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can any thing be more fitted for the necessities of beings placed
as we are, in a state of trial where our chief business is to learn
to rise above the influences that most sensibly affect us, to labor
diligently among earthly things, yet to keep our spirit's home
in a calmer and loftier region?

It is, then, sad to see, even in these times, which may be so
justly proud of the progress of science, and of having made
truths unknown to the wisest of past generations familiar to
our very children, how little there is among us of this pure love
of knowledge. This remark may at first sight appear paradox-
ical, but a closer examination will prove its truth. For it is not
enough to say that knowledge is widely spread and eagerly
sought, without inquiring into the motives of the search. Wor-
ship at this, as at every other shrine, may proceed from motives
far enough removed from the deep reverence of the heart, al-
though the outer aspect is the same; and our whole question is
with motives. It is not whether there is knowledge, but whether
there is real love of knowledge; not whether it is valued for
such or such reasons, but whether it is treasured for its own
sake. Bearing this in mind, our proposition is stripped of its
seeming paradox. Goethe has said, in speaking of knowledge,
"To one man she is a great, a divine goddess; to another, a
useful cow, that supplies him with butter."* The thought is
quaintly expressed; the distinction is the same that we are in-
sisting on.

The greater worldly triumph of knowledge in modern times
has perhaps itself contributed to produce the result we deplore.
In other days she had her habitation in a solemn temple, and
a few honored men alone served as ministers at the altar, with
no other worldly hope than that of occupying, after death, a
niche in the sanctuary. Now the temple has been thrown open,
the divinity has descended from her shrine, and walks abroad in
our streets and market-places; and irreverent men, ceasing to
view her as a mysterious power, seek her aid only when it can
lighten their daily tasks, or add to their daily gains. The awe

* Einem ist sie die hohe, die himmlische Göttinn; dem Andern
Eine tüchtige Kuh, die ihm mit Butter versorgt.

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in which she was shrouded being dispelled, her sacred volume ceased to be a gospel, and became a hand-book for mechanics. It is not, then, that knowledge is less valued in these days, or less eagerly sought, but that the search is in a different spirit; and it is that holier love which has thus waxed cold, that we deem it so important to see rekindled.

It may be answered, that men are not wanting even now, who study for the mere love of knowledge, although, the fruit of their labor being better appreciated, they are saved from the trials and hardships their predecessors endured in ruder times; and, moreover, that when so much more knowledge is absolutely necessary to men for their daily avocations, it has naturally spread among a numerous class, who cannot be expected to entertain the high motives of the philosopher. These objec tions are in great measure true; but it is the average tone of the refined and cultivated minds in any society which influences the tone of the mass in these respects, by influencing literature and education. If, then, our accusation be a just one, the blame rests with them, not with the vulgar herd.

Should further proof be required of its justice, let us consider what are the studies most zealously prosecuted among us, and what are those which have fallen into disuse, almost into contempt. We find the first class to comprise all that tend to increase the physical well-being of man, - the material part of civilization; while inquiries relating to our moral and intellect. ual being are numbered among the latter. Surely, then, if whatever has a direct practical object of gain or advancement is prosecuted with untiring ardor and unexampled success, while questions of the highest import, touching man's deepest interests, are neglected, it is but fair to infer that the advancement or the gain, not the intrinsic value of the study, or real love for it, prompt the zeal. It is not the value of physical science that we question here, nor the fact, that to many minds of a high order it is far more attractive than moral or metaphysical speculation; but it is the almost universality of the preference which reveals the cause; and the cry of Cui bono? of which

*

Sir J. Herschel so bitterly complains, pursues the natural philosopher no less than the metaphysician, the moment he forsakes the path that leads to present utility and profit.

The whole tone of our literature in the present day corroborates the same fact. Every thing that is imaginative or speculative, whatever takes that wide view of a subject which rises above particulars, is scorned or neglected; and thence it follows that, except in science, no progress is made, and nothing original or really great is produced; and thence, also, that the nation at large is in danger of believing that the improvement of a steam-engine, or the passing of a railway bill, are the highest efforts of national legislation and human genius. How glaringly is the same fact illustrated in the difficulties, the almost insuperable obstacles to framing any comprehensive system of national education! It is true that those obstacles derive their power from some of the most inveterate prejudices of the human mind; but if the free circulation of knowledge were really felt to be as necessary as freedom of commercial speculation, the prejudices that delay the one would be overcome or set aside, as the objections of self-interest were set aside in the other; and if the value of knowledge were truly appreciated, — its value, namely, to each individual mind apart from any influence on his practical business, we should not long see the want of funds remain an obstacle in a country where millions are collected for objects of incomparably less importance.

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The little value felt for leisure is another indication of the same defect. Leisure is exemption from the necessities which bind the majority of mankind to the weary task of providing for earthly wants; what better privilege can any possess, but how is it valued ? Men whose circumstances should place them above the necessity of hiring out their faculties clamor for

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* "The question, Cui bono? - To what practical end and advantage do your researches tend? - is one which the speculative philosopher, who loves knowledge for its own sake, and enjoys, as a rational being should enjoy, the mere contemplation of harmonious and mutually dependent truths, can seldom hear without a sense of humiliation." - Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, Chap I. p. 10.

places under government; men who have toiled all their lives, and have amassed riches, still toil on, still grasp at gain, spending their last feeble years in that ceaseless preparation to live which constitutes the greater part of life to us all; men who have made a fortune devote their sons to making another; unmindful of the thousand important schemes in science and literature and discovery, which can be carried on only by men of property and leisure, they who have both still sacrifice the young to the sordid task of accumulation, and women, influenced by such examples, appreciate the leisure they possess only as it serves the purpose of some frivolous pleasure. ing can more fully prove a low tone of mental cultivation.

Noth

Still further proof of the same melancholy fact may be found in the general conviction, that love of knowledge is wholly useless to women, and in the consequent absence of any attempt in their education to instil such a feeling. Their retired life, their quiet home duties, require no great range of learning; their practical existence will remain much the same, whether or not they seek to acquire it, and thence it is at once concluded that they can have no motive in doing so. Nor is this the case with women alone, for whenever a man stands somewhat apart from the busy career of life, or when his calling does not require much knowledge, it is supposed equally unnecessary for him; and if he employ himself on unprofessional studies, he finds that to allege simply the love of knowledge as the motive of his labor, draws down upon him the ridicule of a large portion of the world, and will not insure to his most engrossing pursuit the same respect that would be paid to the cutting out of paper figures, if such an employment were carried on for money. Man's noblest labor must be sanctified with the name of a trade, before it can deserve the reverence of a mechanical and money-loving generation!

How clearly, then, do all these things prove that the higher necessity of our nature, impelling us to seek knowledge because God has endowed us with faculties fitted for the search, because to think and to know is the life of the soul, dimly developing it self amid the struggles of material existence, and ever tending

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towards the great fountain-head of thought, is lost sight of alto-
gether; — in a word, that knowledge is valued at its market-
price, not as the food of the spirit, the earnest of its glorious in-
heritance. Lord Bacon considers this mistaking the true pur-
poses of knowledge as the greatest obstacle to the advance-
ment of learning, and consequently to the spread of the real
benefits learning is intended to confer. "The greatest error of
all the rest," says he, "is the mistaking or misplacing the last
or farthest end of knowledge: for men have entered into a de-
sire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curi-
osity and inquisitive appetite; sometimes to entertain their
minds with variety and delight; sometimes for ornament and
reputation; and sometimes to enable them to victory of wit and
contradiction; and most times for lucre and profession; and

seldom sincerely to give a true account of their gift of reason to
the benefit and use of men as if there were sought in knowl-
edge a couch, whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit ;
or a terrace for a wandering and variable mind, to walk
down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud
mind to raise itself upon; or a fort or commanding ground,
for strife and contention; or a shop, for profit or sale; and not
a rich storehouse for the glory of the Creator and the relief of
man's estate. ""*

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The true lover of knowledge, then, is not one who is merely seeking "variety or delight" to pass his leisure hours; he is as far removed from selfish indifference to the improvement of mankind, as from the mercenary spirit to which the wages of that improvement are the only incentives to labor; but the benefits he would spread are the real benefits he himself so truly appreciates; he remembers what the world is too prone to forget, that man's poor estate requires more for its relief than the aid of mechanical improvement, — that he cannot "live by bread alone."

It is when these things are forgotten, and learning spreads without an equal diffusion of regard for its best object and aims,

* Advancement of Learning.

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