Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/580

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

vance, the more clearly and convincingly will they persist in defining those primal forces and elementary activities half guessed at from the very dawn of thought. Never false to themselves, they will always, at whatever point in history we appeal to them, represent the human soul unchanging in its nature, its powers, and its hopes. Let them never muse over the mournful question whether the work of the past will not vanish at some time without leaving a trace. All of it will survive, and from this confidence those who strive to increase the sum of knowledge draw their courage and consolation.

The conceptions of matter now entertained agree not only with the boldest deductions of most splendid discoveries of contemporary science, as well as with the oldest truths and the most instinctive faiths of humanity, but also with those loftier convictions, more precious and as solid, which form our moral and religious inheritance, and the crowning prerogative of our nature. The most advanced science rejects none of the traditions and objects to none of the great and lasting sentiments of past ages. On the contrary, it fixes the stamp of certainty on truths hitherto lacking adequate proofs, and rescues from the attacks of skepticism all that it coveted as its prey. No proof of the soul's immortality is so strong as that we have drawn from the necessary simplicity and eternity of all the principles of force. Nothing bears witness so powerfully to the majestic reality of a God as the spectacle of those diversities, all harmonious, which rule the infinite range of forces, and bind in unity the ordered pulses of the world. It is enough to fix the truth that the moral greatness and the intellectual dignity of a nation must always be measured by the standard of the esteem and credit it accords to high metaphysical speculations, and chiefly to such as relate to the constitution of matter. Meditation on the constitution of matter is the best method of teaching us to know spirit, and to understand that every thing must be referred to it, because from it every thing flows.—Revue des Deux Mondes.

 
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THE GREAT NEBULA IN ORION.
By B. A. PROCTOR, B.A.

DURING the first four months of the year, the constellation Orion is very favorably situated for observation in the evening. This magnificent asterism is more easily recognized than the Great Bear, Cassiopeia's Chair, or the fine festoon of stars which adorns the constellation Perseus. There is, indeed, a peculiarity about Orion which tends considerably to facilitate recognition. The other constellations named above gyrate round the pole in a manner which presents them