« PreviousContinue »
After the work was prepared for the press, it was doubtful whether it could be printed; and the refusal of more than one establishment to undertake a work of such magnitude nearly caused me to abandon the idea of publication : at this crisis, however, a part of the MS. was placed in the hands of the publishers, at whose expense, and by whose efforts only, has its appearance been now secured.
In conclusion, permit me to express my sincere pleasure in offering this tribute, which I am aware must find its chief merit with you, in the reflection that your single-minded zeal has been appreciated by one, who having had ample means of information, gratefully testifies that to yourself and your several coadjutors, the Australian Colonies are deeply indebted for their present prospects of sound educational institutions.
G. W. RUSDEN.
INDEX OF CHAPTERS.
1 TO 12
IV. From Charlemagne to the XVth Century with a
XIV. Operating causes in forming the minds of the people 208 226
XV. Reasons of the inefficacy of Denominational Systems 227 249
XVI. Replies to antagonists of the National System and
Of all the subjects which engross the mind of man, there is surely none which can more worthily engage the special attention of the statesman, the philosopher, and the philanthropist than that of Education.
Those who would exalt the standard of education need never lay themselves open to the charge of paying too much attention, or being too much devoted, to the elevation of the mere worldly intellect which has been bestowed
upon man by his Creator.
The experience of mankind—and we must remember with Bacon that “the old age and increasing years of the world should in reality be venerated as its antiquity,"—the experience of mankind is fast exploding the fallacy that men must needs be ignorant in order to be religious; and the kindred error, in natural physics, must also die, which would imply that a deep, general, searching investigation of truth is a probable means of educing error.
If the physical frame when unpractised, cannot but fail to accomplish the niceties of an art; just as surely may we assert that the mind, which is formed to appreciate the beauty of the visible, and, in part, the harmonies of the invisible, must, by absence of culture, fail to arrive at that
standard, for which God has fitted it, and from which none but the ignorant or the selfish would attempt to debar it.
We have the highest possible authority for the assertion, that man is held responsible for the talents with which his Maker has endowed him ; we have no authority to declare that men in communities will be absolved from the responsibilities which the guides of states attain, when they are in a position so to legislate, as to advance, or to retard, the general progress of the human mind. By progress I mean advancement towards a knowledge and appreciation of truth; and that no search after truth can be erroneous, may be confirmed by the citation of the following passage :
“ There be two principal duties and services, besides ornament and illustration, which philosophy and human learning do perform to faith and religion. The one, because they are an effectual inducement to the exaltation of the glory of God; for as the Psalms and other Scriptures do often invite us to consider and magnify the great and wonderful works of God, so if we should rest only in the contemplation of the exterior of them, as they first offer themselves to our senses, we should do a like injury unto the majesty of God, as if we should judge or construe the store of some excellent jeweller by that only which is set toward the street in his mart. The other, because they minister a singular help and preservative against unbelief and error, for our Saviour saith, “ You err, not knowing the Scriptures, nor the power of God;' laying before us two books or volumes to study, if we will be secured from error; first the Scriptures revealing the will of God; and then the creatures expressing his power ; whereof the latter is a key unto the former : not only opening our understanding to conceive the true sense of the Scriptures, by the general notions of reason and rules of speech ; but chiefly opening our belief in drawing us into a due meditation of the omnipotence of God, which is chiefly signed and engraven upon his works. Thus much, therefore,