Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 45.djvu/834

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scores of others. There is Just one thought in conclusion. It is that the funeral customs of the world, although not a conclusive, are yet a very strong argument in favor of the belief in the immortality of the soul. For the impelling motive in all these customs has been that death does not end all, that there is a life beyond the grave. This it is which has prompted the savage to lay offerings on the grave, that the spirit may return and accept them. This it is which prompted the Egyptians to embalm their dead, that the earthly form might one day be reclaimed by its former possessor. This it is which has prompted the preservation of the body by secure burial, that it may not be consumed by wasting time. This it is which has inspired the burning of the body, that the soul may be free from its earthly fetters. Now, how are we to account for this worldwide belief? I mean, unless there underlies it a basis of fact. To have implanted this belief—unless it has a fact as a basis—would seem to be but mockery on the part of an all-wise, an all-good God.




IN his able and suggestive essay on Cosmic Emotion, the late Prof. Clifford pointed out the significant fact that in the development of thought the feelings never quite keep pace with the intellect. It is not hard to see why this must be so. Every new achievement of science, every fresh acquisition of knowledge, makes its appeal directly to the intelligence; and the judgment so far as it is clear and unbiased, decides all questions at issue purely on the merits of the evidence laid before it. Any revision of old formulas, any restatement of old theories cause no friction, and are made as a matter of course. But meanwhile each such fresh achievement or acquisition enters at first as a disturbing factor into the emotional conditions of the time. Every generation finds itself in possession of a certain body of knowledge concerning the universe, and a certain philosophy of life based upon that knowledge; and between such knowledge and philosophy upon the one hand, and its average emotions upon the other, there is, as the result of long action and interaction, an adjustment or equilibrium which at the outset is relatively complete. The doctrines of Nature and human life in the midst of which men have grown up have become so familiar to the common mind that the feelings have had ample time to play round them, to saturate them, to make them their own. Presently a sudden discovery,