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places it in the state in which it is ? No rule on one science should be expressed in terms of any other. A rule should use plain words without a figure, and leave nothing to be interpreted by the fitful visions of fancy, which vary always in different individuals according to the circumstances which have formed their ideal associations. Would it not be much better to form the syntax on the accidence of the language, and the accidence on a just analysis, by showing the various uses of the moods and tenses and cases, rather than confound the scholar by an idefinite, vague, theoretical, imaginary assumption, which has no foundation in the nature of things?
The genitive is a case which denotes the genus or kind to which something else belongs, and is used to define qualification or ownership, as the love of man, which expresses the kind of love; the boy's book, which points out its owner. The ablative is a case of circumstance which takes away or detracts from the abstract agency of the subject, and is employed to denote the cause, manner, instrument, time or occasion which limits the operation of some other case. This is the true rationale of what is called the ablative absolute: as, Ille, Tarquinio regnante, venit in Italiam, he, on
Tarquin's reigning, that occasion, came into Italy. There are no doubt apparent anomalies in the language, which at first sight may seem to defeat any general method of analytical synthesis ; but all these might vanish before a just and enlightened discrimination. Men have been always accustomed to think and speak according to rule; and in the divine art of language, there must be a philosophical system, unless the confusion of Babel spoiled it all.
Professor Anthon has blended some of the more familiar rules of syntax with the accidence, as a seasonable occasion offered itself; but not at all upon the principle which we have just been proposing, on account of his subservience to the old despotism of syntactical government which has robbed the elements of accidence of their democratic independence to speak and act for themselves. Yet accidence and syntax ought to be more united than they are, however, not by any chequered juxtaposition, but by being converted into one homogeneous substance. Does not the accidental nature of the parts of speech, of itself, determine their position in a sentence ? Do not they of themselves move in their proper place without any law, if only their proper nature is assigned to them? It is true law must be added on account of transgressions; but there is not so much need of that, if the nature of the system is well established.
Professor Anthon's summary of the syntax, on the old system, is perhaps on the whole excellent; and this appended to the accidence, Propria Quae maribus, and As in Proesenti of the Eton Grammar, would form a good summary of Latin Grammar. There is too much minced meat about Mr. Hall's Accidence; and his Syntax is a crude medley of synthesis and analysis, a mixture of two systems, without any digestible union. We have not much occasion for fresh Grammars if students only learn well what they already have. The wisdom of our ancestors perhaps has not been overrated, when we look at the empirical attempts at improvement in the present day. We have splendid outlines which want filling up, a great surface without habitations, immense credit without any capital, much pride without substance, a great deal of rolling without any gathering. Such is the character of literary merit and enterprize of the present day. It may be admitted that there is a good deal of something somewhere, if we could only find it; what we find is all borrowed. We are of opinion after all, that the Eton Latin Grammar is the best grammar that can be found, and we wish it general saccess.
ART. V.-GREAT VALUE OF THE CLOSE STUDY OF THE
CLASSICS AS A MEANS OF MENTAL DISCIPLINE, AND THE BENEFITS WHICH WOULD RESULT FROM IT TO OUR NATIONAL LITERATURE.
By Tayler Lewis, Prof. of Greek and Latin in the University of New York.
Having dwelt at some length in a previous article on the loose and defective manner of studying the classics which prevails in most parts of our country, we would gladly dismiss this part of our subject. One who discusses with freedom any prevailing fault, is in danger of acquiring a railing spirit, and even of becoming ultra in his opposition to ultraism. We may talk of the good old way until we become completely blind to every thing that is commendable in the age in which we live. There is beside, an air of dogmatism and supercilious pedantry which seems to attach itself to one who is busied solely in the work of condemnation, however well grounded his positions, or however much there may in reality be need of reform, in the department to which he directs his attention.
We would gladly avoid this spirit by indulging the cheerful hope, that in many parts of our land the state of things is not as bad as has been represented; and would altogether decline the ungracious task, were it not for the confident assurance that the public mind is to some extent conscious of the truth of the statements wbich have been made, and willing to concur in decided efforts at reform.
One who is a declared enemy to the study of the classics, and who is at the head of a theological institute of some notoriety has made statements somewhat similar to those contained in the former articles. This witness is true, for whatever purpose he may have given his testimony. We cannot however agree with him in his conclusion, that because many a professedly educated theologian has been unable to read his Greek Testament, we should therefore abandon altogether the study of classical Greek, the ouly method by which the New Testament student can be made something more than a mere consulter of lexicons, or be able to decide for himself without a continual reliance upon the labor and investigations of others. Whilst the argument is rejected as utterly illogical, the facts on which it is based may be freely admitted. Believing that classical education has substantial claims upon the public attention, and that those claims will in time be appreciated, even should it be by experience of the evils which their total neglect would occasion, we would hail the strongest representations which adversaries could make, as in reality and eventually aids to the cause.
A few thoughts more on the state of classical literature among us, and the evil consequences which flow from a defective method of study, and we dismis the unpleasant subject. The benefits which would result from an opposite course to our national literature ; which would be felt in the improvement and quickening of our decaying language, in the elevation of the standard of criticism, and above all, in the soundness of our theological views, would form the more pleasant theme of subsequent reflections.
The remarks which have previously been made need not be confined to the study of the ancient languages. The evil does not stop with them, nor does it cease when the student has once left the walls of his college. Habits thus acquired follow him through life. They cling to him during his course of professional study, and manifest their baneful effects when he is called to enter upon the discharge of professional duties. He who has never learned the pleasures of accuracy in those studies by which if properly pursued, this most important of all habits might have been effectually attained, will probably never experience them in the pursuits of subsequent life. The temptations to hurry and impatience will be still stronger, whilst in consequence of the defects in his previous course, there will be less strength of mind to resist them. An empty babble about the freedom of thought and the spirit of the age has formed the sum of all his acquisitions, and it is most likely that this spirit of thc age will be exemplified during the whole of his unthinking and unprofitable career. He who has passed with rail road speed through the precise sciences of mathematics, philology, and logic, and gathered only confused glimpses of the regions he has traversed, will not feel disposed to abate his speed, or curb his impatience in law, politics, or theology. Having progressed thus far at so little expense of thought and labor, why should he be led to suppose that his subsequent studies will not furnish as easy a conquest ? Can it be imagined that the student whose geometry leaves him almost with the signing of his degree, or who has gained so little classical knowledge that he forever closes his books after the termination of his commencement exercises, will ever have his attention chained down to the rigorous studies of law or theology ? Will these debated fields be ever fully explored by one, for whom the precision of his more early studies had acquired no charms; whose mind they have left a wilderness of confused impressions, or only stored with the pernicious seeds of self conceit, instead of the docility and modesty of well defined thought?
There is no species of knowledge so important for us, as to understand the true extent of our knowledge; to know what we know, and also (if we may adopt the singular phra
seology of the Greek philosopher) to know what we do not know ; to be able to command the resources of our own minds; to measure the real extent of our mental acquisitions, and each department and subdivision of them, with as much correctness as the careful merchant comprehends the state of his accounts, and the exact amount of all his available means. Confused knowledge stimulates but cannot guide. Science in its primary sense is the clear percep
tion of the limits and relations of ideas. Whilst their boun· daries are undefined they mingle together and beget only phantoms which are ever leading us farther and farther astray from the truth. Had the mind which is under such evil influences been happily left in ignorance, it might have safely followed the guidings of better disciplined intellects, and found its security in its docility. When injured by a loose course of education, it looses the salutary control of authority, and finds no substitute in the legitimate exercise of the reason. It is in this sense alone, we would understand the maxim of Pope, or else would utterly repudiate it. A little knowledge instead of being a dangerous thing, is a blessed acquisition, a precious boon of Heaven, if its real nature and extent are only accurately determined. Without this, its evil qualities and pernicious effects are in the direct ratio of its quantity.
We have indulged in these general remarks, because it is found that loose and inaccurate modes of studying the ancient languages, are usually connected with the same defect in almost every other branch of education. A similar discipline is proposed as the object of them all, and the same habits of study are essential to its accomplishment. Could what are styled more rapid and easy courses ensure the same amount of real knowledge, their expediency might yet be questioned. Could teachers by a sort of supernatural inspiration, transfer at once into the minds of their pupils an intimate acquaintance with the various branches of science, the propriety of exercising this high prerogative might still be doubtful. Such knowledge would be only borrowed furniture, if acquired without that transmuting process, which connects it with the native ideas or inner property of the soul ; which makes it truly our own, and gives a title to it as the hard earned acquisitions of concentrated attention and laborious study.