by Boudreaux, Florentin, 1821-1894
The world of today, with all its boast of enlightenment and scientific progress, is in reality almost devoid of what deserves the name of science. We grant that it has made marvellous advances in material science and in those branches of knowledge which aid the development of material resources. Modern science has fastened upon matter, and it is no wonder that the genius of man, turned with all its intense brilliancy on matter alone, should have penetrated so many secrets of nature, or that the study of a century should have been rewarded with the numerous and surprising discoveries of which our age is so proud. But all this, in comparison with mental and moral science, and especially with the science of divine Truth, hardly deserves the name of science. In this respect, it would be difficult to point to any age, in the entire history of civilization, in which the domain of real science was more deserted than it is in our day. In the fields of intellectual truth, and of those higher truths which elevate the mind of man to a supernatural sphere, without contradicting or violating its natural faculties, the leaders of modern thought are either utter strangers, or they are singularly careless of securing a solitary outpost or maintaining a foothold anywhere. They yield whatever may be demanded by the thousand and one systems which are born today to be buried on the morrow.
The world is eternal or created in time ; it is perpetual or destined to destruction ; the soul of man is spiritual or material ; immortal or perishable ; God is or is not ; —just as the ruling system of the day proclaims, save that the falsehood is ever more favorably received than the truth, and men seem to have lost all regard for the science of mind and for the higher science of Faith, in which they have been accustomed to see the dogmas of one day reversed by the dogmas of the next. Science, as understood by the men of our times, is little more than a barren array of facts and experiments, all material, proving little and establishing nothing that will not be corrected or contradicted by future facts and fuller investigation. The world has, therefore, abandoned the fields of reason and of theology, in which it had suffered such defeats as left it no hope of success. But its aim now is to corrupt the heart of man ; to blast in it every germ of religious feeling, of veneration for a supreme Creator, of tenderness towards a Father who is in heaven; of desire for eternal good, of fear of everlasting evils. Fallen nature is rehabilitated by the wise men of the day, after their own fashion. They have issued their decree — that human nature is self-sustaining and self-sufficient. It is good, perfect, holy. It has no evil passions, no downward tendencies, no concupiscence of evil. It is not fallen, not wounded. It needs no redemption, no healing ; no Redeemer, no God. Let it work out its own destiny with its own inherent powers, and it will be perfectly and supremely happy. With such doctrines widely spread and adopted, it is easy to conclude that the consequence must be a hatred of Religion which is based on the fall of our nature and on the necessity of a supernatural succor to raise it ; contempt for God, who is represented as imposing an absurd faith, as a condition for His favor. And what is this but changing earth into hell and forcing mankind to begin here what it is Satan’s desire that they should continue forever hereafter : hating the God who created them only to make them eternally blessed and whom they themselves have compelled to turn His love into justice. It is almost incredible that men should come to this state. But when you let loose the evil passions of the human heart and sanctify the lusts of the flesh, you corrupt the heart to its very core and turn all its native goodness, affection, and tenderness into poison.