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SCIENTIFIC USE OF THE IMAGINATION. 159

tions define a hypothesis not without its difficulties, but
the dignity of which was demonstrated by the nobleness
of the men whom it sustained.

Modern scientific thought is called upon to decide be-
tween this hypothesis and another: and public thought
generally will afterward be called upon to do the same.
You may, however, rest secure in the belief that the hy-
pothesis just sketched can never be stormed, and that it is
sure, if it yield at all, to yield to a prolonged siege. To
gain new territory modern argument requires more time
than modern arms, though both of them move with greater
rapidity than of yore. But however the convictions of indi—
viduals here and there may be influenced, the process must
be slow and secular which commends the rival hypothesis
of Natural Evolution to the public mind. For what are the
core and essence of this hypothesis ? Strip it naked and
you stand face to face with the notion that not alone the
more ignoble forms of animalcular or animal life, not alone
the nobler forms of the horse and lion, not alone the exqui-
site and wonderful mechanism of the human body, but that
the human mind itself—emotion, intellect, will, and all their
phenomena—were once latent in a fiery cloud. Surely.
the mere statement of such a notion is more than a refu-
tation. But the hypothesis would probably go even further
than this. Many who hold it would probably assent to the
position that at the present moment all our philosophy, all
our poetry, all our science, and all Our art-F—Plato, Shake-
speare, Newton, and Raphael—are potential in the fires of
the sun. We long to learn something of our origin. If
the Evolution hypothesis be correct, even this unsatisfied
yearning must have come to us across the ages which sepa-
rate the unconscious primeval mist from the consciousness
of today. I do not think that any holder of the Evolution
hypothesis would say that I overstate it or overstrain it in
any way. I merely strip it of all vagueness, and bring

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