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TAE TRUE DESIGN OF EDUCATION.
that I have reaped as large a harvest from it as the owner. It is possible to make the whole universe our own. But more than this—we can make God our own, and what need we more if we possess the Supreme Good ?
“For some time past I have been rejoicing in the consciousness of restored health, but how possible it is to be deceived ! To my great surprise I had a return of the expectoration of blood this morning. It was only a small quantity, but it gives no favourable indication of the state of my lungs.
“I should like us to have more communication with each other. I have been thinking that if we both kept a kind of Journal it would afford us mutual benefit and pleasure. I often wish to say a few words to you, but shrink from the effort of formally commencing a letter. If you approve of the plan let me know in your next. There is no necessity for a daily record. Write when it is convenient.”
Here are two extracts on education which well merit the attention of parents and teachers. The former relates principally to the design of education, the latter to the manner in which it should be conducted :- -“Many seem to have forgotten the end of education. The object is the harmonious development of all the capacities and susceptibilities of human nature. What is the precise cultivation under which the mind will be best unfolded is an inquiry not easy to answer in definite terms. General principles may be laid down but the difficulty lies in their application. If every mind be educated in the best possible way, no two will receive precisely the same treatment. Such a state of perfection cannot however be looked for, yet we ought to make as near an approach to it as possible. There is a radical error in many plans pursued. It has been the aim of teachers to bend the minds of their pupils to their system of discipline, instead of adapting the means of moral and in
tellectual culture as far as possible to the peculiarities of each pupil. The results flowing from such a course are highly injurious, especially upon spirits of refined sensibility."
“In effecting any change in human character, it is best to follow out as far as possible the laws which regulate our existence. When those laws are neglected, or their operations crossed by artificial arrangements, many evils must follow. In nothing, perhaps, is this truth more exemplified than in the culture of the human mind. The Creator has communicated to man certain faculties which require culture in order to their full manifestation.
The objects and scenes with which he is connected are designed to exercise those faculties, and as they are various so should be his circumstances. One faculty should not be cultivated at the expense of the rest. The reasoning powers should not be exercised so as to destroy the fairer and more delicate productions of imagination. Memory should not usurp the place of judgment. The mental powers should not wither up the gentler faculties of our social nature. If the social feelings be not cultivated all other culture will be comparatively useless, for it is only by coming in contact with our fellow-men that we can hope to benefit and improve them. But these feelings can find their proper scope and stimulus in actual society only. If they are developed in an artificial community they will be cast in a mould not adapted to mankind in general. Upon these principles I think that those who recommend seclusion from the world in the improvement of the intellect have made a great mistake. In the attempt to raise one part of the structure to an unnatural height they throw down all the rest, and even render that comparatively useless."
I here present a number of terse utterances bearing on the importance of communicating thought :
“Endeavour to be always either gaining or communiÆTAT. 21] ON THE COMMUNICATION OF THOUGHT.
cating knowledge. Communication is as important as acquisition. It relieves the mind, gives a new tone to its energies, and prepares it for renewed exertion. It gives a complete command over our intellectual resources. Many kinds of truth are incomplete until they are invested with the colouring of emotion."
“Thought improves and strengthens by expression. A good habit of expression can be acquired only by constant practice. Hold communication with every class. They all
. reflect your ideas and thus impart additional light.”
“Thought is most powerful in a condensed form. The analogy of nature supports this view. Our Saviour's ministry presents a striking example. Matured wisdom appears to prefer this mode of developing itself. The man who uses fewest waste words wields the greatest power.”
“In composition exhibit only results; they are all that men in general care about. If the heaps of lumber accumulated in
books were removed, but little would be left. It is the spirit of men's writings we should seize. A few sentences will often convey whole pages of the lucubrations of learned heads."
Style must be formed by writing much with a clear head and warm heart. Perspicuity and energy will then be secured. If only my mind can be brought to operate with ease and vigour, it will spontaneously select the best words. I detest sentences of a measured length. Nature indicates an intermixture of long and short. Sometimes one wants to represent thought by a single stroke ; at other times it is necessary minutely to delineate its features.”
“ Conversation and writing express the thoughts of the human mind ; music its feelings. It gives vent to those deep, mysterious, and delicate emotions of the soul which words cannot represent.”
AT HOWDEN. One characteristic of genius—The influence of
a good thought incalculable—The Elizabethan writers -His distribution of time-Action an important means of moral improvement-Early rising—The sure and only means of avoiding rash judgments—Aphorisms relative to mental and moral habits.
DURING the last two months Mr. Hessel had been giving the reins to his intellectual energies much too freely. The expectoration of blood he mentions in the preceding chapter was no doubt punitive as well as monitory. We cannot over-draw at the physical, any more than at the commercial, treasury, without re-payment, with large, sometimes enormous, interest. Though he had no attack of hemorrhage he was for some months the victim of considerable debility. His Journal supplies palpable proof of this. It required the time between the 28th of Feb. and the 3rd of Nov. to fill a memorandum book of the same size as the one he had previously filled between the 5th of Dec. and the 20th of Feb. No entry is of any considerable length. Occasionally there is a record to this effect :“Have not much strength for study. Severe mental efforts lay me prostrate.”
15th. “Material for reflection is what I want. It is folly in me to encumber myself with many things that may
be useful to others. There is danger of being led astray by others, and thus not arriving at that precise sphere for which I am most fitted.”
16th. “It is surprising to notice the different associations which different minds form. To some men one cannot speak with ardour on any subject, but some term employed ÆTAT. 21] THE BEST AID TO THE BEST KNOWLEDGE.
will excite a number of degrading associations never contemplated. These minds, unable to catch the scope and aim of the speaker, select some part of his description which they wrest from its purpose, invest with their own degrading imagery, and then cavil at it.”
“If one's circumstances are not of a character to kindle ardour it is well to create such if possible. Fairly commit yourself, and then summon every energy to meet the exigency.”
“The illumination of the Spirit is worth more than all the books in the world as an aid to the knowledge of those truths which most concern me. Why should I be so anxious for human, and so indifferent to Divine, knowledge ? My aim as to this world shall be humble, in order that it may take a sublime flight into that which is to come.”
“There are many delusions in the world ; I wish to see through them. The high opinions of others can do me no real good unless I possess genuine excellence. I trust I can say before God that I had much rather be felt by my fellowmen than talked of by them.”
21st. “Draw maps upon the tablet for recreation—an excellent plan to learn geography by amusement.”
25th. “Genius feels its own wants and finds means to supply them.
It cultivates itself. It may avail itself of the assistance of other minds, but can never submit to their control. By the law of nature it gains the ascendancy.”
“Learning is useless unless applied to the practical purposes of life. Let me seek to make immediate good use of all I acquire. The more I turn it over the more good it will do to others, and the more valuable it will become to myself.”—The first sentence of this paragraph needs qualification. It by no means follows that because the Latin, Greek, and Euclid, which a youth has acquired, cannot be