Historical and biographical sketches/03 Christopher Dock
The student of American literature, should he search through histories, bibliographies, and catalogues of libraries for traces of Christopher Dock or his works, would follow a vain quest. The attrition of the great sea of human affairs during the course of a century and a half has left of the pious schoolmaster, as the early Germans of Pennsylvania were wont to call him, only a name, and of his reputation, nothing, Watson, the annalist, says, that in 1740 Christopher Dock taught school in the old Mennonite log church, in Germantown; the catalogue of the American Antiquarian Society contains the title of his “Schul-ordnung” under the wrong year; and these meagre statements are the only references to him I have ever been able to find in any English book. There may be men still living who have heard from their grandfathers of his kindly temper and his gentle sway, but memory is uncertain, and they are rapidly disappearing. Between the leaves of old Bibles and in out-of-the-way places in country garrets, perhaps, are still preserved some of the Schrifften, and birds and flowers which he used to write and paint as rewards for his dutiful scholars, but whose was the hand that made them has long been forgotten. The good which he did has been interred with his bones, and all that he did was good. The details of his life that can now be ascertained are very few, but such as they are it is a fitting task to gather them together. The eye will sometimes leave the canvas on which are depicted the gaudy robes of a Catharine Cornaro, or the fierce passions of a Rizpah, and gratefully turn to a quiet rural scene, where broad fields stretch out, and herds feed in the shade of oaks, and all is suggestive of peace, strength and happiness. It may well be doubted whether the story of the Crusades has attracted more readers than the Imitation of Christ, by Thomas a Kempis; the Life of John Woolman has found its way into the highest walks of literature, while that of Anthony Wayne is yet to be written; and the time may come when the American historian, wearied with the study of the wars with King Philip to the north of us, and the wars with Powhatan to the south of us, will turn his lens upon Pennsylvania, where the principles of the Reformation produced their ultimate fruits, and where the religious sects who were in the advance of thought, driven out of conservative and halting Europe, lived together at peace with the natives and in unity among themselves without wars. The sweetness and purity which filled the soul of the Mennonite, the Dunker, the Schwenkfelder, the Pietist, and the Quaker, was nowhere better exemplified than in Christopher Dock. It is told that once two men were talking together of him, and one said that he had never been known to show the slightest anger. The other replied that perhaps his temper had not been tested, and presently when Dock came along, he reviled him fiercely, bitterly and profanely. The only reply made by Dock was: “Friend, may the Lord have mercy upon thee.” He was a Mennonite who came from Germany to Pennsylvania about 1714. There is a tradition that he had been previously drafted into the army but had been discharged because of his convictions and refusal to bear arms. In 1718, or perhaps four years earlier, he opened a school among the Mennonites on the Skippack. It was an occupation to which he felt that he was divinely called, and he continued it, without regard to compensation which was necessarily very limited, for ten years. At the expiration of this period he went to farming. On the 28th of 9th month, 1735, he bought from the Penns 100 acres of land in Salford Township, now Montgomery County, for £15, 10s., and, doubtless, this was the tract upon which he lived. For ten years he was a husbandman, but for four summers he taught school in Germantown, in sessions of three months each year, and it would seem to have occurred during this period. While away from the school he was continually impressed with a consciousness of duties unfulfilled, and in 1738 he gave up his farm and returned to his old pursuit. He then opened two schools, one in Skippack and one in Salford, which he taught three days each alternately, and for the rest of his life he devoted himself to this labor unceasingly.
In 1750, Christopher Saur, the Germantown publisher, conceived the idea that it would be well to get a written description of Dock's method of keeping school, with a view to printing it, in order, as he said, that other school-teachers whose gift was not so great might be instructed; that those who cared only for the money they received might be shamed; and that parents might know how a well arranged school was conducted, and how themselves to treat children. To get the description was a matter requiring diplomacy because of the decided feeling on the part of Dock that it would not be sinless to do anything for his own praise, credit or elevation. Saur, therefore, wrote to Dielman Kolb, a prominent Mennonite minister in Salford, and a warm friend of Dock, urging his request and presenting a series of questions which he asked to have answered. Through the influence of Kolb the reluctant teacher was induced to undertake a reply and the treatise was completed on the 8th of August, 1750. He only consented, however, upon the condition that it should not be printed during his lifetime. For nineteen years afterward the manuscript lay unused. In the meantime the elder Saur had died, and the business had passed into the hands of his son, Christopher Saur the second. Finally in 1769 some “friends of the common good,” getting wearied with the long delay, succeeded in overcoming the scruples of Dock, and secured his consent to having it printed. It met with further vicissitudes. Having read the MS., Saur mislaid it, and after a careful search concluded that it must have been sold along with some waste paper. He offered a reward for its return through his newspaper. People began to report that he had found something in it he did not like, and had put it away purposely. The satisfied author sent a messenger to him to say “that I should not trouble myself about the loss of the writing. It had never been his opinion that it ought to be printed in his lifetime, and so he was very well pleased that it had been lost.” At length, after it had been lost for more than a year, it was found in a place through which he and his people had thoroughly searched. It was at once published in a large octavo pamphlet of fifty-four pages. The full title is: “Eine Einfaeltige und gruendlich abgefasste Schul-ordnung darinnen deutlich vorgestellt wird, auf welche weisse die Kinder nicht nur in denen in Schulen gewoehnlichen Lehren bestens angebracht sondern auch in der Lehre Gottseligkeit wohl unterrichtet werden moegen aus Liebe zu dem menschlichen Geschlecht aufgesetzt durch den wohlerfarnen und lang geuebten Schulmeister Christoph Dock: und durch einige Freunde des gemeinen Bestens dem Druck uebergeben. Germantown, Gedruckt und zu finden bey Christoph Saur, 1770.”
The importance of this essay consists in the fact that it is the earliest, written and published in America, upon the subject of school teaching, and that it is the only picture we have of the colonial country school. It is remarkable that at a time when the use of force was considered essential in the training of children, views so correct upon the subject of discipline should have been entertained. The only copy of the original edition I have ever seen is in the Cassel collection, recently secured by the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, and a ten years' search for one upon my own part has so far resulted in failure. A second edition was printed by Saur the same year, of which there is a copy in the library of the German Society of Philadelphia. In 1861, the Mennonites of Ohio published an edition, reprinted from a copy of the second edition, at the office of the “Gospel Visitor,” at Columbia, in that State. This publication also met with an accident. A careless printer, who was setting type by candle light, knocked over his candle and burned up one of the leaves of the original. The work was stopped because the committee having the matter in charge could find no other copy. Finally, in despair, they wrote to Mr. A. H. Cassel, of Harleysville, Pa., who, without hesitation, took the needed leaf from his copy and sent it to them by mail. Mirabile dictu! It was scrupulously cared for and speedily returned. It is difficult to determine which is the more admirable, the confiding simplicity of a book lover who willingly ran such a risk of making his own copy imperfect, or the Roman integrity which, being once in the possession of the only leaf necessary to complete a mutilated copy, firmly resisted temptation.
The treatise is here for the first time translated into English, omitting the prefatory portions, and a catechism and two hymns which were appended.
Vol. I, No. 33, of the Geistliches Magazien an exceedingly rare periodical published by Saur, about 1764, is taken up with a “Copia einer Schrifft welche der Schulmeister Christoph Dock an seine noch lebende Schueler zur Lehr und Vermahnung aus Liebe geschrieben hat.” It is signed at the end by Dock, and the following note is added: “N. B. The printer has considered it necessary to put the author's name to this piece first, because it is specially addressed to his scholars, though it suits all men without exception, and it is well for them to know who addresses them; and, secondly, the beloved author has led, and still in his great age leads, such a good life that it is important and cannot be hurtful to him that his name should be known. May God grant that all who read it may find something in it of practical benefit to themselves.”
No. 40 of the same magazine consists of “Hundert noethige Sitten-Regeln fuer Kinder.” It may be claimed for these Rules of Conduct that they are the first original American publication upon the subject of etiquette. It is not only a very curious and entertaining paper, but it is exceedingly valuable as an illustration of the customs and modes of life of those to whom it was addressed, and of what was considered “manners” among them. From it a picture of the children silent until they were addressed, seated upon stools around a table, in the centre of which was a large, common dish wherein each child dipped with his spoon, and of the homely meal begun and closed with prayer, may be distinctly drawn.
In No. 41 of the Magazien there is a continuation, or second part, containing “Hundert christliche Lebens-Regeln fuer Kinder.” There is nothing said in either of these papers concerning the author, but if the internal evidence were not in itself sufficient, the descendants of Saur have preserved the knowledge that they were written by Dock.
In No. 15, Vol. II of the Magazien, are “Zwey erbauliche Lieder, welche der Gottselige Christoph Dock, Schulmeister an der Schipbach, seinen lieben Schuelern, und allen andern die sie lesen, zur Betrachtung hinterlassen hat.”
He wrote a number of hymns, some of which are still used among the Mennonites in their church services. These hymns, so far as they are known to me, are as follows, the first line of each only being given:
- Kommt, liebe Kinder, kommt herbey.
- Ach kommet her ihr Menschen Kinder.
- Mein Lebensfaden lauft zu Ende.
- Ach Kinder wollt ihr lieben.
- Fromm seyn ist ein Schatz der Jugend.
- An Gottes gnad und milden Seegen.
- Allein auf Gott setz dein Vertrauen.
During the later years of his life Dock made his home with Heinrich Kassel, a Mennonite farmer on the Skippack. One evening in the fall of 1771 he did not return from his labors at the usual time. A search was made and he was found in the school-house on his knees — dead. After the dismissal of the scholars for the day he had remained to pray and the messenger of death had overtaken him at his devotions — a fitting end to a life which had been entirely given to pious contemplation and useful works.
He left two daughters, Margaret, wife of Henry Stryckers, of Salford, and Catharine, wife of Peter Jansen, of Skippack.
Works of Christopher Dock.
August 8, 1750.
In acceding to Friend Dielman's request to me I could at once commence without preliminary remarks, but since Friend Christopher Saur requests Dielman to get information of everything, even of the letter-writing among the scholars, I must give Friend Saur a prefatory account by way of explanation, of the subject.
After I had given up the school on the Skippack, which I had kept for ten years, I lived upon the land for ten years, and according to my little ability did farm work. Many opportunities offered themselves during this time for keeping school, and I was solicited in the matter until, finally, it came about again that I kept school in these two townships of Skippack and Salford, three days a week in each township. It was before known to me that school teaching in this country was far different from in Germany, since there the school stands upon such pillars that the common people cannot well overthrow it, I thought of the duties which this call imposed and formed the earnest resolution to truly live up to these duties, but I saw the depraved condition of the young, and the many difficulties of this world by which they are depraved and injured by those older. I considered my own unworthiness, and the unequal influence of parents in the training of children, since some seek the welfare and happiness of their children in teaching and life with their whole hearts, and turn all their energies to advance the honor of God, and the welfare of their children, but, on the other hand, others are just the opposite in life and teaching, and set evil examples before their children. Through this it happens that not only between the schoolmaster and the children comes this unequal training, though he otherwise follows his calling truly and uprightly before God and man, but he is compelled to use unequal zeal and discipline; whereupon the schoolmaster at once gets the name of having favorites, and of treating one child harder than another, which, as a matter-of-fact, he must do for conscience sake, in order that the children of good breeding be not injured by those of bad breeding. In other respects it is undoubtedly the schoolmaster's duty to be impartial, and to determine nothing by favoritism or appearance. The poor beggar child, scabby, ragged and lousy, if its conduct is good, or it is willing to be instructed, must be as dear to him, though he should never receive a penny for it, as that of the rich, from whom he may expect a great reward in this life. The great reward for the poor child follows in the life to come. In brief, it would take too much time to describe all the duties which fall upon a schoolmaster to perform faithfully toward the young, but still longer would it take to describe all the difficulties which encompass him at home if he is willing to economize as his duties require. As I took all this into consideration, I foresaw that if I would and should do something valuable to the young it was necessary for me, daily and hourly, with David, to raise my eyes to the mountains for help. Ps. 121. Inasmuch as I, amid these circumstances, was willing to erect something to the honor of God, and the benefit of the young, I again placed myself in the work, and have hitherto continued at it. I indeed wish that I had been able to do more, still I have come to thank the great God heartily that He has helped me to do as much as I have done.
Concerning Friend Saur's first question, viz.:
How I Receive the Children in School?
It is done in the following manner. The child is first welcomed by the other scholars, who extend their hands to it. It is then asked by me whether it will learn industriously and be obedient. If it promises me this I explain to it how it must behave, and if it can say the A, B, C's in order, one after the other, and also by way of proof can point out with the forefinger all the designated letters, it is put into the Ab Abs. When it gets this far its father must give it a penny and its mother must cook for it two eggs, because of its industry; and a similar reward is due to it when it goes further into words, and so forth. But when it begins to read I owe it a token, if it has learned industriously and in the time fixed, and on the next day when this child comes to school it receives a ticket, on which is written the line “Industrious — one penny.” This ticket it receives to show that it is taken into the school as a scholar. But it is told that from those scholars who are idle at study, or are otherwise disobedient, this token is taken away again, and that if they are not willing to be taught in any way, and remain stubborn they will be declared, before all the scholars, lazy and unfit, and that they belong in another harsh correction school. Then I ask the child again whether it will be obedient and industrious. If it answers “yes,” then I show it the place where it will sit down. If it is a boy I ask among the boys, if a girl, among the girls, which among them all will receive this new school child and teach and instruct it. Accordingly as the child is strange or known, or is agreeable in appearance or otherwise, there are generally many or few who are ready to offer to instruct it. If there are none willing, then I ask, who, for a Script or a Bird, will instruct the child for a certain time, and this rarely fails.
So much as to how I receive the children in school.
Further information concerning the Assembling of the Children at School.
The assembling takes place in this way:
Since some here in the country have a long way to come but others live near to the school, so that the scholars cannot be all together at a fixed time and at the stroke of the clock, as in those places where men live together in a city or village, the rule and arrangements are that all of those who come first who can read in the Testament sit down on a bench, the boys together on one bench and the girls on another by themselves. A chapter is then given them out of the Testament to read and, without having studied it, they read in turn. Meanwhile I am writing before them. Those who read their verse without mistakes sit down at the table and write, but those who fail must go down to the foot on the bench. In the meantime all who come in take their places at the foot on the bench. Those who are freed as above sit down at the table and this is continued until they are all together. He who remains last on the bench is a Lazy Scholar. When they are all together, and are examined to see whether they are washed and combed, a morning hymn or psalm is given them to sing and I sing and pray with them. Whatever can be intelligibly implanted in their minds concerning the Lord's Prayer and the ten commandments, according to those gifts which God has imparted, for remembrance and instruction, is done. To the very little ones short prayers and quotations are recited. So much for information concerning the assembling of the scholars. This explanation however, is necessary concerning prayers. Since many children say the prayers they have learned at home with half words and swiftly, especially the Father or Our Father, which form of prayer the Lord Jesus taught his disciples and contains everything it is necessary to ask of God for our bodies and souls, I am accustomed to say this prayer kneeling with them and they all kneeling repeat it after me. After the singing and prayer those who write go again to this exercise. But those who did not read in the Testament at the opening of school, have had the time during the delay to learn their reading. These, after prayers are finished, are called up to do their reading. Those who know their reading will have a O marked with chalk on their hands. Thia is a sign that they have failed in nothing. But those who do not know their reading well, and whose failures are not more than three, are sent back to learn their reading better until the little ones have all recited. If any one comes up again and fails as many as three times it is shown with a word to the scholars that he has failed three times, and all shout out at him “Lazy” and then his name is written down. Now whether a child naturally fears the rod or does not fear it, this I know from experience that this shaming cry of the children gives them more pain and drives them more to study than if I should hold the rod before them and use it all the time. If such a child under these circumstances has friends in the school who can and will teach it, it will try more earnestly than before. The reason is that if its name is not rubbed out the same day, before school closes, the scholars are at liberty to write down the idle scholar's name and take it home with them. But if it is found in the future that the child knows well its lesson its name is again made known to the scholars and they are told that it has known its lessons perfectly and failed in nothing. Then they all call out “Industrious.” When this happens its name is rubbed out of the list of idle scholars and the former misdoing is forgotten.
Concerning those Children who are in Spelling.
These are every day also put to the proof in regard to pronunciation. At the recitation in spelling where the word has more than one syllable, they must all seek for the pronunciation and then it is soon found by the test, though they know how to spell properly, whether through mispronunciation they are unfit to be so soon put at reading. Before reaching this point the child must go over his task repeatedly and it is done in this way. The child gives me its book. I spell, and it must pronounce. If it cannot do it quickly another in the same way gives the pronunciation. In this way it learns to distinguish how it must be governed in pronunciation by the spelling and not by its own notions.
Concerning the A, B, C Scholars.
To make these scholars familiar with the letters at first the easiest way, if I had but one child in the school, would be to give them in the beginning only a line to learn and prove forward and backwards in order for them to learn to know and call the letters better, so that they would not get their A, B, C, by rote. But having many of this kind I let them repeat the A, B, Cs, after one another, but when the child has recited, I ask it whether it cannot show to me the letter with its finger? If I find that the child doesn't know, or is backward, I ask another in the same way or as many as there are. Whichever finger shows the letter first I take in my hand and hold it until I have made for that child a mark with chalk. Then I ask again for the other letters and so on. The child who during the day has received the most marks has shown the most letters, and to this one I owe something, sometimes a flower painted upon paper or a bird. But if there are several alike it is decided by lot. This gives the least discontent. This plan takes away from the backward something of their backwardness, which is a great hinderance to learning, and also increases their wish to go to school and love for it.
So much as to his request to know how I receive the children in school, and how I arrange the assembling of the children before prayer and continue the exercises after prayer, through what means the inattentive and careless are induced to give thought and attention to learning their lessons well, and how the too shy are, as much as possible, assisted.
Further Continuation of the Information.
After the little ones have recited I give the Testament scholars a chapter to learn. Those who read letters and news sit together, and those who cipher sit together. When I find among the little ones any who have progressed so far in reading that they will soon be ready to read in the Testament, I point them out to the Testament scholars to try whether a good reader among the Testament scholars will receive them for instruction. Whoever is willing walks out, takes the said scholar by the hand, and they sit down near each other. When this is done a chapter is selected in which each has two verses to learn, but if it is found that further exercises are necessary, as to seek a quotation or chapter, or to learn a quotation by heart, in which exercise also each must read a verse, only a single verse is selected, so that it do not fall too hard on those trying to read in the Testament. If it is found that these scholars upon the trial are good and industrious in learning the selected verses, a week is given them for proof, in which week they learn and recite their lesson in the A, B, C book, with the little ones, and must learn and recite their verse with the Testament scholars. If they stand the proof well, the next week they come out of the A, B, C book into the Testament, and then they are permitted to commence writing. But those who do not bear the test must remain a stated time with the A, B, C scholars before they again have a trial. After the Testament scholars have recited, the little ones are again taken up. When this is done they are reminded of the chapter before read, and for my and their instruction are required to think over the teachings contained in it. Since it usually occurs that such teachings are also written in other places of the Holy Scriptures these latter are also hunted up and read. Afterward a hymn is given out which also contains these teachings. If afterward time remains a short quotation is given to them all together to learn by heart. After this is done they are required to show their writing, and after these are looked over and numbered, a hard word is given to the one, who has the first number, to spell. If he cannot spell it it goes to the second, and so on. Whoever spells it receives his writing. Then another hard word is given to the first and is continued until all, through spellings have received their writings.
Since the children bring their dinners with them there is an hour's intermission after dinner, but as they generally misuse this intermission if they are left alone, it is required that one or two of them, while I write, read out of the Old Testament, a useful history, or out of Moses and the Prophets, or Solomon or Ecclesiastes, until school calls.
There is also this Information.
Children have occasion to go out of school, and permission must be given to them or there will be filth and vile smells in the school. But the cry for permission to go out might continue the whole day, and it be asked without occasion, so that two or three could be out at a time to play. To guard against this, upon a nail driven into the post of the door hangs a wooden strip. Whoever has occasion to go out looks for the strip to see whether it hangs at the door. If the strip is there the pass is there also, he may go without asking, and he takes the strip with him and goes out. If another has occasion to go he need not ask, but placing himself by the door, as soon as the one comes in who has the strip, he takes it from him and goes out. If the strip remains out too long so that necessity compels him who waits at the door to call attention to it, then it is asked who went out last. He from whom the pass was taken knows, so that no one can delay too long.
How to teach figures and ciphering to those who are ignorant.
I write upon the Note-Board which hangs where all can see it these figures
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 0
far enough apart that other figures may be placed before and after each of them. Then I place a 0 before the 1 and explain to them that though the 0 stand before the 1 still the number is not increased. Then I rub the 0 before the 1 out, and place it after the 1, which makes 10, if two naughts 100, if three 1000 and so on. In like manner I show them with all the figures. When this is done, to the first figure 1 another 1 is added which makes 11, but if a 0 is placed between the two it make 101, but if after them 110; and in like manner I go through all the figures with them.
After this is finished I give them something to search for in the Testament or the Hymn Book. Those who are the readiest have something to expect either from me or at home.
Since in reading, in order to read with understanding, it is necessary to give attention to the comma, but this is difficult for those who have not had much experience in reading, I have made this regulation. Whoever among the Testament scholars does not read along, but stops before he comes to where the little point or mark stands, fails ¼, who reads over it without stopping in like manner fails ¼, and who repeats a word ½. All the failures and especially what each one has failed are marked down. When all have recited, all who have failed must step out and stand in a row according to their failures. Those who have not failed go together behind the table. The others sit down at the foot of the table.
Concerning the letter-writing to each other.
It may be mentioned that I attended to two schools as already said for twelve years, and also four summers (that is three months which I had free from harvest) kept school in Germantown. The scholars in Skippack, when I went to the school in Salford, gave me letters to take with me. When I came back again the Salford scholars did likewise. It was so arranged that those appointed to write to each other were of equal advancement. But if it happened that one was superior to the other, he then wrote to another to whom he thought himself equal. The superscription was only this, “My friendly greeting to N. N.” The contents of the letter were a short rhyme, or a selection from the Bible, to which was added something concerning their school exercises, what they had for a motto during the week, and where it was written and the like. He also gave a question in his letter which the other should answer with a quotation from the Holy Scriptures. I do not doubt but that two schoolmasters, whether they lived in the same place or not, if they had such regard for each other and were willing to inculcate affection in the young, and were inspired in this work by a heartfelt love of God and the common good of youth, could inspire love in this way.
So much is circumstantially given as to the guiding and leading the young to learn spelling, and how they, step by step, must progress before they can be brought to the point which is kept in view for the honor of God and their welfare, and which at last follows.
What now belongs to his second question or request, viz.: How with different children of different training and according to the measure of transgression, punishment is increased or lessened.
I would very willingly and heartily explain this in all points to the friend but, since it covers a wide scope, I hardly know from its extent where I should begin or end. The reason is because the depraved condition of the young is apparent in so many things, and the provocations by which the young are influenced by those who are older, are manifold, and since God himself says, 1 Book Moses 8, 21. “For the imagination of man's heart is evil from his youth,” so that out of this unclean source, if daily efforts are not made to keep down and overcome the evil, there appears little prospect for improvement. The depravity is so great, and so increases at this time daily in all ways, that I see very clearly there is no longer any hope through one's own strength to make things any better. Where the Lord does not help to build the house, those who build thereat will all work in vain. The slap with the hand, the hazel switch, and birch rod are all means to prevent the breaking forth of the evil, but they are no means to change the depraved heart, which since the fall, naturally holds us all in such control that we are more inclined to evil than to good, so long as it remains in this condition unchanged, and it is not cleansed through the spirit of God. Still though the seed from youth up in man is such that he is inclined to evil, it could not so mature in him if our old injury was recognized and felt. We would then earnestly work that it might be rooted out and destroyed not only in ourselves but in our fellow men and our youth. While this old injury and serpent's bite is the same, we should all seek earnestly for the right cure for this wound, and also the means which he has ordered for us to use for such injury, and turn to the remedy for ourselves and our youth, since without this remedy we cannot have true peace, but must feel to our everlasting destruction the gnawing worm which, through this bite of the snake, at all times gnaws our conscience. May God in his mercy support us all that we do not ne glect to receive the promise for our peace, and no one of us remain behind! Amen.
Though, as before said, to give all of the details would carry me too far, I will show some of them to the friend, and also the means I have adopted to use against the trouble, but which means cannot cure. To the Lord of all Lords who has all in his hand, and for whose help and support we must in such circumstances pray with all our hearts, belongs the honor when we see that there is some improvement.
Among many children cursing and swearing are very common, and they appear in shameful words of all sorts and kinds. If the evil and bad habit is not earnestly opposed, this leaven will leaven the whole loaf.
Those children who are guilty of it, are first asked whether they understand what they say; and it often appears as clear as day that they do not understand the meaning. I then ask them whether they formed the words themselves, or heard others use them. Many children say that he or she said so. I ask them further why they also used them. Generally the answer is again, because he or she said so. So I find a want of knowledge in many of them that they know not why they do it. I then explain to them that they consider well, and speak no more such words, and that it is against God's word and will; also if they should hear him or her from whom they heard these curses again make use of them, they should say to him that he doubly sinned since they had been punished in school, for learning such curses from him. If these children promise that they will use such words no more, they go free for the first time; but if it is found that after being warned they become hardened in this evil custom, and the fact is certainly established that they have again used such words, they are placed alone for a long time upon the punishment bench, and as a sign that they are in punishment they wear a yoke around the neck. If they then promise that they will be more careful in the future, they go free with a few blows from the hand. If they come again upon the punishment bench for cursing, the punishment is increased, and they are not let free without bail, and the more guilty they are the more bail they must give. The bail have this to consider, that they remind them of their promise, and warn them with all earnestness to be careful and keep themselves from punishment. This is the bridle and bit to be put in the mouth, for such bad habits, but a change of the heart must come from a higher hand, and must be sought with earnest supplication from Him who proves the heart and loins. It must also be shown to them, and all scholars, out of God's word for a warning what a heavy burden this is, if persisted in willfully unto the end, and that men must give a reckoning at the last day of every idle word they have spoken. These and similar injunctions they must search for and read, and for further instruction a hymn or psalm expressing the same thought is given them to sing.
Up to this time Pennsylvania has not been so much infected with this evil and poisonous contagion as those lands which have been long overrun and harrassed with bloody wars. Among the rough and uncouth soldiery neither culture nor decency is considered, but, without fear of God or man, evil habits are practiced with words, demeanor and works, through which means the poor innocent youth are depraved, and cursing and swearing are so common that they are by many no longer considered a sin — that is, by older persons. The poor innocent youth learn to repeat these things. They are, as we all know, born into the world amid bad surroundings. They have nothing to say about it, so that we cannot blame them for it, when they bring such uses of shameful words into the world with them. Ah, no! when they learn to speak they learn to repeat the words they hear. The understanding is not there. They do not know whether they repeat good or evil. Since, as has been said, this land, under God's protection, has been kept free from the ravages of war, and many of the first settlers and beginners here were men who had God before their eyes, and walked in the fear of Him, up to this time there has been little heard of such words among young or old. But the more men come to this land the more of such wares come along, and if they are not yet recognized as valid and merchantable wares, there is so much of a mixture that the more time passes the more of them there are used, to the great injury of the youth coming along.
Secondly. The great depravity of the young shows itself in this, that when they have done something wrong and are spoken to about it, they usually try to hide and conceal it with lies. If this is not earnestly punished in children and such snake poison removed, they will be by it betrayed into destruction, through time and eternity. Therefore parents and schoolmasters, so far as they seek to further the welfare and happiness of the poor children, will be earnestly solicitous to guard against it early. This evil habit is very old and appeared just after the fall in Adam's first-born son Cain, when he was asked by God concerning the great sin he had committed toward his pious brother Abel, “Where is thy brother Abel?” He answered, against his knowledge and conscience, “I know not. Am I my brother's keeper?” 1 Moses, 4, 9. So it can be seen that the seed of the snake appeared soon after the fall, and still daily brings fruit to death and destruction. It will go hard with parents and schoolmasters to answer, if they do not earnestly strive to keep the young entrusted to them from it. How hard this often lies upon my heart no one knows better than myself. The scholar's hymn added hereto will to some extent show it. The Lord Jesus Himself says, John viii, 44, that the Devil is the father of lies. The Scribes and the Pharisees outwardly had the appearance of piety, but what they did was not done in truth, to the honor of God, but they sought their own honor, and so they adorned their cause with lies against the truth. Wherefore Christ, as is to be seen in the said verse, addressed them with the following words: “Ye are of your father, the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie he speaketh of his own; for he is a liar and the father of it.” So run the Lord Jesus's own words. John the Baptist calls them, for such evil work, a generation of vipers, as is to be seen in Matthew 3, 7. Read further and consider earnestly and with thought the 23d chapter of Matthew, and you will find what woe, lying and credit-seeking works bring upon themselves. The last judgment of woe is given in the 33d verse in the following words: “Ye serpents! ye generation of vipers! how can ye escape the damnation of hell?”
When these evil roots and branches have been destroyed in the young, and instead thereof something good is implanted, and God is earnestly besought mercifully to give success to the planting and watering, there is hope that with His help something good for the young may be accomplished. The young are themselves at all times most to be excused, since they are like wax which may be moulded in any form. But if such evil roots are permitted to grow up and increase unhindered, there will be evil fruits upon the grown-up trees, and such men will be produced as are given up to woe and hell-fire, since the axe is already laid at the root of the tree, and the tree which produces not good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Now a lie is such fruit as belongs in the fire, it is the den in which other sins are concealed, so that they cannot be seen or found. In order that a deceiver may continue his deception and still be an honorable man, or be so considered, he covers his doings with lies. That a whore may have the honor of a maiden she uses lies. A thief, murderer and adulterer does the same, and if witnesses enough do not appear, may so defend and cover up the affair with lies that he still appears before the world an honorable man. But where, during the time for repentance, such sins are not admitted and repented before God, this cover cannot conceal them. In the end the burden must be borne. He who denies his sins shall not prosper, but he who confesses and forsakes them shall receive forgiveness. Proverbs 2, 13; 1 Ep. John, 189.
Concerning the means to prevent these evil growths from getting the upper-hand, I see clearly that it is not an the power of man to destroy the root in the ground. God alone through the strength of his Holy Spirit must gives us this blessing. Still it is the duty of preachers and elders, parents and schoolmasters, first to themselves and their neighbors and fellow men, and then to the young to work as much as they are able through God's mercy, not only to make this stained coat hateful, but that it may be taken off. And in my opinion the first and most necessary means is a heartfelt and fervent prayer to God, and since there is a want of knowledge and understanding among the young so that they do not perceive the great injury, it is necessary first to remind them in heart-felt love, what actions lead us to God, and what drive us from him; what have in themselves an odor of life to life, and what an odor of death to death; how good deeds flow from good, and again to good and lead again to their good source, and how on the other hand evil comes in the beginning from evil, and leads again to evil, and travels back to its evil source; and that good is rewarded with good, and evil with evil; that God is the highest good and the origin of all good, and that Satan is the evil enemy through whom all evil is founded; and how God is a God of truth, and on the other hand Satan is the father of lies; and that man must therefore love the truth, and must exert himself for it with words and works if he would come to God in Heaven and be happy forever, since liars have their part in hell and the fiery pool. When these and similar explanations have been made to them, the evidences of the Holy Scriptures which show these things ought to be made known to them. It is further necessary to place before them that in so far in the future as they do not take care to protect themselves from such evil conduct, but do such things either heedlessly or designedly, one would be in danger of his own soul if he let them go unpunished. If after this warning a like transgression occurs and is apparent, and afterward the scholar lies purposely, the punishment for the transgression is divided into two parts, and the lie is punished first and hardest. For the lie no bail will be received, for the transgression itself the punishment may be lessened through bail, or without bail upon a promise to be careful in the future. After the infliction of the punishment, the punishment threatened for such misdeeds in the Scriptures is repeated to them.
The disposition to steal shows itself early in some children, and when they are caught at it they generally make use of lies and say that this or that person gave the thing to them, or traded with them for it, or that they found it, and these things are often so confused and twisted together that one has trouble to get them straightened out. To protect against it I have made an order that no child at school, or on the road, or at home without my knowledge, and that of their parents, shall give away or trade anything; also that whenever they find anything in school, or on the road, or wherever it may be, they must show it to me. What they find belongs not to them for themselves, but to him who lost it; but if after it has been made known a long; time he cannot be discovered, it belongs to him who found it. Through these means it has been brought about, praise God! that there is little necessity for punishment on this account.
Ambition appears among children, but not at all in proportion to that which shows itself among the mature and the old, who often, for a bare seat of honor and title, bring about much war and shedding of blood. Not only among persons of high position but among men of little standing it appears. Yes, even the little word thou ofttimes causes contention and fighting. But among children this evil is much more easy to overcome. If a child is found who will have the upper seat, and abandons his own place, and forces himself to the uppermost without any right to it in reading, writing, &c., he is put at the bottom for a warning until, by industry, he again reaches the place that belongs to him. When the children once see this the difficulty is already cured. But who will bring down the old like the children, if they will not humble themselves according to the teaching of Christ? Matthew 20, 26, 27; ch. 23, 12. Luke 14, 11; ch. 18, 14.
Children are much easier to bring together after their quarrels than are grown persons. When children quarrel with each other, either in school or on the road, and it is found on examination that there was wrong on both sides and each is blamable, the transgression and the deserved punishment are put before, and adjudged to each, if they do not agree together. It is said to them that if they are not inclined to come into accord, they shall be separated at once from the other scholars and shall sit together upon the punishment bench until they do agree, and if not the merited punishment will follow. But it rarely goes so far that they separate and go upon the punishment bench; rather they stretch their hands to each other and the whole thing is over and the process has an end. If this happened so easily among the old and were so soon forgotten and forgiven as among children, then would
|“||Durch Processen der Beutel nicht leer|
|Dem Advocaten der Beutel nicht schwer.|
|Das nagend Gewissen kam auch zu Ruh,|
|Liebe und Fried kam auch dazu;|
|Es brächte nicht so viel Gequäl|
|Vor Leib und Seel.”|
Through what means I keep the children from talking and bring them into quiet.
Hereupon I answer that this is the hardest lesson for children and one which they do not learn willingly. It is a good while before they learn to speak and when they once can do it they are not easily kept from it. But in order that something orderly may be constructed and for improvement be implanted among children in school, it is necessary that speaking have its time and quiet also have its time, although it is so hard for children to accustom themselves to this rule. And it appears that we older ones have ourselves not properly learned this lesson that speaking and silence have each its time, which we ought to take more into thought in speaking and silence. That little member the tongue is not so easily tamed. It cannot be corrected with rods like the other members of the body. And the misdeeds which happen in words are performed by the tongue according to the state and inner condition of the heart. Matthew 12, 25. Although the talking and speaking, which children use among each other, is not regarded by many as very wrong, nevertheless nothing fruitful can be done unless, as has been said, speaking and silence have each its time. In order to bring them to it, many means and ways have been heretofore tried which have done well for a time, but when they became accustomed to them some change became necessary to bring them into quiet. My rule and way, which I hitherto have used to bring them to silence, is this: First when their lesson is given to them, according to the use and accustom here as well as in England, they learn it aloud. In order to keep them together in learning I go about the school here and there until I think they have had time enough to learn their lesson. Then I make a stroke with the rod on the bench or table. It is at once still. Then the first one begins to repeat. Then one who has been selected must stand as a watcher upon a bench or other raised place so that he can look over them all. He must call out the first and last names, and after he has called them out write them up, of all who chatter, or learn loud, or do anything else which is forbidden. But since it has been found when they are used one after the other for watchers, some point out according to their likes or dislikes, those who have been found untrue are removed, and in the future are not put any more in this place, even if they announce and promise in the future to make a true report. In like manner if any one is put upon the punishment bench for lying he is not chosen for watching, although he has conducted himself well for a considerable time and nothing similar has been seen. When then the school is provided with a true watcher it is still, so that one can go on with the recitation and resume something instructive with them. If it remain so, after the recitation is finished any delinquency is let go and forgotten, but if, as sometimes happens and is perceived, they pay little attention, those whom the watcher points out must walk out and sit in a row on the punishment bench. Then the choice is given to these whether they would rather one after the other have the yoke upon their necks or receive a blow upon their hands. They very seldom choose the yoke and generally stretch out their hands for the rod. This is at his request the information how I can bring them from talking to silence, but it is entirely foreign to my wish herewith to prescribe a rule for another, according to which he should regulate himself. Oh no, each one must in this matter regulate and conduct his householding; as he thinks it best to answer before God and man.
But should my hitherto explained school exercise which I have here written at request, and not for my own inclination, be taken for irregular because it in many things is contrary to the usual method in Germany and other places, I give this much in explanation. In this Province, among the free inhabitants of Pennsylvania, it is different in many things which concern a school. Him to whom a control of schools is given in Germany, by the high authorities, and who is fixed fast upon his school seat, the common people cannot easily remove. Therefore there is not so much danger to him from them, if he has been too hard upon the youth. Still I readily confess, if I were established in that high position, it would be in fact upon the condition that if power were given by God or the high authorities to use severity, it would only be given for improvement and not for injury. Experience in keeping school shows that a child, which is timid, if it is punished severely either with words or with the rod, is thereby more injured than benefitted. If such a child is to be improved it must be by other means. In the same way a child that is dumb is more injured by blows than improved. A child which at home is treated with blows and is accustomed to them will not at school be made right by blows, but still worse. If such children are to be made better it must be in some other way. Obstinate children, who have no hesitation in doing wrong, must be punished sharply with the rod, and at the same time addressed with earnest exhortation from the Word of God, to see whether the heart can be reached. But the diffident and dumb in learning must be advanced by other means, so that as much as possible it may be done willingly and they may be inspired with a love of learning. When the children have reached this point it is no longer so hard with them or the schoolmaster. When all who stand with me in this calling consider rightly how dear such young souls are in the eyes of God, and that we must give an account of our housekeeping, although they may have the power to punish, they will much rather work with me to bring the young into such a state that they will do willingly out of love what before they had to be driven to with the rod. Then the words Thou shalt and must, and the words I follow with pleasure will have a different tone. At the sound of the last the schoolmaster will use no rods and they will be more pleasant to hear and easier to answer. It is said, Ps. ex, 3, “Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power, in the beauties of holiness.” What is done willingly, in bodily and spiritual work, needs no force and driving. It is further said, Ps. xxxii, 8, 9, “I will instruct thee and teach thee in the way which thou shalt go; I will guide thee with mine eye. Be ye not as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding, whose mouth must be held in with bit and bridle.” From this it can be seen that those who will be instructed and guided by the eye have no need of bit and bridle. This difference can be seen in unreasoning beasts. One wagoner does not use half as hard shouts, scourges and blows as another, and yet drives as hard or even harder over mountain and valley, and when the work is done the willing horses and the wagoner have had it the easier. The horses have felt less blows and it has not been necessary for the wagoner to drive by punishment. They have done willingly what others must have done through severity.
What further the friend desires me to inform him.
How I treat the children with love that they both love and fear me.
I answer that concerning this point I have nothing to claim for myself in the slightest. I consider it an entirely undeserved mercy of God, if there is anything herein fruitful accomplished between myself and the young, whether in learning or the exercises of piety. In the first place I have to thank the dear Lord heartily that after I have been dedicated by Him to this calling, he has also given me the mercy that I have an especial love for the young. Were it not for this love it would be an unbearable burden, but love bears and is not weary. If a natural mother had no love for her children, the raising of children, what a mother must do through all the circumstances of childhood, would be an unbearable burden, but the love which she feels for her children makes the burden light. When the apostle Paul wishes to rightly express his love to the community at Thessaly, he uses these words, 1 Thess. ii, 1st to the end of the 13th verse. In the 7th and 8th verses he compares this love to that of a mother when he says: “But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children:
So being affectionately desirous of you we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the Gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.”
My worthy friend, the words of the apostle express such a love that he was willing to impart not only the gospel but his own life. Well would it have been if all the preachers in the so-called Christianity, from the apostles' time down to the present, had remained in such a state of heartfelt love. In these words of the apostle all have had an excellent example. He calls upon us all and says:
“Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so, as ye love us for an ensample.” Phil, iii, 17. But how it stood in the apostles' time, and how it at present stands in the so-called Christianity, those can see best to whom the eyes of the spirit are opened.
I will let it go and explain my opinion to the friend at his request. I doubt not the friend has good views for the help of the young. Suppose now it was a natural mother who entertained such views as to the training she had adopted in love for her children, and she should be inclined to put in writing how she trained them, so that after her death the scales might be balanced the same way; but the children after her death should receive another mother, who should lightly say to them; “Your former mother has trained you according to her views, but I will train and govern you according to my views.” Then what the former mother has done out of the fullness of love, for the good of her children, could help but little. Still the mother has done her duty as the apostle did his, with the words, “Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so, as ye have us for an ensample.” Those, now, who according to the contents of the said 17th verse, will not follow, but rather do the opposite, as the 18th and 19th verses show, the apostle said, with weeping, follow their own course. Still the apostle did his duty and cleared his soul.
I have explained to the friend, at his request, as has been said, how I treat the children with love, that they both love and fear me, and that I claim no honor for myself in it.
Love is a gift of God, and according as a man desires it and strives for it, from his heart, he can, through God's mercy, be a participator in it, and according as he proves and uses it, can it be lessened or increased. Still this much information may be given — through what furthering or hindering attributes a man can have part or loss in love. The footsteps of God, when we look after the right love, point out that His love is common and given to all His creatures. He lets the sun rise over the evil and the good, and lets the rain fall on the just and the unjust. So far now as a man will be a participator in the love of God, and increase and grow therein, must he follow these footsteps. They will lead and conduct him in love, from love to love, through consideration of the creatures and their preservation.
The great work of love in the redemption of the human race is also general. If it were generally received by us children of men and believed, and we should follow the footsteps of Christ in love, we would, through the love of Christ, be fast grounded, so that we, with all the holy, could grasp the breadth and length, the depth and height, of such everlasting; love, and would also recognize and understand that it would be better to have the love of Christ than all knowledge. All Christians are called upon to follow the footsteps of Christ, and to follow them in the love of which he has left us an example, 1 Peter, ii, 21; John xiii, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and other places more. If, on the other hand, we recognize it all, but follow the footsteps of the world in the lusts of the eye and the flesh, and lead a proud life, we can hope for little growth in the love of God, let him be who he will, and entitled as he will, even if he have before the world the most Christian title. Since, if any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 1 John ii, 15.
|Diese Weltliebe ist nicht rein,|
|Sie fuehrt auch nicht in's Allgemein,|
|Sie fuehret nur in's Mein und Dein.|
|So lang das Mein und Dein geehrt.|
|So lang bleibt diese Lieb bewaehrt,|
|Kommt's Eigenlieb und Ehr zu nah,|
|So ist gleich Krieg und Aufruhr da.|
The natural sparks of love which, after the fall, God has not permitted to be entirely quenched, but has allowed to appear and be seen in reasoning and unreasoning creatures according to their natures and attributes, will also, through improper worldly love in many respects be weakened and overcome. I will only cite the natural love among natural men. They are impelled through these sparks of love in their hearts to unite with each other in marriage. As long as these natural sparks of love between two married people have the upper hand, this love will not be lessened, but increased, so that the longer they are in such union the closer they are bound together, live together, beget children, and draw nearer to each other, since this is implanted in them in this natural love even among heathens and similar nations. Without this the human race could not be increased in a lawful way. There is also a natural love implanted in unreasoning creatures, which leads them to take care of their young. Christians have not only the natural impulse to take care of their children, but they also obey God's will in training and instruction, according to God's earnest command, in the Old and New Testament. And where such training of children is conducted by parents and schoolmasters through heart-felt love, according to the Christian's duty to further the honor of God, and the common good of the young, it will not remain without blessing. Love, training and instruction in the Lord form together a tripple cord, which is not easily torn. If parents and schoolmasters show an upright and fatherly love to the children, it is to be hoped that it will produce an upright, filial love on the part of the children. When such a love on the part of the children comes to the front it is to be hoped that if this seed is not choked off, but continues to increase, it will produce a blessed harvest in the end. But if freedom overpowers this love, and lights and kindles a wild fire, there must, as has been said, be brought together, love, training and instruction in the Lord, and they must be used for a continual scourge or rod of love, in the hope that thereout love, fear and obedience will arise, but all through God's merciful blessing, help and support, since he must be besought to give aid in the planting and watering.
|An Gottes Gnad und mildem Segen,|
|Ist alles ganz und gar gelegen;|
|Und ohne seine Hilf' und Gunst,|
|Ist aller Menschen Thun umsonst.|
The murderer of souls all the time seeks to combat the true upright love with his false Delilah, the worldly love, which with its burden of lust is dead to the good, so that he may crush out the natural sparks of love which were remaining after the fall. Already by many have they been crushed out, whereupon all ungodly ways followed, through which the wrath of God has been and will be heaped up upon the day of wrath, as has been seen in the early world, and also in Sodom and Gomorrah, and Dathan and Abiram, as also in the destruction of Jerusalem and other places more. What works of darkness have for a long time been done, the Holy Scriptures show in many places. I will only cite them shortly. Rom. i, to the end; 2 Peter ii, verses 4, 5 and 6; Jude i, 7. And what similar works in our times are done daily, daily experience teaches us. If the state and duty of a Christian are placed in the right balance in the marriage relations, it results that love must, in all things, give the outcome, and where this is wanting there will be also much wanting as to training and good order, and instruction in the Lord, in the care of children by parents and schoolmasters. It has its authority in Holy Scripture that the husband is the head of the wife, but it is also well upon the part of the husband to consider what the apostle Paul makes known to married Christians when he says, 1 Cor. xi, verse 3:
“But I would have you know that the head of every man is Christ, and the head of the woman is the man.” It is indeed not to be doubted if the man follows his head in the teaching and life of Christ, and the woman the man, the children will follow their parents and schoolmasters and be obedient. In this way upright love produces a sure outcome through Christian duty, and still has nothing more been done in the whole than what ought to be done, and happiness is and still remains an undeserved gift of mercy. Still all Christian duties are steps upon which we must place our feet, and tread from step to step. If we wish to be participators the Lord Jesus has left behind for us many teachings and warnings. Although no man can deny God's mercy to another since the one as well as the other cannot live without God's mercy, there is still found in the teaching of Christ an express difference between the foolish man and foolish maid, and the wise man and wise maid, between the true and untrue knights. Between these two is found unequal work and also unequal reward of mercy and condemnation. It is far better that a man here in the time of mercy go upon the way in which God has promised and offered his mercy, than that man should come to sin against God's mercy and become hardened in sin so that by this the mercy will be the greater. See Rom. vi, verses 1, 2. It is, as has been said, the duty of a Christian to bring it about, as I confess and believe, that Christ is the head of His community and also the head of each man. It follows from this that it is a man's bounden duty that what his head lord and master teaches him he also should teach his wife, to whom he is given for a head. If then both Christian married people seek from their hearts the happiness and welfare of their children, they will teach their children the commands of God which he has left behind for us in writing. 1 Mos. xviii, 19; 5 Mos. vi, verses 6, 7; Ps. lxxviii, verses 1, 2, 3, 4; Eph. vi, 4; Coloss. iii, 21 and other places more.
Concerning the duty of parents to their children, even this may be furthered by a schoolmaster to whom the young are handed over and entrusted. And although we are placed so much at the head over these youths, Christ is also our head and according to his command we must govern and conduct our householding with the young. The Lord Jesus when he came to this world to seek and to make happy what was lost, called the children, especially out of love, to himself, blessed them, embraced them and promised them the kingdom of heaven, as can be seen Mark ix, verses 36, 37. Therefore it cannot turn out well with ourselves if we act tyranically with them, although they must be subjected to training and instruction in the Lord. We should weigh further earnestly and with thought what instruction the Lord Jesus gave to his Disciples, which was left behind in writing as instruction for us all who call ourselves Christians, which can be read in the Gospel of St. Matthew, xviii, from the 1st to the 6th verse. “At the same time came the disciples unto Jesus, saying. Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven? And Jesus called a little child to him and set him in the midst of them. And said, Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoso shall receive one such little child in my name, receiveth me. But, whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.” From these words of the Lord Jesus we all have enough to learn. If we wish to come into the kingdom of heaven and to be eternally happy, we must not picture to ourselves that the way there is to show enmity to children, or to reprove and punish them, because they have not in words and gestures given us enough honor or made for us enough compliments. Oh, no. This is not the way to heaven. But if we turn away from our own ambition according to the instruction of Christ, and become as humble as children, it not only aids us to the kingdom of God, but it brings about a child-like union which can be much more useful than all the holding up of ourselves, since, he who raises himself here will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be raised up.
There are, beside, very many other duties to be performed, which are useful and beneficial in implanting love, through which the honor of God may be increased, and the common good be furthered. There are also many things to be added, which implant just the opposite, through which the honor of God is lessened, and one's own depraved honor increased, to the harm and injury of the common good.
But I will turn away from this point and proceed to the explanation of others.
Now follow some other school exercises to which I am impelled, not for myself, but for the honor of the one God and His word, in the performance of my duty, and in order to bring the young entrusted to me into instruction and practice.
In the first place you may be informed during the time I have kept school here in this country, I have received, in the school, children of different religious opinions and practice, so that I have not been able to instruct them in one form of the Catechism. This I have not been compelled to do, but when they were sufficiently advanced in reading, writing and similar school exercises, the parents at home have themselves taught the children the Catechism. But the freedom has been given to me, in singing, to sing hymns and psalms. So I have then sung with them both hynms and psalms, since of both kinds, viz.: of spiritual hymns and psalms, the Holy Ghost is the master builder.
Together with this exercise, I have labored to bring it about that the New Testament might be well known to them by searching and looking through the chapters, and it has been very successfully accomplished, so that when I use a quotation for their instruction and information, they themselves, without being shown, can read this quotation. When this door has been opened for them I have endeavored to bring them further, so that they might collect richly the little flowers in this noble garden of paradise, the Holy Scriptures, not only because of their beauty, but also because of their lovely odor, and I have shown to them so much as I, according to my little ability, have been able, what an odor of life to life they have in themselves, if we so use them as they are offered to us, according to their strength and value. Also, what an odor of death to death the opposite has in itself, and that they may see and have a knowledge of both facts from the Holy Scriptures; since, just as the truth has life in itself, and there is an odor of life to life when we follow the truth, so, on the other hand, falsehood has death in itself, and is an odor of death to death, and leads to death when we follow falsehood. The part and reward of the liar is the fiery pool, which is the other death. Rev. xxi, 8. But the truth makes him who follows it free therefrom. See hereupon in the Gospel of St. John, ch. viii, verses 31, 32, 33, 34, 35. Just as these acts are contrary to each other, so that the one has life in itself, and leads to life, and the other has death in itself, so also is it of love and its acts which is in like manner an odor of life to life, for him who follows. But hatred, envy and hostility have an odor of death to death in themselves, and lead him who follows to death and destruction, since they are the opposite and contrary to love. This is also the case with belief and unbelief, with mercy and inclemency, with righteousness and unrighteousness, with chastity and impurity, with humility and pride. Upon the whole all godly acts have life in themselves, and bear an odor of everlasting life with them. He who will labor and let himself be governed by their strength and operation comes through them to be born again, out of death into life. On the other hand, all ungodly ways, together with their acts, give out an odor of death, a deathly odor of death to death, and damnation to him who follows them in death.
When all this is explained to the children, they are required to search for the quotations concerning this or that fact as it is desired of them. He then who has the first quotation, concerning such fact so put before them, walks out and holds up his hand, and as they find the quotations concerning this fact, they walk to the front one after the other and put themselves in a row, the one behind the other, the boys together and the girls together. This continues until they have found all the quotations. Then the first reads his quotation. But if it is found that any one in the row also has the same quotation which has been read, he walks out of the row and seeks for another, and then goes again to the bottom of the row. In this way therefore it happens that the beautiful honey-flowers are all sought out. It is also found from this exercise that the more quotations there are found, concerning such fact requested of them, the more the truth comes plainly before them, so that one quotation not only fixes others but is itself explained and made clear. But after the reading of the quotations has been finished, some questions are put to them which they themselves answer. Then they again point out these quotations and recapitulate them. Then usually many remarks are suggested and clear explanations given of these quotations, partly for their instruction, partly for their faith and strengthening of their belief, and partly as to punishment and for a warning. When they have been well exercised in seeking they are presently brought to the proof, and reminded that the outer seeking ought not to be rejected, but still that they should prove themselves in another way. They are then told to all sit still and pay attention to their thoughts, and dismiss all idle thoughts, but the first quotation which comes into their minds they must search for and read. In the course of this exercise I have often been compelled to wonder how God has prepared for himself praise, out of the mouths of babes and sucklings, in order to overpower the enemy in his pursuits.
It is God's earnest command that we should impress upon children the commands which he has given us, and should bring them up in the way and instruction of the Lord, and there are found in the Holy Scriptures many beautiful and valuable witnesses of the one God and his godly works; how God has shown himself in his omnipotence and through the creation of all things; and has created and made all things through the word of his strength and through the spirit of his mouth, through his unsearchable omnipotence and wisdom. The Holy Scriptures give further witness how, through the envy of the devil, death and temporal and everlasting destruction came into the world, and how the human race, through the coming of Satan, fell into sin and transgression and that through this transgression sin came into the world, and through sin, death, and that death has become the lot of all men because they have sinned. The Holy Scriptures instruct us further that God in his great mercy has given the promise to the fallen human race, that the seed of the woman should bruise the head of the serpent, through which they again should be redeemed from the curse and damnation, through an everlasting redemption. Of all this there are found in the Holy Scriptures many consoling promises, which were written and made to our fathers, from time to time, through Moses and the prophets, partly through figures and pictures, partly through visions and prophecies, of which in the Holy Scripture of the Old Testament very many witnesses are at hand. Further, how through Christ as the promised seed of the woman, in the fullness of time, by the working of the Holy Ghost, this, according to human understanding, unfathomable, godly, secret work of the redemption, through the birth, teaching and life, suffering, death, resurrection, and entrance into heaven of Christ, was performed and completed. Of all this the Holy Scripture of the New Testament gives us complete information. There is also found therein express instruction how we can participate in such redemption, and how a Christian must follow his calling to which he has been called, through the exercise of piety in Christian virtue, and must place his feet and steps on the daily increase and growth in teaching and life, after the example of Him who has created and redeemed him. I repeat that of all this the teaching of Christ and His apostles, in the New Testament informs and instructs us.
Now if it should be put down in writing with particularity concerning each exercise, according to the above outline, how it is made useful for the teaching and instruction of the youth, that they search for the quotation of this or that fact, as they are requested, and afterward how each reads his quotation, and questions are put to them, and each question is answered with a quotation, since one quotation partly strengthens, partly clears and explains another; to give in writing information of all this, as I have been requested to do, would require a great deal of space. But since the Holy Scriptures hold and contain in themselves all, it is all there, to be searched for and to be found, and since in Christ Jesus all treasures of wisdom and knowledge lie hidden, of which the Holy Scriptures give us information, I know well that if I and other men seek therein with hope, and we seek from our whole hearts, we shall also find what we need Jer. xxix, 13; Matt, vii, 7. The world seeks earnestly and eagerly after honor and goods, after gold, silver, precious stones, and similar treasures, which by the world are held in great estimation and value, but which still are perishable, and with the imperishable treasures which God offers to us in His word, are not to be compared. The discovery will be like the search. If a man seeks the world in the lusts of the eye and of the flesh, and a proud life, he will so find it. He will also take part with the world, and in the end will have part and reward for it with the world. But he who seeks the everlasting life, and follows truly the footsteps of Christ will also find and not seek in vain. His search will not be useless and not remain unrewarded. John xii, 26; ch. xiv, 3; ch. xvii, 24. In order to avoid prolixity, as has been said, there are many useful and valuable exercises and instructions in piety, which I cannot particularly describe, of belief, love, hope and patience. In fact all the exercises of virtue, which in the Holy Scriptures point the way to piety, and have been left behind and marked out as useful for instruction for us, should at certain times be placed before the youth, but to give specific information here of all would take too long.
The true saving belief must contain all which serves for life and a godly walk, and nothing is deemed more worthy, by and in Jesus Christ, than the belief which, through love, shows itself active. He to whom the true belief in the Lord Jesus is given by the Lord Jesus himself for a shield, is a weapon-bearer of Christ, not only to overcome the world, as is to be seen, 1 John v, verses 5, 6, but also to put out all the fiery arrows of evil, as we may read, Eph. vi, 16. Therefore, for my encouragement and strengthening would I here do something in the way of belief, so much as I, according to the measure of my little gift, through the Lord's mercy may do. Without His mercy and pleasure all our doing is in vain, but while this is my purpose I find myself impelled to do it simply and alone to the praise of God, and to the honor of His holy name. We have to thank no one but the dear God that He, in this dark world, has left hitherto His holy word stand, as a light upon a candlestick, which directs our feet to the way of peace. We can also say with David, Psalms cxix, 105, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet and a light unto my path.” But may God, Who is a light, in Whom there is no darkness, send us His light and His truth, that they may lead and conduct us through this dark valley and shadow of death to His holy mount and to His dwelling, that we also, in truth, may say with David, Psalms xxxvi, In Thy light see we the light. Oh! that we not only may look upon this light with the eyes of belief, but also walk in this light, and through it may finally conquer and overcome the power of darkness. From my heart I wish and pray for help and strength of belief from the Most High. Amen.
A HUNDRED NECESSARY RULES OF CONDUCT FOR CHILDREN.
I. Rules for the Behavior of a Child in the House of its Parents.
A. At and after getting up in the mornings.
1. Dear child, accustom yourself to awaken at the right time in the morning without being called, and as soon as you are awake get out of bed without delay.
2. On leaving the bed fix the cover in a nice, orderly way.
3. Let your first thoughts be directed to God, according to the example of David, who says, Psalms cxxxix, 18, “When I am awake I am still with Thee,” and Psalms lxiii, 7, “When I am awake I speak of Thee.”
4. Offer to those who first meet you, and your parents, brothers and sisters, a good-morning, not from habit simply, but from true love.
5. Learn to dress yourself quickly but neatly.
6. Instead of idle talk with your brothers and sisters or others, seek also, while dressing, to have good thoughts. Remember the clothing of righteousness which was earned for you through Jesus, and form the resolution not to soil it on this day by intentional sin.
7. When you wash your face and hands do not scatter the water about in the room.
8. To wash out the mouth every morning with water, and to rub off the teeth with the finger, tends to preserve the teeth.
9. When you comb your hair do not go out into the middle of the room, but to one side in a corner.
10. Offer up the morning prayer, not coldly from custom, but from a heart-felt thankfulness to God, Who has protected you during the night, and call upon Him feelingly to bless your doings through the day. Forget not the singing and the reading in the Bible.
11. Do not eat your morning bread upon the road or in school, but ask your parents to give it to you at home.
12. Then get your books together and come to school at the right time.
B. In the evenings at bed-time.
13. After the evening meal do not sit down in a corner to sleep, but perform your evening devotions with singing, prayer and reading, before going to bed.
14. Undress yourself in a private place, or if you must do it in the presence of others, be retiring and modest.
15. Look over your clothes to see whether they are torn, so that they may be mended in time.
16. Do not throw your clothes about in the room, but lay them together in a certain place, so that in the morning early you can easily find them again.
17. Lie down straight in the bed modestly, and cover yourself up well.
18. Before going to sleep consider how you have spent the day, thank God for His blessings, pray to Him for the forgiveness of your sins, and commend yourself to His merciful protection.
19. Should you wake in the night, think of God and His omnipresence, and entertain no idle thoughts.
C. At meal-time.
20. Before going to the table where there are strangers, comb and wash yourself very carefully.
21. During the grace do not let your hands hang toward the earth, or keep moving them about, but let them, with your eyes, be directed to God.
22. During the prayer do not lean or stare about, but be devout and reverent before the majesty of God.
23. After the prayer, wait until the others who are older have taken their places, and then sit down at the table quietly and modestly.
24. At the table sit very straight and still, do not wabble with your stool, and do not lay your arms on the table. Put your knife and fork upon the right and your bread on the left side.
25. Avoid everything which has the appearance of eager and ravenous hunger, such as to look at the victuals anxiously, to be the first in the dish, to tear off the bread all at once in noisy bites, to eat quickly and eagerly, to take another piece of bread before the last is swallowed down, to take too large bites, to take the spoon too full, to stuff the mouth too full, &c.
26. Stay at your place in the dish, be satisfied with what is given to you, and do not seek to have of everything.
27. Do not look upon another's plate to see whether he has received something more than you, but eat what you have with thankfulness.
28. Do not eat more meat and butter than bread, do not bite the bread off with the teeth, cut regular pieces with the knife, but do not cut them off before the mouth.
29. Take hold of your knife and spoon in an orderly way and be careful that you do not soil your clothes or the table cloth.
30. Do not lick off your greasy fingers, wipe them on a cloth, but as much as possible use a fork instead of your fingers.
31. Chew your food with closed lips and make no noise by scraping on the plate.
32. Do not wipe the plate off either with the finger or the tongue, and do not thrust your tongue about out of your mouth. Do not lean your elbows on the table when you carry the spoon to the mouth.
33. Do not take salt out of the salt-box with your fingers, but with the point of your knife.
34. The bones, or what remains over, do not throw under the table, do not put them on the table cloth, but let them lie on the edge of the plate.
35. Picking the teeth with the knife or fork does not look well and is injurious to the gums.
36. As much as possible abstain from blowing your nose at the table, but if necessity compels, turn your face away or hold your hand or napkin before it; also when you sneeze or cough.
37. Learn not to be delicate and over-nice or to imagine that you cannot eat this or that thing. Many must learn to eat among strangers what they could not at home.
38. To look or smell at the dish holding the provisions too closely is not well. Should you find a hair or something of the kind in the food, put it quietly and unnoticed to one side so that others be not moved to disgust.
39. As often as you receive anything on your plate, give thanks with an inclination of the head.
40. Do not gnaw the bones off with your teeth or make a noise in breaking out the marrow.
41. It is not well to put back on the dish what you have once had on your plate.
42. If you want something across the table be careful not to let you sleeve hang in the dish or to throw a glass over.
43. At table do not speak before you are asked, but if you have noticed anything good at church or school, or a suitable thought occurs to you relating to the subject of discourse, you may properly bring it forward, but listen attentively to the good things said by others.
44. When you drink you must have no food in your mouth, and must incline forward courteously.
45. It has a very bad look to take such strong draughts while drinking that one has to blow or breathe heavily; while drinking to let the eyes wander around upon others; to commence drinking at table before parents or more important persons have drunk; to raise the glass to the mouth at the same time with one of more importance; to drink while others are speaking to us; and to raise the glass many times after one another.
46. Before and after drinking, the mouth ought to be wiped off, not with the hand but with a handkerchief or napkin.
47. At the table be ready to help others if there is something to be brought into the room or other thing to be done that you can do.
48. When you have had enough, get up quietly, take your stool with you, wish a pleasant meal-time, and go to one side and wait what will be commanded you. Still should one in this respect follow what is customary.
49. Do not stick the remaining bread in your pocket but let it lie on the table.
50. After leaving the table, before you do anything else, give thanks to your Creator who has fed and satisfied you.
II. Rules for the Behavior of a Child in School.
51. Dear child, when you come into school, incline reverently, sit down quietly in your place, and think of the presence of God.
52. During prayers think that you are speaking with God, and when the word of God is being read, think that God is speaking with you. Be also devout and reverential.
53. When you pray aloud, speak slowly and deliberately; and when you sing, do not try to drown the voices of others, or to have the first word.
54. Be at all times obedient to your teacher, and do not let him remind you many times of the same thing.
55. Should you be punished for bad behavior, do not, either by words or gestures, show yourself impatient or obstinate, but receive it for your improvement.
56. Abstain in school from useless talking, by which you make the work of the schoolmaster harder, vex your fellow pupils, and prevent yourself and others from paying attention.
57. Listen to all that is said to you, sit very straight and look at your teacher.
58. When you recite your lesson, turn up your book without noise, read loudly, carefully and slowly, so that every word and syllable may be understood.
59. Give more attention to yourself than to others, unless you are placed as a monitor over them.
60. If you are not questioned, be still; and do not help others when they say their lessons, but let them speak and answer for themselves.
61. To your fellow-scholars show yourself kind and peaceable, do not quarrel with them, do not kick them, do not soil their clothes with your shoes or with ink, give them no nick-names, and behave yourself in every respect toward them as you would that they should behave toward you.
62. Abstain from all coarse, indecent habits or gestures in school, such as to stretch with the hands or the whole body from laziness; to eat fruit or other things in school; to lay your hand or arm upon your neighbor's shoulder, or under your head, or to lean your head forwards upon the table; to put your feet on the bench, or let them dangle or scrape; or to cross your legs over one another, or stretch them apart, or to spread them too wide in sitting or standing; to scratch your head; to play or pick with the fingers; to twist and turn the head forwards, backwards and sideways; to sit and sleep; to creep under the table or bench; to turn your back to your teacher; to change your clothes in school, and to show yourself restless in school.
63. Keep your books, inside and outside, very clean and neat, do not write or paint in them, do not tear them, and lose none of them.
64. When you write, do not soil your hands and face with ink, do not scatter it over the table or bench, or over your clothes or those of others.
65. When school is out, make no great noise; in going down stairs, do not jump over two or three steps at a time, by which you may be hurt, and go quietly home.
III. How A Child should Behave on the Street.
66. Dear child, although, after school, you are out of sight of your teacher, God is present in all places and you therefore have cause upon the street to be circumspect before Him and his Holy Angels.
67. Do not run wildly upon the street, do not shout, but go quietly and decently.
68. Show yourself modest, and do not openly, before other people, what ought to be done in a private place.
69. To eat upon the street is unbecoming.
70. Do not stare aloft with your eyes, do not run against people, do not tread purposely where the mud is thickest, or in the puddles.
71. When you see a horse or wagon coming, step to one side, and take care that you do not get hurt, and never hang behind upon a wagon.
72. In winter do not go upon the ice or throw snowballs at others, or ride upon sleds with disorderly boys.
73. In summer do not bathe in the water or go too near it. Take no pleasure in mischievous or indecent games.
74. Do not stand in the way where people quarrel or fight, or do other evil things; associate not with evil companions who lead you astray; do not run about at the annual fair; do not stand before mountebanks or look upon the wanton dance, since there you learn nothing but evil.
75. Do not take hold of other children so as to occupy the street, or lay your arm upon the shoulders of others.
76. If any known or respectable person meets you, make way for him, bow courteously, do not wait until he is already near or opposite to you, but show to him this respect while you are still some steps from him.
IV. Rules for the Behavior of a Child in Meeting or Church.
77. Dear child, in meeting or church think upon the holy presence of God, and that you will be judged according to the word you hear upon this day.
78. Bring your Bible and hymn book with you, and sing and pray very devoutly, since out of the mouths of young children will God be praised.
79. During the sermon be attentive to all that is said, mark what is represented by the text, and how the discourse is divided; which also you can write on your slate. Refer to other beautiful passages in your Bible, but without noise or much turning of the leaves, and mark them by laying in long narrow bits of paper, of which you must always have some lying in your Bible.
80. Do not talk in church, and if others want to talk with you do not answer. During the sermon, if you are overcome with sleep, stand up a little while and try to keep it off.
81. When the name of Jesus is mentioned or used in prayer uncover or incline your head, and show yourself devout.
82. Do not stare about the church at other people, and keep your eyes under good discipline and control.
83. All indecent habits which, under Rule No. 62, you ought to avoid in school, much more ought you to avoid in church.
84. If you, with others, should go in couples into, or out of, the church you should never, from mischief, shove, tease or bespatter, but go forth decently and quietly.
V. Rules for the Behavior of a Child under various circumstances.
85. Dear child, live in peace and unity with every one, and be entirely courteous from humility and true love of your neighbor.
86. Accustom yourself to be orderly in everything, lay your books and other things in a certain place and do not let them lie scattered about in a disorderly way.
87. When your parents send you on an errand, mark well the purpose for which you are sent, so that you make no mistake. When you have performed your task come quickly home again and give an answer.
88. Be never idle, but either go to assist your parents, or repeat your lessons, and learn by heart what was given you. But take care that you do not read in indecent or trifling books, or pervert the time, for which you must give an account to God, with cards or dice.
89. If you get any money, give it to some one to keep for you, so that you do not lose it, or spend it for dainties. From what you have, willingly give alms.
90. If anything is presented to you, take it with the right hand and give thanks courteously.
91. Should you happen to be where some one has left money or other things lying on the table, do not go too near or remain alone in the room.
92. Never listen at the door, Sirach 21, 24. Do not run in quickly, but knock modestly, wait until you are called, incline as you walk in, and do not slam the door.
93. Do not distort your face, in the presence of people, with frowns or sour looks; be not sulky if you are asked any thing, let the question be finished without your interrupting, and do not answer with nodding or shaking the head, but with distinct and modest words.
94. Make your reverence at all times deeply and lowly with raised face. Do not thrust your feet too far out behind. Do not turn your back to people, but your face.
95. Whether a stranger or good friend comes to the house, be courteous to him, bid him welcome, offer him a chair and wait upon him.
96. In sneezing, blowing the nose, spitting, and yawning be careful to use all possible decency. Turn your face to one side, hold the hand before it, put the uncleanliness of the nose in a handkerchief and do not look at it long, let the spittal fall upon the earth and tread upon it with your foot. Do not accustom yourself to continual hawking, grubbing at the nose, violent panting, and other disagreeable and indecent ways.
97. Never go about nasty and dirty. Cut your nails at the right time and keep your clothes, shoes and stockings, neat and clean.
98. In laughing, be moderate and modest. Do not laugh at everything, and especially at the evil or misfortune of other people.
99. If you have promised anything try to hold to it, and keep yourself from all lies and untruths.
100. Let what you see of good and decent in other Christian people serve as an example for yourself. “If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.” Phillipians iv, 8.
HYMN WITH TRANSLATION.
Ach Kinder wollt ihr lieben,
O children, would you cherish
So bald nach seinem Todt,
Death put an end to gain —
Man liesset mit Erstaunen
We read with greatest wonder
In Zion's Stadt hinein,
To Zion's golden town,
Pflanz du in unsre Herzen
Oh let us be o'erflowing
Wie wir müssen gestehn,
As oft indeed has been,
- It is always treading on dangerous ground to say of a thing that it is the first of its kind, and especially is this true of books, whose numbers are infinite. I know of no publication on the subject written earlier, and the bibliography of the American Antiquarian Society shows none. If there be any in New England or elsewhere to dispute priority with that of the Pennsylvania Dutchman, let it be produced.
- I have one of these Birds, neatly drawn, and a Script written by him. In the Cassel collection are a number of the Scripts or Schrifften. They are generally Scripture texts and verses, with more or less ornamentation. Schrifften of a similar kind, and some of them very elaborate, were, a century ago, to be found in almost every German household.
- The Note-Board (Noten-Blank) was a black narrow board, upon each side of which were cut the lines of three musical staves, and it was used in teaching the children music.
- This hymn has been omitted in the translation.
- All of this is the more admirable because in such strong contrast with the ordinary methods of that period, both among English and Germans. About the same time the father of Nathaniel Greene, who was a Quaker preacher, felt that duty required him to flog his son with a horsewhip.
“ Students” he said “like horses on the road, Must be well lashed before they take the load; They may be willing for a time to run, But you must whip them, ere the work be done.” Crabbe's Schoolmaster.
Cooper's History of the Rod, pp. 429-457, says “Shrewsbury school, about the beginning of the present century, was presided over by a great flogger in the person of Dr. Butler.” “Dr. Parr * * had a firm belief in the utility of the birch. At his school in Norwich, there was usually a flogging levee before the classes were dismissed. His rod maker was a man who had been sentenced to be hanged.”
“Flogging went on briskly at Rugby in Dr. James' time, about 1780, and there was in addition plenty of caning on hand.” Charles Lamb says “I have been called out of my bed and waked for the purpose in the coldest winter nights, and this not once but night after night, in my shirt, to receive the discipline of a leathern thong.” In Scotland we are told, “The dull boys were birched for their own demerits and the bright lads suffered for the deficiencies of their fellows.
The same authority, Cooper, says that in England at the close of the last century, “I have seen marriageable girls flogged for breaches of discipline, before all their school fellows, the necessary portions of their dress being removed.”
- These Rules of Conduct were published about 1764, in Saur's Geistliches Magazien.
- This hymn first appeared about 1773, in Vol. II, No. 15, of Saur's Geistliches Magazien, and has been reproduced in the Unpartheyisches Gesang Buch, published in Lancaster in 1804, and other Hymn Books of the Mennonites. In translating, the effort has been made to preserve the thought, versification, metre and rhyme — a somewhat difficult task.