« ZurückWeiter »
THERE are few things in history the thread of its continuous labour. more curious than the position How charming is divine philosowhich philosophy has occupied in phy! There is no intellectual the world since ever men began to occupation to which the common think upon their thoughts, By mind yields such unvarying revegeneral consent the title of a great rence. Poetry is to some but a philosopher has been allowed to re- light art, a minstrel's song, half present the highest eminence to amusement, half waste of time. which the buman mind can attain. Of science, even at the present day, Something more stable and not less and much more in former ages, men divine than poetry, more lofty and have asked, Cui bono ? but it is a comprehensive than mere science, kind of instinct in humanity (as apmore searching than theology, more pears) to respect philosophy. There profound than ethics—embracing is no educated man of the present and transcending common reason, or of many preceding generations, common observation, all the best who would not take shame to gifts of ordinary mortals—this himself if obliged to confess that noblest of pursuits has everywhere he knew nothing of, or had no symtaken the foremost rank in the opin- pathy with, this science of the soul. ion of the world. It reveals itself We may scoff at the unpractical out of the depths of antiquity the tendency of abstract thought, at its oldest of all studies. Before phy- exaggerations, its unrealities, its sical science had come into being, want of a true hold upon the steady or when it existed but as a series of soil; but yet there is not one of us distorted guesses at the wonders of who is not more or less impressed by external nature, philosophy was. the often misapplied title of “the Though it has changed with every greatest thinker of his age.” We changing generation, developed, may-nothing more probable-diswaned, undergone countless revo- like the bearer of that title, disaplutions, there has been no break in prove of him, feel that by very ex
VOL CV.-NO. DCXXXIX.