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is the certain mark of a contracted education. For hence the student is led to form a dislike to occupations dissimilar to his own, and to entertain prejudices against those who exercise them. He is liable to view mankind and their employments through a wrong and a discoloured medium, and to make imperfect, if not false estimates of their use and value. In order to prevent such contractedness of disposition, and such errors of judgment, what method can be more efficacious, than to open some of the gates of general knowledge, and display its most beautiful prospects to his view?
Such prospects, distinctly and deliberately surveyed, will produce the most beneficial effects upon his temper and opinions. While they place before him the means of increasing his information, they will render him a more correct judge of its value, and secure him from conceit, affectation, and pedantry. They will render him more capable of appreciating the relative importance and comparative merit of different studies, when referred to the use and ornament of life. He will discern the natural affinity which subsists between the different branches of polite literature, and how capable they are of increasing the influence, and improving the beauties of each other. In short, various pursuits, skilfully chosen and assiduously followed, can give proper activity to every faculty of the mind, inasmuch as they engage the judgment, the memory, and the imagination, in an agreeable exercise, and are associated for one beneficial purpose—like the genial drops of rain, which descend from heaven, they unite in one common stream to strengthen and enlarge the current of knowledge.
By studies thus diversified the mind is supplied with copious materials for the serious reflexions of retirement, or the lively intercourse of society; it is enabled, by the combination of many particular ideas, to form those general principles, which it is always eager to embrace, which are' of great use in the conduct of life, and may prove in every situation pleasing and advantageous. In short, such a plan is calculated to disseminate that knowledge, which is adapted to the present improved state of society, to divest learning of pedantry, and to afford the scholar some insight into the researches of the philosopher, the occupations of thejman of business, and the pleasures of the man of taste.
And as the arts and sciences bestow mutual assistance, and reflect mutual light, so are they highly efficacious and beneficial when combined with professional knowledge. To some professions indeed they are essentially necessary, to all they are ornamental. They afford illustrations which render professional studies more easy to be understood, and they furnish supplies which are conducive to their complete success.
Every one must allow, that all systems of education, if constituted upon right principles, should be well adapted to the situations of those, for whose service they are intended. In selecting the topics of the following work, I have therefore considered young men, with a view to their most important relations in life, as Christians, as Students, and as Members Of The British Empire, the welfare and prosperity of which depend upon the usefulness of their attainments, and the respectability of their conduct.
It is evident from general observation, that the principles of religion are congenial with the mind of man: for even among tribes the most barbarous and uncivilized, whether we explore the wilds of Africa, or the shores of the Pacific Ocean, where the capacities of the inhabitants are narrow and limited, and very fews virtues are remarked to expand and flourish; some traces of religion, some notions of an Omnipotent and Over-ruling Power, darkened as they may be by gross superstition, are still found to prevail. And even in the civilized country of France, where the impious abettors of the Revolution proceeded so far as to insult the reason of an enlightened people, by compelling them to abjure their faith in their Creator and their Redeemer, how difficult has it been found to produce even external conformity to their decrees; and with what ardour are the people returning to the open profession of Christianity, now their rulers are fully aware of the expediency of its revival and public exercise!
appears therefore, that to inculcate those principles of religious duty, which the mind naturally invites, and to improve its capacity for the reception of the most sublime truths, is no more than a just attention and due obedience to the voice of nature.
And as the truth of Christianity is founded upon the strongest arguments, and unites in the closest union our public and private, our temporal and eternal happiness, it justly forms the ground-work of education. The attributes of the great Creator—his power as the author, and his goodness as the governor of the universe—the bright image of the Saviour of the world, as represented by the holy Evangelists his actions marked by the purest benevolence, his precepts tending immediately to the happiness of man, and his promises capable of exciting the most exalted and most glorious hopes, are peculiarly calculated to strike the imagination, and interest the sensibility of youth. Such sublime topics, inculcated upon right principles, cannot fail to encourage those ardent sentiments of
love, gratitude, and veneration, which are natural to susceptible and tender minds. Since therefore the same principles which are congenial with the dispositions of young men are most conducive to their happiness; since, in short, the evidences of Christianity are miraculous ;—since it is an express revelation of the will of God, and as such we can have no pretence to reject its proofs, and no right to resist its claims to our observance; it must be unquestionably a subject of transcendent importance, and therefore stands as the first and leading topic of my work.
As the knowledge of Language is intimately connected with every other kind of information, and as in the languages of ancient Greece and Rome are preserved some of the noblest- productions of human genius, I assign to these subjects the next place.
In recommendation of Our Own Language it is superfluous to have recourse to arguments. All who are acquainted with it, foreigners as well as natives, must be convinced of its excellence, particularly as it is the vehicle of productions eminently distinguished by genius, taste, learning, and science.
And as language should be considered not merely as a channel to convey our thoughts upon common occasions, but as capable of ornament to please, and of energy to persuade mankind; and as such improvements are both gratifying and beneficial to society, proper attention is due to the study of Eloquence.
Cicero, the most celebrated of Roman orators, has very justly remarked, that ignorance of the events and transactions of former times condemns us to a perpetual state of childhood: from this condition of mental darkness we are rescued by History, which supplies us with its friendly light to view the instructive events
of past ages, and to collect wisdom from the conduct of others. And as there are particular countries, from which we have derived the most important information in religion, in arts, in sciences, and in literature, we ought carefully to inspect the pages of their interesting records.
The most ancient people, of whom we have any authentic accounts, are the Jews: to them was communicated, and by them was preserved, the knowledge of the true God; while all other nations were sunk in the most abject superstition, and disgraced by the grossest idolatry.
The writers of Greece and Rome have recorded such numerous and such eminent instances of the genius, valour, and wisdom of their countrymen, as have been the just subjects of admiration for all succeeding ages; for which reason the accounts of Their MeMorable Transactions ought to be carefully inspected before we proceed to survey the History Of Modern Europe, and Of Our NATIVE Country.
As reason is the noblest faculty of the human mind, it is of the highest importance to consider its proper employment, more especially as upon its co-operation with religion in controlling the flights of the imagination, and abating the violence of the passions, depends the happiness of life. That system of Logic, therefore, which consists not in abstruse terms, or argumentative subtlety, but in the manly exercise of the rational powers, justly claims an important place in every system of education.
The various discoveries and improvements in Science and Philosophy constitute a peculiar distinction between ancient and modern times. Problems of science, like the arguments of logic, employ the mind in