Practical Essays eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 299 pages of information about Practical Essays.
leaves the school for the shop at thirteen, is on one platform.  He that spends the years from thirteen to twenty in acquiring general knowledge, is on a totally different platform; he is, in the best sense, an aristocrat.  Those that begin work at thirteen, and those that are born not to work at all, are alike his inferiors.  He should be able to spread light all around.  He it is that may stand forth before the world as the model man.



All this supposes that you realise the position; that you fill up the measure of the opportunities; that you keep in view at once the Professional life, the Citizen life, and the life of Intellectual tastes.  The mere professional man, however prosperous, cannot be a power in society, as the Arts’ graduate may become.  His leisure occupations are all of a lower stamp.  He does not participate in the march of knowledge.  He must be aware of his incompetence to judge for himself in the greater questions of our destiny; his part is to be a follower, and not a leader.

It is not, then, the name of graduate that will do all this.  It is not a scrape pass; it is not decent mediocrity with a languid interest.  It is a fair and even attention throughout, supplemented by auxiliaries to the class work.  It is such a hold of the leading subjects, such a mastery of the various alphabets, as will make future references intelligible, and a continuation of the study possible.

Our curriculum is one of the completest in the country, or perhaps anywhere.  By the happy thought of the Senatus of Marischal College, in 1753, you have a fundamental class (Natural History) not existing in the other colleges.  You have a fair representation of the three great lines of science—­the Abstract, the Experimental, and the Classifying.  When it is a general education that you are thinking of, every scheme of option is imperfect that does not provide for such three-sided cultivation of our reasoning powers.  A larger quantity of one will no more serve for the absence of the rest than a double covering of one part of the body, will enable another part to be left bare.


Your time in the Arts’ curriculum is not entirely used up by the classes.  You can make up for deficiences in the course, when once you have formed your ideal of completeness.  For a year, or two after graduating, while still rejoicing in youthful freshness, you can be widening your foundations.  The thing then is, to possess a good scheme and to abide by it.  Now, making every allowance for the variation of tastes and of circumstances, and looking solely to what is desirable for a citizen and a man, it is impossible to refuse the claims of the department of Historical and Social study.  One or two good representative historical periods might be thoroughly mastered in conjunction with the best theoretical compends of Social Philosophy.

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Practical Essays from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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