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A Communication to the British and Foreign School Society, from the
JANUARY 1, 1835.
THE intelligence of the age, and the spirit of the times, are at the present moment in a state highly favourable to the prosecution of benevolent objects on sound principles. The public mind has triumphed over the fear that education would do harm; and the only question now is how shall we direct a power which, "mighty in majesty and terrible in strength," stands ready to walk forth upon man.
While the present publication would make the direction of this power, on Christian principles, its object, it would no less endeavour to fix it upon the sound basis of practical utility. It would also consider that education should continue after the child merges into the man, and should go on, not only to adolescence but also to senectitude. It would look upon education to consist, not merely of book teaching in youth, but to exist in all those varied circumstances by which man is surrounded from his cradle to his coffin; and it would therefore be its object to influence the mind on one hand, and direct the attention to influential circumstances on the other.
"The noblest study of mankind is man.' The researches of philosophy and science have been directed to the production of means of happiness from without. True philosophy comprehends with these, the still deeper researches into the principles of human nature, and the discovery of the better springs of human enjoyment from within; and it is from this union, in the pure spirit of Divine love, that man can best be brought to triumph over the things of time and sense, and made a partaker of mental enjoyment, social happiness, and Christian peace.
Hitherto the power of intellect has been directed to the aggrandisement of the creature rather than to the glory of the Creator, to the production of luxuries rather than to the perfection of happiness; and thus we with pain behold magnificence and wretchedness side by side; knowledge and ignorance, refinement and brutality, treading the same path; the human intellect in its highest altitude, and human nature in its lowest degradation.
It will be the aim, therefore, of this MAGAZINE to bring into view those derangements of moral functions which entail misery upon mankind; to search for remedies for the disease of moral delinquency; and to turn the powers of the human intellect to the correction of human error, the removal of human infirmity, and the proper treatment of the insanity of vice.
Consistently, with these views, it would seek the renovation of society; it would bring into a focus the best desires of the wise, the intelligent, VOL. I.-Jan. 1835.
and the good, for the amelioration of human wretchedness; and would seek to carry out the divine compassion of the Saviour into the dark dens of human iniquity and misery,—not only by relieving affliction and administering to the necessitous by temporal assistance; but by taking the best means for the prevention of the recurrence of the evils that affect society, and the establishment of principles which shall ensure the gradual but certain development of the essentials of human happiness, and the faculties of man as a social, a rational, and a religious being.
It is a striking fact, that those individuals who have labored, and who are now unceasingly laboring for the good of their species; and who may be considered as the advance guard of the intelligence of the times, have ever had the greatest difficulty in making themselves heard above the din and bustle of the world. From this circumstance, some of the most important principles than can be applied to human action have lain dormant for centuries. Beaten down by the prejudices of ignorance, by party spirit, or private malevolence, the best plans of doing good have often sunk into oblivion; how important then will it be for Christians of all denominations, who may be disposed to unite for the purpose of doing good, to have a vehicle by which their views may be brought before the public, and their plans of doing good promulgated among society at large.
At the present moment, friends to human improvement are far and wide, and a variety of plans, having the highest objects in view, are being brought into operation in obscure localities, and only require to be known to be of the most extensive usefulness. On the other hand, with the best possible intentions, the most mischievous principles are brought into action, and are inflicting the greatest evils upon mankind. It will therefore be the object of this MAGAZINE to give publicity to all, that the former may extend their Christian advantages, and that the latter may meet with such examination that their false principles may be discovered, and their errors exploded. The correspondence and views therefore of Philanthropists of every description is earnestly solicited," that their light may so shine before men that they may glorify their Father, which is in heaven."
To enter more particularly into the design of this Magazine with regard to Education, it need scarcely be said, that it takes its ground on Christian principles; at the same time it would support it with a view to its being universally diffused on the broad basis of practical utility. It is certain that the grand aim and end of instruction is lost sight of in the education of youth; that much of the misery now prevalent in society is the consequence of proceeding on erroneous principles; and that education in its proper sense is felt to be enjoyed but very imperfectly even by the educated; that it is in many points utterly withheld from the multitude; and not yet systematized either in principle or plans. It will then be the object to draw the attention of the Public generally to this all-important subject, which is shortly destined to wake the attention of the meanest cottager in the land. new era is about to commence in Elementary Instruction; and it will require the soundest judgment, the nicest discrimination, and the
highest and best energies of which man is capable to carry on this important work to the glory of the Creator, and the real and lasting happiness of his creatures.
We therefore entreat the co-operation of all friends to human improvement, on the sacred principles and practice of the Christian religion. We know no sect or party; we will be influenced by nothing but a sincere desire to do good, in accordance with the precepts and example of Christ. In his cause, and for his sake, we again urge the assistance of those who, to a knowledge of the truth add the practice of piety,—who, to a belief in his name, add righteousness and holiness,and who can sink low and inferior motives in the grand principle of love to GoD and man-the sum and substance of their faith, and the Alpha and Omega of their creed.
MORAL AND PHYSICAL STATE OF THE MANUAL
THE intelligence of a nation should be directed towards the happiness of every portion of the body politic; not only as regards its legislative enactments, but as regards the multiform modes, in which that intelligence may be made to manifest itself for the public weal. The name of a patriot does not belong to him, who alone exerts himself for the public liberty, and for what is termed the political good; nor is the term philanthropist properly applied to the individual, who alone seeks to relieve human distress. The character of the former is by no means perfect, unless in addition to his public exertions he unites that of his private influence—his own striking example; and carries with him the high philosophy whose great objects are the happiness of his countrymen at large. Nor will the name of philanthropist be due to him, who does not add to his benevolence, discretion, and to his desire of doing good to those special objects of destitution which may fall under his notice, the wish of eradicating the causes that have produced, and the errroneous systems that would perpetuate, human misery.
The moral and physical state of the manual labouring class in England, is a subject to which society at large ought to direct its attention, with a view to the formation of correct data, on which to proceed in the great work of human improvement,-in the amelioration of human suffering in this, and in the prevention of it in future generations. National self-knowledge is to be obtained not more by a deep study of human nature, human laws, and human institutions; than by a perfect acquaintance with the innumerable and varied circumstances of man in his artificial state, and a particular knowledge of his mental powers, his moral habits, and his multifarious relations with his fellow man.
Perhaps there is no country in the world where society is so divided and subdivided as in England. It will afford the philosophical and philanthropic investigator but little help to study the statistics of labour, any more than it will to know the statistics of education or of crime. He must do more than this: he must enter into the very core of that