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Remarks on Education.

By S. S.

When we take into consideration the immense distance which education has placed between the civilized and the savage, we must admit that it is one of the most important subjects that can lay claim to our consideration. What then is this power that has so exalted the civilized above uncivilized man? Has it only for its aim the cultivation of the faculties of the mind, to teach us the powers of art or the mysteries of science? To impress upon our memory the history of man and of nations? To teach us to admire the works of the Deity only so far as they contribute to our vanity or our gratification? To confer upon us a knowledge of the Supreme, that we may draw a circle around our belief, so that we may say to others, 'tis only within this line that salvation is to be found? Do we find it only in schools, and does the conduct of others amongst whom we may be thrown lend it no assistance? or is not education rather that power which should serve to develop the moral faculties, to expand the affections, to elevate the feelings, to teach us that we have something else to live for besides our own selfish gratification, to show us that we have certain duties to perform to society at large, which to neglect would be criminal in us? and above all to teach us that the revealed will of God is our only sure guide and support? and to instill into our minds that love for the true and the beautiful, which nature has so inexhaustibly spread around us? and to feel the infinite power and goodness of the Creator in contemplating those mighty worlds shining in the distance, whose number the imagination can take no account of?

Will education itself confer happiness upon us? or is it the means through which we may obtain happiness?—if the latter—can this desideratum be obtained, unless the faculties of the mind and heart are both expanded to the greatest extent circumstances will admit of? and if this be so we must acknowledge that all which is learned in the school or academy, is but a small part of man's education; but that the chief part, the expansion of the moral principles and the formation of character, as well as the power of proper regulating and controlling the passions, can never be learned from precepts, unless these precepts are acted up to by those who are to give the proper tone to the youthful mind. It is those things, which are, by the example of others, impressed upon the mind, every day, every hour, that we spend in their society; the tone of the community in which we live, the sphere in which we move, all must nave an agency in completing the character to which knowledge has given the first bias.

But before religion and morality can occupy the commanding elevation in society that their birthright entitles them to, will it not be necessary for society to adopt one universal, unswerving rule of wrong and right, without respect to sex or circumstances? should this be done, would we not see an immediate improvement in the moral character of mankind? and would they not endeavour to cultivate those qualities, which would then be their only passport to society? for it is beyond supposition to imagine that many could be found that would wish to spend their life altogether excluded from the society of the virtuous. 

It has often been remarked that the influence to which we are exposed in early years, has a more lasting impression on our mind, than that to which we may be exposed at a more mature age. This is a truth I think that many must acknowledge from their own experience. Where is the heart however seared, that has not one green spot remaining consecrated to the memory of those sweet influences that were shed over his youthful being, by one whose love was all-enduring? how the memory of a mother's love comes rushing over the spirit, like the sweet low sounds of music—tones borne upon the wings of night until each harsher note is lost in the distance, causing the ear to drink in strains of purest melody. A mother's love is unrivalled for its purity, its unceasing watchfulness, its self-denial; it is neither destroyed by ingratitude, nor blasted by the merited scorn with which the world views the object that calls it forth; and it has done more towards keeping humanity from becoming totally depraved, than any other influence that has acted on the minds of mankind.

If parents therefore were capable of fulfilling the duties which they assume, there would be no fear but that the succeeding generations would be all that the philanthropist could wish; and as all acknowledge that the influence of the mother, owing to her finer sensibilities, and the greater time she has to bestow upon her offspring, is much more powerful than that of the father in its tendencies: it therefore follows that if females were educated with a proper view to the duties they must at some time assume, the happiness of society would be placed on a much surer foundation, than it has now for its support.

Would not this end be attained in a great measure, if females were first taught that knowledge which is necessary to their well being, and to the happiness of those with whom they must pass their days: instead of becoming accomplished before they have laid up the necessary food for piety and thought?

Accomplishments, like the beauties which nature delights to throw around us with such lavish hands, may add to the pleasures of life, but are not sufficient in themselves to confer happiness: this state can only be obtained by the active co-operation of the higher moral faculties.