Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/714

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tination is to be confronted with facts; and if they can not abide the test we let them go. Some of our theological brethren are given to gloating over the mistakes made by scientific men, and point with triumph to the wrecks of scientific theory that lie along the highway of the world's thought. There is little justification for the triumph. No scientific theory ever perished except to give birth to a better. It would be nearly as sensible to take a man to some ancient cemetery and taunt him with the number of his dead ancestors. Id humanity is the living germ which persists from age to age, though the generations of men fall like the shed leaves of the oak, and so with science: theories and systems may fail—though not till they have served their purpose but science as a method, as a principle, as a power survives, and from generation to generation admits us into ever more intimate recesses of Nature's temple. Theology, too, it is sometimes said, is progressive, and, in a certain sense, doubtless it is. But in what does its progress chiefly consist if not in giving up a fruitless contest with science, and recognizing the perfect independence of the latter as an interpreter both of Nature and of man? If theologians are wise they will not only renounce forever the ancient conflict, but they will endeavor to make an ally of science and to impress upon it, to the utmost of their power, a moral aim. The business of science is not to deprive the world of religion, but rather to make religion possible for all men by removing the intellectual difficulties that have in the past more or less hindered its acceptance by enlightened minds. When the voice of authority is no longer raised to stifle intellectual inquiry, science will cease altogether to wear a negative aspect, and will gain universal recognition as the great constructor of whatever is sound in knowledge or of practical value in life; while religion will embrace the emotions and convictions that come to man from the contemplation of the all-comprehending universe and its Transcendent Cause.




As a general thing, when the importance of individuality has been insisted on, the individuality in view is that of man. It is he who has been exhorted to assert himself, to be true to his opinions, to live his own life; the exhortation has not been to any great extent addressed to his wife or his sisters. Enough for them if they can be so fortunate as to minister not unworthily to some grand male individuality. "Women, however, though not particularly invited to the lecture, have been listening to it,—and what people do not always do with lectures or sermons—are applying it to themselves. The best of them are now aspiring also to be individuals. They want to think, to feel, to know, to do something as of themselves, and-, if possible, to think clearly, to feel truly, to know surely, and to do efficiently. St. Paul said that a woman should not be suffered to teach: what would he say if he could attend an annual meeting of our National Educational Association, and see to what an extent woman has become the teacher of the youth of the nation? He said that if a woman wanted any information on doctrinal or religious matters she should go home and ask her husband. The husband of to-day knows more about business than he does of theology; and few wives, indeed, would think of consulting their husbands on the latter subject. In any case the conditions have totally changed since these dicta were uttered. Woman has access now to something wider than domestic teaching. The world of science and literature is open to her, and the need of depending solely upon her male relatives in intellectual matters is not very often felt. Among all the changes that mark our modern time we consider this one of the most important. The elevation of woman means the elevation of man. Many persons have distressed themselves