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accordingly, in all he wrote and said, he carefully avoided everything that was likely to wound any man's religious convictions.
Pestalozzi was certainly not one of those people who look upon the Bible as a merely human book, but neither was he one of those who consider it to be entirely Divine. The co-existence of the Divine and human elements in our sacred books is, in our opinion, beyond dispute, but inasmuch as it is a question that gives rise to such an infinite variety of opinions, it is avoided by many, not from indifference, but from a desire for unity.
Judging from Pestalozzi's writings, it would seem that he accepted the Divine authority for everything affecting man's sanctification, but for nothing else. His distinction between Divine and human was not very clear or precise, however; indeed, his statements are sometimes so contradictory, that even those who assert that he was a rationalist are able to point to passages in support of their view.
Furthermore, Pestalozzi must have scandalized the Christians of his time by his contempt for the study of the catechism, and indeed for verbal teaching in general as a means for developing a child's religious sentiment. But in this respect his ideas were not so new as was generally believed, for they had been current as long ago as the Reformation; they had, however, disappeared before the steadily increasing power of a formalism that cared for nothing but words.
The following passage occurs in Ekolampad's Antisyngramma, published in 1526:
"The outward word is not the object of faith, not that which brings us the blood of Christ, food, and clothing. It is given to us merely to incite us to find things, and these we must look for in ourselves. Words teach us nothing but words. If we do not first know the things themselves, how shall we know what words are fit to express them worthily? If you do not already possess a certain knowledge, you may listen to words for hours, but you will learn nothing." 1
The ruin of the Yverdun institute coincided with the
1 See the Swiss Christian Review, December, 1872, p. 743.
appearance in Switzerland of a religious revival which, but for the errors with which it was accompanied, would have filled Pestalozzi's heart with joy. At first the old man saw little else in the movement but a return to primitive Christian simplicity, and welcomed it with eager gladness, as is proved by the following passage of his discourse for the 12th of January, 1818:
"The religious spirit, the blessing of the house, still exists among us; but it is without inner life, and is reduced to a mere reasoning spirit that does nothing but talk of what is holy and Divine. And yet, the true spirit of Christ's teaching seems to be striking new and deep roots amid the corruption of our race, and to be nourishing a pure inner life in thousands of souls. Indeed it is this alone that will furnish us with the strength and principles necessary for fighting against the ideas, feelings, desires and habits of our century, which are undoubtedly the chief causes of the degradation of the people."
Before long, however, Pestalozzi, had ceased to be in entire sympathy with the revivalists who, while preaching a truer and more living Christianity than the philosophers of the eighteenth century had left to the great mass of Protestants, were also preaching a narrow, repressive theology, that left hardly any place for free will, deprived man of the power of working at his own sanctification, and above all refused to recognize in the child any single element of good. It is clear that such a theology as this could not be acceptable to Pestalozzi, and so it came to pass that the leaders of the movement refused to look upon him as a Christian.
This judgment was unfortunately confirmed by the testimony of Ramsauer, a pupil of Pestalozzi, and one of his best collaborators, who after leaving the Yverdun institute had become a fervent Pietist. In the work we have already quoted, while doing full justice to his old master, for whom he is still full of gratitude and affection, he complains of never having been instructed in sound Christian doctrine, and especially in the doctrine of original sin.
And yet there can be no doubt that Pestalozzi recognized the existence of evil in the human soul, for it is the obvious teaching of his fable, The interior of the hill, already quoted.
A similar view to Ramsauer's is expressed by writers who shared his religious opinions, such as Blochmann, Chavannes and Paroz, all enlightened and friendly critics. There has even been published a German pamphlet, bearing the title, Was Pestalozzi a Christian? a question which the author answers in the negative.
On the other side, however, we are glad to be able to cite the testimony of Jayet,1 an eager partisan of the revival, and a man eminently qualified to form a correct estimate of Pestalozzi. The following passage is taken from a letter he wrote at our special request:
"The subject of your letter is one of those which have the greatest claim on my interest. I owe much to Pestalozzi, who was almost a father to me. But an answer is not easy; indeed I should need rather a pamphlet than a letter for my recollections. This, however, is not what you ask for, nor could I find time for it. I shall just jot things down then as I remember them, beginning with the religious question upon which you lay particular stress.
"There was certainly no lack of piety in Pestalozzi, though certain important points of Christianity were not clear to him. He did not believe in man's fall, for instance, or at any rate he had not a sufficiently clear conception of it. And so, as a natural consequence, he ignored the fact of expiation and redemption by Christ's blood. In his efforts to raise mankind he relied exclusively upon his method, or rather upon a perfected method of education, ignoring all other means, the great and chief means.
"I remember, however, that Pestalozzi, ignorant as he was of the essence of the Gospel, had thoroughly caught its spirit in his manner of treating us. Faith and love were words that were constantly recurring in his religious discourses. He seems to have taken as his model God's way of turning men's hearts to Himself, who does not hold the guilty innocent, and yet pardons men that they may fear Him. Though Pestalozzi was not particularly strict, he had no difficulty in controlling us. But his discipline was love.
1 Mr. Jayet was one of the first pupils entered at the Yverdun institute. He afterwards became a pastor, and was one of the most ardent apostles of the religious revival.
When he scolded us, it was with his arms round our necks. He reached our consciences through our hearts. And thus, without knowing it, he prepared many a soul for the discipline of the Gospel and God's methods of salvation. I have often been struck by the number of Pestalozzi's old pupils who afterwards embraced the faith, for which they almost seemed to have been prepared.
"Pestalozzi aimed more at harmoniously developing the faculties than at making use of them for the acquirement of positive knowledge; he sought to prepare the vase rather than fill it. But this judicious plan not infrequently gave rise to misapprehension, and I afterwards heard many parents find fault with Pestalozzi, saying: 'As long as my son was with Pestalozzi he learned nothing, but as soon as I put him somewhere else he made rapid progress.' And I often had the greatest difficulty to make these people understand that this very progress was owing to the judicious preparation their children had received from Pestalozzi."
These last remarks are important, and throw considerable light on the many contradictory opinions that have been expressed about Pestalozzi.
May we believe that after the time when Mr. Jayet was a pupil in the institute, Pestalozzi accepted the truths of the Christian dogma in a more complete manner? His discourses seem to prove that he did.
Here are a few extracts from the discourse pronounced on Christmas Day, 1811, which is printed at the end of the sixteenth volume of Seyffarth's collection:
"My children, we want you to share with us the joy of knowing that Jesus Christ our Saviour came down from heaven and became man among us. Listen to the words of the angel: 'Behold I tell you tidings of great joy, for to-day a Saviour is born to you.' Keep these words carefully in your hearts.
"Ah, if I could make this day a holy and blessed day for you, not merely a day of joy, but a day of salvation and of sanctification! If your joy, strengthening your faith in Jesus Christ, could raise you to that life of truth, justice, faith, and love which is in the spirit of Christ, and to which Christ calls all men!
"The whole Bible is nothing but a collection of the revelations of God, calling men to rise above the vain service of the world to the Divine service of a holy faith in Him.”
And again, in the discourse of the 12th of January, 1818, the following passage occurs:
"Let no one say that Jesus did not love the wicked, the evildoers! He loved them with a Divine love, He died for them. It was not the just but sinners that He called to repentance. He did not find the sinner a believer, but made him a believer by His own faith; He did not find him humble, but made him humble by His own humility."
Later still, when the establishment at Yverdun was on the verge of dissolution, Pestalozzi, with his characteristic conscientiousness, reproached himself for not having given a more solid religious foundation to his work. It was then that walking one day in the garden of the Castle and looking sadly at the old building, he said to his companion: "Ah, my dear friend, I did not establish my house firmly enough upon the true foundation, and thus it is threatened with ruin."
On his death-bed Pestalozzi cried: "I am soon going to read in the book of truth," knowing full well that man is not permitted to understand everything here below. He then added: "I am going to eternal peace," and died with the joy and faith of a Christian.
The earth has now covered his mortal remains for sixty years, and during that time men's opinions of him have been considerably modified. His work is being slowly understood, and people are beginning to see that he was misjudged, only because he was ahead of his time.
During the last thirty years, even the most orthodox Protestants have repudiated the narrowness of view, Puritanical harshness, and petty intolerance that so long existed among the partisans of the religious revival, and it is now understood that there are different ways of being an evangelical Christian. And so in recent works on Pestalozzi, which have been especially numerous in Germany, we find no trace of doubt as to the Christian character of his work.
This character, as we have seen, was evident enough in