Abbildungen der Seite

founded on knowledge or ignorance sedate, thoughtful, orderlyit mixes of human nature and its most mo with a father's love to his children mentous concerns.

in divers ways--partly in teaching That Education we then hold to be them, as he will be by his secular comparatively of little worth, which instruction better able to be a reliis entirely an Education of Intellect, gious or moral teacher to them. He and not at all of Will. What is all the who studies astronomy or natural evil of life but a disordered will ? history may find in them just grounds What other ignorance so mischie- of adoration and gratitude. But not vous-so fatal, as the ignorance of necessarily som for according to the the will disturbed and darkened ? will is the feeding of the soul on its From that disturbance and darkness, knowledge; it is poison or immortal what dreadful passions rise up, not fruits. The will hallows the knowonly to destroy all peace and all vir- ledge, or makes it wicked. Observe, tue in the individual whom they per- too, and we ask you to do so from no petually torment, but in league and wish to undervalue Science, that the union with kindred powers in many adoration drawn from speculative other hearts to agitate the whole knowledge is much weaker than that frame of society, and lay its fairest proceeding from the personal inciscenes desolate! Knowledge may dents of common life. A poor man, and does work directly towards the receiving his daily meal, as he berestoration of the will. But from lieves, from the hand that feeds the that to reason generally about the young ravens when they cry, has a importance of knowledge, is to de- stronger and more efficient sort of ceive ourselves, and to expect effects gratitude, than he who derives it from an inadequate cause. The kind from contemplation. Yet it is reof knowledge that can effectually and quisite, too, that the spirit which permanently clear and enlighten the does put forth the eagle-wings of will is soon circumscribed and de- thought, should, in Intellect and Imafined—moral and religious. You may gination, still find religion, that its say, that the will cannot give religion, great powers may be good to it, and because religion is doctrine,and facts not its bane. But we are not to beand truths, out of the acquisition of gin to seek God above the stars. the faculties, and which must be de • He is not far from every one of clared. True-God has done his us.” part, and given us revelation. These Thus, then, there is an effect of truths are couched in few words, and secular instruction which works back soon conveyed. Where lies the great into the higher order of effects—but difficulty of this knowledge but in not necessarily—although, when it the will, which is unrecipient not does, most momentous. For, suppoalways by direct purposed opposition, sing a truly moral people, well taught but by earth and desires of earth for the next world, it may easily be clinging to it, and in a way it cannot conceived that a geireral diffusion of understand ; palsying, as it were, knowledge, making them an intellecthe very spirit, when most eager to tually, as well as morally instructed aspire to heaven? Is there any in- people, would raise their whole chastance of a soul perfectly spiritual, racter, as well as their whole power and withal perfectly meek, that ever greatly, and be really of prodigious found insuperable difficulty in em importance. The error, and it is one bracing the highest and greatest doc- into which many philanthropists have trines? So it is said—“they that will fallen, is to think of founding on into do the will of my Father shall tellect, to build thereon will; the know of the doctrine;" that is, by the right course being to found in will, very act of willing, steadily main- and to build thereon intellect-thé tained, shall acquire the knowledge. right course, if there be truth in the

Undoubtedly the best effects of words of the Most High. secular instruction are also of a mo It is not possible, therefore, for any ral kind, but indirectly, and not in person, holding the opinion which we the very highest degree. Many of have now expressed, to speak in perthe habits and tempers of such in- fect consent with the present zeal struction are excellently good. It for Education. We must suppose it, induces domesticity-it is tranquil, in this mistaken, that it too often

overlooks, disregards, or misunder- have been the most scientific man of stands moral effects. Neither intel- his age, and yet not a man of great lect, nor its tuition, are necessarily virtue-nor would our minds have moral. This many of the most zeal been greatly surprised or shocked, ous educationists seem not to know. had such knowledge and such talents

They seem to think that intellectis vir been found disunited from great virtue and happiness. What is the truth? tue. They command reverence, by If you try to conceive a human being the power, both producing and proin his perfection, you, no doubt, con duced; but surely a moderated and ceive him walking in the light of in inferior reverence, not one to take tellect. But there are two kinds of place of a moral estimate. Finally, knowledge, objective and subjective. take knowledge, practical, and detachKnowledge objective is knowledge ed from or opposed to will, as in many of objects in and among themselves. great conquerors, and we then feel Knowledge subjective is knowledge that knowledge is something altogeof objects in their relation to, and as ther different from virtue. Any menthey affect the mind knowing—the tal power, at its height, dazzles us, mind or person being called, some- absorbs our contemplating faculty, what perplexingly, perhaps, by logi- but may give little light on its genecians, the subject. Now he who is ral moral effect. The moral effect of strong in either kind commands reve- knowledge merely objective, which rence, and seems to be achieving the is that of education on common men, duty of his being; but we would say, seems to be this—that it amends and that he who knows objectively seems raises them by drawing force of will rather to walk in power-he who from common passions into a spiknows subjectively to walk in light. ritual power. Besides, it raises, and Galileo and Newton appear to us tri- in some degree amends, as it guides umphing spirits. The sovereign and them in their actions relative to sole power of intellect swallowing up things external and objective. The their life, appears to have something injury is, or may be, that it destroys consecrating, in our estimation. We simplicity of faith. The character do not ask about the will of such of the understanding of children and men--perhaps we fear to do so, lest of the common people, is, that feelwe should find a flaw, some evil ing their own knowledge to be exlurking there that might bring down tremely limited, they readily supthe starry Galileo from his throne in pose, and are ever prone to believe, the skies, and shew him, like our existences and powers out of their selves, a child of dust. Here, how own knowledge, and that to any exever, the intellect was purely con tent. This is a true state of mind, templative, and the subject solem- for it is a disposition representing their nizes the faculties. Take, then, Ly- real power.

Instructed men have curgus, Solon, or Numa, who were this not, but the reverse,--a persuapractical men, and busied themselves sion that their present knowledge with the concerns of this world and contains reality, possibility, every this life. Observe, that in them we thing, which is a state in the utmost always suppose great subjective, as degree false. This is the reason of well as great objective knowledge,- all incredulity—a prevalent temper or rather that they have treated sub- of the last half century, coming with jective knowledge objectively, and knowledge, and not yet extinguished. that they well knew themselves, and Undoubtedly, by the diffusion of inregulated their own minds by noble struction, as it is contemplated, we laws. Besides, they legislated for shall in some produce this temper, the public good, and thereby they perhaps in great numbers. The highproved their virtue, and we believe est philosophy returns to the pristhem to have been virtuous. Take, tine humility of ignorance-only an then, knowledge, practical, objective, enlightened, instead of a dark humiand limited in its objects, such as lity. It has measured finiteness in that of the illustrious Watt. We know the presence of infinitude. No man, that he was a man of virtue; but we if


ask him, “Do you know every have little or no reason for believing thing ?” will answer “ Yes, I do;" that, from his merely having impro- but, nevertheless, that is his virtual ved on the steam engine. He might belief. For his understanding is shut

against, and denies every thing he every hour. This is our moral dedoes not know.

pendence-far more than institutions Now, what is the remedy for this which have been transmitted to us, among the people ? To have it re- more than opinions, than the antique medied first among philosophers, authority at least of opinions, which also by the predominance of moral have been inculcated upon us, and over intellectual tuition. This false which we are zealous to inculcate, persuasion does not necessarily come handing down their authority. Instiwith knowledge, but is induced by tutions and opinions may dissolve; the undue excitation of self-esteem but these are two living sources of in the progress of knowledge, the an- good ever springing, which cannot nexation of the idea of self to the fail. These must be our dependence knowledge attained, till all know- for the lower classes as for the high ledgelying beyond, wholly out of that er not ignorance, not, if that be in attained, and especially knowledge any countries, the jealous, hereditary contradicting that attained, and that guardianship of Ignorance. which lies wholly out of it will often The character of the Will of a peoseem to contradict it, comes like a ple is, that the Ideas to which it is contradiction of self, and " is with attached are few, but embraced with spattering noise rejected." There strong feeling, either with passionate is, indeed, a “ Beyond,” to which affections, or with habits of life rethe knowledge attained visibly leads, volving round and on them. Some but that is very different; and a of those ideas are presented by what glimpse of it, instead of repelling, is every day before them, some by tempts the mind onwards by the lure national recollections, some by inof light. This disposition often ap- struction, some, most and best, by Repears as conceit in the young, but it ligion. In earlier states of society, was a terrific vanity in an age. It is every day presents objects to which the error of the mind new to know- passionate feeling cleaves with imaledge, and beginning attainment. The agination, (as in clans, or in simple delusion of an age, suddenly inflated, feudality, their Chief,) or where every and inflamed with an idea of immense man is a warrior for his country, as superiority over those that have pre- among the Sabines, the Spartans, the ceded. It will be the error of minds Athenians of old-or nature gives always, individual, national, secular, great objects blended with warlike which in all their acquisitions, feel patriotism, as in Switzerland. In comthemselves more than their subjects. mon countries where this primitive If it has arisen throughout an age state has passed, the recollection long that is, in many nations at once, and remains; as in the ballads and tradihas lasted a season-it does not ne- tionary poetry of a people which turn cessarily last. It produces acknow-back generally to those times, and ledgment, perhaps humiliation, per- lighten up and tenderly draw the imahaps regret, perhaps remorse — a gination, and perhaps clothe the fields contrary revulsion of the understand- and hills. But a time comes when even ing—a clearer discernment of the this lingering dream of the old existruth which has been abandoned or tence is swept away, and men remain violated-a consciousness of follow- with the earth, and what it can yield ing mischiefs to be blotted out, ba- them, and the realities that are not of lanced, or expiated. Letus not speak, this earth. For that time it is that we then, only of the common people, have now to provide. What is there but of the highest instructed—the now for their warm elevated will ? leading orders of nations—of this na- Certainly, first of all, Religion. Notion, and what is our dependence for thing else can be imagined to them their morality? Not precisely and very elevating. To us these can-imsingly the augmentation of know- agination with all her works-human ledge, but, independently of what is ambition-science. But to the poor given them not human, that which man, it is Religion or nothing. Attend was formerly stated—the constitu- next to his domestic affections, which, tion of the human soul full of what without this, are strong, clear, yearndemands morality, and the constitu- ing instincts-with it,are hopeful,awtion of the world teaching morality ful, and high. It is the same with -teaching it in the experience of his just, wise sympathy with his fel

low-men, and proper love to his Knowledge to them,--except of the country. The great difficulty, then, great truths of religion and morality, is to find knowledge that will take which are also a business and the hold on the will of the

man. In

same to all men,--the moment it goes the higher classes, we do not regard beyond the humble circle in which this. Better with them, no doubt, their life moves, must be considered, when the instruction falls in with chiefly, as in part recreative and the character of the mind, of the in- restorative, and in greater part as a tellect, of the nature,and that it embra- moral re-agent. It is otherwise with ces its knowledge, passionately; for the higher orders—with whom knowsuch knowledge is more effective; ledge is a business in a double sense. but it is not absolutely necessary. In In the first place, there are those who structed they must be, for their know- devote themselves to speculative ledge gives them their rank-makes knowledge to any branch or branchthem feel it, and for the most part, es of it and with whom and in their that is reckoned enough. It gives them hands, is the extension, one might alsomething to talk about; a partici- most sometimes say the conduct, of pation in the work of society, and in human knowledge. In the second its discourse; and farther, a reput- place, the sphere of their action is able occupation of a deal of super- high and wide, and often demands, fluous time. But with the poor, or is always much the better of, general inferior man, you wish to see some- knowledge. What knowledge is usething more solid in his knowledge- less to the theologian, the lawyer, or that it should bear upon and touch the statesman, of a highly civilized himself, his character, and his trade. country? Besides their labour, whatYou wish to see in him a stronger erer their calling, is intellectual, and and more appropriating feeling of therefore asks that intellectual dishis knowledge, which converts it cipline, that formation or preparainto aliment of his strength, and of tion of the powers of the mind, which his very bodily power.

is to be found only in contest with vaIt will be asked, then, what know- rious high and abstruse studies. The ledge should be communicated to higher classes, too, feel themselves the lower orders ? If the question concerned in parts of knowledge regards the subject of knowledge, we which they do not particularly study, answer first and generally, the same looking upon knowledge as a great as to the higher. If within the subject, war which they are all carrying on it regards the manner of teaching together,—where everything gained it, there is this essential difference, tells. To animate, cherish, point this --that as their opportunity is limit- feeling, their knowledge should be ed, there must be selected for them, more various and extended. They in each subject, what is of primary should in some measure know, that importance to them as men whose they may know how to care for sublot it is to live by the sweat of their jects which they will not particubrow. Also, it is for many reasons larly pursue. very important, that discrimination be Generally speaking, then, but with made in each, between what is most the differences now pointed out, the certainly established, and what is subjects must be the same to both ; conjectural and doubtful, presenting because the same worlds, the same to them as much as possible the first fields, the same matter are before and not the second. There is this both the same faculties are in both further ground of distinction, that to the desires instigating those faculthe lower orders, knowledge is not ties into action, are naturally the their business,—that is, not to the same, though in these considerable great lower order, those who render difference will be made by condition. the daily labour of their hands to the History will interest both,—and poetuse of others. Their business is to ry,—and nature. No doubt more abrender a prescribed and taught, and, stract studies will to a degree also. for the most part, a very simple, and The same feelings which turn our a uniformly recurring labour. Their minds with interest on the consideracalling, then, is in a great measure tion of the curious organ of the exindependent of knowledge, except pression of thought and feeling

--Lanwhat is communicated to them in it. guage will interest theirs also; and

no doubt they will have pleasure in nothing exactly answering in physical justly acquiring, and in properly un-' science. Nevertheless, the issue is derstanding and using, language. But the same, though no such striking and here there is a difference,- for the widely-diffused result of science is to educated to higher labour, should beshewn, namely, that the knowledge learn the most perfect and artfully of the causes and their laws is to man constructed languages which men the command of the effects. have spoken, were it only for the Secondly, the reaction of knowsubtle cultivation of intellectual ledge, and of the pursuit of it, on the power that is obtained in the mere faculties which seek it, is most imacquisition of them. To one of the portant to all men—the invigorating people it may be quite enough to of intellect, the principles of reasonknow his own.

ing acquired, the habit of its exerObserve that there is a difference, tion, acuteness, subtlety, discriminain the two cases, in the moral effects tion, comprehensiveness—these reof knowledge. The highly educated sults of study remain; even if the finds in his ardent and powerful pur- knowledge, in attaining which they suit of knowledge a sympathy with were acquired, were afterwards abanall those who are also pursuing it. doned as useless, or could be obliteHe feels that he marches in the van rated; they remain, and are transferof the conquests of human intellect. red to every new pursuit. This feeling, in many ways great, but Thirdly, the affections that accomespecially moral, by the manner in pany knowledge are the same. For which it binds him, first to a cer- instance, the moral emotion with tain division of mankind, and then which the recital of great and good to all the species, is peculiar to him deeds is heard or read—the wide, who has leisure to sweep the whole profound, and variously enriched range of his science—and it always sympathy with which the great hishas been a very powerful agent of tory of our species is contemplated civilization. To the humbler instruct -the most solemn feelings, not unled this feeling cannot be ; at least it mixed, indeed, with those of delight, is in a far inferior degree.

which accompany the study of the But the effects of knowledge on

Works and of the Word of God. To the higher and on the lower orders the poorest man, if he have a heart of society, supposing them both to be and a soul, what a treasure the reliwell educated, are essentially the gious feelings which accompany the same. To know causes, and the laws study of nature ! The moral sensiby which they act, is, if the causes bilities which are set aflow by the are within human reach, and the par- contemplation of heroic virtues ! ticular case within ours, to command the pathetic transports with which a the operation and the effects. This peasant's heart may beat in recollecttakes place in the field of physical ing the actions of great heroes of old, nature. The science of the last and the high deliverers of their country, present century has shewn this in new 66 The Patriot Tell the Bruce of Ban. and extraordinary splendour. It takes nockburn !" place in the field of moral nature. Finally, there is the feeling of selfThis has been verified from the be- respect which is excited by intellecginning of the world in all those, who, tual attainment, and the hopeful, joypublicly or privately, have, by their ful feeling which runs on with the knowledge of humanity, governed labour and progress of the acquisimen, personally, or by powerfully- tion; and effects rather than feelings, conceived institutions. But moral has the health of mind which waits upon never been placed in the same clear vigorous, well-supported, but not exevidence with physical science. Its cessive exertion, as the body receives principles have not been certainiy health from its own activity; and, found and stated, and doubt removed lastly, the blamelessness and perfect from them. If stated, they are not innocence of employment. communicated as certainly and easily The greater part of these effects as those of physical truth, because are alike to one Order and to another, the mind that receives must, notwith- except, perhaps, the first; to wit, the standing, also supply the data from power which knowledge gives. Howitself, in a manner to which there is ever, that also--for though the sphere

« ZurückWeiter »