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ter means of accomplishing our task, than outwardly, for the means of raising our condition. We should feel that there is a purpose in all things; and, therefore, also in that very exemption from arduous duties, or public exertions, which leaves us leisure for stricter self-improvement, for higher moral or intellectual attainments; we should learn to feel as the great poet felt in his cruel deprivation,

“God doth not need
Either man's works or his own gifts; who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best: his state
Is kingly; thousands at his bidding speed,
And post o'er land and ocean without rest;
They also serve who only stand and wait.” *

Milton's Sonnet on his Blindness.

CHAPTER V.

THE SEARCH

LOVE OF TRUTH, AND USE OF REASON IN

AFTER TRUTH.

SECT. I. - VALUE OF TRUTH.

" Truth," says Lord Bacon," which only doth judge itself, teacheth, that the inquiry of truth which is the love-making or wooing of it, the knowledge of truth which is the presence of it, and the belief of truth which is the enjoyment of it, is the sovereign good of human nature.” * This, then, is the end which the mind should propose to itself in every attempt to attain knowledge, or form opinion; and the constant regard to this end will alone keep reason steady in its search, and

preserve judgment from the false bias of prejudice or passion. By the love of truth, we mean far more than mere veracity or integrity, although it necessarily includes both. These are modes of action which may proceed from various motives, such as the fear of punishment, the force of early associations, or the desire of a good name; but the love of truth is a principle of action, leading not only to those moral habits of veracity and integrity already mentioned, but to mental habits no less important. Nor is it to be confounded with the desire to reach the truth in any one branch of knowledge. The naturalist, for instance, is undoubtedly animated by this desire in his own field of inquiry, yet he is not, for that reason, more impartial in his judgments, or more strictly honest in his dealings, than other men. But the

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love of truth embraces the whole circle of action, mental and moral. When acting on the intellect, it produces the love of knowledge ; when acting on the conscience, it instils the love of moral beauty and purity, annihilates prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and, by inspiring hatred of falsehood and artifice, leads to the opposite virtues of sincerity, candor, and singleness of mind. Justice may be considered as the result of its united action on the intellect and the conscience, for we cannot be just without the impartial exercise of reason to ascertain facts, and the moral integrity to decide, unbiased by any interests but those of truth.

In this comprehensive form, love of truth is the rarest, as it is the noblest, of human qualities. But it is not uncommon to find it partially developed either in its moral or mental influ

Truth, as a subject of knowledge, is often loved and sought, where its moral effects are unfelt or disregarded ; and, again, honesty and sincerity may be found united with utter indifference to intellectual truth, and with consequent bigotry, prejudice, and narrowness of mind. In the first case, the love of truth acts only on the reason; in the second, only on the conscience; but it must act equally on both, to produce its full results on the moral and intellectual character.

The necessity of truth in the ordinary intercourse between man and•man is too obvious to be insisted on. The high esteem shown to veracity and honesty sufficiently proves it, and a little reflection on the innumerable cases in every-day life in which we are obliged to act upon the statements of others, and to rely upon their fidelity, will convince us that without those qualities society could not go on. They have, accordingly, drawn to themselves the greatest share of esteem, more especially in commercial countries. Where the most opprobrious terms which can be addressed to a man are those of thief and liar,

feel sure that veracity and honesty will generally pre. vail in the community, and if not always practised, their appearance, at least, will be assumed as indispensable by every person pretending to respectability. They are the first duties impressed upon children, and are diligently inculcated wherever any principles are inculcated at all. Nor is the voice within wanting to give its sanction to the judgment of society, and the conscious blush of the child, who can scarcely lisp the falsehood prompted by fear, proclaims more eloquently than any argument that regard for truth is part of the moral law written on our hearts.

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The value of truth, as the ground of knowledge and opinion, is neither so obvious nor so well acknowledged. Few, indeed, are bold enough to assert in express terms that truth and error are indifferent, or that truth is not infinitely preferable to error; but if we look to practice, we find a real indifference to truth as an object in itself, which proves that belief in its advantages is less universally felt than professed. Amongst the multitudes who read books, maintain opinions, and profess a creed, how many are there who, convinced of the supreme value of truth, have made it the first object in every inquiry, have sought for it earnestly and dispassionately, and have grounded their opinions and principles on the conclusions they have arrived at, maintaining them no further than those conclusions fairly warrant ?

Can it be doubted, on the contrary, that, as Lord Bacon says, “ If there were taken out of men's minds vain opinions, flattering hopes, false valuations, and the like, it would leave the minds of most men poor, shrunken things, full of melancholy and indisposition, and unpleasing to themselves?”

The love of truth, which places its possessor in unavoidable opposition to the prejudice, party spirit, and unreasoning passions of other men, must, of course, be less popular than the simple veracity and fair dealing, of which the necessity is felt by all. The man who prefers truth to party will generally be sét down as a mere theorist (a grave accusation in this practical country), and incur the suspicion and dislike of all who differ from him. The woman who ventures to protest by word or deed against any of the conventional falsehoods which society has sanctioned, becomes at once the object of ridicule and malice, and finds that love of truth is the most dangerous of virtues in a world which only punishes lies as Sparta punished thefts, for the clumsiness which allowed their detection.

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Again : free inquiry into the truth of received opinions, and the determination to test and judge them solely on the evidence adduced for them, will always be an offence in the eyes of the large majority, who take their opinions and their creed on trust, and both dread and resent any doubt cast on the infallibility of either, as an attack on the authority on which rests their whole system of belief and action. Hence, whilst in every charityschool veracity and honesty are taught as the groundwork of morals, there is seldom any attempt made, even in the most careful education, to inspire the love of truth, whence both would naturally proceed, as effects from their cause.

Whilst this is the general state of things, we can scarcely press too earnestly on those who are beginning the task of supplying the deficiencies of their early education, the motives which should urge us to seek truth, and the reasons for regarding it as the only safe foundation of opinion, judgment, and, consequently, of practice.

In the first place, truth alone is real, and therefore to know the truth is alone real knowledge.* It is, indeed, an error in language to give the name of knowledge to that which is not true. We may suppose, imagine, or believe what is false ; but we cannot know it, for it has no existence. As Lord Bacon expresses it,

“ The truth of being and the truth of knowing are one, differing no more than the direct beam and the beam reflected.” Error is, therefore, but another name for ignorance ;

It may be useful to point out here the difference between knowledge and learning. The latter means acquaintance with books, with what has been written or said upon one or more subjects. The former is acquaintance with facts, principles, or general laws. It is acquaintance with what is, not only with what has been said to be. Learning can only be acquired from books or conversation. Knowledge is attainable, according to its degree, by the exercise of our own observation, reasoning, and judgment on the facts (of whatever kind) which present themselves to us. We may, for instance, be very learned concerning the mythologies of various nations, but we can have no knowledge relating to Jupiter, Osiris, or Odin, except that such and such nations held certain opinions concerning them. This is a true fact, and as such we know it. From this definition the proposition in the text follows as a necessary consequence.

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