Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 41.djvu/568

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552
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

its writers may cling to less defensible positions. There is a great work for our new contemporary to do in freeing the religious sentiment from delusions which only serve to check its free expansion and development. Many now think that, in some mysterious manner, they ingratiate themselves with higher powers by disparaging and abusing their reasoning faculty; but The New World, if we do not mistake its mission, is prepared to teach a different lesson—namely, that the fullest development and greatest activity of the reasoning faculty are absolutely essential to the highest religious life. When man is a free being in the largest sense of the word, and has reconciled himself, once for all, to the conception of all-pervading law, his religious nature may then reach out for its own satisfactions, not only without dread of aught which it may be in the power of Science to reveal, but with a glad confidence that all further discoveries can only tend to a deepening of that spirit of reverence and self-reverence in which religion essentially consists. Science at last is coming into its own in this world in which its mission has so often been ignored or misunderstood, and in which the labors and sacrifices of its votaries have so often been repaid with persecution and reproach. The New World is a hopeful sign of the times, and we bespeak for it a liberal support from those who believe that, in religion as in science, there are better things in store for us than the world has yet seen.

 

 

COMMON SENSE WANTED.

Every day some new law is passed somewhere or other to protect people against the results of their own ignorance and folly; but it is comparatively seldom that we hear of any proposition of a serious or comprehensive kind to do away with the ignorance and folly which render, or seem to render, so many laws necessary. Popular education is believed by some to be doing this work about as fast as it can be done; but this we hold to be a serious error. There never was a time, we believe, when so many people were trading on the thoughtlessness and credulity of the masses as at present. The Post-Office Department spends a considerable percentage of the energy which it should devote to perfecting the mail service of the country in unsuccessful efforts to prevent the mails from being used to promote fraudulent schemes. The result, doubtless, is to more or less embarrass some swindling businesses; but as fast as one is suppressed another takes its place, and some that seem to have been suppressed have only changed their name and perhaps their base of operations. But, in addition to schemes that are unmistakably fraudulent, there are hundreds of at least dubious character that spread their nets in the advertising (sometimes even in the editorial) columns of the press. No offer is too grossly extravagant to captivate and delude some persons who might be supposed able to take care of themselves in an ordinary business transaction. We have known a man who could write a fair business letter send a dollar in response to an advertisement which stated that, for that sum, the advertiser would send a complete set of parlor furniture in black walnut and crimson plush to any address, carriage paid. This intelligent gentleman was very angry because, in return for his dollar, he got a few toy articles made of chips and rags and inclosed in a pasteboard box about six inches long by three broad, the whole thing weighing only a few ounces. The protests which he addressed, as we are informed, to the postal authorities were conceived in a fine tone of moral indignation, though the only part which the post-office had taken in the matter had been to convey to him a most harmless consignment of goods. So far as we could learn, it never occurred to him to pronounce himself an ass of high degree,