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or four Years of Age, may be taught some Part of these Articles, and may learn to understand them all at seven, or eight, or nine; at least so far as is needful for all his own Exercises of Devotion and Piety. As his Age encreases, he may be instructed more at large in the Principles and Practices of our holy Religion, as I shall shew more particularly in the third Section.
SECT. II. The Exercise and Improvement of their Na
I TAVING mentioned Religion as the
I principal Thing in which Children Thould be instructed, I proceed to say in the second Place, that Children should be taught the true Use, the Exercise and Improvement of their natural Powers: And we may for Order Sake distinguish these into the Powers of the Body and those of the Mind: Now though Nature gives these Powers and Faculties, yet it is a good Education that must instruct us in the Exercise and Improve. ment of them: Otherwise like an uncultivated Field they will be ever barren and fruitJess, or produce Weeds and Briars instead of Herbs and Corn.
AMONG the Powers of the Mind which are to be thus culyated we may reckon the
Understanding, the Memory, the Judgment, the Faculty of Reasoning, and the Conscience.
1. TEACH them to use their Under. standing aright. Persuade them to value tbeir Understanding as a noble Faculty, and allure them to seek after the Enrichment of it with a Variety of Knowledge. Let no Day escape without adding some new Ideas to their Understanding, and giving their young unfurnished Minds some further Notion of Things.
ALMOST every Thing is new to a Child, and Novelty will entice them onward to new Acquisitions : Shew them the Birds, the Beasts, the Fishes and Infects, Trees, Herbs, Fruits, and all the several Parts and Properties of the vegetable and the animal World: Teach them to observe the various Occurrences in Nature and Providence, the Sun, Moon and Stars, the Day and Night, Summer and Winter, the Clouds and the Sky, the Hail, Snow and Ice, Winds, Fire, Wa. ter, Earth, Air, Fields, Woods, Mountains, Rivers, &c. Teach them that the great God made all these Things and his Providence governs them all. Acquaint a Child also with domestic Affairs so far as is needful, and with the Things that belong to the civil and the military Life, the Church and the State, with the Works of God and the Works of Men. A thousand Objects that
strike their Eyes, their Ears and all their Senfes will furnith out new Matter for their Curiosity and your Instructions.
There are some Books which are published in the World wherein a Child may be delightfully led into the Knowledge of a great Number of these Things by Pictures or Figures of Birds, Beasts, &c. well graven with their Names under them; this will much affist the Labour of the Teacher, and add to the Pleasure of Children in their daily Learning.
You who instruct them should allure their young Curiosity to ask many Questions, encourage them in it, and gratify their Enquiries by giving them the best and most satisfactory Answers you can frame, and accommodate all your Language to their Capacity.
Give them, as far as possible, clear Ideas of Things, and teach them how to distinguish one Thing from another by their different Appearances, by their different Properties and by their different Effects. Shew them how far some Things agree with others, and how far they differ from them; and above all Things teach them, as far as their young Understandings will admit, to distinguish between Appearances and Reali. ties, between Truth and Fallhood, between Good and Evil, between Trifles and Things of Importance ; for these are the most va
luable Pieces of Knowledge and Distinction which can be lodged in the young Understandings of Children.
2. The Memory is another Faculty of the Soul which should be cultivated and improved : Endeavour carefully to impress on their Minds Things of Worth and Value. Such are, short and useful and entertaining Stories which carry in them some Virtue recommended, some Vice ridiculed or punished, various human and divine Truths, Rules: of Piety and Virtue, Precepts of Prudence, &c. Repeat these Things often to them by Day and by Night, teach them these Things in Verse and in Prose, rehearse them in their Ears at all proper Seasons, and take Occasion to make them repeat these Things to you.
Be sollicitous to know what it is they learn when they are o!t of your Sight, and take good Care that their Memories be not charged with Trifles and idle Trumpery. · The Memory is a noble Repository or Cabinet of the Soul, it should not be filled with Rubbish and Lumber. Silly Tales and foolith Songs, the Conundrums of Nurses, and the dull Rhimes that are sung to lull Children alleep, or to footh a froward Humour, should be generally forbid to entertain those Children where a good Education is designed. Something more innocent, more solid and profitable may be in
vented instead of these Fooleries. If it were poffible let a very few Things be lodged in the Memory of Children which they need to forget when they are Men.
The way to strengthen and improve the Memory is to put it upon daily Exercise. I do not mean that young Children should be kept so close to their Book as to be crammed with Lessons all the Day long, and made to. receive and sustain a heavy Load every Hour, The Powers of the Soul (especially such as act in clole Concert with the Body and are so much aided by the Brain) may be overburdened, and injured as well as the Limbs : The Mind may be perplexed and confounded, the Head may be overstrained and weakened, and the Health impaired in those tender Years of Life by an excessive Imposition on the Memory : The Teachers of Children should have some Prudence to die. stinguish their Ages and their several Capacities: They should know how to avoid Extremes.
But in general it may be said that the Powers of the Mind, as well as those of the Body, grow stronger by a confiant and moderate Exercise. Every Day let the Memory of a Child be entrusted with something new: Every Day let some Lessons be learned: And every Lord's-Day at least, even in their youngest Years, let them learn by Heart some one Text of Scripture, (chiefly