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THERE are few things in history more curious than the position which philosophy has occupied in the world since ever men began to think upon their thoughts, By general consent the title of a great philosopher has been allowed to represent the highest eminence to which the human mind can attain. Something more stable and not less divine than poetry, more lofty and comprehensive than mere science, more searching than theology, more profound than ethics-embracing and transcending common reason, common observation, all the best gifts of ordinary mortals-this noblest of pursuits has everywhere taken the foremost rank in the opinion of the world. It reveals itself out of the depths of antiquity the oldest of all studies. Before physical science had come into being, or when it existed but as a series of distorted guesses at the wonders of external nature, philosophy was. Though it has changed with every changing generation, developed, waned, undergone countless revolutions, there has been no break in


the thread of its continuous labour. How charming is divine philosophy! There is no intellectual occupation to which the common mind yields such unvarying reverence. Poetry is to some but a light art, a minstrel's song, half amusement, half waste of time. Of science, even at the present day, and much more in former ages, men have asked, Cui bono? but it is a kind of instinct in humanity (as appears) to respect philosophy. There is no educated man of the present or of many preceding generations, who would not take shame to himself if obliged to confess that he knew nothing of, or had no sympathy with, this science of the soul. We may scoff at the unpractical tendency of abstract thought, at its exaggerations, its unrealities, its want of a true hold upon the steady soil; but yet there is not one of us who is not more or less impressed by the often misapplied title of "the greatest thinker of his age." We may-nothing more probable-dislike the bearer of that title, disapprove of him, feel that by very ex

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