Page images


To the Comet of 1811.-HogG, THE ETTRICK SHEPHERD.

How lovely is this wildered scene,

As Twilight, from her vaults so blue,
Steals soft o'er Yarrow's mountains green,

To sleep embalmed in midnight dew!

All hail, ye hills, whose towering height,

Like shadows, scoops the yielding sky!
And thou, mysterious guest of night,

Dread traveller of immensity!

Stranger of heaven ! I bid thee hail !

Shred from the pall of glory riven,
That flashest in celestial gale,

Broad pennon of the King of heaven!

Where hast thou roamed these thousand years?

Why sought these polar paths again,
From wilderness of glowing spheres,

To fling thy vesture o'er the wain ?

And when thou scal'st the milky-way,

And vanishest from human view,
A thousand worlds shall hail thy ray,

Through wilds of yon empyreal blue !

Oh! on thy rapid prow to glide !

To sail the boundless skies with thee,
And plough the twinkling stars aside,

Like foam-bells on a tranquil sea !-

To brush the embers from the sun,
The icicles from off the poles ;

Then far to other systems run,

Where other moons and planets roll !

Stranger of heaven !.O let thine eye

Smile on a rapt enthusiast's dream;
Eccentric as thy course on high,

And airy as thine ambient beam!

And long, long may thy silver ray,

Our northern arch at eve adorn;
Then, wheeling to the east away,

Light the gray portals of the morn!

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

And is there care in heaven ? and is there love

In heavenly spirits to these creatures base, That may compassion of their evils move ?

There is; else much more wretched were the case

Of men than beasts. But, oh! the exceeding grace
Of highest God! that loves his creatures so,

And all his works with mercy doth embrace,
That blessed angels he sends to and fro,
To serve to wicked man,--to serve his wicked foe.

How oft do they their silver bowers leave,

To come to succor us, that succor want ! How oft do they with golden pinions cleave

The flitting skies, like flying pursuivant,

Against foul fiends to aid us militant !
They for us fight, they watch and duly ward,

And their bright squadrons round about us plant;
And all for love, and nothing for reward :
Oh! why should heavenly God to man have such regard !


Difference between Instruction and Education.


It is a trite maxim, which needs to be incessantly repeated, that “nothing is more important to the distinctness of our ideas, than a careful discrimination of our words.Errors have often been inculcated, and adopted, and perpetuated, by the improper use of an important term. Liberty has been the watchword of the most tyrannical oppressors ;

and the basest crimes have been excused and imitated under the name of religion. There is not a little danger of falling into this error, on the great subject to which this work is devoted. Education is justly represented as the greatest blessing which the parent can bestow upon his child, or the state upon its subjects; as the great means of preventing poverty and crime, and securing public and private prosperity. But the term Education is then applied to the mere acquisition of knowledge, or even of the elements and keys of knowledge, and in this way is made synonymous with Instruction. It is entirely forgotten that any thing more is needed ; and all the eulogies so justly bestowed upon it, all the benefits supposed to be derived from it, are attributed to a course of mere instruction, in a few branches of knowledge.

But no deception can be more dangerous. Nothing is more evident, upon reflection, than that the mere communication of knowledge does no more than to give the power to act; while the question whether it will be a source of good or evil, of happiness or misery, will be determined by the manner in which the character and disposition of the individual lead him to employ it. Teach the art of reading to the profligate and licentious, and he will revel in all that our libraries present of the gross and debasing kind. Communicate this same art to the savage on whose

mind the light of Christianity has begun to dawn, and he will search eagerly the page of inspiration, and drink deeply of the fountain of life. Teach the affectionate child. the art of writing, and he will use it in expressing his attachinent to his absent father. Give it to the man in whose heart every other consideration is absorbed by the love of money, and he will apply it in counterfeiting the name of his neighbor. Arithmetic will be used as a means of security by the honest, and as an instrument of fraud by the dishonest. The philanthropist will employ his knowledge of geography in discovering and supplying the wants of his fellow men; and the pirate and the slave dealer will avail themselves of its aid to guide them to their work of destruction.

The same course of instruction, in the same school, will furnish one with the means of usefulness, and supply another with instruments for doing evil. It is the character which decides the question, whether knowledge is a blessing or a curse to the individual and the community; and this character is determined, not by the amount of knowledge communicated, but by the influence exerted on the pupil by the circumstances, the examples, the discipline, under whose operation he is placed. To this mass of influences alone, can the term education properly be applied. It includes instruction—but it implies vastly more, if it possesses the power and importance which are ascribed to it.

To confound these terms, is to mislead those whose duty it is to provide for the education of others. The parent will feel, that when he has placed his children under the instruction of an able teacher, he has provided for their education. The founders of public institutions may suppose that they have nothing to do but to make arrangements for the communication of knowledge; and the rulers of a state will be left to act as if its citizens were to be rendered obedient and happy, by securing to them the possession of the arts of reading, writing and computation. Nay, we fear some of the most noble and philanthropic spirits of the age are led astray by this confusion of terms. It is too often announced from the halls of legislation, and the chair of state, and even the platform of the benevolent institution, that ignorance is the great evil with which we have to contend—that knowledge is the grand panacea for human misery. It is too often imagined, that if the low and degraded portion of society could only be instructed in the elements of science, and the principles of art, vice and misery would be banished from among them. But does experience prove this true? Have the most atrocious and persevering criminals been found among the ignorant': Have the worst men been the weakest ? We believe not; and when we look at Byron and Voltaire, do we not see the most incontrovertible evidence, that knowledge is but an engine of destruction in the hands of the unprincipled, more dangerous as it is more perfect; and that the immediate welfare of society, at least, would rather be promoted by its extinction, than by placing it in improper hands?


What is Education ?-ANNALS OF EDUCATION.

EDUCATION, therefore, we consider as consisting in the formation of the character; and a good education, in the preparation of man for usefulness and happiness.

It involves the right developement, and cultivation, and direction of all his powers, physical, intellectual, and moral. It implies instruction in all the branches of knowledge which are necessary to useful and efficient action in the sphere of the individual. But it must also include the physical training which is to render the body capable of executing the purposes of the soul; the skill which is requisite in order to apply our knowledge and strength to the

« PreviousContinue »