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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/472

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

in modern civilization, it has become the great principle of philanthropy. Now the sufferings of all mankind touch the hearts of all men. If a tornado destroys a village, the whole world tenders alms; if a party of heroes are starving in the ice-fields of the North, their sufferings kindle sympathy in the heart of every civilized man.

But there is a charity unknown to tribal society, and little known in early civilization—a charity born of knowledge, a charity kindled in the hearts of men by science. It is charity for men's opinions—philosophic charity. In all the past, he whose opinions were not in conformity with current beliefs was held to be depraved, and hemlock was his portion, or fagots were used for his purification.

It has at last been discovered that the world has always been full of error, and we are beginning to appreciate how man has struggled through the ages from error to error toward the truth. We now know that false opinions are begotten of ignorance, and in the light of universal truth all men are ignorant, and as the scholar discovers how little of the vast realm of knowledge he has conquered he grows in philosophic charity for others. The history of the world is replete with illustrations to the effect that the greater the ignorance the greater the abomination of unconforming opinion, and the greater the knowledge the greater the charity for dissenting opinions.

 

EVOLUTION AND THE DESTINY OF MAN.
W. D. LE SUEUR.

"THE Destiny of Man viewed in the Light of his Origin" is the important and interesting subject to which Professor Fiske devotes the last work that has issued from his pen. It is as true to-day as it was in the days of that Northumbrian king whose reason for hearing the Christian missionaries has so often been cited with approval, that men have a longing to know what may lie beyond the portal of death which closes so solemnly and, as it would seem, mysteriously upon all the activities of life. The Christian religion has been answering the question in its own way for well-nigh nineteen hundred years, and it might not be too much to say that upon that answer, authoritatively given, more than upon anything else, its wonderful and prolonged vitality has depended. What troubles the minds of many to-day is a doubt as to whether there are solid and reasonable grounds for what has so long been taught with authority. Was the tone of certainty assumed by Christian teachers at the outset anything more than a strong persuasion due to the workings of imagination? Does the answer so confidently given, and so devoutly accepted by countless multitudes in past ages, still hold good? Is the soul of man