« PreviousContinue »
your position there till this mortal shall have put on immoriality, and faith be lost in vision. The promises authorize you,
if you are what a Christian ought to be, to pray with ihe utmost confidence of receiving the blessing you seek, for your own advancement in every Christian virtue, and for the impartation of spiritual blessings to those in whom you are interested. 1 Thess. 4: 3. Luke 11 : 5–13. You are authorized to pray, with the utmost confidence, for every temporal mercy which you need, and with the assurance that nothing will be withholden from you which will really promote your welfare. Matt. 7: 7-13. Ps. 85: 11. You are authorized to pray for the relief of your fellow-creatures in every time of distress, for the entire removal of sin and all its attendant wretchedness from the face of the earth, with the utmost confidence that not one of your. petitions shall be unavailing before God. Ps. 102: 17, 21.
Every Christian, in every Christian community, that lives and prays aright, fills the sphere which he occupies with an atmosphere of spiritual blessedness, by which all who breathe it are benefitted, unless they obstinately reject its wholesome influences. Let no Christian, by a life of spiritual insensibility, deprive himself of the distinguishing privilege of his profession.
2. How miserable the impenitent who never offer acceptable prayer? God is no respecter of persons, he has none of those personal partialities and personal antipathies, irrespective of actual merit or demerit, by which our social feelings are so much characterized. As each one is in heart, so God regards him. He that loves and obeys God, has access to his mercy seat; he that neither loves nor obeys, makes himself a stranger and an alien from his Father's house. My impenitent friends, do you not desire access to the throne of grace, where the promises are so full and free ? the hope so sure and certain ? Poor, unhappy creatures indeed are you, if you have nothing but an arm of flesh to rely upon. How can that deliver your soul from spiritual death ? How can that save you from the sorrows and miseries of this life even? How can that save you from the pangs of hell ? Beware, there is a time when God will hear all who call upon him, and there is a time when he will refuse to hear, and ihat too a time of extremest agony. Read carefully Prov. 1:20–33.
To-day if ye will hear his voice harden not your hearts. Ps. 95 : 7, 8.
GREEK AND ROMAN EDUCATION.
By Rev. Albert Smith, Professor of Rhetoric and English Literature, Middlebury College
The science of education is in this country in its infancy. In America every thing is young, for we are a youthful people, just entered on a career of uncertain termination. That edut tion should have made but little progress in this new world, will appear the less surprising, if we consider that no modern nation, the Germans alone excepted, can be regarded as possessed of a scientific and thorough knowledge of the subject ; and that out of the countries of Luther and of Knox, there exists among no people of the present day any thing more than the rudiments of a system of public instruction. The nations of the old world are, in general, not so much in advance of us in this, as they are in other sciences and arts. And even if they were, we should still be disposed, on account of the difference between the political institutions of the two continents, to receive their doctrines with suspicion. If the emperor of China, of Austria, or of Russia chooses to give to his loyal subjects some form of education, we are apt to think that the system which would please him might not suit the genius of the "fierce democracie” with which we are in love. We have therefore in this matter set up for ourselves. If our religion must remain as its great Author left it, in government at least, and in education, we would make all things new. In the treatises, addresses, and reports in which the subject of education is discussed, many arguments are drawn from reason and common sense, and some from excited imagination, but from testimony and the experience of other nations, very few. Every man has his own scheme, and theories in abundance float loosely in the public mind. In this time of unsettled views, it may with reason be inquired whether we do not reject too rashly the collected wisdom of ages? If we look with contempt upon the spurious science of idolatrous and Mohammedan Asia ; if we reject the monarchical principles of modern Europe ; it may still be asked whether there comes to us no voice of instruction from antiquity? Do we require of our instructors that they should love freedom and hate tyranny? Liberty has found no more enthusiastic defenders than the democrats of Athens, tyranny no more uncompromising foes than the republicans of Rome. Do we insist that masters who teach so wise a nation as ourselves should be distinguished in literature, science, and art ? The glorious light of a free civilization, struggling through the gloom of the middle ages, as the splendors of the departed sun stream up behind the forests of the west, still reaches us from republican antiquity. The history, the constitutions, the eloquence of the ancient republics are the study of our statesmen and orators. The dead languages in which their literature is buried consume the best years of our choicest youth. An acquaintance with their poetry, philosophy, archiiecture, and sculpture is regarded as indispensable to the formation of a perfect taste. We admire the genius and the skill of the beauty-loving Greek, and look with reverence on the lofty dignity, the inflexible integrity, the self-sacrificing patriotism, and the unyielding perseverance of the stern republican of Rome. There is no enlightened monarchy in Europe in which the character, institutions, science, literature, and arts of the republicans of antiquity are not examined and admired. And surely it might be expected that in the great republic of modern times these subjects should excite a still deeper interest. It seems surprising that in this forming period of our institutions, and especially at a time when the attention of the people and governments of so many States is turned towards schemes of public instruction, there should be among us so little inquiry respecting the education of the ancients. Do we regard the subject as unworthy of investigation? Why not then despise the literature and science, the arts of peace and war with which this education was connected ? We cannot imagine that the character of the ancient republicans, stamped with features of nobleness and beauty, happened into being. There existed somewhere a forming power. Is it supposed that this character is the offspring chiefly of the physical influences of climate and soil ? The skies of Italy are sunny still, but they smile no longer on that noble race of men whose virtues St. Augustine has said, God rewarded with the dominion of the world. The air of Hellas is pure as ever, but it breathes not the spirit of the ancient time. The men of Greece and Rone, vigorous in body, heroic in spirit, and trained to self-control, rose not from the earth by magic. If their characters were not formed by physical influences only, there must have been in the porduction of them some intellectual and moral process. What was that process? This question, which to us appears both interesting and important, we do not undertake to answer. It covers a field of investigation by far too extensive for our present limits. But in the belief that much is to be learned from antiquity, we propose to point out some of the characteristics of republican education as it existed in Greece and Rome. All men, it is said, are in some sense educated. But that only is appropriately called education by which, in the training of the body or the mind, some permanent effect is produced by design. With an occasional reference to the Spartan system, as furnishing the best specimen of the comparative roughness of the Doric race, we shall refer in what we say of the Greek education chiefly to Athens; because more is known of the Athenian education than of any other which existed among the ancients, and because intellectual education was carried at Athens to a perfection which has been seldom equalled
One of the first things that strikes the inquirer into the practical education of the Greeks is the commanding position of the state. The idea of the state stood out among the nations of antiquity with far greater prominence than in modern times. With the ancients, the community was every thing and the individual nothing. Private happiness was of no account, and must be sacrificed to the smallest public benefit. For the state the child was born, for the state the man must live, and therefore the youth was to be educated for and by the state. We see this preponderating influence of the state illustrated in the most striking manner at Lacedæmon. It was not the man, but the Spartan, that filled the eye of the educator in the institution of the system which has immortalized Lycurgus. That famous law-giver aimed not at the development of the noble faculties of the human being, but at the formation of the useful qualities of the citizen. By meagre fare and rigid discipline he hardened the bodies of the youth, and by certain moral influences, skilfully applied, he strength. ened ihe virtues of courage, self-government, patient endurance, and self-consecration to the welfare of the state. The result of his system was, that those hardy qualities of body and of mird which would be of greatest service to a nation of warriors, were cultivated to an unnatural extent, while the intellect was suffered to lie dormant, and all the finer feelings of our nature were neglected or crushed. The idea of personal rights was not developed, and private education was prohibited. It was not without some show of reason that the enemies of the Spartans maintained that there was nothing surprising in the willingness of that people to die for their country, since with them life was a condition of intolerable hardship. But at Athens a milder spirit reigned. There the Ionic softness breathed its humanizing influence. No partition of lands or other attempts at community of property there suppressed the principle of individuality. No system of commons annihilated the refining and restraining influences of domestic life, and no moral machinery acting in precisely the same manner on all minds cast them as nearly as possible in one mould. Yet the principle that the child belonged to the state, and that the state was responsible for its education, was admitted and acted on. And it is worthy of particular remark that the first use which the state made of its power in relation to the offspring of its citizens was to extend the benefits of education to the whole body of the free born youth.* By the laws of Solon,t every
* Since it was required by law that all the boys should learn to read, it cannot be otherwise imagined than that the state made also provision for this purpose; although on this point there is much uncertainty in regard to the way in which the matter was arranged."-Schwartz Erziehungslehre 1: 369.
“ tSolon lest it just as little as Minos and Lycurgus to parents, how they should educate their children ; but he constrained fathers, by laws, whose execution he committed to the members of the Areopagus, to give their sons an education suited to their rank and property.”—Meiners Geschichte der Wissenschaften II : 59.
“For the awakening of intellectual activity and the moral education of the young citizens, an influence was especially exerted by the celebrated lawgiver of Athens, Solon : he, and even at an earlier period Draco, directed their whole attention above all things to sobriety (ouse porúvn) and modest deportment (€úxoquia) on the part of the youth, and marked out with entire aceuracy what the free boys and young men should learn, and how they should be educated.”- Cramers Geschichte der Erziehung, I: 233.