Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 46.djvu/862

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ment to say; but what science undoubtedly has done is to render the tone of mind of the ancient skeptics almost impossible in the present day. With so vast an amount of truth demonstrated for all practical purposes, so that it daily serves as the basis of action in the present and prediction for tbe future, no one not a born sophist would care to take up the Pyrrhonic parable that knowledge is an impossibility. By increasing to so vast an extent the compass of human knowledge and revealing the mutual interdependence of phenomena, science has made for every one of us an intellectual system vastly surpassing in solidity anything that was possible for Plato and his contemporaries.

We are not concerned, however, to indorse all the expressions used by Prof. Andrews; what we wish to call attention to is his cordial acceptance of the methods and conclusions of science, and his emphatic assertion that not only does he find nothing therein to impair religious faith, but that, on the contrary, he regards science as rendering an indispensable assistance to such faith. We have ourselves, on more than one occasion, put on record our belief that the religious instinct in man is an essential part of his nature; so that, closely as it may seem to be connected at any time with particular dogmas, it will not perish if those dogmas should be overthrown, but will appropriate to itself other intellectual forms that will serve its purpose as well as or better than the old. The article we have been considering is an example and proof of this. The doctrine of evolution has become to Prof. Andrews and to those who think with him—and they are many—almost a religious symbol. It has certainly become to them a means of expressing religious as well as scientific thought. Religion, after all, is simply the overflow of the human heart toward a transcendent power which reveals itself in us, if not at all times, at least in our best and highest moments. We find it nobly exemplified in a passage of the heathen sage Epictetus: "If we had understanding," he says, "ought we to do anything else both jointly and severally than to sing hymns and bless the Deity, and to tell of his benefits? Ought we not, when we are digging and plowing and eating, to sing this hymn to God? 'Great is God, who has given us such implements with which we shall cultivate the earth; great is God, who has given us hands, the power of swallowing, a stomach, imperceptible growth, and the power of breathing while we sleep.' This is what we ought to sing on every occasion, and to sing the greatest and most divine hymn for giving us the faculty of comprehending these things," Coming down to our own century, the poet Coleridge expresses in a few pregnant words, but from another point of view, the essential nature of religion when he says in one of his translations from Schiller:

"For the stricken heart of love
This visible universe and this common world
Is all too narrow."

In Epictetus we see the overflow of the glad heart, while Coleridge tells us of the overflow of the sorrowful heart. The aspiration and exultation of the one and the yearnings and pleadings of the other meet in the common thought of God. This is religion divorced from dogma, religion which no scientific investigation, no development of knowledge, can ever shake or annul. Science henceforth is free to work in its own sphere, by its own methods, and religion is free to comfort, to elevate, and purify human nature by bringing it into contact and relation with the thought of that which is highest and best and most enduring in the universe, with the thought of a Justice that is above human justice, a Love that is above human love, and a Sympathy that is denied to none. When we think of science and rehgion in this