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series, and

the Janual series.

Materske ('Handbook of the Mother School').1 He also supplemented the Didactica with a set of texts for the 'vernacular school' similar to the Janual series, which were intended for the 'Latin School'; but, being written in an obscure dialect, these vernacular works were never revised and soon disappeared.2 But the phase of the Didactica most often elaborated both in his other works

and in his school organization was the realistic one of Attempts of pansophia ('universal knowledge'). This was most


at 'pansophia.'

manifest in his desire to teach at least the rudiments of all things to every one. It has already been seen how this principle has been emphasized in his textbooks, such as the Janua and the Orbis Pictus. Also, after producing treatises upon Astronomy and Physics, he wrote, while at Leszno and Elbing, several works specifically on pansophia, of which the Janua Rerum Reserata ('Gate of Things Unlocked') is the most systematic and complete. These works, while diluted by traditional conceptions but little beyond those of scholasticism,3 show how far

1 This work was written first in Czech, although not published in that dialect for two centuries and a quarter. It was issued in German in 1633, and in Latin in 1657. Will S. Monroe has translated the Latin edition into English under the title of The School of Infancy (Boston, 1896).

2 The names of these texts, as he gives them in his Schola Vernacula Delineatio, were Violarium (Violet-bed'), Rosarium ('Rose-bed'), Viridarium ('Grass-plot'), Labyrinthus ('Labyrinth'), Balsamentum ('Balsam-bed'), and Paradisus Anima ('Paradise of the Soul'). Cf. also the Didactica, Chap. XXIX, II.

3 For example, with Comenius the constituents of the universe are reduced to matter, spirit, and light.

Comenius, by organizing his data about large principles, instead of merely accumulating facts, had advanced beyond previous attempts. Further, in his Didactica he recommends that a great College of Pansophy, or scientific research,' be established, and in 1641, just before his call to Sweden, he went to England, at the invitation of Parliament, to start an institution of this character there. At Patak he even undertook to establish a pansophic school of secondary grade, as outlined in his Pansophica Schola Delineatio ('Plan of a Pansophic School').

Pansophia as His Ruling Passion

This idea of pansophia seems to have been most keen and vivid with Comenius all his life, but he was always prevented from undertaking it to any extent by one accident or another, and was doomed to constant disappointment. Finally, shortly after his return from Patak, when Leszno was burned by the Poles,2 Comenius barely escaped with his life, and his silva, or collection of pansophic materials, upon which he had worked for forty years,

1 He calls it a collegium didacticum.

2 The Moravians, who had suffered so severely from the Catholics during the Thirty Years' War, were in secret sympathy with the Protestant Swedes during their invasion of Poland. After the peace was declared, and several towns, including Leszno, were ceded to Sweden, Comenius foolishly published a letter of congratulation to the Swedish king, Charles Gustavus, and, in retaliation, the Poles attacked Leszno and plundered it.

His pan

sophic mate

rials were

burned at Leszno.

According to Comenius, education

should aim at knowledge, morality, and piety.

Man's lower nature should

was completely destroyed. He was now in his sixtyfifth year and had not the strength or courage to pursue his favorite conception further.

The Threefold Aim of Education

While mystic and narrow at times, Comenius was a sincere Christian, and his view of life is most consistently carried out in his conception of education. He hoped for a complete regeneration of mankind through an embodiment of religion in the purpose of education. This educational aim is shown in the following propositions, which he develops in successive chapters of the Didactica:

"(I) Man is the highest, the most absolute, and the most excellent of things created; (II) the ultimate end of man is beyond this life; (III) this life is but a preparation for eternity; (IV) there are three stages in the preparation for eternity: to know oneself (and with oneself all things), to rule oneself, and to direct oneself to God; (V) the seeds of these three (learning, virtue, religion 2) are naturally implanted in us; (VI) if a man is to be produced, it is necessary that he be formed by education."


Thus, from his religious conception of society, Comenius works out as his aim of education knowledge, morality,

1 1 In the original, Se et secum omnia, Nosse; Regere; et ad Deum Dirigere. Cf.

"Self-reverence, self-knowledge, self-control,
These three alone lead life to sovereign power.'

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I.e. eruditio, virtus seu mores honestas, religio seu pietas.

by the

and piety, and makes these ideals go hand in hand. It be controlled is to be noted, however, that his ideas about what con- higher. stitutes religion have advanced a long way beyond those of medieval times. He regards education not as a means of ridding oneself of all natural instincts, and of exalting the soul by degrading the body, but as a system for controlling the lower nature by the higher through a mental, moral, and religious training. Education should enable one to become pious through the establishment of moral habits, which are in turn to be formed and guided through adequate knowledge.

Universal Education and the Four School Periods

But as with Comenius education is to prepare us to live as human beings, rather than to fit us for station, rank, or occupation, he further holds:

"(VIII) The young must be educated in common, and for this schools are necessary; (IX) all the young of both sexes should be sent to school."

Under these headings he shows that, while the parents are responsible for the education of their children, it has been necessary to set aside a special class of people for teachers and to create a special institution known as the school, and that there should be one system of schools for all alike, "boys and girls, both noble and ignoble, rich and poor, in all cities and towns, villages and hamlets."

There should

be one sys

tem of

schools for


The 'school

Later on, the Didactica more fully describes the or

of the moth

er's lap,' the ganization that Comenius believes would be most effec

'vernacular school,' the

'Latin school,' and the 'acad


tive. The system should consist of four periods of six years each, ranging from birth to manhood. The first period of instruction is that through infancy, which lasts up to the age of six, and the school is that of the 'mother's lap.' 2 Next comes childhood, which continues until the pupil is twelve, and for this is to be organized the 'vernacular,' or elementary, school. From that time up to eighteen comes the period of adolescence, with its 'Latin,' or secondary, school. Finally, during youth, from eighteen to twenty-four, the 'academy,' or university, together with travel, should be the means of education. As to the distribution and scope of these institutions, Comenius declares:

"A mother school should exist in every house, a vernacular school in every hamlet and village, a Latin school in every city, and a university in every kingdom or in every province. The mother school and the vernacular school embrace all the young of both sexes. The Latin school gives a more thorough education to those who aspire higher than the workshop; while the university trains up the teachers and learned men of the future, that our churches, schools, and states may never lack suitable leaders."

Hence only those of the greatest ability, 'the flower of mankind,' were to go to the university. "A public

1 Chaps. XXVII-XXXI.

2 This was known as Schola Materni Gremii in the Latin version.

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