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dorcet, in his Philosophical Outlines, insists upon this perfectible faculty. Godwin and others have followed him. These look to the reign of mind. With gross inconsistency, they also hail the brutal freedom of the lower instincts. How untrue is this view of human nature! Education would be of little value, and often a cruel mockery, did it only awaken the understanding and its susceptibilities. You must now instil knowledge. You have the subjective capacity; you must now fill it with objective good.
This is connected with the disbelief of that, for which all Christian education must allow,--the fallen condition of our nature. That nature is not the fair tablet upon which you write whatever you may please,
- fearful characters are already blotted there. It is not the bough which can bend into whatever direction you will, --it has its own stubborn inclination. In every step you take of moral culture, you will find resistance. Let us not disguise it from ourselves. It is no accidental influence. It is propension of the most certain kind. In all, though varied in its manifestations, it is the same. Let this truth be pondered and solemnly revolved, --it will check 'much hope, but it will prevent much wure disappointment,——“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked" !
The friend and champion, who would instruct universal society, is often placed in singular difficulties. He must not imagine that he can satisfy the objections which shall assail him from the most opposite sides.
But if he have silenced the enemies of education, he has that which is far more formidable with which to contend. This is the conduct of certain advocates. These are the fanatics to whom this subject is a monomaniacal idea. They, by their extravagance, their visionary theories, their ill-calculated plans, throw a ridiculousness upon the sacred cause. No sober men can act with them. They are full of fantastic images and distorting dreams. This is their panacea for all the evils of domestic and civil life. They do no justice to the other means of human advancement. They affect contempt for all the institutions which soften the ferocity, and curb the violence, of man,- for all that humanises, softens, and refines, the nation's heart. They speak with scorn of authority, rank, laws, manners, and even of religion. They insult all rite, solemnity, commemoration, festival, badge. They leave no room for association, for confidence, for feeling. They will not understand, that there must be an antecedent state of things, a mighty framework, within which are comprehended the duties which education is designed to explain and to enforce. The objects must be provided on which the unsealed eye may fix. The path must be laid for that footstep which shall henceforth press it. Civilization can spare no ornament, no elegance, no courtesy, no polish,--much less can it forego any principle, any influence, any usage, which preserves the citizen in order, in harmony, in good will, in peace. It is an exquisite poise of the natural and the artifi
cial. A breath may peril it. The educationist ought to be the foremost in his reverence to it. It is not for him to slight a fabric which alone can furnish him with range for his experiments and with basis for his triumphs.
And there are those who repudiate all sympathy with such a school of thinkers, that still commit all human fortunes and destinies to education. As the word is commonly defined, even as the word can be most largely understood, we utterly dissent from the idea. The direct preaching of the gospel, together with its ordinances, we believe to be the only instrument of wide-spread and true melioration. If education be flattered to the slight of this divine appointment, if it be thrust into its place, if it be abused to supersede it, it is from that hour an idolatry, a good unduly exalted and misplaced, a deified instrument of good, a Nehushtan, a useless, defiling, irreligious thing. It is quite necessary that we, in the argument of the most Christian education, do not betray it by an idle boast or an undeserved homage.
We forebode not evil nor doom of Britain. The progress it has made has been long, steady, glorious. It has redeemed the slave, at a price greater than many a nation's dower,--a nobler act than his mere emancipation. It has dedicated its proudest architecture to designs of mercy. It has purged its code of blood. It has granted many equal rights to its children. It is sending forth freedom through its mighty
colonizations. Its shores offer sanctuary to them who are oppressed. Its liberty is a model for all people. It has a world-wide fame. From its high, cliff-cinctured, throne of rocks, while the waves sleep around it, it looks forth calm in conscious power, erect with generous purpose, casting its shield around freedom, mediating the elements of strife,-- the luminary of knowledge and the angel of religion !
Why should Britain fall? What canker is in its destiny? What omen casts the lurid shadow over its disk? Its difficulties are those of might, puissance, greatness. They may be overcome. They already yield. They are brought to view by the very means which grapple with them. If crisis come, if danger fall, let it burst upon an enlightened and religious people. In this will be our stay, whatever is the shock, --whatever the deluge, this will cause our ark to ride upon the waters !
We read not evil in the signs of the times. The events, which are the most threatening in their seeming, speak to us of hope. Instead of foreboding a redundance of population, we anticipate, in numbers, a strength and glory. Instead of regarding our fields as incapable of yielding an enlarged and a more adequate supply, we anticipate the foison of an unknown husbandry. Instead of bewailing that the national spirit is worn out and sunk into decay, we anticipate its waxing greatness. Instead of turning to the sun of a once mighty prosperity as now fast westering and
going down, we anticipate a meridian for it which it has never scaled. Considering our constitutional privileges, and our Christian facilities, our progress as a people has been slow. But where the rudiments of character are gathered tardily, their development is frequently sudden. For ages there was not that advancement of right thought and feeling which might have been expected from the intellectual and moral causes then at work. But there was not pause. Every step may not be traced, but the course can be measured. A thousand things would shock the religious refinement of the present times, which our forefathers willingly brooked. In knowledge, in mental happiness, in temporal plenty, in political power, our common people never stood as they do now.
Public opinion exerts a force previously unconceived. Remnants of tyranny give way, one after another, before the growth of liberty. The ferocity of manners is allayed. The national relationships are founded upon intelligent reciprocations and honourable principles. Diplomacy supersedes war. Genius and science wait not for posthumous honours, but share contemporary fame. Religion transfuses itself into channels which formerly it could not reach. Biblical criticism gains an unwonted favour and celebrity. Missions begin to take a place in our characteristic tastes and habits, and a prominence among our declared and most favoured institutions. And, withal, the true condition of our country itself employs a vigour of attention, and a disinterestedness