Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/702

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

tween gravitation and ethereal vibration, which constitute, in the last analysis, the true correlative principles of which evolution and dissolution are the corresponding processes. These are the agencies which are at all times antagonizing each other in all parts of the universe, and whose exact equality in it seems to form a logical tenet of the modern cosmology. A certain golden mean between these forces, but in which the former must predominate, results in organization; star-systems are formed in space, and life is developed out of the planetary elements. Such appears to be the state of all the matter within the range of human observation. For, whatever may be the condition of other worlds or other regions of space, the phenomena of our world and our portion of space belong to the ascending series; and whatever may be the final doom of our planet and our universe, both are now in a state of progress, and are still rejoicing in the morning of creation.

 
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PESSIMISM AND ITS ANTIDOTE.
By CHARLES NISBET.

THE consideration of general questions not admitting of definite answer, and always throwing us back on the consciousness of the extreme limitation of our knowledge, is not a profitable direction of mind, nor to be recommended as an exclusive study.

Still, occasionally, it may be wholesome, as it has confessedly a strange attraction for us, to journey to the confines of our little island of knowledge, and thence speculate a little on the trackless ocean of mystery to the navigation of which science and logic are alike inadequate. All true religion is founded on this consciousness of the infinite, of an ultimatum transcending our comprehension, but stimulating and exercising our faith.

The moral government of the world, the spiritual tendency, or indeed any dominant direction, of things, is not patent to the fleeting glance, does not reveal itself even to the most strenuous thought. The history of the world presents itself rather as a Jeremiad, as a bottomless chaos in which evil and good wrestle with each other for the mastery, and where evil generally boasts the vast majority of forces.

Savage countries lie thousands of years morally stagnating or decomposing, often physically starving, ground down under cruel despotisms and superstitions, reducing one another in perpetual warfares. The pages of the most favored countries show long chapters of declension, and the moral influxes, like angels' visits, only few and far between. The cause of Brut us opens the way to Cæsarism and death. Spain shares in the tide of new life, but that life is zealously extin-