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46
FIRESIDE EDUCATION.
its libraries filled with exhaustless lore, its mer­chandise gathered from every quarter of the globe, its ships, Avhich are taught to tread fear­lessly the paths of the deep ! Make this com­parison of the city of the beaver with the city of man, and you measure the distance between animal and human nature, between the force of instinct and the power of education !
We must observe, too. that while instinct marks the animal races as limited in their capa­city, it also marks them as limited in their duration; and that while education opens to man a boundless field of improvement, it shows that he is destined for an endless existence. God has assigned to every species of the animal creation a boundary beyond which they cannot pass. To them, there is no onward progress. They reach, not by gradual development, but at once, and without the aid of instruction, the perfection of their being. To this point nature says they may go, but no farther. Here shall their existence be stayed. No longing hopes, no yearning anticipations for something beyond, are kindled in the breast, Death is not to them a curtain, which may be lifted, and behind which they desire to look. It is an impenetra­ble veil, which stops their view, and forever intercepts their progress.
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