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which comes and bursts at once a deep, broad passage. It is an equally distinguishing excellence of general truths, that they are practical. Particular truths respect individual times, or places, or objects, and admit of no application to any others, except through the general truths, or principles, to which they may lead. A principle may be said to be a focus, in which the rays of light, which proceed from a multitude of scattered objects, each ray faint and feeble, are concentrated into one brilliant point, which sends its brightness through the whole length of our pathway.
Here, then, is presented to us, the second great object of the classical student, so to arrange and generalize the particular information he has acquired, as to rise from facts to principles, from phenomena to laws.
But the knowledge of particulars, referred to their principles and laws, is science; and every department of study takes its rank among the sciences, when this reference has been made. The proper pursuit of the three branches of classical learning, will then result in three great sciences. The first of these we may name, from its department, the science of language. For the second, it is more difficult to obtain an appropriate title. Perhaps we cannot find a better than the science of life ; including both public and private life, and embracing in this general name the philosophy of history, of government, of natural religion, of society, and of the arts.
The third may be called, like the first, from its department, the science of literature.
Combine the three, by the aid of our own consciousness, and we have the science of mind. These are its great elements ; embracing, one, the sources or occasions of mental and moral affections; another, those affections themselves; and the third, their appropriate manifestations. The science of mind needs no panegyric. The surpassing dignity of its subject, the immortal spirit-our own personal interest in it, for it is the knowledge of ourselves—its relation to all the other sciences, as their common centre-its practical character, for it is of hourly application-place it as far above physical science, as the heavens are above the earth, and only below the knowledge of Him, by whom both heavens and earth were created.
The relation of the three sciences of which we have spoken to this science of sciences, should lead us to make them prominent objects of attention, when engaged in the study of the language, history, or literature of any nation, whether ancient or modern. But there are reasons, why it is peculiarly important that they should not be neglected, in a course of classical study ; for, in the first place, they have been for the most part pursued in connection with this course, and the union has been cemented by the labors of successive generations of indefatigable scholars, whose Herculean works are lost to the world, unless this union is preserved. Besides, as education is now conducted by all enlightened nations, a different association cannot be easily formed. Time may change the current of the Amazon ; but it can be only the work of time. A still more weighty reason is, that no other connection, even if it might be formed with perfect ease, could, from its nature, be equally serviceable with the present. The classical course furnishes advantages for the acquisition of these sciences, which can be found powhere else.
As an exhibition of the great principles of language, in their fullest developement, the Greek stands without question at the head of all languages, both ancient and modern. Its fullness of forms, its copiousness of vocabulary, its studiousness of euphony, its flexibility in derivation and composition, and, above all, the unique circumstance that we can trace it as a living language through the varieties of twentyeight centuries, from a period beyond the reach of secular history, even to the present day, combine to give it a title to this place, altogether indisputable. And the Latin is among the languages which stand in the second class, though with all the rest, far below the Greek; and its study is the rather to be recommended for our present object, from its relation to the Greek. Of a common original, if not indeed derived from it, the Latin so far agrees with the Greek, and so far differs from it, that much may be learned from watching these alternations of coincidence and variance.
The Greek literature holds a place as elevated as the Greek language ; and the Latin literature holds a rank below it, similar to the rank of the Latin language. That there are elements in modern literature, which cannot be found in the ancient, we are ready to admit ; and we should be guilty of black ingratitude, did we not acknowledge our high obligations to Christianity, for having contributed those among them which are most valuable. We only regret that these elements are not more prominent, and that they have had so
little influence in determining the general character of modern writings. But, when we have made every concession to the moderns, we may still safely take the ground, that, so far as judgment, taste, and skill in composition are concerned, so far as the beauty of the form is regarded, nay, in every thing that belongs to literature as one of the fine arts, the view the ancients chose to make most prominent, that in all these respects the ancient writers were as much above their successors, as the ancient sculptors and architects. Especially the Greek literature is above all comparison for a combination of originality of thought, freshness of spirit, symmetry and beauty of form, and perfection of finish.
That there should be this surpassing excellence in ancient literature, may be easily explained, without supposing that the ancients belonged to a different race from the moderns, or adopting the old belief that the world is deteriorating, and that they enjoyed the blessings of the golden age, while we are condenied to the iron. We cannot doubt that the general course of society is the reverse, and when we look abroad, cannot but believe that the iron age has passed into the brazen, that this is now changing to the silver, and that ere long will come “ the promised age of gold.” That there should be exceptions to this general law of improvement, is only in accordance with the analogy of the moral world. The same analogy teaches us, that these exceptions will ultimately all yield to the supremacy of the law. A literature will then arise, superior to any the world has ever yet seen, whose elements will be the varied contributions of matured reason, vigorous imagination, extensive observation, and long experience; whose form will be beauty in
perfection; and whose spirit will have been expressed in the song of the heavenly host, “ Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will towards men.” Is it overweening pride of country, to believe that the first full developement of this literature will be in our own land? Is it professional enthusiasm, to be persuaded that deep classical study will be among the most efficient means in its formation ?
But we must not indulge our fond anticipations; nor can we stop to gaze upon the charms of ancient literature, for the crowning work of the student is yet to be mentioned. It has been objected to classical study, that it leads to no practical results. We have seen, that it may be the boast of its friends, that the truths with which it will acquaint us, are
practical in an eminent degree. For they respect all our thoughts and feelings, and all our expression of those thoughts and feelings; all our own improvement, and all our influence over other minds. Of what other truths can as much be said ? A truth in mechanics we may find occasion for, perhaps, once in our lives; a truth in mental science may benefit every hour of our lives. But to reap the full advantage of these truths, it is essential, that, by repeated application, they should become laws ;-laws of the mind, as the principles of euphony are made laws of the voice, and those of grace, laws of the limbs. Till a principle has become a law, it requires, for any good effect, the full attention of the mind; but when this change has taken place, it seems to act spontaneously, permitting the energies of the mind to be directed to other subjects; and the person pursues, almost unconsciously, the course which above all others is to be chosen. He is thus obeying one principle, while he is investigating another. While he is making new acquisitions, he is enjoying the advantages of the old; and all that he acquires, becomes a part of himself.
This is then the third and last object of the student, to reduce to practice the principles acquired by classical study, and make them laws of his mind.
It is one of the many peculiar advantages of classical study, that this application is ever so ready at hand. It requires no costly apparatus, no complicated machinery. The mind is the great instrument, and this is ever present. Indeed, the very study itself, unlike most other studies, not only permits, but to a considerable extent, even requires the continual application of the principles it teaches.
Of the principles of language, the application is of two kinds. By the first, we obtain from words the thoughts and feelings of which they are significant; by the second, we express thoughts and feelings in their appropriate words. The first, is the art of interpretation; the second, of composition. These are both of daily use in the study of the languages; for translation is but a combination of the two; and it is the only exercise which involves both, while it is at the same time the best for each. We never interpret so fully and clearly, as when we must give an exact version ; and the demand is never made upon us for so extensive a vocabulary, and such varied forms of language, as when we endeavor to express the thoughts of others. As an exercise
for the formation of style, translation is evidently superior to original composition. In the latter, the mind is too much engrossed, or should be too much engrossed with the thought, to think much of the drapery that is thrown around it; in the former, the thought is given, and the drapery may be the object of undivided attention. In the latter, the student's vocabulary and forms of speech, are limited by the narrow boundaries of youthful thought ; in the former, they must be enlarged, so as to take in the greatest conceptions of the most mature and gifted minds.
The application of the principles of literature, like that of the principles of language, is two fold; first, to the appreciation of literary merit in others; secondly, to the attainment of literary excellence ourselves. The first is the work of the critic, the second of the author. It is especially important at the present day, that every educated man should be versed in both. The world is swarming with new books, upon which he must be able to pronounce an enlightened opinion ; not only that their authors may receive justice, but that the judgment and taste of the less educated around him, may not be led astray. And yet there is a constant call for new composition. There never was a period, when the pen and voice, of every man who could use either, was more imperatively required in the cause of truth and virtue. There is a general conflict of opinion and feeling, which summons every man to the field, who can carry a weapon. How important, that he should come fully equipped, and perfectly trained to the use of all his arms.
Classical study, above all other pursuits, furnishes a powerful excitement, and an admirable opportunity for the preparatory training required. It is constantly bringing before the student the noblest subjects for criticism, master-pieces of art, on which he may try and perfect his taste; and, consequently, the finest models in composition, to which he may refer as to a standard, his own efforts.
The practical applications of the remaining department of classical study, are too extensive and various to be noticed in this place. Indeed my endeavor in respect to the whole subject, has been merely to state the plan of the building, and give a few rude sketches, here of an arch, and there of a pillar, leaving it to my readers to extend the arch in long perspective, to multiply the pillar into the magnificent colonnade, and to add the various decorations, which are