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might be indulged in speaking of the struggles and misgivings and breaking of ties which it has cost me, to tear myself away from the quiet and much loved scenes of pastoral labors, and to exchange them all, for an untried and highly responsible sphere of literary action. But why should I look back ? why so fondly covet the mysterious pleasure of feeling in every rending heart-string, all those struggles again ? Rather let me “forget the things which are behind, and reach forth unto those things which are before '-looking up daily to heaven for strength and wisdom and grace-bespeaking also the prayers, relying on the efficient aid, and throwing myself upon the christian candor of the friends and patrons of this rising Seminary.
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 meditations. 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, 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 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 nature, into the various forms of exterior decency, of mental 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 temper, checks the waywardness of passion and appetite, and 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 colleges, its universities and literary societies, that the world is indebted for the 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 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 of the rich, and while it greatly multiplies and enhances the enjoyments of time, helps to train up the soul for the bliss of eternity.
How extremely important, then, is every inquiry which relates to the philosophy of the human mind—to the early discipline and cultivation of its noble powers—to the comparative merits and defects of classical books and prevailing systems of instruction to the advantages accruing from mathematical and other abstruse studies—to the means of educating the children of the poor in our public seminaries—to the present state of science and literature in our country; and to the animating prospects which are opening before us. All these topics and many more, present themselves to the enlightened and philanthropic mind, as it looks abroad from some commanding eminence, or ranges*at leisure over the wide and busy fields of human improvement. It must be obvious, however, upon a moment's reflection, that it would take many a long day to traverse a space so ample ; to drink at every Castalian fountain by the way ; to take the altitudes of Parnassus; to measure the steeps of science ; and to see what is going forward in a thousand splendid literary halls and wonder-working laboratories. How little, then, can be done within the brief hour, which is allotted to the present exercises. Upon many very interesting objects and enclosures we can scarcely bestow a passing glance, and can linger for a few moments only, where most we might love to dwell, or at least to sit down at our leisure and enjoy the goodly prospect.
In treating of education, we may advantageously divide the subject, into the three great branches of physical, intellectual, and moral improvement. Under these topics, we shall include all that is requisite to form a sound and healthy body, a vigorous and well stored mind, and a good heart. If the first of these, or what I choose to call the physical part of education, has not been fully overlooked, (as it certainly has not,) in our most popular systems, still, it may well be questioned, whether it has yet received that degree of attention, which its immense importance demands.
Such, in our present condition, is the mysterious con nexion between body and mind, that the one cannot act, except on a very limited scale, without the assistance of the other. The immortal agent must have an earthly house' to dwell in; and it is essential to vigorous and healthful mental action, that this house should be well built, and that it should be kept in good repair. Now, it is the province of physical education, to erect the build
ing, and in carrying it up to have special reference to its firmness and durability; so that the unseen tenant, who is sent down to occupy it, may enjoy every convenience, and be enabled to work to the very best advantage.
That is undoubtedly the wisest and best regimen, which takes the infant from the cradle, and conducts bim along through childhood and youth, up to bigh maturity, in such a manner, as to give strength to his arm, swiftness to his feet, solidity and amplitude to bis muscles, symmetry to his frame, and expansion to all his vital energies. It is obvious, that this branch of education, comprehends not only food and clothing ; but air, exercise, lodging, early rising, and whatever else may contribute to the full developement of the physical constitution.
If, then, you would see the son of your prayers and hopes, blooming with health, and rejoicing daily in the full and sparkling tide of youthful buoyancy; if you would make him strong and athletic and careless of fatigue; if you would fit him for hard labor and safe exposure to winter and summer; or if you would prepare him to sit down twelve hours in a day over Euclid, Enfield, and Newton, and still preserve his health, you must lay the foundation accordingly. You must begin with him early, must teach him self-denial, and gradually subject him to such hardships, as will help to consolidate his frame and give increasing energy to all his physical powers. His diet must be simple, his apparel must not be too warm, nor his bed too soft. Beware of too much tenderness and restraint, in the management of your darling boy.
Never suffer yourself to be discomposed by bis sand hills in the road, his snow forts in February, or his muddams in April ;—nor when you chance to look out in an August shower, and see him wading and sporting along with the water-fowl. If you would make him hardy and enterprising, let him go abroad with perfect freedom, in his early boyhood, and amuse himself by the hour together, on the ice, and in the snow drists. Instead of keeping hi:n shut up all day, and graduating his sleeping room by Fahrenheit, let him face the keen edge of the north wind, when the mercury is below cypher, and instead of minding a little shivering when he returns, applaud his resolution, and encourage him to sally out again. In this way, you will teach him that he was not born to live in the nursery, nor to brood over the kitchen fire ; but to range abroad as free as the air, and to gain warmth from exercise. I love and admire the youth, who turns not back from the howling wintry blast, por withers under the blaze of summer :—who never magnifies mole-hills into mountains,' but whose daring eye, scales the eagle's airy crag, and who is ready to undertake anything that is lawful, within the range of possibility.
Who would think of planting the mountain oak in a green-house, or of rearing the cedar of Lebanon in a lady's flower pot? Who does not know that in order to attain their mighty strength and majestic forms, they must freely enjoy the rain and the sunshine, and feel the rocking of the tempest? Who would think of raising up a band of Indian warriors, upon cakes and jellies and beds of down, and amid all the luxuries and ease of wealth and carefulness? The attempt would be liighly preposterous, not to say supremely ridiculous. It is the plain and scanty fare of these sons of the forest, their hard and cold lodging, their long marches and fastings, and their constant exposure to all the hardships of the wilderness, which give them such Herculean limbs and stature ; such prodigious might in the deadly fray, and such swiftness of foot in pursuing the vanquished.