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[299] It is the natural tendency; and when it is done, every age grows old and dies. It is God's beneficent Providence,--death! When ideas have shaped themselves and become fossil and still, God takes off the weight of the dead men from their age, and leaves room for the new bud. It is a blessed institution,--death! But there are men running about who think that those forms which are old and which the experience of the past left them are necessarily right and efficient. They are the conservatives. The men who hold their ears open for the message of the present hour, they are the Puritans.

I know these things seem very trite; they are very trite. All truth is trite. The difficulty is not in truth. Truth never stirs up any trouble,--mere speculative truth. Plato taught,--nobody cared what he taught; Socrates acted, and they poisoned him. It is when a man throws himself against society, that society is startled to persecute and to think. The Puritan did not stop to think; he recognized God in his soul, and acted. If he had acted wrong, our generation would load down his grave with curses. He took the risk; he took the curses of the present, but the blessings of the future swept them away, and God's sunlight rests upon his grave. That is what every brave man does. It is an easy thing to say. The old fable is of Sisyphus rolling up a stone, and the moment he gets it up to the mountain-top, it rolls back again. So each generation, with much trouble and great energy and disinterestedness, vindicates for a few of its sons the right to think; and the moment they have vindicated the right, the stone rolls back again,--nobody else must think! The battle must be fought every day, because the body rebels against the soul. It is the insurrection of the soul against the body,--free thought. The gods piled Etna upon the insurgent Titans. It is the emblem of the

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