Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/484

This page has been validated.

as the normal condition of man, and happiness as the reward of a self-abhorring suppression of all natural desires and of a blind confidence in the efficacy of an abnormal and mysterious remedy—nay, who despise Earth herself as a "vale of tears," and life as a disease whose only cure is death, whose only anodyne a dream of a supernatural elysium. It is time to awake from that dream. It is time to open our eyes to the well-springs of life and happiness which the bounty of our Mother Earth sends forth in such abundance, and which man might enjoy with all his fellow-creatures if his perversity had not turned them into sources of misery and death. Instead of insulting our Maker by the doctrine of innate depravity, we should learn to distinguish the voice of our natural instincts from the cravings of a morbid appetency. We should try to restore life to its original purity and healthfulness instead of despising it and looking for happiness beyond the grave.

But the deluge of mediæval superstitions is fast assuaging, and many a submerged truth has reappeared like a bequest of a former and better world, and now stands as a way-mark on the road to a true Science of Life. We have rediscovered the truth that the weal and woe of earth are not distributed by the caprices of a mysterious Fate, but that they follow as sure effects upon ascertainable causes. Our best thinkers have ceased to doubt that man can work out his own destiny, that the Creator has made us the keepers of our own happiness on conditions which he never violates; that he has attached pleasure to every right act, and pain to every wrong, that he fulfills the promises of our yearnings, and never permits us to sin unwarned. We have at last begun to realize the fact that the physical laws of God find an echo in the voice of our innate monitor, and only an hereditary mistrust in our instincts makes us still hesitate to commit ourselves to its guidance. But experience will overcome that prejudice by and by; duty and inclination will go hand in hand, and the result will justify our trust in the wisdom and benevolence of Nature.


IF we say that of all brute animals none is more valuable to man than the horse, and that the neglect of any means which may promote and insure his welfare and efficiency is a blunder not easily distinguishable from crime, we may fairly be charged with uttering truisms. If we urge that this value is not recognized as it should be, and that this neglect is miserably common, we may still be accused of wasting breath on statements which no one would think of calling into