Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/445

This page has been validated.



studies—by virtue of their appealing to natural objects. Any teacher will bear me out in saying that, as regards pupils of an early age, there is no difficulty in this respect. As regards colleges and universities, there are but two things on which we can rely to make studies take hold upon the minds of students, and to receive thorough attention. The first is, love for them on the part of the student. The other is, their value to the student as regards his direct aims and purposes in life. We cannot in colleges and universities do what was formerly done in England—take the student and whip him. We have to trust to one or the other of these two classes of incentives. Now, the number is considerable of those who, from one motive or the other, would take up this great subject of study. All would not do it; the majority, probably, would not do it; but, if an opportunity were offered, I am satisfied that from every college and every university would go out a body of men not only well instructed in the great principles which underlie sanitary matters, but well disciplined in the obtaining of such instruction.

And now, as to the other branch of the objection—the objection on the score of Culture.

I prize all literary study as highly as any person ought, but yet I maintain that there is, after all, a higher culture. The very ideal, the very god of literary culture, is Goethe; and yet, splendid as he was, there is a higher culture which he lacked, even from a purely earthly point of view. I maintain that, in the studies I now urge, there comes a culture of high purpose, a culture of thought for our fellow-men, a culture involving the idea of duty, which certainly is worth any other sort of culture.

And, if any one objects that these studies are based upon Physiology, which has led man into dangerous paths, that it is, in fact, an unsafe study, I would simply point to these words, uttered so long ago, and from which, certainly, these objectors will make no appeal: "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." There is a great truth in these words. We all feel them. But what is that truth? what is that fear? Is it the mere selfish fear which the African native feels for the madness of his fetish? Is it the mere groveling fear which the Turkish slave feels for the tyranny of the satrap placed over him? Certainly not. The only wholesome fear is that fear based not on mystic dread of tyranny, but fear to violate those great laws by which the Divine power which maintains and regulates this universe governs all. That is the fear which lies at the beginning of wisdom, and among those studies, calculated to impress upon us the existence of laws, the violation of which is followed by penalties strictly imposed, stand foremost those to which this Association is now so worthily devoting its attention—studies sure to make the earth more beautiful; sure to make mankind more reverent and noble.