The king’s majesty is so brought up in knowledge, virtue, and godliness, that it is not to be mistrusted but that we shall have all things well, and that the glory of God shall be spread abroad throughout all parts of the realm, if the prelates will diligently apply their plough, and be preachers rather than lords.
My first design was, to offer a few plain thoughts to the Clergy of our own Church only. But upon farther reflection, I see no cause for being so “straitened in my own bowels.” I am a debtor to all; and therefore, though I primarily speak to them with whom I am more immediately connected, yet I would not be understood to exclude any, of whatsoever denomination, whom God has called to “watch over the souls of others, as they that must give account.”
There is also the danger that education — which indeed comes under the influence of politics — will take upon itself the reformation and direction of culture, instead of keeping to its place as one of the activities through which a culture realises itself. Culture cannot altogether be brought to consciousness and the culture of which we are wholly conscious is never the whole of culture: the effective culture is that which is directing the activities of those who are manipulating that which they call culture.
This is the fundamental fact of our time, from which reason must be redeemed: the incomprehensibility of reason and knowledge in naturalistic terms. Reason and knowledge are not to be found in the sense-perceptible world. It’s just that simple. If you have to understand everything in terms of the sense-perceptible world, reason and knowledge are gone.
Neither conversion nor enlistment in the army is really going to obliterate our human life. Christians and solders are still men: the infidel’s idea of a religious life, and the civilian’s idea of active service, are fantastic. If you attempted, in either case, to suspend your whole intellectual and aesthetic activity, you would only succeed in substituting a worse cultural life for a better. You are not, in fact, going to read nothing, either in the Church or in the line: if you don’t read good books you will read bad ones. If you don’t go on thinking rationally, you will think irrationally. If you reject aesthetic satisfactions you will fall into sensual satisfactions.
I want to inquire whether, amid all the multitudinous subjects which figure in the syllabuses, we are really teaching the right things in the right way; and whether, by teaching fewer things, differently, we might not succeed in “shedding the load” (as the fashionable phrase goes) and, at the same time, producing a better result.