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PREFACE A single purpose runs throughout this little book, though different aspects of it are treated in the three several parts. The first part, "The Mystery of Evil," written soon after "The Idea of God," was designed to supply some considerations which for the sake of conciseness had been omitted from that book. Its close kinship with the second part, "The Cosmic Roots of Love and Self-Sacrifice," will be at once apparent to the reader. That... more...

BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH. To relate, by way of leading up to this little book, all the previous achievements of its author would—without disrespect to the greater or the less—have somewhat the appearance of putting a very big cart in front of a pony. But no idea could be more mistaken than that which induces people to believe a small book the easiest to write. Easy reading is hard writing; and a thoroughly good small book stands for so... more...

PART FIRST. "What are you, where did you come from, and whither are you bound?"—the question which from Homer's days has been put to the wayfarer in strange lands—is likewise the all-absorbing question which man is ever asking of the universe of which he is himself so tiny yet so wondrous a part. From the earliest times the ultimate purpose of all scientific research has been to elicit fragmentary or partial responses to this... more...

I THE MEANING OF INFANCY What is the Meaning of Infancy? What is the meaning of the fact that man is born into the world more helpless than any other creature, and needs for a much longer season than any other living thing the tender care and wise counsel of his elders? It is one of the most familiar of facts that man alone among animals, exhibits a capacity for progress. That man is widely different from other animals in the length of his... more...

PREFACE. The present work is the outcome of two lines of study pursued, with more or less interruption from other studies, for about thirty years. It will be observed that the book has two themes, as different in character as the themes for voice and piano in Schubert's "Frühlingsglaube," and yet so closely related that the one is needful for an adequate comprehension of the other. In order to view in their true perspective the series of... more...


I. Man’s Place in Nature, as affected by the Copernican Theory.   When we study the Divine Comedy of Dante—that wonderful book wherein all the knowledge and speculation, all the sorrows and yearnings, of the far-off Middle Ages are enshrined in the glory of imperishable verse—we are brought face to face with a theory of the world and with ways of reasoning about the facts of nature which seem strange to us to-day, but... more...

RESULTS OF YORKTOWN. Sympathy between British Whigs and the revolutionary party in America. The 20th of March, 1782, the day which witnessed the fall of Lord North's ministry, was a day of good omen for men of English race on both sides of the Atlantic. Within two years from this time, the treaty which established the independence of the United States was successfully negotiated at Paris; and at the same time, as part of the series of events... more...

CHAPTER I. THE ROMAN IDEA AND THE ENGLISH IDEA. It used to be the fashion of historians, looking superficially at the facts presented in chronicles and tables of dates, without analyzing and comparing vast groups of facts distributed through centuries, or even suspecting the need for such analysis and comparison, to assign the date 476 A.D. as the moment at which the Roman Empire came to an end. It was in that year that the soldier of fortune,... more...

I. THE ORIGINS OF FOLK-LORE. FEW mediaeval heroes are so widely known as William Tell. His exploits have been celebrated by one of the greatest poets and one of the most popular musicians of modern times. They are doubtless familiar to many who have never heard of Stauffacher or Winkelried, who are quite ignorant of the prowess of Roland, and to whom Arthur and Lancelot, nay, even Charlemagne, are but empty names. Nevertheless, in spite of his... more...

THE INGERSOLL LECTURESHIP Extract from the will of Miss CarolineHaskell Ingersoll, who died inKeene, County of Cheshire,New Hampshire, Jan.26, 1893. First. In carrying out the wishes of my late beloved father, George Goldthwait Ingersoll, as declared by him in his last will and testament, I give and bequeath to Harvard University in Cambridge, Mass., where my late father was graduated, and which he always held in love and honor, the sum of Five... more...