Page:A Few Hours in a Far Off Age.djvu/14

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15
A FEW HOURS IN A FAR-OFF AGE,

velopment, the gradual alteration 'in bodily structure and correlativety, that of all appertaining to mind. But it is no longer a disquietude all lesser feelings have resolved into an absorbing wonder—more absorbing still when I miss the intervening time, and compare the low beings, whose ethics and world-government we are now reviewing, with my noble father."

"Modestly-spoken conscientious thoughts! A result I expected when I forebore to press your young judgment at that time on matters so important. Given facts, and honest thought and great truths never fail to reveal themselves before the reflection of an earnest mind. You are right, dear, in calling your loved father noble, for so he is in every thought and act, and likewise all humans of our age, compared with the half savages whose habits and natures we are examining. Understand I say compared, because humankind is still progressing. We must endeavour not to give the future cause to stamp us with conceit, as well as lesser knowledge than it will possess. This was one of the great errors of our ancestors. The bulk of the ancient Australians, for whom we feel such pity, imagined there remained little else to learn. A fallacious idea, which operated powerfully in delaying progress—and that brings me back to the point where your brother interrupted. Of course the laws made by such men as I have endeavoured to describe, not only fully protected themselves, but sanctioned their perjury and wife-plundering! and—this I tell you to caution you against self-laudation—these same men boasted of their religious sentiments and great height in ethics, yet they broke the vows made at their altars with absolute impunity! and such conduct brought to them no loss or disgrace, no lowered status in anything. They boasted, too, of their fine sense of