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are apparently the same, but in reality different; as well as between those which have some of their qualities or circumstances in common, while others are peculiar and appropriate.
The advocate for any measure also naturally takes that view of the subject which is most favorable to his purpose, and not unfrequently dwells exclusively upon some qualities or circumstances, and endeavors to establish conclusions upon them, which a more general view of the subject would not support. The accomplishment of the same object is often attempted by introducing new conditions in the course of the argument, more general or more limited than the original premises, and then resting the conclusion upon these, instead of the first principles. The enlightened statesman, however, will not only place those things that may have been omitted, in their proper light; but he will watch the whole course of the argument with the greatest attention, and, by pointing out the innovations that have been introduced by his opponent, not only expose the defectiveness of his reasoning and refute his sophisms, but turn his arguments, as weapons sharpened and wielded by his own hand, against himself.
For this purpose he must not only acquire a clear and comprehensive view of the whole subject, but also be well acquainted with the various kinds of evidence upon which human knowledge is founded; with the appropriate provinces to which they respectively apply, and the degrees of conviction their separate or combined influence is capable of producing in the mind. To exalt one species of evidence to the depreciation of the others is scarcely less rational or less philosophical than to misapply them. Demonstrative proof should never be required of what is known by sensation only; nor sensitive or intuitive conviction demanded of what rests upon the evidence of human testimony or moral reasoning alone.
Various other circumstances not only affect the acquisition, but modify the personal enjoyment and influence the public utility of knowledge; and therefore deserve attention. Food and clothing, exercise and rest, labor and amusement, companions and scenery, all operate in this respect; as whatever is calculated to impart strength and vigor to the youthful constitution, or to preserve these blessings when possessed, contributes to that energy of character in the subsequent periods of life, which so often excites our admiration, even when it fails to command our respect.
To these cursory observations on the practical importance and utility of knowledge, it cannot be irrelevant to subjoin a few brief remarks on its tendency to elevate, to purify, and to please.
Notwithstanding all the aberrations to which the human intellect is subject, whatever is majestic in the works of man or sub
lime in those of creation; whatever attracts by its beauty or astonishes by its grandeur; whatever dazzles by its splendor or enchants by its harmony, has a powerful tendency to expand and elevate the mind. The energies of genius, the discoveries of science, and the inventions of art, all raise the mind by which they can be appreciated, above the common level of humanity, and give it a tone of feeling and an elevation of thought peculiar to itself. In conducting the mental and moral process of education; endeavoring to ascertain the prevailing bias of the disposition, to call talent and genius into exercise, to correct what is irregular, and eradicate what is injurious, it is therefore of vast moment to prepare the understanding for comprehending what is profound in the researches of reason, and to qualify the mind for enjoying what is attractive in the combinations of fancy or luxuriant in the productions of the imagination.
Valuable as scientific studies are in giving strength and stability to the mental powers, they are not less beneficial in preparing the mind for a just conception of the phenomena of Nature; in enabling it to investigate the laws by which they are governed; and in discovering those relations and anomalies which would otherwise have remained for ever beyond the reach of the human powers. While the attention is seriously engaged in the pursuit of truth, the dispositions of the mind are biased by the same principle, and the affections prevented from fixing on low and unworthy objects: for whether we consider the works of creation or reflect on the beneficence of the Creator-whether we contemplate the infinite divisibility of matter, or the immensity of space; the wonders which the microscope discovers, or those which the telescope displays-whether we examine the constitution of the globe we inhabit, or investigate the magnitudes and motions of the celestial orbs-all lead the well-regulated mind
Through Nature up to NATURE's God."
Of all the human sciences, however, Astronomy is the most sublime and elevating. Commencing with the first ideas which an attentive survey of the earth and the heavens presents, we soon find reason to dispute the testimony of our senses, to doubt the correctness of our conceptions relative to the heavenly bodies, and to perceive the propriety of having recourse to the use of instruments. and the powers of analysis to confirm or dispel these doubts. Furnished with the assistance of these, the mind is gradually led to acknowledge its prejudices; its delusions are dissipated; the veil is removed from the face of Nature, and more correct ideas relative to the constitution of the universe are obtained. Pursuing the subject to an investigation of the laws by which the move
ments of the celestial bodies are regulated, and comparing these laws and their phenomena with each other, we are insensibly led to the grand principle of Universal Gravitation, by which not only atoms but worlds are combined into one harmonious whole. Having thus proceeded, from effect to cause, and arrived at what appears to be the ultimate law of the universe, is it possible that the mind which has been duly prepared by culture, should calmly contemplate the astonishing scene which opens on its view without being deeply impressed with the wisdom and goodness of creative power, and experiencing that elevation above its former self, and feeling that delight which the combined effects of truth and magnificence, grandeur and simplicity, never fail to produce?
The Creator of the universe has wisely endowed the human mind with various powers and passions; and these it is the business of education not to destroy, but to cherish and guide to provide each with its proper nutriment, and direct it to its legitimate endto maintain that subordination which Nature herself has established, and to cause not only their simultaneous but their successive actions to coalesce in producing one harmonious and combined effect. It is not enough, therefore, to cultivate the reasoning powers alone, the more playful faculties of the mind require support and exercise; and he who has been attentive to what has passed within himself, or closely observant of what has taken place in others, will be fully sensible of the advantage to be derived from relieving the fatigue of one faculty by the employment of another; and for this purpose, works of imagination and fancy should be intermingled with those on science and taste.
The superior productions of this description are well suited to this checquered scene of existence, and of much greater value in the proper cultivation of the mind, than the stern moralist or the scientific recluse will generally allow; as they not only possess the power of relieving fatigue in health, alleviating suffering in sickness, and depriving sorrow of its sting; but of transporting us out of this sensible world, and enabling us to leave its troubles and anxieties behind, and to feel the pains of sense absorbed in the pleasures of intellect. But, it has been well remarked by an anonymous writer, that," in proportion to the power of any engine, is the necessity to guard it from perversion: and if works of imagination enable us to pass the flaming bounds of space and time, it is a matter of immeasurable importance to ascertain into what world they carry us; and, therefore, no class of books ought to be selected with more care than those which exercise the imagination. If they carry us into a world of increased sensuality, like the paradise of Mahomet, their effect must resemble that of stimulants in a fever; while, on the other hand, by introducing us to purer scenes
and nobler enjoyments, they add to their other recommendations the more powerful one of becoming subsidiary to the influence of principle. There are many generous and noble feelings, far removed from the selfish motives by which the world at large are actuated, and for which common life does not provide sufficient excitement to keep them from languishing from inaction; and whatever tends to kindle and awaken these, and thus to create a taste for the loveliness of virtue, may have a more friendly influence, where the holier sanctions of religion are either wanting or are feebly felt, than many a grave lesson for which the heart has not been duly prepared. To keep all parts of the mind in successive action is essential, or at least eminently conducive to its healthy condition. It is thus familiarised with scenes of difficulty, and with the conduct of the good and great, when exposed to them, before it is called to act under them. It contemplates perplexity at leisure, and danger without dismay; and, being filled with exalted and generous sentiments, is better disposed both to applaud generosity in others, and to practise it when occasion requires."
Let those, therefore, to whom the important and highly responsible duty of forming the future man is committed, exercise the utmost vigilance in selecting works of imagination, in watching their influence on the opening mind, and in guarding that influence from perversion; but let no undue attachment to one branch of human knowledge in preference to another, no mistaken zeal for the sterner principles of morality-no fear of giving too wide a range to the faculties of man-be urged as an inducement for withholding them altogether. The duty of those to whom this task is committed is to excite, direct and guard, but not " to destroy those finer pleasures of the intellect-those nobler luxuries of the cultivated mind;" for this would be "to rob language of all its magnificence and grace, to strip Nature of all the rainbow hues in which the glow of the poet invests her scenery, to forbid the fibres of the soul to throb with interest, melt with sympathy, glow with the noble energy of feeling, or suspend their motions for a moment, in a thrilling pause of awe, while the deep tones of sublimity vibrate on the sense."