Page:The World's Famous Orations Volume 5.djvu/56

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of Raphael moving over the canvas of the transfiguration. It sees the pencil moving over its own speck, during its own second of existence, in one particular direction, and it concludes that the formula expressing that direction is the secret of the whole.

There is truth as well as vigor in the lines of Pope on the discoveries of Newton:—


"Superior beings when of late they saw
A mortal man unfold all Nature's law,
Admired such wisdom in the earthly shape,
And showed a Newton as we show an ape."


If they could not show a Newton as we show an ape, or a Newton's discoveries as we show the feats of apish cunning, it was because Newton was not a mere intellectual power, but a moral being, laboring in the service of his kind, and because his discoveries were the reward, not of sagacity only, but of virtue. We can imagine a mere organ of vision so constructed by omnipotence as to see at a glance infinitely more than could be discovered by all the Newtons, but the animal which possessed that organ would not be higher than the moral being.

Reason, no doubt, is our appointed guide to truth. The limits set to it by each dogmatist, at the point where it comes into conflict with his dogma, are human limits; its providential limits we can learn only by dutifully exerting it to tho utmost. Yet reason must be impartial in the acceptance of data and in the demand of proof.