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lected, 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 steamengine, 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.

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, clamour for places under government; men who have toiled all their lives, and have


"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.



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. Nothing can more fully prove a low tone of mental cultivation.

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 labour, draws dowr upon him the ridicule of a large portion of the world, and wil not ensure 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 labour 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 itself amid the struggles of material existence, and ever tending towards the great fountain-head of thought, is lost sight of altogether ;in a word, that knowledge is valued at its market-price, not as the food of the spirit, the earnest of its glorious inheritance. Lord Bacon considers this mistaking the true purposes of knowledge, as the greatest obstacle to the advancement 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 desire of learning and knowledge, sometimes upon a natural curiosity 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 knowledge a couch, whereupon to rest a searching and restless spirit! or a terrace for a wandering and variable mind, to walk up and down with a fair prospect; or a tower of state, for a proud mind to raise itself upon; or a fort and 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."*


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; but the benefits he would spread are the real benefits he himself so truly appreciates; he remembers that 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, that a spirit is diffused with it which is most opposite to that of humble reverence and steadfast hope, which the earnest love of knowledge fosters in the mind. It is then that men dwell much upon what they can do,-little upon what they can only admire or revere; that they are engrossed with what their science has taught them to handle and wield to their own purposes, and care little for the infinite beyond which they cannot fathom or coin into gold. It is then that we find a hard utilitarian spirit blind to every beauty; to every power of art or nature which cannot serve some material purpose; that civilization proceeds without an increase of true refinement, and men become more learned without becoming less sensual; not rising above their proper nature to enjoy the fruits of knowledge, but dedicating the latter to the service of pleasure. And it is because such dangers beset us now, that we require to seek every safeguard against them, and to strive to the uttermost to spread abroad the spirit as well as the learning of the philosopher.

But to whom in these days of breathless toil, of exciting, heart-wearying competition, can we look for aid in cultivating that more unworldly spirit?—on whom can we call to labour in

• Advancement of Learning.




reviving purer aspirations in this iron age?-on whom so justly as on women, whose more refined nature and secluded position seem to place them more out of the reach of the contagion? Study bears no fruits to them, save those of mental improvement and delight; knowledge leads them to no gain, no proud distinctions among their fellow-creatures. Thus preserved from danger themselves, it well becomes them to be ever watchful to remind those who are exposed to greater temptations, of the real beauty and value of the treasure they possess; and by the persuasive eloquence of example, to show forth the excellency and the ennobling influence of the pure love of knowledge, the handmaid of religion and philosophy. So that men, if tempted in the public places of the world to regard wisdom as a mere engine of advancement, may still recognise her in their homes as the daughter of Heaven.

This mission we so earnestly desire to see women undertake, is not one requiring learning or science; it needs not alarm the most humble or diffident, for love of knowledge is not taught, but inspired; it is a sentiment, and may be infused into the mind of a child, and should indeed be grafted there as soon as the opening powers become conscious that there is a world beyond that of physical wants, to which they may one day be enabled to soar. Let women, then, inspire their children with this ennobling affection, and they will thus acquit themselves of a great social duty; whatever influence they may exercise through other channels, this is their stronghold. Let a high appreciation of the fruits of knowledge, and the gifts of intellect by which those fruits are won, be shown to their sons in their daily conversation, and teaching and pursuits, and they will do more than all the eloquence of philosophers to prevent those gifts being offered up on the altar of Mammon.

Beyond the hope of exercising such influence as this, there are other motives to urge women to cherish the love of knowledge,motives of personal benefit, which, although second in generous minds to social considerations, are powerful and important. All who will dispassionately consider woman's social position, its trials and its privations, the sufferings of the heart, when the whole of life is comprised in the affections, -the sufferings from dependence, from confined activity, and from helplessness as regards her own destiny,-must be aware of the value of such a new spring of mental energy as love of knowledge would create.

The absence of all the stirring motives which animate man's existence, is often a great trial to the active-minded of the other sex; but it is, perhaps, a still more dangerous trial to the indolent,



because it chimes in with their ruling fault, and they fall gladly into the snare, allowing characters and powers which exertion might have developed and fitted for far different things, to sink into placid inanity. To both these classes of minds, the incentive of the love of knowledge would be new life; the latter would be stirred to exertion, the former soothed and tranquillized, by finding one carcer of activity opened to them, one great object brought within their aim, without the interference of any of those obstacles which close every path of worldly ambition. Even the suffering from crushed or wounded affections, which is so often the lot of woman, may receive balm from this pure and precious spring. Not that knowledge can give happiness, or harden against the touch of sorrow, or fill an aching and desolate heart: these things are beyond its power, for the life of the heart and of the intellect are different, and the food of the one cannot nourish the other; but the soothing and elevating influence of the love of knowledge may steal over the wounded spirit, and win the thoughts from self, from regret, or anxious brooding, and for a time bear them away to another region, where day by day they may linger a little longer, till they love at length to turn from the desolation within to what has brought intervals at least of forgetfulness and peace. Perhaps this heavy suffering has to be borne in the midst of wearing cares and duties, which require the face to wear a smile, and the spirit to seem cheerful, yet there is no external resource to come in aid, no flying from home and its gloom to recreate the weary mind, no intercourse even on business with others to turn the current of thought; it is in solitude that woman must wrestle with her own feelings, and prevent the struggle ruffling her temper, or making her less ready to sympathize with others. In such a case, the value of that mental refuge which the love of knowledge affords is greater still; it is a sanctuary opened to her, where evil shall not follow, and whence she will surely return refreshed and invigorated. The nature of this influence on the mind is in some respects quite different from that of religious contemplation. Religion truly affords the only stay and consolation in sorrow, but it appeals too much to the feelings, its hopes lead too directly away from this world, with its busy cares and toil, to have the same effect as mental labour in rousing the mind to activity. Weariness of life, that longs for the quiet grave, may be fed by religious reflection, however resigned we may be to wait the time appointed; but intellectual exercise, in which emotion and self-contemplation find no place, gradually restore a more healthy tone of mind, and make us more fit for the struggle which must be carried on. The calm of those dispassionate pursuits creeps into the mind, and we are able to bear

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