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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/469

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AGNOSTICISM AND CHRISTIANITY.

universities and higher technical schools. Its effect, as far as one can judge, has been to make boys aspire after the better things of life.

I have read that Pestalozzi, in his eager enthusiasm, used to find many things in his little school which less partial though not less careful observers failed to discover. I should be sorry to repeat his mistake in connection with the manual training school. I have tried, therefore, to so temper my praise with criticism that both the beauty of the system and its danger should be fairly represented. The view taken might still be too favorable, if it were given as the veritable history of a single school. The spirit of manual training, to which I have tried to give expression, represents rather an ideal, which in moments of extreme hopefulness we are tempted to believe that we have partially realized, and in moments of discouragement we still hold to be worthy of our effort.

 

AGNOSTICISM AND CHRISTIANITY.
By Prof. T. H. HUXLEY, F.R.S.
Nemo ergo ex me scire quaerat, quod me nescire scio, nisi forte ut nescire discat.[1]
Augustinus, De Civ. Dei, xii, 7.

CONTROVERSY, like most things in this world, has a good and a bad side. On the good side, it may be said that it stimulates the wits, tends to clear the mind, and often helps those engaged in it to get a better grasp of their subject than they had before; while, mankind being essentially fighting animals, a contest leads the public to interest themselves in questions to which, otherwise, they would give but a languid attention. On the bad side, controversy is rarely found to sweeten the temper, and generally tends to degenerate into an exchange of more or less effective sarcasms. Moreover, if it is long continued, the original and really important issues are apt to become obscured by disputes on the collateral and relatively insignificant questions which have cropped up in the course of the discussion. No doubt both of these aspects of controversy have manifested themselves in the course of the debate which has been in progress, for some months, in these pages. So far as I may have illustrated the second, I express repentance and desire absolution; and I shall endeavor to make amends for any foregone lapses by an endeavor to exhibit only the better phase in these concluding remarks.

  1. Let no one therefore seek to know from me what I know I do not know, except in order to learn not to know.