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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 civilized man, the destined enlargement of his liberty, and his indefeasible title to be instructed in that farreaching 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? 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. It has been begun. The favoured few may sneer. But when Penny Magazines and Reprints were first thrown into circulation, a new æra 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. Condorcet, 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 propen
sion 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 more 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,