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“In all this there was no excitement, no predilection for one class of work above another; no enthusiasm for any one-sided object; but an humble, profound, and most religious consciousness that work is the appointed calling of man on earth, the end for which his various facul. ties were given, the element in which his nature is ordained to develop itself, and in which his progressive advance towards heaven is to lie. Hence, each pupil felt assured of Arnold's sympathy in his own particular growth and character of talent; in striving to cultivate his own gifts, in whatever direction they might lead him, he infallibly found Arnold not only approving, but positively and sincerely valuing for themselves the results he had arrived at; and that approbation and esteem gave a dignity and a worth both to himself and his labour."]
A reader unacquainted with the real nature of a classical education, will be in danger of undervaluing it, when he sees that so large a portion of time at so important a period of human life is devoted to the study of a few ancient writers, whose works seem to have no direct bearing on the studies and duties of our own generation. For instance although some provision is undoubtedly made at Rugby for acquiring a knowledge of modern history, yet the History of Greece and Rome is more studied than that of France and England; and Homer and Virgil are certainly much more attended to than Shakspere and Milton. This appears to many persons a great absurdity; while others who are so far swayed by authority as to believe the system to be right, are yet unable to understand how it can be so. A Journal of Education may not be an unfit place for a few remarks on this subject.
It may be freely confessed that the first origin of classical education affords in itself no reasons for its being continued now. When Latin and Greek were almost the only written languages of civilized man, it is manifest that they must have furnished the subjects of all liberal education. The question therefore is wholly changed, since the growth of a complete literature in other languages; since France, and Italy, and Germany, and England, have each produced their philosophers, their poets, and their historians, worthy to be placed on the same level with those of Greece and Rome.
But although there is not the same reason now which existed three or four centuries ago for the study of Greek and Roman literature, yet there is another no less substantial. Expel Greek and Latin from your schools, and you confine the views of the existing generation to themselves and their immediate predecessors: you will cut off so many centuries of the world's experience, and place us in the same state as if the human race had first come into existence in the year 1500. For it is nothing to say that a few learned individuals might still study classical literature; the effect produced on the public mind would be no greater than that which has resulted from the labours of our oriental scholars; it would not spread beyond themselves, and men in general after a few generations would know as little of Greece and Rome, as they do actually of China and Hindostan. But such an ignorance would be incalculably more to be regretted. With the Asiatic mind we have no nearer connection and sympathy than is derived from our common humanity. But the mind of the Greek and of the Roman is in all the essential points of its constitution our own; and not only so, but it is our mind developed to an extraordinary degree of perfection. Wide as is the difference between us with respect to those physical instruments which minister to our uses or our pleasures; although the Greeks and Romans had no steam engines, no printing presses, no mariner's compass, no telescopes, no microscopes, no gunpowder; yet in our moral and political views, in those matters which most determine human character, there is a perfect resemblance in these respects. Aristotle, and Plato, and Thucydides, and Cicero, and Tacitus, are most naturally called ancient writers; they are virtually our own countrymen and contemporaries, but have the advantage which is enjoyed by intelligent travellers, that their observation has been exercised in a field out of the reach of common men; and that having thus seen in a manner with our eyes what we cannot see for ourselves, their conclusions are such as bear upon our own circumstances, while their information has all the charm of novelty, and all the value of a mass of new and pertinent facts, illustrative of the great science of the nature of civilized man.
Now when it is said, that men in manhood so often throw their Greek and Latin aside, and that this very fact shows the uselessness of their early studies, it is much more true to say that it shows how completely the literature of Greece and Rome would be forgotten, if our system of education did not keep up the knowledge of it. But it by no means shows that system to be useless, unless it followed that when a man laid aside his Greek and Latin books, he forgot also all that he had ever gained from them. This, however, is so far from
being the case, that even where the results of a classical education are least tangible and least appreciated even by the individual himself, still the mind often retains much of the effect of its early studies in the general liberality of its tastes and comparative comprehensiveness of its views and notions.
All this supposes, indeed, that classical instruction should be sensibly conducted; it requires that a classical teacher should be fully acquainted with modern history and modern literature, no less than with those of Greece and Rome. What is, or perhaps what used to be, called a mere scholar, cannot possibly communicate to his pupils the main advantages of a classical education. The knowledge of the past is valuable, because without it our knowledge of the present and of the future must be scanty, but if the knowledge of the past be confined wholly to itself, if, instead of being made to bear upon things around us, it be totally isolated from them, and so disguised by vagueness and misapprehension as to appear incapable of illustrating them, then indeed it becomes little better than laborious trifling, and they who declaim against it may be fully forgiven.
HERBERT. [GEORGE HERBERT, the fifth brother of Lord Herbert of Cherbury, was born in 1593; died in 1632. His character as a minister was full of Christian graces. He belonged to the same class of clergymen as Hooker ;-devoted to pastoral duties,-enthusiastic in his reverence for the offices of the Church. His religious poetry used to be neglected for its quaintness ;- but the present age has restored it to its proper rank amongst the writers who have left us gems which antiquity cannot rust. The poem which we give has a peculiar interest in being his death-bed song, as we learn from the following narrative of Isaac Walton :
“In this time of his decay, he was often visited and prayed for by all the clergy that lived near to him, especially by his friends the Bishop and Prebends of the Cathedral Church in Salisbury; but by none more devoutly than his wife, his three nieces (then a part of his family), and Mr. Woodnot, who were the sad witnesses of his daily decay; to whom he would often speak to this purpose: “I now look back upon the pleasures of my life past, and see the content I have taken in beauty, in wit, in music, and pleasant conversation, are now all past by me, like a dream, or as a shadow that returns not, and are now all become dead to me, or I to them; and I see that as my father and generation hath done before me, so I also shall now suddenly (with Job) make my bed also in the dark; and I praise God I am prepared for it; and I praise him, that I am not to learn patience, now I stand in such need of it; and that I have practised mortification, and endeavoured to die daily, that I might not die eternally; and my hope is, that I shall shortly leave this Valley of Tears, and be free from all fevers and pain; and, which will be a more happy condition, I shall be free from sin, and all the temptations and anxieties that attend it; and this being past, I shall dwell in the new Jerusalem, dwell there with men made perfect, dwell where these eyes shall see my Master and Saviour Jesus; and with him see my dear mother, and all my relations and friends. But I must die, or not come to that happy place: and this is my content, that I am going daily towards it, and that every day which I have lived hath taken a part of my appointed time from me; and that I shall live the less time for having lived this, and the day past." These, and the like expressions, which he uttered often, may be said to be his enjoyment of heaven, before he enjoyed it. The Sunday before his death, he rose suddenly from his bed or couch, called for one of his instruments, took it into hand, and said, “ My God, my God,
“My music shall find thee,
And every string
Shall have his attribute to sing :”
“ The Sundays of Man's life,
More plentiful than hope."]
O day most calm, most bright,
Thy torch doth show the way.
The other days and thou
Till thy release appear.
Man had straight forward gone
The which he doth not fill,
Sundays the pillars are,
Which parts their ranks and orders ;
The Sundays of Man's life,
More plentiful than hope.
30.-SIR ALEXANDER BALL.
COLERIDGE. The following most interesting account of an eminent naval commander is from Mr. Coleridge's Collection of Essays, “The Friend.' There are few better specimens of genuine English prose, employed to do honour to a genuine English character.]