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Rum-Drinker Caught, A...
Outlines of History; Bertha and Lily; Shadow Buff-A Game.
Compendium of Phonography; Na- School-Room, The Old. (Poetry.) By A.
Music-Mind makes the Man. By E. C.
"STUDENT'S" Greeting, The-From Hill-
Water we Drink, The. By J. F. W. JOIN-
the Barrel ; Curious Statistics ; Origin
STON, M. A.
of Word Attorney ; Carthaginian
..69, 70, 71
Musical Taste in China; Number of
swers to Puzzle and Enigma.....106, 107 Be Tidy, 80; Good Nature, 44; Ap-
plication of Mind, 55; Goodness of
Heart, 58; Oome when the Birds Sing,
62; Respect the Old, 66: What we do
with the Hand, 81; Thoughts, 86;
Bad Pergons Shun, 97; How to get
Wisdom, 101; Age of the World, 186;
Real Manners, 147; Parasites, 150;
Evil Company like Tobacco Smoke,
.176, 177, 178 151 ; English Language, 162; Tread
of the Camel, 154; Small Talk, 156;
row : Sophistic Logic; Transposition;
Education, 184; Don't be Idle, 198;
Mathematical ; Lady; Morse's Tele-
Satire and Satirists, 202; Effects of
211 Vices and Follies, 206.
FEW WORDS INTRODUCTORY.
propriate that we should say a few words relative to our enterprise, its past and present, its plans and aims. For this purpose, kind reader, we now solicit your attention.
Eight years ago the first steps were taken toward publishing THE STUDENT—a family and educational periodical-designed to be a colaborer with all upon whom devolves the training of the young for the duties and usefulness of life. Its plans combine something to please the tyro in reading, instruction rendered attractive to youth, and that adapted to those of riper years. Its earnest aims are to awaken a more universal and active desire for self-improvement in all that will make true men or true women.
Among its plans is its design as a reader for schools. By its monthly arrival it takes advantage of that awakening ardor always manifested on the part of children on the introduction of a new book into their class, and thus it enkindles in them a love for reading; that once established, they possess the key to knowledge. In its reading lessons, thoughts and subjects are presented which readily suggest the relation between schooleducation and the every-day scenes and realities of active life. At first this idea of a monthly reader was new, but it readily gained the approbation of those who tried it, and now the teachers and pupils of a hundred schools hail the arrival of THE STUDENT with enthusiastic delight; yet we trust that its mission in the school-room has but just commenced. Awaken a child's ambition, and implant in its mind a taste for literature, and more is gained than by years of school-room drudgery, where the heart works not in unison with the head.
As a Family Miscellany, THE STUDENT has grown into public favor, until it now numbers among its friends and readers more than ten thousand. Since its commencement several changes have been made, but in them all, our aim has been improvement, and the better adaptation which
VOL. IX.-NO. 1.-MAY, 1854.
CHARACTER, AND ITS FOUNDATION.
time and experience suggested for the accomplishment of the ultimate object. With the present number the work appears in a new form, and with thirty-six octavo pages, instead of thirty-two, as heretofore. Besides, it is now printed on new type, with the best of illustrations, and on fine paper. Whatever merits it possessed in the character of its reading during its past existence, we shall endeavor to retain, and change this feature only by adding such as we trust will improve its usefulness, and make it more acceptable to its patrons.
Having said thus much of THE STUDENT, of its past success and its aims, we now leave its pages to speak for themselves in regard to its promises for the future. Accepting the many wishes already freely offered for its prosperity and success in its worthy cause, we commend it to the kind encouragement and patronage of all who earnestly desire to aid in guiding the rising generation in the paths of virtue, knowledge, usefulness, and honor, and of increasing happiness in the family circle.
CHARACTER, AND ITS FOUNDATION.*
BY J. A. JAMES.
T is recorded of Francis I. of France, that, after his disastrous
defeat in the battle of Pavia, by the Emperor Charles V. of Germany, he announced the catastrophe to his mother in the following terse and magnanimous manner: "Every thing is lost but my honor.” It was a saying worthy of a greater and a better man. Similar to this has been the reflection and expression of others amid the calamities of human life: of men who, sitting down amid the ruins of their fortunes, their prospects, and their hopes, have wiped away their tears, and who, nobly rising in the consciousness of integrity above their misfortunes, have said, "I have lost every thing but my character;" and with that consciousness, such men are less, far less to be pitied than they who have risen to wealth upon the ruins of their reputation.
No man can be said to be in abject penury who is rich in whatsoever things are lovely and of good report ; while, on the other hand, neither wealth, nor learning, nor science can dignify a man without character. This is the best capital with which to begin life; it affords the most reasonable hope of success in passing through it, and will yield the sweetest reflections at the close of it.
* Extract from a lecture delivered in Birmingham, England, to an audience of about 4,000, the majority of whom were young men.
CHARACTER, AND ITS FOUNDATION.
If it were granted you at your own expense, and under your own directions, to lay the foundations and to raise the walls of some magnificent structure, which should attract the admiration of the world, defy the assaults of time, and hand down your name to future ages, what an object of ambition would thus be placed within your reach! But how much nobler in itself, how much more valuable to you, and how much more enduring, is that which is actually proposed to you by the will of God, in the foundation and construction of your own character!
By character we mean the prevailing and habitual qualities or dispositions of the mind, which express themselves in appropriate conduct, and distinguish their possessor from other men.
A mere occasional act, however splendid an instance of good conduct it may be, does not constitute character, even though it should be repeated occasionally at long intervals. A miser, for instance, may, under some very peculiar circumstances, be induced to perform an act of even munificent liberality, but it is not his character to be liberal.
Acts are sometimes done by men so unlike their prevailing disposition, that we are astonished at them, as phenomena which exceedingly perplex us when we make inquiry into their cause. Even good men, under the power of temptation, occasionally do things which are very unlike themselves, and contrary to their character; which, however, still survives the shock of these aberrations. A fitful virtue is of little value, and yet it is all that some men have. Their minds seem to be ever in an intermittent fever, in which their cold and hot fits are in constant alternation.
Its foundation.—This word is suggestive : the foundation of a building is laid in the earth. How much labor is bestowed in digging and throwing out the soil, and getting a trench ready to receive the materials which are to compose the fabric! How much material is lodged out of sight that is totally forgotten by the ignorant observers of the structure! Who, for instance, in passing St. Paul's Cathedral, and admiring its lofty dome and gilded cross, dreams of the masses of stone on which the whole rests, and without which the building must soon have been a heap of ruins ? Yet there is the foundation, vast and deep, though buried, hidden, and nearly forgotten.
So it must be with character. The foundation must be laid in the mind, and heart, and conscience, and memory. There must be a digging into the soul ; a throwing out of much that is in the way
CHARACTER, AND ITS FOUNDATION.
of what must be introduced ; a making room for much material to be laid there; and a careful and laborious deposit of a suitable substratum. Something strong, broad, firm, must be buried and hidden in the soul. A lofty superstructure of character can no more be raised, which shall stand and be permanent, without this, than a towering building can be a permanent one, that is erected upon the surface of the ground, and not beneath it.
The soul, not in its intellectual aspect and capacity merely, but in its moral and immortal one ; the soul, with its affections, passions, and propensities; the soul, the seat of will and conscience; the soul, as the ground in which the basis of character is laid, must be a subject of serious consideration. Many men carry about their minds with less solicitude than they do their watches, knowing and caring almost as little of the faculties and power of the one as they do of the mechanism of the other. This must not be with those who would form a good character.
Of what materials, then, must the foundation of character be formed ? What is the mighty granite which must be deposited for a character that is to stand for eternity ? Science ? Literature ? The Arts ? No. These may do for the intellectual, but not for the moral character. It is principle, moral principle, that must form the basis of this mighty foundation. Moral character can not rest on astronomy, geology, chemistry, electricity, magnetism. These things are admirable, useful, noble, sublime ; but they can no more do for the basis of character, than jewelry, or diamonds, or the telescope, or the galvanic battery, or the magnet would do for the foundation of a pyramid or a temple. By principle, I mean not opinions only, but convictions ; not speculative theories on morals, but practical conclusions ; not sentiments floating in the judgment, but rooted in the heart. To attempt to form a character without established principles, is like erecting a building without a foundation.
In the construction of character there are decorations to be studied and acquired. To advert again to the construction of a building, it may be made of substantial materials, and may have many good rooms,
answer well enough the purpose of a habitation, but all the while it may have a barn-like appearance. There are none of the tasteful ornaments of architecture about it: no Ionic grace ; no Corinthian elegance; nor even Doric chasteness. Or, to refer to the human form, there may be symmetry, strength, even beauty, but the bearing may be low and vulgar, the manner repulsive, and the address unprepossessing. Is it not sometimes thus with character ?