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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 32



he who has read and thought ought to be able to have an opinion, and he who has one of his own will always be deemed dogmatic by the many who take theirs from the newspapers. He is dogmatic if he ventures to express a doubt where the infallible of the time being has laid down a certainty. T o turn for a moment to the general question. I should not like to be thought to be advocating my study on the mere grounds of utility ; although I believe that utility, both as regards the training of the study and the information attained in it, to be the highest, humanl speaking, of all utilities ; it helps to qualify a man to act in his character of a politician as a Christian man should. But this is not all ; beyond the educational purpose, beyond the political purpose, beyond the philosophical use of history and its training, it has something of the preciousness of everything that is clearly true. In common with Natural Philosophy it has its value, I will not say as Science, for that would be to use a term which has now become equivocal, but it has a value analogous to the value of science ; a value as something that is worth knowing and retaining in the knowledge for its own and for the truth's sake. And in this consists its especial attraction for its own votaries. It is not the pleasure of knowing something that the world does not know,—that doubtless is a motive that weighs with many minds, a motive to be accepted as a fact, though it may not be worth analysis. It is not the mere pleasure of investigating and finding with every step of investigation new points of view open out, and new fields of labour, new characters of interest ;—that investigating instinct of human nature is not one to be ignored, and the exercise of it on such inexhaustible materials as are before us now is a most healthy exercise, one that cannot but strengthen and develope the whole mind of the man who uses it, urging him on to new studies, new


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