Monday, May 18, 2009


6. Knowledge.

It is noble to seek Truth, and it is beautiful to find it. It is the ancient feeling of the human heart that knowledge is better than riches; and it is deeply and sacredly true. To mark the course of human passions as they have flowed on in ages that are past; to see why nations have risen, and why they have fallen; to speak of heat, and light, and the winds; to know what man has discovered in the heavens above and in the earth beneath; to hear the chemist unfold the marvelous properties that the Creator has locked up in a speck of earth; to be told that there are worlds so distant from our own that the quickness of light, traveling from the world's creation, has never yet reached us; to wander in the creations of poetry, and grow warm again with that eloquence which swayed the democracies of the Old "World; to go up, with great reasoners, to the First Cause of all, and to perceive, in the midst of all this dissolution and decay and cruel separation, that there is one thing unchangeable, indestructible, and everlasting; it is worthwhile, in the days of our youth, to strive hard for this great discipline; to pass sleepless nights for it; to give up for it laborious days; to spurn for it present pleasures; to endure for it afflicting poverty; to wade for it through darkness, and sorrow, and contempt, as the great spirits of the world have done in all ages and all times.

Sydney Smith, England, 1771-1845.

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