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not venture to quote any of the the beginning of the world no new illustrations here given, because addition has ever been made to the sub

stantial elements of speech any more their force and pertinency would

than to the substantial elements of not be felt unless the whole lec

nature. There is a constant change ture were perused.

in language, a coming and a going of Under the guidance of the scien- words; but no man can ever invent an tific etymologist it becomes highly entirely new word. We speak to all interesting to trace (so far as his intents and purposes substantially the successful labours at present en

same language as the earliest ancestors able us) the same elements of

of our race; and, guided by the hand of

scientific etymology, we may pass on speech as they appear in the differ- from century to century through the ent languages of man and in the darkest periods of the world's history, most remote regions of the world. till the stream of language on which we For within our historic period, and ourselves are moving carries us back to amongst the civilised nations known those distant regions where we seem to to us, there appears to be no such feel the presence of our earliest forething as an absolutely new coinage fathers, and to hear the voices of the

earth-born sons of Manu." of speech. Whatever may have passed in a prehistoric period, or We commit our readers, and ourwhatever may now be going on selves too, with great confidence to amongst some voluble savages, we the guidance of Max Müller on know of nothing new in language matters strictly philological. that is not a reconstruction of the should hesitate long before we disold. Everything that has a date puted any rule of etymology which has also a derivation. It seems had received the sanction of his here as if we had lost the faculty judgment; and even individual deof making bricks from the original rivations which startle us at first, clay, and could only build by redis- we are willing to receive on his posing the bricks which our ances- authority; we receive them at least tors had moulded. In the follow. till substituted by others still more ing quotation the reader will easily cogently supported. But in that perceive the modification we should province which is common to the make: "since the beginning of the psychologist and the philologist, world” is not the expression we

whenever the lecturer discourses on should have used, but the general the nature and functions of landrift of the passage we are very far guage itself, we are compelled to from disputing

observe that a safer guidance will

be found in many an old-establish“We thus see,” says Max Müller, “how languages reflect the history of

ed author amongst us, Scotch or nations, and how, if properly analysed, English. . No one can deal with the almost every word will tell us of many wide subject of mental philosophy vicissitudes through which it passed without being compelled to discuss, on its way from Central Asia to with more or less fulness, the India, or to Persia, to _Asia Minor, nature of the connection between Greece, and Italy; to Russia, Gaul, Thought and Language. Germany, the British Isles, America, glancing back in memory at the

Now, New Zealand ; nay, back again, in its world-encompassing migrations, to

list of our metaphysical writers of India and the Himalayan regions from repute, we must say that there is which it started. Many a word has hardly one of them from whom a thus gone the round of the world, and student would not derive more preit may go the same round again and cise and intelligible views on this subagain. For although words change in ject than he will from the Lectures sound and meaning to such an extent that not a single letter remains the same,

before us.

On this subject the and that their meaning becomes the

lecturer is very vague. We, in our very opposite of what it originally was, part of the island, who have had yet it is important to observe that since in our universities a Metapbysical

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Chair, well filled through many get his electricity fairly in play upon generations, are probably more alive them. Max Müller sees on all sides than our neighbours to a deficiency some problem of language. Lanof this kind. Not that we claim to guage is with him essential to all judge all men by what is loosely reasoning; mythology is only a called "Scotch philosophy." Our “ diseased language; " and all that own systems, doubtless, have their we want towards settling our relidefects or their shortcomings, and gious and philosophical differences, there is scope enough for progres- is a thorough knowledge of the lansive development; but we are fami- guage we use in our controversies. liarised to the difficulties of these We can hardly believe that, on sober subjects. If there is much unexplor- consideration, Max Müller would ed, we know where, at least, there deliberately assert these three propois a solid piece of ground to stand sitions which we have just set down. upon. We can make a shrewd guess But with more or less distinctness whether the lecturer who comes be- they are asserted in these Lectures ; fore us (let him come from what the first very positively; in the part of the world he may, or have second and third he has perhaps been educated at Berlin, or Göttin- confused himself and his hearers by gen, or Paris, or Geneva), whether not distinguishing clearly what he he has himself any sure footing in means by mythology, or definition. these speculative regions. An Eng- 1. “Without speech no reason, lish audience, when metaphysics are says Max Müller; and he censures touched upon, are either at the Locke and Brown for not acquiesmercy of their present teacher, and cing implicitly in this assertion. are led whithersoever he pleases; or They make what, we are persuaded, else they refuse to be led at all— will seem to mankind in general they stand stock-still. We in Scot- certain exceptions, certain qualifiland have calmly seen the various cations which are absolutely necessystems of German metaphysics sary. A reasoning which is carried tower above our heads into tran- on in propositions must, of course, scendental altitudes; we have seen require the aid of language ; a our neighbours clapping their hands reasoning whose object is to conat the cloud-built edifice, and com- vince others must, of course, be paring it, to our disparagement, carried on in language ; and with the modest structure of the difficult to conceive any reasoning Scotch philosophy; but we have upon such simple subjects as seen these huge clouds that for a State and a Church without using time took possession of the sky sink the symbol of language. It is very down and disappear-vanish into certain that the complex organisaviewless vapour—while we have tion we call a State or a Church steadily progressed, adding stone to could not have been developed stone, and re-shaping here and there without the aid of language. But our more terrestrial building. where the act of comparison or

Our present lecturer, we appre- judgment (which constitutes the hend, has been led into vague essence of reasoning) requires only and exaggerated statements on this the memory of individual objects, subject — the connection between language is not indispensable. We Thought and Language - by the

- by the may use it even here, and use it in almost excusable partiality which the silence of our thoughts, from every master in any one science is inveterate habit ; but we may also likely to have for that science. The limit the process of our mind to the chemist finds in physiology only a memory of objects, and the percepseries of chemical problems; the tion of their relations. The diselectrician could explain both phy- covery of means to an end will siology and chemistry, could he once surely be allowed to be a process

a on


of reasoning. Now, an inventive which presents itself to them at mechanician, meditating how to once as benefactor and as tyrant. complete his design, carries his In order that his explanation should machine in his mind's eye, tries wear a more satisfactory appearance this or that expedient, applies a than it otherwise would do, Max wheel or shapes a crank, and might Müller extends the term mythology spend a whole day in laborious to a class of cases to which it was cogitation without the least aid never yet applied, and in which the of language. He might have the influence of language upon thought habit of muttering to himself; but is manifest enough. he also might conduct his mental

“After the definition," he says in operations without the least refer- his concluding lecture, “which ence to language. The first word several occasions I have given of he uttered even to himself might be mythology, I need only repeat here a cry of joy at his success- --the old that I include under that name every philosopher's triumphant Eureka! case in which language assumes In the earliest stages of society mind, instead of being, as it was in,

independent power, and reacts in the there would be few processes of

tended to be, the mere realisation and thought in which the aid of lan- outward embodiment of the mind.” guage would be absolutely essential. Language was first wanted and first Accordingly, he would classify framed for the communication of under the same category the Myths thought, for the utterance of our of the Dawn, which every reader wishes and desires. It was after- of Max Müller knows form his fawards, when the very materials of vourite topic on ancient mythology, thought became (and became partly with the fabulous account of the through the aid of language) of a barnacle goose, once stoutly assertmore complex nature, that language ed by the naturalists of England. assumed its second character as an There was a goose called the barinstrument of thought.

nacle goose; there was a shellfish 2. On the subject of mythology that had also got the name of barnaour lecturer makes some excellent cle, and which often clung to pieces observations; we would particularly of floating timber. There projects notice the distinction he has so from the shell of this barnacle what ably drawn between the religion the modern naturalist calls the foot and the mythology of the ancient of the animal, and what, at a disGreeks, and the clear summary he tance, has some resemblance to feahas given us of the several theories thers. This slight resemblance to of the Greeks themselves on the feathers, coupled with the identity origin of their mythology. But when of name, gave rise to the fable that he himself would explain this origin, the barnacle goose came out of the he appears to resolve it ultimately shell of the barnacle that grew upon into the influence of language upon the tree. Max Müller has given us thought: a word becomes a person ; some very amusing extracts from forgetting that in the personification old writers, who were not content of natural objects there is also a with asserting all this as the then preliminary process of thought, orthodox doctrine relative to barwhich, in some way or other, must nacle geese, but who solemnly deget itself expressed in language. clare that they had seen the bird in No doubt the given word aids mar- the shell of the barnacle, and are vellously in building up a mytho- minute in their description of the logy; but the most essential part manner of its birth, nutrition, &c. of the process is that tendency Here there can be no doubt that which human beings have to see a the identity of name, favoured by power or a will like their own in the slight similarity we have menthe activities of that external nature tioned, tyrannised over the imagi


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nation. We have no grave obliga- robbed of their brightest treasure of tions to call this by the term of the West. That siege, in its original modern mythology ;” and we are

form, is the constant theme of the ready to believe that some of the hymns of the Veda. Saramá, it is true, fables of ancient mythology might temptation of Pani, yet the first indica

does not yield, in the Veda, to the be explained in a similar manner. tions of her faithlessness are there, and But whether it is ancient or mo- the equivocal character of the twilight dern fable that we are dealing with, which she represents would fully acthere is an essential difference be- count for the further development of tween such cases and the myths of

the Greek myth. In the 'Iliad, Brithe Dawn. These resulted from a

seïs, the daughter of Brises, is one of

the first captives taken by the advancpersonification of the Dawn itself

ing army of the West. In the Veda, that luminous and coloured appear before the bright powers reconquer the ance in the sky which preceded the Light that had been stolen by Pani,

This is not an instance of they are said to have conquered the the influence of language over Offspring of Brysaya. That daughter

of Brises is restored to Achilles, when thought, but of the spectacle of nature over thought. We who

his glory begins to set, just as all the

first loves of solar heroes return to know the dawn as nothing but the them in the last moments of their light of the sun seen before the earthly career. And as the Sanskrit orb itself has risen above the hori- name of Panis betrays the former prezon, may have some difficulty in sence of an r, Paris himself might be regarding the dawn as a separate

identified with the robber. phenomenon. But to a people the sister of the Dioskuroi, was one of

That the beautiful daughter of Zeus, quite ignorant of our doctrine of

the many personifications of the Dawn, the refraction of light, it would I have never doubted. Whether she present this independent appear- is carried off by Theseus or by Paris,

Like the rainbow, it would, she is always reconquered by her rightin some inexplicable way, belong ful husband. She meets him again at to the sun, but it would be an in the setting of his life, and dies with dependent thing. Like the rain- the burden of many a Dawn myth, and

him, pardoned and glorified. This is bow, or the wind, or the sun itself, it is the burden of the story of would not long remain a thing ; it would be a power, a person, a

3. The third occasion on which companion of the sun. It heralded our eminent philologist shows his the sun, it was destroyed by the tendency to overrate the influence sun, or else it was carried off by of language upon thought, is where certain demons, and certain other he speaks of the too well known demons or deities of the Day again effect of obscurity of language on brought her back to be reunited to the discussions of philosophers and

divines. No observation is more Amongst the numerous myths of just or more frequently made than the Dawn which Max Müller dis- this, that if disputants did but use covers amongst the fables of Greece, their words in exactly the same he ranks, we may mention, the fa- sense, there would be an end to mous tale of Troy. Homer's epic, many a discussion. But this obby gradual accretions and transfor- servation is only accurate when it mations, grew out of some scarce is kept within its proper limits. recoverable myth. Helen was the Between the most intelligent of Dawn, snatched away by lawless living men, using an instrument of suitors, who represent the Panis communication that should convey robbers of the night, and she is the meaning of each most distinctly recovered by the sun- a-bright Greeks. to the other, there would still re

“ The siege of Troy is but a repeti- main topics enough for controversy. tion of the daily siege of the East by

To define words so that two disthe solar powers that every evening are putants shall attach to them exact


the sun.

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ly the same meaning, and to define neither on the evidence of the senses nor words so that the meaning attached

on the evidence of reason. No man has to them shall be strictly in accord

ever seen God, no man has ever formed

a general conception of God. Neither ance with fact or truth, are two

sense nor reason can supply a knowvery different things; and Max ledge of God. What are called the Müller has overstepped this dis- proofs of the existence of God, whether tinction. In this latter sense, a ontological, teleological, or kosmological, perfect definition is the last result are possible only after the idea of God

has been realised within us. of all our inquiries and discussions. has

Here, To say of such a definition that it then, we have a third kind of know? would put an end to disputes, is ledge, which imparts to us what is nei

ther furnished by the organs of sense, simply to say that men have attain

nor elaborated by our reason, and which, ed, and generally acquiesced in, the nevertheless, possesses evidence equal, last discoverable truth. Our lec- nay superior, to the evidence of sense turer bas permitted himself to con

and reason. found these two very different ideas

Unless these three kinds of knowconnected with the word definition ledge are carefully distinguished, the -the one pointing to a perfect in- receive the most contradictory anstrument for the communication of thought, the other to the truest thought that can be gathered under

Here Max Müller has given us, the word.

in a few words, his theory of the “I shall, in conclusion,” says Max

nature of human knowledge Müller, "give two or three instances to theory which we will resist the indicate the manner in which I think temptation of discussing. He may the science of Language might be of ad- be right or wrong in his theory; vantage to the philosopher.

but it is unmistakable error to say Knowledge, or to know, is used in

that the science of language, or any modern languages in at least three different senses.

logical or etymological definitions “First, we may say, a child knows of the word knowledge, or to know, his mother, or a dog knows his master. can help us in receiving it. What This means no more than they recog- ideas we shall gather under this nise one present sensuous impression as word knowledge, is precisely the identical with a past sensuous impres- subject of controversy. He thinks sion. This kind of knowledge arises simply from the testimony of the senses,

our knowledge of God is intuitive;

others consider it a legitimate inor sensuous memory, and it is shared in common by man and animal.

ference from the purposes, or great Secondly, we may say, I know this purpose (let us say the developto be a triangle. Here we have a gen- ment of man), seen in creation. eral conception, that of triangle, which

How can anything whatever, which is not supplied by the senses alone, but elaborated by reason; and we predicate

can be described as specially perthis of something which we perceive at taining to the science of language, the time by our senses. We recognise assist us in determining this disa particular sensuous impression as fall- pute? It is open to every disputing under the general category of tri- ant to do as Max Müller has here angle. Here you perceive the differ- done-simply to beg the question We not only recognise what we

by making his own definition of see as the same thing we had seen

knowledge. before, but we must previously have gathered certain impressions into one

In the same triumphant way he cluster, and have given a name to this defines the words “faith” and “to cluster, before we can apply that name

believe.” He says :whenever the same cluster presents it. self again. This is knowledge denied “When we speak of our belief in to the animal, and peculiar to man as a God, or in the immortality of the soul, reasonable being.

or in the Divine government of the *Thirdly, we say that man knows world, or in the Sonship of Christ, we there is a God. This knowledge is based want to express a certainty independent


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