Page images

the globe, to be wholly unmingled with anxiety, till the . time when he comes to relinquish the shelter of his father's roof, for one of his own; while a good daughter is the

steady light of her parent's house. 5 Her idea is indissolubly connected with that of his

happy fireside. She is his morning sun-light, and his evening star. The grace, and vivacity, and tenderness of her sex, have their place in the mighty sway which she

holds over his spirit. The lessons of recorded wisdom 10 which he reads with her eyes, come to his mind with a

new charm, as they blend with the beloved melody of her voice. He scarcely knows weariness which her song

does not make him forget, or gloom which is proof against the

young brightness of her smile. She is the pride and orna15 ment of his hospitality, and the gentle nurse of his sick

ness, and the constant agent in those nameless, numberless acts of kindness, which one chiefly cares to have rendered, because they are unpretending but all-expressive proofs

of love. 20 And then what a cheerful sharer is she, and what an

able lightener of a mother's cares! what an ever present delight and triumph to a mother's affection! Oh! how little do those daughters know of the power which God

has committed to them, and the happiness God would have 25 them enjoy, who do not, every time that a parent's eye

rests on them, bring rapture to a parent's heart. A true love will, almost certainly, always greet their approaching steps. That they will hardly alienate. But their ambition

should be, not to have it a love merely which feelings 30 implanted by nature excite, but one made intense, and

overflowing, by approbation of worthy conduct; and she is strangely blind to her own happiness, as well as undutiful' to them to whom she owes the most, in whom the

perpetual appeals of parental disinterestedness, do not call 35 forth the prompt and full echo of filial devotion.



One of the circumstances of our moral condition, is danger. Religion, then, should be a guardian, and a vigilant guardian, and let us be assured that the Gospel is

such. Such emphatically do we need. If we cannot bear 6 a religion that admonishes us, watches over us, warns us,

restrains us; let us be assured that we cannot bear a religion that will save us. Religion should be the keeper of the soul; and without such a keeper, in the slow and

undermining process of temptation, or amidst the sudden 5 and strong assaults of passion, it will be overcome and lost.

Again, the human condition is one of weakness. There are weak points, where religion should be stationed to support and strengthen us. Points, did I say? Are we not

encompassed with weakness? Where, in the whole circle 10 of our spiritual interests and affections, are we not exposed,

and vulnerable? Where have we not need to set up the barriers of habit, and to build the strongest defences, with which resolutions, and vows, and prayers, can surround

us? Where, and wherein, I ask again, is any man safe ? 15 What virtue of any man, is secure from frailty? What

strong purpose of his, is not liable to failure? What affection of his heart can say, “I have strength, I am established, and nothing can move me?" How weak is man in trouble, in perplexity, in doubt;

20 how weak in affliction, or when sickness bows the spirit,

or when approaching death is unloosing all the bands of his pride and self-reliance! And whose spirit does not sometimes faint under its intrinsic weakness, under its

native frailty, and the burthen and pressure of its necessi25 ties? Religion, then, should bring supply, and support,

and strength to the soul; and the Gospel does bring supply, and support, and strength. And it thus meets a universal want. "Every mind needs the stability which principle

gives; needs the comfort which piety gives; needs it con30 tinually, in all the varying experience of life.


Our numerous waterfalls, the enchanting beauty of Lake George and its pellucid flood, of Lake Champlain, and the lesser lakes, afford many objects of the most

picturesque character; while the inland seas, from Supe5 rior to Ontario, and that astounding cataract, whose roar

would hardly be increased by the united murmurs of all the cascades of Europe, are calculated to inspire vast and sublime conceptions. The effects, too, of our climate,

composed of a Siberian winter, and an Italian summer, 10 furnish new and peculiar objects, for description. The

circumstances of remote regions are here blended, and strikingly. opposite appearances witnessed, in the same spot, at different seasons of the

year. In our winters, we have the sun at the same altitude as in Italy, shining 5 on an unlimited surface of snow, which can only be found

in the higher latitudes of Europe, where the sun, in the winter, rises little above the horizon. The dazzling brilliancy of a winter's day, and a moonlight night, in an

atmosphere astonishingly clear and frosty, when the 10 utmost splendor of the sky is reflected from a surface of

spotless white, attended with the most excessive cold, is peculiar to the northern part of the United States. What, too, can surpass the celestial purity and transpa

rency of the atmosphere, in a fine autumnal day, when our 15 vision, and our thought, seem carried to the third heaven;

the gorgeous magnificence of the close, when the sun sinks from our view, surrounded with various masses of clouds, fringed with gold and purple, and reflecting, in evanescent tints, all the hues of the rainbow.



If you were about to engage, in a capacity higher than that of a day laborer, in any other pursuit than that of teaching, would you not set yourself at once to under

stand what was the object which you should endeavor to 5 have in view, and what the machinery by which you

could attain it? If you were going to manufacture wool. len goods, you would wish to understand the nature of the raw material, the processes and machinery by which

it is to be acted on, and to judge of the quality of the 10 article you wished to produce. Will you do less, when

the mechanism with which you are to operate is the work of an Infinite Architect? and the web to be woven is the rich and varied fabric of human character ?

If you were about to engage in agriculture, you would 15 take care to inform yourself as to the nature of the soil,

its adaptation to the various kinds of grain and vegeta. bles, and the season of the year, at which, in this climate, it is most proper to prepare the ground, to plough, to sow

the seed, and to reap and gather into the barn. Will you 20 take less care, when the soil is the human soul, the seed


is the word of life, the harvest, the end of the world, and the reapers, angels?

If you were going to navigate the ocean, you would wish to know how to judge of the ship, to sail and steer; 5

you would inquire about the currents that would set you
from your course, and the winds that should bear you
onward; you would learn to trace the mo
among the stars, and to look aloft to the sun in his path,

that you might not drift at random on the broad sea, but 10 speed towards your desired haven, as if you

could see it rising before you above the blue waves. Šo much you

would do that you might convey in safety a few tons of merchandise; and all men would hold

unwise if


did less. Shall they not tax you with worse than folly, if 15 you make less preparation when your ship is the human

soul, freighted with a parents and a nation's hopes --with the hopes of immortality,--if you fail to study the currents of passion, to provide against the rocks of tempta

tion, and to look aloft for the guiding light which shines 20 only from Heaven.

But, to speak without simile, the study of mental philosophy is of the greatest importance to a teacher, in every point of view. If we would exercise the several powers,

we must know what they are, and by what discipline they 25 are to be trained. If we would cultivate them harmoni.

ously, in their natural order and proportion, we must know which of them first come into action, which are developed at a later age, and what are the province and

functions of each. Without this knowledge, we can 30 hardly fail of losing the most propitious times for begin

ning their cultivation ; we shall make the common mistake of attempting certain studies too soon, or we shall make use of means little suited to the ends we have in

view. 35 Important as this study is, it is no more difficult than

any other, if, in regard to it, we take the same course which we find the true one in other investigations,—if, laying aside conjectures, dreams, and speculations, we

adopt the safe and philosophical rule, to observe carefully 40 and extensively the facts, and draw from them only their

legitimate conclusions.

There are three sources from which we are to draw light; first, the facts of our own consciousness, the most difficult of all to consult; second, the facts we observe in

[ocr errors]

the mental growth of others, especially of children; and last, the great storehouse of recorded facts contained in the works of those, who, directly or indirectly, have written upon this subject.

LESSON CXVIII.EDUCATION.-DR. HUMPHREY. [From an Inaugural Address delivered at Amherst College.]

Convened as we are this day, in the portals of science and literature, and with their arduous heights, and profound depths, and Elysian fields before us, education

offers itself as the inspiring theme of our present medita5 tions. This, in a free, enlightened, and Christian state, is confessedly a subject of the highest moment.

How can the diamond reveal its lustre from beneath incumbent rocks and earthly strata ? How can the marble speak, or

stand forth in all the divine symmetry of the human form, 10 till it is taken from the quarry, and fashioned by the hand

of the artist? And how can man be intelligent, happy, or useful, without the culture and discipline of education ?

It is this that smooths and polishes the roughnesses of his nature. It is this, that unlocks the prison-house of his 15 mind, and brings out the captive. It is the transforming

hand of education, which is now, in so many heathen lands, moulding savageness and ignorance, pagan fanaticism, and brutal stupidity, revenge, and treachery, and

lust,—and, in short, all the warring elements of our lapsed 20 nature, into the various forms of exterior decency, of men

tal symmetry, and of Christian loveliness. It is education that pours light into the understanding, lays up its golden treasures in the memory, softens the asperities of the tem

per, checks the waywardness of passion and appetite, and 25 trains to habits of industry, temperance, and benevolence.

It is this, which qualifies men for the pulpit, the senate, the bar, the art of healing, and the bench of justice. It is to education, to its domestic agents, its schools and col

leges, its universities and literary societies, that the world 30 is indebted for a thousand comforts and elegancies of

civilized life, for almost every useful art, discovery, and invention.

In a word, education, regarding man as a rational, accountable, and immortal being, elevates, expands, and 35 enriches his mind; cultivates the best affections of his

heart; pours a thousand sweet and gladdening streams around the dwellings of the poor, as well as the mansions

« PreviousContinue »