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as opposed to the performance of woman's natural duties; and we will conclude in his words: "What can be more absurd than to suppose, that the care and perpetual solicitude a mother feels for her children depends on her ignorance of Greek and mathematics, and that she would desert an infant for a quadratic equation."


* See Appendix A.



In all that we have hitherto said of intellectual cultivation, it has been regarded as the means towards some further end, either the discipline of the mind, or the preparation for certain duties of life; but we have now to consider it as an object in itself, as proceeding from the desire of knowledge for its own sake; which, apart from all considerations of duty or interest, urges the mind in the pursuit of truth; which, with all the force of an impulse, but the steadiness of a principle, lifts us more perhaps than any other feeling, not of a directly religious nature, above the dominion of sense, and the thraldom of earthly passions.

The desire of knowledge is one of the first impulses of the human mind, awaking in early childhood, probably, long before the tongue has learnt to utter the wish; and continuing more or less through all after years. Ignorant indeed as we come into this world, where so much knowledge is necessary to our very existence, if a natural instinct did not impel us to take pleasure in acquiring it, life must have been a constant scene of weariness and toil. In this, as in every other adaptation of our nature to the external universe, wisdom and mercy have been displayed, and this arduous task has been converted into a continual gratification to one of the strongest impulses of the mind; causing keen delight at each step that we take, whether towards the satisfaction of childish curiosity, or of philosophical inquiry.

External objects are the only spur to the exercise of this faculty in childhood. At that age, the mind but just opening to the perception of the visible world, can be moved only by the desires excited by the objects around, and if left uncultivated it is but


seldom that it rises superior to such motives: hence the inexhaustible stock of curiosity we see in the world, and the little of a deeper spirit of inquiry, except when roused by the calls of gain or ambition. A few there are, indeed,—and but a few,—in whom the natural instinct ripens unaided into real love of knowledge; who from early youth, have delighted to inquire, and to learn, without any other incentive, but the pure desire to know; who have sought learning as other men seek pleasure, and whose mental activity has never needed the stimulus of reward, beyond that which their toil itself holds out to them. But with the generality of mankind the natural impulse sinks to a frivolous curiosity, unless stimulated by external motives or sustained by careful training; although, therefore, in some cases, the love of knowledge is the spur to mental labour, it is more often in its higher form, the result of a long continuance of the latter; when a certain degree of attainment has been reached, the desire of further progress is kindled; the mind having become inured to intellectual exercise, has learned to take pleasure in putting forth its power, and to love the result of its exertions.


It is needless to dwell on the benefits the world has received from this noble ardour, inspiring the souls of earth's most gifted sons, and teaching them to despise labour, persecution, and contempt, in the prosecution of inquiries and designs mostly scorned by the age which gave them birth, but which have gradually changed the face of the world; our object is rather to consider the benefit which this noble impulse confers on each individual mind that feels it. Since few can hope, however ardent their love, to enlarge the boundaries of knowledge, or to be enrolled among the benefactors of mankind, it is a consideration of no small interest, that the inward influence of this noble affection is no less precious than its outward results have been, in raising the condition of our species. That influence is shown in elevating, and at the same time tranquillizing our thoughts, so often distracted in the stir and conflict of business and petty interests, taking us for a time from the dominion and influence of passing circumstances, and reducing the latter to their proper level; it is shown in the infusion of a new principle of vitality in the mind, stimulating to exertions that never pall or weary, and leave no time for the tedious trifles on which the energy of thousands is wasted; and above all, in continually lifting the thoughts to Him, in whom the fulness of knowledge dwells, strengthening more and more the soul's unutterable consciousness that this world is but the scene of its first attempts, of the school exercises by which it is trained to a nobler career hereafter.

Sir J. Herschel, speaking of the effect of his own favourite pur



suits on the mind, says: "There is something in the contemplation of general laws which powerfully persuades us to merge individual feelings, and to commit ourselves unreservedly to their disposal, while the observation of the calm, energetic regularity of Nature, the immense scale of her operations, and the certainty with which the ends are attained, tends irresistibly to tranquillize and reassure the mind and render it less accessible to repining, selfish, and turbulent emotions. And this it does, not by debasing our nature into weak compliances, and abject submission to circumstances, but by filling us as from an inward spring, with a sense of nobleness and power which enables us to rise superior to them, by showing us our strength and inward dignity, and by calling upon us for the exercise of those powers and faculties by which we are susceptible of the comprehension of so much greatness, and which forms as it were a link between ourselves and the best and noblest benefactors of our species, with whom we hold communion in thought and participate in discoveries which have raised them above their fellow-mortals and brought them nearer to their Creator."*

We may borrow this language and apply it with even greater force to the effect produced by the love of knowledge generally, upon minds capable of feeling it in its purity and power: can anything 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 labour 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 paradoxical, 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. Worship at this, as at every other shrine, may proceed from motives far enough removed from the deep reverence of the heart, although 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

• Discourse on the Study of Natural Philosophy, p. 16.


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 insisting 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 honoured 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 in which she was shrouded, being dispelled, the 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 cagerly 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 labour 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 objections are in great measure true; but it is the average tone of the refined and cultivated minds in any society which influence 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 intellectual being, are numbered among the latter. Surely, then, if whatever has a direct practical object of gain or advancement, is prosecuted with untiring ardour and unexampled success, while questions of the highest import, touching man's deepest interests, are neg

Einem ist sie die hohe, die himmlische Gottinn, dem Andern
Eine tüchtige Kuh, die ihm mit butter versorgt.

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