Page images
PDF
EPUB

houses are to be had with ample grounds in many parts of England, and in accessible ones too, at a wonderfully low rate. Native and well-qualified teachers of music, dancing, languages, are to be had in plenty at a very reasonable rate; and it would then only require proper arrangements, so that the French and German classes should converse only in their respective languages with their tutors, and for certain fixed hours, in order to give the most perfect practice. I conceive that a great revolution might, on such a plan, be effected in English school-keeping, and the higher prices necessary in the neighbourhood of London be greatly lowered.

There remains yet one more subject on which to say a few words,—that is, on the education of English young men at the German universities; of the excellence and cheapness of the education to be obtained at those universities there can be no question. The German Professors are at once learned and laborious; and the examples of industry exhibited by them might be most useful, were it not for the existence of other habits in those universities, which are repugnant to all our English notions. I have endeavoured to make the whole system of the German universities, both as regards the mode and nature of the education in them, and the old-established practices of the students, fully known to the English public, in “The Student Life of Germany." I shall, in speaking of the

despotism of the German government, shew by what means the most objectionable practices of student life are still carefully, for political objects, supported and cherished by these governments. In this place, I shali only allude to one circumstance, which must make any parent pause before he sends his sons to study in these schools. It is the prevailing, and almost universal, religious infidelity which prevails in them. In my “Rural and Social Life of Germany," I have explained the cause of this. It is the result of the German philosophy. The principles of Kant, carried to an extremity by Hegel and others, have succeeded in making Christianity regarded as a fable. Strauss has collected together all the infidel arguments of all the deistical writers of all countries and ages, and condensed them into a most ably written Life of Christ, of which a cheap and very poor translation is now to be seen in our infidel book-shops in London. John Keats beautifully says

Do not all charms fly
At the mere touch of cold philosophy ?
There was an awful rainbow once in heaven;
We know her woof, her texture ; she is given
In the dull catalogue of common things.
Philosophy will clip an angel's wings,
Conquer all mysteries by rule and line,
Empty the haunted air, and gnomed mine-
Unweave a rainbow, as it erewhile made
The tender-personed Lamia melt into a shade.

POEM OF LAMIA.

Philosophy never exerted its earthly, commonizing, stripping, denuding, skeletonizing power, so completely as in the shape of German philosophy. It has thoroughly clipped the angel wings of Christianity. It has represented the miraculous histories of the Old and New Testament as fables. It has described the wonders of God's providence, as exhibited in the establishment of the Jewish people, and of Jesus Christ's miracles for the establishment of his religion, to be legends, sagas, of the same character as those of all other ancient nations. This philosophy has seized on the youth of Germany to a frightful extent. The philosophical chairs are in all quarters infected by it. Who would be so unphilosophical as to be unphilosophical? Who would be so simple as to believe only with the simple? All the wonderful connection and consistency of prophecy, from the commencement of the world to the very coming of Christ; all the internal evidences of more than human sagacity, wisdom, and truth, embodied in the Sacred writings; the magnificence, the purity, the depth of philosophy displayed in them; the sublime beauty, benevolence, and superhuman doctrines of Christ,-in fact, all the nobler features and divine spirit of the Sacred writings, all their admirable adaptation to the wants and wishes of the human heart, to the needs of earth and of humanity, of a principle of solace, elevation, and refinement-a binding and brother-creating principle,-are lost sight of; and Christianity is measured by the cold yard-wand of a groveling vender of scholastic webs, and found to have some good in it, but to be more than we have need of. The “Ice-time," which certain continental philosophers contend to have in some former age reigned over and bound up in frozen death, this planet, has actually seized on Germany. Woe to those who come within its reach. All that is ethereal in their nature or aspirations will perish. They will become too wise to be generous, poetical, or Christian. They will learn to look on all that is not “of the earth, earthy," as a beautiful fiction; and to regard with Kant nothing beyond the range of their experience as true. What that range and that experience will become, need no words to explain. Selfish shrewdness will become the grand reigning principle of life.

The huinan angel will cease to soar towards that heaven to which it sees glorious Jacob's ladder any longer leading, nor fair shapes ascending and descending, as the living ministers and messengers between two kindred worlds; but will creep on the earth, a many-fingered crab, in the crust of its selfishness.

Amongst the whole number of German students whom I have known, it would be difficult to select a dozen who were not confirmed deists. Let those who doubt the extent to which this philosophical pestilence has spread, go and judge for themselves; but let none send out solitary youths to study in

no

German universities, who do not wish to see them return, very clever, very learned, and very completely unchristianized. The only safe course in this respect, as well as with regard to schools, is when parents accompany their children, and give them the effective antidote of an English home, and English sentiments, while they are making their necessary acquisitions of knowledge.

« PreviousContinue »