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Education is the most important element in modern civilization. The future historian will no doubt recognise it as the peculiar characteristic of the nineteenth century, as that potent and transforming principle which is reconstructing the fabric of society and giving impress to the wonderful events of the present age. It may almost be called the business of the age. So far as our own country is concerned, there is no subject of more general and absorbing interest; none which appeals to the reason and conscience with a more authoritative voice. Hence, those who have been legally constituted the guardians and conservators of public welfare encourage it, as the great instrumentality by which vice and erime may be repressed and eradicated, public and private virtue promoted and communities rendered industrious, upright, and happy. It is the palladium of free governments, the only secure and unfailing hope of republican institutions. No subject presents higher claims upon the wisdom of the statesman, the powers of the legislator, the benevolence of the philanthropist, the charities of the Christian.
And what is education? “The lowest claim which any intelligent man now prefers in its behalf,” says the Hon. Horace Mann, "is, that its domain extends over the three-fold nature of man;-over his body, training it by the systematic observance of those benign laws which secure health, impart strength and prolong life;—over his intellect, invigorating the mind, replenishing it with knowledge and cultivating all those tastes which are allied to virtue;—and over his moral and religious susceptibilities also, dethroning selfishness, en
throning conscience and leading the affections outward in
The claims of the BIBLE to the rank of a Classic: and it
In most Protestant countries the Bible is recognised as the basis of all sound education, and an effort to prove its adaptation to this end may seem, to an intelligent Christian audience, like an attempt to demonstrate an axiomatic truth. But amid the changes which modern progress has wrought in the science of education, sehool books have been produced in endless profusion, the horizon of liberal knowledge has greatly expanded its circumference, and objects claiming the attention of the student have been inultiplied an hundred fold. In the general revolution which has ensued, the Bible
has been practically proscribed. If not forinally expelled from college halls, it has been silently removed, like a thriftless student, and, though it still lingers intra penetralia Vestä, it is rarely found in the list of text-books. Is this exclusion wise, is it just? It is freely admitted that the Bible was not intended to teach the trutlis of science, or the principles of art. It was never designed as a standard of useful and polite literature, any more than the productions of Xenophon and Livy, of Virgil anch Homer, were intended for teaching the youth of all time the elements of Greek and Latin. The primary object of its instructions is, the being and attributes of God, the relations of man to his Maker and to his fellowman, and his duties as a rational and accountable creature. One may become a proficient in the physical sciences, in Astronomy, Natural Philosophy, and Chemistry; in mathematics and the ancient languages, without having recourse to the Bible, or seeking one gleam of light from the page of revelation. But when we consider education as a means, and not an end, when we view it as the instrumentality by which the intellectual and moral powers are unfolded and invigorated; by which “the mind is replenished with useful knowledge, and those tastes which are allied to virtue cultivated; by which the affections are led outward in good-will towards men, and upward in gratitude and reverence to God," I think we may safely claim for the Bible a prominent place, at least, in every system of education. I shall consider
I. The Bible as a literary production.--1. Most of the arguments usually advanced in favor of the study of Greek and Latin, apply with equal force to the study of the Scriptures in their original languages. The exercise of translation imparts vigor and comprehension to the youthful mind; awakens the sensibilities to the beauties of composition, gives