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and physically unfit are incapable of self-control and would continue to produce offspring. A move in the right direction would be to have uniform marriage laws in all our States and Territories, and to have such laws take cognizance of the moral, mental, and physical condition of those applying for marriage licenses. This would at first be objected to, doubtless, as unwarrantable interference with private right; but, in time, the better part of the community would recognize that the guardians of the public weal have as much right to prevent those having hopeless and transmissible disease of mind or body from marrying as they have to nail a danger-signal on the street door of the governor's house if contagious disease is in it; and public sentiment has long recognized the justice and propriety of this. “ Laws will not execute themselves; there must be penalties for breaking them; and those who cannot, of their own volition, observe them, must be compelled to do so. But a very small part of those who are unfit to marry and become parents can be prevented by moral suasion ; at least nine tenths would require compulsion.
The mawkish sentimentality which lavishes bouquets and bonbons upon the condemned murderer seems to dominate society at present, and would doubtless raise a hue and cry against compulsory childlessness, even of criminals and paupers; but we have a right to hope for the speedy dawn of a better day, and that when its sun shall have climbed to the zenith it may look down upon a society so cultivated, wise, and just that it will have the will or the way to intercept the streams of crime and corruption which are now constantly pouring into it, by transporting the unfit ones to islands of the sea, each sex by itself, or by other and more sure means.
The moral, mental, and physical ills which grow directly or indirectly from the effort of the married to escape the obligation to be fruitful and multiply, and which are to be observed in the minds and persons of the guilty ones, have been barely alluded to in this article; the physician is, of all persons, best fitted to set them forth in all their appalling repulsiveness, but the recital is not fit for general literature. . '
In summing up the points of this matter, I would add, —
1st. There is no likelihood of this earth's ever being overpopulated. Man's actual rate of increase has only amounted to a doubling in several hundred years; it being estimated that every
1 The eminent English scientist, Francis Galton, F. R. S., takes this view of the case. Letter to the writer, September, 1890.
human being ever born might have a separate grave in the State of Texas, and that Florida is large enough for comfortable homes for all who now live.
2d. The idea that human beings, because of numbers, are, or are likely to become, a drug in the market, leads to a low estimate of human life, and tends to a lowering of the quality as well as the quantity. The deliberate repression of normal human increase in France is already a matter of grave anxiety on the part of her clearest-sighted citizens; and in the older section of our own country, and among the so-called “ upper classes,” births are so infrequent that, the same ratio of increase being universal, man would soon become an extinct animal; four births to each married couple being necessary to keep our present numbers.
3d. Food is increasing more rapidly than mouths. Where the conditions of human life are too hard for proper employment and comfortable support, it will be found, almost always, that the quality of human life is culpably or criminally low, or else that the massing is foolish and unnecessary.
4th. The average normal, healthy individual produces, directly or indirectly, more than he consumes, and leaves the world better off than he found it; and the first and most important factor in national, family, and individual weal is that the largest possible number of such should be born.
5th. Society is weakened and endangered by hereditary incapacity and crime, and has a right to say that paupers and criminals shall not become progenitors.
6th. Children are an important and well-nigh indispensable factor of a happy marriage, and actual or attempted childlessness is one of the frequent causes of divorce.
H. S. Pomeroy. Boston.
THE THEOLOGY OF A SACRED DAY.
The term theology is here used in its more limited sense, and is thus distinguished from anthropology or Biblical ethics. It designates the science of God and his relations to the world. The theology of a sacred day is therefore the consideration of the relation of that day to the nature of the Divine Being. In the present article an attempt is made to discover and point out what standing the early Scriptural view of the weekly Sabbath as a direct transcript and reminiscence of the divine procedure in creation may have in modern theism. An anthropomorphic divine rest, asserted to have taken place on the seventh day of creation, is made prescriptive of human practice and the elemental foundation of the hebdomadal week. If this traditional divine act is no longer susceptible of an imperative interpretation, or if there is nothing corresponding to it which helps the modern theist to comprehend the nature or obligation of his sacred Sabbath, there appears to be no alternative but to relegate the ancient tradition to the realm of cosmogonic myths, and to make modern practice entirely independent of it. For a Scripture which especially aims to be universal and eternal in its teaching, and yet which can neither command our acts nor enlighten our judgment, is no longer the living word of God to us. But I believe the alternative is not necessary. I think it can be shown that the conception of a working and resting God is related in a very vital way to the theological rationale of a periodical rest and worship.
Let us first examine this account of a divine rest after six days of labor considered as the statement of a fact. Some time in the pre-scientific past it may have been believed that God started this universe on its career by a literal week of labor followed by a literal day of rest. The same childlike faith may perhaps have supposed that on the first day of the second week Adam, then a matter of two days old, began work in his garden, not laboriously, it is true, but with a deliberation and enjoyment befitting the Edenic innocence, and kept it up until Friday night, — for the seventh day was Sabbath in those times, — and then put away his tools and hung up his fig-leaf apron for a second Sabbath of rest; and that the custom of observing a weekly Sabbath has been kept up with admirable faithfulness ever since. The childlikeness of this belief as serious history would be surpassed by its crudeness as theism, since only the most anthropomorphic conceptions of the infinite Being could attribute to Him a nature which wearies itself in a week and needs a periodical recuperation.
But if there ever was a time when such a naive and simple system of interpretation was possible, that day has long since gone by. The advent of geology has taught us to understand the days of the creative week as vastly long indefinite periods, each characterized by the first appearance of some special phase in the progress of the universe toward completion, and each set off from
the others by some catastrophic interval sufficiently marked to answer on a geologic scale to the “ evening and the morning ” of the concededly figurative Mosaic record.
With such an understanding of the creative days has generally coupled itself the supposition that the seventh day, or day of divine rest, is the age of the world which is now in progress. The idea that God refreshes himself is of course discarded ; nor could it for a moment be supposed that the infinite Will which upholds all things has ceased to put itself forth in acts of power; but the interpretation of the divine repose as literal fact is saved by supposing that, creation being complete, God has desisted from certain kinds of work in which He was formerly engaged, and is now restfully restricting himself to the comparatively mild exertion of preserving and redeeming the world and its inhabitants. Thus Godet says that “the rest of the seventh day puts an end to the creative activity properly so called.” Guyot thus defines the scientific view:
“Since the beginning of this day no new creation has taken place. God rests as the creator of the visible universe. The forces of nature are in that admirable equilibrium which we now behold, and which is necessary to our existence. No more mountains or continents are formed, no new species of plants or ani. mals are created. Nature goes on steadily in its wonted path. All movement, all progress, has passed into the realm of mankind, which is now accomplishing its task. The morning of the seventh day is not followed by any evening. The day is still open. When the evening shall come the last hour of humanity will strike."
Substantially the same doctrine is taught by Dana and Hugh Miller; while Murphy gives us the salutary assurance that “the resting of God arises not from weariness, but from the completion of his task.”
But unfortunately this cessation of God's creative activity so confidently asserted is not a fact. God is creating now as much as He ever was. The whole sum of data on which geological science builds its structure derives its value from the assumption that the forces which produced the continents and all the features of the earth's crust were the same as those which are now active. Historical geology is a natural science only because it concerns itself with the past working of perennially operative natural laws — laws which have been studied in their present working. Indeed, the overwhelming reason for believing the creative days to be vast periods of time is simply that such immense periods are required by the known active forces to produce the result. The cessation of those forces from their activity is not only incredible but inconceivable. Not only the forces but results the same in kind as those chronicled in our cosmogony are constantly being produced. The primary cooling down which changed our planet from a nebulous cloud to a solid ball is still going on. The crystallizations, the igneous metamorphoses, the erosions and aqueous depositions, the continental subsidences and elevations, and in all probability the disappearances and births of living species, are still enacting themselves in ceaseless change, and perhaps with as great rapidity as ever. It is true that in addition to this there is also going on a differentiation and progress in the sphere of human freedom, owing to the operation of social and religious forces, which may be vaguely classed as redemption, the work which is pronounced characteristic of the present Age of Repose. But whatever change there appears to be in the manner of working is simply owing to the later or more finished state of the material on which the sanie energy works. It is always the divine creative activity, whether producing planets or civilizations, and that activity never ceases. Certainly if the so-called laws of nature are God's ways of working, then to suppose Him to be no longer working as He wrought to form the universe is to remove the foundation entirely from natural science, and reduce the whole fabric of inferred sequences and causations in which we thought to find a key to the past to a meaningless chaos.
Now this view of the persistence of the creative activity, or, what is the same, the perpetual operation of natural law, is purely a question of fact. We are strictly in the realm of observable phenomena. It seems most probable that the origin and development of the cosmos was according to still operative natural law. But there may possibly be hesitation in identifying this divine activity in natural law with the process of creation. It may be thought that the strictly creative activity was something miraculous, a purely supernatural method of working which the Almighty employed during the vast creative week, and then left the universe to the operation of natural forces. This may be called, in the language of Carlyle, the theory of an absentee God sitting on the outside of his universe and seeing it go. He rests on this cosmic seventh day by letting Nature do the work herself. He has ceased to come into immediate relation with the universe, and now works mediately or through the agency of natural law. But