A peculiar phase of life is change which appears in the form of
growth and decay. Nobody can deny the transitoriness of life. One
of our friends humorously observed: Everything in the world may be
doubtful to you, but it can never be doubted that you will die.
Life is like a burning lamp. Every minute its flame dies out and is
renewed. Life is like a running stream. Every moment it pushes
onward. If there be anything constant in this world of change, it
should be change itself. Is it not just one step from rosy childhood
to snowy age? Is it not just one moment from the nuptial song to the
funeral-dirge? Who can live the same moment twice?
In comparison with an organism, inorganic matter appears to be
constant and changeless; but, in fact, it is equally subjected to
ceaseless alteration. Every morning, looking into the mirror, you
will find your visage reflected in it just as it was on the preceding
day; so also every morning, looking at the sun and the earth, you
will find them reflected in your retina just as they were on the
previous morning; but the sun and the earth are no less changeless
than you. Why do the sun and the earth seem changeless and constant
to you? Only because you yourself undergo change more quickly than
they. When you look at the clouds sweeping across the face of the
moon, they seem to be at rest, and the moon in rapid motion; but, in
fact, the clouds, as well as the moon, incessantly move on.
Science might maintain the quantitative constancy of matter, but the
so-called matter is mere abstraction. To say matter is changeless is
as much as to say 2 is always 2, changeless and constant, because the
arithmetical number is not more abstract than the physiological
matter. The moon appears standing still when you look at her only a
few moments. In like manner she seems to be free from change when
you look at her in your short span of life. Astronomers,
nevertheless, can tell you how she saw her better days, and is now in
her wrinkles and white hair.