Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/340

This page has been validated.

our motives, conscious of the portentous change which is taking place in the thought of the world, conscious of the irresistible power which is behind us! Let us not return railing for railing, but, above all, let us deliver unflinchingly to others the truths that Nature has delivered to us!

The book of Nature! shall not we chemists, and all our brother-students, whether they be naturalists, astronomers, mathematicians, geologists, shall we not all humbly and earnestly read it? Nature, the mother of us all, has inscribed her unfading, her eternal record on the canopy of the skies, she has put it all around us on the platform of the earth! No man can tamper with it, no man can interpolate or falsify it for his own ends. She does not command us what to do, nor order us what to think. She only invites us to look around. For those who reject her she has in reserve no revenges, no social ostracism, no index expurgatorius, no auto-da-fé! To those who in purity of spirit worship in her heaven-pavilioned temple, she offers her guidance to that cloudy shrine on which Truth sits enthroned, "dark with the excess of light!" Thither are repairing, not driven by tyranny, but of their own accord, increasing crowds from all countries of the earth, conscious that, whatever their dissensions of opinion may heretofore have been, in her presence they will find intellectual concord and unity.



TO hit off the happy medium between over-and under-work is no easy task even to those who have the necessary knowledge, on the one hand, and the liberty to arrange their own scheme of occupation, on the other. But, for one person who is injured by doing too much, I quite believe with Dr. Wilkes that many may be found who are sustaining serious damage from not having enough mental stimulus. The listless vacuity in which so many of the well-to-do classes spend their lives, the want of any incentive to exertion, and the absence of any attempt at real thought which the wide-spread prevalence of ready-made opinions in our periodical literature directly encourages, must cause more or less degeneration of intellectual power. Under these conditions the brain gradually loses its healthy tone, and, although quite equal to the daily calls of a routine and uneventful existence, it is unable to withstand the strain of special sudden emergency, and, when a heavy load of work is unexpectedly thrown upon it in its unprepared state, then we see all the worst consequences of what may be called overwork develop themselves. It is no uncom-