Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 23.djvu/281

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real dominant forces of the age, are the men of science, the investigators of natural phenomena, not the thinkers, philosophers, or metaphysicians who formerly gave their name to sects, and made all the world their partisans. Nothing is more remarkable than the profound respect of the scientific conception associated with the name of Darwin, not on science only, but on literature, art, morals, and, in short, upon life. Some will tell us that all this is a lamentable result of the materialism of the age; but we naturally ask how it happens that some centuries of a nonscientific or literary culture left us a prey to the materialism it is supposed to antidote? It is untrue, moreover, that material interest has been the great impelling force. The great discoveries of science have usually been made by men seeking no material reward, and, as a matter of fact, receiving very little. Science pursues her own way for the most part, and her discoveries are afterward utilized by men eagerly seeking for the means of material enrichment. Even when it is a question of so practical a thing as a new dye, it will be found that the chemist, searching into the properties and combinations of matter, comes upon the secret unawares, while the manufacturer and the dyer reap the profits. It is, indeed, only upon these terms that Nature yields up her secrets."


Quite in the spirit of the foregoing, though in a different and more special direction, is the article of President Eliot, of Harvard, in the "Princeton Review" for May, "On the Education of Ministers." President Eliot declares that the education of the clerical profession has fallen so far behind the age as to be out of relation with it, and to have consequently lost its ancient commanding influence, and even resulted in the degeneration of the clerical character. In the early part of his able article he shows the eminent position formerly occupied by the clergy as intellectual leaders. They were founders of colleges, and the largest professional class among the students. While a hundred years ago in Harvard, Yale, and Princeton the clerical graduates were respectively 29, 32, and 45 per cent, they have now fallen so far behind that "in the six years from 1871 to 1876 the percentage of ministers among the graduates of the same institutions was, in Harvard, 534; in Yale, 7; in Princeton, 17." President Eliot then glances at the great changes that have gone forward in society during the last hundred years, profoundly affecting the beliefs of men on many important questions, and bringing new and extensive knowledge to bear upon practical and everyday problems in relation to social affairs. Coincident with these movements, the temper of the public mind has undergone a wonderful change within a century upon several points which vitally affect the clerical profession. In the first place, the weight of all authority has greatly diminished, and the sources of recognized authority are quite different from what they were a century ago. The priest, like the secular ruler, has lost all that magical or necromantic quality which formerly inspired the multitude with awe; and the divine right of the minister is as dead among Protestants in our country as the divine right of kings. . . . Again, the people in these days question all things and all men, and accept nothing without examination. They have observed that discussion often elicits truth, that controversy is useful on many difficult subjects, and that in some circumstances many heads are better than one; hence they have learned to distrust all ex cathedra teaching, and to wait for the consent of many minds before giving their adhesion to new doctrines. We hardly realize how very recently the masses have acquired these invaluable habits, or how profoundly these habits have affected the position of the minister."