Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/76

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mythic communal village, with its Thing or Council, the very counterpart of the communal village of Iceland. Olympus was a Greek city.

Still further in the study of mythologic philosophy we see that more and more supremacy falls into the hands of the few, until monotheism is established on the plan of the empire. Then all of the inferior deities whose characters are pure become ministering angels, and the inferior deities whose characters are evil become devils, and the differentiation of good and evil is perfected in the gulf between heaven and hell. In all this time from zoötheism to monotheism, ancientism becomes more ancient, and the times and dynasties are multiplied. Spiritism is more clearly defined, and spirits become eternal; mythologic tales are codified, and sacred books are written; divination for the result of amorous intrigue has become the prophecy of immortality, and thaumaturgics is formulated as the omnipotent, the omnipresent, and the infinite.

Time has failed me to tell of the evolution of idolatry from fetichism, priestcraft from sorcery, and of their overthrow by the doctrines that were uttered by that voice on the Mount. Religion, that was fetichism and ecstacism and sorcery, is now the yearning for something better, something purer, and the means by which this highest state for humanity may be reached, the ideal worship of the highest monotheism, is "in spirit and in truth." The steps are long from Shinauav, the ancient of wolves, by Zeus, the ancient of skies, to Jehovah, the "ancient of days."

Comparative theology furnishes grand illustrations of the processes of evolution. It presents a multiplicity of events occurring in orderly succession in obedience to the laws of adaptation, heredity, and survival of the fittest, and, in passing from the lower to the higher state, it demonstrates the fundamental law of progress, that evolution is from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous by successive differentiations and integrations.



WE find that the degrees of perception in people vary. In other words, one may receive more impressions than another, so that we measure the extent of a person's life by the number of objects or ideas that produce a lasting effect and modify the disposition or mental tendency. This suggests a comparison of the senses in different persons. Then arises the general question of the possible evolution of new powers, for with a wider meaning we may term the telegraph, the printing-press, and particularly the telescope, approximations to