Page:Vocation of Man (1848).djvu/136

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wild chaos of death and destruction. Disease sweeps into an untimely grave men in the pride of their strength, and children whose existence has as yet borne no fruit; pestilence stalks through blooming lands, leaves the few who escape its ravages like lonely orphans bereaved of the accustomed support of their fellows, and does all that it can do to give back to the desert regions which the labour of man has won from thence as a possession to himself. Thus it is now, but thus it cannot remain for ever. No work that bears the stamp of Reason, and has been undertaken to extend her power, can ever be wholly lost in the onward progress of the ages. The sacrifices which the irregular violence of Nature extorts from Reason, must at least exhaust, disarm, and appease that violence. The same power which has burst out into lawless fury, cannot again commit like excesses; it cannot be destined to renew its strength; through its own outbreak its energies must henceforth and for ever be exhausted. All those outbreaks of unregulated power before which human strength vanishes into nothing, those desolating hurricanes, those earthquakes, those volcanoes, can be nothing else than the last struggles of the rude mass against the law of regular, progressive, living, and systematic activity to which it is compelled in opposition to its own undirected impulses;—nothing but the last shivering strokes by which the perfect formation of our globe has yet to be completed. That resistance must gradually become weaker and at length be exhausted, since, in the regulated progress of things, there can be nothing to renew its strength; that formation must at length be completed, and our destined dwelling-place be made ready. Nature must gradually be resolved into a con-