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reaction, to which reference has been made, as ensuing upon the discovery how little a man is able to learn, even when he has nothing else to do but pursue learning; partly also from a lack of information as to how a serviceable amount of general knowledge may be gained ; and partly from the contemptuous way in which such partial learning has been treated by men of note, from Pope, who said, “ a little learning is a dangerous thing," down to Mr. Froude, in our own times, who has propounded the emphatic doctrine, that general knowledge is only another name for general ignorance. If we were criticising some university system, whose centre principle was to teach the students a great many things imperfectly, and none thoroughly, I should certainly subscribe to Mr. Froude's dictum; and probably this able writer only designed it with a view to some such criticism. But there are many men of less ability and less learning than Mr. Froude, who would take up this position in reference to all persons, and boldly maintain that unless one knows a subject thoroughly, it is much better to abide in entire ignorance. It is not an uncommon thing to hear a learned scholar sneer at the Latin taught in popular evening classes ; or a physician laugh ill-naturedly at a layman reading a physiological treatise. But the authors of such ridicule, however learned technically, and in their own departments, show but a superficial knowledye of the real value of learning, whether in themselves or others. In the case of the physician, for instance, his contempt implies that because the layman has not time nor occasion to study the abstruse speculations of Müller, nor to investigate the researches of Bichật, he is, therefore, very foolish for reading Combe or Carpenter. And the scholar, again, who laughs at anybody not familiar with Greek, for wading through translations of Greek authors, is virtually saying that a man is no better for being acquainted with the thoughts of Plato or Aristotle, but only for being able to construe their words. There is no doubt that it is in itself better to have read the original, than to know it merely when diluted by translation; but for all this, there are many who have only read Plato's Republic through the medium of Davies' and Vaughan's translation, and yet who understand its prirport and value far better than hosts of others who have read it in the Greek. “Though a linguist should pride himself to have all the tongues that Babel cleft the world into, yet if he have not studied the solid things in them, as well as the words and lexicons, he were nothing so much to be esteemed a learned man as any yeoman or tradesman competently wise in his mother dialect only."* The question which these learned students superciliously answer in the negative, is—whether a man derives any advantage from knowing something about a subject when circumstances unhappily prevent him from knowing everything. The principle or no-principle on
which they found this answer, if legitimately expanded, & would deprive themselves of any respect to be heard ; for
not even the audacity of the most learned would permit him to boast that he had fathomed the profoundest depths of his specialty.
The effect of this very unfair discouragement has been most pernicious. To be called a sniatterer or a sciolist is to suffer a grave loss of self-esteem,-in the minds of younger men more especially, who rarely possess philosophy enough to analyse ridicule before allowing it to affect them. To be a smatterer is no reproach to one whose choice lay between that and entire ignorance. If an Oxford or Cambridge Fellow, who receives money to support him in learned leisure, is a smatterer, the fact is very much to his discredit; but if a young merchant or a young doctor, apart from the knowledge necessary for success in his ealling, possesses no more than comparatively superficial acquaintance with the multifarious subjects which are treated of in the extensive range of literature, he deserves credit for
every fraction and item of this extraneous learning. It is as unreasonable to measure the literary acquirements of the man of commerce by the standard of the professed man of letters, as it would be to condemn the man of letters for lack of skill in book-keeping by double entry. That we need a literary class whose principal business shall be the pursuit of profound learning, is as abundantly evident as that we need merchants, or men of practical science. Each class has its own special want in culture, beyond the training which may be found in their own business; and where the extraneous culture of one class happens to be the specialty of the other, and therefore naturally less elaborate and profound with the one than with the other, it is at 'once shallow and unjust to institute comparisons between them in an invidious spirit, and with a design of self-exaltation. Literature has one end for the scholar and another for the general reader, and nothing but mischief can ensue from any confusion of its functions.
The great end of literary culture, as of all other things, is to enable us to discharge the duties of life;—it succeeds in so far only as it promotes this. Life can only be looked back upon with satisfaction in proportion to the extent to which all our powers have been employed, and to the comparative accuracy of the balance among our various faculties. The city merchant who never lets his mind leave speculations and commercial enterprise; the statesman ever revolving political combinations, and watching the aspect of public affairs; the artist living in ignorance and a disregard, amounting to unconsciousness, of all that is going on in the world without his studio; the student whose existence is passed amid the dignified tranquillity of books; ---all these are living contrary to reason, and leaving large portions of the fair tract of their nature barren and desoIate. It is an unhappy necessity that some men should thus sacrifice themselves to specialties. The exigencies of science and the practical arts demand that some should surrender a broad and symmetrical development of all the capabilities of their character, for the sake of one particular set of investigations. These laborious discoverers of great truths or natural laws could scarcely do the work by which the general interests of mankind are promoted, unlı ss they permitted themselves to plunge into the recondite investigation of one science or art, to the entire exclusion of all those miscellaneous branches of knowledge which have no bearing upon their own special subject. Life is so short, that for those few who found or notably advance any particular science, every hour spent in any other region is a dereliction of what seems to them, and
what perhaps really is, the grand mission of their lives. When Mr. Mill says that a man has only the alternative of going a great way in one subject or a little way in many, he virtually furnishes an account of two classes of men, each of which adopts one of these alternatives. The latter class are, so to speak, the multitude ; the former are they who sacrifice themselves for the good of the multitude. The study of the laboratory is not the only form of high living--is not even
the most exalted. The profound scholar has com
monly suffered in his moral and social affections for the no exclusive culture of his intellect. When Newton found
himself unconsciously using the thumb of his betrothed as a pipe-stopper, he sorrowfully admitted that the abstraction necessary for his speculations was incompatible with the performance of the duties of domestic life. The ordinary man, therefore, leads in one sense a more natural life than the great student, or the devotee of science. He has a far
wider field of view than the other, and is not debarred from the participating with eagerness and intelligence in all that conta cerns the progress or condition of his kind. If we reflect
that to know is less important than to be, we may learn to extend our admiration to the larger number who are not learned, but only desultory.
II. The prime requisite in study, as it is in every form of human occupation, is what has been called the i transcendent capacity of taking pains.” It would be wholly superfluous to cite instances where toil without genius has outstripped genius without toil. Every scho:olboy has learnt this lesson experimentally as well as theoretically. In study, more than in all other pursuits, is there need for this unremitting and zealous toil; for here, more than elsewhere, is the mind apt to suffer discouragement, and that of the most chilling kind. The progress of the student is marked by no brilliant or glowing triumph ;-each new truth acquired or verified, each rising difficulty mastered, is indeed a triumph, but it is one in which he can enjoy little sympathy from others. Consciousness of progress is the only source of a pleasure which, though philosophically great and adequate, is pale and scanty when compared with the pleasures conferred by success in more public fields. Gradually, indeed, the student will come to find as intense a gratification in this tacit consciousness as he ever could have derived from a success discernible by other eyes as well as his own. But this satisfaction is of slow growth, and consequently is attained only by men of å quiet patience, who are willing and able to sacrifice the genial pleasures of much social intercourse for the solitary toil of the continuous reader,—who have felt the splendid inspiration of the poet's injunction,
“To scorn delights, and live laborious days."
I do not advise the general student to take for his motto the inscription which Zacharias Ursinus of Heidelberg, had painted in forbidding letters over the door of his study :“My friend, whoever you are, if you come here, please either go away again, or give me some help in my study." But it is well for him to recognise at the outset that no solid advance, even in general learning, can be made by the cleverest man without some surrender of social joys, and without the endurance of much painful labour. The labour will in time cease to be painful, and will assuredly produce a more than adequate reward; but the toil of him who goes forth with harrow, plough, and seed-basket, in order that he may eventually reap a material harvest, is not more unavoidable to the husbandman, than are the self-denial and the plodding which lead to the mental harvest of matured views, expanded emotions, and enlarged principles, to the student who would ponder over in the closet what may make him an intelligent actor in human affairs.
Besides the temptation to halt in the course, arising from this source, there is another secret of discouragement, and one which has been productive of still more failure. It increases a man's confidence in himself to resist the allurements of a comparatively frivolous social intercourse. But there is one frequent stumbling-block known and appreciated by none but those who have been readers, and which is more fatal than this, for the reason that it overthrows & man's confidence in himself: the student will find as he goes on that he seems suddenly to have forgotten that which he began by learning; he will be inexpressibly mortified to discover once and again that truths which had been, as he thought, ineffaceably impressed upon his mind, have vanished away from it, and that long trains of important reasoning which he had taken much pains to master, and which he had seemed to make part of his very mental existence, have utterly deserted him, perhaps at the very moment when they would have stood him in most stead. This mortification in many minds produces a severe shock, and spreads to the dimensions of intellectual despair. There are a few men of unusually powerful memory, who, perhaps, have never known the bitter force of this discouragement, but they are exceptional.
Here, again, the only rule is the persevering maintenance of a quiet patience. We find ourselves weak in some point