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(1.) In entering upon any scientific pursuit, one of the student's first endeavours ought to be, to prepare his mind for the reception of truth, by dismissing, or at least loosening his hold on, all such crude and hastily adopted notions respecting the objects and relations he is about to examine as may tend to embarrass or mislead him; and to strengthen himself, by something of an effort and a resolve, for the unprejudiced admission of any conclusion which shall appear to be supported by careful observation and logical argument, even should it prove of a nature adverse to notions he may have previously formed for himself, or taken up, without examination, on the credit of others. Such an effort is, in fact, a commencement of that intellectual discipline which forms one of the most important ends of all science. It is the first movement of approach towards that state of mental purity which alone can fit us for a full and steady perception of moral beauty as well as physical adaptation. It is the “ euphrasy and rue” with which we must “ purge our sight” before we can receive and contemplate as they are the lineaments of truth and nature.
(2.) There is no science which, more than astronomy, stands in need of such a preparation, or draws more
SIR JOHN F. W. HERSCHEL, KNT. GUELP.
F.R.S. L. & E. M.R.I.A. F.R.A.S. F.G.S. M.C.U.P.S. CORRESPONDENT OF THE ROYAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES OF PARIS, AND
OTHER FOREIGN SCIENTIFIC INSTITUTIONS.
" ET QUONIAM EADEM NATURA CUPIDITATEM INGENUIT HOMI• NIBUS VERI INVENIENDI, QUOD FACILLIME APPARET, CUM VACUI CURIS, ETIAM QUID IN CÆLO FIAT, SCIRE AVEMUS: HIS INITIIS INDUCTI OMNIA VERA DILIGIMUS; ID EST, FIDELIA, SIMPLICIA, CONSTANTIA; TUM VANA, FALSA, FALLENDIA ODIMUS.”
CICERO, DE Fın. Bon. ET MAL. ii, 14.
AND FORASMUCH AS NATURE ITSELF HAS IMPLANTED IN MAN A CRAVING AFTER THE DISCOVERY OF TRUTH, (WHICH APPEARS MOST CLEARLY FROM THIS, THAT, WHEN UNOPPRESSED BY CARES, WE DELIGHT TO KNOW EVEN WHAT IS GOING ON IN THE HEAVENS,) - LED BY THIS INSTINCT, WE LEARN TO LOVE ALL TRUTH FOR ITS OWN SAKE; THAT IS TO SAY, WHATEVER IS FAITHFUL, SIMPLE, AND CONSISTENT; WHILE WE HOLD IN ABHORRENCE WHATEVER IS EMPTY, DECEPTIVE, OR UNTRUE.