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This is that which I think great readers are apt to be mistaken in; those who have read of everything, are thought to understand everything too; but it is not always so. Reading furnishes the mind only with materials of knowledge; it is thinking that makes what we read ours. We are of the ruminating kind, and it is not enough to cram ourselves with a great load of collections ; unless we chew them over again, they will not give us strength and nourishment.
We want the spirit of America to be efficient; we want American character to be efficient; we want American character to display itself in what I may, perhaps, be allowed to call spiritual efficiency—clear, disinterested thinking and fearless action along the right lines of thought. America is not anything if it consists of each of us. It is something only if it consists of all of us; and it can consist of all of us only as our spirits are banded together in a common enterprise.
The more a man thinks the better adapted he becomes to thinking, and education is nothing if it is not the methodical creation of the habit of thinking. Precisely. Theoretically, education is a mental training aiming at greater intellectual elasticity, but the question is whether education does not often strain, instead of train, a mind.