Изображения страниц
PDF
EPUB

to say something which gave him And the brief holiday thus snatched pain, and said, “That is the faith of from the dust and toil of life, from half the Christian world. You

have studies, and cares, and political anxiebeen telling me lately that the ties, he exhorts him to devote to people who profess to believe the

mirth and friendship. 'Heaven, he Bible don't seem to be on the

adds, whole much the better for it; so I

Disapproves that care, though wise in

show, brought you this book, just that That with superfluous burdens loads the you might see what it is they do

day,

And when God sends a cheerful hour, believe, and why they are not the

refrains.' better for it."

He does not tell his friend that he He added that his reason for

is to neglect the duties of a scholar, being so desirous to do something for that seems to have been the special for the advance of the science of vocation of the man, and of a patriot. logic was that, if it were in a But he reminds him that there is a right state, every one would be time for other things than these-a able to see that the historical evi- time for those delights which have been dence for the truth of the Bible is annexed to the companionship of our worth nothing; and then people bility of feeling which makes man pre

fellow-creatures-delights the capawould be driven to choose between

eminently a social being. having faith in God, and having The words of our great poet admit no religion at all.

of a wider application than was directly Before proceeding further with intended for them. The labours and these notes on home thoughts, I cares of life must, perhaps always, may, quote a few passages from engross our chief attention. And there published expressions of my hus

may be times which add to this band's, relative to science on the ordinary weight of care a special

burden of their own. Milton's friend popular plane, bearing in mind

lived in such times, and we, it seems what was said by a notable thinker to the editor of a periodical a

not unlikely, are entering upon a

similar period. To the increased presdozen years ago, respecting the ex- sure upon the means of life are now ponent of the Laws of Thought:” added anxious solicitudes about our "He would be a bold, even a rash country, the interests of liberty in man, who should venture to invite Europe, readers of serials to' peruse in And what the Swede intends, and what abstract the deep issues of B's

the French. intellect.” Imay sketch incidentally

Cast down by such thoughts, we may some of his results in logic and

need to be reminded that when we mathematics, but as these papers vide, as members of families, for the

have done all that we can do to proare mainly on thought in private interests of those dependent upon us, life, it may be appropriate to give as citizens, for the honour and welfare my husband's notions with regard of the State, one business of life yet to the Social Aspects of Intellec- remains, and that is, 'to live.' I tual Culture":

include under this term the cultiva“Milton, in one of the most beauti

tion of our faculties and of our being, ful of his sonnets, addressed to his the delights of human fellowship, the friend, Cyriack Skinner, commends the

innocent enjoyment of those good cheerful wisdom of refreshing the over

things which have been provided for wrought mind and the anxious heart by

us in the works of nature and of art. social intercourse. 'Let Euclid rest,'

I would begin by asking you what

we mean when we speak of the human 'Let Euclid rest. and Archimedes pause,

Is it merely so many men and And what the Swede intends, and what women, isolated units of humanity ; the French

some dwelling in this quarter of the

he says,

race.

one

globe, and some in that; some enjoy- theme proper to be discussed upon ing their brief tenure of existence the present occasion,-. remark under one of the great planetary that one eminent instance of that cycles, and some under another? connexion and dependence to which You may have stood on a summer's I have referred, is to be seen in day by some placid lake, and observed, the progression of the arts and as a light breeze swept by, raising its sciences. Each generation as it passes surface into ripples, how, in obedience away bequeaths to its successor not to a physical law, each wavelet pursues only its material works in stone and its own course without interfering marble, in brass and iron, but also with, or in any way influencing the the truths which it has won, and the others. You may, in particular, have ideas which it has learned to conceive; noticed how, when reflected back from its art, literature, science, and, to the shore, they cross and override some extent, its spirit and morality. those which they meet, but still with- This perpetual transmission of the out mutual disturbance, until they light of knowledge and civilisation has are finally lost and no trace of them been compared to those torch races of is left. Now, can this be taken as a antiquity in which a lighted brand was just emblem of human life? Are we transmitted from

runner to who are assembled here, and all who another until it reached the final goal. in past ages have felt the joys and Thus it has been said do generations sorrows of humanity, but mimic succeed each other, borrowing and billows upon the sea of time which conveying light, receiving the prinfollow in perfect independence their ciples of knowledge, testing their several tracks, and then dying away truth, enlarging their application, leave its surface as if they had never adding to their number, and then been? I suppose you

will
agree

that transmitting them forward to coming this would not be a true picture of

generationsour state and condition here. You Et quasi cursores vitai lampada tradunt. will be conscious of the existence of Now, this connexion between intelbonds by which each age and each lectual discovery and the progressive country stand connected with all

history of our race, gives to every others. You will feel that there is stage of the former a deep human such a thing as humanity. I would interest. Each

revelation, beg most distinctly to say that I do whether of the laws of the physical not use this term in a sense in which universe, of the principles of art, or it has sometimes been employed of of the great truths of morals and of late, and which seems designed to politics, is a step not only in the proimply that there is nothing higher and gress of knowledge, but also in the greater than the collective race of history of our species. Could we

Perhaps it is in the thought trace back our intellectual pedigree, that there does exist an Intelligence if you will permit me to use such an and Will superior to our own,-that expression, we should find ourselves the evolutions of the destinies of our connected by that noblest of all lines species are not solely the product either of descent, with every nation and of human waywardness or of human kindred of men that has occupied a wisdom ; perhaps, I say, it is in this place in history, and with many others, thought that the conception of of whose names and deeds no record humanity attains its truest dignity. survives. We should see the pictureWhen, therefore, I use this term, I writing, most probably, of some forwould be understood to mean by it gotten Asiatic tribe, passing through the human race, viewed in that successive stages, analogous to those mutual connexion and dependence which are still preserved in the monuwhich has been established, as I firmly ments of Egypt, until among the believe, for the accomplishment of a Phoenician people it gave birth to our purpose of the Divine Mind. And

present system of letters. We should having said this, rather with a view to behold the first principles of our prevent any possible misconception, science, and much more than the first than because I think such

principles of our literature and philo

new

man.

a

sophy, emerging into light among ages seem destined to accomplish, a task those isles of Greece which seem to of the highest importance, but which have been the chosen home of freedom it would be a fatal error to regard as and of genius in the ancient world. an end, and not as a means ; it is the To the same source we should trace extension of man's dominion over the back whatever is most refined in the material world. I will not attempt to art of the sculptor, and no small por- examine here the various aspects of tion of the science of the architect. that much-disputed question, why so To the Romans, above all others, we subtle and inquisitive a people as the should find ourselves indebted for the Greeks made no advance in physical principles of government and law. science? It has been said that it is Theirs was even less the genius of because they did not possess a proper conquest than of empire and rule ; and method. But the difficulty is thus the system of jurisprudence which thrown back and not solved—for the they have left is still

, in the opinion question immediately arises : Why of some, their noblest monument. did they not possess a proper method? To the Arabians we owe our numerals, The principles of that method are so and through this the science of obvious as to be almost axiomatic, and arithmetic. And beside these more in other departments of speculation distinct portions of the inheritance they were understood and applied by which has been transmitted to us from some of the great thinkers of antiquity. ages past, and of which the enumera- I suppose that we must conclude, with tion is far from being complete, how an eminent writer on the history of many customs, thoughts, and opinions, the inductive sciences, that the time how many silent influences for good for this development was not come, or for evil, do we not unconsciously that there were other problems to be owe ! As respects the larger and solved first, more intimately connected more definite accessions to which I with 'human freedom and happiness. have referred, it would almost seem as In confirmation, however, of the fact if the law of human progression were that the extension of human sway this--that to different sections of the over the material world is an actual, one great family of man, different whether or not it is a special, business measures of special capacity were of these times, we have only to conassigned, so that each, while fulfilling sider what is going on around us. its own destiny, should also add to the There exists yet another and not less common stock of intellectual wealth. important view of the nature of those I conceive the Greek art to be an elements which constitute civilisation. eminent illustration of this principle. It is that the progress of knowledge though others, scarcely less signal, and the arts not only forms a bond might be adduced. Thus, it has been which connects the different generadoubted whether we could, in the tions of men together by interests and present day, originate that union of feelings wider than those which are wildness and romantic beauty, of merely national ; it serves also as a grotesqueness and grandeur, which progressive manifestation of the nature constitutes the predominant character of man,-it makes us acquainted with of Gothic architecture. I can well the hidden capacities of our being. I conceive that it was only from a cer- remember the profound interest with tain order of mind, the ground of which I read, some years ago, a treatise whose character was formed amid the by a German writer, written with that pine forests of the north, and whose fulness of learning which the Germans later stamp was received from the alone possess, and also with that ripestately but decaying monuments of ness of judgment which they do not Imperial Rome, that such a product always display, intended to trace the could have arisen. But, having come development among the ancient Greeks into being, it remains, through its of the idea of the chief good of man. works and its conceptions, the parent of The author shewed how that idea was solemn thoughts to all succeeding associated among the earlier writers, as times. There is, I need not remind Homer, almost exclusively with the you, one special task which these later possession of physical qualifications,

largeness of stature, strength of limb, should but for that divine art be swiftness of foot, or with such intel- wholly unconscious, and of whose lectual endowments as we should now possible limits we are still ignorant ! term cleverness, and perhaps cunning. It is not in the instrument, nor in the He shewed how at a later period it was pulses of the air, nor in the mechanism connected with wealth and longevity, of the human ear, that the harmony with the glory of ancestry, the exercise resides, but in ourselves. In the of a large and bountiful hospitality, the mysterious depths of the human spirit esteem of men. This is the form which those faculties have their abode, for it chiefly assumes in the writings of whose calling forth all these external Pindar. Then he traced the idea movements are but a preparation. through the Gnomic poets, under the And the science of the organ-builder form of prudence, self-respect, rever- and the skill of the musician consist ence for law and established religion, in this, that they understand, practiuntil in the conversations of Socrates cally at least, some part of that conit rises to the full measure of the con- nexion which has been established ception of moral good. Now, this between mental and material things by picture, though drawn from a source Him who is both the maker of the lying a little out of the general line of universe, and the author of our spirits. illustration, which I have adopted, I might take up the remaining will serve to explain the position I branch of the argument, and shew that wish to establish. We are not to sup- the researches of the antiquary and the pose that there was any moral faculty scholar possess, when rightly pursued, in Socrates, disputing among his friends the same kind of claim to our regard about the true ends of life, which did as the labours of the artist and the man not also exist, only in a less developed of science. Undoubtedly there exists degree, in the heroes of the Niad fight- a great deal of trifling curiosity about ing before Troy, and the youth of things of no moment, and many a vain Greece contending in the Pythian attempt has been made to reconstruct Games. But this is the lesson which a living form out of those dry bones of I wish to draw : that it is not in the antiquity from which the breath of life rude and ignorant, or in the savage

has fled for ever. In these pursuits, and feral state of man, that we can see as in all others, but in these more what human nature is. Its inferior eminently, there is need of a controlelements predominate there, and all its ling principle. Things are not valuable nobler and more characteristic qualities because they are old

and rare ; but the remain hidden. It is the slow but interest which gathers about the relics combined action of the social state of bygone ages is then only legitimate which brings out the germs that would when it flows from a deeper source otherwise lie buried beneath a stony even from the sense of the fellowship and a wintry soil. Science, while it is of humanity.” thus a revelation of the laws of the He used often to say that men material universe, is also a manifestation of the intellectual nature of man.

have no right to expect to be able So too all those arts which depend

to judge of what is true doctrine, upon the preception of proportion,

till they have made their brains whether it be in forms or in sounds,

clear by some generations of obare at least as dependent upon the servance of known moral and existence of certain faculties of our sanitary laws. This is a scientific nature, which faculties they make version of a saying that will proknown to us, as upon any relations of bably occur to most of us— * If external things. What a world of

anyone desire to do God's will, he sweet and solemn emotions, for in

will know concerning doctrine." stance, does not music awaken within us, a world of whose existence we

CURRENT LITERATURE.

Schola Academicæ : Some Ac- cat-like tenacity of life of ancient count of the Studies at the English forms. Universities in the 18th Century. Every undergraduate, every By Christopher Wordsworth, M.A., public school-boy would do well to &c., &c. Cambridge University cut open these pages—which he Press. 1877.

could not find uninteresting-in This work follows the modern order to realise what advantages historical method ; it is not an he is possessed of at the present argumentative romance with a few day. facts let in where they support a Perhaps, however, to the fashionfavourite view, but a careful ex- able and precocious academic humation of dead records; which youth of the period, it would be too are made to bring before us a live terrible to learn that not very long past, by being placed in due con- ago undergraduates wore round nection by a man who understands caps and passed under the them and loves his subject.

name of "lads'!

We must reIt may not be generally appre- peat the ancient pun

on the ciated how far national history is introduction of the trencher':now becoming modified to the Have you squared the circle, sir ? same plan. Instead of the old No, but (pointing to his battered hearsay evidence and a strong bias cap, used oft as a missile) quadratum of the historian, we have the care- circulari. fully gathered evidence of actual The etymologists and dictionaryrecords, not compiled statisticallymakers should revise their derivabut brought to life by the investi- tions of the word to “huddle." It gator's faculty and appreciation. seems pretty plain that it comes

Working in limited fields, more- from the busy crowding process over, this method of history is so of “ hoodling” for a degree, when true, that, however special the each man's bed-maker adjusted study, it is made to afford side- the rabbit's-fur hood of his gown lights upon the largest and most over his head, preparatory to the general life.

formalities of admission of the In the work before us, which is candidates through their “exerstrictly what it professes to be, cises” to the degree. an account of university studies, It is interesting to learn of the we obtain authentic information time when Cambridge, which now upon the course and changes of is not content to be considered as philosophical thought in this coun- exclusively the mathematical unitry, upon the general estimation versity, was not mathematical at of letters, upon the relations of all.” This was not two and a half doctrine and science, upon

the centuries ago.

We are told : range and thoroughness of educa- “ Wallis, who was at Emmanuel tion, and we may add, upon the at that time, says that mathematics

« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »