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• Is he a parent? The education of his children, however young, is already commenced. Even before they acquire their vernacular tongue, they are forming the dispositions and habits, which will give complexion to their manhood and their old age. They are taking lessons of every body and of every thing around them. To their parents, especially, they look up for guidance and teaching. Can an ignorant parent open, by the wisest and gentlest means, these budding faculties, and fashion with plastic hand these forming manners? Can he whose own powers have never been developed, be qualified to develope and mature the powers of others? Can he who has never governed his own spirit, nor chastened his own fancy, nor bridled his own desires, give lessons of moderation, of prudence, and of judgment?
*Is he an avowed teacher of youth ? He has taken upon him duties of high and solemn import. He has undertaken to mould the character of the next generation. He aims at nothing less than to form the parents, the citizens, the teachers, the philosophers, the patriots, and the christians of the coming age. To this formation of character, every teacher, from the nursery to the hall of science, contributes a portion of influence.
‘From the salutary changes introduced within a few years, in the modes of teaching, and the experiments now making with a view to other changes, it is evident the whole science of education is yet in its infancy. In literature, as in religion, veneration for the mere office of teachers is gone, and in its place is come up a demand for talents, and zeal, and usefulness. Neither youth nor men are any longer to be governed by the mere dint of authority. Public opinion is the lever which moves the world; and governments, whether of schools, or colleges, or states, must yield to its irresistible power.
• The general inquiry now is, how can education be made to subserve most effectually our great social, political, and moral interests? What are the best means for training the mind, and forming the manners? What are the best schools, not merely for acquiring knowledge, but for increasing mental power, and obtaining mental discipline? for teaching youth to think, and to reason, and to act? What, in short, is the education which ought to be given to American citizens, and American christians in the enlightened nineteenth century? On this point the sentiment is becoming general, that sound learning has not received that individual and that legislative patronage which its connexion with the vital interests of our country demands :—and, especially, that adequate means are not provided for training men to the important art of teaching. In those arts which contribute to the bodily comfort and fashionable appearance of our children, we seek to employ the skilful; and shall we give their minds in charge to ignorance and to pedantry? Shall the destinies of our posterity and of our country be confided to superficial thinkers, to half educated scholars, to unenlightened and unprincipled pretenders ? Genius of Republicanism, forbid it! Spirit of Christianity, avert it!' pp. 7, 8.
The following paragraphs, we are confident, will be read with deep interest by all who are, in the least, acquainted with the circumstances of the University at Lexington, and who, with christian, fraternal feeling, look towards the valley of the Mississippi, or contemplate the prospects of our common country.
• Is he devoted to theology? The day is gone by in which the priesthood can be valued for its ignorance. I would be the last to substitute learning for piety. Educating men for the ministry, irrespective of their religious qualifications, will inevitably destroy the soul and vitality of every church which admits the practice. But it is a supposition too absurd to need refutation, that the igporant are the best qualified to interpret the most ancient writings in existence; -writings composed by various authors during the long interval of nearly two thousand years, relating to a structure of society, to usages, and to natural scenery, unknown with us, and filled with the loftiest breathings of poetry, and with the holiest fervors of prophecy.
· For the success with which learning has been employed in favor of religion, I might refer to the early apologists of christianity, who exposed the gross deformities of polytheism ; to the reformation of the sixteenth century, which followed in quick succession the revival of letters; and to the impugners of modern infidelity, who have triumphantly opposed argument to argument,
and learning to learning. Had not the sacred oracles, by means of the press, been sent through the various dialects of Europe, the reformation had not been effected. Had not learned defenders of the christian faith been raised up in later times, the enemies of the cross would have succeeded in their attempt to associate, in the public mind, learning with infidelity, and weakness with piety.
'It may be said, that the primitive teachers of christianity were generally unlettered men. But the miraculous propagation of the gospel, at first, by means apparently inadequate, was designed for the confirmation of our faith, and not for the regulation of our practice in circumstances widely different. Still it should not be forgotten, that our Lord saw fit to employ the cultivated talents of a Paul, to prove to the Jews out of their own Scriptures, that Jesus . was the Christ, to persuade the learned polytheist on Mars' Hill to turn from dumb idols to the worship of the true God, and to indite epistles of instruction, admonition, and consolation to the churches. If learning was of use in the day of miracles, and in an unenlightened age, (compared with our own,) can any one deny its utility when the gift of tongues, and the gift of healing have been withdrawn, and when the great mass of society are informed and educated ?' pp. 9–11.
Let it not be inferred from what has been said, that I would prefer talents to virtue, or greatness to goodness. Great talents are valuable, only as they are rendered subservient to purposes of benevolence. Under an obliquity of moral principles, brighter reason prompts to bolder crimes, and an increase of intellectual capability, is an increase of the power of mischief. Invest a malevolent being with infinite wisdom and unlimited power, and you make him the terror and scourge of the universe. All intellectual culture is to be regarded simply as means to an end;—as power to do good, or to do evil. It is the province of a refined moral sensibility to put an accurate value on the different kinds of knowledge, and to pursue each in proportion to its worth. It is only in a healthful state of the moral faculty that we make the distinction between justice and success, between the love of excellence and the love of excelling.
While we are disposed to allow, to their full extent, the pleasures of literary pursuit, and the important advantages of intellectual illumination, it must be consessed that man has wants which nothing can supply, and woes which nothing can relieve, but the sanative influence of religion. What can moderate anger, resentment, malice, or revenge, like the thought that we may ask God to forgive our trespasses only as we forgive the trespasses of others? What can quiet murmurings at our lot, like that deep sense of moral demerit which the gospel presses on the conscience? What can cool the burnings of envy, or allay the passion of renown, like a remembrance of the transitory nature of human glory? What can produce resignation to the loss of friends, like a contident hope of meeting them soon in a brighter world? What can prompt to deeds of benevolence, like the example of Him, who, though he was rich, for our sakes became poor? Is there any thing which can give steadiness to purpose, or stability to character, like an unwavering regard to the will of God ? Considerations of mere worldly policy, or interest, furnish no steady magnetic influence to give one uniform direction to all the plans and actions of life. Patriotism may fire the spirit with valor to sustain the onset of an invading foe, and bare the breast to the rushing tide of war:-but who can meet with unruffled temper the thousand petty ills that life is heir to, like him whose aim is heaven? What sublimity like moral sublimity, whether we regard the grandeur or the permanency of its effects?. What more sublime than the triumphs of a dying christian, when in the midst of its decaying and crumbling habitation the spirit plumes itself for its Jofty flight, and departs in the buoyancy of hope, for the regions of eternal day? But these are not fruits of earthly growth. They are the gists of christianity.
• But it is on man in his social capacities and political relations that moral principle is destined to exert its most important influence. It is in society that man has power. It is in society that virtue developes its benevolent tendencies, and that vice scatters fire-brands, arrows, and death. Has the example of vice wrought powerfully, so has that of virtue. Have many been beguiled to their destruction by the enticings of the sinful, multitudes have been allured by the persuasions of the good to fairer worlds on high.
* None will deny that a reputation for integrity and uprightness is of the last importance to a public man. But how can he get that reputation so surely as by being upright and honest ? Politicians will sooner or later learn, that there
is no such thing as political integrity in contradistinction to moral integrity :that nothing which is morally wrong can be politically right. Intrigue and crooked policy may sometimes secure present success and temporary elevation. But this success is transient as the fight of the meteor, which calls our attention only to witness its fall. Character will find its level. Virtue will be honored with reputation and esteem; and the dereliction of principle will be visited with shame and contempt. The crafty and over-reaching statesman will inevitably lose that very faine for which he treads many a devious path ; and instead of securing permanent applause, will consign his name to ignominy and execration. It matters not to what lofty and undisputed ascendency he may rise, or within what ramparts of power he may intrench himself; the days of his reputation are numbered; the prophecy of his overthrow is delivered.
Nor is moral principle less indispensable to national than to individual prosperity. National virtues secure with unerring certainty true national glory; and national vices are followed by a train of national calamities. ........ But in the absence of moral principle, what safeguard is there for the rectitude of fair and just dealing between man and man, and between nation and nation ? What is there to prevent the eternal principles of right and the plain virtues of honesty and integrity from being sacrificed at the shrine of a time-serving expediency? What is there to curb the impetuosity of passion, or the cravings of cupidity? If Philip of Macedon deemed no city impregnable into which he could introduce an ass laden with gold, must not a political community look for safety to the conservative influence of a lofty and uncompromising morality ? General knowledge among our citizens is essential to the perpetuity of our free and happy republic. But something more is necessary. An individual may know his own interests, and yet miserably sacrifice them at the bidding of some licentious passion. A man in public life may know the best interests of his country, and yet treacherously betray them. To knowledge there must be added virtue.
No political of literary Institution which discards the influence of moral and religious principle, can expect the blessing of Almighty God. Gentlemen, I would not hope for the prosperity of this University, for whose welfare I come to toil, unless it be reared on the broad and deep basis of christian principle. While, therefore, the teachers of this literary Institution inflexibly refuse to descend into the arena of political strife, or of theological controversy, let them make it their first and last aim to serve their country and their God. Let them lead their pupils not only to the waters of Castalia, the resort of the Muses, but also to “Siloa's brook that flowed fast by this oracle of God.”
* And if the noble and dear bought heritage of our freedom is to descend an undiminished patrimony to our children and our children's children, it must be by the agency of principles which bring the retributions of a future world to bear upon the destinies of the present. For myself, I look to religion as the ark in which our liberties are to be preserved; not by an unholy alliance of Church and State, but by the bland and reforming influence of this religion on the manners and morals of the community, on the hearts and the lives of our citizens.
• This religion, which we regard as the Palladium of our freedom, is in its genius republican. It teaches the doctrine of equal rights and privileges. It is not limited like the ancient pagan religions, to a few of the noble and learned who may be initiated into its mysteries. It addresses its mandates alike to rulers and to people, to masters and to servants; and carries its consolations and hopes alike to the cottage and the palace. It commands its teachers to announce its glad tidings in the hearing of every rational creature. It acknowledges no privileged aristocracy. The philosopher and the peasant, the man of letters and the man of business, are equally called to bow to the supremacy of its authority.' pp. 15—18.
Transylvania University is under the control of the Legislature of Kentucky. A great majority of the people, if we mistake not, are more or less closely attached to the Baptist Denomination; so that both justice and sound policy required that, other qualifications being equal, a man of this Denomination be preferred as the head of the Institution; and the more so, as the Presbyterians have a
college of their own at Danville in the same State, and the Roman Catholics, at Bardstown. The people of the West in general, and our churches in particular, have much cause to rejoice in the acquisition of such a man as President Woods, who, there is every reason to believe, will merit the confidence and support of all sects and parties, by toiling faithfully to make the University a great and common blessing. Our brethren, we trust, will be mindful of their obligations, and do their duty. We hope it will be seen, in Kentucky and elsewhere, that we can be relied upon as the firm and efficient supporters of literary institutions of every rank, from the infant school to the highest, when we are permitted to participate duly in their government and their advantages. Let us remember such institutions in our prayers, and especially those where our own brethren are called to instruct. Our children or others, on whom, under God, rests the hope of the world, are there receiving impressions for life and for eternity.
The Christian Contemplated in a Course of Lectures: By Will-
The author of these Lectures has long been known to the religious public as a popular preacher, and as the author of several works well adapted to do good. The general character of his former publications is conspicuous in this. No man, we think, who is a lover of goodness, can rise from the perusal of the Lectures, without an increased attachment to the gospel—without fervent gratitude for a system of religion so fitted to man's wants, whether he be regarded in his individual or his social capacity, as a resident in this world, or as a candidate for immortality, as encompassed with infirmities and sins, or as destined to a state of evergrowing excellence and happiness.
The views of religion presented in these Lectures are well proportioned. The author does not disesteem any part of the economy which God has appointed for In his regard for the soul, he does not overlook man's animal nature; in his concern for the claims of the Deity, as Creator, Benefactor, and Governor, he does not forget the claims which man has upon his fellow man.
There is no exclusive attachment to any one part of divine revelation; when his purpose requires the mention of any doctrines, they are clearly exhibited; when precepts are required, they are enforced ; if warnings are called for, or reproofs, or consolations, they are dealt out in suitable measure. Mr. Jay endeavors to form his instructions on the model of the sacred writers; hence he appears to be solicitous only in regard to the subject in hand; he does not seem to be at all fettered by the technicalities of theological language; or by an effort to maintain an exact conformity in sentiment and expression to every iota of a favorite system. Some excellent ministers seem to be perpetually
afraid of producing a suspicion, that some of their representations are inconsistent with others; and by their unseasonable restrictions and explanations, they almost entirely destroy the force of scriptural truth. As illustrations of this remark, every one can recollect the manner of various preachers in respect to the subjects of human dependance and human agency, of the certain salvation of believe ers, and the alarming warnings which are addressed to them. Now the sacred writers do not appear to have felt any difficulty on these subjects, and why should modern preachers ? True, every preacher of the gospel ought to be able to show that these varieties of instruction are perfectly consistent with each other, or at least are not inconsistent; or if this cannot be done, he ought to be able to vindicate his manner by direct reference to scriptural use; else he will betray a lurking apprehension of inconsistency, which will palsy his best exertions. If explanations must be made, let them be made with a due regard to time, and place, and persons, and other proprieties; but never let them be so introduced as to blunt the edge of the preacher's weapon. Some hearers there are indeed, who will not be satisfied with any method on these subjects; and we fear that even some Christians are so wedded to certain phrases and ideas, and have accustomed them. selves to so contracted views of certain religious subjects, as that even apostolic usage, (did they not previously know it was apostolic,) would displease them. But let the minister of Christ take heed to himself and to his doctrine; let him reprove, rebuke, and warn both saint and sinner with all fidelity and kindness; he will thus commend himself to every man's conscience, and both save himself and them that hear him.
In these remarks, we do not intend an unqualified commenda. tion of every thing in these Lectures. As there are dangers on the right hand and on the left, and as the middle path is not entirely free from difficulties, it would indeed be strange, if there should occur nothing to which we must hesitate to subscribe.
The perusal of Mr. Jay's work, cannot fail to impress upon ministers the utility of variety and connexion in their public instructions. In common congregations, the subjects of religion are not new; scarcely any subject can be introduced which will not, in the memory of many, revive Sabbaths long since passed by, when they were addressed on the same subject. In regard to many hearers, the object of the preacher is, to confirm them in well-known and acknowledged truths; to render interesting and impressive truths which have long been familiar; and to endeavor in various ways to extend the influence of acknowledged truths into all the departments of life. A minister of a tolerably well furnished mind, may not at first feel the need of connected instruction, because his station is to him a novel one. There is a freshness in the subjects adapted to the pulpit, which renders them interesting to himself; and each man's peculiar manner of arranging and expressing his thoughts, will render him for some time interesting to his people. But by and by, the charm of novelty will cease,
Whea Jan. 1829.