« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
It is not a dim pathway which leads into the glorious future. It is not by a crooked course that we can enter it. The development of national mind may be but the riveting of a prejudice. Whatever isolates people from people is a mischievous partition wall. Our race is a family. We must establish the true community: the family of nations, as well as the family of man. Intercourse must be the soul of all. The road of the world is found. Its ends are made to approximate. And surely it is an ill-chosen period for nations, boasting of their educational establishments, to pervert those very establishments, that they may hoodwink credulity, cement superstition, and exasperate rancour,-seeking, under their mask and by their aid, to paralyse liberty and bind religion in chains.
We turn with humble submission and grateful delight from the institutes of man to the ordinances of God. In the laws of that religion by which He reigned before his ancients gloriously,—a polity and a church, as well as a faith,—there is no enactment which dissolves parental responsibility in the education of offspring; none which transfers it. He spake of the great ancestor of that people the encomium which contained the germ of their government: "For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the law, to do justice and judgment." This was to be the rule of transmission. "Teach them thy sons
and thy sons' sons."
"And thou shalt teach them
diligently unto thy children, and shalt talk of them when thou sittest in thy house." "He established a testimony in Jacob, and appointed a law in Israel, which he commanded our fathers, that they should make them known to their children: that the generation to come might know them, even the children which should be born, who should arise and declare them to their children." "The father to the children shall make known thy truth." Not less tender and authoritative is the Christian law: "Ye fathers, bring up your children in the nurture and admonition of the Lord." "Children obey your parents in all things; for this is well pleasing unto the Lord." What
spoiler shall come up, and so insult our nature,— what blasphemer shall arise, and so transform our religion, as to alienate the rights of parentage, and the claims of childhood? The Herod may not be at hand; the cry of Ramah may not be heard; but we will not hazard the Innocents.
THE MEANS AND RESOURCES OF THE COUNTRY
THE necessity of education to the intellectual and moral completeness of man, considered in connection with his frequent inability to supply it for himself, dictates, as well as supposes, a duty on the part of other members of the social body. There is not a child playing in our streets, the most neglected and the most prematurely wicked, who does not possess the susceptibility of this mental and religious process. Already he might have been a differently inclined being. Looking at the gang of chained convicts, there is not one of those hardened spirits which this culture might not have reclaimed. Knowledge might have taught them the distinctions of right and wrong, and awakened their conscience to approve what was taught. Kindness might have softened natures, none of which were utterly, and, from the first, unfeeling. Religion might have taken hold of hearts which once trembled with awe and warmed with love. What human abasement had been spared! What fell depravity had
been arrested! What pestilential example had been withheld! What dire misery had been prevented! Such black disgrace would not have fallen on our country such portentous evil would not have horrified our land! A duty did somewhere exist: that duty was by some parties neglected.
Nor can it be denied, that this duty has a serious aspect on society. "Qui non rectè instituunt atque erudiunt liberos, non solum liberis sed et reipublicæ faciunt injuriam."* It is, therefore, a social duty. All the present youth must speedily become the main support and life of the commonwealth. They must impress its movements. They must be the political constituency. They must form the mind of another generation of youth. They will soon have passed the great lines of manhood. Many a social duty exists, however, apart from the ruling power. We prejudge not now the determination of the question. We only protest against any wresting of the term. Social and political duties are not necessarily convertible. The political must be social, but the social need not be political.
Eleemosynary instruction does not seem to have been thought of by the ancients. Their religion taught them no principle of charity. Where there was no hospital for bodily disease, no asylum for bereavement and destitution, it was scarcely to be expected
"They who do not train and instruct aright their children, as greatly injure the State as their offspring."-Cicero.
that the school should be conceived and supported by the existing benevolence. Thus Plutarch, in his Bringing up of Children, exclaims: "It is my highest wish, that the blessing of education should be extended to all; but if there be any who, from their straitened circumstances, cannot avail themselves of my recommendations, let them blame their hard lot, but not my advice. For the very poor ought to do their
utmost to obtain for their children the best education, and if they cannot command this, let them seek the best within their
We feel that the duty of providing education does not only rest upon the parents; but that, when they are too ignorant to conduct, too occupied to inspect, too poor to compensate, the education of their offspring, the duty of assisting them falls upon others. This duty belongs to that large class of morals, which includes the love of our neighbour. It is written on the second table of the Law.
Wherever there is
The illustration is simple. misery, the Christian feels that it is his duty, according to his ability, to afford relief. We look not to the State for the support of our infirmaries and feverhouses and mendicity-societies. They depend upon voluntary contributions. Should it be said that edu
* σε Εγω γαρ μαλιςα αν βουλοίμην πασι κοινῇ χρησιμον είναι την Ει δε τινες ενδεως τοις ιδίοις πραττοντες, αδυνατησουσι τοις εμοις χρήσασθαι παραγγελμασι, την τυχην αιτιάσθωσεν, ου τον ταυτα συμβουλευοντα.” κ. τ. λ. Plut : Περί παίδων Αγωγην.