MAN THE SUBJECT OF EDUCATION. 63
become indurated in manhood. The imitative and reflective tendencies of childhood and youth, operating on their plastic nature, also render this a decisive period of life in the formation of character. Children mark the peculiarities of those around, and incline to copy them. They arc also as mirrors, catching reflections on every hand, and often retaining traces of the images casually thrown upon them, for the remainder of life.
I am aware that there is a great difference in the character of children as to their ductility. Some are facile in their dispositions; others are more obstinate and unyielding. But these diversities do not affect the substantial truth of the remark, that the general outhne of every man's character is formed by education, and that too within the first seventeen years of his life. It is within this period that the basis of his physical constitution is laid, the frame-work of the understanding formed, the leading features of the moral character decided. And however much these may all seem to depend upon nature, they depend much more upon influences which are brought to bear upon them at this plastic period of life.