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THE AGE OF REALITIES,
To a person standing on the pyramid of the cen
turies, looking out over the achievements of his
tory, no fact is more patent to view than that this
is an age of realities.
Nor are these realities the result of sudden up
heaval in the realness of mind; but a necessary
consequence of that great law of progress which
operates in all departments of life.
The old mythology veiled in mystery passed in
to legends; legends shrouded in uncertainty have
developed into traditions ; traditions vested with
possibility have been supplanted by thoughts;
thoughts, clothed with power have produced the
real ; and this realism has been the most potent
factor in civilization.
The manhood ofantiquity fettered by ignorance
was content to let the phenomena of life,
so full of mystery pass by unexplained,
and in his ignorance man paid homage to the
most common-place facts of nature.
The manhood of legendary times, living in an
atmosphere of superstition, veiled his face before
the manifestation of things wonderful to him,
and his superstition blinded his mental vision by
which alone he could solve their mysteries.
But the man of to day confronts, unawed, these
phenomena, and demands a reason for the mani
festations; he pays no homage, nor suffers himself
to be blinded; but conscious of the power of in
tellect, he scans the most minute, and the most
majestic objects alike, nor rests content until .
there stands out before his mind in all its strength
and beauty the true and real.
The result has been that all the departments of
life have felt the impetus of realism; and it has
completely revolutionized the history of the world.
One glance at the condition of the most en
lightened of nations a century ago, suffices to re
mind us of the grand changes which have taken
place within a few years. changes by which our
civilization has been enriched and man has been
THE FREE LANCE.
This realism has been most apparent in the
three great divisions of life, government, science,
and religion. Any one as old as the nineteenth
century, has seen a large proportion of the pro
gress in civilization made by the race.
The conception of freedom as held by the
Greek and Latin republics was liberty of class or
clan alone, not of the individual which is a mod
ern idea; and on this idea of individual liberty is
founded the true principle of patriotism by which
such spirits as Washington and Jefferson were ani
mated. Motionless may be the hand that traced
the charter of independence, hushed the eloquent
/Os that sustained it ; but the patriotism that in
spired it shall perish never.
Marvelous also has been the march of science.
Fifty years ago the great forces of the universe
(of nature) were useless so far as contributing to
our comforts was concerned. To-day they come
to us pleading for employment. The gases
touch us and bid us feel for them, the solids lie
under us in perfect vassalage, the sea rolls at our
feet to bear away our burden while the lightning
Rashes on the heavens the inscription, electricity
was made for man, and what mighty progress has
been made in the realms of christianity. Cleared
of its mysticism it has been made to humanize
laws and check the passions of depraved humanity.
Incorporated into the life it has purified man's sa
cial conditions, dignified character, and fcistered
those benevolent institutions which were fore•
shadowed by its great Teacher when He went
about the earth doing good.
In the three great departments of government,
science and christianity, we find the noblest
proofs of the realities existent in the world to-day.
The old theory of patriotism was so organically
connected with that of war as to admit of no sepa
ration; but the world to-day knows that war has
done more to fetter liberty than to free it. In
ancient times, the wars of Rome enslaved every
free state and finished the murder of liberty by
destroying herself. In modern times, what but
war destroyed the republics of Italy ; annihilated