Youth's Magazine, 9 (1836), 238–39.
Limited Nature of Human Acquirements
A R B
Human Species, Scientific Practitioners, Piety, Theology of Nature
'Man's progress in knowledge, while in this world of sin and suffering, is obviously extremely limited'. Reflects on the partial knowledge of the sciences which can be acquired in a lifetime. At the end of a life 'devoted to science' one is obliged to confess 'like the greatest of our christian philosophers [i.e. Isaac Newton ...] that he has been, as it were, engaged but in gathering pebbles on the sea-shore'. The 'ardent enthusiast' nevertheless presses on towards his unattainable goal. (238) The limited scope for human progress in knowledge ought to impress us with humility, as it has 'those philosophers who have made the greatest progress in knowledge'. 'Such were Newton and Locke, and Boyle;—the men in short, who had gained the highest reputation for science, were still more distinguished for their ardent and lofty piety'. (239)
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