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sweet satisfaction, and high peculiar joy. The true scholar finds a conscious pleasure in study, and makes his intensest “ work a play.” Whatever tends to inspire joy, gratitude, faith, hope, high aspiration, and unwearied earnestness, must be favorable to morality.
5. Intellectual culture opens new fields of activity, 28 well as furnishes higher incentives to exertion, To the scholar, nature is no longer a sealed book, New beauties attract his eye, new voices fill his ear, new proofs of wisdom, power, and goodness touch his heart. He feels a new responsiveness to all around him, and now all objects, all science, all literature, allure him to study, and stimulate the love of learning, and heighten the joy of acquisition. Now, as idleness leads to vice and crime, whatever tends to activity and industry, especially to fixed habits of study, must be favorable to morality. Intellectual stagnation tends to moral degeneracy, as truly as idleness leads to vice and crime. Whatever benumbs the body, or stupefies the mind, or supersedes thought, must be unfavorable to virtue. When the teacher awakens the dormant powers of a neglected or wayward child, and so stimulates his mind, that the pleasure of acquisition, or the desire of knowledge, shall supplant or prevent the craving for low pleasures and vicious associates, and implants a genuine literary taste, an appropriate self-respect, and a consciousness of power, temptations certainly are diminished, if motives to virtue are not proportionably increased. A becoming pride of character, the love of books, an earnest desire for self-improvement, and the enjoyment of pure and cultivated society, may often restrain the young from the excitements of revelry and vice, or the allurements of the gaming table.
6. Intellectual culture tends to create an ardent love of truth. It trains and habituates the mind to the discovery, appreciation, uses, and defence of the truth. Genuine love of truth is near akin to loyalty to duty, for clear intellectual perceptions favor nice moral discriminations, and aid in the comprehension of obligation, in perceiving and feeling the attractions of virtue, the repulsion of vice, and the sanctions of duty. Truth is the natural nutriment both of the mind and heart, and all truth, rightly viewed, leads the soul to virtue and to God. Truth awakens the sluggish mind to a consciousness of its higher and immortal nature, and kindles irrepressible aspirations after knowledge. Truth is the atmosphere and life of the soul, which is as clearly designed and adapted to the attainment and enjoyment of truth, as the eye is fitted for the light, or the ear for sound. Right culture directly favors precision of thought, and scrupulous exactness of statement. Habits of accuracy, even in the minutest matters of study or description, are both the fruit and the test of true scholarship, as they are also the product and the proof of high-toned morality.
But while purely intellectual culture is favorable to good morals, it cannot furnish adequate security against vice and crime. There is no necessary connection between knowledge and virtue. The intellect should not usurp the place of the conscience. It may enlighten, but it cannot vitalize, that highest of all our powers — intellectual and moral — that august faculty, which, more than all others, distinguishes man from the brute creation, and constitutes the dignity of his being, the God-like element of his nature, for it is “the voice of God in the human soul.” · It would be a great and fatal mistake to make intellectual culture alone the basis of morality. A system of morals, resting on this foundation alone, is a building upon the sand. There is no danger of over-estimating the importance of mental training, if only the culture of the heart holds always the first place. To divorce them, would be unnatural, and suicidal. Were it possible to secure this unnatural separation, and could we have but one, unquestionably moral training is more important than intellectual. But so far from there being any opposition between the two, they are the complements of a perfect whole. Each mutually quickens and invigorates the other. For its fullest development and efficiency, the intellect needs the aid of the conscience, and the highest achievements of the mind will not be effected, when the soul is dark and debased. Moral culture has a tendency both to awaken and sustain mental activity, while moral degeneracy induces a dimness of intellectual vision, and sometimes a perfect palsy of the mental powers.
HON. NATHAN HEDGES, Newark. Mr. President, and Ladies and Gentlemen, - I come before you not because I have been appointed to take a part in this work, not because I am prepared to speak on this question; for I am not. I come merely to gratify my friend from Trenton (Prof. Phelps), who loves to hear the name of New Jersey. New Jersey has nothing to do with a question so clear and so definite as the one before us, – a question touching the very life, and strength, and value of our whole educational system. I come here with regret, because I have opinions different from those which have been expressed. And though I agree with most that has been said, I have not been entirely convinced that purely intellectual culture has anything to do, good or bad, with the moral character of man. It is known to the older members of this Institute that we have had in times past two classes of opinions agitated here. One is, that education, as it exists in the schools, is an excellent thing ; that as the school-house stands near the church, you take
a child and educate him, and educate him till he comes to the mark and becomes a Christian. That I do not believe.
A few years ago a lecture of an hour and three quarters long was given by one of the most distinguished teachers of this State, examined by a Committee of Censors of this body, and awarded a premium by them. That lecture maintained the broad doctrine, “ The more education, the more vice; the less education, the less vice.” That lecture referred to the past history of Massachusetts, to show that the more schools and the more education there were, the more work for the police. It referred to New York, to Scotland, and to Prussia. I do not believe the conclusions of that essay were correct.
So there is between these two extremes some middle ground. What is the question before us. Has intel. lectual culture any tendency to promote that state of character, which, in itself, prompts to the doing of good, that to which we may ascribe the quality of right? First, what is intellect? It is simply the reasoning faculty. Radically, the word means understanding, the ability to understand, comprehend. What are moral truths ? They are the truths of which we may predicate right and wrong. What are the fundamental moral truths that constitute a moral character ? The first, according to the books, is benevolence ; another is justice; another purity; another a regard to order, or all things in their places. Now I have but a few words to say; and in order to illustrate my idea that purely intellectual culture has no tendency to make a man better or worse, suppose one of these teachers to take a class and train them in purely intellectual study. Take a class in geometry, and make them as familiar with it as they are with the letters of the alphabet. Have you done anything to make that class love the things which are right, and loathe the things which are wrong?
Have you done anything to make them benevolent, have you done anything to make them receive into the heart the great truths of the Bible? I thank my friend for saying he rested on the Bible. I know no other foundation. But I think those who will reason on this subject will fail to find any connection between the culture of pure intellect and the state of the heart.
I regret to have come before you unprepared ; and I regret to differ from gentlemen whom I so much respect. The question is an important one, and I doubt not that you will think upon and judge of it more maturely than you are able to do it here. To guard against misapprehension, I do not wish to be understood as speaking of education or intellectual culture as it exists in the schools, We have no schools in which there is no other training. There is patient instruction; there is the example of the teacher, and that blessed, silent “ unconscious influence,” by which a good teacher affects and moulds the school, and makes the pupils something near what they ought to
I join with others in commending this subject to your thoughts and reflection, and I hope that some competent person will present the subject, and not tell us that intellectual culture necessarily runs, and that the intellectual powers necessarily run into the moral, and that, therefore, cultivating the intellect is cultivating morality.
MR. MORTON, of Plymouth, suggested that few teachers are so far educated as to think of this subject at all.
MR. RITCHIE, of Roxbury, feared a misapprehension with respect to the object of Father Pierce, in his essay, to which allusion had been made. He endeavored, in that essay, to show that the system of education in Massachusetts had not, in fact, produced those good results which the friends of common schools desired to have produced.