Wlliam Gilmore Simms
Selections from the Letters and Speeches of the Hon. James H. Hammond, of South Carolina >> An Oration Delivered Before the Two Societies of the South Carolina College, on the 4th of Dec., 1849 >> Page 219

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Page 219

Speech | The Reprint Company; John F. Trow & Co. | 1866, 1978
Transcription 219
Whoever believes that all our ideas are derived from
external sources through the senses, and all real know-
ledge from experiment that God has given man the
peculiar faculty of reason, as the only safe guide
through the perilous paths of life ; and that to do the
right thing in the right place, "To E Y xczd KAA.S22'"
is the highest human wisdom he is a follower of Aris-
totle. Whoever, on the other hand, yields himself to
a belief in innate ideas ; whoever confides in the exalt-
ing faith that there is " a Divinity that stirs within
us," and that, despite " this muddy vesture of decay
that hems us in," the Author of our being holds direct
communion with our souls, regulating our impulses,
guiding our instincts, and infusing into us that " long-
ing after immortality " which sustains the struggling
spirit through the great " LUccyrj AtJavccro " of the
universe he is a disciple of Plato the Divine.
The truly wise, the genuine christian, will perhaps
endeavor in his practice to unite the virtues of both
systems ; and, in conformity with the Apostolic inj unc-
tion, perfect his faith by works, and thus consummate
the civilization of mankind.
After all that can be said for the progress of the
last ten centuries their brilliant epochs, their illus-
trious characters it cannot be denied that we must
still look to antiquity for the noblest deeds and grand-
est thoughts that illustrate the race of man. There
were not only full-grown men, but giants in those
days. And however the study of them may be de-
cried, whosoever would become a statesman or philo-
sopher, a poet, an artist, an orator, or a divine ;
whoever would understand the human character, its
capacity and weakness, its failures and its triumphs, to