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The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 48

People Beginning to Reason

People Beginning to Reason.

The people are beginning to think, to reason and to investigate. The first doubt was the womb and cradle of progress. Don't keep back your doubts cherish them; they are the source of all your know ledge. Slowly, painfully, but surely, the gods an being driven from the earth. Only upon [unclear: ran] occasions are they, even by the most religious, supposed to interfere in the affairs of men. In mos matters we are at last supposed to be free. Since the invention of steamships and railways, so that the products of all countries can be easily interchanged, the gods have quit the business of producing famine. No and then they kill a child because it is idolized by [unclear: iparents]. As a rule they have given up accidents railroads, exploding boilers, and bursting [unclear: kerose lamps]. Cholera, yellow fever, and small-pox are [unclear: st] considered heavenly weapons; but measles, itch, [unclear: aague] are now attributed to natural causes. As general thing, the gods have stopped drowning children, except as a punishment for violating the Sabath. They still pay some attention to the affair kings, men of genius, and persons of great wealth but ordinary people are left to shirk for themselves as best they may. In wars between great nations page 5 the gods still interfere; but in prize fights, the best man with an honest referee, is almost sure to win.

The church cannot abandon the idea of special providence. To give up that doctrine is to give up all. The church must insist that prayer is answered—that some power superior to nature hears and grants the request of the sincere and humble Christian, and that this same power in some mysterious way provides for all.

A devout clergyman sought every opportunity to impress upon the mind of his son the fact that God takes care of all his creatures; that the falling sparrow attracts his attention, and that his loving kindness is over all his works. Happening one day, to see a crane wading in quest of food, the good man pointed out to his son the perfect adaptation of the crane to get his living in that manner. "See," said he, "how his legs are formed for wading! What a long slender bill he has! Observe how nicely he folds his feet when putting them in or drawing them out of the water! He does not cause the slightest ripple. He is thus enabled to approach the fish without giving them any notice of his arrival. My son," said he, "it is impossible to look at that bird without recognizing the design, as well as the goodness of God, in thus providing the means of subsistence." "Yes," replied the boy, "I think I see the goodness of God, at least so far as the crane is concerned; but after all, father, don't you think the arrangement a little tough on the fish?"