Page:A Few Hours in a Far Off Age.djvu/17

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
18
A FEW HOURS IN A FAR-OFF AGE.

ing those poor men because they had not the knowledge that, except in extraordinary instances, can only be born of time and experience—a knowledge that grew as slowly as their change of bodily structure. As it grew, so they acquired increasing power to control, and, as we have seen in higher ages, ultimately extinguish all grosser traces of brute origin. If any blame attaches to early civilization it is solely to such heads of communities who, while possessing more than the ordinary understanding and some scientific learning, continued the promulgation of fallacies to the multitude, which they dared not utter to the Infinite in their solitude, simply to retain worldly position! Much honour is due to the integrity and courage of the few who would not bow to untruth, who thus risked and often bore with heroism the wrath of fanatics, whose vengeance was as great as their minds were small."

In tones so musically compassionate—they thrill me while I listen—she continues: "Yes, fierce and terrible to reflect upon has been the domination of ignorance! The further we examine into the evolution of our species, the more terrible will it show itself to have been. The more fully will it prove beyond all other proofs, our low origin. The lower we proceed in our researches shall we find the suffering it caused of such magnitude and hideousness that it cannot fail to create in our minds firm and lasting resolves not to be drawn, though in never so little a degree, within its deadening circle. Understand, my darlings, I refer not to lack of rote learning alone—where that is the sole knowledge, the possessor is often but a tiresome bookcase. To the study of others' written ideas we should always add our own. We must try more for the learning which honest thought gives—thought, that wordless, powerful prayer to