Imagens das páginas


guide her advances, we must first be and circulate them. What we want is, guided by them. We must lead her not truths, or bundles of truths on a movements by first watching their di- given subject or set of subjects, stowed rection, then stepping before her, and away for occasional use, but the power clearing the road for her progress. Any to seize, to appropriate and expound the attempt to change her course will but truth on whatever subject may come check, perhaps stop her advances. We before In briet, we want, not need but clear the path of her own stored-up cargoes of thoughts, but the choosing from obstructions, and screen faculty of thinking closely, severely, her progress from collateral deflections. profoundly. Truth, or facts containing Above all we should guard against truth, must indeed be presented to the attempting to kill that which, if let alone, mind, but only that the mind may take will either die soon enough of itself, or up, and assimilate, and incorporate the be transformed, and appear in a shape truth with itself; for the mind is essenof beauty and excellence. Even the tially veriform, and grows but by absuckers cannot always be pulled without sorbing truth. We may lumber in facts, injury to the principal stalk; and, if left nothing is easier than to lumber in facts, to themselves, will often die down into till we suffocate the mind's assimilative nourishment for that which is better. power, and leave it without insight to The mind, in short, must be left in the distinguish, or comprehension to unite soil of nature, that garden of God. We them. In this way' a man may, permay pull away the weeds, to let in the chance, if he be all memory, become a sunshine and the breeze; we may gather mere walking library ; but a keenaround it the aliment of truth, and water sighted, far-seeing, truth-discerning init with the dews of affection; but we telligence he cannot become. Talk not, must not attempt to transplant it. What therefore, of enveloping the student in though its first up-springing be unlovely an encyclopedia of objects to be seen and unpromising, nevertheless touch it and remembered ; your encyclopedic not ; despair ot it not: all the colors envelope shuts out the very light that is and riches of Paradise are sleeping in to render its contents discernible. First its bosom; and a little fostering pa- give the student an eye to see for himtience, a little of the awakening sun- self, and then he will find nature an inshine of love, will in due time disclose finite and everlasting encyclopedia. the heavenly dower!

Stuff him not with a cargo of mere reVarious figures have been employed membered, hear-say truths, to prattle to illustrate the process of education, about and trade with in the business of the only objection to which is, that they life, but discipline him into that depth are altogether false, and convey alto- and ubiquity of insight, which, meeting gether false ideas. For example, the truth everywhere, face to face, may almind has been compared to a vessel, ways discern and embrace her as an allinto which knowledge is to be poured, sufficient, omnipresent friend and guide. as water is poured into a cistern. Again, From what has been said, the proper it has been likened to a store-house, in materials and method of instruction may which ideas, or bundles of ideas, nicely doubtless be easily inferred. The basis done up and labeled, are to be stowed of all right education must of course be away, to be called into use as occasion laid in severe intellectual discipline ; may require. Now these expressions for keenness and clearness of vision are not only convey no truth, but they con- the key to all true knowledge. The vey positive error, and, what is worse, perceptive and reflective powers must practical error. The mind is not a cis- first be drawn out into vigorous, healthtern to be filled, but a principle to be de. ful activity. It is this training and iniveloped. Education is not a stuffing-in, tiating of the intellect, which gives both but a drawing-out; pot a filling-up from insight to discern and comprehension to without, but an evolution from within. grasp the principles of things—which The mind is not to be jugified into a enables the mind to strip off the husk, receptacle of intelligence, but opened- and rive the heart of a matter, and lay out into a perennial, up-gushing foun- bare its living laws,—it is this which tain of intelligence; a well of thought brings success, and the want of which springing up into everlasting truth. It brings defeat, on all our other means of must be made to think, to originate and education. But intellectual discipline issue thoughts, not merely to receive is not all. There is a much wider and deeper culture, a far broader and higher ings; to temper yet intensate the pasdiscipline, which embraces our whole sions; to chasten, and beautify, and enmany-sided being, and of which intellec- rich the imagination ; to give energy tual discipline is but the corner-stone, and discrimination to the taste ; and to altogether indispensable, indeed, but al- unfold that indefinable power of sentitogether insufficient. It is a discipline ment which acts with almost the quickof humanity, producing a confluence ness and sureness of instinct ;-these and co-operation of all the feelings and are really as necessary as to deepen and faculties in one and the same movement. strengthen the intellect, and are essenThe perceptive, reflective, creative, sen- tial parts of that profound and compresitive, and elective powers should all be hensive discipline which every just and drawn out into harmony and conver- generous plan of education contengence. It is this blending and interfu- plates. sion of all the rays, that produces the The means of mere intellectnal dispure white light of a well-cultivated cipline are as various as the objects of mind. Besides, it is vain to disclose human knowledge. Of these means, noble objects to the mind, unless, at the however, the mathematics are, doubtsame time, we give it noble impulses. less, the most perfect in respect of the And in the crowded markets of the understanding alone; but then they world, skill to select is quite as impor- are the most imperfect in respect of the tant as wealth to purchase. Moreover, co-ordinate faculties, and their unfitness to spread the earth before the eye of the for purposes of general discipline lies soul, avails not, unless it have a faculty in their tendency to make mere abto converse with the heavens; for it is stractionists and dialecticians. Their only by the stars that we can direct our relation to various arts and sciences of course aright on the earth, and nothing course renders a knowledge of them less than the everlasting sun çan give indispensable as a preparation for cerus light sufficient even for our worldly tain branches of professional labor; but pursuits. The severe, elective energy as a discipline of humanity, in the proof a well-disciplined taste, and the per- per sense of the term, they are rather a fusive, vivifying grace of a well-disci- hindrance than a help. For the erenplined imagination, are really among the ness and entireness of culture, of which usefulest as well as beautifulest results we have been speaking, the experience of human culture. For it is as impor- of several centuries has fully tested, tant to discern the social and moral fit- and, doubtless, permanently assigned nesses of things, as to perceive their re- the study of the Greek and Latin Clas. lations; to recognize " the Power, the sics. Whether as an introduction to Beauty, and the Majesty of nature, as the study of modern literature, or as to trace her laws and connections. The “ eternal forms of the human mind," follies and failures of men spring quite they evidently merit the unquestionable as often from want of sentiment, as from and almost unquestioned dictinction want of understanding: and the richest they have attained. To a profonnd ores that lie about us are useless with and generous culture, they have long out the fire of noble passions to burn off been, and must long continue to be, in. the dross from the precious substance. dispensable ; for, in so universal a maiTo converse with the higher objects, ter as education, what time has set and pursue the higher aims of human up innovation does not easily blow existence ; to be dignified in submission down; the experience of ages is not and humble in command; to be modest easily set aside by the theories of a in prosperity, and self-reverent in adver- day, and the latter, various as they sity ; to be inflexibly just without eru- have been, have as yet offered no pracelty, and unflinchingly brave without ticable escape from the former. But, audacity ; to meet the just courtesies of aside from this consideration, the Greek society without scanting our duties to language and literature itself is, perourselves; and to recognize the divine haps, the most perfect transcript of the beauty of human life without forgetting human mind in existence. The masthe fearful guilt and degradation of hu- tery of it probably involves a more man character:-all this, assuredly, re- thorough and universal discipline than quires the intervention of other faculties any other single study whatever. Itself than the mere understanding. Το a full-length portrait of our many-gilted quicken, therefore, and subdue the feel. nature; the world's excelling model,

both of thought and of style, both of but even the manner of instruction regrace and of power ; the mould in duced to formularies; it is so much which the mind of modern nations has cheaper and quicker to turn and tend shaped, and the mirror in which it has some teaching machine, gotten up on dressed itself; the awakening and crea- scientific principles, than to study inditive genius of modern civilisation, and vidual character and aptitude. We the shaping and informing spirit of mo- must turn sinners into saints, and dern culture; the study of it, in its dunces into sages, by machinery ; else principles and its structure, affords at how can we work fast enough to satisonce a full development of almost every- fy our huge philanthropy? A knave thing within us, and a full disclo- can distribute tracts as well as a saint, sure of almost everything without us. provided he be paid for it; and with a It was when the minds of both sexes suitable contrivance, such as modern were first formed by the mastery of wisdom profters, a dunce can teach as this divine language, and then enriched well as a sage. Surely, then, a scheme from the store-house of nature herself ; that should supersede the necessity of when Homer, and Plato, and Sophocles, saintship and sageship, would be a most and Demosthenes, formed at once the valuable acquisition ! Doubtless we labor of the closet and the entertain- have laid Providence under vast obligament of the chamber; and when they tions by our systematic patronage. supplied the places both of our fashion. There are those who seem to think able novels and of our useful-knowledge that even Christianity lay bound up in libraries, that England produced her the crysalis until our scientific researchloveliest women and her wonderfulestes and philosophical speculations hatchmen. Whether, therefore, we consulted her out into the butterfly. Within the reason of the thing, or the results of our own recollection, system after sysgeneral experience, or the suffrages of tem has been proposed, all equally arrothe most competent judges, we may gant, and all equally impotent, yet seeksafely assert that, aside from the mathe- ing votes by showing immediate results, matics and strictly elementary branches and whose only effect has been to culof English education, the study of the tivate a passion for system, in a sphere Classics alone might be substituted, where all systematic operations must with far less cost and far more protit, perforce be worse than useless. It for the whole long array of studies and would, doubtless, make much for the text-books and professorships which hopes of mankind, if some teachiny-jenswell the catalogues of our academies ny could be devised, to educate the aband colleges. Alter the mind has been stract idea of a mind, and which the thoroughly formed and disciplined by most ordinary hand could turn and tend these studies, the inexhaustible stores as well or better than the most extraorof nature and of modern literature will dinary head. What with our system of not be open to it in vain. It can then black-boards, and text-books with quesgo nowhere without meeting splendid tions, and approved code of pedagogy, visions, and search nowhere without have not dunces, always so plenty, and finding precious gems. In short, the sages, always so scarce, been brought mind will then have, itself, the key to nearly to the same level for all practithe whole panorama of nature, and sci- cal purposes ? One very obvious advanence, and art; and can select and appro- tage of this method is, that it dispenses priate, at will, such treasures as are with all personal sympathy, and acmost consonant to its taste, or most es- quaintance between teacher and pupil. sential to its aims.

One man can thus teach five hundred In regard to the proper method of in- without even knowing their names, as struction, we have room to say but lit- well as he can teach twenty with a full tle. In this age of abstractions, the knowledge of their individual characgreat trouble with most teachers is, that ters; and, in this way, increase the they aim to instruct, not individual profits to himself, while diminishing the minds, but only the abstract idea of a costs of his employers. To preclude mind. The alleged necessity of educat- the necessity of discrimination in finding all, forces us upon a thousand shifts ing and rewarding teachers, by thus loand expedients for shortening and cheap- cating their qualifications in their pockening the process. In our rage for sys- ets and schoolrooms, is certainly a glotem, we must have not only the matter, rious achievement; glorious alike for its economy and its benevolence. And jects. The true teacher is an artist, not whether we secure good disciplinarians an artisan ; he works by inspiration, not of course matters not; since, under this by mechanism; and to proceed by sysdispensation, pupils soon become wise tem is to degrade teaching from an art enough to govern themselves. Happi- into a mere handicralt. It is with the ly, the system of pedagogical puttery, teacher, as with the painter, whose subinseparable from this state of things, ject, when he succeeds, always seems to has now nearly cracked its own cheeks; paint itself; and his work is never good and the fire, which threatens us, is fast for anything when he knows how he getting smothered with its own smoke. does it. li may even be questioned

Now, it so happens, unfortunately, whether the dependence we place upon that nature gives us no abstract ideas books is not worse than to be entirely to educate, but only individual minds; without them; just as the circulation of and it would be well for us to remember, the Bible and of tracts is thought by that to educate the abstract idea of a many to have done injury, by seeming mind, is, after all, but to exercise the to preclude the necessity of the Church: abstract idea of education. The truth and our present rage for text-books is, is, no person can possibly teach another, perhaps, the best evidence that the true or be taught by another, until and so far idea of instruction is well nigh lost. as they are personally and individually At all events, of this we may be assured, acquainted with each other. In vain do that true instruction always proceeds, we try to secure good instruction by sys- and always must proceed, not by a fixed tematic arrangements; the same system inflexible system, now shrinking or which takes from teachers the power to stretching, and now bending or straightgo wrong, also makes it impossible for ening its subjects, to suit its own prethem to go right. The sooner, there- adjustments; but by “a slow, tentalite fore, we throw our abstractions into the process, requiring a patient study of fire, and make our instruction an in- individual aptitudes, and a constant vadividual process, the better. Our school. riation of means to suit the endless room clock-work not only does nothing varieties of mind." towards supplying the place of brains to A few words touching the utilitarian teachers who have them not, but is sure spirit, which has given birth to so much to obstruct and paralyze the brains of reforming and system-making, will close teachers who have them. The teacher this article. Now, one of the greatest and pupil can give and receive instruc- evils of utilitarianism in education is, tion, just so far and no farther than they that it is suicidal. “He who seeketh are brought to study and know each his life shall lose it,” is as good in phiother. An immediate intercourse, there- losophy as it is in religion ; and the fore, between them is indispensable; and seeming paradox, “ he is oft the wisest the teacher is but separated from the man, who is not wise at all,” is one of pupils by the media through which he the profoundest truths. Too much anxitries to operate. A mind cannot possibly ety to hit the apple agitates the nerves, be produced in the same way as a watch and thus defeats the aim; looking too Mechanical arrangements cannot assist steadfastly at our interest, makes us unthe process of vegetation. The appa- able to see it. Viewed objectively, inratus, by which we try to stretch a tree, deed, and in reference to the last results, will only pull it up by the roots; so that there is no antipathy between the wise we shall only make it look taller by dom of the serpent and the harmlessness stunting or killing it. In short, our of the dove; but, viewed subjectively, abstract method is a perfect outrage on they are as antipathic as heaven and nature, and cannot choose but misedu- hell. The darkest cunning and the cate. We might as well have all our whitest innocence doubtless converge to coats cut to a common shape, such as the same ultimate point; but the crime the abstract idea of the human form, and and curse of the cunning is, that they then fill out or pare down our bodies to never can see this. Self-interest comes fit the coats. But in this matter all of by self-sacrifice; but the spirit of selfcourse know that the dress is to be fitted interest and the spirit of self-sacrifice to the form, not the form to the dress. are utterly incompatible. Truth, if And undoubtedly that method of instruc- honestly sought, will always do more tion is best, which most adapts itself to for us than we can do for ourselves; the wants and peculiarities of its sub- but when pursued as interest, the pur

suit inevitably defeats itself. If we found anything so useful for that purseek first the kingdom of heaven, all pose. The true reformer, in like manthings else shall be added unto us; but ner, always becomes such without · not if we seek the former for the sake knowing it; and those who set up for

of the latter. It is thus that we tind reformers, are generally the greatest our interest by forsaking it, and get pests and nuisances society is afflicted salvation, here and hereafter, by self- with. No men are so dark as those renunciation ; while, by attempting to who are always trying to make their become our own saviours, we utterly light shine ; for they always make lose ourselves. In short, all salvation their bellows so strong as to blow the that is worth the having, comes by fire out, instead of blowing it up. Their faith ; by faith in the Truth, not by fore- hard tugging for truth's sake is but a sight; by oblivion, not by calculation, more cunning form of conceit and selfof interest.

will, and proceeds not so much from a But the genius of utilitarianism of sense of obligation to truth, as from a course aspires to a higher wisdom desire to lay truth under obligation to than is implied in working and wait- them. Those who have deitied their ing. Mammonism and modern phi- own ideas, of course think themselves lanthropy must climb up some shorter qualified and commissioned to construct way to their ends, than the straight the world anew; and many a strutting and narrow path of truth and nature. sophomore has conceived himself wise Instead of asking for wisdom and get- enough to convert the Pope, and has ting riches, they ask for wisdom in mistaken the swellings and crowings order to get riches; and of course miss, of his own pride, for the expansion of as they deserve to miss, them both. the human mind under his instructions. Nature, to preclude the pride or vanity Here, too, the effort and anxiety to do of well-doing, has wisely ordained, that good and be useful, defeats itself. The the triumphs we gain in the service of true benefactor sheds out his influence truth should seem to us the truth's unconsciously, and always loses it in work, not ours; so that when we are proportion as he undertakes consciously doing the most good, we think we are to exercise it. Thus, nature cunningly doing the least, in the same way, and hides from us the good we do, and wisfor a similar reason, that where there dom, to prevent conceit and vanity, alis the most wisdom, there is the least ways steals into us, and steals out of conceit of wisdom. Accordingly, the us, without our knowledge. When we most useful men are always those who, abandon ourselves to truth in love and from love and holy passion, pursue faith, truth flows freely into us and what the world esteems useless. And through us, and heaven is with us in their merit is generally as unknown to hours of self-oblivion, always finding us us as to themselves; for, to us as to children, or making us so. themselves, what they do seems the Nothing, then, is vainer than attemptwork of truth and nature; so that while ing to substitute convictions of interest bringing heaven down to us, they are and utility for noble passions ; such conoften lost in the splendor of their gifts; victions never can ensure, and never and the blessings we owe to their la- ought to ensure, the successful pursuit bors appear to come of their own ac- of knowledge or of any other good... cord. Probably nothing, on the other We have ourselves lived to see study hand, has done so much mischief to well nigh banished from the closet by education, as the exclusive desire to be the perverse efforts of certain moral and useful ; for it is the misery and mean- intellectual financiers to make out a baness of utilitarianism, that while calcu- lance of economical motives in its favor. lating the profits of knowledge, it kills By forcing in such motives we only force the passion for it. For example, the out, or shut out better ones. Those discovery of the occultations and emer- people who believe in going so much on sions of Jupiter's Satellites, after being the belly, and seeking truth for the stomade, was found available for purposes mach's sake, have they not yet learnt, of navigation. But if the discoverer that in the mouths of such seekers the had been in quest only of something to fruits of the tree of knowledge always aid navigation, he probably wonld not turn into ashes and bitterness? It is have thought of looking in that direc- truly high time the money-changers tion, and therefore would not have were scourged out of the temples. What

« AnteriorContinuar »