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About Hesperian student / (Lincoln [Neb.]) 1872-1885 | View Entire Issue (May 5, 1884)
THE HESPERIAN STUDENT.
tially the same. History, Political Economy and
Natural History are passing through the transitory
stage; men are only beginning to see that race move
ments have their causes as well as planetary ones, that
the story of the life of the world in not merely a list
of happenings nor a series of fragmentary miracles.
These and the science of mind are still cellecting and
classifying facts, and wild theories are rife as they must
always be until the true principle s light up the dark
places. In the end however they must range them
selves, in so far as they claim to be exact sciences with
the other branches, as departments only in the all in
clusive mathematics. In that time the true synthetic
philosophy can be constructed; ascending regularly
from the simple axioms to the most complex truths.
gin gtutlmtti' gray ooh,
THE INNOVATIONS OFSOIENOE.
Tho present is characterized by a professed reverence
fnr intellectual nttniiimont mid achievements. Never
before hnvc men striven so d illigently after
knowledge a knowledge now within the
reach of nil. In every department of humnn thought,
the spirit of the age indicates a strong tendency t nvard
the exact and the actual. In ages past, men sought for
the ideal; in this, they aro straining every ncarvo in
their efforts to discover the real that which p, not
that which seems to be. With pitiless hand, they are
tearing down the false idols of the past; but like true
builders, they are erecting the more enduiing monu
ments of reality. This spirit of realism finds its mos
potent ally and probably, its inspiring cause in Science
the search for the actual in nature.
The innovations of modern science on other modes of
thought and study in the last century havo been made
with a startling rapidity unsurpassed in history. The
mind can scarcely grasp the magnitude of the changes
wrought in this short lime. No longer arc the Roger
Bacons regarded simply us magicians and sorcerers; nor
aro the Newtons and Galileos thought of as impious,
and persecuted because they dared to investigate the
mysteries of nature nor are chemists looked upon as stu
dents of the Black Ait and in league with Satan. Scien
tists are not now, ob in times past, sepcrated from the
masses, by the impassible gulf of ignorance and super
stition. On the contrary, they owe much of their sues
cess to the sympathy and encouiagcmcnt of an enlight
In the history of science, religion has played an im
portant part. Ever ready to lake up arms against any
new train af thought, which shows a disposition to ques
tion her. doctrines, religion haR steadily and systematical
ly opposed the onward march of science. It was un ops
position detrimental to religion and science alike, for it
made the defendants of each more conservative in their
views and materially retarded the progress of modern
liberal thought. Despite this hostility, however, the
Ohristain doctrine of the brotherhood of man has fostered !
he growth of science, ami, indeed, paradoxical as the state
ment seems, modern science owes its origin to Christi
anity. Science, on the other hand, has critically and impar
tially examined the doctrines of religion, and throwing
abide- ns unworthy of belief those that could not stand t he
test, separating the true form the false, has purified our
fa I tli and transformed it from a blind ignorant and super
stitious worship of the supernatural to a tiling of reason
involving the highest faculties of tlio human mind. Is it
not gratfying to see that form amidst the ruins of ancient
institutions our religion alone still stands firmer than
ever, stripped only of those parts which are of human
Science has, indeed, added demonstration aud proof to
the truths of Christianity, and fixed mora firmly its hold
on the minds of men. Most of our greatest scientists aro
devout Christians, and their works abound in such pas
sages as that in which Agassiz declares the animal king
dom to be "a thought of a Supremo Intelligence manifes
ted in a material reality."
Science has also opened a new flold for literature.
Atone time literature seemed about to die a natural
death from inanition, because of the poverty of thought.
Poetry had become but the repetition of old ideas in n
new dress. Imagination, the source from which the
poet draws his inspiration, had been so often called up
on for thoughts and fancies that nothing new remained.
As Emorson soys, "The originals are not original."
There is imitation, model, suggestion to theveryjarch
angels, if we knew their history;" Drydcn, too, aptly ex
presses this fact when he somewhere says of the modern
poets; "You may track them in the snows of the
ancients." The deeds and marvels of which the ancient
poet3 sang, have ceased to find a place even in prosn.
Science has made an epic poem no longer possible; for
the circumstances which creatid them have long since
been left behind. The heroes of the Iliad would rank
witii the common soldiers of a modern army; and tho
heroes of the Oddcssv, not po high as an ordinary sailor.
Poetry is characterized by i pcaroh for the ideal and
science in its progress, hiisjrcveiiled so many diverse aud bo
fore undreamed otydireclions for speculation, tha' it will
ever bo impossible to fill completely the realm of tho
unknown a fruitful source of the ideal.
Science, too, lias caused a revolution in the domains f
history. Until recently referring all great changes to
individuals orspcoinl providences, many historians havo
degraded their works into mere books of hero worship.
Science, however, has applied tho laws of evolution even
to history, and shown that the progress of society is due
not to the actions of individuals, but to the gradual de
velopment of natural laws.
Science has, "indeed, opened a wider range of though.
As more and more of tho vast domain of nature is disclosed
to our view, we must receive such new thoughts and fuel
lugs as cannot fail to stimulate literature to a better
truer and nobler growth.
The establishment of so many hcicntiflc institutes and
the introduction of scientific studies into our schools and
colleges, indicates ,that in education, also the study of
nature has had its influence. Tho tide of intellectual
effort sets so strongly in tho direction of science, that
its presence can no longer be ignored. The days of tho
old scholastic system which so long held sway over the
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