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Doce ut discas.
"Thou therefore which teachest another, teachest thou not thyself?'
JAMES DAVIE BUTLER.
TICK NOR, REED, AND FIELDS.
M DCCC LII.
WHILE listening to the lecturers, who have so often, in these last days, fed us with the various food of sweetly uttered knowledge, I have said to myself more than once, "What shall the man do that cometh after the king?" * Nor can I doubt but that those who assigned to us speakers the order of our appearance, reverenced the oriental custom, according to which, "Every man at the beginning doth set forth good wine, and when men have well drunk, then that which is worse." Or perhaps as classical scholars, they may have imitated Prometheus, who began to make man of finer clay, as it were of porcelain, but lacking materials, was compelled to eke out his work with baser matter, at first intended for composing creatures of a lower race. My own apology for trespassing at all on your attention, now you have been feasted to the full, is, that after many who were rich had cast in much money into the Jewish temple-treasury, then, and not before, there came. a certain poor widow, and she threw in two mites, which make a farthing. Yet small as may be the value of the coin I contribute, its superscription, CULTURE, need not shrink from a comparison with the legend on guineas, napoleons, or double eagles.
Culture is clearly one great end of our being. God, indeed, "hath made all nations of men that
*This lecture was the last in the course before the Institute.
they should seek the Lord."* How shall they seek him? One answer to this question is, by doing good. But as the fountain must precede the stream, so he, who would do good, must first be good. And what is it to be good? Is it not to use our faculties as just views of their nature show they were intended to be used? Culture, then, moral, mental and physical, is one great purpose of our existence. I mention moral culture first, since it is not only our clearest duty, but is the best basis for all other culture; while physical culture alone would leave man a mere animal, and mental culture alone might only raise him to the bad eminence of the prince of Pandemonium. Holding, as I do, the laws of hygiene in such esteem, as to think sickness more often a fault, than a calamity, and persuaded, as I am, that the darkest day the land of the Puritan ever saw, was that, when the phrase New England Primer ceased to be synonymous with the Westminster Catechism, (since many of her children have been hence commonschooled out of earth as well as heaven,) I trust I shall not be thought neglectful either of the body or the soul, although in the present address, I say nothing more about them, but confine myself to the culture of the mind.
My subject, then, is, SOME OF THE INCENTIVES,
WHICH SHOULD URGE TEACHERS TO MENTAL ADVANCE
MENT. I seem to myself to follow a natural order of thought, by speaking first of those incentives, which appeal to teachers in common with other men, and afterwards, of such as address themselves peculiarly to teachers.
The ends of all our actions, so far as they respect ourselves, are two, Culture and Condition. It is better to aim at 'culture, for many reasons. Thus it is more in our POWER to gain culture. Who can be sure of riches, when not one man in ten thousand, *Acts xvii. 27.
even among calculating Yankees, ever became a millionaire; or of office, seeing the worthiest, and the wiliest of statesmen, pronounced alike unavailable; or of popularity, now that men change their opinions as often and as willingly as their linen? External advancement is dependent on the favor of associates, or on accidents as unforeseen and surprising, as if there were no fixed laws of nature. Mental advancement is at the mercy of no fraudulent partner, no fall of stocks, no wind or weather. It is not in our stars, but in ourselves, that we are thus, or thus. He that will, may learn to read, and then, may so read as to investigate, and may then, by reflection, classify his facts, and by observation, illustrate his principles. Thus laboring, he secures culture. Vives acquirit eundo. In confirmation of this doctrine, I need cite no other proof-text than the fact, that there are no circumstances in which men, of the most enviable deportment, have not appeared, flashing out of thick darkness, as lightning out of the black cloud. If then, culture were of only equal value with condition, it would yet be more worthy of our pursuit, because it is more within our reach. If the delight afforded us in every swamp and pasture, by a modicum of botanical knowledge, be no greater than is forced upon an ignoramus, in the gardens of Louis XIV., it is still wiser to study botany, than to essay reaching the paradise of Versailles; because, we are more sure to succeed in the inward, than in the outward pilgrimage.
Again, mental advancement is more our own, than material. The one must be acquired, the other may be conferred. You take your father's outward estate according to law, but you would no more think of thus inheriting his inward wealth, than of assuming his military titles. In addition to this, outward resources are as hard to keep, as to get, so that to the wisest of men, they seemed always ready to take the wings of the eagle; but regarding internal