Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/631

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"NATURAL RELIGION."

In the same manner he shows that justice and order depend upon the stability of the imperial power: "Justice is strongest in the world when it is in one who is most willing and most powerful; only the Monarch is this; therefore, only when Justice is in the Monarch is it strongest in the world. . . . All concord depends on unity which is in wills; the human race, when it is at its best, is a kind of concord; for as one man at his best is a kind of concord, and as the like is true of the family, the city, and the kingdom; so is it of the whole human race. Therefore, the human race at its best depends on the unity which is in will. But this can not be unless there be one will to be the single mistress and regulating influence of all the rest. And this can not be unless there is one prince over all, whose will shall be the mistress and regulating influence of all the others. But if all these conclusions be true, as they are, it is necessary for the highest welfare of the human race that there should be a Monarch in the world; and, therefore, Monarchy is necessary for the good of the world."[1]

It is curious to remark that for a moment Dante seems to have caught sight of the modern point of view in regard to supreme power in the political and religious world. He is arguing against the mediaeval symbolism which saw in the sun and moon the types of the two great powers on earth: "Seeing that these two kinds of power are, in a sense, accidents of men, God would tints appear to have used a perverted order, by producing the accidents before the essence to which they belong existed." In the same way we should argue, extending the terms, that before the essential point of government in the political and religious world, viz., order and morality, became distinctly conscious in the minds of men, their accidents, the divine state and the divine Church, came into being. This view, however, he summarily rejects: "It is ridiculous to say this of God. For the two great lights were created on the fourth day, while man was not created till the sixth day, as is evident in the text of Scripture."[2]

The real secret of the persistence of the supernatural in an age of science is the tacit allowance that "what can not be demonstrated by observation not to exist may be taken as existing for purposes of edification."[3] For many years to come we shall probably continue to meet in the same communities with what would at first appear to be strange inconsistencies. Thus, at the end of August, Montreal was welcoming with open arms the high-priests of the new faith, the leaders of the American scientific world. Little more than a fortnight afterward, they were expressing their devout gratitude to the Giver of all good for enabling British soldiers to crush the wretched Egyptian, and add to the luster and renown of British arms.[4] And to those who

  1. "De Monarchia," Book I, chaps, xi-xv.
  2. Ibid., Book III, chap. iv.
  3. Leslie Stephen.
  4. On September 16th a resolution was passed by a public meeting of the citizens of Montreal, expressing "devoted loyalty to her Majesty's crown and Government," and