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LECTURE

THE MANIFESTATIONS OF EDUCATION IN DIFFERENT

AGES.

BY SAMUEL W. BATES,

OF BOSTON, MASS.

We are assembled to-day to speak of Education. But what constitutes Education? What is the standard by which we are to judge ? Whom are we to ask to tell us the essential properties of Education-essential alike in theory and practice? Is the Indian, who spends years in disciplining his body, giving strength to every muscle and power to every nerve, undergoing hunger, thirst, and labor, that he may be prepared in manhood to take his place nobly among the warriors of his tribe,-preparing himself, if such should be his lot, to march unshrinkingly to the burning stake which awaits the captive warrior, and who, with an inflexible stoicism which Zeno himself could not surpass, meets his fate,

66 As one that had been studied in his death,

To throw away the dearest thing he owed,
As 't were a careless trifte”-

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is he to be called uneducated ? Is the poor, degraded, illiterate serf, who hardly knows that there is a land beyond the narrow precincts of his own journeyings, but who has trained himself to bear his hard lot without a murmur, so that when reviled he reviles not again, when beaten, keeps in the wrathful passions which alınost burst with their fierce violence, until with Christian love he cries out through his tears and torments, “Father, forgive them !”-is he uneducated ? Is the poor, sick cripple, patiently meeting the rude rebuffs of a heartless world, uneducated? Is that man, who, rising from the dregs of the people, unaided by books, unpatronized by wealth, with a steady energy and a fixed purpose, overcomes all obstacles and attains the highest rank in that which he has chosen for his calling-I care not whether it be profession or trade-is he uneducated ? Is education to be obtained only from books? Says Alfieri, “Learned men are they, who have committed to memory other men's thoughts;" and no better definition can be given of a mere learned man. And though the terms educated man” and “learned man” have in our age, among the civilized, become almost synonymous, yet a learned man is but one variety of the genus Educated man; and in some relations, most certainly the poorest variety. For in what respect is he more worthy than the above to be called an educated man, who, with undoubted knowledge of all languages and an intimate acquaintance with all the written wisdom of the past, is still ignorant of the actual world, ignorant of men, ignorant of any practical way to utilize his vast store of information ? Whose notion of education shall we adopt? Shall

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the Chinese, the Arabian, and the American, in the present condition of their social relations, adopt the same? Or, among civilized lands, will the same system which is the best for a nation like England, where the nobility and the people are almost distinct races, be equally suitable for a nation like America, where all are freeborn? Or, in any given land, shall they who intend to devote their lives, some to agriculture, some to mechanics, some to purely scientific investigations, be limited to the same elementary training ? We might extend these questions in a variety of forms to an almost endless extent; but the final question is, Can any one give a definition of Education which will comprehend all times and all nations in their varied relations to each other and to the individual elements which constitute themselves, which will meet every case which may arise, and under which we may arrange all the varieties of forms in which Education has, in different ages, manifested itself?

Religion, which treats of man's condition in another world, and his relation to his God; Government, which treats of man's condition in this world and his relation to his fellow men; and Education, which treats of the methods by which individual man is developed, so as to take his proper position in regard both to Religion and Government, are the three engrossing topics of all times. In fact, all history is made up in recounting their condition or in tracing their .progress. They have been presented to the public in a thousand forms, and by men whom the world has delighted to honor. The talent of ages has conspired to throw light upon them. Theoretical and practical men have given us their views respecting them. Exploded opinions of enthusiastic philanthropists, have again and again been revived, and as often have perished. Experiments have been tried upon them all, and have failed, only to be retried by a succeeding generation. Yet so long as the constitution of the world remains as at present, so long as the same elements, which now rule, have power, none can settle the controverted points in religion, none can set the bounds to government, none can establish the principles and practice of a universal system of education. It is the wisdom of God that ordains it. It is necessary to furnish the food for man's powers. It is another proof that this world is only a probationary state, and not our final resting-place. It is in the necessary struggles arising from conflicting opinions in honest minds, that man's heart is to be tempered and his passions tried.

All systems of education agree in one particular; because that is the natural, constitutional basis, given to man by God as the germ, and unchangeably settled by him. That link of common connection is Discipline; and perhaps better than any thing else, we can call discipline, the essential property of education. At least, we may go so far as to say this: no man can be an educated man under any system, civilized or savage, without laborious personal discipline. Like every great subject, education naturally divides itself into two parts, the science and the art,—the settlement of principles in accordance with which all education must be conducted, and plans for carrying these principles into effective operation. The three natures of man, moral, physical, and intellectual-must be educated in due proportion. What this due proportion is to each youth, must be determined by his station, character and prospects, the condition of his country and the characteristics of his age. Moral education without intellectual, makes man a bigoted fanatic, and it was this which tended strongly to produce the darkness of the Middle Ages, as we shall show more fully hereafter. Educating intellectually, and not morally, is giving swords to madmen; for knowledge is power to curse as well as to bless. Here was the great failure of antiquity, and to this, in a great degree, are we to attribute the downfall of its nations. Individually, too, he who to his greatness adds goodness, increases his power in a geometrical ratio, while he who disregards morality, may indeed be used for his talents, but will not be honored for himself. For, even in a world no nearer perfection than ours, character is beginning to be balanced against intellectual strength.

Mere physical education, only equalizes men with brutes. No physical education renders almost valueless both moral and intellectual. These are general principles, and are fully established. They are the fundamental truths in all systems of education, and men have only differed, as to which should have preponderance.

In regard to the second division, plans for carrying these principles into operation, nothing can be permanently settled; for plans must change with the change of the times. They will be modified according as moral, intellectual, or physical education predominates. The spirit of different ages, the different characters of governments, the peculiar force of differ

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