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lative hope that it may answer; or, lastly—and this is the most favourable case—we ourselves improve upon certain processes ; but this can only be the result of an experience hardly earned and dearly bought, and which, after all, can only embrace a comparatively short space of time, and a small number of experiments.
From none of these causes can we hope for much progress; for the mind, however ingenious, has no materials to work with, and remains so in presence of phenomena, the causes of which are hidden from it.
But these laws of nature, these Divine laws, are capable of being discovered and understood, and of being taught and made our own. This is the task of science; and, whilst science discovers and teaches these laws, art teaches their application. No pursuit is therefore too insignificant not to be capable of becoming the subject both of a science and an art.
GENIUS MADE FRUITFUL BY KNOWLEDGE.
Far be it from me to undervalue the creative power of genius, or to treat shrewd common sense as worthless without knowledge. But nobody will tell me that the same genius would not take an incomparably higher flight, if supplied with all the means which knowledge can impart, or that common sense does not become, in fact, only truly powerful, when in possession of the materials upon which judgment is to be exercised.
IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY OF THE ARTS
The study of the laws by which the Almighty governs the universe is our bounden duty. Of these laws our great academies and seats of education have, rather arbitrarily, selected only two spheres or groups, as I may call them, as essential parts of our national education : the laws which regulate quantities and proportions, which form the subject of mathematics; and the laws regulating the expression of our thoughts, through the medium of language, that is to say, grammar, which finds its purest expression in the classical languages. These laws are most important branches of knowledge, their study trains and elevates the mind, but they are not the only ones; there are others which we cannot disregard, which we cannot do without.
There are, for instance, the laws governing the human mind, and its relation to the Divine Spirit (the subject of logic and metaphysics); there are those which govern our bodily nature and its connexion with the soul (the subject of physiology and psychology); those which govern human society, and the relations between man and man (the subjects of politics, jurisprudence, and political economy), and many others.
Whilst of the laws just mentioned some have been recognised as essentials of education in different institutions, and some will, by the course The Value of the Arts and Sciences. 109 of time, more fully assert their right to recognition, the laws regulating matter and form are those which will constitute the chief object of your pursuits; and, as the principle of subdivision of labour is the one most congenial to our age, I would advise you* to keep to this speciality, and to follow with undivided attention chiefly the sciences of mechanics, physics, and chemistry, and the fine arts in painting, sculpture, and architecture.
You will thus have conferred an inestimable boon upon your country, and in a short time have the satisfaction of witnessing the beneficial results upon our national powers of production. Other parts of the country will, I doubt not, emulate your example; and I live in hope that all these institutions will some day find a central point of union, and thus complete their national organization.
* Addressed to the members of the Birmingham Institute.
A GOOD WORK. I REJOICE at the opportunity* which has this day been afforded to me of visiting this noble establishment, and my satisfaction in doing so is increased by the circumstance that my visit occurs at a period of its existence when the state of useful development to which by your exertions it has attained is about, by a continuance of the same exertions, to receive a still wider extension. In the progress of these schools, struggling, I may say, from the most lowly and humble beginnings up to their present and noble dimensions, we find a striking exemplification of the Divine truth, that the principle of good once sown is not destined to remain dormant, but that, like the grain of mustard-seed, it is calculated to extend and develop itself in an ever-increasing sphere of usefulness; and we may confidently hope that what you have now effected, following this uni
* The opening of St. Thomas’ Charterhouse Schools.