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ness of feeling before which fashions and expedients sooner or Iater must give way. It is thinking out great questions. It is pressing forward in the highway of mighty principles. The toy and the gewgaw no more can divert, no longer can deceive. There is inward energy. The fire enfolds itself. New impressions are made. All awakes and stirs. Let the course be observed and watched. But let not men, in their "tricks" of a "little brief authority," tamper with it. The giant is rising up,—withe, rope, and web, and even beam, are alike weak to bind him!
There is that which is yet farther removed from the ken of governments. It is not psychological problem or national development, — it is the vitality of Christian motive. They understand, and sagaciously enough, how men will huckster the gold of the temple, while they make it their house of merchandise. They know what religion means in the mouth of those who regard it as their gain, and wield it for their aggrandisement. But most of them have yet to learn that there is a hidden principle, fed by a celestial influence, in constant exercise wherever beats the renewed heart. That is unselfish, pure, generous, unwearying. It seeks not praise of men. It asks no reward, but the success of its benevolence. It goes about doing good. And in this land, amidst its religious distributions, how intense is the ardour of Christian zeal! It knows not repose nor check. It is in unabating influence. Legislation could only mar
and encumber such a spirit. Would you dig into the spring to assist it? Would you, by lever, enforce the growth of vegetation? The impulse of Christian principle is quite as much of its own nature, of its own progress, of its own self-evolution. Kings may "assemble;" when they "see it" they may "marvel:" yet need they not be "troubled nor haste away." It is no defiance. It is no usurpation. It is not "imperium in imperio." It gently rises and meekly spreads. It adorns the strongholds of power which would otherwise only lour in their forms, and often binds them when otherwise they would crumble amidst their breaches,—as the moss, with its little flower, often relieves, and, with its cementing fibre, strengthens, some nodding pile or threatening ruin!
Of one thing we are assured. The enemies of education must fail. They have no hold on truth. They have no resting-place in fact. For then neither the past furnishes experience, nor the future encouragement. They are counter-worked by all principle and all opinion. The entrenchments of physical force can no more avail them. A thought is stronger than a sword! A printing-press has more sway than a park of artillery, and a schoolmaster can put an army to flight! Tyrants have already fallen before this new power. Dyonisius is at Corinth!
We are bound in our system of education to cherish, with great steadfastness and benevolent approval, particular views of man. Others may instruct him in order to repress. We would interpret his characteristics as bis destinies. To those destinies we would lift up all the knowledge which we impart. We desire his perfect development.
Man is a creature of progress, whenever found in circumstances of civilization. Popular institutions have an expansive principle in them. The human mind, which naturally contains this tendency, is quickened in its advancement by the social element. We believe that the species, with many reverses and retardations, has gradually improved. Its own law of progress has been resisted, but could not be utterly destroyed. It satisfies the argument to show that there never was such an amount of all that enters into the civic good of man,—knowledge, law, liberty, refinement, invention, wealth,—at any given period, as now subsists, since the world began. Like crosscurrents of the ebb, we have beheld the contentions which would thwart this law of human progress,— but as such currents only precede and indicate the turning of the tide, so now we mark the flow and predict the flood. Our plan of educating the people must agree with this noble bias, and chief distinction, of our nature. Far be from us the injustice and madness of withstanding such a power of development and pledge of acceleration! We may seek to guide it,—to stop it is an attempt as impious as vain. The darkness of a general ignorance can never again cover the nations. The civilization of the world can never more recede. We must treat man accordingly. We must provide him for his journey and equip him for his race.
Man, as seen in his present external condition, will certainly lay claim to greater liberty. Governments will 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 (liminution. 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 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, require 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. 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 winning 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 secured 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 presume on nothing of mere opinion, but that we 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