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DELIVERED BEFORE THE
LOWELL INSTITUTE, BOSTON.
MARK HOPKINS, D.D.LL.D.
PRESIDENT OF WILLIAMS COLLEGE; AUTHOR OF “LECTURES
ON THE EVIDENCES OF CHRISTIANITY,” ETC.
69 WASHINGTON STREET.
18 6 2.
Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1862, by
GOULD AND LINCOLN, In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
GEO. C. RAND & AVERY,
The Graduates of Williams College
Permit me, my friends, a word of explanation with those of you who may read the following Lectures. It seems called for by the difference between them now, and when they were heard by the most of you.
In 1830 I was elected to the Professorship of Rhetoric and Moral Philosophy in this college, and during the first year prepared and delivered twelve Lectures on Moral Philosophy. Of these, omitting the introductory one, the first paragraph was the following: “If the human constitution was made by a wise and good being, it must have been made for certain ends; and in those ends, whatever they may be, and nowhere else, can its perfection and happiness be found. - To discover these ends and the means of attaining them, is the object of Moral Philosophy.” Then followed such an examination of the constitution of man as I was able to make. This shows that the present lectures are but the carrying out of my original thought; but that those lectures should have been delivered for more than twenty-five years without essential alteration is what requires explanation, if not apology.
The explanation is, chiefly, from the pressure of other duties. During the remaining years of my professorship, my leisure was occupied with lectures on Rhetoric and Natural Theology, in connection with extra duties imposed by the declining health of Dr. Griffin. Subsequently, and till 1865, those of you then here will remember our studies together in Anatomy, and Mental Philosophy, and Moral Philosophy, and Natural Theology, and Butler's Analogy, and Vincent. Add to these, preaching; the administrative labor incident to my position; the publication of between forty and fifty pamphlets, and of a volume on the Evidences of Christianity, and it may not seem strange that when the years came round, as they seemed to, with increasing rapidity, I was only able to give the lectures as they were. Always feeling that my first duty was in the class-room, my strength simply sufficed for the demands of the passing day. In 1855 the Rhetoric of the class passed into other hands, but so much of work still remained that a revision of the Lectures was not undertaken till 1858. In the winter of 1861, the course, with the exception of the last lecture, for which there was not time, was delivered before the Lowell Institute.
When the Lectures were first written, the text-book here, and generally in our colleges, was Paley. Not agreeing with him, and failing to carry out fully the doctrine of ends, I adopted that of an ultimate right, as taught by Kant and Coleridge, making that the end. If, therefore, any of you still hold that view, -as doubtless many do,- it is not for me to say that you have not good authority for it, or to complain if you object to that now taken.
But whatever may be said of this central point, the Lectures have been much changed in other respects, and, as I hope, improved. Such as they are, with thankfulness that I am permitted to address so many of you, and with many pleasant recollections of our former discussions on this subject, they are now committed to your candid and indulgent consideration. Your sincere Friend,
MARK HOPKINS. WILLIAMS COLLEGE, OCTOBER 1, 1862.
PHILOSOPHY investigates causes, unities, and ends. Of these it is the last two that are chiefly considered in
the following lectures. “Happy,” it has been said, “ is
he who knows the causes of things.”
But in a world
where there are so many apparent discrepancies both
natural and moral, he must be more happy who knows the arrangement of things into systems, and sees how all these systems go to make up one greater system and to promote a common end. An investigation of causes . respects the past; of unities and ends, the present and
the future. Of these the latter are more intimate to
us, and he who can trace the principle of unity by which nature is harmonized with herself, and man with nature,
and man with himself, and the individual with society,