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from shipwreck, is more to be desired than a life-boat, which rescues a remnant of the crew.
Such is the prospective march of the educational host. It rises before me like the army of Napoleon, when its van had gained the crest of the Alpine St. Bernard, and the queen of Italian valleys burst upon their ravished gaze.
But who shall be a lingering laggard ? What Achan is there in the camp ? Who shall have no right, portion, or memorial in coming conquests ? Who of you will give ear to ignoble ease and peaceful sloth ? Who shall be seen to desert his ranks, or who shall slink away unperceived ? While all others bring their offering of culture, who can bear to be found empty-handed ?
He that shall thus throw down the rod of opportunity and incentive that is put into his hand, shall see it becoming a serpent from whose fangs he will vainly flee. If ours were a prophet's eye to detect that one recreant in this throng, well might we weep over him, as the austere prophet wept over Hazael, prince of Syria. Nay, rather let us thank God that we are not tormented before the time, by recognizing him who shall throw away the key of knowledge. Let us each make it as sure as we can, that there will be no such traitor to his trust, by daily asking, “ Is it I?” — assured that each of us is a keeper of but one single man, that we can each make sure of him, and, that if we each make sure of him, all will be well.
" Let each
Man is so constituted, as to crave a perfect standard of excellence. In every department of life, he sets before himself a faultless model. The beauideal of the sculptor is perfect. He pictures to himself a human form more symmetrical than is found in actual existence. Excluding every blemish and deformity, and concentrating every charm and beauty of limb and feature, he erects in his imagination an ideal upon which to exercise his art. The hero takes as his guiding star, an imaginary character, who combines all those qualities, which constitute military eminence. The scholar proposes to himself a standard higher than is found in actual life. The good man is not satisfied with a rule of life, which does not demand conformity to the purest virtue, and enjoin every perfection of character. Any ethical rule, that falls short of this, his moral sense condemns, and he approves of the law of God, because it is a perfect law.
The teacher adopts a high ideal of professional superiority. He forms, in his imagination, an image of a perfect teacher; of one, who, free from every fault and deficiency, possesses in harmonious combination, and in the highest possible degree, all the requisitions of character and scholarship, which qualify for complete success in teaching. This law of the mind, which leads men in all the pursuits of life, to set before themselves an exemplar as an object of imitation, is of great practical benefit. The man, who is satisfied with what he now is, intellectually or morally, will make little effort to improve, while he, who keeps before himself a high standard, will continue to make progress.
A finished, complete and faultless model, alone satisfies the cravings of the heart; yet the impossibility of copying such a pattern, renders one, which may be attained by human powers, needful, and oftentimes more immediately useful.
I know of no way, therefore, in which a teacher may be better qualified for the general duties of his office, or make successful advances towards his ideal of professional perfection, than by studying the character and life of a great master of his art, of acknowledged and conspicuous celebrity. “He, that walketh with wise men, shall be wise;" and that teacher, who, with earnest scrutiny, studies the character of an artist in his profession, seeking to understand the elements of his success, and to catch his spirit, will be, according to the law of assimila
tion, conformed to the pattern he contemplates, and to a degree changed into the same image.
I know not, then, how I may do a better service for the members of the Institute, whom I have the pleasure of addressing at this time, than to endeavor to present a portraiture of the character of that prince of teachers, Dr. Thomas Arnold, late Head Master of the Rugby School, England.
Presuming that most of the teachers, whom I address, have heard of the name of Dr. Arnold, and are more or less acquainted with his history and influence, it will not be necessary for me to give here a detailed account of his outward life and the events in his history; and the more, since his
a life interesting, not from the variety of its incidents or the thrilling nature of its vicissitudes. What renders his life worthy to be enshrined in the memory of every teacher, is, that it is the record of the development of a great mind, of the inner life of a scholar, a theologian, a brilliant historian, an affectionate father, an enthusiastic and celebrated teacher. What he has said of others, is emphatically true of himself.
In his inaugural address, upon entering on the duties of the Professorship of Modern History, in the University of Oxford, he says, in speaking of the true office of biography, “ We have another life besides that of outward action, and it is this inward life, which determines the character of the actions and of the man. And how eagerly do we desire, in those great men, whose actions fill so large a space in history, to