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fruitlessly withhold and resist the reasonable prayer or the stern demand. No such problem can be settled in politics as this, -how a people, who have known and contended for freedom, shall contentedly abandon the holy cause, or shall willingly accept of its diminution. It can only grow. Opinion, patriotism, individual self-respect, new statutes and privileges, are its strength and security. Tyranny knows that its time is short. That of oligarchy has passed under special abhorrence, and scarcely can hope a morrow. Though we deprecate the tumultuary licentiousness of the many as the worst form of oppression, we observe, in the aspect of the times and in the spirit of the nations, the assurance that liberty is the type of deep reflection and earnest resolve. The age not only cries for it,-the peculiarities of order, information, enterprise, which that age unfolds, demand it. All halts without it. It cannot be abused, as in earlier and capricious visitations it may have been. Legislation, science, learning, commerce, implore its aid and forbid its perversion. The freedom of conscience is still more exigent. Its fate may be now, what it has always been, to follow civil liberty with unequal steps. A convulsive effort is at present put forth by bigotry to crush it. But we fear not the result. Private responsibility is so clear a truth, is so powerful a plea, that it must be yielded. These are the prospects which open before us. Civil and religious liberty must prevail. Man shall every where be free. The interests of an enlightened, generous, Christian, enfranchisement are daily securing favour and acquiring force. Then the project of education must obey the same direction. Be not afraid. Murmur not at what is, or at what shall be. Speak not as if man were too little restrained. There cannot be an excess of liberty where personal and social rights evenly advance. But true liberty ceases the instant that they clash. Convince it of its duties as well as excite it by its immunities. Show how it can only be attained by worthy means, and enforced by fitting uses. A nation which is only free to enslave others, deserves to be rooted up, —to be consumed like a forest where wolves hold their riot, and fill their den, with their mutilated victims. But most of all are we warned that, in education, we should presume on nothing of mere opinion, but that we are bound to adduce truth in its authority and fact with its evidence. Reasons must be rendered for all we teach. Rash and hardy assertion must be disclaimed. How ought we to remember, with a holy vow, that true Christianity and true knowledge must agree with each other! We can find no devotion in ignorance, nor faith in superstition. We can obtain no influence in any unfounded conceit. False aphorism and idle omen and gratuitous dogma cannot avail us if we really seek the well-being of our race. This was the error of the Roman Antichrist. It was, according to its boast, infallible. It mistook prejudice for demonstration. It condemned Galileo. Did it disprove the revolution of our world around the sun ? It fixed the Vulgate text. Did it supersede codex and rescensus in the examination of the true Word of God? Especially let us discriminate between the doctrine of Revelation and our gloss. Let us not teach our scholars any thing doubtful. If you tell them that six thousand years ago the Creator formed this earth out of nothing,you deliver a sense which Scripture does not give, and which the stratifications of the planet, with their vegetable and animal remains, refute. If you tell them that the inferior creatures die because of human sin, —you urge a comment which Scripture does not support, and which, not only involves innumerable inconsistencies, but lays itself open to the plainest contradiction in the deposits of animal races whose congeners were never known by man. Other illustrations might be raised. These may awake our caution. When man imposes his theories on the Bible, it is he who speaks, while that is degraded by being made only his medium. Let us be satisfied that all result, invention, discovery, the most unexpected in order and the most remote in time, must be what Revelation cannot oppose, but receives, adopts, approves. All truth is one! Our scheme and spirit of education, therefore, stop short most unworthily and inefficiently, save as they regard the certain progressiveness of civilised man, the destined enlargement of his liberty, and his indefeasible title to be instructed in that far-reaching knowledge which rests in perfect and universal truth.
In our systems of general education, two things are wanted. The first is, that the great institutions of the country be made strictly national. It is a pitiful policy to sell knowledge at the price of conscience. Can it be good, or sound in principle, that one party in the State only shall be taught? Should not the living fountains be laid open for all? When learning is made the privilege of a party, is not the inference strong, that that party feels the precariousness of its tenure, and must strengthen it; the fallacy of its creed, and must sophisticate it; the paucity of its members, and must recruit them 2 If it be founded in right, the more information it can lend to its opponents, the more likely is their conversion. Truth can find no strength in the ignorance of its foes.—Nor is it less desirable that the means of education be cheapened. The lower kind does not call for any reduction in its terms. But every step beyond it, rises most disproportionately. Any better culture is quite out of the reach of the poor. Even the gratuitous foundation school, in the apparel it supposes, and in the books it demands, exceeds their capacity. These, too, are not every where. Europe and America give far greater facilities to the children of the labouring class. Competition, at the same time, restrains the price and elaborates the commodity, if such expressions of traffic may be allowed. Nothing can be more fanatical, than to suppose that the value of knowledge is depreciated by the humbleness of its pecuniary charge. Its true
importance must always be the same. The treasure is unvarying, whatever be its vessel. Are the classic writings less worthy of our admiration, now that we read them no longer in their costly uncials and vellums? Is the Bible divested of any sacredness, because it is no more shut up in libraries and museums, but is attainable by the poorest child? The whole apparatus of instruction, the entire system of literature, must be correspondently reduced in cost. It has been begun. The favoured few may sneer. But when Penny Magazines and Reprints were first thrown into circulation, a new aera was written for our country, —a new principle was established among its people, —for henceforth the excellence of knowledge was made to rest, not on the difficulties which beset it, not on the accidents which adorned or depressed it, but on itself! We cannot disguise it from ourselves, that we are not only in a crisis of the history of education, but that education itself may become an occasion of snare and peril. It is vaunted by some as all that is needed to rectify our nature. It is pared down by them to very insignificant dimensions. It is made to include only the knowledge which pertains to the present sensible state of things. The instructions which it imparts are not so much esteemed as the inward powers it elicits. These are inherent powers of self-improvement. The good is in man. It only remains to be evolved. His heart only needs to be unfolded. Con