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questions to-day, though his opinions will seem vague and timid to modern socialists who do not always respect religion, family ties, or the rights of property, all of which Pestalozzi believed to be essential conditions of civilization and progress. He condemns luxury, display, and the arrogance of those upon whom the world smiles. He wishes comfort to be within the reach of the lower classes, though for this end, which is the great unchanging desire of his heart, he relies much more on education than on statutes.
In politics he has distinctly radical tendencies, though with a horror of all violence. He is an enthusiast for liberty, and wants everything to be done for the people, the poor, the weak, and the ignorant. He does not, however, want everything done by the people. It is true that the poor people amongst whom he lived, and whom he understood better than anybody, were not at that time fit to have the direction of public affairs placed in their hands. His democracy then was not quite the same as the democracy of to-day.
Pestalozzi's religious sentiment was strong and living; it comes out in all his writings and in all the circumstances of his life. And yet it is by no means clear what his religion was, for he nowhere makes a complete profession of faith, which can only be looked for in isolated passages that do not always agree. The fact is that Pestalozzi had no religious system. The first seeds of the religious sentiment had been sown in his earliest childhood in his homelife, and, though his faith had been weakened rather than strengthened by his subsequent theological studies, and severely shaken by the writings of Rousseau and the philosophers of the eighteenth century, it had revived, as we have seen, at the birth of his son. But even then Pestalozzi still held aloof from all dogmatism, and refused his adherence to any set of doctrines. He had seen too much dead orthodoxy and barren dogma, too much religious instruction that was powerless to touch the heart or change the life. He rejected formularies no less than formalism, and condemned the use of the catechism in schools, where he wanted religion to be confined to the reading of the Bible and the practice of the Christian virtues. He felt that set doctrines have always something that savours of men about them, that they are only useful for scholars and not good for little
children. He feared, too, that theology might prove a tempting substitute for the religion of the heart and life, a fear which we think may be explained by the state of religious feeling amongst the educated classes at the end of the last century.
In this frame of mind Pestalozzi was inclined to yield to every suggestion of his heart and imagination, and often indulged in outbursts which exaggerated his real thought, and sometimes led him to contradict himself without suspecting it. We will give but one instance out of many. Pestalozzi has often been charged with not believing in original sin; that is, in the innate existence of evil in the heart of man, a charge which can be supported by numerous passages in which he exalts the innocence of the child, and expects everything from an education that shall nourish, train, and develop the germs of virtue and goodness implanted in the heart.
And yet in other places he points with precisely the same force of conviction to the existence of evil in human nature. He does this in a most striking manner in the fable, The Interior of the Hill, which we quoted in full in the last chapter.
Orthodox Christians will find many expressions in Pestalozzi's writings that they will take exception to, but they will find no attack on revealed truths. Now, had he not believed in them, he would have said so, for he was not a man to spare anything that he did not think good and true. Though eminently a free-thinker in the proper sense of the word, and also a free speaker, never did his free-thought lead him to doubt the Christian verities. It is true that at this period of his life his outward manifestations of religion were, from a Christian point of view, exceedingly incomplete; afterwards, however, he endeavoured to make up for these shortcomings, though he always more or less ignored the essential doctrine of the redemption. This explains how it is that certain people, forgetting his long life of abnegation, ardent charity, and absolute selfsurrender, have gone so far as to say that Pestalozzi was not a Christian. But did not Jesus Himself say, "By their fruits ye shall know them "?
If it is now asked what, in this first part of his life, Pestalozzi's essential work really was, and what the discovery
was that we owe to his genius and to the prodigious activity of his thought, we answer that his work was that of a philosopher, and his discovery that of a principle which regulates the law of man's development, and is the fundamental principle of education. It may seem hard to some to recognize a philosopher in this man, who seemed bent on nothing but practical experiments, who, as a writer, excelled chiefly in drawing characters and relating facts of his observation with a great wealth of detail, and who, in his Inquiry, the one book in which he attempted a philosophical form and style, succeeded only in being prolix and obscure. But in this respect, as in many others, Pestalozzi was like nobody else; he was a philosopher without intending it. It was in truth an idea, a general idea, and always the same, which struck him in all his observations, which inspired all his plans for reform, and which he followed in all the practical undertakings to which he put his hand. To be convinced of this, it is enough to follow him closely in his life and writings. In this way, too, we shall come to understand this general idea which was so peculiarly his own, which was constantly urging him to passionate and disinterested activity, and which inspired the great work of his life.
All the real knowledge, useful powers, and noble sentiments that a man can acquire are but the extension of his individuality by the development of the powers, strength, and faculties that God has put in him, and by their assimilation of the elements supplied by the outer world. There exists for this development and this work of assimilation a natural and necessary order which is generally neglected in school education.
That, then, is the dominant idea in Pestalozzi's thought, an idea which comes out in one way or another in all his plans for reform and in all his writings. Here are a few passages from the Evening Hour, in which it is easy to recognize it:
"All the pure and beneficent powers of humanity are neither the products of art nor the results of chance. They are really a natural possession of every man. Their development is a universal human need." (No. 8.)
"Man! in thyself, in the inward consciousness of thine
own strength, is the instrument intended by Nature for thy development.' (No. 12.)
"The path of Nature, which develops the powers of humanity, must be easy and open to all; education which brings true wisdom and peace of mind must be simple and within everybody's reach." (No. 21.)
"The exercise of a man's faculties and talents, to be profitable, must follow the course laid down by Nature for the education of humanity." (No. 23.)
"When men are anxious to go too fast, and are not satisfied with Nature's method of development, they imperil their inward strength, and destroy the harmony and peace of their souls." (No. 26.)
"The schools hastily substitute an artificial method of words for the truer method of Nature, which knows no hurry and is content to wait. In this way a specious form of development is produced, hiding the want of real inward strength, but satisfying times like our own." (No. 28.)
We have only quoted from the Evening Hour, because Pestalozzi there expresses his thought in short, pithy aphorisms, whereas such quotations as we might have taken from his other writings must necessarily have been much longer. But if we wish to grasp Pestalozzi's idea in its simplest, and at the same time its most general expression, we must seek it in a comparison which is so natural and familiar to him that he is always coming back to it.
In his speeches, in his explanations of his views, and especially in his fables, he is constantly comparing the education of man, even from the intellectual and moral point of view, to the development and growth of a plant. It is evident that in his eyes the analogy is complete. He even states it once in these words: "Man, formed from the dust of the earth, grows and ripens like a plant rooted in the soil."
It is by virtue of this analogy that he always speaks of education as a development, a product of the child's own work, a graduated series of progressive steps, in which each step follows naturally from the last, and prepares the way for the next. In his eyes, then, the gift of God which renders the human soul capable of its intellectual and moral victories, is like a seed which opens that its shoots may
grow, spread, blossom, and bear fruit; and the part of education is to encourage and direct an organic development.
The word organism, it is true, is not found in any of Pestalozzi's writings before the time at which we have arrived; but although the word is not there, the idea is. It is later, in the book entitled How Gertrude Teaches her Children, that Pestalozzi first uses the word, which was suggested to him perhaps by some of the men who were then associated with him.
The organism of education has been treated by the author of the present biography in a work entitled, The Philosophy and Practice of Education, in which an attempt is made to show that the abstract organic law which is seen to exist in the material world also governs the intellectual and moral development of man, and includes all the essential principles that were recognized and applied by Pestalozzi.
Some people have hesitated thus to introduce into the domain of moral science a word which had only been employed in the physical sciences, fearing, perhaps, the abuse the materialist school might make of it, a fear, however, which seems to us to be entirely groundless. Be that as it may, it is certain that the word could not be replaced save by some neologism which would be much less clear.
In his later writings, and as his work advances, Pestalozzi makes more and more use of the word organic in explaining his views. And yet he never called his method the organic method, which seems to us the only name that really expresses its character.
We are now about to see Pestalozzi at work at last as a teacher, applying his ideas to the education of children, and formulating, if not in its principle, at any rate in its spirit and details, the method that bears his name. Now, too, the philosophical idea upon which his whole system is based, and of which in his previous writings we have caught but a glimpse, will stand out fully revealed.