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O one attentive to the signs of the times,
passing over the world of modern thought. In politics, economic questions are coming to the front; in literature, discussions of social problems are crowding aside the purely æsthetic creations; and in the church there is a growing tendency to ignore dogmas and to engage in the humanities. As we look along the book-shelves filled with recent publications, we see a profusion of works upon all phases of social science; as we glance at the topics upon which college graduates expend their enthusiasm, we find that these living issues outrank all purely academic themes; and, as we listen to the commingled voices of this practical and earnest age, we notice that the trumpet tones come from those who are pleading for some reform or urging some philanthropy.
And it is well. Humanity is greater than any of its institutions, and it becomes the modern man to adjust his agencies to the work which he has to do. Nothing but good can come from a free discussion of all our social machinery,
Let the light shine into every nook and corner, and let every piece be tested; for, if there is anything out of order, it is high time that it be mended, and, if there is anything which has become obsolete, it is high time that it be cast aside for something better. Criticism will lead in creativeness, and after wild vagaries will come the saner mood. Vast improvements in the form and content of human life will result from this free and intense application of thought to all these questions of poverty, crime, education, economics, and religious co-operation. It is only by such discussion that we can hope to reach modes of life, individual and corporate,
a level with our intelligence. And one of the most hopeful indications of the hour is this growing interest in all matters which pertain to the problem of living. The social impulse which seeks to put a truth to divine uses is as necessary as the scientific spirit which seeks to discover that truth.
These essays are presented simply as suggestive contributions toward a clearer understanding of some of these questions. The favorable reception given to them as lectures or pamphlets has encouraged the hope that they may be as helpful to the general public as they have seemed to be to a limited circle of hearers and readers. However inadequate the treatment here given to them, these are indeed great problems, which we