Page images
[ocr errors]

"Such terms as Nature, Law, Freedom, Necessity, Body, Substance Matter, Church, State, Revelation, Inspiration, Knowledge, Belief, are tossed about in the wars of words as if everybody knew what they meant, and as if every body used them exactly in the same sense; whereas most people, and particularly those who represent public opinion, pick up these complicated terms as children, beginning with the vaguest conceptions, adding to them from time to time, perhaps correcting likewise at haphazard some of their involuntary errors, but Never Taking Stock, never either enquiring into the history of the term which they handle so freely, or realising the fulness of their meaning according to the strict rules of logical definition."—Max Muller's Lectures, Second Series, p. 526.

"That each word has derived from a long ancestry its present constitution, and that a complete understanding of it is in many cases to be obtained only by studying ancestral words, is a familiar truth; though a truth not duly remembered in philosophical discussions. But that the constitution of each word has, in the course of its descent, been ever undergoing modifications fitting it to co-operate with environing words, is a correlative truth which is not familiar. Yet the second factor is no less important than the first. Words have become specialized and defined only in the course of those actions which they have joined one another in performing. The meaning of every one has been gradually restricted by the growth of others, which have trenched upon the sphere which it once occupied alone. Every one has come to have special classes of words, and often special groups-of those classes with which it habitually acts. And in many cases, adjustable appendages are formed by which it articulates with the other words that give to it its power, direction, and effectivenessOtherwise expressing these truths, we may say that each word has both an intrinsic connotation and an extrinsic connotation. It does not simply imply, with various degrees of distinctness, the meanings of ancestral words; but it implies also the meanings of co-existing words, which limit and extend and individualize its meaning, and in the absence of which it is meaningless."—Herbert Spencer's Principles of Psychology, v. 2; part 7; chap. 3.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

"Marshal thy notions into a handsome method. One will carry twice
as much weight trussed and packed up in bundles, than when it lies unto-
ward, flapping and hanging about his shoulders.—Pleasures of Literature
—Lond., 1851.

All Meditation remains incomplete, when it produces no Image, and all
Contemplation becomes confused apart from such guidance. They are
therefore, the one and the other, characterised in conformity with the
images, of which the active or passive consideration constitutes the
principle domain of the Heart-directed Mind.—Translated from Comte's
Synthase Subjective, p. 33.




All rights reserved.

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »