For instruction as well as for defence the relation of philosophy to revealed truth should be explained. It is necessary to point out that while science has its own sphere within which it is independent, having its own principles and methods and means of certitude, [1—De Bonald and others were condemned and reproved by Gregory XVI for teaching that reason drew its first principles and grounds of certitude from revelation.] yet the Church as the guardian of revealed truth is obliged to prosecute for trespass those who in teaching any science encroach by affirmation or contradiction on the domain of revelation.
To sum up, therefore, logic can train the students to discriminate between good and bad arguments, which few ordinary readers can do, and not even every writer. Ethics teaches the rational basis of morals which it is useful for all to know, and psychology can teach to discriminate between the acts of intellect and will on the one hand and imagination and emotion on the other, and so furnish the key to many a puzzle of thought that has led to false and dangerous theorizing.
The method of giving instruction in the different branches of philosophy will depend so much on the preparation of the particular pupils, and also on the cast of mind of the teachers, that it is difficult to offer suggestions, except to point out this very fact that each mind needs to be met just where it is—with its own mental images, vocabulary, habit of thought and attention, all calling for consideration and adaptation of the subject to their particular case. It depends on the degree of preparation of the teachers to decide whether the form of a lecture is safest, or whether they can risk themselves in the arena of question and answer, the most useful in itself but requiring a far more complete training in preparation. If it can be obtained that the pupils state their own questions and difficulties in writing, a great deal will have been gained, for a good statement of a question is half-way to the right solution. If, after hearing a lecture or oral lesson, they can answer in writing Borne simple questions carefully stated, it will be a further advance. It is something to grasp accurately the scope of a question. The plague of girls’ answers is usually irrelevancy from want of thought as to the scope of questions or even from inattention to their wording. If they can be patient in face of unanswered difficulties, and wait for the solution to come later on in its natural course, then at least one small fruit of their studies will have been brought to maturity; and if at the end of their elementary course they are convinced of their own ignorance, and want to know more, it may be said that the course has not been unsuccessful.
It is not, however, complete unless they know something of the history of philosophy, the great schools, and the names which have been held in honour from the beginning down to our own days. They will realize that it is good to have been born in their own time, and to learn such lessons now that the revival of scholastic philosophy under Leo XIII and the development of the neo-scholastic teaching have brought fresh life into the philosophy of tradition, which although it appears to put new wine into old bottles, seems able to preserve the wine and the bottles together.