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il Verity. Crown

BALANCE: The Fundament
8vo, $1.25 net. Postage, 9 <

Crown 8vo, gilt top, $1.25

Infinite Justice.
net. Postage, 13



Boston & New






Fundamental Verity

By Orlando J. Smith

Offering a Key to the fundamental sci-
entific Interpretations of the System of
Nature, a Definition of Natural Religion,
and a consequent Agreement between Sci-
ence and Religion.

With an Appendix containing Critical Re-
views by scientific and religious Writers, and a Reply
by the Author to his Critics.


Houghton, Mifflin and Company
The Riverside Press, Cambridge, 1904




K 1933 r



Published October IQ04


The Power of the Sea curbs the Sea ' — Physi-
cal Excess turns upon Itself, defeats Itself
— Excess is defeated also in Chance, into
which Physical Force does not enter —
Deficiency balances Excess — Nature's Law
of Balance i

Equilibrium, in the Sense of Actual Rest, is
Unknown — Nature is a State of Ceaseless
Motion, regulated by Balance 9

The Scientific Interpretations of Nature point
to the Single Interpretation, that Balance
rules the World — ' ' To Every Action there
is an Equal Reaction," is the Supreme
Statement 15


No Force works aimlessly or wanders away
into Extinction — Balance is Supreme in
[ v ]


the Small, as well as in the Great, Processes
of Nature — Every Physical Transformation
includes Exact Equivalence and Compensa-
tion 24


Man's Part in Nature — Progress by Antag-
onism — Nature's Process is by Test and
Trial, by unfolding, changing, ripping up,
undoing and redoing — Error dies in the
Struggle 31


Action and Reaction in Human Affairs —
From Paganism to Christianity, to Asceti-
cism, to the Crusades, to Exploration and
Commerce — Minor Interactions — Reaction
from Words and Tones, Speeches and
Thoughts 43


The Law of Consequences — The Good or
Evil in Things is discovered by Obser-
vation of Consequences — Morals are de-
termined by the Consequences of Human
Actions 54

[ vi ]


Equivalence is the Test of Truth — Our Stand-
ards are Instruments of Equivalence — The
Balancing of Alternatives — Reasoning is an
Exploration of the Undetermined, a Search
for Antecedents and Consequences 61


Compensation in Human Affairs — Problems
of Business are Problems of Compensation —
Right is accomplished by rendering Equiva-
lents — Duty is a Debt, literally a Due —
The Golden Rule is a Law of Equivalent
Exchange 72


Order is Regulation ; Balance is Regulator.
Right is Correctness ; Balance is Corrector.
Justice is Compensation ; Balance is Com-
pensator — Balance is Single and Supreme,
without a Mate or Equal 80


Natural Justice — Compensation in Human
Affairs involves a Cycle of Beginning, De-
[ vii ]


velopment and Conclusion, as Seed Time,
Growth and Harvest — Tyranny is an Anti-
dote for Mean Spiritedness, and Courage is
the Antidote for Tyranny — Through such
Rude Alternations do we move forward 84


Justice is Incomplete in the Present Existence
— Our Life here is as a Broken Part of a
Broader Life — If Death ends All, then the
Mass of Mankind must live, toil, suffer and
die under a Condition of Hopeless Injustice 92


The Essential Meaning of Religion is found in
the Agreements, and not in the Disagree-
ments, among Believers — There are Three
Fundamental Religious Beliefs : ( 1 ) That
the Soul is Accountable for its Actions ;
(2) That the Soul survives the Death of the
Body ; (3) In a Supreme Power that rights
Things 99


The Fundamental Meaning of Religion is
revealed by its History — Religion recog-

[ viii 1


nizes that Right rules the World — Science

recognizes that Balance rules the World —

Religion and Science are in Harmony, not

in Conflict 119


Religion has been misinterpreted and per-
verted — Science also has been misinter-
preted and perverted — Religion answers
for its Perversions as Science, Truth and
Right answer for their Perversions — The
Value of a Truth is measured by the Magni-
tude of its Perversions 124


Measuring the Value of Religion by its Denial
— Only One School of Thought denies
Religion — Materialism is the Doctrine that
Wrong rules the World — Science and Re-
ligion meet on Grounds of Life, not Death ;
of Persistence, not Annihilation ; of Right,
not Wrong ; on the Ground that the Laws
of Nature are Uniform, not Contradictory 138


Reviews of "Balance"

By W. H. Mallock 151

Benjamin Kidd 154

[ « ]


By Amos Emerson Dolbear, LL. D. 158

Mangasar M. Mangasarian 160

Edwin Markham 164

John Grier Hibben, Ph. D. 167

William Henry Scott, LL. D. 170

Evander B. McGilvary, Ph. D. 174

Garrett P. Serviss 176

Robert Macdougall, Ph. D. 178

Charlotte Perkins Gilman 182

Jacob Voorsanger, D. D. 184

George William Knox, D. D. 185

George Barker Stevens, LL. D. 189

George B. Stewart, D. D., LL. D. 191

Edward L. Curtis, D. D. 194

William N. Clarke, D. D. 197

Alexander B. Riggs, D. D. 198

Gotthard Deutsch, Ph. D. 201

Thomas C. Hall, D. D. 205

Philip S. Moxom, D. D. 207

James S. Stone, D. D. 209

Howard Agnew Johnston, D. D. 212

George C. Adams, D. D. 214

C. Ellis Stevens, LL. D. 216

Samuel Schulman, D. D. 219

R. Heber Newton, D. D. 222

Samuel A. Eliot, D. D. 226
[ * ]


Answers to Reviewers
I. Minor Issues

i . The Rose and the Soul 235

2. Swift and Slow Compensations 243

3. " The Fundamental Verity " 248

4. " Out of Balance" 252

5. Action without Reaction 254

6. Every Action is Immortal 258

7. " The Ultimate Major Premiss" 259

8. The Galveston Disaster 261

9. " Minor " or " Fundamental " 264

II. Fundamental Issues

The First Question 266

The Second Question 268

The Third Question 272

Index 281

[ » ]



The Power of the Sea curbs the Sea — Physical Ex-
cess turns upon Itself, defeats Itself — Excess is
defeated also in Chance, into which Physical Force
does not enter — Deficiency balances Excess —
Nature's Law of Balance.

LONG ISLAND extends into the
Atlantic Ocean for more than one
hundred miles to the east of the
mainland. The ocean, impelled by the pre-
vailing southwest winds, beats with great
force upon the island, and would over-
whelm it but for a series of sand-banks
which lie next to the sea and resist the
force of its waves. Inside of these dunes
[ i ]


is an almost continuous line of villages, the
inhabitants of which live in no fear of the
sea, though they know that one of its storms
would inundate their low-lying lands if they
were unprotected by the dunes.

Against the dunes the ocean wages un-
ceasing war, retiring a little for rest at low
tide, renewing the conflict with the turn
of the tide, and rising often, with the as-
sistance of the wind, to a furious assault.
Each day the ocean wastes more force in
its attacks than was ever exerted upon a
human battle-field, and each day it suffers

These barriers against the sea were not
built by human hands nor planned by hu-
man thought, though no modern engineer
could have designed a better protection
for the land or built with less waste of ma-
terial or with a closer calculation of the
strain on the different parts of the line
of defense. On the western shore of the
island, where the force of the waves is
[ 2 ]


weaker, owing to the proximity of the
mainland, the barriers of sand lie low; to
the eastward they rise higher to meet the
increasing power of the sea. They cut
straight across large bodies of the sea from
one point of land to another, that they
may offer no weak angle to the enemy.
The dunes are so constructed as to present
upon their whole front that exact angle to
the line of the prevailing winds that will
make each assault of the sea a glancing

It is the power of the sea which forms
these barriers against its own depreda-
tions. The force of the waves lifts the sand
from the bottom of the sea, depositing it
upon the shore. Each wave carries a little
sand; the stronger the wave the more sand
does it carry; the severer the storm, the
higher does it lift the sand upon the dunes,
the more impregnably does the ocean
fortify its shores against itself. Why the
power of the ocean gives that exact trend
[ 3 ]


to the dunes which makes them strongest,
is explained by Darwin's theory of natural
selection : only that form of dune fitted to
resist the sea could survive.

The explanation of the dunes is simple,
the processes of their formation still con-
tinuing and being open to examination.
But the meaning of the dunes is less sim-
ple. They testify to the fact that Nature
curbs the excesses of the sea by a process
quite reasonable, indeed unavoidable. The
force of the sea is turned against the sea.
This fact, and numerous other facts, sug-
gest the theory that in some way all excess
is curbed, or will finally defeat itself; that
Nature has no pendulum which swings in
one direction only.

In the case of the dunes we have an
illustration of physical force restraining
and defeating itself. An example of Na-
ture's antagonism to excess, into which
physical force does not enter, is found in
the laws of chance — what we call chance
[ 4 J


or luck being quite as much under the
control of law as other things. In a draw-
ing of odd and even numbers, the chance
that the odd number — using the odd for
illustration, the chances of the even num-
ber being the same — will emerge in the
first drawing is one in two; the chance
that the odd will be drawn a second time
is one in four; that it will be drawn a third
time is one in eight; a fourth time one in
sixteen, and so on. There is one chance in
1,024 that the odd will be drawn consecu-
tively ten times; one chance in 1,048,576
that it will be drawn twenty times; one
chance in a thousand millions that it will
be drawn thirty times; one chance in a
million millions that it will be drawn forty
times. It is as if Nature should say:

" Against the consecutive return of the
odd number, I double the barriers with
each drawing. It is not alone physical
excess which produces opposition; it is
excess in whatever form it appears which
[ 5 ]


turns upon itself, defeats itself. And my
law is no more against excess than against
deficiency. The barriers against the con-
secutive return of the odd number force
the return of the delinquent even number.
In the long run, the odd and even num-
bers drawn shall be equalized repeatedly.
" So far as you overdraw the odd, just
so far you underdraw the even. If, in ten
drawings, you have drawn the odd seven
times, and the even three times, then the
odd is in excess by two drawings, and
the even is in deficiency by two drawings
also. Strictly speaking, nothing is ever out
of balance in my processes. That which
is overdone in one direction is underdone
equally in an opposite direction. Excess
can exist only through a corresponding
deficiency, and deficiency can exist only
through a corresponding excess. A defi-
ciency in crops is balanced by an excess
in prices; an excess in crops is balanced
by a deficiency in prices. Other balances,
[ 6 ]


corrective in their nature, rise up also. A
deficiency in crops, with the correspond-
ing high prices, stimulates efforts, such as
better cultivation and increased planting,
to overcome the deficiency, while an ex-
cess of crops sets forces at work to repress

" In my domain, all things are genera-
tive. Out of maturity comes infancy, out
of darkness light, out of force new forms.
Thought breeds, wrong breeds, good
breeds. Excess and deficiency breed also,
each begetting its own destroyer."

We live in a world in which, if science
and philosophy do not err, there is cease-
less motion everywhere, and perfect rest
nowhere. There is motion in the heart of
the granite mountain, in the minutest por-
tions of the human body; motion great
and insignificant, perceptible and imper-
ceptible, disastrous and beneficent. Is this
motion — which is as persistent in human
consciousness as in matter — under no re-
[ 7 ]


straint, no order, no law? or is it under
the control of some power or principle
which curbs excess, restrains deficiency,
restores balance, grants compensation?
Whether the return of equivalence and
compensation is not fundamental in Na-
ture, alike in physics and in the human
soul — whether the rational foundation for
man's hope for a future life, and for his
belief in the Tightness of the world-order,
should not be sought for in the supremacy
of equivalence and compensation — this is
the subject of my inquiry, in which I shall
deal briefly with the relations of balance
to physical science, and pass promptly to
the larger question, the relation of com-
pensation to human affairs.

[ 8 ]


Equilibrium, in the Sense of Actual Rest, is Un-
known — Nature is a State of Ceaseless Motion,
regulated by Balance.

WHY do I use the word balance
instead of equilibrium? Is not
equilibrium more accurate than
balance? We observe much of stability,
poise and equivalence in and about us,
which we call equilibrium. But we have
not observed -perfect equilibrium. The
word -perfect is often misused. Nor have
the physicists, with their finest balances
and instruments of precision, found per-
fect equilibrium. They have invented
scales which, placed in a vacuum, isolated
as far as possible from external disturb-
ance, weigh with remarkable fineness.
But they have invented no scales and dis-
covered no conditions which enable them
to weigh with infinite fineness. The in-
[ 9 ]


finite eludes us. If they should improve
their balances so that they may weigh one
of the motes which we see in a sunbeam,
still they would not reach perfect equi-
librium. They must weigh a millionth of
the mote and a millionth of that millionth,
and so on to infinity, the unreachable.

The problem of perfect equilibrium faces
infinite perturbations on all sides. There
is no perfect vacuum for the scales. Our
government at Washington preserves our
standard measures in an even temperature.
The evenness of temperature can be main-
tained to one degree, perhaps to the hun-
dredth of a degree or to the thousandth,
but not to the millionth or to infinite fine-

Moreover, the maintenance of a perfect
equilibrium would be in conflict with the
scientific assumption that motion is cease-
less. Perfect equilibrium maintained would
be perfect rest, that which exists nowhere,
according to the theory of the continuity

[ 10 ]


of motion and the persistence of force.
Well it is with us and with the world that
perfect rest doe-s not exist! If the blood
in my body should stand at perfect equi-
librium for a moment, I would die. For
motion is life; its cessation would be ex-

Equilibrium may be compared with the
present in time, which, strictly speaking,
is that point in which the past and future
meet — a point which is really impercep-
tible, as the reader will realize if he will
pause and try to hold or catch it. It is
gone before we can grasp it; it is swifter
than the thought which would compre-
hend it.

As the present is a fact in time, though
elusive, so we may assume that two
weights, nearly equal, swinging in a bal-
ance, will pass and repass the point of
equilibrium, even of perfect equilibrium,
with each alternate movement of the arms
of the balance. As the present is a point
[ " ]


which we gain only to lose it, so equi-
librium is a point or line which mo-
tion crosses and recrosses without resting
upon it.

When scientific men have occasion to
speak of equilibrium with exactitude, they
use the qualifying term " approximate,"
meaning thereby relative or practical equi-
librium, nearness to perfect equilibrium, a
good state of balance. And this is what we
find — a good state of balance — in Na-
ture, notwithstanding her ceaseless motion
and transformations, some transformations
being slow, requiring millions of years,
some as swift as the transformation of the
future into the past, some open to our sight,
some imperceptible, the greatest being
sometimes the least perceptible to our
senses, as is the motion of the earth in its
ceaseless journey around the sun at the rate
of eighteen miles a second, one thousand
and eighty miles a minute — as if one
should fly from New York to Yonkers in
[ » ]


one second, to Albany in ten seconds, to
Buffalo in thirty seconds, to Chicago in one
minute, to San Francisco in three minutes
— one thousand times faster than an ex-
press train, fifty times the speed of a rifle-
bullet. We are disturbed often by our own
little projects, inventions and affairs, but
we are not fearful that the bulky earth will
come to harm in its mad course, nor would
we know that it moves at such speed, or
that it moves at all, if the astronomers had
not demonstrated the fact. Nor does Her-
schel's discovery that the solar system is
moving at the rate of about twenty thou-
sand miles an hour toward the constella-
tion Lyra disturb us, nor do we worry over
the apparently inevitable collision to follow
this movement, for the astronomers assure
us that that danger is remote, and that it
will come, if it comes at all, long after this
earth has ceased to be habitable. We are
persuaded that the astronomers have dis-
covered regularity and precision in the
[ '3 ]


movements of the heavenly bodies, that
their forecasts of these movements are
trustworthy, and that Nature, in the large,
in her greater and grander manifestations,
is ruled by order.

[ H ]


The Scientific Interpretations of Nature point to
the Single Interpretation, that Balance rules the
World — "To Every Action there is an Equal
Reaction," is the Supreme Statement.

MODERN science accepts with
practical unanimity eight inter-
pretations of the system of Na-
ture, which are recognized usually as fun-

i. To every action there is an equal
and opposite reaction.

" If fire doth heate water, the water re-
acteth againe . . . upon the fire, and cooleth
it," says Sir K. Digby (a. d. 1644). The
wagon pulls against the horse with the
same strain that the horse pulls against the
wagon. The knapsack exacts from the sol-
dier who carries it an expenditure of force
equal to its weight. Let me strike a stone
wall with a gloved fist, and it will give
[ '5 ]


back a gloved blow in response. The wall
will be gloved, even as my fist is gloved,
at the point of contact. Let me strike hard
with bare knuckles, and I shall be con-
vinced that Nature gives even to senseless
things some powers of resistance, of de-
fense, even of resentment. If I should be
thrown upon the stone wall by accident,
still the wall will return the blow with
equal force. Nature's ways are exact —
strain for strain, blow for blow — with no
allowance for intention.

" To every action there is an equal and
opposite reaction," is Newton's Third Law
of Motion, which is accepted as the fun-
damental axiom of physics. In this law
Newton has expressed also, I believe, the
fundamental law of Nature — that action
and reaction are ceaseless, equivalent and

2. That effects follow causes in un-
broken succession.

Strictly speaking, the axiom of causa-
[ 16 ]


tion is only another expression of the axiom
"that reaction equals action." Effects are
the consequences of causes, the reactions
from causes, the equivalents of causes.

3. Gravitation — that every two bodies
or -portions of matter in the universe
attract each other 'with a force propor-
tional directly to the quantity of matter
they contain and inversely to the squares
of their distances.

Gravitation, if considered as a force of
attraction only, is a force which balances
its opposite, repulsion. The attraction of
the sun balances the momentum which
would otherwise project the earth on a
straight line into space. This balance holds
the earth steadily in its course around the
sun. Opposite forces of attraction and re-
pulsion, centripetence and centrifugence,
exist in the world in its greatest and small-
est parts, alike in constellations and in
atoms. Science is compelled to recognize
repulsion as being as universal as attrac-
[ '7 ]


tion. To account for these contrary forces
has so far baffled investigation, Newton's
great discovery accounting only in part.
Science knows only this — that these
forces exist; that they meet, offset, neu-
tralize and regulate each other, sometimes
mildly or imperceptibly, sometimes vio-
lently and with fearful convulsions, and
that in their influences, contacts, struggles
and wars they hold all things in balance.

4. Evolution — including its opposite,
devolution or dissolution — that the Jit
advance and the unfit decline, advance-
ment depending upon adaptability, and
decline upon inadaptability ', to environ-

There are seeds that will grow in a sand-
bank, others must have loam; some will
grow only on mountain heights, others on
low levels; some in low temperatures,
others in high; some organisms can live
only in the water, others die in the water;
some are self protected against the ele-
[ 18 ]


ments, others must be housed and clothed
— and so on through numberless varia-
tions in requirements. Evolution is the
balancing of organisms with their sur-
rounding conditions, influences and forces.
Those that are fit — that is, in harmony
with their environment — will survive;
those that are unfit will fail. As Herbert
Spencer says:

" Evolution under all its aspects, general and spe-
cial, is an advance towards equilibrium. We have
seen that the theoretical limit towards which the
integration and differentiation of every aggregate
advances, is a state of balance between all the forces to
which its parts are subject, and the forces which its
parts oppose to them.'' — Biology, ii. 537.

5. That matter is indestructible.

6. That force is persistent and inde-

Mr. Spencer has said (First Principles,

p. 182) that " the verification of the truth

that matter is indestructible " rests only

upon "a tacit assumption of it." "A tacit

[ '9 ]


assumption," with no rational basis for the
assumption, would be no verification; it
would be a guess. The truth that matter
and force are indestructible rests upon a
better ground than an assumption; it is
the inevitable corollary of the truth, " To
every action there is an equal and opposite
reaction." If there could be a single case
in which matter and force are annihilated,
then Newton's axiom would be untrue,
for, in that case, reaction would fail to fol-
low action. The turning of something into
nothing, by the destruction of matter or
force, would break the succession of cause
and effect, of action and reaction ; and con-
sequently the theories of the indestructi-
bility of matter and of force have their
roots in Newton's axiom, in the great law
of consequences, of equivalence, of com-
pensation, of balance.

7. That motion is ceaseless, and con-
sequently that transformation is contin-

[ 2° ]


This, like the theories of the inde-
structibility of matter and of force, rests
upon Newton's axiom. If motion should
cease, then there could be no reaction
for " every action." The modern theories
of the persistence of matter and force,
and of the ceaselessness of motion, are
extensions, interpretations and necessary
consequences of the fundamental truth
that " every action " is followed by a re-

8. The laws and tvays of Nature are
uniform and harmonious.

Uniform means of one form, agreement,
consistency. Harmony means concord, the
just adaptation of parts to each other,
agreement also, unison. We observe this
uniformity, harmony and agreement to a

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