We must remember that this is a world of progress, a world of perpetual change--a succession of coffins and cradles. There is perpetual death, and there is perpetual birth. By the grave of the old, forever stand youth and joy; and when an old religion dies, a better one is born. When we find out that an assertion is a falsehood a shining truth takes its place, and we need not fear the destruction of the false. The more false we destroy the more room there will be for the true.
There was a time when the astrologer sought to read in the stars the fate of men and nations. The astrologer has faded from the world, but the astronomer has taken his place. There was a time when the poor alchemist, bent and wrinkled and old, over his crucible endeavored to find some secret by which he could change the baser metals into purest gold. The alchemist has gone; the chemist took his place; and, although he finds nothing to change metals into gold, he finds something that covers the earth with wealth. There was a time when the soothsayer and augur flourished. After them came the parson and the priest; and the parson and the priest must go. The preacher must go, and in his place must come the teacher--the real interpreter of Nature. We are done with the supernatural. We are through with the miraculous and the impossible. There was once the prophet who pretended to read the book of the future. His place has been taken by the philosopher, who reasons from cause to effect--who finds the facts by which we are surrounded and endeavors to reason from these premises and to tell what in all Probability will happen. The prophet has gone, the philosopher is here. There was a time when man sought aid from heaven--when he prayed to the deaf sky. There was a time when everything depended on the supernaturalist. That time in Christendom is passing away. We now depend upon the naturalist--not upon the believer in ancient falsehoods, but on the discoverer of facts--on the demonstrator of truths. At last we are beginning to build on a solid foundation, and as we progress, the supernatural dies. The leaders of the intellectual world deny the existence of the supernatural. They take from all superstition its foundation.