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ment which has caused the natural sciences to gain their greatest triumphs, namely, a critical collection of facts, will be the most appropriate treatment of the Science of Religion ; nor should I differ from him in looking on man, in his purely phenomenal character, as a part of nature, nay, as her highest achievement, so that, if religion can be shown to be a natural outcome of our faculties, we may readily accept the Science of Religion as one of the natural sciences, in the most comprehensive meaning of that term. Anyhow, I hope I shall best carry out the intentions of the founder of this lectureship by devoting these lectures, firstly, to a careful collection of the facts of religion ; secondly, to an intercomparison of these facts; and thirdly, to an interpretation of their meaning.
But Lord Gifford has not only indicated what he wished chiefly to be taught in these lectures on Natural Theology; he has been even more careful to indicate the spirit by which he hoped that his lecturers would be guided. And this seems to me the most remarkable feature of his bequest. Lord Gifford was evidently what the world would call a devout and religious man, and you have heard how in his Will he expressed his conviction that a true knowledge of God is the means of man's highest well-being and the security of his upward progress. Yet so strong was his conviction that all scientific inquiry must be perfectly free, if it is to be useful, that he would hear of no restrictions in the choice of his lecturers.
• They may be of any denomination whatever,' he says, or of no denomination at all ; they may be of any religion or of no religion at all ; they may be socalled sceptics or freethinkers, so long as they have LORD GIFFORD'S BEQUEST.
proved themselves sincere lovers of and earnest inquirers after truth.'
Now in this large-hearted charity, and at the same moment, in this unshaken faith in the indestructible character of religion, we may surely recognise a sign of the times. Would such a Will have been possible fifty years ago ? Would any English, would any Scotch University at that time have accepted a lectureship on such conditions? I doubt it; and I see in the ready acceptance of these conditions on the part of the Scotch Universities the best proof that in the study and true appreciation of religion also, our nineteenth century has not been stationary.
When it was first suggested that one of these Gifford readerships might be offered to me, I replied at once to my friends at Edinburgh, Glasgow, and St. Andrews, that I could not become a candidate. It so happened that I was informed at the same time that my own University might again require my services, and I felt very strongly that at my time of life I ought not to undertake new duties, but rather finish, if possible, the work which I had in hand. If I tell you that I was pledged to a new edition of the Rig-veda, which consists of six volumes quarto, of about a thousand pages each, and that besides that, I was engaged in putting a finishing touch to an English translation of the hymns of that Veda,-to say nothing of new editions of several of my other books, which, like myself, had grown old and antiquated, you will readily believe that, strongly as I felt tempted, and highly as I felt honoured that I should have been thought of as a fit candidate, I thought it wise not to enter on a new campaign.
But when I was informed by your Principal that, though not a candidate, I had been elected, and unanimously elected, by the Senate of your University, I had not strength enough to say No. Whether I acted wisely or foolishly, the future must show. But when I had once said Yes, I must confess it was to me like the beginning of a new life. Some of the work on which I was engaged had to be thrown overboard; but I had now an opportunity, and a splendid opportunity, for summing up the whole work of my life.
Forgive me if, for a short while, I speak of myself. I know it is very wrong, and may sound very selfish. But I am anxious to explain to you what the main outline of the work of my life has been, and why I hope that in these lectures I may be able to gather up what seems to me worth preserving, and at the same time to place before you the final outcome of life-long labours, devoted to what the ancient Greeks called tà péylota, the greatest things. As a student at Leipzig, in the year 1841, I began my studies as a classical scholar, as a pupil of Gottfried Hermann, Haupt, Westermann, Nobbe, and Stallbaum. These were great names at the time, and excellent teachers; but even before I had taken my degree, I was tempted away by philosophy, attending the lectures of Christian H. Weisse, Drobisch, Hartenstein, and Lotze. Leipzig was then richer in great teachers than any other University in Germany. Hartenstein represented the classical Kantian school; Drobisch was a follower of Herbart; Weisse made propaganda for Hegelianism; Lotze, then quite a young Privatdocent, started a philosophical system of his own, LORD GIFFORD'S BEQUEST.
which now begins, I believe, to attract attention in Scotland also. I imagined at that time I was a Hegelian, and I well remember when I passed my final Examination at Leipzig, and had been wrangling for a long time with my Examiner, Professor Drobisch, all in Latin, on the respective merits of Hegel and Herbart, Drobisch, who was then Dean of the Philosophical Faculty, and who I believe is lecturing still at Leipzig, addressed me in the following words: Vir doctissime, quamvis nostris sententiis toto coelo distemus, tamen te creo atque pronuntio magistrum Artium et Doctorem Philosophiae in Universitate nostra. The dissertation which I wrote in 1843, in order to obtain my Doctor's degree, was 'On the Third Book of Spinoza's Ethics, De Affectibus.'
In the meantime, like many other young philosophers, I had been attracted by Schelling's fame to Berlin, where I attended his lectures, and soon become personally acquainted with the old sage. He was at that time an old man, more of a poet and prophet than of a philosopher ; and his lectures on the philosophy of mythology and religion opened many new views to my mind. But, though I admired the depth and the wide range of his ideas, I could not help being struck by what seemed to me his unfounded statements with regard to the ancient religions of the East. I had at Leipzig studied Arabic under Fleischer, and Sanskrit under Brockhaus, and I was then reading Persian with Rückert at Berlin. Though I was a mere boy, Schelling was quite willing to listen to some of my criticisms, and at his request I then translated for him some of the most important Upanishads, which form part of the ancient
Vedic literature. I have never been able to recover that translation, and it was not till 1879 that I published a new, and, I hope, more accurate translation of these theosophic treatises, in my Sacred Books of the East.
I soon came to see, however, that these Upanishads were only the latest outcome of Vedic literature, and that in order to know their antecedents, in order to be able to appreciate the historical growth of the Indian mind during the Vedic age, we must study the ancient hymns of the Veda. I remember having a most interesting discussion on the relative importance of the Vedic hymns and the Upanishads with Schopenhauer at Frankfort. He considered that the Upanishads were the only portion of the Veda which deserved our study, and that all the rest was priestly rubbish (Priester-wirthschaft). His own philosophy, he declared, was founded on the Upanishads, which, as he says in one of his books,
have been the solace of my life, and will be the solace of my death 1.' To me it seemed that an historical study of the Vedic religion ought to begin with the hymns of the Rig-veda, as containing in thought and language the antecedents of the Upanishads. The first book only of the Rig-veda, the collection of hymns, had then been published by Frederick Rosen, and Rosen had died before even that first voluine was printed. I felt convinced that all mythological and religious theories would remain without a solid foundation till the whole of the Rigveda had been published. This idea took complete possession of me, and young as I was, and, I ought to
i Upanishads, translated by Max Müller, vol. i. p. lxi.
Sacred Books of the East,