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Preparation neglected.

up his sign, before he is called in to heal the maladies of the body. It is long before he can inspire confidence enough in the people to be intrusted with their most difficult cases of ailing, and very likely the noon of life is passed before he can consider himself established. But it is not so with the teacher. He gains access to the sanctuary of mind without any difficulty, and the most tender interests for both worlds are intrusted to his guidance, even when he makes pretension to to higher motive than that of filling up a few months of time not otherwise appropriated, and to no qualifications but those attained by accident. A late writer in the Journal of Education hardly overstates this matter :—“Every stripling who has passed four years within the walls of a college; every dissatisfied clerk, who has not ability enough to manage the triAling concerns of a common retail shop; every young farmer who obtains in the winter a short vacation from the toils of summer,-in short, every young person who is conscious of his imbecility in other business, esteems himself fully competent to train the ignorance and weakness of infancy into all the virtue and power and wisdom of maturer years,—to form a creature, the frailest and feeblest that heaven has made, into the intelligent and fearless sovereign of the whole animated creation, the interpreter and adorer and almost the representative of Divinity !"

Many there are who enter upon the high employment of teaching a common school as a secondary object. Perhaps they are students themselves in some

Teaching a secondary object.-Ignorance does not excuse.

higher institution, and resort to this as a temporary expedient for paying their board, while their chief object is, to pursue their own studies and thus keep pace with their classes. Some make it a steppingstone to something beyond, and, in their estimation, higher in the scale of respectability,--treating the employment, while in it, as irksome in the extreme, and never manifesting so much delight as when the hour arrives for the dismissal of their schools. Such have not the true spirit of the teacher; and if their labors are not entirely unprofitable, it only proves that children are sometimes submitted to imminent danger, but are still unaccountably preserved by the hand of Providence.

The teacher should go to his duty full of his work. He should be impressed with its overwhelming importance. He should feel that his mistakes, though they may not speedily ruin him, may permanently injure his pupils. Nor is it enough that he shall say, “I did it ignorantly." He has assumed to fill a place where ignorance itself is sin ; and where indifference to the well-being of others is equivalent to willful homicide. He might as innocently assume to be the physician, and, without knowing its effects, prescribe arsenic for the colic. Ignorance is not in such cases a valid excuse, because the assumption of the place implies a pretension to the requisite skill. Let the teacher, then, well consider what manner of spirit he is of. Let him come to this work only when he has carefully pondered its nature and its responsibilities,

Dangerous to mislead mind.

and after he has devoted his best powers to a thorough preparation of himself for its high duties. Above all, let him be sure that his motives on entering the schoolroom are such as will be acceptable in the sight of God, when viewed by the light beaming out from his throne.

“Oh! let not then unskillful hands attempt

To play the harp whose tones, whose living tones
Are left forever in the strings. Better far
That heaven's lightnings blast his very soul,
And sink it back tu Chaos' lowest depths,
Than knowingly, by word or deed, he send
A blight upon the trusting mind of youth.”

A garden.-Flowers.-Fruit trees.

CHAPTER II.

RESPONSIBILITY OF THE TEACHER.

1

SECTION I.-A NEGLECTED PEAR-TREE

SOME years ago, while residing in the northeastern part of Massachusetts, I was the owner of a small garden. I had taken much pains to improve the condition and appearance of the place. A woodbine had been carefully trained upon the front of the little homestead; a fragrant honeysuckle, supported by a trellis, adorned the doorway; a moss-rose, a flowering almond, and the lily of the valley, mingled their fragrance in the breath of morn,-and never, in my estimation at least, did the sun shine upon a lovelier, happier spot. The morning hour was spent in "dressing and keeping" the garden. Its vines were daily watched and carefully trained ; its borders were free from weeds, and the plants expanded their leaves and opened their buds as if smiling at the approach of the morning sun. There were fruit trees, too, which had been brought from far, and so carefully nurtured, that they were covered with blossoms, filling the air with their fragrance and awakening the fondest hopes of an abundant harvest.

In one corner of this miniature paradise, there was

Neglected pear-tree --Pruning commenced.

a hop-trellis; and, in the midst of a bed of tansy hard by, stood a small, knotty, crooked pear-tree. It had stood there I know not how long. It was very diminutive in size; but, like those cedars which one notices high up the mountain, just on the boundary between vegetation and eternal frost, it had every mark of the decrepitude of age.

Why should this tree stand here so unsightly and unfruitful ? Why had it escaped notice so long? Its bark had become bound and cracked ; its leaves were small and curled; and those, small as they were, were ready to be devoured by a host of caterpillars, whose pampered bodies were already grown to the length of an inch. The tendrils of the hop-vine had crept about its thorny limbs and were weighing down its growth, while the tansy at its roots drank up the refreshing dew and shut out the genial ray. It was a neglected tree !

Why may not this tree be pruned ?" No sooner said, than the small saw was taken from its place and the work was commenced. Commenced ? It was hard to determine where to commence. branches had grown thick and crooked, and there was scarcely space to get the saw between them. They all seemed to deserve amputation, but then the tree would have no top. This and that limb were lopped off as the case seemed to demand.

The task was neither easy nor pleasant. Sometimes a violent stroke would bring down upon my own head a shower of the filthy caterpillars ; again, the long-cherished garden

Its knotty

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