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Taking it all in all, however, we are tion in articulation, to pronounce them. It compelled to consider the case of James will be of more interest, we presume, to Edward Meystre, an inmate of the Blind the readers of The National, to learn Asylum at Lausanne, Switzerland, as the something of Meystre's moral development. most remarkable instance of the education Four months after his admission into of a blind deaf-mute which has ever oc the asylum, Meyster secretly took from curred.
the director a Swiss coin, of the value of The scientific and religious world are about fourteen cents. On being charged certainly under great obligations to Mr. with the theft, he at first denied it quite Hirzel, the able and accomplished director confidently, but circumstances having beof that asylum, for the full details he has trayed him, he avowed it, and excused given of the instruction of this interesting himself by saying, that it was not worth youth.
the trouble of speaking of it. The director Meystre was born at Lausanne, Switzer- took from him his knife and cigars, and as land, in November, 1826. His faculties a punishment confined him in a room, were all perfect at birth, but at the age of where he could atch him. He immedieleven months he was attacked with small- ately sought to escape by the window, but pox, by which he lost his hearing, and the iron network preventing this, he went consequently his speech, while his sight to the door, and at first by force, and afterwas with difficulty preserved. In the ward by means of a nail, attempted to unspring of 1834, when a little more than lock it. After some effort he succeeded, seven years of age, his sight was destroyed and repairing to his workshop, (he had by the accidental discharge, in his face, of commenced learning the trade of a turner,) a fowling-piece, loaded with small shot. supplied himself with cigars and matches, On the recovery of his health, after this and returned to the room in which he had terrible calamity, he amused himself for a been confined. When questioned in reyear or two in the shop of his father, who gard to this act, he protested that he had was a carpenter, but being deprived of this not gone out. As the cigars proved the resource, he attempted, without instruc- falsity of this statement, he alleged that tion, to make some rude articles, such as the door opened of itself. At last he was mouse-traps, benches, etc. These dis- brought to acknowledge the truth. M. .played considerable mechanical talent, but Hirzel proposed to remove him to another showed plainly that he had had no instruc- room, where he could not escape; he option. As he grew older, he went from posed this with violence, threw himself house to house, sawing wood, for which upon the director with great fury, and he received his food.
made vigorous resistance. Being overAt the age of eighteen and a half years, powered and placed in confinement for a . he was admitted as a pupil in the Blind time, he seemed better disposed, and never Asylum at Lausanne. The character of again attempted to steal. His propensity the deaf mute predominates in him. He to falsehood was not as readily cured. has the self-reliant air and bearing of the On New-Year's day, 1846, after spenddeaf and dumb, rather than the embarrassed ing the day with his mother, Edward reand hesitating manner of the blind. His turned at nightfall with her to the asylum. blindness, however, is complete; he re The gates were shut, but soon after Ed. tains not the slightest gleaming of light. ward was missing. M. Hirzel sought for He soon familiarized himself with the him unremittingly for nearly four hours, asylum, and was able find his way about and finally found him at an inn, and under the building alone, in the course of a few the influence of wine. On being questioned days.
the next day as to his conduct, he replied, We will not weary our readers by a de- that not finding his companions readily, he tail of the plan adopted to give him a felt dull, and took advantage of an open knowledge of the names of objects, as it door to go out. Suspecting the falsity of was, in all its essential particulars, similar this statement, M. Hirzel questioned him to that already detailed in the case of further as to his clothing, which was badly Laura Bridgman. The word or sign, and torn. Thus detected, he acknowledged the thing signified, were presented to him that he had climbed over the fence, (at together, and he soon learned to distin- that point about eight feet in height,) and guish them readily, and after some instruc- that his clothing had caught in one of the
pickets. He showed no penitence for his of God, M. Hirzel led his mind onward, fault, and even after a day's solitary con- step by step, in this way: “Who made finement, he remained intractable and re that bread? Of what is the bread made ? bellious. Deeply impressed with the dan- Who made the four ? Whence came the ger of allowing Meystre to go out at will, grain? Who made the wheat to grow ?" and as deeply with the necessity of eradi- “ The sun,” replied Meystre.
· Who cating this habit of falsehood, M. Hirzel made the sun ?" inquired M. Hirzel. Seeresolved, after explaining to him his grief ing that his pupil was perplexed by this for his misconduct, to inflict corporeal last inquiry, M. Hirzel explained to him punishment upon him. He did so, and that God had made the sun, and all other with apparent success. So deeply rooted, things in nature, and that it was to him however, had this vice become, that it that men offered their prayers. The was not long before he was again found countenance of the poor blind deaf mute guilty of it. At this repetition of his fault, was irradiated with joy and reverence at M. Hirzel adopted a different course. this information. The God that made the He explained to him that an honest man sun' was to him a being worthy of all revdoes not tell lies, and then made him write erence; and from that time forth he voland pronounce the word lie; having done untarily repeated every night, on retiring this, he shut him up, with this word in his to bed, “ My God, give me the sun,” (that hand. Returning to him an hour later, he is, its warmth and comfort.) found him much afflicted, and very peni An incident which occurred a few months tent. At first, M. Hirzel was in doubt later will illustrate the impression which how far he comprehended the idea of false- the revelation of the character of God had hood; but he soon had evidence in his made upon him. A young blind pupil had watchfulness, in regard to the truth of stolen a small sum of money; and there every statement that was made to him, that being some doubt as to who was the real he fully understood it. From that time offender, each pupil was questioned, in he was never known to be guilty even of turn, as to his guilt. When it came to prevarication.
Meystre's turn to answer, he replied with Up to this period, his teacher had care- great solemnity that he was innocent, and fully abstained from giving him any relig- that he would not steal, because God knew ious ideas, being desirous that his intellect his thoughts. He then left the room for should have attained to such a degree of a few minutes, and returning, approached development, as to permit him to under one of the pupils, (the guilty one,) and stand them thoroughly, before he attempted after describing by signs, the theft, he to communicate them to him. He had asked him if he had not committed it; the now not only learned the names of many boy hesitating, Meystre noticed it, and objects, but by the use of the manual alpha- again questioned him, saying at the same bet, and by writing words on the hand of time, Lie, God ? with so much earnestness, others, which he had learned to do, he that the boy pushed him roughly away, communicated quite freely with those and, by his violence, betrayed his guilt. around him. He had no idea of God, al During the period we are describing, not though he seemed, like Julia Brace, to more than two or three hours of the day have some vague notion of a resurrection. were devoted to his intellectual culture; He had observed that the young blind pu- the remainder of the day he worked at pils kneeled at evening, and with clasped wood turning, in which he soon became hands addressed some one who was not in remarkably skillful. He executed cups, the room, and one day he asked one of balls, and other articles of fancy wood them if he were speaking to the sun; the turning, with such taste and skill, that boy replied that he was speaking to some they received honorable mention for their one like a man, who lived far on high. perfection and beauty, at the World's Fair Meystre at once inquired, whether it was at London in 1851. necessary to cry loudly, in order to be He had also made commendable progheard. After a little further reflection, he ress in his studies, having acquired a good inquired again, whether this being, similar knowledge of the elementary rules of arithto men, would die.
metic, and a very considerable fund of Deeming it time that he should be in general information. He had been informed concerning the being and attributes structed in articulation, and could repeat
a series of selections amounting to about his couch to pour forth his mute orisons two octavo pages, the meaning of which of thankfulness, and his oft-repeated inhe seemed fully to understand. He had quiry to his fellow pupils, to the attendalso acquired considerable knowledge of ants, and to those who visited the asylum, geography, by means of maps in relief. I was, “Do you know and love Jesus ?" The fear of death occasionally agitated his When he received an affirmative answer, mind, and manifested itself in his conver- he seemed overjoyed. He found one day, sation. M. Hirzel felt that to take away on a table, a book in raised letters, and this depressing fear, it was necessary to asked what it was; the attendant made rob death of its sting, by teaching him the him read the title, “ The Life of Christ." way of salvation, through the atonement He ai once passed to the date, and finding of Christ. Up to this period he had only that it had been published some three years known God as a creator, and as the power- before, he inquired in a manner indicating ful sustainer of man, and of all worlds ; mingled sorrow and reproach, “Why was but though, occasionally, the consciousness | I not earlier taught this beautiful story ?" of sin had disturbed him, he knew nothing Soon after, he inquired of M. Hirzel of the great sacrifice for sin.
whether his mother, who had recently deM. Hirzel having resolved to delay no ceased, had known and loved Jesus? On longer his instruction on this deeply inter- learning that she had, he asked very earnesting topic, commenced, with character- estly, how it was that she had not taught istic caution, by causing him to read, and him concerning the blessed Saviour ? explaining to him the life of Christ. Step We have only to add that recent intelby step, and with constantly increasing ligence from Lausanne represents this ininterest, they passed in review each event teresting young man as still growing in of that pure and holy life, and it was with knowledge, and in favor with God and the deepest sadness that Meystre read of The love of Christ still awakens his trial, his scourging, his crucifixion. emotion in his heart; his truthfulness, conThe tender solicitude of the dying Saviour scientiousness, and devotion are worthy of for his mother, so cruelly bereft, affected imitation by all professing disciples of him even to tears; but when he had in Christ. His thirst for knowledge increases imagination followed him to the tomb, and in intensity. He has been devoting some seen him deposited there, his interest attention to sculpture, and with extraordiceased; the narrative seemed indeed in- nary success. That keen perception of complete ; it was a story of human suffer- the beautiful in form, developed in his ing, whose ultimate object he had not com wood turning, has here received a new prehended. It was at this point that M. impulse, and he is exceedingly fastidious Hirzel again called his attention. “Jesus in regard to the proportion of his figures. Christ rose from the tomb on the third In some of the departments of physical day,” he said. “ Yes, his soul, not his science, as well as in other studies, where body,” Meystre replied. “Soul and body!” his faculty of touch can be brought to aid Meystre started in surprise. “Did any mental action, he has made fine progress, one feel with his finger the prints of the and there is no reason to doubt that, if nails in his hands and feet ?" Yes." his life is spared, he may yet become emiHope and joy irradiated the countenance nent in some of the departments of natural of the blind deaf mute as he exclaimed, science. “ This story is very beautiful ; I wish to Having thus, perhaps at too great length, print it.” M. Hirzel then told him of the given our readers a tolerably full account ascension of Christ, and of the plan of re- of the efforts already made and now mak. demption which brought him to earth, and ing for the education of the blind, we proas he listened to the wondrous story of the pose next to pass to a class of the unforcross, tears trickled down his cheeks. tunate, who, though possessing all their
Nor was the effect thus produced transi- faculties, have yet lost the power of contory in its character. The love of Christ, trolling them aright : the insane. We in submitting to death for sinners, had trust our readers will find much to interest opened in his heart a fountain of adoring them in the history of their emergence love, which constantly overflowed. It was from the discipline of chains, stocks, and the subject of his sleeping and waking scourges, into the mild and tender treatthoughts. Often in the night he rose from ment of our model asylums.
THE BIOGRAPHY OF THE BIBLE.
holiness, and the same man yielding to
temptation and running into sin. Man NOAH, A PREACHER OF RIGHTEOUSNESS. changes his moral character; by necessary TN the preceding article we saw the deep consequence his relation to God is I depravity into which the human race changed, and when He is said to repent, had fallen previous to the general deluge. it implies, simply, a change of conduct Very strong and energetic is the language on his part, in consequence of a preof the sacred historian on this subject: It vious change in them. This apparent repented the Lord that he had made man change on the part of God is always upon the earth ; and it grieved him at his founded upon a real change in the conduct heart. But does God repent? Is the or disposition of his creatures. Almighty grieved? These are questions But how can he who is always perfectly sometimes proposed by the caviler and happy be said to grieve ? I answer : the skeptic. They would intimate that Grief, when attributed to the Supreme the Scripture is not to be depended on, Being, as well as sorrow and anger, hatred, or else that the character of Jehovah, wrath, and fury, must evidently imply like that of man, is vacillating and uncer something analogous to these emotions tain ; and that, like ourselves, he is sub-among men. They are Scriptural terms, ject to the infirmities of passion, to sorrow, and are often applied to God; and though and grief, and repentance.
they express not, says Watson, a tumult. In answer to such questions, I observe uous, much less an unjust passion, there that there is no one attribute of the Al- is something in God which answers to mighty more clearly revealed than his them. In him they are principles arising immutability. I am the Lord, I change out of his holy and just nature ; and for not. He is, says the apostle, the Father this reason they are more steady and uni. of lights, with whom is no variableness, form, and more terrible than if they were nor shadow of turning. On the other mere emotions. The language of the hand, the Scriptures abound with instances passage before us, while it indicates on wherein change of purpose is attributed to the one hand the amazing wickedness of the great Supreme. Thus, on one occa- man, on the other is evidence that the sion it is said, the word of the Lord came transgressions on their part were perfectly unto the prophet Samuel, saying, It re- voluntary ; that the Almighty had done penteth me that I have set up Saul to be everything consistent with his own perking: for he is turned back from following fections, to bring them back to a knowlme, and hath not performed my command-edge of himself; and that all his efforts ments. And Samuel, in announcing this for this purpose had been in vain. The terrible truth, the Lord hath rent the bright example, and the warning voice of kingdom of Israel from thee this day, Enoch, had been unheeded : the strivings makes this remarkable addition: And of the Holy Spirit had been resisted, until also the strength of Israel will not lie, nor the Holy One himself declared in that repent; for he is not a man that he should fearful language, applicable alike to all repent. So also in after times, when the ages and in all times : My Spirit shall not Ninevites bewailed their sins in sackcloth always strive with man. This was the at the preaching of Jonah, it is said, God state of the great mass of the human race saw their works, that they turned from at the period to which we have now artheir evil way, and God repented of the rived in the world's history. Wickedness evil that he had said that he would do abounded : the Spirit was grieved away, unto them; and he did it not. Now these and ceased to strive : they had passed the apparently contradictory passages are eas- | boundary line of mercy, and were now ily reconciled, when we consider that the away on the other side of the Rubicon of change here implied was on the part of hope. man; and that this.change produced on It is here that we are introduced to the the part of Jehovah a corresponding dif- character of Noah. The sacred historian ference of treatment. He is unchange- has just stated the determination of the able in his hatred of sin, and in his love Almighty in his own language : I will of holiness. Hence this very immutabil.destroy man whom I have created, from ity necessarily disposes him to view with the face of the earth, both man and beast, very different feelings man delighting in and the creeping thing, and the fowls of
the air. And then he adds : but Noah given him : he did not merely enter upon found grace in the eyes of the Lord. Let the path of the just; he continued to walk us dwell a few moments upon his his- therein, and that path shone more and tory.
more unto the perfect day. This is the He was the son of Lamech, and born character given to him by pen of inspirain the year of the world 1056. His name, tion: He was a just man ; perfect in his like the other Scriptural appellations, is generation ; and he walked with God. significant. It means repose, rest, or con Let us analyze these expressions : a just solation : and here we may advert to a man; that is, in its lowest acceptation, one very curious circumstance connected with who gives to all their due; who is honest the explanation of the meaning of the in his dealings; who takes no advantage names of the patriarchs. According to of the ignorance or the weakness of his good Hebrew scholars, those names will neighbors ; a character sufficiently rare bear the following interpretations, from even in our own day, and not always exwhich some have argued that in those emplified even by those who profess the names, taken in their consecutive order, religion of Jesus Christ. there is found a clear prophecy of the Noah was also perfect in his generation. coming Messiah. The interpretation is Perfect: I have never met with any conas follows: Adam, man : Seth, placed : sistent interpretation of this word as apEnos, in misery: Cainan, lamentable : plied to Noah which at all lessens the fullMahalaleel, the blessed God: Jared, shall ness of its meaning. Those who deny the descend: Enoch, teaching : Methuselah, possibility of man's attaining perfection in that death shall send : Lamech, to the this life, do indeed contend that the word miserable : Noah, consolation. Omitting is here used with a latitude of meaning, the names, they make the following sen but the amount of the argument is, that tence: Man placed in misery lament- perfect does not mean perfect; a course able, the blessed God shall descend, teach- of interpretation, which, if carried out, ing that death shall send to the miserable would throw a vail of obscurity over the consolation. I advert to these explana- whole of God's revelation, and convert tions as a matter of curiosity, and not, of the plainest teaching of the Holy Spirit course, as containing any solid argument into unintelligible jargon. Thus, as in for a doctrine, which is abundantly estab- the case before us, the same reasoning lished by the plain letter of inspiration. which would destroy the fullness of meanOf Noah's early life we have no account. ing in the word perfect, would bear equally Like the rest of his compeers, he came against the term just, and the result would into the world with a depraved nature. be, that the Holy Spirit has made a misThe contagion of evil example was all take in applying to Noah these epithets, around him : the universal atmosphere was or, at the best, has been very unhappy in tainted with corruption ; and, as we saw his selection of adjectives to describe his in a former article, there was but one character. Into such absurdities do men man who maintained his integrity, and run when they are determined to sustain walked uprightly.
a creed at all hazards, and to make everyIt is very probable that Noah was in- thing bend to their own preconceived nodebted for his religious instruction to tions. The plain and simple interpretaEnoch; that he listened to his prophetic tion of the words in question is evidently warnings, and endeavored to follow his the true one. bright example. Nor did he try in vain. But it is said he was perfect in his genHe found grace, says Moses, in the eyes eration. Is it contended that this latter of the Lord. And why did he find grace ? phrase qualifies, so as to lessen the force of First, I answer, because he sought it ; the meaning of the word perfect? I think and, secondly, because he improved that not. On the contrary, we shall see that the grace thus vouchsafed unto him. Had addition of these words heightens very much his fellow-men sought the same grace, the adniirable character of this eminent they also would have found it; for it has saint. What was the state of that generaever been, as it will always continue to tion? We have seen that it was one of be, a glorious truth, that God is without abounding wickedness; without doubt, expartiality ; and that every one who seek- ceeding in this respect any other generaeth, findeth. I said he improved the grace | tion that have ever dwelt upon our earth.