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and still are some pious, Objections to geneand conscientious Chris- ral education. tians, who dread the consequences of a general diffusion, even of elementary knowledge among the poor. *The miseries which have attended the very name of equality in a neighbouring kingdom, have excited an alarm as to every thing which can tend to equalize the powers of man; and have induced some excellent and well intentioned individuals to adopt ideas, as distant from truth and polity, as the dreams of jacobinism.
IN the concerns of this fleeting world, in the division of the gewgaws
and indulgences, which are so generally the objects of pursuit, there never was, and there never can be, equality.
* Among the topics frequently urged against the diffusion of knowledge among our Christian brethren, none is more earnestly insisted upon than the danger of engendering pride. In order to render others content with IGNORANCE, the friends of that lady 'are perpetually shewing the danger of instruction, and proving that the Cassette verte of Pandora could not have contained more evils. If Ignorance, say they, is expelled from
The many must be impelled to action, by beholding them the property of a few;attainable only by the diligence and prudence of the individual, or of his ancestor. But in real good,—in the instruction which prepares for moral improvement,-which developes to man the privileges of the HEIR OF IMMORTALITY, and forms his course to future happiness, by virtuous principles, by prudential habits, and by religious feelings, -no difference exists between man and man. The same GOD is rich to all who call upon him.
IN the ornamental branches of the fine Degree of educa- arts,-in painting, sculpture, and music, in literary attainments and in professional science, EDUCATION must be as various as the condi
her seat, the vacancy must be filled up by PRIDE, and the other deadly sins. Thus it is that the pride of knowledge is presented as a bugbear, to preclude millions of rational creatures from the benefit of instruction while the daily commerce of the world might convince us, that the pride of knowledge is nothing,—absolutely nothing to the PRIDE OF IGNORANCE.
tion, situation, and talent of man. But in the elements of knowledge,-the means, not the objects of attainment,-in the acquisition of the alphabetical and numerical language, now easily and generally disseminated by the art of printing, the poor have as good a right to the instruction which illumines and directs their path through life, as the greatest and most elevated of their fellow subjects. Without waiting to receive the GOSPEL from others, they have as much right of access to its treasures by education, as they have to be admitted to CHRIST'S church by baptism.
AND make them what they should be,instructed and enlightened
christians, and they will all know, that a free and regulated state of
• It his been well observed, that the capability of writing, and the knowledge of the elementary parts of arithmetic, (without which a porter cannot keep the petty cash accounts of his employer) is not likely to render the poor discontented with their lot; but that, on the contrary, it would fill them with hope and happiBess; for the man who is acquainted with numbers
society contains the greatest portion of happiness, with the smallest alloy of inconvenience,* that can exist in this world. Every individual cannot provide a store-house against scarcity:—but the rich man can; and when famine threatens, the poor as well as the rich are thereby preserved. All cannot climb the laborious heights of science:-but the rich, or (with their aid) those gifted with extraordinary intellectual powers may surmount the difficulties; and the consequent improvements in manufactures, in commerce, and in all the arts and comforts of
would learn the advantages of frugality, and become saving; and he might see, that by pursuing such habits, he would not, through all the circumstances of his life, be doomed to the drudgery of daily labour.-Fox's Compa
* I should be very sorry that the title to property and pre-eminence should depend on the degradation or unhappiness of others. If the foundation of the enjoyment and intelligence of a few, is to be laid in the misery and ignorance of the many, the sooner such a fabric is dedestroyed, the better. Let us not, however, entertain an opinion so injurious to civil society. If legitimate in form, and duly administered, the happiness of the whole, -of the lowest as well as the highest link in the chain of society is thereby equally promoted.
The accommodation of an European prince, (says
life, will promote the happiness of the whole.. All cannot conduct the helm of state; but some may direct our counsels, some may lead our armies, and others guide our fleets, in the path of glory; and preserve their countrymen from the miseries, under which the rest of Europe is now groaning, with unparalleled affliction.
LET us not, however, estimate so meanly of the understanding of the cottager, as to think him incapable of per- Its effects on the ceiving that the same law poor. secures to him and his family the enjoyment of their earnings, and to the rich the possession of their wealth;-that the same civil sanctions protect the life, the liberty, and the property of the poor, as well as of the opulent; and defend the industrious and honest, from the force and fraud of the
Adam Smith,) does not always so much exceed that of an industrious and frugal peasant, as the accommodation of the latter, exceeds that of many an African king, the absolute master of the lives and liberties of ten thousand naked savages.-Smith on the Wealth of Nations.