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requisite to complete the splendor, dignity and beauty of the whole.
The great number, variety and importance of the subjects, sciences, and arts, which are embraced in the complete circle of classical study, need no remark. But there is a feature in the course, which it may be more important to notice. Notwithstanding all this number and variety, there is still throughout, so intimate a connection, as to give to the whole a perfect unity. The study is one, and yet many. It has been called a circle ; in one respect it closely resembles it. Though it runs in every direction, it is still but a single line. The connection between the three departments, we have already noticed. That between the three great objects of pursuit in each department, is not less intimate. As particulars are the necessary introduction to generals, so it is by generals only, that we can retain many particulars. And as general principles are the only proper foundation for practical effort, so it is by this effort alone, that we can make these principles thoroughly our own. Thus are all the parts of classical study bound together by a golden chain ; so that every acquisition in any part, is of service in all the rest. And no one can perfect himself in a single part, without a knowledge of the others; so that even the seeming paradox is true, that the whole may be learned more easily than any part.
Let the student complete the magic circle, as early as he can, and let his subsequent efforts be directed to the symmetrical extension of this circle in all directions. Who has not noticed, as the pebble drops into the water, the completeness of the ring that first appears, however small; and then watched to see, how it preserves the same form, as it enlarges on every side, till it is lost on the extended surface? Similar to this should be the progress of the mind. Thus should it preserve its symmetry, and thus should it enlarge itself, till it is lost on the boundless expanse of truth. But no, it is never lost.
It extends itself only like a conqueror, to make all that it passes over, its own.
The wonderful combination of the most perfect unity with the most extensive diversity, which characterises classical study, renders it of all pursuits the best fitted to enlarge, discipline, and mature the whole mind. No faculty is neglected, and all are cultivated with perfect harmony, and in due proportion. All the perceptive powers are called into
exercise in the nice observation of particulars; all the reflective, in their arrangement and generalization ; and all the practical, in the application of the results obtained by the former. By this study, memory enlarges her storehouses; discernment becomes more eagle-eyed ; judgment improves in accuracy; taste acquires new delicacy; imagination plumes her wings for a loftier fight; while the soul is brought into the delightful consciousness of having commenced that progress of enlargement and elevation, for which it was created, and which is destined never to cease,
PHYSICAL CULTURE, THE RESULT OF MORAL
There is a disposition in almost every mind, to reach heaven, when this life is ended. All, except a few daring outlaws, who, by a life of sin, have grieved away the Holy Spirit, express the intention of being saved. Must not then every such mind have impressed upon it, more or less deeply, the desire of knowing what it must do to inherit eternal life? To enable each one to answer this momentous inquiry, a merciful God has granted to this favored Christian land, besides the unerring Scriptures, a sacred ministry, who, from Sabbath to Sabbath, direct the inquiring soul towards the Redeemer's kingdom, and journey on from day to day with the anxious spirit, towards the haven of eternal rest. To aid the mind in its search for truth, the press pours out a flood of knowledge, to enlighten and instruct the intellect, not only in the arts and sciences, but also in religion. So that the mind may drink in new supplies of wisdom, to enlarge its capacities, and strengthen its powers, for the more perfect enjoyment of the pleasures of the life to come. Thus the soul, which is to live forever, and the mind, which is to extend into eternity, are regarded and provided for, by the gifted children of the Lord.
This is indeed well; but it does not reach the whole nature of man. Composed of body, mind, and spirit, the entire nature must receive a like tendency towards divine life.
While, then, so many are engaged in directing the mind and spirit to new acquirements of truth and knowledge, would it not be well to have pointed out to the accountable children of God, the duties which they owe to their mortal frames?
In the following pages this subject will be noticed ; in doing which, I shall,
First, Briefly advert to some of the reasons which may be offered, to show the religious duty of the physical culture
of man :
Then, Exhibít some of the general principles on which this culture is founded :
And, Subjoin a few plain aphorisms, for the practical performance of the duty.
The subject of physical education would be too extensive for this short essay. It will therefore be confined to some of its branches. Let parents,
and all those who have the care of the young, consider this important subject. Let all, who would know their duty to the body, enter seriously upon its investigation. Let the Christian learn more of that duty which he owes his mortal frame. Let the inquirer after truth enter this untrodden path of knowledge. Let all responsible and accountable agents, who shall read these pages, make the few suggestions which they contain the beginning of a conscientious investigation of the subject, that shall result in a holy dedication of the body to God, and a sacred cultivation of its powers for his service.
I state first, the grounds of the duty of this culture; and remark, that
The powers of the body should be cultivated, because it is the workmanship of God, and the most wonderful part of his creation upon the earth. The works of the Creator were all designed, and are perfectly adapted, to glorify him. As the creatures of his hand, all animate and inanimate nature vocal with his praise. In this sense, even man exalts his Maker. But while the heavens declare the glory of God, and the world which he has made answers his call to praise him, man alone, the noblest of his creatures, will not fulfil this glorious purpose. He has sought out many inventions,” and “the imaginations of his heart are only evil continually.” In consequence of which, the curse of a violated law rests upon the body, through the agency of which he originally sinned, as well as upon the spirit, by which he rebelled against his God. Now it is unquestionably the duty of man, so far as possible, to bring back the body, as well as the mind, to the perfect service of his Maker; and by a cultivation of its powers in the more perfect service of God, to avert the penalty of his transgression.
Nor is it only because the body is made by God, that it is bound to serve him. It is the most wonderful of the works of the Almighty. At the creation, God made the visible world, and then made man, its possessor, as if he had reserved the chief glory of his creation to be the last of his works. What a glorious piece of workınanship must that have been, when, in the likeness of God, made he man! And even now, in all the ruins of the fall
, “ What a piece of work is man !” The inspired Psalmist, when considering this structure of himself, exclaims, “We are fearfully and wonderfully made"! Centuries have passed away, and the persection of the structure of the human body is not yet fully explained. But enough is seen in the symmetry of its proportions, the perfect adaptation of its organs to their uses, and the entire fitness of the whole for the purposes of its creation, to lead the mind to wonder at the work, and to adore the Maker. The exclamation rises spontaneously that “the undevout anatomist is mad."
Can it be consistent with duty, that this fair frame should be left uncultivated, and its fine faculties be permitted to languish and decay? Is it not most unreasonable, to permit the body to degenerate, from neglect of culture, or to become exhausted froin the evil influences of sinful habits ?
The powers of the body should be cultivated, because of its connection with the mind. The nature of the union of the body and the soul, is one of those invisible and mysterious relations, which the Maker has been pleased to conceal from the utmost effort of investigation. But the fact clearly seen in the mutual action of mind and matter. Among these relations, one of the most prominent, presenting itself to daily experience, is the influence exerted upon the mind by the body, under the different states of health and disease. The inconsistency of expecting a vigorous and active mind in a weak and sickly body, is readily seen. While an imbecile and sluggish intellect is readily looked for in a crowded and inactive frame. With common consent, too, in a body neither too effeminate from indulgence in repose, nor too gross from luxurious habits, but vigorous from labor, and active from a moderate supply of food, a mind clear and elastic, sound and sprightly, is certainly expected. In childhood, a puny body cannot bear the labor of bending itself to the requirements of the mind, by a long continued effort in study. So that the education of feeble children is necessarily neglected ; and the minds of such are left to feed on vanity, or waste in inactivity. But when the physical powers are duly cultivated and equally proportioned, the mind expands in its capacity, and becomes insatiable in its thirst for improvement; so that the trite definition of health has been, “ Mens sana in corpore sano.”
Besides this connection of the body with the intellectual faculties, there is a deeper and yet more important connection of the body with the spiritual existence of man. This is that exalted relation in which the body, through the medium of the affections of the heart, may be united to deity, and become assimilated to God. This connection of the body with the eternal Spirit, is taught in the revealed word of God, as well as seen by the observation of experience. The inspired Paul says to the churches of his charge, “What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you?” 1 Cor. vi. 19. " Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you ?" 1 Cor. iii. 16. “ For ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them and walk in them." 2 Cor. vi. 16.
65 In whom ye also are builded together, for an habitation of God through the Spirit.” Eph. ii. 22. And Peter also says, “ Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.” 1 Pet. ii. 5.
It is thus that the Scriptures confer honor on the body, as the valuable casket which contains the precious soul. And thus the body is to be made holy, for the service of the spirit, as the altar is sanctified for the sacrifice it bears.
Equally explicit are the oracles of God in giving the body a noble rank in its union to the blessed Saviour.
“Know ye not, that your bodies are the members of Christ?" i Cor. vi. 15. “Now ye are the body of Christ.”