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that the truest insight in spiritual things is where the human intellect, freely inquiring, encounters the Holy Ghost, and that such encounter is afforded by the Gospel, it goes about to analyze and interpret, not to gainsay or destroy ; reverently listening, if here and there it may catch some accents of the Eternal Voice amid the confused dialects of Scripture, yet not confounding the latter with the former; expecting to find in criticism, guided by a true philosophy, the key to revelation; in revelation, the sanction and condign expression of philosophic truth.
May this spirit, which is now leavening the Church of England, find abundant entrance into all the churches of our own land! and may this volume, its genuine product, though very imperfect exponent, contribute somewhat thereto!
F. H. HEDGE.
BROOKLINE, Aug. 14, 1860.
THE EDUCATION OF THE WORLD.
BY FREDERICK TEMPLE, D.D.
Na world of mere phenomena, where all events
and effect, it is possible to imagine the course of a long period, bringing all things at the end of it into exactly the same relations as they occupied at the beginning. We should, then, obviously have a succession of cycles, rigidly similar to one another, both in events and in the sequence of them. The universe would eternally repeat the same changes in a fixed order of recurrence, though each cycle might be many millions of years in length. Moreover, the precise similarity of these cycles would render the very existence of each one of them entirely unnecessary. We can suppose, without any logical inconsequence, any one of them struck out, and the two which had been destined to precede and follow it brought into immediate contiguity.
This supposition transforms the universe into a dead machine. The lives and the souls of men become so indifferent, that the annihilation of a wholo human race, or of many such races, is absolutely nothing. Every event passes away as it happens filling its place in the sequence, but purposeless for the future. The order of all things becomes not merely an iron rule, from which nothing can ever swerve, but an iron rule which guides to nothing and ends in nothing.
Such a supposition is possible to the logical understanding : it is not possible to the spirit. The human heart refuses to believe in a universe without a purpose. To the spirit, all things that exist must have a purpose ; and nothing can pass away till that purpose be fulfilled. The lapse of time is no exception to this demand. Each moment of time, as it passes, is taken up in the shape of permanent results into the time that follows, and only perishes by being converted into something more substantial than itself. A series of recurring cycles, however conceivable to the logical understanding, is inconceivable to the spirit; for every later cycle must be made different from every earlier by the mere fact of coming after it and embodying its results. The material world may possibly be subject to such a rule, and may, in successive epochs, be the cradle of successive races of spiritual beings ; but the world of spirits cannot be a mere machine.
In accordance with this difference between the material and the spiritual worlds, we ought to be prepared to find progress in the latter, however much fixity there may be in the former. The Earth may still be describing precisely the same orbit as that which was assigned to her at the creation. The seasons may be precisely the same. The planets, the moon, and the stars may be unchanged both in appearance and in reality. But man is a spiritual as well as a material creature ; must be subject to the laws of the spiritual as well as to those of the material world ; and cannot stand still because things around
him do. Now, that the individual man is capable of perpetual, or almost perpetual, development, from the day of his birth to that of his death, is obvious of
But we may well expect to find something more than this in a spiritual creature who does not stand alone, but forms a part of a whole world of creatures like himself. Man cannot be considered as an individual. He is, in reality, only man by virtue of his being a member of the human race. Any other animal that we know would probably not be very different in its nature, if brought up, from its very birth, apart from all its kind. A child so brought up, becomes, as instances could be adduced to prove, not a man in the full sense at all, but rather a beast in human shape ; with human faculties, no doubt, hidden underneath, but with no hope, in this life, of ever developing those faculties into true humanity. If, then, the whole in this case, as in so many others, is prior to the parts, we may conclude that we are to look for that progress which is essential to a spiritual being subject to the lapse of time, not only in the individual, but also quite as much in the race taken as a whole. We may expect to find, in the history of man, each successive age incorporating into itself the substance of the preceding.
This power, whereby the present ever gathers into itself the results of the past, transforms the human race into a colossal man, whose life reaches from the creation to the day of judgment. The successive generations of men are days in this man's life. The discoveries and inventions which characterize the different epochs of the world's history are his works. The creeds and doctrines, the opinions and principles, of the successive ages, are his thoughts. The state of society at different times are his manners. He grows in knowledge, in self-control, in visible size, just as we do ; and his education is, in the same way, and for the same reason, precisely similar to
All this is no figure, but only a compendious statement of a very comprehensive fact. The child that is born to-day may possibly have the same faculties as if he had been born in the days of Noah : if it be otherwise, we possess no means of determining the difference But the equality of the natural faculties, at starting, will not prevent a vast difference in their ultimate development. That development is entirely under the control of the influences exerted by the society in which the child may chance to live. If such society be altogether denied, the faculties perish, and the child (as remarked above) grows up a beast, and not a man. If the society be uneducated and coarse, the growth of the faculties is early so stunted as never afterwards to be capable of recovery: if the society be highly cultivated, the child will be cultivated also, and will show, more or less, through life, the fruits of that cultivation. Hence each generation receives the benefit of the cultivation of that which preceded it. Not in knowledge only, but in development of powers, the child of twelve now stands at the level where once stood the child of fourteen; where, ages ago, stood the full-grown man. The discipline of manners, of temper, of thought, of feeling, is transmitted from generation to generation; and, at each transmission, there is an imperceptible but unfailing increase. The perpetual accumulation of the stores of knowledge is so much more visible than the change in the other ingredients of human progress, that we