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But from this very circumstance arises a more imperious necessity of carefully attending to what yet remains to be accomplished. You
may have taught man what he is; but you have yet to teach him what he ought to be. You may have shewn him that he has powers, that he has energies, of which he was before unconscious; but you have yet to direct him to their proper use.
have put weapons into his hands; but whether to use them to his welfare or to his destruction, he may be still untaught. Should you stop here, and deem the work of Education completed merely by such a developement of his faculties, it may well be doubted, whether, both upon himself and upon society, you have not inflicted an evil, rather than bestowed a good. Until discipline has performed its work; until principles have been instilled, laws of conduct laid down, rules and maxims of life inculcated, with competent sanctions to enforce their observance; all that has previously been done will be but vain and ostentatious show. It will be just enough to create pride, self-sufficiency, disquietude, discontent; to arouse the corrupt appetencies of nature, and to add strength to every inordinate affection ;-but it will provide no counterpoise to evil propensity, no prevailing motive, either of restraint or of encouragement, to give to the mind a proper bias and direction )}tii
It is dangerous, then, to imagine, that the work of Education consists entirely, or even principally, in applying means to unfold the powers of the human mind, or in giving an increased momentum to its natural activity. If nothing more than this were done, society would be left exposed to a formidable conflict between ungovernable spirits, each eager to exercise his strength and inclination in the pursuit of his own object, and the accomplishment of his own purpose,
without regard to any general bond of mutual affection, or of moral influence. Peace and happiness, truth and justice, religion and piety, would still remain undefined and doubtful terms, or unsanctioned, at least, by any authority which could give them effectual sway.
To a similar state would every community be reduced, were the theories of those speculatists to be adopted, who would exclude, from institutions for the Education of the Poor, all systematic views of Religion ; leaving, as it is pretended, matters of Faith and Worship to the unbiassed choice of
individual; as if nothing more were wanted, to determine the human will to what is right and true, than the free exercise of its own
inherent powers. But is this assumption warranted by observation and experience? Does it make due allowance for the known propensity within us to evil; for the severe trial which even the best-disciplined and the most perfect of human beings continually experience in counteracting this propensity? Is it not at variance with what the Scriptures declare of fallen man, and of his inability to will or to do what is good and acceptable, without that sufficiency which cometh from God only?
So far, indeed, is it from being true, that, by increasing the vigour and the expansion of the mental faculties, the necessity of systematic instruction in Religion is superseded'; that, on the contrary, in proportion as their power is thus increased, is this necessity rendered more urgent. It is not in the nature of such faculties, and so excited, to remain inactive, or to be cold and listless when an object of pursuit is offered. The first plausible theory, whether true or false, which is presented to their contemplation, will engage attention; and, if it have any captivating features, will probably take strong hold of the affections ; more especially, if it partake of those qualities 'which most readily fall in with the solicitations of appetite or passion. The first and most essential point, therefore, is to satisfy the cravings of the mind with such knowledge as shall best conduce to its moral, as well as intellectual, strength. As the latter increases, the former must still be enabled to maintain its due ascendancy: and better were it, that the one should be circumscribed even within the narrowest limits, than that it should be suffered to range beyond the control of the other, under no guidance or direction but that of its own undisciplined propensities.
These observations shew the necessity of avoiding two opposite extremes.
The evils generally attendant upon Ignorance seem to have led some greatly to overrate the degree of knowledge which is requisite to a full participation of the benefits of social life. An equalization of knowledge is no less impracticable, and would be no less injurious to the best interests of society, than an equalization of rank and property. As there are “ many members in the body, and 6 all members have not the same office ;" so the degree of knowledge which is suitable, and even necessary to one, may be not only unnecessary, but unsuitable to another, and tend to disqualify him for the duties of his station. But they who are most extravagant in their schemes for enlightening the whole mass of the people, are usually most inclined to depreciate the value of those attainments which are above their reach. Like the level-, lers of rank and property, they aim at 'accomplishing their purpose by lowering others as well as raising themselves; and learning in the one case, as wealth in the other, is made a subject of opprobrium and contempt. Thus the idol of the people, while he inflates their minds with vain confidence and selfsufficiency, endeavours to diminish their respect for any acquirements superior to their own; and deprives them of the benefit they might otherwise derive from deference to the judgment of those who are best qualified to direct them.
i Rom. xii. 4.
On the other hand, the evils attendant upon false knowledge, or knowledge perverted and abused, have induced many to conclude, that it were better to leave the Poor in a state almost destitute of mental cultivation, than to risk such fearful consequences. To these we may reply, that, to say nothing of the odious selfishness of such a sentiment, the expediency or inexpediency of withholding knowledge from the Poor, is a point which comes now too late to be considered. The