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Dr. Johnson and I [Boswell] took a sculler at the Temple Stairs, and set out for Greenwich. I asked him if he really thought a knowledge of the Greek and Latin languages an essential requisite to a good education. Johnson.—“Most certainly, sir; for those who know them have a very great advantage over those who do not Nay, sir, it is wonderful what a difference learning makes upon people, even in the common intercourse of life, which does not appear to be much connected with it.” And yet, said I, people go through the world very well, and carry on the business of life to good advantage without learning. Johnson.—“Why, sir, that máy be true in cases where learning can not possibly be of any use
for instance, this boy rows us as well without learning as if he could sing the song of Orpheus to the Argonauts, who were the first sailors." He then called to the boy, “What would you give my lad to know about the Argonauts ?” “Sir," said the boy, "I would give what I have.” Johnson was much pleased with his answer, and we gave him a double fare. Dr. Johnson then turning to me, “Sir," said he “a desire of knowledge is the natural feeling of mankind; and every human being, whose mind is not debauched, will be willing to give all that he has to get knowledge."
Dr. Johnson. Boswell's Life. If you love learning you will have learning. GREEK PROVERB.
Whether we provide for action or conversation, whether we wish to be useful or pleasing, the first requisite is the religious and moral knowledge of right and wrong; the next is an acquaintance with the history of mankind, and with these examples which may be said to embody truth, and prove by events the reasonableness of opinions.
Those authors, therefore, are to be read at school, that supply most axioms or prudence, most principles of moral truth and most materials for conversation; and these purposes are best served by poets, orators, and historians.
DR. JOHNSON. Life of Milton. Education in the most extensive sense of the word, may comprehend every preparation that is made in our youth for the sequel of our lives; and in this sense I use it. Some such preparation is necessary for all conditions, because without it they must be miserable, and probably will be vicious, when they grow up, either from the want of the means of subsistence, or from want of rational and inoffensive occupation. In civilized life, every thing is effected by art and skill. Whence, a person who is provided with neither (and neither can be acquired without exercise and instruction) will be useless; and he that is useless, will generally be at the same time mischievous to the community. So that to send an uneducated child into the world, is injurious to the rest of mankind: it is little better than to turn out a mad dog or a wild beast into the streets.
PALEY. The primary principle of education is the determination of the pupi to self-activity-the doing nothing for him which he is able to do for himself.
SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON. Lecture on Metaphysics.
I consider a human soul without education like marble in the quarry, which shows none of its inherent beauties, until the skill of the polisher fetches out the colors, makes the surface shine, and discovers every ornamental cloud, spot, and vein, that runs through the body of it.
Education, after the same manner, when it works upon a noble mind, draws out to view every latent virtue and perfection, which, without such helps, are never able to make their appearance.
If my reader will give me leave to change the allusion so soon upon him, I shall make use of the same instance to illustrate the force of education, which Aristotle has brought to explain his doctrine of substantial forms, when he tells us that a statue lies hid in a block of marble; and that the art of the statuary only clears away superfluous matter, and removes the rubbish. The figure is in the stone, and the sculptor only finds it. What sculpture is to the block of marble, education is to a human soul. The philosopher, the saint or the hero, the wise, the good or the great man, very often lic hid and concealed in a plebeian, which a proper education might have disinterred, and have brought to light. * * Those who have had the advantages of a more liberal education, rise above one another by several different degrees of perfection. For to return to our statue in the block of marble, we see it sometimes only begun to be chipped, sometimes rough hewn, and but just sketched into a human figure; sometimes we see the man appearing distinctly in all his limbs and features; sometimes we find the figure wrought up to great elegancy, but seldom meet with any to which the hand of a Phidias or a Praxiletes could not give several nice touches and finishings.
Nothing is more absurd than the common notion of instruction; as if science were to be poured into the mind like water into a cistern, that passively waits to receive all that comes. The growth of knowledge resembles the growth of fruit: however external causes may in some degree coöperate, it is the internal vigor and virtue of the tree that must ripen the juices to their just maturity. JAMES HARRIS. Hermes.
Human creatures, from the constitution of their nature, and the cir. cumstances in which they are placed, can not but acquire habits during their childhood, by the impressions which are given them and their own customary actions; and long before they arrive at mature age these habits form a general settled character. And the observation of the text"Train up a child in the way he should go; and when he is old he will not depart from it "—that the most early habits are generally the most lasting, is likewise every one's observation.
Organic structure, temperament, things affecting the senses or bodily functions, are as closely linked with a right play of the faculties, as the material and condition of an instrument of music with that wonderful result called melody.
W. B. Clulow.
The general principles of education are the same, or nearly the same in all ages, and at all times. They are fixed unalterably in the natural and moral constitution of man. They are to be found in our affections and passions, some of which must be controlled and some cherished in every state of manners, and under every form of society. From the right apprehensions of them, we discover “the way in which a child ought to go," and by the right use of them “when he is young,” we shall qualify him," when old,” for not departing from it.
In promoting the happiness of our species, much is effected by authority of legal restraint, and much by public instruction from the pulpit. But education, in its large and proper sense, [of not merely the inculcation of moral precepts and religious doctrine, but a system of discipline applied to the hearts and lives of young persons,] may boast even of superior usefulness. It comes home directly to "the bosoms and business of " young persons, it rectifies every principle and controls every action ; it prevents their attention from being relaxed by amusement, dissipated by levity, or overwhelmed by vice; it preserves them from falling a prey to the wicked examples of the world when they are in company, and from becoming slaves to their own turbulent appetites when they are in solitude. It is not occasional or desultory in its operation; on the contrary, it heaps "line upon line, and precept upon precept;" it binds the commands of religion, for a “sign upon the hands of young men, and frontlets between their eyes;" it is calculated to purify their desires and to regulate their conduct, when they “sit in the house, and when they walk in the way;" when they “lie down in peace to take their rest,” and when they “rise up" to "go forth to their labor."
DR. PARR. What is the education of the gencrality of the world ? Reading a parcel of books ? No. Restraint of discipline, emulation, examples of virtue and justice, form the education of the world.
EDMUND BURKE. The heart of a nation comes by priests, hy lawyers, by philosophers, by schools, by education, by the nurse's care, the mother's anxiety, the fatber's severe brow. It comes by letters, by silence, by every art, by sculpture, painting, and poetry ; by the song on war, on peace, on do. mestic virtue, on a beloved and magnanimous king; by the Iliad, by the Odyssey, by tragedy, by comedy. It comes by sympathy, by love, by the marriage union, by friendship, generosity, meekness, temperance; by virtue and example of virtue. It comes by sentiments of chivalry, by romance, by music, by decorations and magnificence of buildings; by the culture of the body, by comfortable clothing, by fashions in dress, by luxury and commerce. It comes by the severity, the melancholy, the benignity of countenance ; by rules of politeness, ceremonies, formalities, solemnities. It comes by rights attendant on law, by religion, by the oath of office, by the venerable assembly, by the judge's procession and trumpets, by the disgrace and punishment of crimes, by public fasts, public prayer, by meditation, by the Bible, by the consecration of churches, by the sacred festival, by the cathedral's gloom and choir.
PROF. RAMSDEN 2
Education may be compared to the grasting of a tree. Every gardener knows that the younger the wilding-stock that is to be grafted is, the easier and the more effectual is the operation, because, then, one scion put on just above the root, will become the main stem of the tree, and all the branches it puts forth will be of the right sort. When, on the other hand, a tree is to be grafted at a considerable age, (which may be very successfully done,) you have to put on twenty or thirty grafts on the several branches; and afterwards you will have to be watching, from time to time, for the wilding shoots which the stock will be putting forth, and pruning them off. And even so, one whose character is to be reformed at mature age, will find it necessary not merely to implant a right principle once for all, but also to bestow a distinct attention on the correction of this, that, and the other bad habit.
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.
ARCHBISHOP WHATELY. Annotations on Bacon's Essays.
What a man has learnt is of importance, but what he is, what he can do, what he will become, are more significant things. Finally, it may be remarked, that to make education a great work, we must have the educators great; that book learning is mainly good, as it gives us a chance of coming into the company of greater and better minds than the average of men around us; and that individual greatness and goodness are the things to be aimed at, rather than the successful cultivation of those talents which go to form some eminent membership of society. Each man is a drama in himself: has to play all the parts in it; is to be king and rebel, successful and vanquished, free and slave; and needs a bringing up fit for the universal creature that he is.
A. HELPS. Friends in Council.
Education is the placing of the growing human creature in such circumstances of direction and restraint, as shall make the most of him, or enable him to make the most of himself.
A liberal education is an education in which the individual is cultivated, not as an instrument towards some ulterior end, but as an end unto himself alone; in other words, an education in which his absolute perfection as a man, and not merely his relative dexterity as a professional man, is the scope immediately in view. SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON.
Education does not commence with the alphabet; it begins with a mother's look, with a father's nod of approbation, or sign of reproof; with a sister's gentle pressure of the hand; a brother's noble act of forbear. ance; with handful of flowers in green dells, or hills, and daisy meadows; with birdsnest admired, but not touched ; with creeping ants and almost imperceptible emmets; with humming bees, and glass bee-hives; with pleasant walks in shady lands, and with thoughts devoted, in sweet and kindly tones and words, to nature, to beauty, to acts of benevolence, to deeds of virtue, and to the source of all good—to God himself.
He (man) would look round upon the world without, and the thought would arise in his mind—“ Where am I?” He would contemplate himself, his form so curious, his feelings so ange and various; he would ask—" What am I?" Then reflection would begin to stir within him, and reviewing the world without and within, and pondering upon the mystery of existence, he would exclaim—“Why am I?” And the replies to these three questions compose the entire circle of human knowl. edge, developed in its natural order.
W. Cox. The Advocate, his Training. I believe, that what it is most honorable to know, it is also most profitable to learn; and that the science which it is the highest power to possess, it is also the best exercise to acquire.
And if this be so, the question as to what should be the material of education, becomes singularly simplified. It might be matter of dispute what processes have the greatest effect in developing the intellect; but it can hardly be disputed what facts it is most advisable that a man entering into life should accurately know. .
I believe, in brief, that he ought to know three things:
First. Where he is.—That is to say, what sort of a world he has got into; how large it is; what kind of creatures live in it, and how; what it is made of, and what may be made of it.
Secondly. Where he is going.—That is to say, what chances or reports there are of any other world besides this; what seems to be the nature of that other world; and whether, for information respecting it, he had better consult the Bible, Koran, or Council of Trent.
Thirdly. What he had best do under those circumstances.—That is to say, what kind of faculties he possesses ; what are the present state and wants of mankind; what is his place in society; and what are the readiest means in his power of attaining happiness and diffusing it. The man who knows these things, and who has had his will so subdued in the learning them, that he is ready to do what he knows he ought, I should call educated; and the man who knows them not, uneducated, though he could talk all the tongues of Babel.