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bear the Greek tongue to other countries, and thereby excite
an interest in the study of languages.

And let this be kept in mind, that we shall not preserve
the Gospel without the languages. The languages are the
scabbard in which the word of God is sheathed. They are
the casket in which this jewel is enshrined; the cask in
which this wine is kept ; the chamber in which this food is
stored. And, to borrow a figure from the Gospel itself, they
are the baskets in which this bread and fish and fragments
are preserved. If through neglect we lose the languages
(which may God forbid), we shall not only lose the Gospel,
but it will finally come to pass that we shall lose also the
ability to speak and write either Latin or German.



So much for the utility and necessity of the languages,
and of Christian schools for our spiritual interests and the
salvation of the soul. Let us now consider the body and
inquire : though there were no soul, nor heaven, nor hell,
but only the civil government, would not this require good
schools and learned men more than do our spiritual in-
terests? Hitherto the Papists have taken no interest in
civil government, and have conducted the schools so entirely
in the interests of the priesthood, that it has become a matter
of reproach for a learned man to marry, and he has been
forced to hear remarks like this : " Behold, he has become
a man of the world, and cares nothing for the clerical
state;" just as if the priestly order were alone acceptable to
God, and the secular classes, as they are called, belonged
to Satan, and were unchristian. But in the sight of God,
the former rather belong to Satan, while the despised masses,
as happened to the people of Israel in the Babylonian cap-
tivity, remain in the land and in right relations with God.

It is not necessary to say here that civil government is a
divine institution; of that I have elsewhere said so much,
that I hope no one has any doubts on the subject. The
question is, how are we to get able and skilful rulers?
And here we are put to shame by the heathen who in an-
cient times, % especially the Greeks and Romans, without
knowing that civil government is a divine ordinance, yet
instructed the boys and girls with such earnestness and
industry that, when I think of it, I am ashamed of Chris-
tians, and especially of our Germans, who are such block-
heads and brutes that they can say : " Pray, what is the use
of schools, if one is not to become a priest?" Yet we
know, or ought to know, how necessary and useful a thing
it is, and how acceptable to God, when a prince, lord,
counselor, or other ruler, is well-trained and skilful in dis-
charging, in a Christian way, the functions of his office.


Even if there were no soul, as I have already said, and
men did not need schools and the languages for the sake
of Christianity and the Scriptures, still, for the establish-
ment of the best schools everywhere, both for boys and
girls, this consideration is of itself sufficient, namely, that
society, for the maintenance of civil order and the proper
regulation of the household, needs accomplished and well-
trained men and women. Now such men are to come from
boys, and such women from girls ; hence it is necessary that
boys and girls be properly taught and brought up. As I
have before said, the ordinary man is not qualified for this
task, and cannot and will not do it. Princes and lords
ought to do it; but they spend their time in pleasure
driving, drinking, and folly, and are burdened with the
weighty duties of the cellar, kitchen, and bedchamber.
And though some would be glad to do it, they must stand
in fear of the rest, lest they be taken for fools or heretics.
Therefore, honored members of the city councils, this work
must remain in your hands ; you have more time and oppor-
tunity for it than princes and lords.

But each one, you say, may educate and discipline his
own sons and daughters. To which I reply: we see indeed
how it goes with this teaching and training. And where it
is carried to the highest point, and is attended with success,
it results in nothing more than that the learners, in some
measure, acquire a forced external propriety of manner;
in other respects they remain dunces, knowing nothing, and
incapable of giving aid or advice. But were they instructed
in schools or elsewhere, by thoroughly qualified male or
female teachers, who taught the languages, other arts, and
history, then the pupils would hear the history and maxims
of the world, and see how things went with each city,
kingdom, prince, man, and woman ; and thus, in a short
time, they would be able to comprehend, as in a mirror, the


character, life, counsels, undertakings, successes, and fail-
ures, of the whole world from the beginning. From this
knowledge they could regulate their views, and order their
course of life in the fear of God, having become wise in
judging what is to be sought and what is to be avoided in
this outward life, and capable of advising and directing
others. But the training which is given at home is expected
to make us wise through our own experience. Before that
can take place, he shall die a hundred times, and all through
life act injudiciously; for much time is needed to give

Now since the young must leap and jump, or have some-
thing to do, because they have a natural desire for it which
should not be restrained (for it is not well to check them
in everything), why should we not provide for them such
schools, and lay before them such studies ? By the gracious
arrangement of God, children take delight in acquiring
knowledge, whether languages, mathematics, or history.
And our schools are no longer a hell or purgatory, in which
children are tortured over cases and tenses, and in which
with much flogging, trembling, anguish, and wretchedness
they learn nothing.

If we take so much time and pains to teach our children
to play cards, sing, and dance, why should we not take as
much time to teach them reading and other branches of
knowledge, while they are young and at leisure, are quick
at learning, and take delight in it?

As for myself, if I had children and were able, I would
have them learn not only the languages and history, but also
singing, instrumental music, and the whole course of
mathematics. For what is all this but mere child's play,
in which the Greeks in former ages trained their children,
and by this means became wonderfully skilful people, ca-
pable for every undertaking? |How I regret that I did not


read more poetry and history, and that no one taught me
in these branches !

But you say, who can do without his children and bring
them up, in this manner, to be young gentlemen? I reply:
it is not my idea that we should establish schools as they
have been heretofore, where a boy has studied Donatus and
Alexander twenty or thirty years, and yet has learned
nothing. The world has changed, and things go differently.
My idea is that boys should spend an hour or two a day
in school, and the rest of the time work at home, learn
some trade and do whatever is desired, so that study and
work may go on together, while the children are young and
can attend to both. They now spend twofold as much time
in shooting with crossbows, playing ball, running, and
tumbling about.

In like manner, a girl has time to go to school an hour
a day, and yet attend to her work at home ; for she sleeps,
dances, and plays away more than that. The real difficulty
is found alone in the absence of an earnest desire to edu-
cate the young, and to aid and benefit mankind with accom-
plished citizens. The devil much prefers blockheads and
drones, that men may have more abundant trials and sor-
rows in the world.

But the brightest pupils, who give promise of becoming
accomplished teachers, preachers, and workers, should be
kept longer at school, or set apart wholly for study, as we
read of the holy martyrs, who brought up St. Agnes, St.
Agatha, St. Lucian, and others. For this purpose also the
cloisters and cathedral schools were founded, but they have
been perverted into another and accursed one. There is
great need for such instruction; for the tonsured crowd is
rapidly decreasing, and besides, for the most part, the
monks are unskilled to teach and rule, since they know
nothing but to care for their stomachs, the only thing they


have been taught. Hence we must have persons qualified
to dispense the word of God and the Sacraments, and to be
pastors of the people. But where shall we obtain them, if
schools are not established on a more Christian basis, since
those hitherto maintained, even if they do not go down,
can produce nothing but depraved and dangerous corrupters
of youth ?

There is consequently an urgent necessity, not only for
the sake of the young, but also for the maintenance of
Christianity and of civil government, that this matter be
immediately and earnestly taken hold of, lest afterwards,
although we should gladly attend to it, we shall find it im-
possible to do so, and be obliged to feel in vain the pangs
of remorse forever. For God is now graciously present,
and offers his aid. Consider, for example, what great zeal
Solomon manifested; for he was so much interested in the
young that he took time, in the midst of his imperial duties,
to write a book for them called Proverbs. And think how
Christ himself took the little children in his arms ! How
earnestly he commends them to us, and speaks of their
guardian angels, in order that he may show us how great
a service it is, when we rightly bring them up ; on the other
hand how his anger kindles, if we offend the little ones,
and let them perish.

Therefore, dear Sirs, take to heart this work, which God
so urgently requires at your hands, which pertains to your
office, which is necessary for the young, and which neither
the world nor the Spirit can do without. We have, alas!
lived and degenerated long enough in darkness; we have
remained German brutes too long. Let us use our reason,
that God may observe in us gratitude for his mercies, and
that other lands may see that we are human beings, capable
both of learning and of teaching, in order that through us,
also, the world may be made better.


Finally, this must be taken into consideration by all who
earnestly desire to see such schools established and the
languages preserved in the- German states; that no cost
nor pains should be spared to procure good libraries in
suitable buildings, especially in the large cities that are
able to afford it. For if a knowledge of the Gospel and of
every kind of learning is to be preserved, it must be em-
bodied in books, as the prophets and apostles did, as I have
already shown. This should be done, not only that our
spiritual and civil leaders may have something to read and
study, but also that good books may not be lost, and that
the arts and languages may be preserved, with which God
has graciously favored us.

All the kingdoms that have been distinguished in the
world have bestowed care upon this matter, and particularly
the Israelites, among whom Moses was the first to
begin the work, who commanded them to preserve the book
of the law in the ark of God, and put it under the care of the
Levites, that any one might procure copies from them.
He even commanded the king to make a copy of this book
in the hands of the Levites. Among other duties God
directed the Levitical priesthood to preserve and attend to
the books. Afterwards Joshua increased and improved this
library, as did Samuel subsequently, and David, Solomon,
Isaiah, and many kings and prophets. Hence have come to
us the Holy Scriptures of the Old Testament, which would
not otherwise have been collected and preserved, if God

had not required such diligence in regard to it.

Has it not been a grievous misfortune that a boy has
hitherto been obliged to study twenty years or longer, in
order to learn enough miserable Latin to become a priest
and to read mass? And whoever has succeeded in this
has been called blessed, and blessed the mother that has


borne such a child ! And yet he has remained a poor
ignorant man all through life, and has been of no real serv-
ice whatever. Everywhere we have had such teachers
and masters, who have known nothing themselves, who
have been able to teach nothing useful, and who have been
ignorant even of the right methods of learning and teach-
ing. How has it come about? No books have been
accessible but the senseless trash of the monks and sophists.
How could the pupils and teachers differ from the books
they studied? A jackdaw does not hatch a dove, nor a
fool make a wise man. That is the recompense of our
ingratitude, in that we did not use diligence in the forma-
tion of libraries, but allowed good books to perish, and bad
ones to survive.

But my advice is, not to collect all sorts of books indis-
criminately, thinking only of getting a vast number to-
gether. I would have discrimination used, because it is not
necessary to collect the commentaries of all the jurists, the
productions of all the theologians, the discussions of all
the philosophers, and the sermons of all the monks.

In the first place, a library should contain the Holy Scrip-
tures in Latin, Greek, Hebrew, German, and other languages.
Then the best and most ancient commentators in Greek,
Hebrew, and Latin.

Secondly, such books as are useful in acquiring the lan-
guages, as the poets and orators, without considering
whether they are heathen or Christian, Greek or Latin.
For it is from such works that grammar must be learned.
Thirdly, books treating of all the arts and sciences.
Lastly, books on jurisprudence and medicine, though
here discrimination is necessary.

A prominent place should be given to chronicles and
histories, in whatever languages they may be obtained; for
they are wonderfully useful in understanding and regulat-


ing the course of the world, and in disclosing the mar-
velous works of God. O how many noble deeds and wise
maxims produced on German soil have been forgotten and
lost, because no one at the time wrote them down; or if
they were written, no one preserved the books: hence we
Germans are unknown in other lands, and are called brutes
that know only how to fight, eat, and drink. But the
Greeks and Romans, and even the Hebrews, have recorded
their history with such particularity, that even if a woman
or child did anything noteworthy, all the world was obliged
to read and know it ; but we Germans are always Germans,
and will remain Germans.

Since God has so graciously and abundantly provided us
with art, scholars, and books, it is time for us to reap the
harvest and gather for future use the treasures of these
golden years. For it is to be feared (and even now it is
beginning to take place), that new and different books will
be produced, until at last, through the agency of the devil,
the good books which are being printed, will be crowded
out by the multitude of ill-considered, senseless, and
noxious works.

Therefore, my dear Sirs, I beg you to let my labor bear
fruit with you. And though there be some who think me
too insignificant to follow my advice, or who look down
on me as one condemned by tyrants: still let them con-
sider that I am not seeking my own interest, but that of
all Germany. And even if I were a fool, and should hit
upon something good, no wise man should think it a dis-
grace to follow me. And even if I were a Turk and
heathen, and it should yet appear that my advice was ad-
vantageous, not for myself, but for Christianity, no reason-
able person would despise my counsel. Sometimes a fool
has given better advice than a whole company of wise men.
Moses received instruction from Jethro.


Herewith I commend you all to the grace of God. May
he soften your hearts, and kindle therein a deep interest
in behalf of the poor, wretched, and neglected youth ; and
through the blessing of God may you so counsel and aid
them as to attain to a happy Christian social order in respect
to both body and soul, with all fullness and abounding
plenty, to the praise and honor of God the Father, through
Jesus Christ our Savior. Amen.

Wittenberg, 1524.


The order of the Jesuits, or the Society of Jesus, was
founded in 1534 by the celebrated Ignatius of Loyola. Its
members have always been characterized by a spirit of
utter self-abnegation, which has given the order great in-
fluence and success in missionary and educational work.
Though at various times it has encountered strong secular
and ecclesiastical opposition, it still survives as a potent
organization within the Roman Catholic Church.

The Constitutions of the order were begun by Ignatius
himself in 1541. They consist of ten parts, of which the
fourth part is devoted to education. It is divided into
seventeen chapters, the subjects of which are as follows:
(i) Founders and Benefactors of the Colleges; (2) Tem-
poral Affairs of the Colleges; (3) Admission of Students
to the Colleges; (4) Maintenance of Students; (5) Studies
to be Pursued; (6) Means of Promoting the Progress of
Students; (7) Schools of the Colleges; (8) Instruction
Preparing Students to be Spiritually Helpful to Others
(9) Dismission of Students; (10) Government of the Col-
leges; (n) Establishment of Universities; (12) Sciences
to be Taught at the Universities; (13) Method and Order
of the Faculties; (14) Books to be Read; (15) Courses and
Degrees; (16) Moral Regulations; (17) Officials of the

This fourth part of the Constitutions is the foundation,
upon which the famous Ratio Studiorum, or the pedagogical



system of the Jesuits, has been built. The Ratio Studiorum,
after fifteen years of careful elaboration, was first published
in 1599; and though it underwent some slight modification
in 1832, it has remained without material change for more
than three centuries, and determined the administration and
instruction of hundreds of colleges. It covers something
more than a hundred pages, and in place of pedagogical
principles, which are rarely introduced, it prescribes, in great
detail, the duties of the several officers, and the subjects and
methods of the various teachers.

The following translation, which is sufficiently extended,
it is hoped, to give a general insight into the pedagogy of
the Jesuits, has been made from Pachtler's " Monumenta
Germaniae Pedagogica," which contains the Ratio Studiorum
both in Latin and German.



1. Since it is one of the weightiest duties of our society
to teach men all the branches of knowledge in keeping with
our organization in such a manner, that they may be moved
thereby to a knowledge and love of our Creator and Re-
deemer, let the Provincial hold it as his duty, to provide with
all zeal, that the results, which the grace of our vocation
demands, abundantly answer to our manifold labors in ed-

2. Long before let him [the Provincial] consider whom
he can take as professors in each department, and take heed
to those who seem to be best fitted for the place, who are
learned, diligent, and assiduous, and are zealous for the
progress of their students in their lectures as well as in their
other literarv exercises.


3. Let him promote with great care the study of the
Holy Scriptures ; in which he will succeed, if he selects for
this office men who are not only proficient in the languages
(for that is especially necessary), but also well versed in
theology and the other sciences, in history and in general
learning, and also, as far as possible, in eloquence.

4. But he must especially remember that only men who
are well disposed to St. Thomas are to be promoted to
theological chairs. Whoever is indifferent to him or is not
studious of him shall be removed from the office of teach-

5. The professors of philosophy, except when the gravest
necessity calls for an exception, must not simply complete
the course in theology, but also repeat it for two years, in
order that their teaching may be the safer and more service-
able to theology. Should any, however, be inclined to in-
novating opinions or exhibit too liberal a spirit, they must
undoubtedly be removed from the office of teaching.

6. When students have entered upon the philosophical
course, they must undergo a rigid examination at the end
of the year given by the appointed examiners in the pres-
ence of the rector, and if possible, of the Provincial himself.
No one may pass from the first to the second year of philos-
ophy, unless he has reached mediocrity, that is, so that he
understands well what he hears and can give an account of
it. But no one shall be admitted to scholastic theology who
has not risen above mediocrity in the philosophical course,
so that he can defend and maintain philosophical theses
with applause; except in the case that such mediocre dis-
plays a distinguished talent for administration or preaching,
on which account the Provincial may dispose of his case
otherwise, though in other things he has no power to grant

7. These examinations, in which it is decided whether


the students of philosophy or theology shall pass to the fol-
lowing years, shall take place by secret ballot ; and the de-
cision arrived at, together with the judgment of the ex-
aminers, shall be entered in a book designed for that
purpose ; and all who were present at the examination shall
maintain silence about it.

8. Schools for lower studies must not exceed five in
number, namely, one for rhetoric, the second for humanity,
and three for grammar. For these are five grades so in-
timately connected that they must not be confused or in-
creased in number.

9. Furthermore, care must be exercised that where there
are too few schools, always the higher classes, so far as
possible, must be retained, and the lower classes given up.

10. In order to preserve a knowledge of classical litera-
ture and to establish a sort of nursery for gymnasium
teachers, let him [the Provincial] endeavor to have in his
province at least two or three men distinguished in these
services and in eloquence. To this end, from the number
of those who are capable and inclined to these studies, he
shall set apart for that work alone a few who are sufficiently
instructed in the other departments, in order that through
their efforts and activity a body of good teachers may be
maintained and provided for the future.

11. Let him procure as many life-long teachers of
grammar and rhetoric as possible. This he will be able to
do, if at the close of their ethical or even theological studies
he earnestly directs and exhorts to the teacher's vocation
some, from whose help he can expect in the Lord greater
results in this office than in any other, that they may wholly
dedicate themselves to so salutary a work for the greater
service of God.

12. With all diligence let him watch and esteem it a
matter of the highest importance that all books of the poets


and other writings, which might prove injurious to char-
acter and good manners, be kept from our schools, until
they have been purged of impure passages and words ; and
should this expurgation not be possible, the books shall
rather not be read, in order that their contents may not
contaminate the purity of the soul.

13. Let still greater care be exercised in the case of na-
tive writers, where the reading of such authors is customary
in the schools. These authors shall be carefully selected,
and none shall ever be read or praised, in whom the young
may not take an interest without danger to their faith and
morals. Therefore, men well versed in the native literature
shall be consulted, in order to determine what may be done
in this matter without injury, and then see to it that what
has been determined, be also conscientiously observed by
the prefects and teachers of the schools.

14. Let him [the Rector] see to it that the use of the
Latin language is diligently maintained among the students ;
from this requirement of speaking Latin only holidays and
recreation hours are to be excepted, unless the Provincial

Online LibraryF. V. N. (Franklin Verzelius Newton) PainterGreat pedagogical essays; Plato to Spencer → online text (page 14 of 33)