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Christian Background of Froebel's Kindergarten

from Reminiscences of Froebel (Erinnerungen an Fröbel) by Baroness Bertha Marie von Marenholtz-Bülow

translated by Mrs. Horace Mann Cambridge: University Press-John Wilson and Son, 1877 pp160-164

The thought of the "unison" between nature and man as sprung from one and the same Creator always reappeared in various forms and relations. The unity of man with nature must be recognized. This has hitherto been with prevented by the separation in the human soul brought to consciousness through guilt and sin. Froebel saw fully expressed in Christianity the recognition of the unity of humanity with God (as the child of God). As he has said in one of his essays: " The Christian religion entirely completes the mutual relation between God and man; all education which is not founded on the Christian religion is one-sided, defective, and fruitless."

But the knowledge of the method of that union and unity with nature, to which the present stage of human development is leading, is still wanting. This would bring about a deeper understanding of the eternal truths of Christianity which has been lost up to the present time by empty word-teaching, without awakening religious feeling and man's inborn sense of truth. The recognition of truth begins in the real, visible world in the phenomena of nature, in which the laws of God are to be found, learned, and known as unchangeable.

This knowledge forms the firm foundation and underpinning for the recognition of superstitious truths which, speaking from all things, are by the sense of analogy bound up with the visible, material world of God, in which all and every development proceeds, from the least to the greatest. The unity of the human mind with the Divine mind shall find its confirmation through the easily acquired knowledge of God's mind (Reason) in creation and the sensuous world, and the life of man in it must be immediately knit with the supersensuous spiritual world, in order to abolish a separation between these two poles of human knowledge and human life, and the bridge over the abyss which is created by a too far-reaching dualism? This wisdom is contained in Christianity in pure Christianity; but it is buried deep for most men. Men learn to teach it indeed, but only in words, which least of all things least lead to actual understanding? We wish to create for children a practical school in which they shall learn to act according to the description of pure Christianity, that is, according to the commands of God, before they learn these prescriptions and commands as dogmas.

" We have not come nearly to the full understanding of the Holy Writ; its truths always require new vouchers; ever new and deeper recognition on other sides, in order to be placed in their right light. Jesus himself by many of his expressions has pointed out that the human mind is to rise to ever higher knowledge of Divine things; that under God's leading it shall go on from faith to sight. Hence the expression, ' I cannot tell you all things now,' said Jesus, 'but the Comforter will come, who will lead you to all truth,' etc.

Whoever doubts Froebel's deep understanding of the Bible and the Christian idea, should see a Bible which he possessed since childhood, whose leaves are worn thin by constant use, and all whose margins are written over with remarks testifying to his earnestness and deep spirit of inquiry. "



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