Imatges de pÓgina

to it, that it will not even wake you. But any one who makes a point of rising immediately at the call, will become so used to it in the opposite way, that the sound will never fail to rouse him from the deepest sleep. Both will have been accustomed to the same bell, but will have formed opposite habits from their contrary modes of action.

But it must not be forgotten that education resembles the grafting of a tree in this point, also, that there must be some affinity between the stock and the graft, though a very important practical difference may exist; for example, between a worthless crab, and a fine apple. Even so, the new nature, as it may be called, superinduced by education, must always retain some relation to the original one, though differing in most important points. You can not, by any kind of artificial training, make any thing of any one, and obliterate all trace of the natural character. Those who hold that this is possible, and attempt to effect it, resemble Virgil, who (whether in ignorance or, as some think, by way of "poetical license,") talks of grafting an oak on an elm: "glandesque sues fregere sub ulmis."

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One of Dr. Johnson's paradoxes, more popular in his time than now, but far from being now exploded, was, that a given amount of ability may be turned in any direction, even as a man may walk this way or that." And so he can; because walking is the action for which the legs are fitted; but, though he may use his eyes for looking at this object or that, he can not hear with his eyes, or see with his ears. And the eyes and ears are not more different than, for instance, the poetical faculty, and the mathematical. "Oh, but if Milton had turned his mind to mathematics, and if Newton had turned his mind to poetry; the former might have been the great mathematician, and the latter the great poet." This is open to the proverbial reply, "If my aunt had been a man, she would have been my uncle." For, the supposition implied in these ifs is, that Milton and Newton should have been quite different characters from what they were. Minds that have not suffered themselves to fix, but have kept themselves open and prepared to receive continual amendment, which is exceeding rare."

And as admirable as it is rare. Such minds may indeed print their opinions, but do not stereotype them. Nor does the self-distrust, the perpetual care, the diligent watchfulness, the openness to conviction, the exercise of which is implied in Bacon's description, necessarily involve a state of painful and unceasing doubt. For, in proportion as a man is watchfully and prayerfully on his guard against the unseen current of passions and predjudices, which is ever tending to drive him out of the right course, in the same degree he will have reason for cherishing an humble hope that He, the Spirit of Truth, is, and will be, with him, to enlighten his understanding, to guide his conduct, and to lead him onward to that state in which Faith shall be succeeded by sight, and hope by enjoyment. “The force of custom, copulate, and conjoined, and collegiate, is far greater.”

For this reason it is, that what is said or done by very inferior persons, is the best sign of what is commonly said or done in the place and time in which they live. A man of resolute character, and of an original turn of thought, being more likely to resist this force of "copulate and collegiate custom," does not furnish so good a sign of what are the prevailing opinions and customs. Hence the proverb:

"A straw best shows
How the wind blows."

A bar of heavy metal would not be perceptibly influenced by the wind.

I wish I could feel justified in concluding this head without saying any thing of Bacon's own character; without holding him up as himself a lamentable example of practice at variance with good sentiments, and sound judgment, and right precepts. He thought well, and he spoke well; but he had accustomed himself to act very far from well. And justice requires that he should be held up as a warning beacon to teach all men an important lesson; to afford them a sad proof 'that no intellectual power-no extent of learning-not even the most pure and exalted moral sentiments, confined to theory, will supply the want of a diligent and watchful conformity in practice to christian principle. All the attempts that have been made to vindicate or palliate Bacon's moral conduct, tend only to lower, and to lower very much, the standard of virtue. He appears but too plainly to have been worldly, ambitious, covetous, base, selfish, and unscrupulous.' And it is remarkable that the Mammon which he served proved but a faithless master in the end. He reached the highest pinnacle, indeed, to which his ambition had aimed; but he died impoverished, degraded, despised, and broken-hearted. His example, therefore, is far from being at all seductive.

But let no one, thereupon, undervalue or neglect the lessons of wisdom which his writings may supply, and which we may, through divine grace, turn to better account than he did himself. It would be absurd to infer that, because Bacon was a great philosopher, and far from a good man, therefore you will be the better man for keeping clear of his philosophy. His intellectual superiority was no more the cause of his moral failures, than Solomon's wisdom was of his. You may be as faulty a character as either of them was, without possessing a particle of their wisdom, and without seeking to gain instruction from it. The intellectual light which they enjoyed did not, indeed, keep them in the right path; but you will not be the more likely to walk in it, if you quench any light that is afforded


The Canaanites of old, we should remember, dwelt in " a good land, flowing with milk and honey," though they worshiped not the true God, but served abominable demons, with sacrifices of the produce of their soil, and even with the blood of their children. But the Israelites were invited to go in, and take possession of "well-stored houses that they builded not, and wells which they digged not; " and they "took the labors of the people in possession:" only, they were warned to beware, lest, in their prosperity and wealth, they should "forget the Lord their God," and to offer to Him the first fruits of their land.

Neglect not, then, any of the advantages of intellectual cultivation, which God's providence has placed within your reach; nor "think scorn of that pleasant land," and prefer wandering by choice in the barren wilderness of ignorance; but let the intellect, which God has endowed you with, be cultivated as a servant to Him, and then it will be, not a master, but an useful servant, to you.

1. This censure of Bacon has actually been complained of as undeserved; not on the ground that his conduct was any better than it is but too well known to have been, but on the ground that his writings contain excellent views of Gospel truth!

This is exactly the doctrine of the ancient Gnostics; who held that their (so-called) knowledge [Gnosis] of the Gospel would save them, though leading a vicious life.

But, when instances of such teaching in our own days are adduced (as unhappify may be done to a great extent,) some persons-including some who are themselves of blameless liferesolutely shut their ears to evidence, and will not be brought to perceive, or at least to ac knowledge, that any such thing as Gnosticism exists among us, or that we are in danger of antinomian doctrine.

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So strong is the force of party!



STUDIES serve for delight, for ornament, and for ability. Their chief use for delight is in privateness,' and retiring; for ornament, is in discourse; and for ability, is in the judgment and disposition of business; for, expert men can execute, and perhaps judge of particulars, one by one; but the general counsels, and the plots and marshaling of affairs, come best from those that are learned. To spend too much time in studies, is sloth; to use them too much for ornament, is affectation; to make judgment wholly by their rules, is the humor of a scholar; they perfect nature, and are perfected by experience-for natural abilities are like natural plants, that need pruning by study; and studies themselves do give forth directions too much at large, except they be bounded in by experience. Crafty men contemn studies, simple men admire them, and wise men use them, for they teach not their own use; but that is a wisdom without them, and above them, won by observation. Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted, nor to find talk and discourse, but to weigh and consider. Some books are to be tasted, others to be swallowed, and some few to be chewed and digested; that is, some books are to be read only in parts; others to be read, but not curiously; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention. Some books also may be read by deputy, and extracts made of them by others; but that would be only in the less important arguments, and the meaner sort of books; else distilled books are, like common distilled waters, flashy things. Reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man; and, therefore, if a man write little, he had need have a great memory; if he confer little, he had need have a present wit; and if he read little, he had need have much cunning, to seem to know that he doth not. Histories make men wise; poets, witty; the mathematics, subtle; natural philosophy, deep; moral, grave; logic and rhetoric, able to contend: Abeunt studia in mores there is no stond' or impediment in the wit, but may be wrought


1 Privateness. Privacy.

2 Make. Give.


3 Curiously. Attentively. "At first I thought there had been no light reflected from the water. but observing it more curiously, I saw within it several spots which appeared darker than the rest."-Sir Isaac Newton.

4 Would.


6" Manners are influenced by studies."

5 That. What.

7 Stond. Hindrances.

8 Wrought. Worked. "Who, through faith, wrought righteousness."-Heb. xi 33.

"How great is Thy goodness, which Thou hast wrought for them that trust in Thee!"Psulin xxxi. 19.

out by fit studies, like as diseases of the body may have appropriate exercises-bowling is good for the stone and reins,' shooting for the lungs and breast, gentle walking for the stomach, riding for the head, and the like; so, if a man's wits be wandering, let him study the mathematics, for in demonstrations, if his wit be called away never so little, he must begin again; if his wit be not apt to distinguish or find differences, let him study the schoolmen, for they are 'cymini sectores;" if he be not apt to beat over matters, and to call upon one thing to prove and illustrate another, let him study the lawyers' cases-so every defect of the mind may have a special receipt.

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This contempt, whether of crafty men or narrow-minded men, often finds its expression in the word "smattering;" and the couplet is become almost a proverb

"A little learning is a dangerous thing;

Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring."

But the poet's remedies for the dangers of a little learning are both of them impossible. None can "drink deep" enough to be, in truth, anything more than very superficial; and every human being, that is not a downright idiot, must


It is plainly impossible that any man should acquire a knowledge of all that is to be known, on all subjects. But is it then meant that, on each particular subject on which he does learn anything at all, he should be perfectly well informed? Here it may fairly be asked, what is the "well?"-how much knowledge is to be called "little" or "much?" For, in many departments, the very utmost that had been acquired by the greatest proficients, a century and a half back, falls short of what is familiar to many a boarding-school miss now. And it is likely that our posterity, a century and a half hence, will in many things be just as much

I Reins. Kidneys; inward parts. "Whom shall see for myself, though my reins be consumed within me."-Job xix. 27.

2 Differences. Distinctions.

3 Splitters of cummin." Vid. A. L. I. vii 7.

in advance of us. And in most subjects, the utmost knowledge that any man can attain to, is but "a little learning" in comparison of what he remains ignorant of. The view resembles that of an American forest, in which, the more trees a man cuts down, the greater is the expanse of wood he sees around him.

But supposing you define the "much" and the "little" with reference to the existing state of knowledge in the present age and country, would any one seriously advise that those who are not proficients in astronomy should remain igno rant whether the earth moves or the sun?-that unless you are complete master of agriculture, as far as it is at present understood, there is no good in your knowing wheat from barley?—that unless you are such a Grecian as Porson, you had better not learn to construe the Greek Testament?


The other recommendation of the poet, taste not "that is to say, have no learning is equally impossible. The truth is, every body has, and every body ought to have, a slight and superficial knowledge—a "smattering," if you willof more subjects than it is possible for the most diligent student to acquire thoroughly. It is very possible, and also very useful, to have that slight smattering of chemistry which will enable one to distinguish from the salts used in medicine, the oxalic acid, with which, through mistake, several persons have been poisoned. Again, without being an eminent botanist, a person may know-what it is most important to know-the difference between cherries and the berries of the deadly nightshade; the want of which knowledge has cost many lives.

Again, there is no one, even of those who are not profound politicians, who is not aware that we have Rulers; and is it not proper that he should understand that government is necessary to preserve our lives and property? Is he likely to be a worse subject for knowing that? That depends very much on the kind of government you wish to establish. If you wish to establish an unjust and despotic government-or, if you wish to set up a false religion-then it would be advisable to avoid the danger of enlightening the people. But if you wish to maintain a good government, the more the people understand the advantages of such a government, the more they will respect it; and the more they know of true religion, the more they will value it.

There is nothing more general among uneducated people than a disposition to socialism, and yet nothing more injurious to their own welfare. An equalization of wages would be most injurious to themselves, for it would, at once, destroy all emulation. All motives for the acquisition of skill, and for superior industry, would be removed. Now, it is but a little knowledge of political economy that is needed for the removal of this error; but that little is highly useful.

Again, every one knows, no matter how ignorant of medicine, that there is such a thing as disease. But as an instance of the impossibility of the "taste not" recommendation of the poet, a fact may be mentioned, which perhaps is known to most. When the cholera broke out in Poland, the peasantry of that country took it into their heads that the nobles were poisoning them in order to clear the country of them; they believed the rich to be the authors of that terrible disease; and the consequence was that the peasantry rose in masses, Broke into the houses of the nobility, and finding some chloride of lime, which had been used for the purpose of disinfecting, they took it for the poison which had caused the disease; and they murdered them. Now, that was the sort of "little learning" which was very dangerous.

Again we can not prevent people from believing that there is some superhuman

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