This post is part of a series. Feel free to visit the series index for more thoughts on Charlotte Mason's 20 Principles of Classical Education.
She is referencing the familiar verse from the beginning of Hebrews 11:
Education, like faith, is the evidence of things not seen.
-Charlotte Mason, volume 6 page 39
Now faith is the substance of things hoped for; the evidence of things not seen.
This idea of close kinship between faith and education stopped me in my tracks, and I've come back a number of times to ponder over it.
Education. Evidence of things not seen. Like faith, the seed from which knowing springs. After a while, it started to make so much sense.
Faith in the Lord Jesus Christ is not something ethereal, floating loosely in the air. Faith does not fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright.
-Neal L Anderson, Faith Is Not by Chance, but by Choice
Education is also not some ethereal, loosely floating thing. Education also doesn't fall upon us by chance or stay with us by birthright. Both exercising faith and becoming educated are choices that we make, and which need to be made on an ongoing basis, or you lose the progress you have made.
Miss Mason is right: faith and education have a lot in common.
That which was born of the spirit, the idea, came first and demanded to confirm and illustrate. "How can these things be?" we ask, and the answer is not evident.-Charlotte Mason, volume 6, page 39, emphasis original
It is the unseen, the mysterious, that leads us to questions; that arouses our curiosity. Real education of genuine students -the lighting of a fire, not merely filling the mind with facts- is student-driven at any age, whether the quest is to an adult's quest to know the intricacies of the immune system, or a child's drive to know what makes the sky blue, why the geese fly in formation, and how the doorknob works.
"We do not teach the principle of faith [or education] merely for what it will do for one in the next world. We believe that there is real practical value in mental concepts which increase one's self-respect and effectiveness here and now. To believe that there is an all-wise Father in charge of the universe and that we are related to him, that we are in fact children of God with the "hallmark" of divinity upon us, is to live in a different world from those who believe that man is a mere animal concerned only with requirements for creature existence, which must end at death. Because of low aim, the lives of such people lack trajectory and vision and fall short of their spiritual capacity."
-Hugh B. Brown, October 1969