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of that mentioned in Scripture, makes the angel of light appear the very spirit of darkness. Christianity prevailed in less than four centuries over the whole might of the Gentile world; but, at the end of eighteen, it is yet struggling painfully under the disfiguring mask of fraud, superstition, and bigotry, by which its defenders have defiled its purity and weakened its power. The history of the past should teach us faith in the intrinsic force of truth to overcome error. The triumph of Christianity over Paganism, of the Reformation over Popery, of Galileo and Newton over Ptolemy and Ticho Brahe, of Religious and Civil Liberty over Feudalism and Priestly Intolerance,—are these not unanswerable evidences of the great fact, that truth, being the expression of the will of God, must prevail over the will of man? In each of the above instances the victory was won by the simple power of truth against the whole array of physical force and spiritual despotism which the rulers of the earth could bring against In each "the stone which the builders rejected became the head-stone of the corner."
There is another fact well worthy of note in observing the progress of truth; i.e., that in the course of years the errors which human infirmity ever connects with it at its first discovery, gradually fall from it as the chaff from the grain. The chaff may, perhaps, be necessary to preserve the tender seed when first cast into the ungenial soil; but, as the seed takes root, it gradually unfolds from its coarse and disfiguring mantle, and the vigorous plant shoots forth in its fair and noble proportions. Unfortunately we too often cling to that outward covering, as if with it the inward essence would also pass away; but forms from their very nature must change and perish: the living germ is imperishable, and each change in its outward aspect is but a sign of renewed vigour in its inward life.
It may be feared by some that the unrestricted freedom of inquiry advocated in these pages would lead to latitudinarianism and indifference to all truth. But such indifference can never be found where the governing motive of every intellectual effort is the love of truth. The mind, ever earnestly seeking truth, will value more highly what has been already attained, than one which wraps itself up in ignorance as a preservative against
or; and he whose opinions and principles are founded on reason, will certainly adhere to them more firmly, and act upon them more consistently, than one who derives them from habit and passive obedience to authority. "To say that a blind custom of obedience should be a surer obligation than duty taught or understood, is to affirm that a blind man may tread surer by a guide than a seeing man can by a light."
* Bacon, Advancement of Learning.
We may dismiss all fears of the moral result of our inquiries, so long as we are careful to preserve the purity of our motive, and to conduct our search with that humility, candour, and earnestness, which will secure us from yielding to passion or prejudice, and insure the honesty of the conclusions we arrive at. Our moral integrity will be our best safeguard in the pursuit of speculative truth as in the conduct of life. It is "the man who setteth up his idols in his heart, and the stumbling-block of his iniquity before his face, whom the Lord will answer according to the multitude of his idols." To the pure in heart it has been promised, that they shall see God, and God is truth.
While, however, we wish to encourage the utmost freedom in the formation of opinion, we must guard against the mistake of supposing it is to be expressed with equal freedom. The uncalledfor assertion of opinions differing from those of the majority, leads to the danger of shocking the feelings of others, and of seeming to defy the opinion of the world, which a woman of sense and feeling will carefully avoid, wherever it is possible, without a compromise of principle. Some people seem to think themselves bound in honesty to declare their opinions whether called for or not; but love of singularity, which is only a form of vanity, may have as much to do with this Quixotic sincerity as love of truth. There is no hypocrisy in refusing to run a tilt against our neighbour's opinions or prejudices each time our own happen to differ from them, and in such cases modesty, no less than prudence, will bid us be silent, unless we are called upon to speak. To a vain person, however, the very blame or half reproachful surprise excited by the expression of bold or unusual opinions, is less unpleasant than to attract no attention at all. It is the fault of little minds; and many a fop and pompous fool probably attracted such notice in England or Italy, while Galileo or Bacon passed unheeded in the crowd. The royalty of mind does not need to have the trappings of its power paraded before it in public.
It also often happens that when a person has once attracted notice by the singularity of any opinion, he straightway falls in love with it, and supports it henceforth, without allowing question or examination. The more singular the opinion, the more tenaciously it is maintained, and hence it is that the people who are termed originals are generally the most prejudiced of mortals. Even if their views be just in themselves, the manner in which they are forced upon the world naturally excites opposition and dislike. In proportion, therefore, to the value which we attach to any opinion, should be our modesty and caution in bringing it forward; and by this means we may win many to examine and adopt our views who
* Ezek. xiv. 4.
would have been startled and disgusted by a bold and uncompromising assertion of them.
This caution is peculiarly needful to women, on whom the reproach of singularity seldom falls without in some degree injuring their consideration and character in the eyes of the world. High-spirited, high-minded girls are apt to attach merit to braving the world's opinion, and they are right in every case where principle or real feeling is concerned; but the merit consists in making a sacrifice, and proving by its extent our attachment to the cause we defend. In all that regards the external relations of life, the world's opinion is generally the best as well as the safest rule a woman can follow. It has been too often proved that neither purity of intention, nor uprightness of conduct can save her who braves it from the censure which leaves a stain on a name that should be stainless, and the more we differ from the world in important things, the more studiously should we yield to it in trifling ones. It is doubtless one of the trials of our subordinate station, that the yoke of public opinion should weigh upon us so much more heavily than it does upon men; but whilst we submit to this as inevitable, it is no more a reason for restraining the freedom of private opinion, than our not being eligible to professorships is a reason for not cultivating science. The opinion of the world justly regulates our intercourse with the world; but our inward and true life, the life of thought, belongs not to its jurisdiction, but to His only who is the centre of all thought. In man's higher and freer position, these two phases of existence may be more closely blended, and the distinction between them lost sight of with less risk; but a woman, in losing sight of it, too often loses the influence and esteem which are her best compensation for the many evils of her dependence, and which give dignity to her subordinate station.
SECT. IV.-PRACTICAL HABITS FLOWING FROM LOVE OF TRUTH.
HAVING fully considered the influence of the love of truth on our intellectual habits, it remains that we should observe its influence on moral character. The moral habits which result from it are, as we have already said, honesty, veracity, and justice, which hold so undisputed a pre-eminence among our practical duties that it may appear needless to dwell on points so fully admitted. This admission, however, is so often made in a limited sense, the praise of integrity is so often claimed where there has been merely avoidance of actual fraud, falsehood, or flagrant injustice, that we wish to point out strongly to the young, how much more stringent are its obligations, how much wider the circle of action it embraces, than is usually supposed.
TRUE INTEGRITY RARE.
Honesty may seem a homely and easy virtue to those who are raised by their station above the temptation to cheat or steal; but if they judged themselves by the higher standard required by their position and education, we doubt whether they would find their honesty so unimpeachable as they suppose. Let the man who has never sacrificed principle to expediency, never allowed party ends to prevail before public good, never run into debt, nor used his wealth to bribe, or power to coerce the opinions of poorer men; let the woman who has resisted all temptation to gain her ends by artifice and cunning, or has preferred penury and loneliness to a heartless marriage, now stand forth and claim the meed of honesty; but who shall say that such virtue is common? Where it exists, it will be found to proceed from that inward principle of integrity which has nothing to do with its expediency. The maxim that "honesty is the best policy,' is the fruit of the long experience of mankind; but it has been well said, "that he who adheres to what is right because it is right, will be rewarded by afterwards perceiving that he has taken the wisest course. But to those who seek, in the first instance, for the best policy, it is not given to perceive in all cases that honesty is the best policy. The maxim, therefore, though true and valuable, is never to any one the habitual guide of conduct. He who is honest is always before it; and he who is not will often be far behind it." 11*
The commercial crisis of 1848, and the recent exposures of railway transactions, have but too clearly proved the real want of honesty amongst the wealthy and educated classes of this country, and that to an extent which throws a stain on our national character. The same want is apparent in the universal effort to substitute appearance for reality, show for substantial value. It meets us in the endless puffs which fill our newspapers, in the lavish decoration of the shops, which the profits of an honest trade could not cover; in the loud profession of principles, and the private practice of jobbing; in the sedulous attendance at church, combined with more sedulous devotion to the world; in all the shams, in short, which daily cross our path and deceive our hopes. These, however, are but the external symptoms of the disease; its root lies deep in the education given to the young, and the motives of action held out to them. It is not our business here to speak of the education of boys; nor, perhaps, could our strictures be so justly applied to it. Generally speaking, we believe that boys and very young men think little of the world till they enter into it, except as the great arena in which
* Whately's Essays-Essay on Truth.
they are to win the laurels of their boyish dreams. It is only after actual contact with it that they become perverted by the general tone of society, and learn to think earnestness ridiculous, and real worth useless, when a counterfeit answers the purpose so well. But not so is it with women. From the hour that the little girl is told to hold up her head and be very good, because mamma has visitors, to that in which she is launched into society, adorned with every showy accomplishment, every art of dress and manner which can gain admiration and secure an establishment, the world is the one tribunal whose judgment she is taught to fear, appearance the one object for which she is taught to strive. Nor do we speak only of what is termed exclusively the great world. The daughters of the citizen, the shopkeeper, or the country squire, have each their world, great or small, to dress for, learn, dance, play, or sing for; and mothers, whether homely or fashionable, equally bestow their first care on their daughters' appearance. The exceptions are so few, that they only prove the rule.
VANITY THE SPRING OF FEMALE EDUCATION.
Thus the vanity, which a wise education would carefully repress, is made the mainspring of a woman's life, and all her efforts are directed by it to attract admiration rather than to win esteem. It is scarcely possible to speak too strongly of the evils of vanity, or of its fatal influence on character. Apparently harmless in its beginnings, clothing itself in the amiable disguise of a desire to please, it will, at last, if cherished and indulged, taint the whole mind, and destroy the best graces of woman, modesty, dignity, and self-respect. The vain woman has no independent existence-she lives in the eyes and thoughts of others; take her away from the public gaze, her life is gone; she has no motive to action, no rule to act by, and she shrinks into the toy of each passing whim. How many a woman is led by this pernicious love of admiration "to the brink of all we hate,"-happy if some sudden glimpse of the abyss save her ere she falls beyond redemption! How many of the quiet pleasures of home are lost, and with them contentment and health of mind, through the craving for excitement it engenders! It was not to embellish. home, to please a husband or father, to gain resources against solitude or care, that those costly accomplishments were so laboriously acquired, that dress and beauty were so carefully attended to. They were designed to win admiration, and are wasted if they merely give pleasure. It is the same with the qualities of the mind; they are not cultivated as good in themselves, but their semblance is put on as the indispensable mask of the soul. The young girl may affect the virtue if she has it not, and her faults may remain uncorrected so long as they re