the natural course of things, is developed latest of
all; but it is often forced out too early, like flowers in a hot-bed,
in which case it works great injury to the mind.

You will perceive the great importance of bringing out the several
faculties of the mind in their due proportion. If the _memory_ is
chiefly cultivated, you will have a great amount of knowledge floating
loosely in your mind, but it will be of very little use. But the proper
cultivation of the memory is indispensable, in order to render your
knowledge available. Nor will it do for you to adopt the notion that
nothing is to be committed to the keeping of the memory which is not
fully understood. The memory is a _servant_, which must consent to do
some things without knowing the reason why. The _imagination_ is the
beautiful flower that crowns the top of the plant. But if forced out
too early, or out of due proportion, it will cover the stalk with false
blossoms, which, in a little time, will wither, and leave it dry and
useless. The _perception_, _reason_, and _judgment_, require a long
course of vigorous exercise and severe training, in order to lay a
solid foundation of character.

I shall leave this subject here, without suggesting any particular
means of cultivating the mind, leaving you to apply the principles here
laid down to your ordinary studies. But in several subsequent chapters,
I shall have some reference to what I have said here.

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