« VorigeDoorgaan »
OF AWAKENING THE MIND.
The true object of education, like that of every other moral process, is the generation of happiness.
Happiness to the individual in the first place. If individuals were universally happy, the species would be happy.
Man is a social being. In society the interests of individuals are intertwisted with each other, and cannot be separated. Men should be taught to affift each other. The first object should be to train a man to be happy; the second to train him to be useful, that is, to be virtuous. B
There is a further reason for this. Virtue is essential to individual happiness. There is no transport equal to that of the performance of virtue. All other happiness, which is not connected with self-approbation and sympathy, is unsatisfactory and frigid.
To make a man virtuous we must make him wise. All virtue is a compromise between opposite motives and inducements. The man of
genuine virtue, is a man of vigorous comprehension and long views. He who would be eminently useful, must be eminently instructed. He must be: endowed with a sagacious judgment and an ardent zeal.
The argument in favour of wisdom or a cultivated intellect, like the argument in favour of virtue, when closely considered, shows itself to be twofold. Wisdom is not only directly a means to virtue ; it is also directly a means to happinefs. The man of enlightened understanding and persevering ardour, has many sources of enjoyment which the ignorant man cannot reach; and it may at least be suspected that these sources are more exquisite, more folid, more durable and more constantly accessible, than any
which the wise man and the ignorant man poffess in common. Thus it appears that there are three leading
objects of a just education, happiness, virtue, wisdom, including under the term wisdom both extent of information and energy of pursuit.
When a child is born, one of the earliest purposes of his inftitutor ought to be, to awaken his mind, to breathe a soul into the, as yet, unformed mass. What
may be the precise degree of difference with respect to capacity that children generally bring into the world with them, is a problem that it is perhaps impossible completely to solve.
But, if education cannot do every thing, it can do much. To the attainment of any accomplifhment what is principally necessary, is that the accomplishment should be ardently desired. How
many instances is it reasonable to suppose there are, where this ardent defire exists, and the means of attainment are clearly and skilfully pointed out, where yet the accomplishment remains finally unattained ? Give but fufficient motive, and
have given every thing Whether the object be to shoot at a mark, or to master a science, this observation is equally applicable.
The means of exciting desire are obvious. Has the proposed object desirable qualities? Exhibit them. Delineate them with perspicuity, and delineate them with ardour. Show your B 2