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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 20


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The men who have set their mark upon the progress of thought have done so, not so much by the originality of their views, as by the happy manner in which they have compiled and brought within reach the advanced views of the age in which they lived; their success has not consisted so much in declaring something new, as in introducing—probably in a new dress—old thoughts of sterling value, which have lain dormant and neglected in men's minds for ages. Few writers of advanced thoughts live to see the fruits of their labors. Silently and unobserved they rise and take their place among the stars in the intellectual constellations, and when the healthful breeze of freedom has cleared the atmosphere of haze and clouds, they shine forth with truthful and beautiful splendour, guiding stars in the pathway of mind, culminating points in the realm of thought.

How true it is that one shall sow and another shall reap! Think you that a sensualist living in Jerusalem, with his harem of 1,000 wives and concubines, could be the author of all the ancient Jewish proverbs, so simple and so truthful! I say 'tis an impossibility. The mind of such an individual might give birth to the lascivious thoughts contained in that production of the Jewish Anacreon, The Song of Songs, but the wise sayings of the sages are too much above the plane of his thought. Thoughts are as natural as any other product of life, Nature never contradicts herself.

The fine moral precepts found in the sayings of Jesus existed ages before his time, his true value as a reformer consists in that he evolved from the region of Idea and Thought, as he understood them, a religion of action—ill understood by his immediate disciples, and still less understood by the majority of that people calling themselves Christians.

There was an Illiad before Homer wrote his, many Philosophers were before Socrates and Plato, Galileo and Copernicus, before Newton, Bacon's method had been followed, from the hour that reason dawned, and Aguste Comte is not the last that will carry it beyond its legitimate province.

Many of the ancients and a Monbaddo wrote of the origin of the human species before Darwin, and Professor Owes is neither the first nor the last nor the greatest of our philosophers. Mind succeeds mind in the kingdom of thought, ever onward rolls the wave of human pro- page 3 gress, evolving first, and still evolving, higher planes of thought and action; we cannot fathom the depth of the beginning, nor yet see the mountain height that crowns the end.