Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/763

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745
SPECULATION IN SCIENCE.

parading science and religion side by side, talking of reconciling science and religion, as if they have ever been unreconciled. Scientists and theologians may have quarrelled, but never science and religion. At dinners they are toasted in the same breath, and calls made on clergymen to respond, who, for fear of giving offence, or lacking the fire and firmness of St. Paul, utter a vast amount of platitudes about the beauty of science and the truth of religion, trembling in their shoes all the time, fearing that science falsely so called may take away their professional calling, instead of uttering in a voice of thunder, like the Boanerges of the Gospel, that the "world by wisdom knew not God." And it never will. Our religion is made so plain by the light of faith that the wayfaring man, though a fool, cannot err therein.

No, gentlemen, I firmly believe that there is less connection between science and religion than there is between jurisprudence and astronomy, and the sooner this is understood the better it will be for both. Religion is based upon revelations as given to us in a book, the contents of which are never changed, and of which there have been no revised or corrected editions since it was first given, except so far as man has interpolated; a book more or less perfectly understood by mankind, but clear and unequivocal in all essential points concerning the relation of man to his Creator; a book that affords practical directions, but no theory; a book of facts, and not of arguments; a book that has been damaged more by theologians than by all the pantheists and atheists that have ever lived and turned their invectives against it — and no one source of mischief on the part of theologians is greater than that of admitting the profound mystery of many parts of it, and almost in the next breath attempting some sort of explanation of these mysteries. The book is just what Richard Whately says it is, viz., "Not the philosophy of the human mind, nor yet the philosophy of the divine nature in itself, but (that which is properly religion) the relation and connection of the two beings — what God is to us, what he has done and will do for us, and what we are to be in regard to him." . . . Let us stick to science, pure, unadulterated science, and leave to religion things which pertain to it; for science and religion are like two mighty rivers flowing toward the same ocean, and, before reaching it, they will meet and mingle their pure streams, and flow together into that vast ocean of truth which encircles the throne of the great Author of all truth, whether pertaining to science or to religion. And I will here, in defence of science, assert that there is a greater proportion of its votaries who now revere and honor religion in its broadest sense, as understood by the Christian world, than that of any other of the learned secular pursuits.

But, before concluding, I cannot refrain from referring to one great event in the history of American science during the past year, as it will doubtless mark an epoch in the development of science in this country. I refer to the noble gift of a noble foreigner to encourage