網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

could do this, or be justified in the attempt to do it. A most important truth or principle, of universal application, is undoubtedly inculcated by the divine Master: namely, the danger of riches or of trusting in riches; and the duty of instantly relinquishing wealth and every earthly distinction when in conflict with our obedience to God.

On the subject of educating the poor-of providing for their wants and of ameliorating their conditionmany seasonable and sensible remarks may be found in Chalmers. See Chapter 14,-"On a compulsory provision for the indigent" -- and Chapter 15,- “On the Christian education of the people” —of the “Political Economy” of Thomas Chalmers, D.D.

See a good article in Hall's Journal of Health for Dec., 1854, on “Health, Wealth and Religion.”

“So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple,” Luke xiv. 33. “ If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.” Luke xiv. 26.

Of course, whenever the alternative or choice lies between Christ and the world—its wealth, honours, domestic relations or life itself — we must abandon all for Christ.

THE WHISTLE.*

[This and the next eleven articles, as indicated by a note in the author's manuscript, "form but a few of many scores of light essays" which he occasionally furnished the newspapers in Nashville, over various signatures and upon all sorts of topics. Indeed, in his high estimate of the press as a vehicle of instruction, he was in the habit of reproducing his longer discourses in a series of short essays in the newspapers. ]

“DISTANCE lends enchantment to the view," is not a mere poetical fancy-it is a serious practical fallacy, which is constantly imposing on our good people in sundry forms and ways. We rarely value what is at home and within everybody's reach. Our own substantial manufactures--our native literature our domestic customs, fashions and institutions—all are comparatively worthless, insipid, ungenteel or vulgar. We look abroad

-across the ocean—or to the far East-for whatever is beautiful, classical, ingenious or tasteful. Is a youth to be educated in grand style? He must, forsooth, be sent on a pilgrimage to some celebrated Athens beyond the Great Mountains -- there to renown as a Southern, with plenty of cash and credit, half a dozen years, until he shall be proclaimed moribus inculpatus, literisque humanioribus imbutus by the grave, veracious and most disinterested Senatus Academicus of the said metropolitan Headquarters of Minerva and the Muses.

* Printed in the Nashville Herald, December 8, 1831, over the signature of F. G. F.

It is not to be presumed that a young gentleman can be accomplished in Greek or philosophy this side of the Potomac, or at a less cost than a thousand dollars per year. Parents and the public generally, are prone to estimate intellectual furniture, as they do all other things, by the price paid for the commodity. Thus, two thousand dollars' worth of learning must, of course, be tenfold greater in amount and value than two hundred dollars' worth. The latter may be easily attained here in the backwoods—but then it is not a thing to talk about and to boast of—it is an every-day affair-it confers no eclat-creates no sensation-makes nobody stare -attracts no particular notice—and commands no admiration,

Men, as well as children, often pay dear for their whistles. There are, at this time, at least five hundred Southern and Western youth at Eastern Seminarieswhere they expend annually half a million of dollars to encourage and sustain a foreign monopoly of education; while our patriotic and economical sages never dream of adopting any measures to retain this vast amount of wealth within their own States. Nor do they seem to have suspected that the money thus squandered abroad, , during every ten years, would amply endow as many first-rate colleges at home as would meet the wants of all their fellow-citizens for a century to come.

The Southern funds lavished upon Cambridge and New Haven alone, in a single year, would create a university equal to Harvard or Yale in any part of our Southern or Western wilderness. Whether colleges are designed for the rich or the poor—for wise men or fools -it matters not; they will be frequented; and if not established upon the banks of the Ohio, the Mississippi or the Cumberland, our dollars will continue, as hitherto, to adorn and enrich the banks of the Delaware, the Hudson and the Connecticut.

But, after all, would a home college be patronized ? Could our genteel people be made to believe that their sons might be educated as well in Tennessee, for example, as in Massachusetts? Would not an Eastern graduate be looked up to as a superior animal ? and would not he look down upon the plain home-bred native as a barbarian and a sciolist? Public opinion is omnipotent. It cannot be resisted or controlled. Solomon himself would be voted non compos, were he to prefer his claims in any other than the orthodox fashion—as settled by custom and usage. Were Oxford, with the glories of a thousand years, to be suddenly transplanted upon the picturesque hills which surround our fair village, it would be slighted and undervalued, so long as the rage is in favour of distant or foreign institutions.

Whether this folly will last forever, I leave sub judice. That there are pretty strong indications of its present existence, I infer from the fact that we have at our doors a university, which intelligent strangers never fail to compliment in the highest terms, and to pronounce superior in many respects to most of those which are famous at the East,—while it is scarcely known to our own citizens, and, in comparison with their magnificent penitentiary, is regarded as a very small concern.

I infer the exist

ence of this or some other folly also from the fact, that we have amongst us so many juvenile idlers of one sort and another, between the ages of fifteen and twenty, who appear to be utterly unconscious of the vicinity of an establishment purposely designed for intellectual improvement,--or who neglect it because it may not yet have acquired a European or national reputation.

Here, for instance, is a well constructed and richly furnished chemical laboratory-an apparatus for every department of experimental science—a cabinet of mineralogy and natural history unsurpassed by any in the United States,—where the laws of the universe, the structure and formations of the earth, the products of the field, the forest, the mine, the ocean, the air-with all the curious phenomena of nature and art-may be studied under the most auspicious circumstances and at the least possible expense. Why do not professional students and the younger graduates avail themselves of privileges which they could not command, at this moment, for any money, even in the largest Eastern city? Presently, the golden opportunity will have passed away; and they will regret through life, their deficiency in those varied literary and scientific stores which are essential to the highest order of influence and usefulness, and which might now be so easily accumulated.

Here they may learn Greek—and Tennessee Greek is just as good as Yankee Greek—and when they have mastered Greek thoroughly, it will be a pleasure to learn any other language, ancient or modern. They may learn

« 上一頁繼續 »