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and acknowledged, unless its attainment be looked forward to and from the very beginning prepared for, there is little hope and small chance that any education will be conducted aright; or will ever prove in reality worth the name.
Much labor, much wealth may have been expended, yet thefinal result will too probably warrant the sarcasm of the Scythian traveller Væ quantum nihili! and draw from a wise man the earnest recommendation of a full draught from Lethe, as the first and indispensable preparative for the waters of the true Helicon. Alas! how many examples are now present to my memory, of young men the most anxiously and expensively be-schoolmastered, be-tutored, be-lectured, any thing but educated; who have received arms and ammunition, instead of skill, strength, and courage; varnished rather than polished; perilously overcivilized, and most pitiably uncultivated! And all from inatten tion to the method dictated by nature herself, to the simple truth, that as the forms in all organized existence, so must all true and living knowledge proceed from within; that it may be trained, supported, fed, excited, but can never be infused, or impressed.
Look back on the history of the sciences. Review the method in which providence has brought the more favored portion of mankind to their present state. Lord Bacon has justly remarked, antiquitas sæculi juventus mundi*-antiquity of time is the youth of the world and of science. In the childhood of the human race, its education commenced with the cultivation of the moral sense; the object proposed being such as the mind only could apprehend, and the principle of obedience being placed in the will. The appeal in both was made to the inward man. Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God; so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear. The solution of phænomena can never be derived from phænomena. Upon this ground the writer of the epistle to the Hebrews (c. xi.) is not less philosophical than eloquent. The aim, the method throughout was, in the first place, to awaken, to cultivate, and to mature the truly human in human nature, in and through itself, or as independently as possible of the notices derived from sense, and of the motives that had reference to the sensations; till the time should arrive when the senses themselves might be allowed to present
* Advancement of Learning, B. i.-Ed.
symbols and attestations of truths, learnt previously from deeper and inner sources. Thus the first period of the education of our race was evidently assigned to the cultivation of humanity itself, or of that in man, which of all known embodied creatures he alone possesses, the pure reason, as designed to regulate the will. And by what method was this done? First, by the excitement of the idea of their Creator as a spirit, of an idea which they were strictly forbidden to realize to themselves under any image; and secondly, by the injunction of obedience to the will of a supersensual Being. Nor did the method stop here. For, unless we are equally to contradict Moses and the New Testament, in compliment to the paradox of a Warburton, the rewards of their obedience were placed at a distance. For the time present they equally with us were to endure, as seeing him who is invisible. Their bodies they were taught to consider as fleshly tents, which as pilgrims they were bound to pitch wherever the invisible Director of their route should appoint, however barren or thorny the spot might appear. Few and evil have the days of the years of my life been,* says the aged Israel. But that life was but his pilgrimage, and he trusted in the promises.
Thus were the very first lessons in the divine school assigned to the cultivation of the reason and of the will; or rather of both as united in faith. The common and ultimate object of the will and of the reason was purely spiritual, and to be present in the mind of the disciple—μόνον ἐν ἰδέᾳ, μηδαμῆ εἰδωλικῶς, that is, in the idea alone, and never as an image or imagination. The means too, by which the idea was to be excited, as well as the symbols by which it was to be communicated, were to be, as far as possible, intellectual.
Those, on the contrary, who wilfully chose a mode opposite to this method, who determined to shape their convictions and deduce their knowledge from without, by exclusive observation of outward and sensible things as the only realities, became, it appears, rapidly civilized. They built cities, invented musical instruments, were artificers in brass and in iron, and refined on the means of sensual gratification, and the conveniencies of courtly intercourse. They became the great masters of the agreeable, which fraternized readily with cruelty and rapacity; these being, indeed, but alternate moods of the same sensual selfishness.
* Gen. xlvii. 9.
Thus, both before and after the flood, the vicious of mankind receded from all true cultivation, as they hurried towards civilization. Finally, as it was not in their power to make themselves wholly beasts, or to remain without a semblance of religion; and yet continuing faithful to their original maxim, and determined to receive nothing as true, but what they derived, or believed themselves to derive from their senses, or (in modern phrase) what they could prove à posteriori, they became idolaters of the heavens and the material elements. From the harmony of operation they concluded a certain unity of nature and design, but were incapable of finding in the facts any proof of a unity of person. They did not, in this respect, pretend to find what they must themselves have first assumed. Having thrown away the clusters, which had grown in the vineyard of revelation, they could not, as later reasoners, by being born in a Christian country, have been enabled to do, hang the grapes on thorns, and then pluck them as the native growth of the bushes. But the men of sense of the patriarchal times, neglecting reason and having rejected faith, adopted what the facts seemed to involve and the most obvious analogies to suggest. They acknowledged a whole beehive of natural gods: but while they were employed in building a temple* consecrated to the material heavens, it pleased divine wisdom to send on them a confusion of lip accompanied with the usual embitterment of controversy, where all parties are in the wrong, and the grounds of quarrel are equally plausible on all sides. As the modes of error are endless, the hundred forms of polytheism had each its group of partisans who, hostile or alienated, thenceforward formed separate tribes kept aloof from each
* I am far from being a Hutchinsonian, nor have I found much to respect in the twelve volumes of Hutchinson's works, either as biblical comment or natural philosophy; though I give him credit for orthodoxy and good intentions. But his interpretation of the first nine verses of Genesis xi. seems not only rational in itself, and consistent with after accounts of the sacred historian, but proved to be the literal sense of the Hebrew text. His explanation of the cherubim is pleasing and plausible: I dare not say more. Those who would wish to learn the most important points of the Hutchinsonian doctrine in the most favorable form, and in the shortest possible space, I can refer to Duncan Forbes's Letter to a Bishop. If my own judgment did not withhold my assent, I should never be ashamed of a conviction holden, professed, and advocated by so good and wise a man as Duncan Forbes.
other by their ambitious leaders. Hence arose, in the course of a few centuries, the diversity of languages, which has sometimes been confounded with the miraculous event that was indeed its first and principal, though remote, cause.
Following next, and as the representative of the youth and approaching manhood of the human intellect, we have ancient Greece, from Orpheus, Linus, Musæus, and the other mythological bards, or perhaps the brotherhoods impersonated under those names,* to the time when the republics lost their independence, and their learned men sank into copyists and commentators of the works of their forefathers. That I include these as educated under a distinct providential, though not miraculous, dispensation, will surprise no one, who reflects that in whatever has a permanent operation on the destinies and intellectual condition of mankind at large-that in all which has been manifestly employed as a co-agent in the mightiest revolution of the moral world, the propagation of the gospel; and in the intellectual progress of mankind, in the restoration of philosophy, science, and the ingenuous arts-it were irreligion not to acknowledge the hand of Divine providence. The periods, too, join on to each. other. The earliest Greeks took up the religious and lyrical poetry of the Hebrews; and the schools of the prophets were, however partially and imperfectly, represented by the mysteries, derived through the corrupt channel of the Phœnicians. With these secret schools of physiological theology the mythical poets were doubtless in connection; and it was these schools, which prevented polytheism from producing all its natural barbarizing effects. The mysteries and the mythical hymns and peans shaped themselves gradually into epic poetry and history on the one hand, and into the ethical tragedy and philosophy on the other. Under their protection, and that of a youthful liberty secretly controlled by a species of internal theocracy, the sciences
"I have no doubt whatever that Homer is a mere concrete name for the rhapsodies of the Iliad. Of course there was a Homer, and twenty besides. * * * * I have the firmest conviction that Homer is a mere traditional synonyme with, or figure for, the Iliad. You can not conceive for a moment, any thing about the poet, as you call him, apart from that poem. Difference in men there was in degree, but not in kind; one man was, perhaps, a better poet than another; but he was a poet upon the same ground and with the same feelings as the rest." Table Talk, VI. pp. 312, 400.-Ed.
and the sterner kinds of the fine arts, namely, architecture and statuary, grew up together;-followed, indeed, by painting, but a statuesque and austerely idealized painting, which did not degenerate into mere copies of the sense, till the process, for which
Greece existed, had been completed. Contrast the rapid progress and perfection of all the products, which owe their existence and character to the mind's own acts, intellectual or imaginative, with the rudeness of their application to the investigation of physical laws and phænomena: then contemplate the Greeks (Γραῖοι ἀεὶ παῖδες) as representing a portion only of the education of man; and the conclusion is inevitable.
In the education of the mind of the race, as in that of the individual, each different age and purpose requires different objects and different means; though all dictated by the same principle, tending toward the same end, and forming consecutive parts of the same method. But if the scale taken be sufficiently large to neutralize or render insignificant the disturbing forces of accident, the degree of success is the best criterion by which to appreciate both the wisdom of the general principle, and the fitness of the particular objects to the given epoch or period. Now it is a fact, for the greater part of universal acceptance, and attested as to the remainder by all that is of highest fame and authority, by the great, wise, and good, during a space of at least seventeen centuries-weighed against whom the opinions of a few distinguished individuals, or the fashion of a single age, must be holden light in the balance,—it is a fact, I say, that whatever could be educed by the mind out of its own essence, by attention to its own acts and laws of action, or as the products of the same; and whatever likewise could be reflected from material masses transformed as it were into mirrors, the excellence of which is to reveal, in the least possible degree, their own original forms and natures;-all these, whether arts or sciences, the ancient Greeks carried to an almost ideal perfection: while in the application of their skill and science to the investigation of the laws of the sensible world, and the qualities and composition of material concretes, chemical, mechanical, or organic, their essays were crude and improsperous, compared with those of the moderns during the early morning of their strength, and even at the first re-ascension of the light. But still more striking will the difference appear, if we contrast the physiological schemes and fancies of