Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/785

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treatment of evolution as Prof. Shedd's is the regular thing in our theological seminaries. In a few of them there is a frank acceptance of the main positions of evolutionary teaching; in many of them there is a growing care not to antagonize evolution as flatly as was once customary, and to lay down theological propositions which would not be entirely swept away if it should turn out that evolution should finally have to be admitted to be established. Archbishop Whately used to say that the attitude of the clergy to new scientific doctrines was marked by three definite stages: "At first they say, 'It is ridiculous'; then they affirm, 'It is contradicted by the Bible'; at last they declare, 'We always believed it.'" All these stages are represented in the teaching of the seminaries—to which one Union should be assigned may be inferred from what has gone before. It will certainly not be Prof. Shedd's fault if the institution which he serves does not prove to be the one to come to mind as the best illustration of Horace Bushnell's remark: "Some theological seminaries are not only behind the age, but behind all ages."



THE doctrine that a short life is a sign of divine favor has never been accepted by the majority of mankind. Philosophers have vied with each other in depicting the evils and miseries incidental to existence, and the truth of their descriptions has often been sorrowfully admitted, but they have failed to dislodge, or even seriously diminish, that desire for long life which has been deeply implanted within the hearts of men. The question whether life be worth living has been decided by a majority far too great to admit of any doubt upon the subject, and the voices of those who would fain reply in the negative are drowned amid the chorus of assent. Longevity, indeed, has come to be regarded as one of the grand prizes of human existence, and reason has again and again suggested the inquiry whether care or skill can increase the chances of acquiring it, and can make old age, when granted, as comfortable and happy as any other stage of our existence.

From very early times the art of prolonging life, and the subject of longevity, have engaged the attention of thinkers and essayists; and some may perhaps contend that these topics, admittedly full of interest, have been thoroughly exhausted. It is true that the art in question has long been recognized and practiced, but the science upon which it really depends is of quite mod-