Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885, March 01, 1879, Page 52, Image 4

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von. vni.
, .
orallofthu miscclhuicous collection of
magazines anil papers found in llie read
ing room.
Of tlio objects already mentioned il
ought to be remembered by the student
that his regular term work is unquestion
ably of the most importance; yet it is a
poor plan to be on intimate terms with
Virgil or Horace, and scarce know the
master minds of to-day whose iniluence is
felt so strongly on the pulse of our public
For one lo bo up with the times, it will
be by the aid of Hint mirror of passing
events, the newspaper; the earnest persons
in the reading room gathered around the
morning papers, show, if not the truth, at
least a belief in the truth of what I am
saying. But attractive as this work id to
many of the readers, il is quite possible,
indeed quite common, to give an undue
importance to the newspapers. Twenty
minutes over a newspaper are sullicient
to make it one's own, both news and edi
torials; and in the abundance of maga
zines there is little more than temporary
interest. D. II. W. .m.
The Church has never lacKed advocates
who attempt, by garbled history and col
lected facts, to show that civilization is
the legitimate and inevitable result of her
parental care. These misguided cham
pions have the advantage of existing
prejudices, and not unfrequcntly, by bub
stituting feeling for fact and eloquent
fiction for arguement, do they receive the
applause of an u lire Heeling populace.
The scope of the question, however, and
the importance of the issue, demand the
cool, intrepid logic of facts. But few
questions are frought with greater inter
est or more important results than the
inquiry into the successive steps by
which man has raised himself from the
state oi primitive savagery to the slate of
comparative civilization in which wo
now lind him. When the results shall
have been reached it will become our
duty to increase, as far as may be, those
inlluences by which this change has been
wrought and to decrease, if possible, Ihoso
by which it has been opposed.
The question before us is capable of
two distinct and independant solutions,
ouch corroborating the other. One may bu
called psychological, the other historical.
The intellectual development of a race re
sembles in many respects that of a child.
At first the chief characteristics of each
are imagination and credulity. Indeed
in Ibis regard the race can scarcely yet bo
said to have finished its childhood. Il
may be interesting as well as instructive
to follow the mental steps' by which the
race advances from one stage of civilza
lion to the next. The initial step in
every case must of necessity be to doubt
the propriety of prevailing customs, lo
cidl into queslson the justice of existing
laws, lo demand proof of the correctness
of received opinions. It is idle to talk of
improvement so long as ancestral customs
are regarded witli sacred reverence; legal
advancement is impossible so Jong as the
laws are believed to bi perfect; it is ab
surd to talk of intellectual development
while men behold with horror anything
that tends to overthrow the opinions of
their fathers. In other words the first
stop toward the advancement of civiliza
tion is to become sceptical. This general
doubt as to the truth of what exists, uatu
rally leads to inquiry, sometimes with no
higher motive than to overthrow the cher
ished faith of the more crcdulus, but
more frequently for the noble purpose of
arriving at the truth. The path of in
quiry, though leading through poverty
and opprobrium, though obstructed by the
stake and gibbet, though often obtained
with tlie blood of those who dared to
leave the well beaten tracts of the Fathers,
yet leads at last to knowledge; and know
ledge is Hie sole motor of civilzation. If
the foregoing is correct, which I think
cannot be successfully denied, we then
have the inevitable Sorites, that sccpti-