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soul show that, if man be not a religious being, he is among the most deformed and monstrous of all possible existences. His propensities and passions need the fear of God as a restraint from evil; and his sentiments and affections need the love of God as a condition and preliminary to every thing worthy of the name of happiness. Without a capability or susceptibility, therefore, of knowing and reverencing his Maker and Preserver, his whole nature is a contradiction and a solecism: it is a moral absurdity, as strictly so as a triangle with but two sides, or a circle without a circumference, is a mathematical absurdity. The man, indeed, of whatever denomination or kindred or tongue he may be, who believes that the human race, or any nation, or any individual in it, can attain to happiness, or avoid misery, without religious principle and religious affections, must be ignorant of the capacities of the human soul, and of the highest attributes in the nature of man.
There is not a faculty nor a susceptibility in the nature of man, from the lightning-like intuitions that make him akin to the cherubim, or the fire and fervor of affection that assimilate him to seraphic beings, down to the lowest appetites and desires by which he holds brotherhood with beast and reptile and worm there is not one of them all that will ever be governed by its proper law, or enjoy a full measure of the gratification it was adapted to feel, without a knowledge of the true God, without a sense of acting in harmony with his will and without spontaneous effusions of gratitude for his goodness. Convictions and sentiments such as these can alone supply the vacuity in the soul of man, and fill with significance and loveliness what would otherwise be a blank and hollow universe.
Among the infinite errors and enormities resulting from systems of religion devised by man, and enforced by the terrors of human government, have been those dreadful reaç
tions which have abjured all religion, spurned its obligations, and voted the Deity into non-existence. This extreme is, if possible, more fatal than that by which it was produced. Between these extremes, philanthropic and godly men have sought to find a medium, which should avoid both the evils of ecclesiastical tyranny and the greater evils of atheism. And this medium has at length been supposed to be found. It is promulgated in the great principle that government should do all that it can to facilitate the acquisition of religious truth, but shall leave the decision of the question, what religious truth is, to the arbitrament, without human appeal, of each man's reason and conscience; in other words, that government shall never, by the infliction of pains and penalties, or by the privation of rights or immunities, call such decision either into pre-judgment or into review. The formula in which the constitution of Massachusetts expresses it is in these words: "All religious sects and denominations demeaning themselves peaceably and as good citizens shall be equally under the protection of law; and no subordination of one sect or denomination to another shall ever be established by law.”
Beyond our western frontier, another and a wider realm spreads out, as yet unorganized into governments, and uninhabited by civilized man. The western is still broader than the eastern expanse. It stretches through thirty degrees of longitude, - one-twelfth part of the circumference of the globe. Half the population of Continental Europe might be transplanted to it, find subsistence on it, and leave room to spare. It is now a waste more dreary than desolation itself; for it is filled only with savage life. Yet soon will every rood of its surface be explored by the centrifugal force of the Saxon soul; and whatever of vegetable wealth is spread upon it, or of mineral wealth is garnered beneath it, will be appropriated by the vehemence of Saxon enterprise. Shall
this new empire, wider than that of the Ptolemies, and almost as extensive as that of the Cæsars, be reclaimed to humanity, to a Christian life, and a Christian history? or shall it be a receptacle where the avarice, the profligacy, and the licentiousness of a corrupt civilization shall cast its criminals and breed its monsters? If it is ever to be saved from such a perdition, the mother states of this Union, those states where the institutions of learning and religion are now honored and cherished, must send out their hallowing influences to redeem it. And if, in the benignant providence of God, the tree of Paradise is ever to be planted and to flourish in this new realm; if its branches are to spread, and its leaves to be scattered for the healing of the people — will not the heart of every true son of Massachusetts palpitate with desire -- not a low and vainglorious ambition, but such a high and holy aspiration as angels might feel — that her name may be engraved upon its youthful trunk, there to deepen and expand with its immortal growth?
XXVI. HERBERT SPENCER.
Herbert Spencer, one of the greatest philosophers of all time, was born in Derby, England, April 27, 1820. In early life he was a civil engineer, and later interested himself in economics. He devoted the later years of his life to working out a comprehensive system of philosophy based on the theory of evolution. Among his best known philosophical works, which have been widely read in this country, are the “Data of Ethics," and "First Principles of Psychology.” He died December 8, 1903, the last of the great thinkers of the Victorian age."
In 1860 he published a volume entitled “Education: Intellectual, Moral, and Physical ” — a work of rare pedagogical insight and argumentative power. It is thoroughly utilitarian in spirit and contains the most forcible arraignment to which the older education was ever subjected. It is noteworthy that the changes made in the last twenty-five years in our courses of study have been chiefly in the line pointed out by Spencer.
The following extract is, with a few unimportant omissions, the first chapter of Spencer's “ Education." His discussion of the question “What Knowledge is of Most Worth? ” is the most original part of the work and lays the foundation of his system. It is a powerful presentation of the claims of science, and in its uncompromising criticism of the current education, and in its confident advocacy of scientific studies it gives Spencer a high place among educational reformers.
SELECTION FROM HERBERT SPENCER.
WHAT KNOWLEDGE IS OF MOST WORTH?
It has been truly remarked that, in order of time, decoration precedes dress. Among people who submit to great physical suffering that they may have themselves handsomely tattooed, extremes of temperature are borne with but little attempt at mitigation. Humboldt tells us that an Orinoco Indian, though quite regardless of bodily comfort, will yet labor for a fortnight to purchase pigment wherewith to make himself admired; and that the same woman who would not hesitate to leave her hut without a fragment of clothing on, would not dare to commit such a breach of decorum as to go out unpainted. Voyagers uniformly find that colored beads and trinkets are much more prized by wild tribes than are calicoes or broadcloths. And the anecdotes we have of the ways in which, when shirts and coats are given, they turn them to some ludicrous display, show how completely the idea of ornament predominates over that of use. Nay, there are still more extreme illustrations: witness the fact narrated by Captain Speke of his African attendants, who strutted about in their goat-skin mantles when the weather was fine, but when it was wet, took them off, folded them up, and went about naked, shivering in the rain! Indeed, the facts of aboriginal life seem to indicate that dress is developed out of decorations. And when we remember that even among ourselves most think more about the fineness of the fabric than its warmth, and more about the cut than the convenience — when we see that the function is still in great measure subordinated to the appearance we have further reason for inferring such an origin.
It is not a little curious that the like relations hold with