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THERE is an idea regarding the nature of man which
modern philosophy has sought, and is still seeking, to raise
into clearness, the idea, namely, of secular growth. Man
is not a thing of yesterday; nor do I imagine that the
slightest controversial tinge is imported into this address
when I say that he is not a thing of 6,000 years ago.
Whether he came originally from stocks or stones, from
nebulous gas or solar fire, I know not; if he had any such
origin the process of his transformation is as inscrutable to
you and to me as that of the grand old legend, according
to which “the Lord God formed man of the dust of the
ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life;
and man became a living soul.” But, however obscure
man’s origin may be, his growth is not to be denied. Here
a little and there a little added through the ages have
slowly transformed him from what he was into what he is.
The doctrine has been held that the mind of the child is like
a sheet of white paper, on which by education we can write
what characters we please. This doctrine assuredly needs
qualification and correction. In physics, when an external
force is applied to a body with a View of affecting its inner
texture, if we wish to predict the result, we must know
whether the external force conspires with or Opposes the
internal forces of the body itself; and in bringing the influ-
ence of education to bear upon the new-born man his inner


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