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finding that a single mind had sometimes disturbed whole rookeries of royal cormorants, they had deemed it prudent and best to prohibit its growth altogether. Thus has man in all ages and in almost every country, been made in a greater or less degree a slave or a machine. The influence of almost every political institution has been to make man abject in mind, fearful, servile, a contributor of his toil, sweat and blood to governments which never dreamed of the general weal as their only legitimate end. On the immense majority of men thus wronged and enslaved, the consciousness of their own nature has not yet dawned, and the doctrine that each has a mind worth more than a material world, and framed to grow for ever by a self-forming, self-directing energy, is still a mystery or a secret. Ah, my friends, the cost of misgovernment has never yet been accurately reckoned, and never can be. Its chief expense has been not in the waste of material treasures of silver and gold, not in the saturation of the earth with the life-blood of slaughtered millions, but in its sacrilegious violences upon the human soul, in its annihilation of the temporal life of the mind of man, in its degradation of the glorious and God-breathed human intellect. While we mourn over the dark picture, let us hope for better things under the benignant influence of our civil institutions, which, thanks to Providence, are liberal enough to suffer mind to grow, and be all that God intended it should be in this lower world. And let us learn to place a high value upon it. Next to true virtue, the richest of all national blessings, and the highest, brightest glory of a state, is a thinking, intelligent people. MEN, not battlements and cloudcapt towers, or navies or serried hosts, are our best defence against aggression, our most forcible and readily acknowledged claim to the friendship and admiration of mankind. In estimating the wealth, resources, and glory of this country, let us not imagine that it consists in such paltry things as great crops, heavy exports, the inflowing of the gold and silver of the world, the number and discipline of our troops, but in those great and enlightened minds, those ever fresh and fragrant fames which history loves to garner up in her bosom and travel down with to distant posterity.
But these remarks may be rendered more directly practical by noticing influences now operative and among ourselves upon the growth of mind. What shall we think of the current literature, and the prodigious circulation it has acquired among ail classes of society?
It is a perfect wonder the rate at which the press works, and the omnivorous public stand around it, like Oliver Twist, asking for more, so clamorously that even steam-power is beginning to lag behind the demand. Besides issuing all that our own writers can furnish, Europe is laid under contribution, and before the sheets of a London publication have had time to dry it is hawked in our streets in tempting attractiveness of form and embellishment, and offered at a price so low that every one can, and almost every one does, purchase. Instead of the demand regulating the supply, the supply regulates the demand: and the appetite, instead of being satiated, is rendered more voracious. The very loafer hesitates which to buy, bread or a newspaper. There certainly never was a time or a country in which reading became so universal. What then are we coming to? Is it an intellectual millenium we have begun? It certainly is a time of unwonted mental activity, and so far as the literary phenomena we are referring to indicate the general persuasion that the mind as well as the body needs, and is entitled to, some consideration, we are certainly glad. It is something gained when the wants of the mind are recognized among our daily and most urgent cravings. At the same time everybody must see that a very large proportion of what the press is now offering as mental aliment is totally unfit for such a purpose. The Scripture speaks of the wild ass's colt as snuffing up the east wind, upon which some one has ventured the highly probable opinion that he must snuff a considerable time before he gets fat. We think very little better of the nourishing qualities of our current literature, and are by no means sanguine that healthy, vigorous mind will be its product. Mental dissipation is the true term by which to describe the multifarious and frivolous exertions of the mind at the present time. It is an amusement, a pastime, and not a serious business we are engaged in. We are recreating our minds, not tasking them to a high endeavor for improvement. We are in quest of excitement, not strength and clearness; and one excitement naturally begets the necessity for another, and we tap and tipple at every new production, hoping to find it a little stronger and more racy than the last. Thus the relish for wholesome and nourishing food is destroyed, and the mind perishes at last through shear vacuity and starvation.
Many sober-minded persons object wholly to fictitious writings as tending only to mental imbecility and moral depravation. In this view we
are not agreed. If we were, we see not how we could defend Scripture itself. The most powerful sermon recorded in the Old Testament, and the most beautiful in the New, are fictitious. We refer to the sermon of Nathan to David in the one case, and to the parable of the Prodigal Son in the other. Indeed, this species of literature, this mode of inculcation, by its powerful influence for good or evil, has proved its own special adaptation to our mental constitution, and evinced its undoubted claim to rank prominently among the means of mental and moral culture. The conditions and restrictions which should attend its employment we attempt not now to specify. But it is important to observe that there are conditions and restrictions, and that they are generally violated and disregarded most injuriously to the popular mind, by those who are flooding the country with novels. Many reasons might be assigned for this opinion. In the first place the works themselves are, in a vast majority of cases, unfit for circulation. As productions of genius they are stale, flat and unprofitable; as oracles of wisdom, dumb as Hindoo Gods; as models of style, false and feeble; as works of taste, tawdry and ungraceful; if we leave them only their merit, what will be their praise? And then they are read almost exclusively by the young, by precisely those who are most susceptible of all the bad impressions, and least capable of the good, if any of the latter were intended to be made. With minds unformed, principles not established, tastes uncultivated, and passions untamed, they read without discrimination or selection, and therefore read not only without improvement, but with inevitable mental and moral damage. Nor is it a small evil that this species of literature is supplanting in fact the influence and existence of that elementary instruction which is the foundation of all healthful and useful knowledge. The novel finds its way into the satchel and the desk of the school miss and school boy, and many a stolen glance glides from the dull grammar to the lively tale. The latter is remembered, the former forgotten; and long before the pupil can apply a rule in grammar or arithmetic, or give a tolerable notion of the geography of his State, he can recite, trippingly on the tongue, tomes of romance. wise man has said that a living dog is better than a dead lion. With all becoming respect for most of our living novelists, we think a dead Dilworth better than them all in the education of youthful mind.
There is a profuse waste of intellect in ad
dictedness to low pursuits. The pursuit of wealth, for instance, certainly one of those most incompatible with mental culture, may be mentioned, because so common among our own countrymen. This is undoubtedly, as some one has observed, the golden age, and the image of our idolatry is a golden image. If there be any truth in the doctrine that the mind assimilates itself to whatever it long and lovingly contemplates, what wonder if many among us in the end turn out to be golden calves with souls utterly materialized and stone dead. No man can serve two masters, especially if one of them is the stern and exclusive mammon. We have heard, when children, of men who had sold their souls for gold to the spirit of evil. It is substantially true that every wealth-hunter parts with his soul, sells his intellect, in the very act of inordinately seeking to be rich. This is the inevitable condition of success, and hence Bunyan in his inimitable Pilgrims' Progress has represented his muck-rake as incapable of looking any other way than downward, and as unwilling to sell his rake though offered in exchange for it a celestial crown. Not only does the love and pursuit of riches choke the mind and dwarf it, but the disease itself is hopelessly beyond remedy. We often see men after they have spent half a life-time at the plough, the anvil, or the bench, drop the implements of their craft to run the race of greatness; but rarely, if ever, does this happen in the case of a worshipper of riches.
There is a vast waste of mind in the political competitions to which we are continually subject in this country. The idea that political influence and distinction are important enough to justify and invite their ardent pursuit, has taken possession of multitudes of young and promising minds, and gives infinite excitement to political ambition. It turns the active talent of the country to public station as the supreme good, and makes it restless, intriguing, and unprincipled. It calls out hosts of selfish competitors for comparatively few places, and encourages a bold, unblushing pursuit of personal elevation, which a just moral sense and selfrespect in the community would frown upon and cover with shame. The mischievous power of political ambition is multiplied a hundred fold by the modern doctrine, unblushingly avowed and acted upon by all parties, that to the victors belong the spoils; in other words, that the offices and honors of the country are legitimately for the behoof and compensation of those who most zealously serve and slavish
ly worship the reigning power. A foreign power let loose upon our shores would do us infinitely less mischief than this doctrine. That might ravage our cities and burn our villages; this corrupts our hearts, debases our intellect, and destroys our self-respect. That might attack and defeat us, and drive us from the seaboard to the mountains and the wilderness, but we should still retain the proud consciousness that we were freemen. This is an enemy eating the core of our heart, withering all honest principle, all manly sensibility, all high-mindedness and conscious freedom. This is a trafficker in the souls and consciences of free-born men, buying them like dumb-driven cattle, or branding them like slaves and convicts, while honest men looking on blush to think they are the countrymen of Hancock, Adams and Washington. The hordes of mercenary Hessians whose bones now bleach on the battle-field of Trenton, were bought by George III. at the rate of fifteen pounds a head, and yet think it not strange if those same Hessians shall rise up in the judgment from their mouldy beds against the hireling bands of corrupt office-holders and seekers who fester around the shambles of executive patronage. We have referred to this subject chiefly for the sake of young men who are not yet hopelessly involved in political life.
Lastly, there is a sad waste of mind resulting from the hurry of imperfectly educated persons to appear before the public as writers or as professional men. Hours and weeks which are now wasted in injudicious reading, or in premature attempts at authorship, if spent in a welldirected course of study, and in the acquisition of mental furniture, would at least qualify them to become ornamental and intellectually rich members of society; and be respectable if not distinguished. Instead of this, most young men of a little reading imagine they have fathomless wells of literature and poetry gushing up within them, and they continue to think so even after the bucket they have sent down for it returns hundreds of times empty. And this hastening to be what we are not, and are not prepared to to be, runs through all classes, and seems to be a disease of the times. The young theological student is weary with the tedious length of his preparatory course, and hurries into the arduous and responsible labors of the ministry, long before he is ready to assume them, and having assumed them, finds little leisure, and perhaps as little inclination to inform and discipline his mind, and atone in some degree for the deficiencies in his education. Others are panting for
the day when they shall figure in the legal or the medical profession, satisfied if they can pass without disgrace a nominal examination, and have permission to hang out their sign; this done, they will be content to be sciolists and ignoramuses all their days. Consequently the liberal or learned professions, as we have been wont to call them, are filled with very unlearned men, with men who have entered them not from love to science, but for the sake of lucre or reputation. There are, it is true, many honorable exceptions in all the professions; but still the force of our conclusion is unabated.
We conclude these somewhat desultory illustrations of a vital theme with a word of persuasion to those who have accompanied us. Be entreated, patient reader, to rouse yourself from mental slumber, and educate the immortal mind God has planted in your bosom. Suffer not that god-like thing to pine, and waste away, and die within you for lack of necessary care and culture. Endure any other wants rather than the wants of the mind-any other abuse rather than that which contracts and debases this. Remember, the most priceless property you can have and hold is your mind, and that every improvement you can make in it will last for ever. It will live when earth melts and passes away, immortal amid the ashes of the universe, standing erect while stars fall and the heavens are on fire. Take care of your MIND! Treat it not as a toy or a trifle, but remember it is the divinity stirring within you." Be not seduced by the cares or pleasures, the business or the amusements of this world, from your fidelity to this prime concern of your life. Over all that rich land of promise and hope, lying in your own bosom, with all its silver floods, and waving fields, and purple clusters, we call you to become cultivators and overseers, as ye are also lord-like proprietors. Let others scramble for this world's pelf and perishing vanities, search ye for mental and moral excellences. Put the body off, if need be, with the hardest fare and the coarsest raiment, but spurn a less possession than kingdom, crown, and sceptre for the mind. Regard the outer man as thy shadow, the inner man as thyself; and while worldlings and sensualists fish for pearls in stagnant mud-pools, cast thou into the clear crystal depths of a soul that has been refined, illumined, elevated by prayer, pains-taking, and a divine blessing, til its bosom has become studded with stars, and its untroubled surface is a serene picture and panorama of the glories of the overhanging sky. YOD.
fore he is ready to assume them, and having assumed them, finds little leisure, and perhaps as little inclination to inform and discipline his mind, and atone in some degree for the deficiencies in his education. Others are panting for
illumined, elevated by prayer, pains-taking, and a divine blessing, till its bosom has become studded with stars, and its untroubled surface is a serene picture and panorama of the glories of the overhanging sky. YOD.