« PreviousContinue »
OUR HUNDRED and twenty-five years before the birth of the Nazarene, Socrates said, “The gods are on high Olympus, but you and I are here." And for this—and a few other similar observations—he
was compelled to drink a substitute for coffee—he was an infidel! Within the last thirty years the churches of Christendom have, in the main, adopted the Socratic proposition that you and I are here. That is, we have made progress by getting away from narrow theology and recognizing humanity. We do not know anything about either Olympus or Elysium, but we do know something about Athens. Athens is here. Athens needs us the Greeks are at the door. Let the gods run Elysium, and we'll devote ourselves to Athens. This is the prevailing spirit in the churches of America to-day. Our religion is humanitarian, not theological. A like evolution has come about in medicine.
The materia medica of twenty-five years ago is now obsolete. No good doctor now treats symptoms-he neither gives you something to relieve your headache nor to settle your stomach. These are but timely ting-a-lingsNature's warnings-look out! And the doctor tells you so, and charges you a fee sufficient to impress you with the fact that he is no fool, but that you are. The lawyer who now gets the largest fees is never seen in a court-room. Litigation is now largely given over to damage suits—carried on by clients who want something for nothing, and little lawyers, shark-like and hungry, who work on contingent fees. Three-fourths of the time of all superior and supreme courts is taken up by His Effluvia, who brings suit thru His Bacteria, with His Crabship as chief witness, for damages not due, either in justice or fact,
How to get rid of this burden, brought upon us by men who have nothing to lose, is a question too big for the average legislator. It can only be solved by heroic measures, carried out by lawyers who are out of politics and have a complete indifference for cheap popularity. Here is opportunity for men of courage and ability. & But the point is this, wise business men keep out of court at They arbitrate their differences compromise-they cannot afford to quit their work for the sake of getting even. As for making money, they know a better way. In theology we are waiving distinctions and devoting ourselves to the divine spirit only as it manifests itself in humanity-we are talking less and less about another world and taking more notice of the one we inhabit. Of course we occasionally have heresy trials, and pictures of the offender and the Fat Bishop adorn the first page, but heresy trials not accompanied by the scaffold or the faggots are innocuous and exceedingly tame. In medicine we have more faith in ourselves and less in prescriptions. In pedagogy we are teaching more and more by the natural method-learning by doingand less and less by means of injunction and precept. In penology we seek to educate and reform, not to suppress, repress and punish. That is to say, the gods are on high Olympus -let them stay there Athens is here.
JHE best way to learn to write is to write.
Herbert Spencer never studied grammar until he had learned to write. He took his grammar at sixty, which is a good age for one to begin this most
interesting study, as by the time you have reached that age you have largely lost your capacity to sin. Men who can swim exceedingly well are not those who have taken courses in the theory of swimming at natatoriums, from professors of the amphibian art-they were just boys who jumped into the ol' swimmin' hole, and came home with shirts on wrong-side out and a tell-tale dampness in their hair. Correspondence schools for the taming of bronchos are as naught; and treatises on the gentle art of wooing are of no avail—follow nature's lead. Grammar is the appendenda vermiformis of the science of pedagogics: it is as useless as the letter q in the alphabet, or the proverbial two tails to a cat, which no cat ever had, and
the finest cat in the world, the Manx cat, has no tail at all. “The literary style of most university men is commonplace, when not positively bad," wrote Herbert Spencer in his old age. “Educated Englishmen all write alike,” said Taine. That is to say, educated men who have been drilled to write by certain fixed and unchangeable rules of rhetoric and grammar will produce similar compositions. They have no literary style, for style is individuality and character—the style is the man, and grammar tends to obliterate individuality. No study is so irksome to everybody, except the sciolists who teach it, as grammar. It remains forever a bad taste in the mouth of the man of ideas, and has weaned bright minds innumerable from a desire to express themselves through the written word. Grammar is the etiquette of words, and the man who does not know how to properly salute his grandmother on the street until he has consulted a book, is always so troubled about the tenses that his fancies break thru language and escape. The grammarian is one whose whole thought