Gambar halaman

ton's Dissertations, besides its wise thought, sounds in the ear like the pathetic and majestic sadness of a symphony by Beethoven :

'There are two sorts of ignorance: we philosophize to escape ignorance, and the consummation of our philosophy is ignorance; we start from the one, we repose in the other; they are the goals from which, and to which, we tend; and the pursuit of knowledge is but a course between two ignorances as human life is itself only a travelling from grave to grave.

Τίς βίος ;— Εκ τύμβοιο θορὼν, ἐπὶ τύμβον ὁδεύω.

The highest reach of human science is the scientific recognition of human ignorance; "Qui nescit ignorare, ignorat scire." This "learned ignorance" is the rational conviction by the human mind of its inability to transcend certain limits; it is the knowledge of ourselves, the science of man. This is accomplished by a demonstration of the disproportion between what is to be known, and our faculties of knowing, the disproportion, to wit, between the infinite and the finite. In fact, the recognition of human ignorance is not only the one highest, but the one true, knowledge; and its first-fruit, as has been said, is humility. Simple nescience is not proud; consummated science is positively humble. For this knowledge it is not, which "puffeth up;" but its

opposite, the conceit of false knowledge,-the conceit, in truth, as the apostle notices, of an ignorance of the very nature of knowledge :

"Nam nesciens quid scire sit,

Te scire cuncta jactitas."

'But as our knowledge stands to Ignorance, so stands it also to Doubt. Doubt is the beginning and the end of our efforts to know; for as it is true,"Alte dubitat qui altius credit," so it is likewise true, "Quo magis quærimus magis dubitamus."

'The grand result of human wisdom is thus only a consciousness that what we know is as nothing to what we know not, ("Quantum est quod nescimus!")

-an articulate confession, in fact, by our natural reason, of the truth declared in revelation, that " now we see through a glass darkly.”

His pupil writes in the same spirit and to the same end :-'A discovery, by means of reflection and mental experiment, of the limits of knowledge, is the highest and most universally applicable discovery of all; it is the one through which our intellectual life most strikingly blends with the moral and practical part of human nature. Progress in knowledge is often paradoxically indicated by a diminution in the apparent bulk of what we know. Whatever helps to work off the dregs of false opinion, and to purify the intellectual mass-whatever deepens our conviction of our infinite ignorance-really adds to, although it

sometimes seems to diminish, the rational possessions of man. This is the highest kind of merit that is claimed for Philosophy by its earliest as well as by its latest representatives. It is by this standard that Socrates and Kant measure the chief results of their toil.'


1. Arnauld's Port-Royal Logic; translated by T. S. Baynes. -2. Thomson's Outlines of the Necessary Laws of Thought.— 3. Descartes on the Method of Rightly Conducting the Reason, and Seeking Truth in the Sciences.-4. Coleridge's Essay on Method.-5. Whately's Logic and Rhetoric; new and cheap edition.-6. Mill's Logic; new and cheap edition.-7. Dugald Stewart's Outlines.-8. Sir John Herschel's Preliminary Dissertation.-9. Quarterly Review, vol. lxviii.; Article upon Whewell's Philosophy of Inductive Sciences.-10. Isaac Taylor's Elements of Thought.-11. Sir William Hamilton's edition of Reid; Dissertations; and Lectures.-12. Professor Fraser's Rational Philosophy.-13. Locke on the Conduct of the Understanding.


'PRÆSENS imperfectum, —perfectum, plusquam perfectum FUTURUM.'-GROTIUS.

'The idea of thy life shall sweetly creep

Into my study of imagination;

And every lovely organ of thy life

Shall come apparelled in more precious habit

More moving delicate, and full of life,

Into the eye and prospect of my sou!,

Than when thou livedst indeed."


« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »