Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

of benevolence, which the popular interests never until now engaged

The common allegation is refuted, that foreign objects blind us to those at home. We proudly show that our coasts do not dissever us from the interests of a universal humanity. The deep which circles us is the broad band, the throbbing sensory, which knits us to the nations,—and is our great carrier of succour and knowledge to the world. But the influence of this philanthropy is reflex. The state of our population is, after all, the cause which fixes the closest study, and is the question to which every other is postponed. He can possess little claim to truth and honesty, who represents that the momentous problem of the people's happiness and welfare is now overlooked. Would that it had been earlier pursued ! Over what a region, and what a race, must the sun have then risen and the heavens bent!

We would not boast. It is presumption. We would not despair. It is ingratitude. We see victory in struggle, and behold the sign of hope reflect itself from the storm. We remember our guilt, and know what we have deserved. We sing of mercy, because God in wrath has remembered mercy. He has wrought out our deliverance for us. We cannot think, from His own indications, that He is mindful to destroy us. He chastens that he may not destroy. We have boasted of Power, and he has shown our feebleness. We have glorified our Resources, and he has shut up in strait.

The rod has smote us, not the whetted sword nor the glittering spear. All turns to mercy. The salt which is sown in our land, is not of ruin but of life. The ploughshare, driven through it, is not of destruction but of cultivation.

Christian Education is our want, and will be our strength. Let it be no longer delayed. Let it be no more stinted. Give it the scale which it deserves. Grudge not the due proportions. Lift it on high. Let it overtower the noblest monuments of the land. Let “Wisdom build her house," let her “hew out her seven pillars,” let her “cry upon the highest places of the city!” This will be solid fame. It will be true glory. It will bring all other blessings with it. It will be the security of all. If, like Solomon, we, as a nation, seek “ an understanding heart," -- not only a secular education, but a religious discipline, ---that we may “discern between good and bad," -“God will give unto us, that which we have not asked, Both Riches and Honour !"

Ν Ο Τ Ε,

ON CLASSICAL LEARNING.

As the question of Classical Learning occurs in the foregoing Essay,--the Author hopes that he may be excused quoting a part of an Address delivered by him at the last Anniversary (June 19, 1844) of the Protestant Dissenters' Grammar School, near London: it has only been printed in a Periodical

In an age of calculation, a mechanical age, it was the honour of this School to seek and uphold Grammar Learning. The temptation, the increasing temptation, the sordid temptation, was to turn all instruction into a craft, a manipulation. There was appetite for very little more. No clamorous importunity demanded this sterner style. Objections were even heard against it. Its likelihood of superfluousness was urged. Its irreligiousness was denounced. But here this noble Institution made its stand. It would parley with none of the common-places of vulgar ignorance or mistaken scrupulousness. It joined its assent to the authority of universal experience, that the acquirement of languages, especially of the classic languages, is the foundation of the greatest learn

A A

ing, and the instrument best fitted for intellectual outgrowth. None contend for exclusive attention to them. None suppose that they comprehend the utmost materials of indoctrination. Mathematical and physical enquiries deserve no mean place in our institutes of tuition. But is the youthful mind capable of their highest principia? Ought it not to pass through a strengthening, expanding, preparation ? Would not rigid science overstrain it? The cultivation of the richest languages, in the mean while, elicits and braces its energies. Oh how narrowly do they understand, or rather, how unrighteously do they propound, the case, whose sole notion of learning a language is to get a glossary by rote! They know not that language is the expression of some people's inward life and heart! They know not that language is the minute inscription of habits and tastes which no public monuments can record! They know not that the words of the wise are the chronicles of their wisdom, and the words of the good are the emanations of their goodness! They know not that in the loss of these particular dialects of human speech, the loss must follow of the experience furnished by the most wonderful nations of the world! They know not that men must think in words, and that by words only can they be induced to think! They know not that language is the best analytic test of mental precision, so that rarely is that justly conceived which cannot be expressed ! Thus the ancient Greeks declared reason and speech by the same word.*

This is not the time to defend our curriculum. That time is past. We cannot renew the controversy. It is settled. It is fatuous to regard it in a way the most hypothetical as that it can be disturbed. It is a fixed, demonstrated, Copernican, truth.

Αογος. .

Only there is a defence of it almost worse than its impeachment. We love not selfish considerations in the unfoldings of the rational and moral principles of our nature. We would not press the care of youthful training upon a scale of social convenience and utility. · A smattering of this lore is, forsooth, to be tolerated, because it may assist the conquest of the mercantile modern tongues ! It may help the chemist and the botanist ! It may guide the plodder through laborious nomenclatures ! It is, perhaps, just endured, because deemed essential to a certain grade of society, and with a hope that it may be attended with civil advantage! It is submitted to as a sacrifice! It is borne with as a loss! It is secretly regretted! At heart it is despised! Aspirations are indulged that it shall soon yield before the discoveries of cerebral organization or of practical thrift !

Oh let us never plead the cause of those great forms of utterance, those musical effusions, those variegated terminologies, those heart-deep vibrations, those scenic epithets, those transparent self-reflections of the mind and the sensibility of the hidden man,--those languages which give us citizenship in ancient states, until we burn with their patriotic passions, and a seat around ancient roof-trees, until we are entangled with their domestic ties ; -- those languages which lead us through long-lost cities and homes, far more unerringly than we can find our way through such cities and homes when actually laid open from their volcanic inundation ;-those languages which are as a song of the affections, an enthusiasm of the faculties, of our nature, when of itself it was most dignified and sublimated ;-those languages which are full of the aesthetic of beauty and grandeur : those languages to which others, only as they approach them, are graceful, apt, and strong ;-let their cause never be pleaded on grounds of a low expediency, nor hold quarrel for them with "sophis

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »