Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 12.djvu/491

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ADDRESSES OE ELIOT AND MARSH.

It has thus exalted the idea of God—the greatest service which can be rendered to humanity. "Each age must worship its own thought of God," and each age may be judged by the worthiness of that thought. In displaying the uniform, continuous action of unrepenting Nature in its march from good to better, science has inevitably directed the attention of men to the most glorious attributes of that Divine intelligence which acts through Nature with the patience of eternity and the fixity of all-foreseeing wisdom. Verily, the infinite, present Creator is worshiped in this place. A hundred lifetimes ago a Hebrew seer gave utterance to one of the grandest thoughts that ever mind of man conceived, but applied it only to his own little nation, and coupled it with barbarous denunciation of that nation's enemies. This thought, tender and consoling toward human weakness and insignificance as a mother's embrace, but sublime also as the starry heights and majestic as the onward sweep of ages, science utters as the sum of all its teachings, as the supreme result of all its searching and its meditation, and applies alike to the whole universe and to its last atom—"the eternal God is thy refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms."

 

Address of Professor O. C. Marsh.

The opening of this Museum to day is an important event in the annals of American science, and one from which great results are sure to follow. We see around us here, already, treasures of Nature from every land, and representing all periods of the earth's history. Not merely a few typical specimens, as in most new museums, but rich series, illustrating the marvelous diversity of Nature, both in the present and in the past. Such treasures, arranged with system, and to the best advantage, as here, arrest the attention of every observer, and invite study. This alone is a grand work accomplished, and yet, we are told, this is but the beginning.

The great museums of the world are in the great cities; and it is fitting that New York, one of the few great centres of culture, should at last take her proper place in science, and found a museum, worthy of herself, for the diffusion of knowledge among her citizens. But there is something higher than the diffusion of knowledge to strive for here, and that is the increase of knowledge. The old idea of a museum was a show-room; the modern idea makes it a workshop as well. If this institution is to hold high rank in science, as we hope, it will not be in consequence of the spacious halls before us, crowded though they be with the rarest of Nature's products; but, rather, it will come through the small work-rooms in the attic, where the naturalist, with microscope or scalpel, has patiently worked out discoveries that add to the sum of human knowledge. This Museum will fail of its highest good, fail even to achieve more than a local influence, un-