Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

have touched all its phases ; but he lacked the quickening power to inspire all its units. To souls turned heavenward he could give his magnificent vision of the Over-Soul ; but what could he give to those turned hell-ward ? Such souls, so lost to the light that they cannot see or feel the Holy Spirit, must have, as a help, some perfect, real personality standing along the ages of man's sinfulness, who shall declare in living words, “I am the bread of life" : "I am the way, the truth, and the life"; " Come unto me" and find rest and deliverance from sin, for “ Lo! I am with you always."

In Emerson's eager desire to find God or Spirit everywhere, he made all the revelations to man to differ in degree only, not in kind; hence for him the law of gravitation revealed God in the same way as the Christ did, but not in the same degree. This was the negative tendency which limited somewhat his vision of a personal God; and explains, in a measure, why, in his ardent devotion to the work of spiritualizing matter, he could not have seen in the Transfiguration anything more than a “tale that is told"; or that, in his sincere belief in the power of mind over matter, he could not have gloried in the Resurrection as a reality. His intense belief in the efficacy of Spirit in the natural, shadowed him from seeing its peculiar workings in the realm of the super-natural. His very obedience to his conception of the Spirit-dispensation, under which he lived and labored, was so soul-filling that it became his limitation ; but even with this limitation he so surrendered himself to the workings of the spirit that he gained a rich spiritual vision, of which he knew the transcendent value. He felt the responsibilities, and accepted willingly the world's limitations which it brought to him. He knew that, in so far as his mind and soul were one, he would possess that concentration of vital power which would enable him to see truth as well as to grasp it. In thus being a seer of truth as well as a possessor, he saw that the inconsistencies of thought arose from a want of this perfect union of mind and soul; for he felt that only the single-eye reveals the perfect knowledge. Since he saw that only perfect harmony of life,—the outcome of obedient service to the laws of Spirit, God,—could insure the continued presence of this spiritual vision, he knew the value of being over knowing ; that that guaged for a man the length, breadth, and height of his spiritual insight. As his conception of being involved the growth of all his faculties, he was eager to bring them all to the light. This necessitated his casting aside what seemed to him shams or pretensions, as well as sectarian spectacles. In that his soul must know no avoidable limits, his communion with the Infinite must not be limitad to any particular time, phase, or form. A failure to find such communion everywhere, argued

for him a failure to attain the highest being. So, hearkening to the calls of the Spirit within him, and in nature around him, he was willing to follow where it led.

As for himself he needed no other authority or guide. This faithful loyalty to innate man, — the embodiment of mind in the individual, — gave to him glimpses of the universal mind which penetrated nature. In those moments of ecstasy he seemed blinded to the depraved tendencies subtly lurking in man, which, not subject to heaven's will, preclude eternal loss. Every man in those moments was to him a god, who could live in his own strength. In his splendid optimism,—and for this optimism the nineteenth century should be grateful, — he taught obedience to righteous laws as the great remedial force for humanity; but, in his philosophy, he failed to supply a motive sufficient to inspire that obedience in those sunk in the depths of sin and misery. His teachings are not imbued with the idea that that authoritative and helpful guidance, coming from a special life, having been put into humanity to reveal the true nature of the human heart and its need of personal relations to a personal Redeemer, is, for such, the only salvation. This St. Paul knew and preached, and hence the secret of his transcendent power as a spiritual leader. It was the core of his philosophy, and the inspiration of his epostolic life. That St. Paul, in the earthly atmosphere of the time in which he lived, could have seen so clearly that the supreme love which that life revealed was a personal God, manifested to the extent of man's capacity to see Him, proves his greatness for all time. That Emerson failed to see the peculiarly essential difference between the work done by such noble workers as Socrates, Confucius, and others, and that done by Jesus Christ, proves that the dust of the centuries' theological controversies was in the way of his perfect sight. His eye, which could span the ages, saw not the “ Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” He localized the Crucifixion ; he limited divine power; he had no isle of Patmos. But in his sincere loyalty to the spirit, as he saw it, he stands as a leader and inspirer for all who can reach him ; ever, however, to appeal more to the scientific mind than to the sinful, sorrowing heart.

In a peculiar sense, in his simple, pure life, he unconsciously fulfilled the prophecies of the Christ-age concerning the age to comex But in that he could not see the special, continued relation of the Christ-dispensation of one age with the Spirit-reign of the next age, in its longest bearings upon a sinful human race, his vision was shadowed by local clouds, and his power narrowed to the comparatively few. Therefore, he will go down the ages as a wise thinker of serene spirit rather than as a spiritual leader of great comfort and power.

THE MORAL INFLUENCE OF MANUAL TRAINING,

BY DR. J. R. BUCHANAN.

It is over forty years since, by demonstrating the functions of the brain as the organ of the soul and commander of the body, the seat of all conscious life, that I organized what did not before exist any. where, a complete science of Anthropology, out of what necessarily arises a philosophy of hygiene of medicine and of education, and which, after being taught many years in medical colleges, is the basis of the new American University at Boston, in which I am engaged. Had I time to give an exposition of the constitution of man, I might show from the brain and the soul the inseparable connection of the industrial and moral elements, using the word moral in its largest and most religious sense. But time permits only that I should treat the subject from an external and practical view.

Education has a very simple and almost self-evident science or philosophy,—more or less known to all, but very imperfectly applied. Healthful and pleasant exercise develops every faculty, every element of soul and body; and when all human powers are thus nor. mally developed, education is complete. But that development must be symmetrical. He who attempts to row a boat with the right or left oar will not only make slow progress, but reach a different land.ing from the one aimed at. He who would live upon a single article of diet will soon find his constitution undermined, and perhaps beyond recovery. He who, in education, would cultivate but a single group of faculties, will produce so partial and abnormal a development as will mar for life the completeness of manhood and woman. hood.

Are there any one-sided methods of education which impair the physical stamina to an extent that shortens life in many cases, and impairs its efficiency in all? Are there any methods of education which take men out of the currents of active life, disqualify them for business, and fit them only for solitary occupation with the pen? Are there any methods of education which stimulate selfish ambition or rivalry, but leave the high moral nature as feeble or as barren as it may have become by accident or evil association ? The voice of many thousands affirms that such evils do exist, and we see their obvious cause in the theory of all prior centuries (which is still the dominant theory of the universities), that mere intellectual culture is a liberal education.

In the light of a true Anthropology, we see that intellect is the feeblest element of the human constitution. It is not the upbuilding or the controlling element. Instead of generating force, it expends it; and it would rapidly exhaust and destroy life if its operation were not checked by sleep. We cannot sustain its action more than twothirds of the twenty-four hours. Hence a rigidly intellectual education not only interferes with the entire moral and physical development which it partially suspends, thus choking the very fountain of life, but actually expends vitality so rapidly as to make it even danger ous to delicate constitutions. What appalling statistics might be gathered on this subject by a proper medical commission we may infer from the injury of the eyes in German education, which begins in the primary school and attains progressively its full development in the universities, in which, according to Virchow and others, the great majority of the students become myopic.

All partial culture is fatiguing and ruinous. The law of health demands an equal distribution of the blood, the vital forces and activities. Nature supplies this to every human being who is not deprived of his birthright by an unnatural education, or the prolonged taskwork of the manufactory. The boy naturally rebels against this constraint and learns to dislike his tasks, which he could not endure but for the refreshing relief of the playground, in which his animal and social natures are restored. But true education, or development is delightful. It is that which every child, however young, longs for and seeks. He seeks it in society, in observation, and in trying to do whatever others are doing ; and if we give true education, it will be difficult to keep him away from the place where it is given. But no partial, one-sided system is a true education. It must give free play to all the activities of life in a healthful and pleasant manner. In doing this, every faculty agreeably engaged adds to the sum-total of energy and invigorates the rest. This is the natural method which is always successful, while the unnatural method of exercising a single group of faculties ; alone deprives them of the energy and support they receive from the rest. Each faculty makes its demand on the heart and lungs, and when all are engaged, the strength of the circulation and respiration exalts the vital power of each to a condition of increased energy, increased growth, and the development which is the object of all education.

The attempt to develop by partial education must always be a failure, for partial education is but a partial development of the vital forces of soul and body, and tends to their impoverishment. But when all are in operation, firmness, enthusiasm, zeal, and ambition are roused, every faculty participating in their higher life works in the conditions of ease, success, and growth. Our lives are naturally lives of activity, and the child is born with a passion for activity of body and soul,- activity of the muscles and activity of the social emotions, with equal activity of the intellect. In the old fashioned school his muscular activity is suppressed, and his emotional nature is also suppressed by the command of silence and the stern authority which suppresses the loving emotions that are indulged at home. Every hour spent in that situation is an injury to his physical and moral constitution. A child should live in the atmosphere of love, and his moral nature dwindles whenever he is taken out of it ; and he should live in the freedom of bodily motion which his constitution craves. It is not mere restless motion that he desires, but the doing of something which gratifies his intellect, his curiosity, and his ambition of achievement. I do not, therefore, see how we can leave out skillful, industrial occupation from the education of any youth (whatever his future is to be) without doing him an injury by depriving him of normal development; and I hold there is no true liberal education which omits the invigorating industrial element.

So false have been the educational theories of the past that when we suggest industrial occupation, the feeling at once arises that it must be an interference with intellectual culture, and that the school and college can hardly afford any space for the new element, as they are already crowded by intellectual studies. But instead of presenting industry as the rival or competitor of literary intellect, I present it as the natural assistant and invigorator of intellectual education, maintaining that it is impossible to give as thorough and efficient intellectual culture without, as with it. Industrial occupation whets the appetite for knowledge. We can hardly appreciate (says E. L. Bruce) the passion for learning which sometimes fills the heart of a

poor child.

The intellectual culture of active art is far more vigorous than that of literature, and makes a far better preparation for business of any character. In literary culture we feebly and indefinitely grasp ideas by their association with printed words. There is no life, no force in the object of our study. It taxes, but does not refresh the intellect. A sufficient amount of reading exhausts the character and reduces the man to a bookworm. In industrial art we are continually stimulated by the presence of the object, and the operations we are performing, and our perceptions are clear, positive, and exact. It is such perceptions that invigorate the mind and give it self-reliance, while the hazy conceptions derived from books give it habits that are hazy.

« AnteriorContinuar »