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Title: Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith - Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity
Author: Patterson, Robert, 1829-1885
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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[Illustration: Robert Patterson]









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.

Stereotyped by
176 Elm St., Cincinnati.


  Did the World Make Itself?                     7

Eternity of Matter.
Disproved by its Composite Nature.
Disproved by its Motion.
Evolution only a big Perpetual Motion Humbug.
Work of a Designer in the structure of the Eye.
The Eye-Maker sees over a wide Field and far.
The Eye-Maker sees Perfectly.


  Was Your Mother a Monkey?                     34

The Divine Fact of Evolution Quite Different from the Atheistic Theory.
State the Question Sharply--Why?
Darwin's Answer.
The Ancestral Monkey, Fish, Squirt.
Natural Selection.
Intended to Exclude God.

1. _The History of the Theory._

Indian; Phoenician; Greek; Popish; La Place's Theory; The Vestiges of
Herbert Spencer's Contradictory Theory.
The Evolutionists' Hell.
Spontaneous Generation--two Theories; the Conflicting Theories of
    Progress; Tremaux; Lamarck; the Climatal; Darwin's; Huxley's;
    Parson's; Mivart's; Hyatt's; Cope's; Wallace's; the Gods; Denounced
    by the Princes of Science.
Agassiz's Deliverance Against it.
Imperfection of the Theory Eked out.
Huxley's Protoplasm.
Tyndall's Potency of Life in Matter.
Buchner's Matter and Force.
Lubbock's Origin of Civilization.
Consequences of the Brutal Origin of Man.
Propagandism of Atheism.

2. _The Theory Illogical and Incoherent._

Darwin Admits Insufficiency of Proof.
Useless as an Explanation of Nature.
Self-Contradictory; _e. g._, Protoplasm.
Wallace's Self-Contradictions.
Incoherency of the Denial of Design with the Assertion of Progress.
Failure of Alleged Facts to Sustain the Theory.
Does not Account for the Origin of Anything.
Wild Assumptions Made by Darwin.
Erroneous Assumption of the Tendency of Natural Selection to Improve
Assumption of Infinite Possibility of Progress in Finite Creatures.

3. _An Unfounded Theory._

No Evidence of the Facts Possible.
None Ever Alleged, save Gulliver's.
Domestication Disproves Transmutation--Horses; Pigeons; Dogs.
The Egyptian Monuments.
The Mummied Animals.
The Geological Record.
The Limits of Geological Time.

4. _Embryology._

Testimony of Scientists:
    1. Embryology Only Analogical.
    2. Embryos _not_ all Alike.
    3. Four Distinct Plans of Structure.
    4. Germs Always True to the Breed.

5. _Gradations of Species._

Lamarck's Statement.
Birth Descent not Inferable from Gradation.
No such Imperceptible Blending in Nature.
The Fact of the Present Existence of Distinct Species.
Sterility of Hybrids.
Geological Species Distinct.
The Intermediate Forms not Found.
The Gradation Does not Begin with the Lowest Forms.
Four Kingdoms from the Beginning.
The New Species Began with the Giants.
The Gaps Fatal to the Theory.
The Abyss Between Death and Life.
The Gulf Between the Plant and the Animal.
The Gaps Between Species Which will not Breed Together.
The Gaps Between Air Breathers and Water Breathers, &c.
The Great Gulf Between the Brute and the Man.
Natural Selection Could not Have Deprived a Monkey of Hair.
Nor Have Given a Human Brain.
The Brain-Worker Contravenes Natural Selection at Every Step.
Civilization the Contradiction of Natural Selection.
Morality and Religion the Direct Contraries of Natural Selection.
Tendency Immoral, Degrading, and Atheistic.


  Is God Everybody, and Everybody God?          91

Pantheism Described.
An Antiquated Hindooism.
A Jesuitical Atheism.
Grossly Immoral.
A Practical Atheism.


  Have We Any Need of the Bible?               112

Civilization and the Bible.
Revelation Not Impossible.
The Mythical Theory.
The Inner Light.
Many Ignorant of God.
Heathen Morality--Plato's.
Infidel Morality--Paine's.


  Who Wrote the New Testament?                 147

The Bible Not Just Like Any Other Book.
Two Modes of Investigation.
Did the Council of Nice Make the Bible?
The Mythical Theory.
The Evidence of Celsus.
The Fragment Hypothesis.
The Bank Signature Book.
Could the New Testament be Corrupted?


  Is the Gospel Fact or Fable?                 169

The Nature of Historical Evidence; Letters; Monuments.
Contemporary Letters of Peter, Pliny and John.
Prove the Existence of Churches.
And Their Worship, Holiness, and Sufferings.


  Can We Believe Christ and His Apostles?      190

The Gospel a Unit; Must Take or Refuse it All.
Apostles' Testimony Circumstantial.
Witnesses Numerous and Independent.
Confirm Their Testimony with Their Blood.


  Prophecy,                                    210

Presidential Candidates.
Draper's Dogma of Youth and Decrepitude of Nations.
Statesmen Prophets.
General Claim for All Genius.
Instances of Secular Prediction:
    Cayotte's of the French Revolution.
    The Oracles of Apollo.
    Vettius Valens' Twelve Vultures.
    Spencer's of the Disruption of the American Union.
    Saint Malachi's Prophecies.
    Mohammed's Prophecies.
    Seneca's of the Discovery of America.
    Dante's of the Reformation.
    Plato's of Shakespeare.
Symbolical Language of Prophecy.
Anybody may Predict Downfall of Nations.
An Awful Truth if it be True.
But Bible Predictions Circumstantial--Egypt; Babylon; Nineveh; Judea.
Predict Life and Resurrection.
The Arabs; Jews; Seven Churches; Messiah.


  Moses and the Prophets,                      266

God the Author of the Bible.
Every Other Book Inspired?
Connection of Bible History and Morality.
Hume's Sophism. Miracles Being Violations of Laws of Nature, Contrary to
    an Unalterable Experience.
No Testimony can Reach to the Supernatural.
Records of Facts Not Judged by Your Notions.
Rationalistic Explanation of the Miracles.
Bible Account of Creation Unscientific.
Antiquity of Man.
The Anachronisms of the Pentateuch.
Bishop Colenso's Blunders:
    The Universality of the Deluge.
    Joshua Causing the Sun to Stand Still.
    Cain's Wife.
    Increase of Jacob's Family in Egypt.
    The Number of the First-Born.
    The Fourth Generation.
    The Bishop's Blunders in Camp Life.
    Sterility of the Wilderness.
    Population of the Promised Land.
Modern Discoveries in Bible Lands.
Egyptian Monuments of Joseph.
Assyrian Ethnology and Genesis, Chaps. x. and xi.
Sennacherib's Conquest of Palestine.
Belshazzar's Kingship.
The Moabitic Inscriptions, and Omri and Ahab.
The Samaritan Pentateuch.
The Character of the Books--Austere.
Variety of Writers and Unity of Plan.
Contained the Surveys, and the Laws of the Nation.
Introduced New and Republican Usages.
Moses' Law in Advance of Modern Social Science.
Testimony of the Jewish Nation.
Testimony of Christ.
The Lost Books.
The Law Abolished by the Gospel.
The Imperfect Morality of Old Testament.
Polygamy, Slavery, and Divorce.
The Education of the World a Gradual Process.
The Imprecations of Scripture.


  Infidelity Among the Stars,                  335

Scientific Objections to the Bible.
The Infinity and Self-Existence of the Universe.
Disproved by
    Its Evident Limits.
    Its Composite Materials.
    Its Steady Loss of Heat.
Buffon's Explosion of Planets.
The Nebular Theories.
The Fiction of Homogeneous Matter.
The Contradictory Theories.
The Perpetual Motion Machine.
Contrary to Facts of Astronomy.
Contradicted by Astronomers.
Impossibility of any Cosmogony.


  Daylight Before Sunrise,                     378

Infidel Objections to Genesis.
The Hindoo Chronology.
The Egyptian Chronology.
The Bible Age of the Earth.
The Solid Firmament.
Light Before the Sun.


  Telescopic Views of Scripture,               423

The Source of the Water of the Deluge.
The Stars Fighting Against Sisera.
The Astronomers of the Great Pyramid.
The Grand Motion of the Sun.
The Formation of Dew.
The Multitude of the Stars.
The Descent of the Heavenly City.


  Science or Faith?                            466

Must Faith Fade Before Science?
Scientists as Partial as Other People.
Have no Such Certainty as is Claimed.

1. _Mathematical Errors._

The Infinite Half Inch, Etc.
The Doctrine of Chances.
No Mathematical Figures in Nature.
The French Metric System.
The Lowell Turbine Wheel.

2. _Errors of Astronomy._

Kant's Predictions; Le Verrier's.
Herschel's Enumeration of Errors.
Sun's Distance; Other Measurements.
The Moon's Structure and Influence.
La Place's Proposed Improvement.
The Sun's Structure, Heat, Etc.
The Sizes, Distances, and Densities of the Planets.
Errors About the Nebulæ.
Errors About Comets.
The Cosmical Ether.
The Cold of Infinite Space.
From This Chaos Springs the Theory of Development.

3. _Errors of Geology._

No _Fact_ of Geology Anti-Biblical.
All Anti-Biblical Theories Based on an _If_.
No Geological Measure of _Time_.
All Calculations of Time by Geologists, which Have Been Tested, Have
    Proved Erroneous--the Danish Bogs; the Swiss Lake Villager; Horner's
    Nile Pottery; the Raised Beaches of Scotland; Lyell's Blunder in the
    Delta of the Mississippi; Sir Wm. Thompson's Exposure of the
    Absurdity of the Evolutionists' Demands for Time.
Conflicting Geological Theories--the Wernerian, Huttonian, and Diluvian
    Theories; the Catastrophists and Progressionists; Eleven Theories of
    Earthquakes; Nine Theories of Mountains; False Geology of America;
    Scotland Kicked About Too.

4. _Errors of Zoology._

Lamarck's Vestiges; Tremaux; Darwin's Contradictions; Huxley; Mivart,
    and Wallace.
Blunders of the French Academy, Denouncing Quinine, Vaccination,
    Lightning Rods, and Steam Engines.
Uncertainty of Science Increases in Human Concerns.
Second-hand Science Founded on Somebody's Say So.

5. _All Science Founded on Faith._

Reason Also Based on Faith.
This Life Depends on Faith.
We Demand Truths of which Science is Ignorant.
All Our Chief Concerns in the Domain of Faith.
Religion the Most Experimental of the Sciences.
The Only Science which can Make You Happy.
Try for Yourself.


This is not so much a volume upon the Evidences of Christianity, as an
examination of the Evidences of Infidelity. When the Infidel tells us
that Christianity is false, and asks us to reject it, he is bound of
course to provide us with something better and truer instead; under
penalty of being considered a knave trying to swindle us out of our
birthright, and laughed at as a fool, for imagining that he could
persuade mankind to live and die without religion. Suppose he had proved
to the world's satisfaction that all religion is a hoax, and all men
professing it are liars, how does that comfort me in my hour of sorrow?
Scoffing will not sustain a man in his solitude, when he has nobody to
scoff at; and disbelief is only a bottomless tub, which will not float
me across the dark river. If Infidels intend to convert the world, they
must give us some positive system of truth which we can believe, and
venerate, and trust.

A glimmering idea of this necessity seems lately to have dawned upon
some of them. It is quite possible that they have also felt the want of
something for their own souls to believe; for an Infidel has a soul, a
poor, hungry, starved soul, just like other men. At any rate, having
grown tired of pelting the Church with the dirtballs of Voltaire and
Paine, they begin to acknowledge that it is, after all, an institution;
and that the Bible is an influential book, both popular and useful in
its way. Mankind, it seems, will have a Church and a Bible of some sort;
why not go to work and make a Church and a Bible of their own?
Accordingly they have gone to work, and in a very short time have
prepared a variety of ungodly religions, so various that the
worldly-minded man who can not be suited with one to his taste must be
very hard to please. Discordant and contradictory in their positive
statements, they are agreed only in negatives; denying the God of the
Bible, the resurrection of the dead, and judgment to come. Nevertheless
each discoverer or constructor presents his system to the world with
great confidence, large claims to superior benevolence, vast pretensions
to learning and science, and no little cant about duty and piety.
Wonderful to tell, some of them are very fond of clothing their
ungodliness in the language of Scripture.

No pains are spared to secure the wide spread of these notions.
Prominent Infidels are invited to deliver courses of scientific
lectures, in which the science is made the medium of conveying the
Infidelity. Scientific books, novels, magazines, daily newspapers, and
common school books, are all enlisted in the work. The disciples of
Infidelity are numerous and zealous. It would be hard to find a factory,
boarding-house, steamboat or hotel where twelve persons are employed,
without an Infidel; and harder still to find an Infidel who will not use
his influence to poison his associates.

These systems are well adapted to the depraved tastes of the age. The
business man, whose whole soul is set on money-making and spending, is
right glad to meet the Secularist, who will prove to him on scientific
principles, that a man is much profited by gaining the whole world, even
at the risk of his soul, if he has such a thing. The young and
ill-instructed professor of Christianity, whose longings for forbidden
joys are strong, has a natural kindliness toward nationalism, which
befogs the serene light of God's holy law, and gives the directing power
to his own inner liking. The sentimental young lady, who would recoil
from the grossness of the Deist, is attracted by the poetry of
Pantheism. Infidelity has had, in consequence, a degree of success very
little suspected by simple-minded pastors and parents, and which is
often discovered too late for remedy.

This book is written to expose the _folly_ of some of these novel
systems of Infidelity--leaving others to show their wickedness. It may
surprise some who would glory in being esteemed fiends, to learn that
they are only fools. If they should be awakened now to a sense of the
absurdities which they cherish as philosophy, it might save them from
awaking another day to the shame and everlasting contempt of the

I have not taken up all the cavils of Infidelity. Their name is Legion.
Nor have I troubled my readers with any which they are not likely to
hear. Leaving the sleeping dogs to lie, I have noticed only such as I
have known to bark and bite in my own neighborhood, and know to be rife
here in the West. They are stated, as nearly as possible, in the words
in which I have heard them in public debate, or in private conversation
with gentlemen of Infidel principles. I have made no references to
books or writers on that side, save to such as I am assured were the
sources of their sentiments. In such cases I have named and quoted the
authors. Where no such quotations are noticed it will be understood that
I am responsible for the fairness with which I have represented the
opinions which are examined. It is not my design to fight men of straw.

Every historical or scientific fact adduced in support of the arguments
here used is confirmed by reference to the proper authority. But it has
not been deemed needful to crowd the pages with references to the works
of Christian apologists. The Christian scholar does not need such
references; while to those for whose benefit I write, their names carry
no authority, and their arguments are generally quite unknown. One great
object of my labor will be gained if I shall succeed in awaking the
spirit of inquiry among my readers, to such an extent as to load them to
a prayerful and patient perusal of several of the works named on the
next page. They have heard only one side of the question, and will be
surprised at their own ignorance of matters which they ought to have

Books on the Evidences are not generally circulated. Ministers perhaps
have some volumes in their libraries; but in a hundred houses, it would
be hard to find half a dozen containing as many as would give an
inquiring youth a fair view of the historical evidences of the truth of
the gospel. Nor, where they are to be found, are they generally read.
Being deemed heavy reading, the magazine, or the newspaper is preferred.
Ministers do not in general devote enough of their time to such sound
teaching as will stop the mouths of gainsayers. I have been assured by
skeptical gentlemen, who in the early part of their lives had attended
church regularly for twenty-two years, that during all that time they
had never heard a single discourse on the Evidences. Moreover, the
protean forms of Infidelity are so various, and many of its present
positions so novel, that books or discourses prepared only twenty years
ago miss the mark; and rather expose to the charge of misrepresentation,
than produce conviction. New books on Infidelity are needed for every

The lectures expanded into this volume were delivered in Cincinnati, in
1858. Replying to different, and discordant systems of error, whose only
bond is opposition to the gospel, they are necessarily somewhat
disconnected. No attempt was made to mold them into a suit of royal
armor, but merely to select a few smooth pebbles from the brook of
truth, which any Christian lad might sling at the giant defiers of the
armies of the living God. Having proved acceptable for this purpose, and
a steadily increasing demand for repeated editions wearing out the
original plates, the author has been requested by British and American
publishers to revise the work in the light of the recent discoveries of
science. This he has attempted; with what success the reader will judge.
Conscious of its many defects, yet grateful to God for the good which he
has done to many souls by its instrumentality, the author again commends
the book to the Father of Lights, praying him to use it as a mirror to
flash such a ray of light into many dark souls as may lead them into the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 30, 1875.

       *       *       *       *       *

The author having been repeatedly asked by inquirers for the names of
books on the Evidences of Christianity, subjoins a list of those easily
accessible in the West. It is not supposed that any one inquirer will
read all these; but it is well to read more than one, since the evidence
is cumulative, and it is impossible for any writer to present the whole.
Having a list of several works, the inquirer who can not obtain one may
be able to procure another. There are many other works on the Evidences
on the shelves of all our principal booksellers.

_Modern Atheism_, by James Buchanan, LL. D.

_Typical Forms and Special Ends in Creation_, by James McCosh, LL. D.,
and George Dickie, M. D.

_Religion and Geology_, Edward Hitchcock, LL. D.

_The Architecture of the Heavens_, J. P. Nichol, LL. D.

_The Christian Philosopher_, Thomas Dick, LL. D.

_Natural Theology_, William Paley, D. D.

_The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and
Course of Nature_, Joseph Butler, D. C. L.

_The Bridgewater Treatises_, Whewell, Chalmers, Kidd, &c.

_The Comprehensive Commentary_, William Jenks, D. D.

_The Cause and Cure of Infidelity_, Rev. David Nelson.

_A View of the Evidences of Christianity_, William Paley, D. D.

_The Eclipse of Faith_, ascribed to Henry Rogers.

_The Restoration of Belief_, ascribed to Isaac Taylor.

_Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity_, University of Virginia.

_The Divine Authority of the Old and New Testaments Asserted_, J.
Leland, D. D.

_The Bible Commentary._

_An Apology for the Bible, in a Series of Letters to Thomas Paine_, R.

_A View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion_, S. Jenyns.

_A Letter to G. West, Esq., on the Conversion of St. Paul_, Lord

_Observations on the History and Evidence of the Resurrection of
Jesus Christ_, Gilbert West, Esq.

_Difficulties of Infidelity_, Faber.

_Dissertations on the Prophecies_, Thos. Newton, D. D.

_An Introduction to the Critical Study of the Scriptures_, T. H. Horne,
Vol. I.

_The Evidences of Christianity_, Charles Petit McIlvaine, D. D.

_Rawlinson's Historical Evidences._

_Modern Skepticism_, by Joseph Barker.

_Haley's Discrepancies of the Bible_, W. G. Holmes, Chicago.

_The Superhuman Origin of the Bible_, Rogers.

_Christianity and Positivism_, McCosh.

_The Supernatural in Relation to the Natural_, McCosh.

_Aids to Faith_, Appleton & Co.

_Modern Skepticism_, Randolph & Son.

_Modern Doubt_, Christlieb.

_Alexander's Evidences of Christianity._



     _Understand, ye brutish among the people;
     And, ye fools, when will ye be wise?
     He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?
     He that formed the eye, shall he not see?
     He that chastiseth the heathen, shall he be not correct?
     He that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know?_--PSALM xciv. 8, 9.

Has the Creator of the world common sense? Did he know what he was about
in making it? Had he any object in view in forming it? Does he know what
is going on in it? Does he care whether it answers any purpose or not?
Strange questions you will say; yet we need to ask a stranger
question: Had the world a Creator, or did it make itself? There are
persons who say it did, and who declare that the Bible sets out with a
lie when it says, that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth." Whereas, say they, "We know that matter is eternal, and the
world is wholly composed of matter; therefore, the heavens and the earth
are eternal, never had a beginning nor a Creator."

But, however fully the atheist may know that matter is eternal, we do
not know any such thing, and must be allowed to ask, How do _you_ know?
As you are not eternal, we can not take it on your word.

The only reason which anybody ever ventured for this amazing assertion
is this, that "all philosophers agree that matter is naturally
indestructible by any human power. You may boil water into steam, but it
is all there in the steam; or burn coal into gas, ashes, and tar, but it
is all in the gas, ashes, and tar; you may change the outward form as
much as you please, but you can not destroy the substance of anything.
Wherefore, as matter is indestructible, it must be eternal."

Profound reasoning! Here is a brick fresh from the kiln. It will last
for a thousand years to come; therefore, it has existed for a thousand
years past!

The foundation of the argument is as rotten as the superstructure. It is
not agreed among all philosophers that matter is naturally
indestructible, for the very satisfactory reason that none of them can
tell what matter in its own nature is. All that they can undertake to
say is, that they have observed certain properties of matter, and, among
these, that "it is indestructible by any operation to which it can be
subjected in the ordinary course of circumstances observed at the
surface of the globe."[1] The very utmost which any man can assert in
this matter is a negative, a want of knowledge, or a want of power. He
can say, "Human power can not destroy matter;" and, if he pleases, he
may reason thence that human power did not create it. But to assert that
matter is eternal because man can not destroy it, is as if a child
should try to beat the cylinder of a steam engine to pieces, and,
failing in the attempt, should say, "I am sure this cylinder existed
from eternity, because I am unable to destroy it."

But not only is the assertion of the eternity of matter unproven, and
impossible to be proved, it is capable of the most demonstrable
refutation, by one of the recent discoveries of science. The principle
of the argument is so plain that a child of four years old can
understand it. It is simply this, that all substances in heaven and
earth are compounded of several elements; but no compound can be

We say to our would-be philosophers, When you tell us that matter is
eternal, how does that account for the formation of this world? What is
this matter you speak of? This world consists not of a philosophical
abstraction called matter, nor yet of one substance known by that name,
but of a great variety of material substances, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon,
sulphur, iron, aluminum, and some fifty others already discovered.[2]
Now, which of these is the eterna-matter you speak of? Is it iron, or
sulphur, or clay, or oxygen? If it is any one of them, where did the
others come from? Did a mass of iron, becoming discontented with its
gravity, suddenly metamorphose itself into a cloud of gas, or into a
pail of water? Or are they all eternal? Have we fifty-seven eternal
beings? Are they all eternal in their present combinations? or is it
only the single elements that are eternal? You see that your
hypothesis--that matter is eternal--gives me no light on the formation
of this world, which is not a shapeless mass of a philosophical
abstraction called matter, but a regular and beautiful building,
composed of a great variety of matters. Was it so from eternity? No man
who was ever in a quarry, or a gravel pit, will say so, much less one
who has the least smattering of chemistry or geology. Do you assert the
eternity of the fifty-seven single substances, either separate or
combined in some other way than we now find them in the rocks, and
rivers, and atmosphere of the earth? Then how came they to get together
at all, and particularly how did they put themselves in their present

Each of them is a piece of matter of which _inertia_ is a primary and
inseparable property. Matter _of itself_ can not begin to move, or
assume a quiescent state after being put in motion.

Will you tell us that the fifty-seven primary elements danced about till
the air, and sea, and earth, somehow jumbled themselves together into
the present shape of this glorious and beautiful world, with all its
regularity of day and night, and summer and winter, with all its
beautiful flowers and lofty trees, with all its variety of birds, and
beasts, and fishes? To bring the matter down to the level of the
intellect of the most stupid pantheist, tell us in plain English, _Did
the paving stones make themselves?_ For the paving stones are _made_ out
of a dozen different chemical constituents, and each one is built up
more ingeniously than the house you live in. _Now, did the paving stones
make themselves?_

No conviction of the human mind is more certain than the belief that
every combination of matter proves the existence of a combiner, that
every house has had a builder, and that every machine has had a maker.
No matter how simple the combination, if it be only two laths fastened
together by a nail, or two bricks cemented with mortar, or the sole of
an old pegged boot, all the atheists in the world could not convince you
that those two laths, or those two bricks, or those two bits of leather
existed in such a combination from all eternity. If any wise philosopher
tried to persuade you that for anything you could tell they might have
been always so, you would reply, "No, sir! You can't cram such stuff
down my throat. Even a child's common sense shows him that those two
laths were not always so nailed together; that those two bricks were not
always so placed, one on the top of the other; and that those two pieces
of old sole leather were not always pegged together in the sole of a
boot." There is no conviction more irresistible than our belief that
_no compound can possibly be eternal_.

But the universe is the greatest of all compounds. Everything in it is
compound. Chemists speak of simple substances, or elements of matter,
and it is well enough to separate the elements of things in our
thoughts, for the sake of distinct consideration, and to speak of the
properties of pure oxygen, or of pure hydrogen, or of pure carbon, or of
pure gold, or of pure iron, or of pure silver. But then we should always
remember that there is nothing pure in the world, that there is no such
thing in nature as any substance consisting only of a single element,
pure and uncombined with others. Just as your gold eagle is not pure
gold, but alloyed with copper, everything in nature is alloyed.
Everything in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, and in the
waters under the earth, is compound. The air you breathe, simple as it
seems, is composed of three gases, and is besides full of what Huxley
calls "a stirabout" of millions of seeds of animalculæ and motes of dust
visible in the sunbeam. That hydrant water you are about to swallow is a
rich aquarium full of all manner of monsters, which the oxy-hydrogen
microscope will exhibit to your terrified gaze, devouring each other
alive. Should you get rid of them by evaporating your water, your
chemist will tell you that still your pure water must be a compound of
oxygen and hydrogen. There is no help for it.

Many years ago some astronomers fancied they had found clouds, or
nebulæ, of gas, quite simple and uncompounded with anything else, a
great many millions of miles away in the sky. They were so very far away
that they thought nobody would ever be able to fly so far to bottle up a
specimen of that gas and bring it back here to earth and analyze it, to
find out whether it was pure and simple, or compound. So they felt quite
safe in affirming that there was the genuine, simple, homogeneous gas,
in the nebulæ, with which Almighty God had nothing whatever to do, but
which had first made itself and then had condensed into our present
world. But unfortunately for this brilliant discovery the spectroscope
opened windows into the nebulæ, and showed very plainly that they were
on fire; and fire is a compound; it can not burn without fuel and
something to support the combustion; so that settled the alleged
simplicity of the nebulæ. It is now demonstrated, therefore, that every
known substance existing in nature is a compound, and therefore can not
be eternal. And the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. No
number of finite existences can be eternal. The universe, then, can not
be eternal.

Suppose, however, that, for the sake of argument, we should grant our
atheistic world-builder his materials, away off beyond the rings of
Saturn, or the orbit of Uranus (since he seems to like to have his
quarries a good way off from his building), would he be any nearer the
completion of his world-making? As Cornwallis declared that the conquest
of India resolved itself ultimately into a question of bullocks, the
prime consideration in the construction of the world, after you have got
your materials, is that of transportation. When one beholds the three
great stones in the temple of Baalbec, each weighing eleven hundred
tons, built into the wall twenty feet high, and a fourth in the quarry,
a mile away, nearly ready for removal, he asks, "How did the builders
move those immense stones, and raise them to their places?" And when we
behold the quarry out of which these stones were taken, and all the
other quarries of the world, and all the everlasting mountains, and the
whole of this solid earth, and boundless sea, brought, as our theorists
affirm, from far beyond the orbit of the most distant planet, we raise
the question of transportation, and demand some account of the wagon and
team which hauled them to their places. We can not get rid of the
necessity for transportation by evaporating the building stones into
gas, for a world of gas weighs just as many tons as the world made out
of it. Before we can make a world we must have _power_; but we can never
get power out of the world to build itself. The atheists' world is only
a great machine. The first law of mechanics is that action and reaction
are equal; consequently machinery can never create power. You will never
lift yourself by pulling at your boot-straps; much less can a machine
lift and carry itself.

It is no matter how big you make the wheels of your machine, as big as
the orbits of the planets if you like, still it is only a machine,
unless it has a mind in it; and your big machine can no more create
power than a little machine as small as a lady's watch. Nor does it make
the least difference in respect to making power, of what materials your
perpetual motion peddler makes his machine--whether of a skein of silk
on a reel in a bottle, or of steel and zinc electro magnets running upon
diamond points, or whether he melts up his steel, and zinc, and diamonds
into red hot fire mist; it is still only a machine, made of these
materials, as destitute of power as the smaller machines made out of it.
The atheists' universe is only a big machine, and no machine can create
power, no more than a paving stone.

It has been, however, proposed to manufacture power by the law of
gravitation, according to which all bodies attract each other, directly
in proportion to their mass, and inversely as the square of their
distances. This law appears to prevail as far as our observation extends
through space; and our world builders affirm that it must have operated
eternally, and that not only were the separate parts of our earth thus
drawn together, but that all the orbs of heaven were caused to revolve
under its influence.

Suppose, however, we grant that matter was eternal, and the force of
gravitation eternally operating upon it, would that sufficiently account
for the building up of even our own little planetary system? By no

The unresisted force of gravitation would, in far less than an eternity,
draw all things together toward the center of gravity of the universe.
We should not have separate stars, and suns, and planets, and moons,
revolving in orderly orbits, but one vast mass of matter, in which all
motion had long since ceased. There must be some power of resistance to
gravitation, and nicely balanced against it, a centrifugal force--no
matter whether you call it heat, light, or electricity, or by any other
name--from which balance of power the movements of the universe are
regulated. But here again we arrive at the same conclusion from the
balance of power to which we were before driven by the combination of
matter--regulated power proclaims a regulator, a governor. Power
belongeth unto God.

In world-building we need not only a quarry of materials, and power for
transportation, but a head to plan their arrangement. For, as ten
thousand loads of brick and stone dumped down higgledy piggledy will not
build a house, neither will ten thousand millions of materials poured
into a chaos make a world like this earth, arranged in order and beauty.
It is grossly absurd to imagine that the inanimate materials of the
earth arranged themselves in their present orderly structure.

Absurd as it seems to every man of common sense, there are persons
claiming to be philosophers who not only assert that they did, but will
tell you how they did it. One class of them think they have found it out
by supposing every thing in the universe reduced to very fine powder,
consisting of very small grains, which they call atoms; or, if that is
not fine enough, into gas, of which it is supposed the particles are too
fine to be perceived; and then by different arrangements of these atoms,
according to the laws of attraction and electricity, the various
elements of the world were made, and arranged in its present form.

Suppose we grant this gassy supposition, that the world millions of ages
ago existed as a cloud of atoms, does that bring us any nearer the
object of getting rid of a Creator than before? The atoms must be
material, if a material world is to be made from them; and so they must
be extended; each one of them must have length, breadth and thickness.
The atheist, then, has only multiplied his difficulties a million times,
by pounding up the world into atoms, which are only little bits of the
paving stones he intends to make out of them. Each bit of the paving
stone, no matter how small you break it, remains just as incapable of
making itself, or moving itself, as was the whole stone composed of all
these bits. So we are landed back again at the sublime question, _Did
the paving stones make themselves, and move themselves?_

Others will tell you that millions of years ago the world existed as a
vast cloud of fire mist, which, after a long time, cooled down into
granite, and the granite, by dint of earthquakes, got broken up on the
surface, and washed with rain into clay and soil, whence plants sprang
up of their own accord, and the plants gradually grew into animals of
various kinds, and some of the animals grew into monkeys, and finally
the monkeys into men. The fire mist they stoutly affirm to have existed
from eternity. They do not allege that they remember that (and yet as
they themselves are, as they say, composed body and soul of this eternal
fire mist, they ought to remember), but only that there are certain
comets which occasionally come within fifty or sixty millions of miles
of this earth, which they suppose may be composed of the fire mist which
they _suppose_ this world is made of. A solid basis, truly, on which to
build a world! A cloud in the sky, fifty million of miles away, may
possibly be fire mist, may possibly cool down and condense into a solid
globe; therefore, this fire mist is eternal, and had no need of a
Creator; and our world, and all other worlds, may possibly have been
like it; therefore, they also were never created by Almighty God. Such
is the atheist's ground of faith. The thinnest vapor or the merest
supposition will suffice to risk his eternal salvation upon; provided
only it contradicts the Bible and gets rid of God. We can not avoid
asking with as much gravity as we can command, Where did the mist come
from? Did the mist make itself? Where did the fire come from? Did it
kindle of its own accord? Who put the fire and mist together? Was it red
hot enough from all eternity to melt granite? Then why is it any cooler
now? How could an eternal red heat cool down? If it existed as a red hot
fire mist from eternity, until our atheist began to observe it beginning
to cool, why should it ever begin to cool at all, and why begin to cool
just then? Fill it as full of electricity, magnetism and odyle as you
please; do these afford any _reason_ for its very extraordinary conduct?
The utmost they do is to show you _how_ such a change took place, but
they neither tell you _where the original matter came from_, nor _why
its form was changed_. Change is an effect, and every effect requires a
cause. There could be no cause outside of the fire mist; for they say
there was nothing else in the universe. Then the cause must be in the
mist itself. Had it a mind, and a will, and a perception of propriety?
Did the mist become sensible of the lightness of its behavior, and the
fire resolve to cool off a little, and both consult together on the
propriety of dropping their erratic blazing through infinite space, and
resolve to settle down into orderly, well-behaved suns and planets? In
the division of the property, _what became of the mind_? Did it go to
the sun, or to the moon, or to the pole star, or to this earth? Or, was
it clipped up into little pieces and divided among the stars in
proportion to their respective magnitudes; so that the sun may have,
say the hundredth part of an idea, and the moon a faint perception of
it? Did the fire mist's mind die under this cruel clipping and
dissecting process; or is it of the nature of a polypus, each piece
alive and growing up to perfection in its own way? Has each of the
planets and fixed stars a great "soul of the world" as well as this
earth, and are they looking down intelligently and compassionately on
the little globe of ours? Had we not better build altars to all the host
of heaven and return to the religion of our acorn-fed ancestors, who
burned their children alive, in honor of the sun, on Sun-days?

An aqueous solution of this difficulty of getting rid of Almighty God,
is frequently proposed. It is known that certain chemical solutions,
when mixed together, deposit a sediment, or precipitate, as chemists
call it. And it is supposed that the universe was all once in a state of
solution, in primeval oceans, and that the mingling of the waters of
these oceans caused them to deposit the various salts and earths which
form the worlds in the form of mud, which afterward hardened into rock,
or vegetated into trees and men. Thus, it is clearly demonstrated that
there is no need for the Creator if--if--if--we only had somebody to
make these primeval oceans--and somebody to mix them together![3]

The development theory of the production of the human race from the mud,
through the mushroom, the snail, the tortoise, the greyhound, the monkey
and the man, which is now such a favorite with atheists, if it were
fully proved to be a fact, would only increase the difficulty of getting
rid of God. For either the primeval mud had all the germs of the future
plants and monkeys, and men's bodies and souls, in itself originally, or
it had not. If it had not, where did it get them? If it had all the life
and intelligence in the universe in itself, it was a very extraordinary
kind of God. We shall call it the _mud-god_. Our atheists then believe
in a god of muddy body and intelligent mind. But if they deny
intelligence to the mud, then we are back to our original difficulty,
with a large appendix, viz: _The paving stones made themselves first and
all atheists afterward._

The whole theory of development is utterly false in its first
principles. From the beginning of the world to the present day, no man
has ever observed an instance of the spontaneous generation of life.
There is no law of nature, whether electric, magnetic, odylic, or any
other, which can produce a living plant or animal, save from the germ or
seed of some previous plant or animal of the same species. Nor has a
single instance of the transmutation of species ever been proved. Every
beast, bird, fish, insect and plant brings forth after its kind, and has
done so since its creation. No law of Natural Philosophy is more firmly
established than this, _That there is no spontaneous generation, nor
transmutation of species._ It is true there is a regular gradation of
the various orders of animal and vegetable life, rising like the steps
of a staircase, one above the other; but gradation is no more caused by
transmutation than a staircase is made by an ambitious lower step
changing itself into all the upper ones.

To refer the origin of the world to the laws of nature is absurd. Law,
as Johnson defines it, is a rule of action. It necessarily requires an
acting agent, an object designed in the action, means to attain it, and
authoritative enforcement of the use of those means by a lawgiver. Are
the laws of nature laws given by some supposed intelligent being,
worshiped by the heathen of old, and by the atheists of modern times,
under that name? Or do they signify the orderly and regular sequence of
cause and effect, which is so manifest in the course of all events? If,
as atheists say, the latter, this is the very thing we want them to
account for. How came the world to be under law without a lawgiver?
Where there is law, there must be design. Chance is utterly inconsistent
with the idea of law. Where there is design there must, of necessity, be
a designer. Matter in any shape, stones or lightnings, mud or magnets,
can not think, contrive, design, give law to itself, or to any thing
else, much less bring itself into existence. There is no conceivable way
of accounting for this orderly world we live in but one or other of
these two: Either an intelligent being created the world, or--_the
paving stones made themselves_.

"Here are two hypotheses, of which the oldest is admitted to offer a
full and consistent explanation of all the facts of science. There can
be no better cause for any given formation than that God created it so.
Men of science, however, allege that creation (out of nothing) is
'scientifically inconceivable;' but this is only throwing dust in our
eyes; of course, science can not _verify_ it, neither can it verify any
other theory of causation. The question is whether reason can accept the
fact, though science can not even imagine the process? If not, there is
nothing for us but the _eternity of matter_, for evolution itself has to
face the very same difficulty when asked to account for its primal germ.
It is surely more conceivable that God created the first matter out of
nothing, than that nothing evolved something out of itself, by an
imminent law of its nature. This point, however, our scientific men are
sadly given to shirking. They profess in general not to hold the
eternity of matter, but they have nothing to suggest for its origin.
They accept it as the starting point of evolution, and decline to
speculate on its cause. This, as Dr. Christlieb observes of Bauer's
kindred system of criticism, is 'beginning without a
beginning--everything is already extant'. We may as well start with
species, as with protoplasm, if the inquiry is not to be pushed beyond
the fact. The evolutionist is bound to answer whether the process is
eternal, or how it began to be. Either it had a beginning or it had not;
if it had, creation out of nothing is conceded, and there is nothing
left to dispute. It is puerile to except to the _frequency_ of creative
acts on the ordinary hypothesis of specific origin, because it is freely
open to science to reduce the several 'kinds' to the lowest _minimum_ it
can experimentally establish. Moreover--besides the utter inconsequence
of such purely relative ideas as _often_ and _rare_--it is far more
reasonable that an eternal, personal author of creation should watch
over his work to shape and diversify it at his pleasure, than that,
after a single act, he should relapse into _inertia_ like the Hindu
Brahmin. To concentrate the whole evidence of design in one original
act, ages upon ages ago, with no opening for after interference,
undermines belief in a personal designer, simply because it leaves him
nothing to do."[4]

Leaving these brutish among the people who assert the latter, to the
enjoyment of their folly, let us ascertain what we can know of the great
Creator of the heavens and the earth. God refers the atheists of the
Psalmist's days to their own bodies for proofs of his intelligence, to
their own minds for proofs of his personality, and to their own
observation of the judgments of his providence against evil-doers for
proofs of his moral government. Our text ascribes for him perception and
intelligence: _He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that
formed the eye, shall he not see?_ It does not say, he has an eye or an
ear, but that he has the knowledge we acquire by those organs. And the
argument is from the designed organ to the designing maker of it, and is
perfectly irresistible. A blind god could not make a seeing man. Let us
look for a little at a few of the many marks of design in this organ to
which God thus refers us.

We shall first observe the mechanical skill displayed in the formation
of the eye, and then the optical arrangements, or rather a few of them,
for there are more than eight hundred distinct contrivances already
observed by anatomists in the dead eye, while the great contrivance of
all, the power of seeing, is utterly beyond their ken. I hold in my hand
a box made of several pieces of wood glued together, and covered on the
outside with leather. Inside it is lined with cotton, and the cotton has
a lining of fine white silk. You at once observe that it is intended to
protect some delicate and precious article of jewelry, and that the
maker of this box must have been acquainted with the strength of wood,
the toughness of leather, the adhesiveness of glue, the softness and
elasticity of cotton, the tenacity of silk, and the mode of spinning and
weaving it, the form of the jewel to be placed in it, and the danger
against which this box would protect it--ten entirely distinct branches
of knowledge, which every child who should pick up such a box in the
street would unhesitatingly ascribe to its maker. Now, the box in which
the eye is placed is composed of seven bones glued together internally,
and covered with skin on the outside, lined with the softest fat,
enveloped in a tissue compared with which the finest silk is only
canvas, and the cavity is shaped so as exactly to fit the eye, while the
brow projects over like a roof of a veranda, to keep off falling dust
and rain from injuring it while the lid is open; and the eyebrows, like
a thatch sloping outward, conduct the sweat of the brow, by which a man
earns his bread, away around the outer cover, that it may not enter the
eye and destroy the sight. If it were preposterous nonsense to say that
electricity, or magnetism, or odyle, contrived and made a little
bracelet box, how much more absurd to ascribe the making of the cavity
of the eye to any such cause.

Let us next look at the shape of the eye. You observe it is nearly round
in its section across, and rather oval in its other direction, and the
cavity it lies in is shaped exactly to fit it. Now there are eyes in the
world angular and triangular, and even square; and as you may readily
suppose, the creatures which have them can not move them; to compensate
for such inconvenience, some of them, as the common fly, have several
hundred. But, unless our heads were as large as sugar hogsheads, we
could not be so furnished, and we must either have movable eyes or see
only in one direction. Accordingly, the Contriver of the eye has hung it
with a hinge. Now there are various kinds of hinges, moving in one
direction, and the Maker of the eye might have made a hinge on which the
eye would move up and down, or he might have given us a hinge that would
bend right and left, in which case we should have been able merely to
squint a little in two directions. But to enable one to see in every
direction, there is only one kind of hinge that would answer the
purpose--the ball and socket joint--and the Former of the eye has hung
it with such a hinge, retaining it in its place partly by the projection
of the bones of the face, and partly by the muscles and the optic nerve,
which is about as thick as a candlewick, and as tough as leather. Most
of you have seen a ship, and know the way the yards are moved, and
turned, and squared by ropes and pulleys. The rigging of the eye, though
not so large, is fully as curious. There is a tackle, called a muscle,
to pull it down when you want to look down; another tackle to pull it
up when you have done; one to pull it to the right, and another to the
left; there is one fastened to the eyeball in two places, and geared
through a pulley which will make it move in any direction, as when we
roll our eyes; and the sixth, fastened to the under side of the eye,
keeps it steady when we do not need to move it. Then the eyelids are
each provided with appropriate gearing, and need to have it durable too,
for it is used thirty thousand times a day; in fact every time we wink.
If God had neglected to place these little cords to pull up the eyelash,
we should all have been in the condition of the unfortunate gentleman
described by Dr. Nieuwentyt, who was obliged to pull up his eyelashes
with his fingers whenever he wanted to see. There is, too, another
admirable piece of forethought and skill displayed by the Former of the
eye, in providing a liquid to wash it, and a sponge to wipe it with, and
a waste pipe, through the bone of the nose, to carry off the tears which
have been used in washing and moistening the eye. Now what absurdity to
say that a law of nature, say gravity, or electricity, or magnetism has
such knowledge of the principles of mechanics as the eye proclaims its
Former to have--that it could make a choice among multitudes of shapes
of eyes and kinds of joints, and this choice the very best for our
convenience; and that having known and chosen, it could have
manufactured the various parts of this complicated machine. Such a
machine requires an intelligent manufacturer; and yet we have only as
yet been looking at the dead eye, paying no regard to sight at all. Even
a blind man's eye prove an intelligent Creator.

Let us now turn our thoughts to the instrument of sight. The optic nerve
is the part of the eye which conveys visions to the mind. Suppose,
instead of being where you observe it, at the back part of the eye, it
had been brought out to the front, and that reflections from objects had
fallen directly upon it. It is obvious that it would have been exposed
to injury from every floating particle of dust, and you would always
have felt such a sensation as is caused by a burn or scald when the skin
peels off, and leaves the ends of the nerves exposed to the air. The
tender points of the fibers of the optic nerve, too, would soon become
blunted and broken, and the eye, of course, useless. How, then, is the
nerve to be protected, and yet the sight not obstructed? If it were
covered with skin, as the other nerves are, you could not see through
it. For thousands of years after men had eyes and used them, they knew
no substance, at once hard and transparent, which could answer the
double purpose of protection and vision. And to this day they know none
hard enough for protection, clear enough for vision, and elastic enough
to resume its form after a blow. But men did the best they could, and
put a round piece of brittle but transparent glass in a ring of tougher
metal for the protection of the hands of a watch; and he who first
invented the watch crystal thought he had made a discovery. Now, observe
in the eye, that forward part is the watch glass; the cornea, made of a
substance at once hard, transparent and elastic--which man has never
been able to imitate--set into the sclerotica, that white, muscular coat
which constitutes the white of your eye, acts as a frame for the cornea,
and answers another important purpose, as we shall presently see.

[Illustration: Structure of the Human Eye]

But, supposing the end of the nerve protected by the glass, we might
have had it brought up to the glass without any interposing lenses or
humors, as, in fact, is nearly the case with some crustacea. We can not
well imagine all the inconveniences of such an eye to us. If we could
see distinctly at all, we could not see much farther or wider than the
breadth of the end of the nerve at once. Our sight would then be very
like that faculty of perceiving colors by the points of the fingers,
which some persons are said to possess. In that case, seeing would only
be a nicer kind of groping, and our eyes would be more conveniently
fixed on the points of our fingers; or, as with many insects, on the
ends of long antennae. Such a form of eye is precisely suited to the
wants of an animal which has not an idea beyond its food, which has no
business with any object too large for its mouth, and whose great
concern is to stick to a rock and catch whatever animalculæ the water
floats within the grasp of its feelers. But for a being whose
intercourse should be with all the works of God, and whose chief end in
such intercourse should be to behold the Creator reflected in his works,
it was manifestly necessary to have a wider and larger range of vision;
and, therefore, a different form of eye. Both these objects, breadth of
field combined with length of range, are obtained by placing the optic
nerve at the back of the eye, and interposing several lenses, through
which objects are observed. By this arrangement a visual angle is
secured, and all objects lying within it are distinctly visible at the
same time. This faculty of perceiving several objects at the same time
is a special property of sight which tends greatly to enlarge our
conceptions of the knowledge of Him who gave it. A man who never saw can
have no idea of it. He can not taste two separate tastes at once, nor
smell two distinct smells at once; nor feel more than one object with
each hand at once; and if he hears several sounds at the same time, they
either flow into each other, making a harmony, or confuse him with their
discord. Yet we are all conscious that we see a vast variety of
distinct and separate objects at one glance of our eyes. I think it is
manifest that the Former of such an eye not only intended its owner to
observe such a vast variety of objects, but from the capacity of his own
sight to infer the vastly wider range of vision of Him who gave it.

Besides the breadth of the field of vision, we also require length of
range for the purpose of life. The thousand inconveniences which the
short-sighted man so painfully feels are obvious to all. Yet it may tend
to reconcile such to their lot to know that thousands of the liveliest
and merriest of God's creatures can not see an inch before them. Small
birds and insects, which feed on very minute insects, need eyes like
microscopes to find them; while the eagle and the fish hawk, which soar
up till they are almost out of sight, can distinctly see the hare or the
herring a mile below them, and so must have eyes like telescopes. We,
too, need to observe minute objects very closely, as when we read fine
print, or when a lady threads a fine needle at microscope range; but, if
confined to that range, we could not see our friends across the room, or
find our way to the next street. Again, in traveling we need to see
objects miles away, and at night we see the stars millions of miles
away; but then, if confined to the long range, we should be strangers at
home, and never get within a mile of any acquaintance. Now, how to
combine these two powers, of seeing near objects and distant ones with
the same eye, is the problem which the Maker of the eye had to solve.
Let us look how man tried to solve it. A magnifying lens will collect
the rays from any distant object, and convey them to a point called the
focus. Then suppose we put this glass in the tube of an opera-glass, or
pocket spy-glass, and look through the eye-hole and the concave lens,
properly adjusted, in front of it, we shall see the image of the object
considerably magnified. But suppose the object draws very near, we see
nothing distinctly; for the rays reflected from it, which were nearly
parallel while it was at a distance, are no longer so when it comes
near, but scatter in all directions, and those which fall on the lens
are collected at a point much nearer to the lens than before, and the
eye-glass must be pushed forward to that focus. Accordingly, you know
that the spy-glass is made to slide back and forward, and the telescope
has a screw to lengthen or shorten the tube according to the distance of
the objects observed. Another way of meeting the case would be by taking
out the lens, and putting in one of less magnifying power, a flatter
lens, for the nearer object. Now, at first sight, it would seem a very
inconvenient thing to have eyes drawing out and in several inches like
spy-glasses, and still more inconvenient to have twenty or thirty pairs
of eyes, and to need to take out our eyes, and put in a new set twenty
times a day. The ingenuity of man has been at work hundreds of years to
discover some other method of adapting an optical instrument to long and
short range, but without success. Now, the Former of the eye knew the
properties of light and the properties of lenses before the first eye
was made; he knew the mode of adjusting them for any distance, from the
thousands of millions of miles between the eye and the star, to the
half-inch distance of the mote in the sunbeam; and he had not only
availed himself of both the principles which opticians discovered, but
has executed his work with an infinite perfection which bungling men may
admire, but can never imitate. The sclerotic coat of the eye, and the
choroid which lies next it are full of muscles which, by their
contraction, both press back the crystalline lens nearer the retina, and
also flatten it; the vitreous humor, in which the crystalline lens lies,
a fine, transparent humor, about as thick as the white of an egg, giving
way behind it, and also slightly altering its form and power of
refraction to suit the case. Thus, that which the astronomer, or the
microscopist, performs by a tedious process, and then very imperfectly,
we perform perfectly, easily, instantly, and almost involuntarily, with
that perfect compound microscope and telescope invented by the Former of
the human eye. Surely, in giving us an instrument so admirably fitted
for observing the lofty grandeur of the heavens and the lowlier beauties
of the earth, he meant to allure us to the discovery of the perfections
of the great Designer and Former of all these wondrous works.

But there is another contrivance in the eye, adapted to lead us further
to the consideration of the extent of the knowledge of its power. We are
placed in a world of variable lights, of day and night, and of all the
variations between light and darkness. We can not see in the full blaze
of light, nor yet in utter darkness. Had the eye been formed to bear
only the noonday glare, we had been half blind in the afternoon, and
wholly so in the evening. If the eye were formed so as to see at night,
we had been helpless as owls in the day. But the variations of light in
the atmosphere may be in some measure compensated, as we know, by
regulating the quantity admitted to our houses--shutting up the windows.
When we wish to regulate the admission of light to our rooms, we have
recourse to various clumsy contrivances; paper blinds, perpetually
tearing, sunblind rollers that will not roll, venetian blinds
continually in need of mending, awnings blowing away with every storm,
or shutters, which shut up and leave us in entire darkness. A
self-acting window, which shall expand with the opening of light in the
mornings and evenings, and close up of its own accord as the light
increases toward noon, has never been manufactured by man. But the
Former of the eye took note of the necessities and conveniences of the
case, and besides giving a pair of shutters to close up when we go to
sleep, he has given the most admirable sunblinds ever invented. The
nerve of the eye at the back of its chamber can not see without light,
and its light comes through the little round window called the pupil, or
black of the eye--which is simply a hole in the iris, or colored part.
Now this iris is formed of two sets of muscles: one set of elastic
rings, which, when left to themselves, contract the opening; and another
set at right angles to them, like the spokes of a wheel, pulling the
inner edge of the iris in all directions to the outside. In fact it is
not so much a sunblind, as a self-acting window, opening and closing the
aperture according to our need of light, and doing this so
instantaneously that we are not sensible of the process.

It is self-evident that the Maker of such an eye was acquainted with the
properties of light, and the alternations of night and day, as well as
with the mechanical contrivances for adjusting the eye to these variable
circumstances. He has given us an eye capable of seeking knowledge among
partial darkness, and of availing itself for this purpose of imperfect
light; an apt symbol of our mental constitution and moral situation in a
world where good and evil, light and darkness, mix and alternate.

Perhaps some one is ready to ask, What is the use of so many lenses in
the eye? It seems as if the crystalline lens and the optic nerve were
sufficient for the purpose of sight, with the cornea simply to protect
them. What is the use of the aqueous humor and the vitreous humor?

Light, when refracted through the lens, becomes separated into its
component colors--red, yellow, green, blue, and violet; and the greater
the magnifying power of the lens, and the brighter the object viewed,
the greater the dispersion of the rays. So that if the crystalline lens
of the eye alone were used, we should see every white object bluish in
the middle, and yellowish and reddish at the edges; or, in vulgar
language, we should see starlight.

This difficulty perplexed Sir Isaac Newton all his life, and he never
discovered the mode of making a refracting telescope which would obviate
it. But M. Dolland, an optician, reflecting that the very same
difficulty must have presented itself to the Maker of the eye,
determined to ascertain how he had obviated it. He found that the Maker
of the eye had a knowledge of the fact that different substances have
different powers of refracting or bending the rays of light which pass
through them, and that liquids have generally a different power of
refraction from solids. For instance, if you put a straight stick in
water, the part under water will seem bent at a considerable angle,
while if you put the stick through a little hole in a pane of glass it
will not seem so much bent. He further discovered that oil of cassia had
a different power of refraction from water, and the white of an egg
still a different power. He discovered also that the first lens of the
eye, the aqueous humor, is very like water; that the crystalline lens is
a firm jelly, and that the vitreous humor is about the consistency of
the white of an egg. The combination of these three lenses, of different
powers of refraction, secures the correction of their separate errors.
He could not make telescope lenses of jelly, nor water; therefore, he
could not make a perfect achromatic telescope, but he learned the lesson
of mutual compensations of difficulties which the Maker of the eye
teaches the reflecting anatomist, and procuring flint and crown glass of
different degrees of refraction, he arranged them in the achromatic lens
so as nearly to remedy the defect.

I think that you will at once admit that Dolland's attempt to remedy the
evils of confused sight in the telescope indicated a desire to obtain a
precise and correct view of the objects; and that his success in
constructing an instrument, nearly perfect, for the use of astronomers,
gave evidence that he himself had a clear idea of that perfect and
accurate vision which he thus attempted to bestow on them. Shall we then
imagine any inaccuracy in the sight of Him, who not only desired, but
executed and bestowed on us, an instrument so perfectly adapted to the
imperfections of this lower world, and whose very imperfections are the
materials from which he produces clear and perfect vision? No! in God's
eye there are no chromatic refractions of passions, or prejudice, or
party feeling, or self-love. He sees no reflected or refracted light. O
Father of Light! with whom is no variableness, or shadow of turning,
open our eyes to behold Thee clearly!

Our text thus leads us to a knowledge of God's character, from the
structure of the bodies he has given us. He that formed my eye sees.
Though my feeble vision is by no means a standard or limit for his
Omniscience, yet I may conclude that every perfection of the power of
sight he has given me existed previously in him. Has he endowed me, a
poor puny mortal, the permanent tenant of only two yards of earth, with
an eye capable of ranging over earth's broad plains and lofty mountains,
of traversing her beauteous lakes and lovely rivers, of scanning her
crowded cities, and inspecting all their curious productions, and
specially delighting to investigate the bodily forms of men, and their
mental characters displayed on the printed page? Has he given me the
principle of curiosity, without which such an endowment were useless?
Then most undoubtedly he has Himself both the desire to observe all the
works of his hands, and the power to gratify that desire. The Former of
the eye must of necessity be the great Observer.

Wheresoever an eye is found of his handiwork, and wheresoever sight is
preserved by his skill, let the owner of such an instrument know that if
he can see, God can, and as surely as he sees, God does.

If it is possible for us to behold many objects distinctly at once, it
is not impossible for God to behold more. If he has given us an eye to
look from earth to heaven, then his eye sees from heaven to earth. If I
can see accurately, God's inspection is much more impartial. And if he
has given me the power of adjusting my imperfect vision to the varying
lights and shades of this changing scene, let me not dream for a moment
that he is destitute of a corresponding power of investigating
difficulties, and penetrating darknesses, and bringing to light hidden
works and secret things. God is light. In him is no darkness at all.
Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight, but all
things are naked and opened to the eyes of him with whom I have to do.
He has seen all my past life--my faults, my follies, and my crimes. When
I thought myself in darkness and privacy, God's eye was upon me there.
In the turmoil of business, God's eye was upon me. In the crowd of my
ungodly companions, God's eye was upon me. In the darkness and solitude
of night, God's eye was upon me. And God's eye is on me now, and will
follow me from this house, and will watch me and observe all my actions,
on--on--on--while God lives, and wheresoever God's creation extends.

     "O God, Thou has searched and known me;
     Thou knowest my down sitting and mine uprising;
     Thou understandest my thoughts afar off.
     Thou compassest my path and my lying down,
     And art acquainted with all my ways
     For there is not a word in my tongue,
     But, lo! O Lord, Thou knowest it altogether.
     Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
     Such knowledge is too wonderful for me!
     It is high, I can not attain unto it;
     Whither shall I go from thy Spirit?
     And whither shall I flee from thy presence?
     If I ascend up into heaven, Thou art there,
     If I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there!
     If I take the wings of the morning,
     And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,
     Even there shall thy hand lead me,
     And thy right hand shall hold me.
     If I say, 'Surely the darkness shall cover me,'
     Even the night shall be light about me;
     Yea the darkness hideth not from thee,
     But the night shineth as the day,
     The darkness and the light are both alike to Thee."


[1] Reid's Chemistry, II. § 37.

[2] Johnson's Turner's Chemistry, § 341.

[3] It might be supposed that such a theory is too palpably absurd to be
believed by any save the inmates of a lunatic asylum, had not the
writer, and hundreds of the citizens of Cincinnati, seen a lecturer
perform the ordinary experiment of producing colored precipitates by
mixing colorless solutions, as a demonstration of the self-acting powers
of matter. Common sense, being a gift of God, is righteously withdrawn
from those who deny him.

[4] John Bull.



In the previous chapter we saw the evidences of God's skill and wisdom
in the adaptations of nature, fitting the organs of animals for hearing,
walking, and eating, and especially in the structure of the human eye.
This has long been owned by candid minds as an unanswerable argument,
demonstrating the being of God by the works of his hands. But since that
chapter was written a school of scientists has arisen, of whom Mr.
Darwin is at present the most popular, claiming to be able to show how
all the species of living things can evolve, not only their eyes, but
their legs and wings and lungs, and every part of them, from a little
bit of primeval life stuff, called protoplasm, by the influence of
Natural Selection. Mr. Darwin owns that the formation of an eye is
rather a tough job for a little pin point germ of protoplasm; but he has
no doubt that it has been done, and he writes several books to show us
how. We propose to look into this self-evolving process, as he and his
brother evolutionists describe their theory.

It is necessary, right here at the outset, to distinguish the theory of
the evolutionists from the great fact of evolution. Almighty God created
the world, not only for his own pleasure, but also for his own glory,
that men and angels might learn to know him by his works. Creation is
thus God's great object lesson for men and angels to learn. But learning
is a process, gradual, slow, from one step to another. Therefore the
object lesson must not be precipitated all in a heap upon the infantile
intellects of the learners, but unfolded by degrees. Geologists assure
us that so it was in the past; that first the lifeless strata were
deposited; next, light was evolved; afterward, fishes, and marine
reptiles, and birds; then came the carboniferous or plant era; afterward
the mammalia; last of all man. You observe here an ascending scale of
creation, beginning with first principles and simple forms, and
ascending to the most complicated; a series of experiments in God's
great lecture-room, illustrative of the various steps of the evolution
of the divine idea. But six thousand years before geology was born Moses
described this same evolution of creation, in the first chapter of
Genesis. As he could not have learned it from any science known in his
day, God Himself must have shown it to him.

The divine idea is still in process of evolution for our instruction. We
behold it in the continual formation of new strata by the destruction of
the old; in the chemical combinations of the elements of the air, sea,
and earth; in the evolution of the grass from the seed, and of the oak
from the acorn; in the development of the insect germ into the
caterpillar, and the butterfly; in the hatching of the egg into the
chicken; and in the growth of the infant into the man. We observe also a
divine development of society, an advance of civilization, a
providential guidance of history, and a fall and disorder among mankind,
with a process of redemption, medical, educational, political and
religious, for the human race. The whole process, therefore, of the
creation, natural history, and moral government of the world, is the
development of a divine idea, according to a divine plan, by the direct
or mediate efficacy of divine power, for the accomplishment of the
divine purpose as revealed to us in the divine word, the Holy
Scriptures. Galen taught that the study of physiology was a divine hymn.
This divine development is to be clearly and sharply distinguished from
the atheistic theory of evolution. They differ in the following

1. The divine development of the world is a great fact; the theory of
atheistic evolution is only a baseless theory, a fiction.

2. The divine development begins in the beginning, with God, creating
the heavens and the earth; but the theory of atheistic evolution has no
beginning, asserting the eternal existence of a changing world.

3. The divine development is the unfolding of an intelligent plan,
showing the adaptation of means to ends for the accomplishment of a
purpose; the atheistic theory of evolution denies plan, purpose,
adaptation and final cause.

4. The divine development is conducted, and continually reinforced by
the will of the Omnipotent God; the atheistic development evolves only
the forces of matter.

5. The divine development has a moral character, and terminates in the
highest holiness and happiness of all obedient men and angels; but the
atheistic development contemplates and promises only the evolution of
animal instinct and passions, the eternal death of the individual, and,
for the universe, only purposeless cycles of progress, and catastrophies
of ruin.

In this chapter we discuss only the theory of atheistic evolution. In
the discussion of all questions affecting human life it is advantageous
to trace them to their origin, and to follow them out to their practical
results. Thus we get a clear view of the whole subject, and are enabled
to assign to it its proper influence. It is also a great benefit to the
mass of mankind to conduct such discussions in plain language, and to
translate the roundabout phrases, and the Latinized words of scientific
men, as much as we can, into the vulgar tongue; to state the subjects of
discussion so as to be understood of the people. So we shall put the
whole business of Darwinism and development before you, reader, in a
nutshell, by simply asking you the question at the head of this chapter,
"Was your mother a monkey?"

What a question!

Well, then, your grandmother? her grandmother? or does it seem less
offensive, or more likely to you to go back some thousands of years, and
say your forefathers were apes?

That is exactly what Mr. Darwin says when we translate his scientific
language into the vulgar tongue: "The early progenitors of man were no
doubt once covered with hair, both sexes having beards; their ears were
pointed and capable of movement; and their bodies were provided with a
tail having the proper muscles. The foot, judging from the condition of
the great toe in the foetus, was then prehensile, and our progenitors,
no doubt, were arboreal in their habits, frequenting some warm
forest-clad land. The males were provided with great canine teeth, which
served them as formidable weapons."[5] This ancient form "if seen by a
naturalist, would undoubtedly have been ranked as an ape or a monkey.
And as man, under a genealogical point of view, belongs to the CATARHINE
or Old World stock (of monkeys), we must conclude, however much the
conclusion may revolt our pride, that our early progenitors would have
been properly thus designated."[6] So here you have your genealogy, name
and thing fully described. Mr. Darwin thinks it is quite an honorable
pedigree: "Thus we have given to man a pedigree of prodigious length,
but not, it may be said, of noble quality. * * * Unless we willfully
close our eyes, we may, with our present knowledge, approximately
recognize our parentage, nor need we feel ashamed of it. The most humble
organism is something much higher than the inorganic dust under our
feet; and no one with an unbiased mind can study any living creature,
however humble, without being struck with enthusiasm at its marvelous
structure and properties."[A] There are people, however, who do not grow
enthusiastic at the idea of their long-tailed progenitors; but there is
no accounting for taste in such matters!

For elderly people, who do not take so enthusiastically to monkeys as
his junior readers, Mr. Darwin has provided a rather less gymnastic
ancestry. How would you like to have a fish for your forefather? If it
were one of Neptune's noble tritons, or the Philistine fish-god, Dagon,
or a mermaid, it might not be so repulsive as the ape; or even a
twenty-pound salmon, flashing its silver and blue in the sunlight as it
spins the line off the reel, might not be so utterly disgusting as the
monkey burlesque of humanity. But, alas! Mr. Darwin has been sent to
this proud nineteenth century as the prophet to teach us humility, and
here is the scientific statement of the structure of our fishy
forefathers: "At a still earlier period the progenitors of man must have
been aquatic in their habits, for morphology plainly tells us that our
lungs consist of a modified swim bladder which once served as a float.
These early predecessors of man thus seen in the dim recesses of time
must have been as lowly organized as the lancelot or amphibioxus, or
even still more lowly organized."[7]

That certainly is a very humble origin. We are not, however, by any
means to the end of our pedigree. Mr. Darwin says that your codfish
aristocracy are descended from a race of squirts--the squirts which you
picked up on the shore and squeezed, when you were a boy, discharging
these primitive Babcock Extinguishers upon your playfellows,
irreverently regardless of the harm done the poor squirt, the ancestor
of the human race. If you doubt it, here is the latest deliverance of
infallible science upon the subject. He describes the Ascidians: "They
hardly appear like animals, and consist of a simple tough leathery sack,
with two small projecting orifices. They belong to the Molluscoida of
Huxley, a lower division of the great family of the Mollusca; but they
have recently been placed by some naturalists among the vermes or worms.
Their larvæ somewhat resemble tadpoles in shape, and have the power of
swimming freely about. * * * We should thus be justified in believing
that, at an extremely remote period, a group of animals existed
resembling in many respects the larvæ of our present Ascidians, which
diverged into two great branches, the one retrograding in development
and producing the present class of Ascidians, the other rising to the
crown and summit of the animal kingdom, by giving birth to the
vertebrata."[8] Thus it appears that Mr. Darwin deduces his origin, and
that of mankind in general, from one of these Ascidians, or, in plain
English, makes them a race of squirts.

The notion of evolution is a belief that all living beings, plants as
well as animals, have not been created, but, like Topsy, just grew, from
the very smallest germs or spores. Evolutionists inform us that all
kinds of organisms have been evolved from four or five primeval germs or
spores; or more consistently with their great principle, that the simple
gave birth to the differentiated, from one primeval germ or egg. Mr.
Darwin alleges four or five primal forms, acknowledging that analogy
would lead him up to one. But other members of this school consistently
and boldly follow up the stream to its fountain, and allege a single
primeval living seed as the origin of all living things, and that this
must have been a microscopic animalcule, or plant spore, of the very
lowest order, which, multiplying its kind, gave birth to improved and
enlarged offspring; and they, in their turn, grew, and multiplied, and
differentiated into varieties; and so, in the course of endless ages,
the poorer sorts perishing and the better sorts prospering, the world
became filled with its existing populations, without any new creative
acts of God, and without any particular providential care over the new

The particular process according to which this multiplication and
improvement took place, Mr. Darwin calls Natural Selection. Every
creature tends to increase and multiply; and the very slowest breeders
would soon fill the earth, were their multiplication not checked by
hunger, by the attacks of enemies, and by the struggle for existence.
But all are not born alike strong, or swift, or of the same color; some
of the same brood are better fitted to escape enemies, or to fight the
battle of life, than others. These will survive, while the weak ones
perish. This Mr. Wallace calls, the survival of the fittest. They will
transmit their superior size, or swiftness, or better color, or whatever
superiority they possess, to their offspring. The process will go on in
successive generations, each adding an infinitesimal quantity to the
stock gained by the past generation; just as breeders of improved stock
increase the weight of cattle by breeding from the largest; or breeders
of race-horses increase the speed by breeding from the swiftest. In this
way varieties from the same family will grow into different species.
And, as only those differences which are beneficial to the animal are
preserved, they will grow into improved species; and, as variations of
all sorts take place, so all sorts of varieties and species arise in
process of time. All will thus tend to perfect themselves according to
the laws of nature, and without any special oversight or care of God, or
of anybody but Natural Selection; which Mr. Darwin takes special care to
describe as an unintelligent selector. He defines the nature which
selects to be "the aggregate action and product of natural laws," and
these laws are "the sequences of events as ascertained by us." He
ridicules the idea of God's special endowment of the fantail pigeon with
additional feathers, or of the bull dog's jaws with strength, and says,
"But if we give up the principle in the one case, if we do not admit
that the variations of the primeval dog were intentionally guided in
order, for instance, that the greyhound, that perfect image of symmetry
and vigor, might be formed; no shadow of reason can be assigned for the
belief that variations alike in nature, and the results of the same
general laws which have been the groundwork through Natural Selection of
the most perfectly adapted animals in the world, man included, were
intentionally and specially guided."[9] This, then, is the grand
distinctive difference of Mr. Darwin's mode of producing the various
animals; namely, that it is unintelligent, their variations are not
designed nor intended by the Creator, but they are the results of a
method of trial and error, producing a hit-and-miss pattern. The
failures all perish, and the successes live and prosper; but there is no
intentional or special guidance of God in the business. And the business
includes the whole process of peopling the globe, from the creation of
the first four or five germs down to the last formation of human
society. God is thus dismissed from the greatest part of the world's
life, including all human affairs. This is not exactly atheism in
theory, but practically it amounts to much the same thing.

It is this excommunication of God's agency from the management of the
world, and especially from human affairs, by Mr. Darwin's method, which
has so commended his books to the ungodly world. There is a general
agreement among this class of writers, that Mr. Darwin has destroyed the
basis of the argument for the being of God from design as displayed in
the adaptations of birds and beasts to their conditions. Mr. Huxley says
that "when he first read Mr. Darwin's book, what struck him most
forcibly was the conviction that teleology, as commonly understood, had
received its death blow at Mr. Darwin's hands."[10] "For the notion that
every organism has been created as it is, and launched straight at a
purpose, Mr. Darwin substitutes the conception of something which may
fairly be termed a method of trial and error. Organisms vary
incessantly; of these variations the few meet with surrounding
conditions which suit them and thrive; the many are unsuited and become
extinguished. * * * For the teleologist (the Christian) an organism
exists, because it was made for the conditions in which it was found.
For the Darwinian an organism exists, because out of many of its kind it
is the only one which has been able to persist in the conditions in
which it was found. * * * If we apprehend the spirit of the Origin of
Species rightly, then nothing can be more entirely and absolutely
opposed to teleology, as it is commonly understood, than the Darwinian
theory."[11] Prof. Haeckel argues to the same purpose that Darwin's
theory leads inevitably to Atheism and Materialism. Dr. Buchner says of
Darwin's theory, "It is the most thoroughly naturalistic that can be
imagined, and far more atheistic than that of his decried predecessor,
Lamarck." Carl Vogt also commends it because "It turns the Creator, and
his occasional intervention in the revolution of the earth and in the
production of species, without any hesitation out of doors, inasmuch as
it does not leave the smallest room for the agency of such a Being. The
first living germ being granted, out of it the creation develops itself
progressively by Natural Selection, through all the geologic periods of
our planet, by the simple law of descent. No new species arise by
creation, and none perishes by annihilation; the natural cause of
things, the process of evolution of all organisms, and of the earth
itself, is of itself sufficient for the production of all we see. Thus
man is not a special creation, produced in a different way, and distinct
from other animals, endowed with an individual soul, and animated by the
breath of God; on the contrary, man is only the highest product of the
progressive evolution of animal life, springing from the group of apes
next below him."[12]

Whether, therefore, Mr. Darwin himself intends his theory to be
atheistic or not, it has had the misfortune to be so viewed by the
greater number of its supporters; and, accordingly, it is this view of
it which we shall keep prominent in the following discussion. Mr. Darwin
does undoubtedly intend his theory to be antagonistic to the Bible
account of creation and providence, and an improvement upon it; and,
whether atheistic or not, it is undoubtedly anti-Christian.

_I. The History of the Theory._

The first thing which strikes a common person on first hearing this
theory is that it is a very queer notion for any Christian man to
invent. We are naturally curious to know how a man, educated in a
Christian country, could have fallen into it. But it is, in fact, no new
discovery, but an old heathen superstition. Some four hundred years
before Christ, when the world had almost wholly apostatized into
idolatry, Democritus, among the Greeks, became offended with the vulgar
heathen gods, and set himself to invent a plan of the world without
them. From Eastern travelers the Greeks knew that the Brahmins, in
India, had a theory of the world developing itself from a primeval egg.
He set himself to refine upon it, and imagined virtually the Nebular
Hypothesis. He said that all matter consisted of very small atoms,
dancing about in all directions, from all eternity, and which at last
happened into the various forms of the present world.

The ancient Phoenicians held a theory that all life was from the sea;
and that, as the wet mud produces all sorts of herbs in spring now, so
originally it produced all manner of animals. They worshiped it as a
god, and called it Mot, or Mud. Anaximander took up the theory and
carried it out in true Darwinian style, alleging that the first men
sprang from the ground watered by the sea, and that they had spines like
sea urchins; evidently deriving them from the Radiates. Lucretius still
further developed the theory in a poem in six books. The spread of
Christianity, however, hindered the spread of the doctrine, as Mr.
Tyndall feelingly laments, until the Saracens overspread the East, when
some of them, it seems, favored it. But it seems to be an unlucky dogma,
since, with the downfall of the power of the false prophet, the
anti-Christian form of science went down again.

The dogma of the transmutation of species reappeared, however, in the
Romish Church in a religious form; the old heathenism, which had never
been wholly banished from the minds of men, thus reasserting itself.
About the tenth century some began to teach that the bread of the
communion of the Lord's Supper was transubstantiated, and the wine also,
into the body, and blood, and soul, and divinity of our Lord Jesus
Christ. This is probably the most complete transmutation of species
which has ever been imagined or described. The evolution of bread into
Deity is only equaled by Mr. Tyndall's endowment of matter with all the
potencies of life and thought; a miracle differing from the popish
transubstantiation only in the element of time, but in its essential
nature equally supernatural. The dogma excited great discussion for
centuries, and produced as many theories of transubstantiation as we now
observe of evolution, keeping philosophic minds and pens busy till the
dawn of modern science after the Reformation.

La Place threw out the Nebular Hypothesis, which is substantially
Democritus' concourse of atoms, only La Place endeavored to substitute
circular motions under the law of gravitation, instead of Democritus'
chance arrangement, as a sufficient cause for the formation and motions
of planets. Herschel's discovery of the nebulæ was hastily laid hold of
by a number of writers, and notably by the author of the Vestiges of
Creation, as furnishing the primeval matter necessary for world-making;
and till the spectroscopic discoveries of the composite nature of
gaseous nebulæ, they were claimed as specimens of worlds in process of
formation. La Place supposed his nebulous matter to be gas in a state of
white-heat combustion, compared with which the heat of the hottest fire
would be a cool bath. In no other way could he dissipate the world's
substance into sufficient thinness for his vortices. But Spencer saw
that this tremendous heat would be fatal to all forms of life, and
especially to sensitive beings; and Tyndall shows us that this original
matter must have had all the potencies of life and sensation, and a
potency of sensation means being able to feel. Now the worst fate
threatened against sinners in the Bible is a place in the lake burning
with fire and brimstone, which burns at 500° Fahrenheit; but the
temperature of the original fire-mist was a thousand times hotter. Some
of these scientists call such a fate as the Bible threatens against the
wicked, cruel. But here is a hell manufactured by the evolutionists
infinitely worse than that of the Bible; for the hell of the Bible is
only for the wicked, but the evolutionists' hell is indiscriminately for
all, saints and sinners, and all sorts of creatures, innocent as babes
unborn of any crime; yet they, or, which is the same thing, the matter
containing all the potency of their sensations, that is their power of
feeling, were born in this hell, and kept in it from all eternity, until
it pleased the evolutionists to begin to cool it down a little. However,
it was rather scientific than benevolent reasons which induced Mr.
Spencer to reverse the order of procedure, and make his star dust cold
to begin with, and to heat it up by condensation and pressure to about
the temperature of molten iron; which was still an uncomfortably warm
lodging for Mr. Tyndall's potencies of sensation for some millions of
years. The division of opinion about the original nebulæ, however, still
prevails; some evolutionists of the old-fashioned order still taking
their nebulæ hot, while others, with Spencer, prefer it cold, with star

As to the Spontaneous Generation of life, there has been less progress
of opinion, though great variety has been exhibited. Ovid and Virgil
describe the way in which a carcass produces bees. It was generally
believed that putrid meat produced the maggots, till the blow-flies were
discovered laying their eggs. Then it was alleged that the entozoa, the
worms found in the bodies of animals, were self-produced, without eggs,
until the microscope discovered that one could lay 60,000 eggs. Strauss,
however, adhered to the idea that as the tapeworm, as he supposed, was
self-produced, so man was originated by the primeval slime. So also
Professor Vogt, and M. Tremaux develop their animals from the land, and
the latter accounts for their various qualities from the various
qualities of their respective birthplaces, the crop being conditioned by
the soil. But Mr. Darwin derives all his organisms from the sea.
Electricity in its galvanic form was for a while the agent to fire the
earthly or marine mud with the vital spark; and Mr. Crosse's experiments
were supposed instances of the creation of acarii or mites in the
battery bath, until it was found that the bath contained eggs and the
electricity only hatched them. Some English evolutionists still adhere
to the theory of Spontaneous Generation, but the leading Germans deny
any instance of it being known. Huxley denies that any case of it has
been established as now practicable; but supposes that if we could have
been present at the beginning of the world, when all the elements were
young and vigorous, we should have seen the chemical elements of the
earth and air combining to form living beings, by the mere powers of
their nature. If that were the fact, it would be a fact unique and
unparalleled, utterly out of the course of nature, and so as contrary to
the theory of evolution as if these living beings had been inspired with
life by Almighty God.

So the theory here again is divided. Two utterly irreconcilable ideas of
the origin of life claim our belief--the theories of Biogenesis, and of
Abiogenesis, the one says all life is from the egg, and has always been
so; and so we have an eternal begetting of finite creatures; the other
alleges the spontaneous beginning of plants and animals; a fact, if it
be a fact, as unparalleled as creation, and far more miraculous.

As to the history of the progress of the germs of plants and animals
thus produced, we find still greater diversities of opinion, not only as
to details, but as to principles. Each inventor has added to, or
altered, the original idea of evolution, until it has been burdened with
more improvements and new patents than the sewing machine; only the
evolutionary improvements bid fair to improve the theory out of
existence. We have seen M. Tremaux, with the autochthonic Athenians,
deriving the powers of improvement of plants and animals from their
native soils. Lamarck on the contrary, inspired all his plants and
animals--fungi and frogs, and elephants and apes--with the desire of
getting on in the world and improving their limbs by exercise; so the
greyhound grew slim and fleet by running; the giraffe's neck elongated
by reaching up to the branches of the trees on which it browsed, and the
duck acquired web feet by swimming. Others attributed the evolution of
differences to external conditions. The negro became black by exposure
to the tropical sun; the arctic hare received its coat of thick white
fur from the cold climate, and the buffalo and camel their humps of fat
from the sterility of their pastures at certain seasons, and the
consequent need of a reserved store of fat for food for the rest of the
body. Mr. Darwin's doctrine of Natural Selection refuses Lamarck's
notion of any conscious attempt of the plant or animal at improvement;
and equally denies the power of external nature to improve anything,
except by killing off poor specimens, save in that very limited range
where good pastures make fat animals for a season or two. An innate
power of accidental variation to a very small amount, and the slow but
constant adding up of profitable variations during countless
generations, with the killing off of the unimproved breeds by Natural
Selection, is his patent populator and improver. But this theory is too
slow for the nineteenth century, and so neither Huxley, nor Parsons, nor
Mivart, nor even Wallace, accepts the doctrine as Darwin propounds it.
It is, in fact, already becoming unpopular among scientific men. Lyell
proposed the origination of new species by leaps; as we see great
geniuses born of commonplace parents; and Huxley supports that opinion,
and Parsons, Owen and Mivart coincide in this inexplicable explanation.
The author of the Vestiges of Creation accounts for improved species
from a prolongation of the period of gestation. But Hyatt and Cope
derive them from quite the contrary process--accelerated development of
gestation. MM. Ferris and Kolliker derive them from parthenogenesis, a
mode of genesis of which our world offers no example whatever.

The origin of man, with all his mental powers and religious aspirations,
is the great difficulty. Mr. Mivart excludes man wholly from the
influence of Natural Selection, from the time he acquired a soul. Mr.
Wallace, rejecting the action of one Supreme Intelligence for everything
but the origin of universal forces and laws, "Contemplates the
possibility that the development of the essentially human portions of
man's structure and intellect may have been determined by the directing
influence of some higher intelligent beings acting through natural and
universal laws;"[13] _i. e._, the gods of the old heathen nations. And
so after twenty-two centuries wandering over the world, we have got back
to where Democritus started from--to pure old heathenism.

After such a history of the theory of evolution, and in presence of such
contradictory presentations by its advocates, I need scarcely say that
it is by no means an established scientific principle, were it not for
the insolent manner in which some of them assert it as scientifically
demonstrated; and denounce the Bible doctrine of creation as mere
superstition, "A feather bed of respectable and respected tradition,"
and warn off Christians from any attempt to investigate theories of
cosmogony; and overbear the ignorant by the array of the names of men of
science who give their sanction to some phase of the theory. But let it
be borne in mind that no well-established scientific principle, no
demonstrated law, exhibits such contradictory and conflicting phases as
those we have just witnessed. The laws of gravitation, or of chemical
affinity, for instance, offer no such contradictions of their adherents;
because they are founded on facts, while evolution is a mere notion,
founded on ignorance and error, as we shall presently see. Accordingly,
by far the greater number of the greatest scientists oppose it, as
utterly unscientific, and have recorded their opposition, and the
reasons for it. Sir John Herschel and Sir Wm. Thompson, among
astronomers, have proclaimed its antagonism to the facts of physical
astronomy. No new facts subversive of the foundations of faith in God as
recognized in the universe by Bacon, Newton, Boyle, Descartes, Leibnitz,
Pascal, Paley and Bell, have been discovered by such scientists as
Whewell, Sedgwick, Brewster, Faraday, Hugh Miller, or our American
geologists, Dawson, Hitchcock, and Dana. Nor have the deliberate and
expanded demonstrations of its unscientific character by the late
lamented Agassiz been ever fairly met, much less overturned. I refer to
these honored names for the benefit of that large class who must take
their science upon faith in some scientific prophet or apostle, in
default of any possibility of personal investigation of the facts.
Indeed, to the great majority, even of so-called scientific men, their
science must be founded upon faith in the dogma of some scientific pope
and council. And to such it may be reassuring, amidst the evolutionists'
cries of Science! Science! to know that a great many of the greatest
scientists, in spite of all these confused assertions, do still believe
in Almighty God, do call their souls their own, and hope when they die
to go to heaven.

As a specimen of the contempt in which this theory is held by the
princes of science, read the following extract of an address by Agassiz,
at a recent meeting of the Academy of Science:[14]

"As I grow older in the ranks of science," said the professor, "I feel
more and more the danger of stretching inferences from a few
observations to a wide field. I see that the younger generation among
naturalists are at this moment falling into the mistake of making
assertions and presenting views as scientific principles which are not
even based upon real observation. I think it is time that some positive
remonstrance be made against that tendency. The manner in which the
evolution theory in zoology is treated would lead those who are not
special zoologists to suppose that observations have been made by which
it can be inferred that there is in nature such a thing as change among
organized beings actually taking place. _There is no such thing on
record._ It is shifting the ground from one field of observation to
another to make this statement, and when the assertions go so far as to
exclude from the domain of science those who will not be dragged into
this mire of mere assertion, then it is time to protest.

"He thought it was intolerant to say he was not on scientific grounds
because he was not falling into the path which was occupied by those who
maintain that all organized beings have been derived from a few original
progenitors. Other supporters of the transmutation doctrine assume that
they can demonstrate the changes to have taken place by showing certain
degrees of resemblance; but what they never touch is the quality and
condition of those few first progenitors from which they were evolved.
They assume that they contained all that is necessary to evolve what
exists now. That is begging the question at the outset; for if these
first prototypes contained the principle of evolution, we should know
something about them from observation, and it should be shown that there
are such organized beings as are capable of evolution.

"I ask, Whence came these properties? If this power and capacity of
change is not inherent to the first progenitors, then I ask, Whence
came the impulses by which those progenitors which have not this power
of change in themselves acquire them? What is the power by which they
are started in directions which are not determined by their primitive
nature? From the total silence of the supporters of the transmutation
theory on these and other points, _he did not think it worth their while
to take the slightest notice of this doctrine of evolution in his
scientific considerations_. He acknowledged what the evolutionists had
done incidentally in scientific research; none had done more than Mr.
Darwin. He believed he had been injured woefully by his adherents. He
was a far better man than most of his school made him."

It is to be acknowledged, however, that many scientists are
evolutionists. Mr. Darwin is not alone in his belief. If he were, it
would not be worth while to spend time in examining it. Quite a number
of scientific men have fallen into it, and lecture and write
commendations of it; and it has become quite popular among a certain
class who do not like to accept the Bible doctrine that God created man,
with its necessary consequence that the creature ought to obey his
Creator; and they have proceeded to patch it out into completeness--for,
as you observe, it is a little defective; like its own primeval squirt,
it lacks a head and a tail--it has neither a beginning nor an end
properly fitted to it. It takes a piece out of the middle of the
universe from the management of God, but it leaves the beginning and the
end totally unaccounted for; telling us neither whence came the first
germs, nor whither tends the final fully developed angel. Mr. Darwin,
though he calls one of his works, the Origin of Species, really avoids
the question of origin. He admits the miracle of the creation of the
four or five original germs of life, which, according to the
evolutionists, is as unscientific as if he admitted four or five
hundred. They desire to escape the operation of God altogether.
Moreover, he gives no account of the origin of the law of heredity, by
which each being produces its like; nor yet of the origin of the power
of variation, according to which profitable variations occur. Here,
then, is still a field in which God reigns. But it is specially with Mr.
Darwin's admission of the Creator to bestow the origin of life that
evolutionists are displeased. If they admit God at the beginning of the
world they see plainly that there is no possibility of getting rid of
him afterward. Messrs. Huxley, Spencer, Tyndall, Buchner, Haeckel and
Vogt combine their forces accordingly to evolve the world as we find it
without God's intervention.

Mr. Huxley, perceiving that to make either man, or monkey, or nomad, you
must have materials, kindly brings a little pitcher of protoplasm, which
he calls the physical basis of life. It is the meat our Cæsar feeds on,
and indeed, for that matter, all living things. All vegetable and animal
tissues are made up mostly of oxygen, hydrogen, carbon and nitrogen; and
as the materials of which all living beings are built are the same
originally, and are simply these chemical substances with a little iron,
salt and lime, with their properties, he will have it that all life,
including man's life and thought, is merely a development of protoplasm.
This is the clay out of which all the various bricks, and tiles, and tea
cups, and porcelain vases of the great world building are built. We
don't need to begin with monkeys, nor fish, or pollywogs, now to develop
into men, for we go down to the very bottom, since we have the stuff
they all are made of, namely, protoplasm. Still this clay needs a potter
to mold and bake it.

The difficulty about the protoplasm is that it must be _alive_. You can
not get a living pollywog, no more than a living elephant, out of dead
protoplasm. Mr. Huxley shows very well that all protoplasm consists of
the same materials; in fact, that all flesh is grass, as the Scripture
says. The difficulty is how to convert the grass into flesh, unless by
some animal eating it; or to convert the nitrogen, carbon and water into
grass or grain, or any other form of protein or protoplasm, without the
previous action of some plant. In short, how are we to make the chemical
materials live? Here Mr. Tyndall comes in and endows the matter of the
universe with life, and with all the potency of producing bodies and
souls. In his famous Belfast Address he says: "Abandoning all disguise,
the confession that I feel bound to make before you is that I prolong
the vision backward, beyond the boundary of the experimental evidence,
and discern in this matter, which we in our ignorance, and
notwithstanding our professed reverence for its Creator, have hitherto
covered with opprobrium, the promise and potency of every form and
quality of life."

Yet, after all this marvelous endowment of matter with all potency, we
have not got quite back to the beginning. For still the questions arise,
Where did this almighty matter come from? Who endowed it with these
wonderful potencies? And how does it happen to work so well, in such
orderly and regular evolution of star dust, suns, planets, pollywogs,
monkeys, men and maggots, in eternal cycles, ever advancing higher and
doing better and better for the race, though poorly enough, it appears,
for the miserable individuals? Here Buchner, Vogt, Spencer and other
materialists come in and perfect that which was lacking; showing how the
star dust made itself, and how the paving stones made themselves, and
are under no obligations to any Creator but themselves. Matter and force
are all they need, and endless time in which to work, and they will
account for the universe without any Creator at all. Everything and
every person must be just as it is, according to the regular operation
of the laws of Nature.

As Buchner, Vogt and Spencer have given the system a head, Lubbock,
Evans and others have supplied it with a tail, and demonstrated how
society, and morals, and religion have been excogitated by the apes out
of their meditations in the forests. It is a fearful and wonderful
account they give us of the origin of marriage from the battles of the
baboons, of the rights of property established by terrible fights for
groves of good chestnuts, of the beginnings of morals from the instincts
of brutes, and of the dawnings of religion, or rather of superstition,
from the dreams of these animals; the result of the whole being that
civilization, and society, and law, and order, and religion, are all
simply the evolution of the instincts of the brutes, and that there is
no necessity for invoking any supernatural interference to produce them.
The termination of the whole, as far as you and I are concerned, is that
"We shall fade away as the faint cloud melts into the blue ether," into
the eternal sleep of death.

It thus appears that there is an orderly succession and attempted
adjustment of one part of the doctrine of evolution to another, and that
all the various workers are cooperating toward one grand result. It is
true they differ widely in their professed religious creeds and
political partialities. Mr. Darwin avows his belief in a Creator. Mr.
Huxley votes on the London School Board for the introduction of the
Bible into the public schools. Mr. Spencer is willing to allow the
existence of some great unknowable mystery. Some of the French and
German evolutionists dispense with any reference to God, as an
unnecessary hypothesis. Others oppose the idea of God altogether, as
inimical to progress. M. Comte proposed a worship of humanity. M.
Strauss would worship the universe. But with all this variety of
uniform, and armor, and tactics, the evolutionists are all soldiers of
the same army, and are all fighting the same great battle, for the
brutal origin of man, and his independence of God. From which
independence of God, and brutal origin of mankind, result very
important consequences. For the belief of this notion necessarily
destroys all faith in the Bible, and in the Christianity which it
reveals, and revolutionizes the basis of the civilization founded upon
it, and all the laws protecting life, property, marriage and religion;
which laws are based upon the belief of mankind in the dignity of man,
the sacredness of human life, and the sanction of morality by the
All-seeing Judge of all the earth, who will reward every man according
to his works. For all practical purposes it makes no great difference
whether a man denies that there is any God at all, or admits that there
is some kind of a god who created the world millions of years ago, and
just set it a spinning to work out its destiny as best it might, but
never after concerned himself about it, or its people, and never will;
for nobody will ever trouble his head about a god who never troubles his
head about him.

Most of the evolutionists are zealous advocates of their system. These
propagandists have had such a degree of success in attracting public
attention, in inspiring a large proportion of the secular press, besides
scientific journals, as advocates of their notions, and in obtaining
entrance for them into the common school books, put into the hands of
our children, and into massive quartos published by State legislatures
with the money of Christian people, and in the prevalent corruption of
public morals and breach of private trusts necessarily resulting from
the evolution of these principles, that we are compelled, in
self-defense, to examine the doctrine of evolution. It is all very well
for Mr. Tyndall to warn off everybody, but evolutionists, from any
investigations into cosmogony; about which he owns that they know very
little now, and will not know much for some millions of years to come.
But common people, who will not live so long, but who in the meantime
have to live and make money, and save it, who have children to rear,
and houses which they do not want burned over their heads, who have
taxes to pay, increasing every year, and public plunderers to prosecute
and whose ballots may be asked one of these days for the substitution of
the communes of the original apes, and the Red Republic for these United
States, all upon the alleged scientific proof for the truth of the
doctrine of evolution, and the consequent abolishment of
Christianity--common people, I maintain, by whose money and votes this
dogma is to be established, will not be debarred from asking the why and
the wherefore, neither by Mr. Tyndall, nor by any other scientific pope.
It is a little too late in the day for men who do not know their own
mind from the Alps to Belfast, and who doubt whether God made them
whenever they are dyspeptic, to stand up before the public demanding
that we shut our eyes and open our mouths, and swallow every
preposterous notion they think proper to proclaim as science, to the
destruction of our faith in the God who made us, of our respect for our
brethren of mankind, and of our hope of heaven.

_II. The Illogical Structure of the Theory._

When men come before the world with a dogma freighted with such
wide-reaching revolutions, they ought to be prepared to furnish the most
irrefragable proofs of its truth, and of its obligation and authority.
We should be able to establish it beyond all controversy as based on a
series of facts which take their place historically in the line of the
inductive sciences; about which all men of science are agreed, as all
astronomers, for instance, are agreed about gravitation; and we should
be able to show that each of the alleged consequences flows inevitably
and logically from these established facts. Ignorance, hypothesis,
assumption of facts, sophisms, begging the question, and the like, are
wholly impertinent in any such discussion. Were they even tolerable in
the field of metaphysical discussion, they must, by the rules of the
Positive Philosophy itself, banishing all but ascertained facts from the
halls of science, be excluded from this discussion of an alleged general
law of nature. But when we enter on the examination of the dogma of
evolution, we find its parentage among ignoble superstitions; its
fundamental facts still lie in the darkness of ignorance and assumption;
and its reasoning is illogical and absurd.

The most prominent feature which arrests our notice as we look closely
at the theory of evolution, as presented by any of its prominent
atheistical advocates is, _its illogical and incoherent structure_. The
writer contradicts himself. The various parts of the theory do not hang
together. The alleged facts do not sustain the conclusions deduced from
them. Mr. Darwin's books especially abound in the most intolerable
assumptions of principles and facts, not only without proof, but in the
face of unanswered and unanswerable objections. And the theory is
useless for the purpose of its proposal. All this is utterly at variance
with the method of true science. None but a mind debauched by bigoted
attachment to a preconceived theory could overlook these fatal defects
in the system. Indeed both Darwin and Huxley admit that acceptance of
the evidence must be preceded by belief in the principle of evolution.
It is marvelous that any properly educated student of mental science
should accept a theory so incoherent, in which the rents are scarcely
held together by the patches. We can only exhibit a few specimens of the
multitude of these fatal inconsistencies and deficiencies.

The theory is useless as an explanation of the arcana of Nature. Mr.
Darwin is, by his own acknowledgment, a very ignorant man--ignorant of
the very things necessary for him to know before he can construct a
method of creation, and unable to explain to us what he sets out to
explain. He confesses himself ignorant of the origin and laws of
inheritance, by which his whole system hangs together; of the common
ancestors from which he alleges all creatures are derived; of the laws
of correlation of parts, though these are indispensable to development;
of the reasons of the extinction of species, which is the great
business, the very trade of his great agent, Natural Selection. He has
no knowledge of the duration of past ages, though that duration is an
essential element of his calculations. The spontaneous variations of
plants and animals are the very mainspring of his machine; but he tells
us he knows nothing of the laws governing them; nor has he any
information about the creation of the primordial forms, nor about the
date of beginning, or rate of progress.[15] All which are necessary to
be known in order to the formation of a correct theory. Again and again,
when confronted with facts which his theory can not explain, he takes
refuge in confessions of ignorance. When he meets facts which flatly
contradict his theory of the imperceptible beneficial acquirement of
organs, or of properties by inheritance--such as the sterility of
hybrids, the instincts of neuter bees, the battery of the electric eel,
the human eye, and the eye of the cuttle-fish, he owns that "_it is
impossible to conceive_ by what steps these wondrous organs have been
produced." When asked for the missing links between existing species, he
refers us to the undiscovered fossiliferous strata below the Silurian.
So Sir C. Lyell refers us for a view of the apes, which developed the
first men, to the unexplored geological regions of Central Africa! And
Rev. Baden Powell refers us, for the missing links of the chain of
development, to "that enormous period of which we are, from the
conditions, _precluded from knowing any thing whatever_." And as to the
Origin of Species, the very thing the title of his book proclaims, and
how the original germs varied into the four or five primeval forms, and
these into the next, he says: "_Our ignorance of the laws of variation
is profound!_" And that is science!

The Christian acknowledges his ignorance of the method of creation; but
he presents a sufficient cause for the existence of the facts. The
evolutionist ridicules the Bible account of creation as
incomprehensible, and then he gives us an account which he himself owns
to be incomprehensible, and which we, besides, perceive to be absurd. He
proposes to explain to us the origin of species, and locates it in the
geological strata of an unexplored continent, and in those remote ages
of which by the conditions _we are precluded from knowing any thing
whatever_! Objecting to the idea of the God of the Bible, as a
self-existent, infinite, intelligent, omnipotent, good Spirit, because
of its unthinkability, Messrs. Spencer, Tyndall, and the rest assure us
of the eternal self existence of an intelligent cloud of gas, endowed
with all promises and potencies, of life and thought, as a simple and
intelligible substitute! Belief in God Almighty is only superstition,
but faith in Mr. Tyndall's gas-god is science. Mr. Spencer honestly
lands in the unknowable. Well, then, what science have we gained of the
mysteries of our origin?

Of the self-contradictions of evolutionists, we have an instance in
Huxley's treatment of the fundamental fact of his system--protoplasm.
The grand question is: How does the protoplasm become alive? In his
famous lecture on the subject, Physical Basis of Life, he argues
throughout, that life is a property of protoplasm; that protoplasm owes
its properties to the nature and arrangement of its molecules; that
there is no more need to infer or allege a faculty called vitality, to
account for the production of these various properties of the
protoplasm from its chemical constituents, than to infer a power called
aquosity, to account for the generation of water from oxygen and
hydrogen; and that our thoughts are the expression of molecular changes
in that matter of life which is the source of our other vital phenomena.
Briefly, our minds are manufactured by our bodies. But in his more
recent work, the Classification of Animals, 1869, without any retraction
of his previous error, or acknowledgment that he has changed his mind,
he flatly contradicts his Physical Basis, accepting and indorsing "the
well-founded doctrine that life is the cause and not the consequence of

A still more ridiculous incoherency of the same sort is displayed in the
logical department of Huxley's Physical Basis of Life; where, after
trying to persuade us to put our feet on the ladder which leads in the
reverse direction from Jacob's, and to descend with him into the slough
of materialism, and affirming that "our thoughts are the expression of
molecular changes in that matter of life which is the source of our
other vital phenomena;" he goes on to say, that he does not believe in
materialism. And he tries to vindicate himself by asserting that "we
know nothing about the composition of any body whatever as it is." And
this after deducing our thoughts from the molecular changes of the
protoplasm! A pretty story truly, and an impudent one! Here is a man who
will tell you all about how your body made your soul out of protoplasm,
and in the next page acknowledges that he knows nothing about the
composition of either the body or soul as it is! And yet this man will
mock the believers in the Bible as "smothering their minds under a
respectable feather bed of tradition," because they hesitate to shut
their eyes, and swallow his contradictions.

Mr. Wallace gives us a specimen of this logical incoherence affecting if
possible still more deeply the foundations of philosophic faith.[16] He
heads his paragraph _Matter is Force_, and goes on to argue that matter
is essentially force, and nothing but force; that matter, as popularly
understood, does not exist. Then in a couple of pages he goes on to
argue "that the whole universe is not merely dependent on, but actually
_is_, the will of higher intelligences, or of one Supreme Intelligence."
But the whole tenor of his book is thus demolished; since evolution, if
it means anything, means the interposition of natural law between the
will of the one Supreme Intelligence and the universe. And on this
theory Mr. Wallace's criticisms on Mr. Darwin and others are impious,
being criticisms upon parts of the will of the one Supreme Intelligence.

Similar instances of self-contradiction could be given, did space
permit, from almost every advocate of evolution.

Our space permits the exhibition of but a single instance of the
inherent incoherency of the theory. There is nothing in which all the
atheistic evolutionists are more emphatic than in the exclusion of
design from the universe. All their arguments and sneers are leveled
against the idea, that the adaptations of Nature were designed or
intended by an intelligent mind; and the theory of evolution is welcomed
chiefly because it enables them to give some account of the order of the
world, without any acknowledgment of a providence guiding it to some end
or purpose. But yet all these same evolutionists proclaim progress as
the great law of Nature, and expend themselves with wonderful eloquence
in tracing the progress of nebulæ into worlds, and of worms into men.
They glory in progress of the past, and prophesy progress in the future,
apparently in the most childish unconsciousness, that the very idea of
progress involves design, and that the fact of progress asserts
providence. Nor is there any escape by alleging necessity of Nature,
which is merely endowing the designer of progress with omnipotence as
well as omniscience.

The illogical character of the theory is still further manifested by the
failure of its alleged facts to sustain the consequences deduced from
them. Suppose all the facts alleged by the atheistic evolutionists were
granted, how would they do away with the evidence of the being and
government of God? as they loudly allege they do. Let it be granted that
all men grew up from monkeys, and the monkeys from worms, and all worms
grew from invisible animalculæ, and that the animalculæ flashed into
life by the chemical contact of the materials of the protoplasm, and
that the protoplasm was a natural crop of the cooling globe, and that
the cooling globe condensed itself out of fire mist or nebulæ or star
dust, I demand to know how does all that enable me to get rid of the law
of causation? It is a necessary law of my nature to believe that every
effect demands an adequate cause. It is equally a law of my nature to
believe that every compound, or composite substance, is an effect, that
the compound did not compound itself.

Here is a great effect--a universe in solution, with all the chemical
constituents of our globe and solar system floating in it, and all their
laws of chemical affinity and proportion, and all their electrical
attractions and repulsions, in full operation (else we would never get a
universe to thicken down out of it); and besides, all the potencies of
vegetable and animal life, and all the great powers of the human mind,
in a rather vaporous condition, it is true, but still all
there--Socrates, Seneca and Solomon, Moses, Solon and Blackstone, Homer,
Milton and Shakespeare, Demosthenes, Cicero and Daniel Webster, Watt,
Stephenson, Fulton and Morse, popes, puritans and evolutionists,
universities and newspapers and congresses, the United States and the
British Empire, and the rest of mankind--all boiled up into Mr.
Tyndall's potencies, but all there in potency, just as truly as they
ever were here in fact. Well! here is a great effect just as
imperatively demanding a great First Cause as the world afterward formed
out of it. These substances did not make themselves then, any more than
the resulting persons or paving stones make themselves now, and they did
not endow themselves with these potencies, nor calculate and establish
these laws of chemical combination in exact proportion, nor determine
scientifically the laws of gravitation and electricity and light and
heat, before they came into being; which must have all been established
before a single particle of the star dust could begin to cool, or to
approach another. The very first idea of matter or of force we can form
demands law, and law is merely another name for the divine order of
Nature. Whatever foundation for Natural Religion, for faith in God as
the Creator and Governor of the world, is afforded by the existing order
of the world, it is in no degree logically weakened (though it may be
practically) by viewing that order as reached by a process of evolution,
since that process also must have been designed, planned, adapted to its
purpose, and divinely superintended.

Accordingly, we find that many philosophers, and some divines,
acknowledge a process of the evolution of God's great idea, and adore
him for the growth alike of forests and firmaments, regarding evolution,
thus conditioned, as profoundly religious. St. Augustine, and St. Thomas
Aquinas, of old, and many modern speculators, have assented to the
theory of evolution as perfectly consistent with belief in God, as its
Author. It is utterly illogical to allege that evolution has banished
final causes. Grant it all its facts, and these facts proclaim God.

It is evident, however, that evolutionists are not confident of the
ability of the facts which they are able to allege to sustain their
theory, since they are perpetually postulating assumptions necessary to
their argument, but which are utterly unproved, and incapable of proof.
Mr. Darwin is the most notorious offender against inductive science in
this respect. I have now before me a list of eighty-six assumptions of
this sort in the Origin of Species alone. Those in his other works are
too numerous to mention. He continually mistakes his own assertions, or
even his own mere conjectures, for proof, and refers back to them, and
builds further assumptions upon them accordingly; and he assumes facts
unproven and incapable of proof; and principles which he must know are
denied by his opponents. We can only take a few instances at random.

He assumes that all dogs are developed from wolves (Descent of Man, page
48); that the instincts of animals are developed (page 38); that
language was developed (page 53); that there is a wider interval between
the lamprey and the ape than between the ape and the man, thus begging
the question of man's brutality (page 34); that the savage is the
original state of man (page 63); that parental instincts are the result
of Natural Selection, after owning utter ignorance of their origin (page
77); that the ideas of glory and infamy are the workings of sympathy
(page 82); the heredity of moral tastes (page 98); that the standard of
morality has been rising since the giving of the ten commandments (page
99); that our ancestors were quadrupeds (page 116); that there have been
thousands of generations (page 125); that breeds have the character of
species (Origin of Species, page 411); that rudimentary organs are
inherited abortions (page 424); that there are four or five original
progenitors, and distant evidence of only one (page 425); he assumes
descent to prove his geology (page 428); and perpetual progress toward
perfection (pages 59, 140, 176, 428), in the face of his own facts of

Then look at the outrageous character of the assumption that beneficial
variations may be added up indefinitely, that is, to infinity. Because a
gymnast can leap over two horses, can his son leap over three? and his
son over four? and his son over five? and can we in time breed a man who
will leap to the moon? And yet the whole theory is based upon
forgetfulness of the maxim, that there is a limit to all things, and of
the fact, that in creatures of flesh and blood this limit is very soon

Look again at the utterly erroneous assumption that the tendency of the
struggle for life is to improve the combatants; an assumption
contradicted by the whole history of famine, war, pauperism, and
disease, among brutes and men. Were the survivors of the Irish famine of
1847, or those of the Persian, or Bengali famines improved by their
struggle for life? It is true the fittest survived; but that was all;
they were miserably emaciated and demoralized. Were the peasantry of
Europe improved by the wars of the French Revolution? On the contrary,
though the fittest survived, France was obliged to lower the recruiting
standard three inches. In all cases the struggle for life injures all

And yet upon these two fundamental assumptions the theory is built; of
which that of the indefinite accumulation of small profitable variations
is outrageously impossible and absurd; and the other, of the improvement
of breeds by starvation and hardships, is contrary to all observation
and experience! Take away these two assumptions, and the whole theory of
the gradual improvement of plants and animals by such agency vanishes.
There is no such power of indefinite improvement by Natural Selection,
as Mr. Darwin asserts. The utmost it can do is to keep breeds up to the
natural standard, or near to it, by destroying the weakest; but at the
same time it weakens the strongest also. Were there no other objection,
this one would be fatal, that Mr. Darwin assigns an elevating power to a
depressing agency, and asserts war, famine, hardship, and disease as his
holy angels perfecting progress.

Mr. Darwin presents the most preposterous assumptions with such coolness
and apparent unconsciousness of their utter improbability to his
readers, and with such an entire ignoring of the necessity of any
further attestation than his own _ipse dixit_, as to warrant serious
suspicions of his sanity. Take, for instance, his bear and whale story.
Hearne reports having seen in the Arctic regions a bear swimming in the
water for hours, with his mouth wide open, catching flies; and Mr.
Darwin says if the supply of flies were constant (where the winter lasts
eight months of the year 40° below zero) _he can see no difficulty in
the production at length of an animal as monstrous as a whale_! M.
Comte's disciples never suspected their master's sanity till he invented
a religion for them.

2. This theory, it should be remembered, is _merely a theory_, _a mere
notion_, _a hypothesis_. It is not even alleged that it is based upon
facts actually discovered. The alleged facts of the cooling of the
nebulæ, the chemical origin of life upon our globe, and the development
of the original Ascidian into the fish, and that into the monkey, and of
the monkey into the man, never were witnessed by anybody, nor could they
be witnessed. La Place was honest enough to call his part of the theory,
The Nebular _Hypothesis_. He had no idea of claiming for it the rank of
a fact of science upon which he, or anybody else, might build a system.
Nor are the modern assertors of evolution able to establish a single
instance of the chemical origin of life at the present day; though
thousands of experiments have been made attempting that exploit, by
English, French, and German chemists during the last forty years. Nor
has a single case of the transmutation of species ever been observed in
wild animals or plants; nor has any change of species been produced in
tame ones by domestication or culture. No naturalist has seen a
community of apes in the process of improvement toward manhood; nor has
any philologist described the first attempts of the monkeys toward the
articulation of language, or the manufacture of clothing, unless we
except Mr. Lemuel Gulliver's interesting account of the Yahoos. It must
be acknowledged that the animals described by that accurate observer,
and graphic describer, approach more nearly to those required by Mr.
Darwin's theory than any ever seen before, or since. Hence it is greatly
to be desired that some scientific evolutionists should thoroughly
explore those regions, investigate the manners and customs of the Yahoos
with the enthusiasm of a true Darwinian, and minutely describe those
interesting features which would enable us to decide whether they are
monkeys progressing to manhood, or men brutalizing into apehood; but
which Mr. Gulliver's lack of scientific enthusiasm for evolution
prevented him from closely examining. But until the scientific standing
of Mr. Gulliver's Yahoos is determined, the theory of evolution must be
assigned to the mountains of speculations, big with expectation, but
which yet await the birth of their first fact.

Mr. Darwin indeed alleges the results of domestication upon animals and
plants, as producing permanent varieties as different in appearance as
many which are ranked by naturalists as different species, and he
alleges that Natural Selection carries on a similar process of
improvement among wild animals and plants.

But the facts of domestication are most emphatic in refusing to
acknowledge any change of species of the most carefully bred animals.
The efforts of breeders have been exerted for thousands of years upon
the dog, the ox, the goat, the sheep, and the ass, the horse, and the
camel, among animals; and upon the goose, the duck, and the pigeon, and
for a shorter time, but still for two thousand years, upon the common
barn-door poultry. Farmers in all lands, since the deluge, have used
their best exertions to improve the cereals, the fruit trees, the vines,
and root crops, and vegetables, and the result has been some valuable
modifications of size, shape, flavor, and fertility; but in no case
whatever has any change of species been effected. All the efforts of
breeders have not succeeded in making the horse specifically different
from the noble animal described in the Book of Job four thousand years
ago. The sheep has not become a goat, nor the goat a sheep, by all the
pains of all the shepherds since the days of Abel. The ass displays not
the least tendency to become a horse, nor the goat to become a cow. Mr.
Darwin makes great capital out of pigeons, enumerating all the varieties
owned by fanciers, and showing how the Indian emperors bred them a
thousand years before Christ. But it is strange that he does not see
that this makes against his theory; since in all that time this most
variable of birds has never been transmuted into any other species. The
pigeon has never been changed into a crow, or a magpie, or a woodpecker,
or a chicken; has never, in fact, become anything else than a pigeon.
Dogs are also somewhat variable in their varieties, and Mr. Darwin
relies greatly upon supposed variations from some one assumed ancestral
pair of dogs, into the greyhound, mastiff, terrier, and lapdog. But
granting all these unproven variations, no instance is alleged of a dog
ever becoming a cat or a lion by any care or culture.

It will not do to allege, that, for anything we know to the contrary,
our present breeds of domestic animals and plants may be so different
from those called by the same names in ancient times as to be really
different species.

We do know many things to the contrary. In the tombs of the Egyptians,
and the sculptures of the Assyrians, we have pictures of the various
plants, birds, and animals, from three to four thousand years old, as
well as of man, the most domestic animal of the whole. These paintings
and sculptures assure us that in all those millenniums domestication has
not produced the slightest change in the races of animals, plants, or
men. The Ethiopian has not changed his skin, nor the leopard his spots.
The negro was then the same black-skinned, woolly-headed, flat-nosed,
thick-lipped, long-heeled person he is to-day, as pompous, good-humored,
and fond of finery. The Assyrian statues are good, recognizable
likenesses of eminent living Jewish merchants, in London and New
Orleans. The old Pharaohs of the monuments can be matched for face and
figure any day in the bazars of Cairo. The greyhound of the tombs is the
same variety now used for coursing hares in the desert. The camel, the
ass, and the Arab, and Assyrian breeds of horses, have not been at all
improved in forty centuries. Even Mr. Darwin's favorite pigeons would
seem to have ceased to vary; for the carrier-pigeons let loose by
Sesostris, to carry the news of his coronation to all the cities of
Egypt, do not differ a feather from the modern Egyptian carrier-pigeons.
The various wild animals, and many of the plants, are represented on
these monuments in great variety. Among these I have noted the lotus,
the papyrus, the leek, the palm, wheat, barley, and millet; the
crocodile, the frog, the crane, the flamingo, the ibis, the goose, the
owl, the ostrich, the peacock; and of beasts the now famous ancestral
ape, Ptolemy's tame lion, the leopard, the gazelle, the hippopotamus,
the giraffe, and the wild boar, and many others. But there is not the
least perceptible change in the corresponding species now inhabiting
Egypt and the desert.

We can go further than the mere external appearance; for we can actually
dissect specimens of the various animals, and thus satisfy ourselves
whether any physiological change, amounting to a transmutation of
species, has occurred, or was in progress; and the investigation has
been conducted by no less a physiologist and zoologist than Cuvier,
whose authority in such matters no naturalist will dispute. And this is
what he says: "It might seem as if the ancient Egyptians had been
inspired by nature, for the purpose of transmitting to after ages a
monument of her natural history. That strange and whimsical people, by
embalming with so much care the brutes which were the objects of their
stupid adoration, have left us in their sacred grottoes cabinets of
zoology almost complete. Climate has conspired with art to preserve the
bodies from corruption, and we can now assure ourselves with our own
eyes what was the state of a good number of species three thousand years
ago. * * * I have endeavored to collect all the ancient documents
respecting the forms of animals, and there are none equal to those
furnished by the Egyptians, both in regard to their antiquity and
abundance. I have examined with the greatest care the engraved figures
of quadrupeds and birds upon the obelisks brought from Egypt to ancient
Rome; and all these figures, one with another, have a perfect
resemblance to their intended objects, such as they still are in our
days. My learned friend, Geoffrey St. Hilaire, convinced me of the
importance of this research, and carefully collected in the tombs and
temples of Upper and Lower Egypt as many mummies of animals as he could
procure. He has brought home the mummies of cats, ibises, birds of prey,
dogs, crocodiles, and the head of a bull. After the most attentive and
detailed examination, not the smallest difference is to be perceived
between these animals and those of the same species which we now see,
any more than between human mummies and skeletons of men of the present

There is then not the first fact, or appearance of a fact, to be adduced
in proof of the change of species either by domestication, or Natural
Selection, or any other process known to man. That any such evolution of
any animal, or plant, into one of another species ever occurred, is a
mere empty notion, in support of which no facts can be adduced. All the
animals and plants of which we know anything have remained unchanged
since the beginning of man's observation of them. The theory endeavors
to account for a change which never happened. It is a mere empty dream,
unworthy of a serious consideration by any mind imbued with the first
principle of inductive science--namely, that all science is the orderly
knowledge of facts; and whose first rule is, _first ascertain your

But it is urged, that though such a change has not occurred during the
brief period of human history, it may have been practicable in the
lengthened periods revealed by geology, and while the forces of nature
were more vigorous during the youth of our planet. This, in fact, is the
grand resource of the modern evolutionists--the almost infinite periods
and possibilities of geology.

We refuse, however, to follow Mr. Powell into those unexplored realms of
the infinite past and discuss the possibilities of ages, of which "by
the conditions we can not know anything whatever." We will go as far as
the geological strata furnish us with any facts, any evidences of life,
any traces of plants or animals of which corresponding species still
exist, and will unhesitatingly affirm, on the authority of the most
eminent geologists, that such geological representatives of existing
species furnish no evidence whatever of evolution into higher forms. On
the contrary, we shall show that many species have existed without the
slightest change for many thousands, aye, and millions of years,
sufficiently long to establish the fact of the permanence of species
during the geologic ages known to man.

Geologists are generally agreed that the first Florida Coral Reef is at
least 30,000 years old; but Agassiz asserts, uncontradicted, that the
insect which built it has not altered in the least in that period, and
he says regarding it: "These facts furnish evidence, as direct as we can
obtain in any branch of physical inquiry, that some at least of the
species of animals now existing have been in existence 30,000 years, and
have not undergone the slightest change in that period." But we can go
still further back, and demonstrate the permanence of vegetable
structure. Hugh Miller says: "The oak, the birch, the hazel, the Scotch
fir, all lived, I repeat, in what is now Britain, ere the last great
depression of the land. The gigantic northern elephant and rhinoceros,
extinct for untold ages, forced their way through the tangled branches;
and the British tiger and hyena harbored in their thickets. Cuvier
framed an argument for the fixity of species on the fact that the birds
and beasts of the catacombs were identical in every respect with the
animals of the same kind that live now. But what, it has been asked, is
a brief period of 3,000 years, when compared with the geologic ages? Or
how could any such argument be founded on a basis so little extended? It
is, however, to no such narrow basis that we can refer in the case of
these woods. All human history is comprised in the nearer corner of the
immense period they measure out; and yet from their first appearance in
creation till now, they have not altered a single fiber. And such on
this point is the invariable testimony of Paleontologic science,
testimony so invariable that no great Paleontologist was ever yet an
asserter of the Development Hypothesis."[18] To the same purpose let us
hear Huxley's testimony, since no one will suspect him of undue respect
for Moses: "Obviously if the earliest fossiliferous rocks now known are
coeval with the commencement of life, and if their contents give us any
just conception of the earliest fauna and flora, the insignificant
amount of modification which can be demonstrated to have taken place in
any one group of animals and plants, is quite incompatible with the
hypothesis that all living forms are the results of a process of
necessary progressive development entirely comprised within the time
represented by the fossiliferous rocks."[19]

We are fully warranted, then, in alleging, that no such transmutation of
species is known to science, as an existing fact, or as having ever

As to the supposition on which the evolutionists fall back, that such a
miracle might have happened thousands of millions of years before the
formation of the lowest rocks known to us, we might well decline the
discussion of may-be's as facts of science.

But there is a positive denial of unimaginable periods of time for Mr.
Darwin's evolution to try its blundering experiments. We are empowered
to say positively, No! There is no such length of time for you, Mr.
Darwin, on this little globe at least. This rotating world had a
beginning; so had our moon; and our sun, too, began to burn one day. And
there are data of the revolution of these bodies, and of the secular
cooling of the earth, and of the gradual combustion of the sun, and of
the retardation of the earth's motions, from which Sir Wm. Thompson (in
his Treatise on Geological Time) calculates, that our earth has not been
in a fit state for plants and animals for more than a hundred millions
of years; and he demonstrates the absurdity of the demand for unlimited
time, as contradictory to the facts of physical astronomy. Hence we deny
the possibility of evolution in the infinite ages of the past. There
never were any such ages on this world of ours.

4. Failing to find facts, evolutionists fall back upon analogies, and
support their hypothesis by the supposed analogy of the _growth of the
embryos of all plants and animals from germs alleged to be originally
perfectly similar_--simple protoplasm cells, which by subsequent
evolution, differentiate themselves as widely as the moss from the man.

The subject is too obscure for popular discussion. I can only announce
the results of the latest and most authoritative researches.[20]

1. Analogy is a very unsafe guide here, because the differences between
the limited life of the individual, and the alleged unlimited life of
the race, are precisely those of which we have no analogy.

2. It is not true that "the original substratum or material is in every
instance alike," nor that the "primordial cell is in every instance the
same," whether of the "lichen or the man;"[21] nor as others allege,
"that chemical reagents detect no differences between them." Chemical
reagents are very clumsy instruments for the analysis of living beings,
and their properties and powers; which are the antagonists of chemical
reactions. Nevertheless, heat is a well-known chemical agent, and the
application of heat to a fertilized, and to an unfertilized, germ
develops a whole world of difference between them. The one becomes a
chicken, the other an addled egg. Moreover, the application of different
degrees of heat to different germs produces the most various reactions.
The germs of trout are speedily killed by the moderate temperature of
65° Fahrenheit, while the germs of most animalculæ and plants develop
rapidly at that temperature. Such instances might be multiplied, but
these are sufficient to contradict the rash assertion of sameness,
because a hasty observer did not take pains to discover differences.

3. There are four distinct plans of structure in the animal kingdom, and
at least three, perhaps more, in the vegetable kingdom; and every germ,
from the first instant when its evolution can be seen at all, is seen to
develop only according to its own proper method. There is no more
confusion of germs, or embryos, than of plants or animals.

4. No instance has ever been known of a germ producing an animal, or
plant, of another species, by any process of stopping short of ripening,
or undue prolongation of it. Every seed breeds true to its kind, or not
at all, or produces a deformity. Embryology utterly refuses the notion
of the transmutation of species.

Mr. Darwin's various references to rudimentary organs, like the bones of
a hand in the flipper of the whale, or the teats of male animals, and
the like, can hardly be called arguments. He tries to account for them
and fails; acknowledging ignorance of the laws of heredity. Some of them
he will have to be young organs in process of evolution, others organs
aborted for want of exercise. In this category he ought to place the
tail which he ought to have inherited from his ancestors, as he is
greatly exercised to know what became of it. But it is evident that his
attempts to build arguments on such things, and to account for
occasional variations by atarism, are in contradiction to his
principles. Most of the known instances of the origination of permanent
varieties were not the result of infinitesimal improvements, but were
sudden and complete at once. The Japan peacocks, the short-legged
sheep, the porcupine man and his family, and the six-fingered men, were
not at all the results of a slow process of evolution; on the contrary,
they were born so, complete at once, in utter contradiction of the

5. The only other line of argument, which has any show of probability,
is that based upon _the gradations of the various orders of plants and
animals_. Not but that there are many other arguments adduced, but they
are of too technical a character to be intelligible to any but
zoologists, and of too little weight to demand consideration after the
leading arguments are overturned. But this argument from gradation,
though logically unsound, is plausibly specious, and therefore demands

By far the ablest exhibition of this argument is that made by Lamarck,
and we give it as he presents it: "The greater the abundance of natural
objects assembled together, the more do we discover proofs that
everything passes by insensible shades into something else; that even
the more remarkable differences are evanescent, and that nature has for
the most part left us nothing at our disposal for establishing
distinctions, save trifling, and in some respects puerile
particularities. We find that many genera among plants and animals are
of such an extent, in consequence of the number of species referred to
them, that the study and determination of these last have become almost
impracticable. When the species are arranged in a series, and placed
near to each other, with a due regard to their natural affinities, they
each differ in so minute a degree from those next adjoining, that they
almost melt into each other, and are in a manner confounded together. If
we see isolated species, we may presume the absence of some more closely
connected, and which have not yet been discovered. Already there are
genera, and even entire orders, nay, whole classes which present this
state of things." He then goes on to present, "as a guide to
conjecture," what his successors now assert as a fact: "In the first
place, if we examine the whole series of known animals, from one
extremity to the other, when they are arranged in the order of their
natural relations, we find that we may pass progressively, or at least
with very few interruptions, from beings of more simple to those of more
compound structure; and in proportion as the complexity of their
organization increases, the number and dignity of their faculties
increase also. Among plants a similar approximation to a graduated scale
of being is apparent. Secondly, it appears, from geological
observations, that plants and animals of more simple organization
existed on the globe before the appearance of those of more compound
structure, and the latter were successively formed at more modern
periods, each new race being more fully developed than the most perfect
of the preceding one."[22]

From this gradation of nature, thus stated, the evolutionists go on to
infer genealogy, the birth descent of the larger from the smaller, and
of the more complex from the simpler forms, as the only scientific
explanation. But it is by no means the only scientific explanation of
the order of nature. The best naturalists, from Moses to Agassiz, have
regarded the order of nature as the development of the divine idea, have
prosecuted their researches on that view, and have regarded that as a
sufficient and scientific explanation of the gradation of plants and
animals, as they actually exist.

The idea of birth descent can not be logically connected with that of
gradation; especially with a gradation upward. Were the order of nature
such as Lamarck describes, how could any man logically infer the birth
descent of each of its classes from the next below? Here is an
ironmonger's sample card of wood screws, beginning with those
one-quarter of an inch long, and proceeding by gradations of
one-sixteenth of an inch to those of four inches. Does the gradation
show that the little ones begot the big ones? It may be said the wood
screws do not beget progeny. Well, here is a hill containing
twenty-three potatoes, weighing from half an ounce to half a pound, and
quite regularly graded. Did the small potatoes beget the big ones? The
inference of birth descent from gradation is utterly illogical, and of a
piece with the incoherency which we have seen in the other parts of the
theory. It never could be inferred from the facts stated, even did
nature correspond to Lamarck's description.

But nature does not correspond to Lamarck's description. That
description corresponded moderately, perhaps, to the science of his day,
which was based chiefly upon external resemblances; but no scientific
naturalist of the present day would accept it as a correct statement of
the facts revealed by modern science.

In the first place there is no such imperceptible blending and shading
off of species as the description would imply, obliterating all
distinctions of species, and rendering it impossible even for a
naturalist to distinguish one species from another. Since the time of
Lamarck, structure and physiology have been more studied than mere
external appearances; so that from a tooth or bone Cuvier or Agassiz
could reconstruct an animal, and indicate its internal organization, as
well as its form and habits. But even in Lamarck's days, and even to the
most uneducated, there was no such imperceptible shading and blending as
the theory requires. It is well to look here at its requirements, for
they are not fully presented by its friends. Mr. Darwin gives us a
diagram exhibiting the variation of an original species into a score or
so of varieties, ending in distinct species. But this is very far,
indeed, below the necessities of the case. The horse hair worm lays
8,000,000 of eggs; and the primeval germ, whatever it was, could hardly
be less fertile, since fertility increases with simplicity of structure.
But, taking 8,000,000 to begin with, here were as many varieties; since
no two of them, or of any creature, could be exactly alike. The next
generation would give 8,000,000 times as many varieties, and so on till
Natural Selection began to thin off the feeble. But here we have,
instead of a few well-marked varieties, an infinite multitude of
imperceptible variations, rendering classification impossible. And as
all these were only varieties of the same breed, they would breed
together, and thus still more confuse the complexity, and render
distinction of species impossible. For, in spite of all Mr. Darwin has
to say about the extinction of the weaker varieties, the fact is, they
are not at all extinguished, but keep their ground as well as the higher
classes, or perhaps better. And if a snail, or a worm, can contrive to
live now in an unimproved condition, why should its improving cousin die
off? Did its improvement kill it? And so of improving mollusks, and
well-doing radiates, and aspiring rabbits, and all the rest. The world
ought to be so full of them that no man could sort them off into
species, or tell which was fish, which was flesh, and which red herring;
and no pork packer could distinguish hog from dog.

But instead of any such horrible confusion of a world full of mongrels,
we discover a clear and well defined distinction of species, known even
to the poor animals themselves, and by their instincts made known to all
mankind. The Creator, who created all creatures after their kind,
implanted in them an instinct of breeding only with their own species;
and placed a bar in the way of man's vain attempts to work confusion of
species, by rendering the hybrid offspring of different species sterile,
or only capable of breeding back to the pure blood. Innumerable attempts
have been made by fraud and force to procure cross breeds of different
species of plants and animals, but always with the same result--the
extinction of the progeny of the hybrid, unless bred back to nature.
While a mingling of various breeds of the same species--horses, sheep,
or cattle--generally increases fertility, the attempt to mingle
different species, as the horse and the ass, though so similar, always
produces sterile offspring. It is impossible to conceive any form in
which the Creator could more emphatically protest against the attempt to
confuse the distinctions of species He established.

God has fixed a barrier against the mixture or confusion of species by
cross breeding, by ordaining the sterility of hybrids. Mr. Darwin labors
in vain to explain away this great fact. It can not be explained into
conformity with the evolution theory; for in that theory all species are
only breeds or varieties of one species, and ought to increase their
fertility by cross breeding. With all scientific naturalists, as with
all people of common sense, this proves that species have a distinct
existence in nature, and that the Creator has ordained the continuance
of their distinct existence; which is the denial of evolution.

When Mr. Darwin retreats into the geologic ages, and confessing that his
principle has ceased to be operative now in our world, and refers us to
them for such evolution of one species from another, he abandons the
fundamental principle of his school--the uniformity of nature--and falls
back on Christian ground the necessity for supernatural origins. He
virtually admits the death or superannuation of Natural Selection, since
it has retired from the business of species-making.

But when we go back to those old geologic ages, we find that species
were then not only as distinct as now, but that the distinctions were
even bolder and more visible. Many of them have ceased to exist, but
they have left their shells, their petrified casts, and their bones, by
which we can see that they stood apart in well-defined groups, without
any such blending and confusion as the evolution theory asserts. Over
three thousand species are already classified. Between every two of them
there ought to be, on Mr. Darwin's showing, a hundred intermediate
variations at the least; and between some of the more widely separated
forms there ought to be thousands of intermediate varieties; as for
instance between the bear and the whale; and a still greater number
between the mollusk with its external shell, and the vertebrate with its
internal skeleton. And we ought to find these intermediate forms closely
connected with their parents and their children. For intermediate forms
in another continent could not be the connecting links between the
mollusks and vertebrates of a distant country, say of England. In the
same strata in which we find the two ends of the chain, and lying
between the two ends of the chain, we ought to find the connecting
links. And we ought to find a hundred connecting links for every
specimen of distinct species, since Mr. Darwin alleges that they must
have lived and died somewhere; and we have seen they must have lived and
died right there where they were born, and where they begot their
progeny. The geological strata ought to be full of connecting links.

But when we come to look for them they are not there. Geology knows
nothing about them. It has plenty of distinct, well-defined
species--trilobites, and ammonites, and echinoderms, palms, ferns, firs,
and mosses, all sorts of quadrupeds from a mouse to a mastodon, and all
just as clean-cut and well-defined as the species of existing animals.
Mr. Darwin can not find his connecting links between the species, which
ought to have been a hundred times more plentiful than the species they
connected. These connecting links are missing links. He ought to be able
to overwhelm his opponents, and bury them under mountains of the bones
of intermediate species. But all his friends can do is to suggest about
half a dozen, while he needs three hundred thousand. He can not pay half
a cent on the dollar. In his grief he turns round and abuses the
defectiveness of the geological record, which he says he could never
have suspected of being so defective but for this failure to meet his
drafts. But he need not blame the geological record for not preserving
bones of animals which never lived. Geology says there never was any
such confusion of species as evolution asserts.

But not only does the general structure of the web of nature present a
clearly striped pattern, instead of the mottled gray of the
theory--neither the beginning, nor the middle, nor the end is like what
the evolution theory would produce.

The gradation does not begin, as the theory asserts and demands, with
the monads. On the contrary, we find that there are four kingdoms of
animal life--in an ascending scale--the radiate, or starfish; the
mollusk or oyster; the articulate, or insect; and the vertebrate, or
animals with backbones. Now the evolution ought to have begun at the
bottom, with the radiate, the coral, and the starfish; it should have
gone upward, the coral developing into the oyster, and the oyster into
the lobster, and the lobster into the salmon, and so on. But instead of
that we discover, away down in the Silurian strata, at the very
beginning of life, _all the four kingdoms_--the radiates, the mollusks,
the articulates, and the fish! Evidently, then, there was no such
beginning of the world as evolutionists suppose.

Then as we work upward along the line of march, and of the development
of the divine idea, we observe that when new species were introduced,
they did not work up slowly from small and weak beginnings; beginning
with dwarfs and growing up to giants; but, on the contrary, the giants
head the column. The geological books are full of them--sharks forty
feet long, frogs as big as oxen, ichthyosaurus and plesiosaurus of
fabulous proportions--were not their skeletons preserved--pterodactyles,
or bats, as big as a dog, the mastodon giganteus, beside which an
ordinary modern elephant is like a Shetland pony beside a dray horse,
ferns as big as oak trees, and mosses eighteen inches in diameter, shell
fish of the nautilus order the size of dinner plates, and crustaceans,
cousins to the lobster, three feet long. And all this at the very first
start in life of these respective families, and in overwhelming
multitudes. That was no age of small beginnings, and small progressive
improvements. On the contrary, these old families, like some other old
families, seem to have rather lost rank, and bulk, and influence; at
least their modern representatives cut no such figure in the world as
their predecessors.

As we proceed along the line we meet gaps which slay the theory of
genealogical descent altogether. A gap is fatal to it. If a family dies
out, that is the end of it. You can not resuscitate it after a few
centuries, and go on with that breed; much less can you pick up a breed
quite different, and attach it to your old genealogy. But in the line of
evolution we meet these fatal gaps; and no evolutionist has bridged
them, because they can not possibly be bridged.

The first great gap is the abyss between death and life. No human power
can cross it. How could the chemical actions of dead matter infuse
vitality into the first germ, or bud of a plant? For chemical actions
are the antagonists of life, and constantly laboring to destroy the
living organism, and finally they succeed. There is no process of
evolution known to man which can carry evolution across this abyss. But
till evolution crosses this gulf it can not even begin to operate. This
first abyss is its grave.

But, supposing life begun in the plant first, as the theory requires,
there is another gap between the life of the plant and that of the
animal; for all animal life is sustained by another sort of food than
that which feeds the vegetable. The vegetable feeds solely on chemical,
unorganized matters; the animal solely on matter organized, on some
plant, or on some other animal which feeds on plants. No animal can live
on the food of plants. Here then is another gap which can not be bridged
over, nor crossed; for the plant in process of conversion into an animal
is in process of starvation, and when the process is about to be
completed, it will end like the miser's horse, whose master diminished
his oats Darwinianly, a single grain a day, until he had brought him to
live on just one grain per day, when, alas! the victim of the experiment
died. And so ends evolution experiment No. 2.

Then we come on a multitude of gaps, breaks in the uniformity of nature,
called for by the evolutionists, between the species which will not
breed together. There ought to be no such species on the theory; or, if
there are, there ought to be a multitude of intervening varieties toning
down the interval; for instance, between the horse and the cow, and
between the sheep and the hog. All the ingenuity of all the
evolutionists has been tasked in vain to produce any instance of the
confusion of two such species, or of the production of a new true
species by the intermixture of blood. But they might just as well try to
convert iron into gold, or sulphur into carbon. In fact, evolution is
the modern physiological form of the old chemical superstition, alchemy,
substituting for the transmutation of metals the problem of the
transmutation of animals.

It were endless to attempt to exhibit the impossibilities of crossing
the gaps between the water-breathing fish and the air-breathing animal;
between the flying-bird and the quadruped; between instinct and
education; between brute selfishness and maternal affection; between the
habits of the solitary and those of the gregarious, and those of the
colonial insects and animals. No one of these is accounted for
satisfactorily by the theory of evolution. But space forbids the

We only cite one other gulf which the theory can not cross: the gulf
between the brute and the man. We should rather say the three gulfs; for
between man's body and that of the brute there is a gap which Natural
Selection can not cross; another between man's intellectual powers and
those of brutes; and the third, and widest of all, between his
conscience and their brutal appetites.

The gulf between man's body and that of any brute is marked along the
whole line, from the solid basis of the feet, enabling him to stand
erect, look upward and behold the stars; along the line of the stiff
backbone, maintaining the dignified posture; to the hands, on which
treatises have been written, displaying their wonderful superiority over
those of all other creatures, and enabling man to do what no other
animal has done, to fill the world with his handiworks, and alter the
very face of nature with his ax, and spade, and steam engine. His tongue
and organs of articulate speech alone, were there no other
characteristic, proclaim him different from all other animals; none of
those resembling him in outward form making the slightest attempts
toward articulate language or being able to do so.

Man alone, of all the animals, possesses no natural covering, but is
exposed naked to the inclemency of the elements. What little hair he
possesses is chiefly on the breast, where it is of little use as a
covering, and on the head, which in other animals is never better
protected than the body. Mr. Darwin alleges that the first men were
hairy, like apes. Well, how did they lose their hair? Not by Natural
Selection, which only perpetuates _profitable_ variations; but the loss
of hair to an ape would be as unprofitable as the loss of your clothes
to you. Not by Sexual Selection, for there is not the slightest evidence
that nudity was ever popular in apedom. We have undoubted evidence, in
the two bone needles found with the bones of the man of Mentone, that
the primeval men were naked, and complete proof that Natural Selection
could not effect such a disadvantageous change had they been hairy.
Here, then, we have an _inferiority_ to other animals in the animal
structure, strangely at variance with the general superiority, and only
to be accounted for as an educational provision.

But chiefly in the human head does the great outward distinction appear.
The brain is the great instrument with which the mind works. You can
gauge the strength of Ulysses by his bow, and the bulk of the giant by
the staff of his spear, which was like a weaver's beam. The brain of the
largest ape is about thirty two cubic inches. The brains of the wildest
Australians are more than double that capacity. They measure from
seventy-five inches to ninety. Europeans' brains measure from ninety to
one hundred inches. There are instances of Esquimaux measuring over
ninety. Even the brain of an idiot is double the size of that of the
orang-otang. But how did man get this extraordinary development of
brain, far beyond his necessities? For the cave man of Mentone, who
hunted the bison, had as good a head as Bismarck. Natural Selection
could not develop an ape's brain in advance of his necessities. But here
we have a prophetic structure; man's head developed far in advance of
his necessities. Here is a power at work superior to Natural Selection.

With such an instrument man has gone to work and supplied his
deficiencies. Inferior to many animals in strength and speed, he has
manufactured weapons, and subdued them all, asserting himself as the
lord of creation, conquering even the mighty mastodon, and piercing the
huge Caledonian whale with his reindeer harpoon. He has remedied his
want of hair by the manufacture of clothing from the spoils of his
victims. He has rendered himself independent of the weather by the
shelter of his house. He has ceased to be dependent on the spontaneous
fruits of the forest by the cultivation of the soil, and so has become a
cosmopolite, confined to no province of creation. He has constructed
ships, and provisioned them for long voyages, and visited, and colonized
every coast of Europe, Asia, Africa, America, and Australia. He has
formed civilized societies with laws, government, and religion. He has
leveled roads, navigated rivers, tunneled mountains, dug navigable
canals, constructed steamboats, built railroads, invented electric
telegraphs, and steam printing presses; and generally he has developed
ideas of society, nationality, and of the universal brotherhood of man,
not only not possible under the laws of Natural Selection, but in the
most direct contrariety to those laws, which work only for the benefit
of the individual. Never under those laws could any great community of
animals be formed, never could they obtain the notion of representative
government, never combine their powers for any national enterprise, nor
could the most hairy and muscular-tailed of Mr. Darwin's ancestors
secure subscribers sufficient to warrant him in starting even a county

But it is in the moral sense which enables man to distinguish right from
wrong, the conscience, which forbids and reproves the unbridled
indulgence of the animal appetites, that we observe the grand
distinction between man and the brute. There is nothing in the writings
of evolutionists more pitiable than their attempts to degrade conscience
into a mere gregarious instinct, an outcome of utility to the tribe, and
to pleasurable sensations, resulting from the exercise of the social
instincts. It would appear that these writers had so sophisticated their
own minds that they have ceased to understand the fundamental,
world-wide difference between right and gain, between duty and pleasure.
"Do justice, though the heavens fall," could never be evolved by Natural
Selection. That is the law of the sharpest tooth, and the longest claws,
and the biggest bull; the Napoleonic theology, whose god is always on
the side of the strongest battalions; the law of the perdition of the
weak, and the survival of the strongest. In obedience to its laws the
birds forsake their parents as soon as they can shift for themselves;
the herd tramples down the wounded deer; the wolves devour their wounded
brothers; the queen bee puts her sisters to death, and the neuters
sacrifice all the males of the hive. In obedience to the laws of Natural
Selection, the males fight for the most attractive females, and keep as
many as they can, and form societies on that basis.

But man has a sense of justice, and mercy, and gratitude, and love. Here
is an animal who knows he ought to tell truth, and do right, and honor
his parents, and respect and love his brethren. Whether he always does
his duty or not, he feels and owns he ought to do it. Justice, and
mercy, and the fear of God, are not at all the attributes of brutes, and
never could have been produced by the evolution of their instincts. No
animal possesses any knowledge of God, nor practices any form of
religious worship. Religion, then, could not be the evolution of what
has no existence.

We have now considered the theory of the atheistical evolution of man,
and of all plants and animals from one primeval germ, by the
unintelligent operation of the powers of nature. We have seen that there
are as many contradictory applications of the theory as there are
advocates of it; that in any shape it is incoherent, illogical, and
absurd; that it is destitute of any support from facts; that the alleged
analogy of embryology fails to give it countenance; that the order of
nature in its gradations is contradictory of the theory; that it utterly
fails to account for the origin of life, for the distinctness of the
four classes of the animal kingdom, for the distinctness of species
which refuse to breed together, for the absence of the intermediate
forms necessary to the theory; and, above all, that it can give no
satisfactory account of man's bodily, mental, and moral superiority to
all other animals, nor for his possession of a knowledge of God.

Its tendency, moreover, is inevitably to degrade man, to destroy that
sense of his dignity which is the principal security of human life, to
obliterate a belief in the divine origin and sanction of morality, and
in the existence of a future life of rewards and punishments, and so to
promote the disorganization of society, and the degradation of men to
the level of brutes, living only under the laws of their brutal
instincts. For all these reasons we reject the theory as unscientific,
absurd, degrading to man, and offensive to the God who made him.


[5] The Descent of Man, p. 198, American Edition.

[6] The Descent of Man, p. 191, Am. Ed.

[7] Descent of Man, p. 199, Am. Ed.

[8] Descent of Man, 197, Am. Ed.

[9] The Variations of Animals, etc., Vol. II. page 515.

[10] Lay Sermons, p. 30.

[11] Lay Sermons, 303.

[12] Cited by Hodge in "What is Darwinism?" Page 73, etc.

[13] Natural Selection, 372 A., Am. Ed.

[14] From the _Presbyterian_, December 7, 1872.

[15] Origin of Species, 4, 10, 127, 9, 97, 100, 409, 410, 415, 423.
Descent of Man, 192, 204, and II.--15, 257.

[16] Natural Selection, p. 365. Am. Ed.

[17] Theory of the Earth, 123.

[18] Testimony of the Rocks, 77.

[19] Address at Annual Meeting of the Geological Society, 1862.

[20] Agassiz's Methods of Study.

[21] Draper's Human Physiology, 506.

[22] Lyell's Principles of Geology, Book III., Chapter 33.



Pantheism is that perversion of reason and language which denies God's
personality, and calls some imaginary soul of the world, or the world
itself, by his name. While Pantheists are fully agreed upon the
propriety of getting rid of a God who could note their conduct, and call
them to account for it hereafter, and who would claim to exercise any
authority over them here, they are by no means agreed, either in India,
Germany, or America, as to what they shall call by his name. Public
opinion necessitates them to say they believe in a God, but almost every
one has his own private opinion as to what it is. We shall speak of it
as we hear it pronounced from the lips of its prophets, here, as well as
in the writings of its expounders, in Europe, and Asia. Some of them
declare, that it is some absolutely unknown cause of all the phenomena
of the universe, and others, that it is the universe itself. A large
class speak of it as the great soul of the world, while the more
materialistic regard it as the world itself, body and soul; the soul
being the sum of all the imponderable forces, such as gravitation, heat,
light, electricity, magnetism, galvanism, vegetable and animal life, and
especially the mesmeric influence, of which many of them regard
intellect as a modification; and the body being the sum of all the
ponderable substances, such as air, water, earth, minerals, vegetables,
and bodies of animals and men. This creed is popularly expressed in the
sentence so often heard, "God is everything, and everything is God." But
this vast generalization of all things into the higher unity--this
exalting of monkeys, men, snails, and paving stones to the same level of
divinity--by no means meets the views of the more unphilosophical and
aspiring gods and goddesses, for the very reason that it is so
impartial. To deify a man and his cat by the same process is not much of
a distinction to the former; and of what advantage is it to be made a
god, if he does not thereby obtain some distinction? This leveling
apotheosis is generally confined to the German Pantheists; their more
ambitious American brethren ascribe the contented humility which accepts
it to the continual influence of the fumes of tobacco and lager beer.

Man is the great deity of the other class. Renan boldly says: "For
myself, I believe there is not in the universe an intelligence superior
to that of man; the absolute of justice and reason manifests itself only
in humanity; regarded apart from humanity that absolute exists only as
an abstraction. The infinite exists only when it clothes itself in
form."[23] And as the soul of man is, rather inconsistently for people
who believe everything God, supposed to be superior to the rest of him,
they go off into great rhapsodies of adoration of their own souls.

"The doctrine of the soul--first _soul_, and second _soul_, and evermore
_soul_"[24]--is the doctrine which is to regenerate the world. God, in
their view, is nothing till he attains self-consciousness in man. "The
universal does not attract us till housed in the individual. Who heeds
the waste abyss of possibility? Standing on the bare ground, my head
bathed by the blithe air, and uplifted into infinite space, all mere
egotism vanishes. The currents of the universal being circulate through
me. I am part or particle of God." "I stand here to say, 'Let us worship
the mighty and transcendent soul.'" "God attains to self-consciousness
only in the human soul." "Honor yourself." "Reverence your own
individuality." "The soul of man is the highest intelligence in the
universe." Such are the dogmas which, under the name of Philosophy, are
poured forth oracularly, unsupported by reason or argument, by the
prophets of the new dispensation--the last and highest achievement of
the human intellect.

It is very unfortunate, however, for the honor of the prophets of the
nineteenth century, that this profound discovery was invented, and
illustrated, patented, and peddled, by the Hindoos, among the people of
India, two thousand years before the divinity had struggled into self
consciousness in the mighty and transcendent souls of Schelling, Hegel,
and Strauss, of Atkinson, Parker, or Emerson. We mean to show in this
lecture, that it is an _Antiquated, Hypocritical, Demoralizing Atheism_.

1. _Pantheism is an Antiquated Heresy._--It has rotted and putrefied
among the worshipers of cats, and monkeys, and holy bulls, and bits of
sticks and stones, on the banks of the Ganges, for more than two
thousand years; yet it is now hooked up out of its dunghill, and hawked
about among Christian people, as a prime new discovery of modern
philosophy for getting rid of Almighty God. As the Hindoo Shasters are
undoubtedly the sources from which French, German, and American
philosophers have borrowed their dogmas, and as they have not had time
to take the whole system, we shall edify the public by a view of this
sublime theology as exhibited in the writings of the Pantheistic
philosophers of India, as follows:

"When existing in the temporary imperfect state of _Sagun_, Brahm (the
Pantheist deity) wills to manifest the universe. For this purpose he
puts forth his omnipotent energy, which is variously styled in the
different systems now under review. He puts forth his energy for what?
For the effecting of a creation out of nothing? 'No,' says one of the
Shasters, but to '_produce from his own divine substance a multiform
universe_.' By the spontaneous exertion of this energy he sends forth,
from his own divine substance, a countless host of essences, like
innumerable sparks issuing from the blazing fire, or myriads of rays
from the resplendent sun. These detached portions of Brahm--these
separated divine essences--soon become individuated systems, destined,
in time, to occupy different forms prepared for their reception; whether
these be fixed or movable, animate or inanimate, forms of gods or men,
forms of animal, vegetable, or mineral existences.

"Having been separated from Brahm in his imperfect state of _Sagun_,
they carry along with them a share of those principles, qualities, and
attributes that characterize that state, though predominating in very
different degrees and proportions; either according to their respective
capacities, or the retributive awards of an eternal ordination. Among
others it is specially noted, that as Brahm at that time had awakened
into a consciousness of his own existence, there does inhere in each
separated soul a notion, or a conviction, of its own _distinct_,
independent, individual existence. Laboring under this delusive notion,
or conviction, the soul has lost the knowledge of its own proper
nature--its divine origin, and ultimate destiny. It ignorantly regards
itself as an inferior entity, instead of knowing itself to be what it
truly is, a consubstantial, though it may be an infinitesimally minute
portion of the great whole, a universal spirit.

"Each individual soul being thus a portion of Brahm, even as a spark is
of fire, it is again and again declared that the relation between them
is not that of master and servant, ruler and ruled, but that of whole
and part! The soul is pronounced to be eternal _a parte ante_; in
itself it has had no beginning or birth, though its separate
individuality originated in time. It is eternal _a parte post_; it will
have no end--no death; though its separate individuality will terminate
in time. Its manifestation in time is not a creation; it is an effluence
from the eternal fount of spirit. Its disappearance from the stage of
time is not an extinction of essence--a reduction to nonentity; it is
only a refluence into its original source. As an emanation from the
supreme, eternal spirit, it is from everlasting to everlasting. Neither
can it be said to be of finite dimensions; on the contrary, says the
sacred oracle, 'being identified with the Supreme Brahm, it participates
in his infinity.'

"After having enumerated all the elementary principles, atoms, and
qualities successively evolved from Brahm, one of the sacred writings
states, that though each of these had distinct powers, yet they existed
separate and disunited, without order or harmonious adaptation of parts;
that until they were duly combined together, it was impossible to
produce this universe, or animated beings; and that therefore it was
requisite to adopt other means than fortuitous chance for giving them an
appropriate combination, and symmetrical arrangement. The Supreme,
accordingly, produced an egg, in which the elementary principles might
be deposited, and nurtured into maturity." "All the primary atoms,
qualities, and principles--the seeds of future worlds--that had been
evolved from the substance of Brahm, were now collected together, and
deposited in the newly produced egg. And into it, along with them,
entered the self-existent himself, under the assumed form of Brahm; and
then he sat vivifying, expanding, and combining the elements, a whole
year of the creation, or four thousand three hundred millions of solar
years! During this amazing period, the wondrous egg floated like a
bubble on the abyss of primeval waters, increasing in size, and blazing
refulgent as a thousand suns. At length the Supreme, who dwelt therein,
burst the shell of the stupendous egg, and issued forth under a new
form, with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand arms. Along
with him there issued forth another form, huge and measureless. What
could that be? All the elementary principles having now been matured,
and disposed into an endless variety of orderly collocations, and
combined into one harmonious whole, they darted into visible
manifestation under the form of the present glorious universe! A
universe now finished, and ready made, with its entire apparatus, of
earth, sun, moon, and stars. What, then, is this multiform universe? It
is but a harmoniously arranged expansion of primordial principles and
qualities. And whence are these? Educed or evolved from the divine
substance of Brahm. Hence it is that the universe is so constantly
spoken of, even by mythologists, as a manifested form of Brahm himself,
the supreme, invisible spirit. Hence, too, under the notion that it is
the manifestation of a being who may assume every variety of corporeal
form, is the universe often personified, or described as if its
different parts were only the different members of a person, of
prodigious magnitude, in human form. It is declared that the hairs of
his body are the trees of the forest; of his head, the clouds; of his
beard, the lightning. His breath is the circling atmosphere; his voice,
the thunder; his eyes, the sun and moon; his veins, the rivers; his
nails, the rocks; his bones, the lofty mountains![25]

"The substantial fabrics of all worlds having now been framed and fitted
up as the destined abodes of different orders of being, celestial,
terrestrial, and infernal, the question next arises, How or by whom were
produced the various organized forms which these orders of being were
designed to animate? Though hosts of subtle essences or souls flowed
forth from Brahm, all of these remain inactive till united to some form
of materialism. From this necessity the gods themselves are not
exempted. While the souls of men, and other inferior spirits, must be
encased in tabernacles fashioned out of the grosser elements, the souls
of the gods, and all other superior spirits, must be made to inhabit
material forms, composed of one or other of the infinitely attenuated
and invisible rudimental atoms that spring direct from the principle of

"Interminable as are the incoherencies, inconsistencies, and
extravagancies of the Hindoo sacred writings, on no subject, perhaps, is
the multiplicity of varying accounts and discrepancies more astonishing
than on the present. Volumes could not suffice to retail them all.
Brahma's first attempts at the production of the forms of animated
beings were as eminently unsuccessful as they were various. At one time
he is said to have performed a long and severe course of ascetic
devotions, to enable him to accomplish his wish; but in vain; at
another, inflamed by anger and passion at his repeated failures, he sat
down and wept; and from the streaming tear drops sprang into being, as
his first boon, a progeny of ghosts and goblins, of an aspect so
loathsome and dreadful, that he was ready to faint away. At one time,
after profound meditation, different beings spring forth: one from his
thumb, another from his breath, a third from his ear, a fourth from his
side. But enough of such monstrous legends."[26]

There now, reader, you have the original of the Development Theory, with
Vestiges of Creation enough to make half a dozen new infidel
cosmogonies, besides the genuine original of Pantheism, from its native
soil. Our western Pantheists will doubtless reverence their venerable
progenitors; and, should the remainder of the family find their way
here in a year or two, via Germany, the public will be better prepared
to give a fitting reception to such distinguished visitors, including
their suite of divine bulls and holy monkeys, their lustrations of cow
dung, ecstatic hook swingings, burning of widows, and drowning of
children, and other Pantheistic Philosophies, from the banks of the
Ganges. What an outrage of decency for such men to call themselves
philosophers and Christians!

The relationship of American Pantheism with that of India is
unblushingly acknowledged by the recent Pantheistic writers: "When
ancient sages came to believe in the absolute goodness, justice, love,
and wisdom of the deity, or providence, they fell into that peace which
needed nothing, feared nothing, and therefore worshiped nothing. Nothing
to blame, nothing to praise; the perfect whole became one great
divinity. It was so in Magadha and Benares; it is so in Concord and

2. _Pantheism is a System of Deception and Hypocrisy._--Has any man a
right to pervert the English language, by fixing new meanings to words,
entirely different from and contrary to those in common use? If he knows
the meaning of the words he uses, and uses them to convey a contrary
meaning, he is a deceiver. The name God, used as a proper name, in the
English tongue, means "the Supreme Being; Jehovah; the Eternal and
Infinite Spirit, the Creator and Sovereign of the Universe."[28] If,
then, a man says he believes in God, but when forced to explain what he
means by that name, says he means steam, heat, electricity, galvanism,
magnetism, mesmeric force, odyle, animal life, the soul of man, or the
sum of all the intelligences in the universe, he is a deceiver, and vain
talker, abusing language to conceal his impiety. Pantheism is simply
Jesuitical Atheism. Willing to dethrone Jehovah, but unable and
unwilling to place any other being in his stead, as Creator and Ruler of
the universe, yet conscious that mankind will never embrace open
Atheism, Pantheists profess to believe in God, only that they may steal
his name to cloak their Atheism. We, in common with all who believe in
God, demand, that, as their divinity is, by their own confession,
essentially different from God, they shall use a different word to
describe it. Let them call it Brahm, as their brethren in India do, or
any other name not appropriated to any existing being in heaven or
earth, or under the earth; and let them cease to profane religion, and
insult common sense, by affixing the holy name of the Supreme to their
thousand-headed monster.

But the very perfection of Jesuitism is reached, when Pantheists profess
their high respect for the Christian religion. They do not generally
speak of it as a superstition, though some of the vulgar sort do; nor do
they decry its mysteries, as Deists are in the habit of doing; nor, as
Socinians, and Unitarians, and Rationalists, do they attempt to reduce
it to a mere code of morals. They grant it to be the highest development
of humanity yet reached by the majority of the human race. The brute,
the savage, the polytheistic idolater, the star worshiper, the
monotheist, the Christian, are all, in their scheme, so many successive
developments of humanity in its upward progress. There is only one step
higher than Christianity, and that is Pantheism. Well knowing that
Christianity is diametrically opposed to their falsehoods, and that the
Bible, everywhere, teaches that the natural progress of man has ever
been down from a state of holiness to idolatry and barbarism, they have
yet the hardihood to profess respect for it, as a system of concealed
Pantheism, and to clothe their abominations in Scripture language. They
speak, for instance, of the "beauty of holiness in the mind, that has
surmounted every idea of a personal God;" and of "God dwelling in us,
and his love perfected in us," when they believe that he dwells as
really in every creature: in that hog, for instance. Then they will
readily acknowledge that the Bible is inspired. They _can accept_--that
is the phrase--they can accept the Book which denounces death upon those
fools who, "professing themselves to be wise, change the truth of God
into a lie, and worship and serve the creature more than the Creator,"
as merely a mystic revelation of the Pantheism which leaves man to
"erect everything into a God, provided it is none: sun, moon, stars, a
cat, a monkey, an onion, uncouth idols, sculptured marble; nay, a
shapeless trunk, which the devout impatience of the idolater does not
stay to fashion into the likeness of a man, but gives its apotheosis at
once." Oh, yes; they accept the Bible as inspired--a God inspired
Book--inasmuch as _every_ product of the human mind is a development of
Deity. The Bible, then, when we have the matter fully explained, is
quite on a level with Gulliver's Travels, or Emerson's Address to a
Senior Class of Divinity.

There is nothing, however, in this vast system of monstrosities, which
fills the soul of a Christian with such loathing and detestation, as to
hear Pantheists profess their veneration for the Lord Jesus, and claim
him as a teacher of Pantheism. If there is one object which they detest
with all their hearts, it is the Judge of the quick and dead, and the
vengeance which he shall take upon them that know not God, and obey not
the gospel. Any allusion to the judgment seat of Christ fills them with
fury, and causes them to pour forth awful blasphemies. They know that
the Lord Jesus repeatedly declared himself the Judge of the living and
the dead--that "the hour is coming in which all that are in their graves
shall hear his voice, and shall come forth: they that have done good,
unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the
resurrection of damnation;" and that the very last sentence of his
public discourses is, "And these" (the wicked) "shall go away into
everlasting punishment; but the righteous into life eternal." When they
drop the mask for a moment, they can accuse apostles and disciples with
"dwelling with noxious exaggeration about the _person_ of Christ."[29]
Christ, as revealed in the gospel, they hate with a perfect hatred. But
when it becomes necessary to address Christians, and beguile them into
the deceitfulness of Pantheism, the tune is changed. Christ becomes the
model man--"one conceived in conditions favorable to the highest
perfectibility of the individual consciousness; and so possessed of
powers of generalization far in advance of the age in which he lived.
They can listen to and honor one of the best expounders of God and
nature in the Man of Nazareth."[30] The vilest falsehoods of Pantheism
are ascribed to Jesus, that those who, ignorant of his doctrine, yet
respect his name, may be seduced to receive them. Of him who declared,
"Out of the heart of man proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
thefts, false witness, blasphemies," they have the hardihood to declare,
"He saw with open eyes the mystery of the soul; alone, in all history,
he estimated the greatness of man." Calculating upon that ignorance of
the teaching of Christ which is so general among their audiences, they
dare to represent the only begotten Son of God as teaching Pantheism:
"One man was true to what is in you and me; he saw that God incarnates
himself in man, and evermore goes forth anew to take possession of his
world. He said in this jubilee of sublime emotion, 'I am divine. Through
me God acts; through me, speaks. Would you see God, see me; or see thee
when thou also thinkest as I now think.' Because the indwelling Supreme
Spirit can not wholly be got rid of, the doctrine of it suffers this
perversion, that the divine nature is attributed to one or two persons,
and denied to all the rest, and denied with fury." Yes, truly, the
divine nature is emphatically denied to all unregenerated men, and
denied, too, by that divine teacher thus eulogized. Hear him: "Ye do the
deeds of your father. Then said they to him, We be not born of
fornication; we have one Father, even God. Jesus said unto them, If God
were your Father, ye would love me; for I proceeded forth and came from
God; neither came I of myself, but he sent me. Why do ye not understand
my speech? Even because ye can not hear my word. Ye are of your father,
the devil; and the works of your father ye will do. He was a murderer
from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no
truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh it of his own; for he
is a liar, and the father of it."

Let Pantheists, then, cease to wind their serpent coils around
Christianity, and to defile the Bible with their filthy lickings. The
Lord Jesus will not suffer such persons to bear even a true testimony to
him, and his followers will not permit them to ascribe their falsehoods
to him, without reproof. Let them stand out and avow themselves the
enemies of Christ and his gospel, as they are, and cease their
abominable pretenses of giving to the world the ultimate development of
Christianity. What concord hath Christ with Belial?

3. _Pantheism is a System of Immorality._--It loosens all the sanctions
of moral law. If there is anything upon which all Pantheists are agreed,
it is in the denial of the resurrection, the judgment, and the future
punishment of the wicked. Their whole system, in all its range, from
Spiritualism to Phrenology, is expressly invented to get rid of God's
moral government. If man is the highest intelligence in the universe, to
whom should he render an account of his conduct? Or who would have any
right to call him to account? Then, if we are developments of deity,
deity can not offend against itself. Further, if our development, both
of body and mind, be the inevitable result of the laws of nature--of our
organization and our position--man is but the creature of circumstances,
and, therefore, as is abundantly argued, can not be made responsible for
laws and their results, over which he has no control. "I am what I am. I
can not alter my will, or be other than what I am, and can not deserve
either reward or punishment."[31] Before hundreds of the citizens of
Cincinnati, a lecturer publicly denied the right of either God or man to
invade his individuality, by taking vengeance upon him for any crime
whatever. Thousands, who are not yet Pantheists, are so far infected
with the poison that they utterly deny any right of vindictive
punishment to God or man.

But this is not all. Again and again have we listened with astonishment
to men, declaring that there was no moral law--no standard of right and
wrong, but the will of the community. Of course it was quite natural,
after such a declaration, to assert that a wife who should remain with a
husband of inferior intellectuality, or unsuitable emotions, was
committing adultery; that private property is a legalized robbery; and
that when a citizen becomes mentally or physically unfit for the
business of life, he confers the highest obligation on society, and
performs the highest duty to himself, by committing suicide, and thus
returning to the great ocean of being!

We might think that confusion of right and wrong could not be worse
confounded than this; yet there is a blacker darkness still. _The
distinction between good and evil is absolutely denied._ The Hindoo
Pantheists declare that they can not sin, because they are God, and God
can not offend against himself; there is no sin--it is all
_maya_--delusion. So the American and English school tells us it lives
only in the obsolete theology. Evil, we are told, "is good in another
way we are not skilled in."[32] So says the author of "Representative
Men." "Evil," according to old philosophers, "is good in the making;
that pure malignity can exist is the extreme proposition of unbelief. It
is not to be entertained by a rational agent. It is Atheism; it is the
last profanation." "The divine effort is never relaxed; the carrion in
the sun will convert itself into grass and flowers; and man, though in
brothels, or jails, or on gibbets, is on his way to all that is good and

Emerson, in a lecture in Cincinnati, is reported by the editor of _The
Central Herald_, as saying in his hearing: "To say that the majority of
men are wicked, is only to say that they are young." "Every man is
indebted to his vices--virtues grow out of them as a thrifty and
fruitful plant grows out of manure." "There is hope even for the
reprobate, and the ruffian, in the fullness of time."

If these were only the ravings of lunatics, or the dreamings of
philosophers, we should never have hunted them from their hiding-places
to scare your visions; but these doctrines are weekly propounded in your
own city, and throughout our land, from platform and press, to thousands
of your children and their school-teachers, of your work, men and your
lawgivers, to your wives and daughters. Again and again have our ears
been confounded in the squares of New York, and the streets of
Philadelphia, and the market-places of Cincinnati, by the boisterous
cry, _What is sin? There is no sin. It is all an old story._ Let men who
fear no God, but who have lives, and wives, and property to lose, look
to it, and say if they act wisely in giving their influence to a system
which lands in such consequences. Let them devise some religion for the
people which will preserve the rights of man, while giving license to
trample upon the rights of God; or, failing in the effort, let them
acknowledge that the enemy of God is, and of necessity must be, the foe
of all that constitutes the happiness of man. Impiety and immorality are
wedded in heaven's decree, and man can not sunder them.

4. _Pantheism is Virtually Atheism._--It may scarce seem needful to
multiply proofs on this head. How can any one imagine a being composed
of the sum of all the intelligences of the universe? Such a thing, or
combination of things, never was distinctly conceived of by any
intelligent being. Can intelligences be compounded, or like bricks and
mortar, piled upon each other? If they could, did these finite
intelligences create themselves? If the soul of man is the highest
intelligence in the universe, did the soul of man create, or does the
soul of man govern it? Shall we adore his soul? Some Pantheists have got
just to this length. M. Comte declares, that "At this present time, for
minds properly familiarized with true astronomical philosophy, the
heavens display no other glory than that of Hipparchus, or Kepler, or
Newton, and of all who have helped to establish these laws." _Establish_
these laws! Laws by which the heavenly bodies were guided thousands of
years before Kepler or Newton were born. Shall we then adore the souls
of Kepler and Newton? M. Comte has invented a religion, which he is much
displeased that the admirers of his Positive Philosophy will not accept,
in which the children are to be taught to worship idols, the youth to
believe in one God, if they can, after such a training in infancy, and
the full-grown men are to adore a Grand Etre, "the continuous resultant
of all the forces capable of voluntarily concurring in the universal
perfectioning of the world, _not forgetting our worthy auxiliaries, the
animals_."[34] Our Anglo-Saxon Pantheists, however, are not quite
philosophical enough yet to adore the mules and oxen, and therefore
refuse worship altogether. "Work is worship," constitutes their liturgy.
"As soon as the man is as one with God, he will not beg. He will then
see prayer in all action."[35] "Labor wide as earth has its summit in
heaven. Sweat of the brow, and up from that to sweat of the brain, sweat
of the heart; which includes all Kepler calculations, Newton
meditations, all sciences, all spoken epics, all acted heroisms,
martyrdoms, up to that agony of bloody sweat, which all men have
accounted divine! Oh, brother, if this is not worship, then I say, the
more pity for worship; for this is the noblest thing yet discovered
under God's sky." "No man has worked, or can work, except
religiously."[36] "Adieu, O Church! Thy road is that way, mine is this.
In God's name, adieu!"[37]

Such is the theory. How faithfully acted out, you can learn from the
thousands who are now, publicly, upon God's holy Sabbath, working
religiously upon the bridge that is to span the river, or less
ostentatiously in their shops and workrooms throughout the city. Within
a circle of three miles' radius of the spot you now occupy, one hundred
thousand intelligent beings in this Christian city worship no God.

The abstraction, which the Pantheist calls God, is no object of worship.
It is not to be loved. If it does good, it could not help it, and did
not intend it. It is not to be thanked for benefits. It, the sum of all
the intelligence of the universe, can not be collected from the seven
spheres to receive any such acknowledgment. It can not deviate from its
fated course of proceeding; therefore, says the Pantheist, why should I
pray? It neither sees his conduct, nor cares for it; and he denies any
right to call him to account. It did not create him, does not govern
him, will not judge him, can not punish him. It is no object of love,
fear, worship, or obedience. It is no god. He is an Atheist. He believes
not in any God.

HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD. He is distinct from, and
supreme over all his works. He now rules, and will hereafter judge all
intelligent creatures, and will render to every one according to his

1. _Reason declares it._ The world did not make itself. The soul of man
did not make itself. The body of man did not make itself. They must have
had an intelligent Creator, who is God. God is known by his works to be
distinct from them, and superior to them. The work is not the workman.
The house is not the builder. The watch is not the watchmaker. The sum
of all the works of any worker is not the agent who produced them. Let
an architect spend his life in building a city, yet the city is not the
builder. The maker is always distinct from, and superior to, the thing
made. You and I, and the universe, are made. Our Maker, then, is
distinct from, and superior to us. One plan gives order to the universe;
therefore, one mind originated it. The Creator is over all his

2. _Our consciousness confirms it._ If a blind god could not make a
seeing man, a god destitute of the principle of self-consciousness (if
such an abuse of language may be tolerated for a moment) could not
impart to man the conviction, _I am_,--the ineradicable belief that I am
not the world, nor any other person; much less, everybody; but that I am
a person, possessed of powers of knowing, thinking, liking and
disliking, judging, approving of right, and disapproving of wrong, and
choosing and willing my conduct. My Maker has at least as much common
sense as he has given me. He that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not

3. _Our ignorance and weakness demand a Governor of the world wiser than
ourselves._ The soul of man is not the highest intelligence in the
universe. It can not know the mode of its own operation on the body it
inhabits, much less the plan of the world's management. Man may know
much about what does not concern him, and about things over which he has
no control; but it is the will of God that his pride should feel the
curb of ignorance and impotence where his dearest interests are
concerned, that so he may be compelled to acknowledge that God is
greater than man. He may be able to tell the place of the distant
planets a thousand years hence, but he can not tell where himself shall
be next year. He can calculate for years to come the motions of the
tides, which he can not control, but can not tell how his own pulse
shall beat, or whether it shall beat at all, to-morrow. Ever as his
knowledge of the laws by which God governs the world increases, his
conviction of his impotence grows; and he sees and feels that a wiser
head and stronger hand than that of any creature, planned and
administered them. Ever as he reaches some ultimate truth, such as the
mystery of electricity, of light, of life, of gravitation, which he can
not explain, and beyond which he can not penetrate, he hears the voice
of God therein, demanding him to acknowledge his impotence.

     "Where is the way where light dwelleth,
     And as for darkness, what is the place thereof?
     Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades,
     Or loose the bands of Orion?
     Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his seasons?
     Or canst thou guide Arcturus, with his sons?
     Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven?
     Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth?
     Canst thou lift up thy voice to the clouds,
     That abundance of waters may cover thee?
     Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go
     And say unto thee, 'Here we are?'"

4. _Our consciences convince us that God is a Moral Governor._ The
distinction between brutes and men is, that man has a sense of the
distinction between right and wrong. If we find a tribe of savages, or
individuals who indulge their appetites without rule, and who do wrong
without any apparent remorse or shame, we designate them brutes. Even
those who in words deny any difference between right and wrong, do in
fact admit its existence, by their attempts to justify that opinion.
Though weaker, or less regarded in some than in others, every man is
conscious of a faculty in himself which sits in judgment on his own
conduct, and that of others, approving or condemning it as right or
wrong. In all lands, and in all ages, the common sense of mankind has
acknowledged the existence and moral authority of conscience, as
distinct from and superior to mere intellect. No language of man is
destitute of words conveying the ideas of virtue and vice, of goodness
and wickedness. When one attempts to deceive you by a willful lie, you
are sensible not only of an intellectual process of reason detecting the
error, but of a distinct judgment of disapprobation of the crime. When
one who has received kindness from a benefactor, neglects to make any
acknowledgment of it, cherishes no feelings of gratitude, and insults
and abuses the friend who succored him, we are conscious, not merely of
the facts, as phenomena to be observed, but of the ingratitude, as a
crime to be detested. And we are irresistibly constrained to believe
that he who taught us this knowledge of a difference between right and
wrong, does himself know such a distinction; and that he who implanted
this feeling of approval of right, and condemnation of wrong, in us,
does himself approve the right, and condemn the wrong. And as we can
form no notion of right or wrong unconnected with the idea that
approbation of right conduct should be suitably expressed, and that
disapprobation of wrong conduct ought also to be suitably expressed--in
other words, that right ought to be rewarded, and wrong ought to be
punished--so we are constrained to trace such a connection from our
minds to the mind of him who framed them. This conviction is God's law,
written in our hearts. When we do wrong, we become conscious of a
feeling of remorse in our consciences, as truly as the eye becomes
conscious of the darkness. We may blind the eye, and we may sear the
conscience, that the one shall not see, nor the other feel; but light
and darkness, right and wrong, will exist. The awful fact which
conscience reveals to us, that we sin against God, that we know the
right, and do the wrong, and are conscious of it, and of God's
disapprobation of it, is conclusive proof that we are not only distinct
from God, but separate from him--that we oppose our wills against his.
And every pang of remorse is a premonition of God's judgment, and every
sorrow and suffering which the Governor of the world has connected with
sin--as the drunkard's loss of character and property, of peace and
happiness, the frenzy of his soul, and the destruction of his body--is a
type and teaching of the curse which he has denounced against sin.

5. _The World's History is the record of man's crimes, and God's
punishments._ Once God swept the human race from earth with a flood of
water, because the wickedness of man was great on the earth. Again, he
testified his displeasure against the ungodly sinners of Sodom and
Gomorrah, by consuming their cities with fire from heaven, and leaving
the Dead Sea to roll its solemn waves of warning to all ungodly sinners,
to the end of time.

By the ordinary course of his providence, he has ever secured the
destruction of ungodly nations. No learning, commerce, arms,
territories, or skill, has ever secured a rebellious nation against the
sword of God's justice. Ask the black record of a rebel world's history
for an instance. Egypt, Canaan, Nineveh, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome.
Where are they now? Tyre had ships, colonies, and commerce; Rome an
empire on which the sun never set; Greece had philosophy, arts, and
liberty secured by a confederation of republics; Spain the treasures of
earth's gold and silver, and the possession of half the globe. Did these
secure them against the moral government of God?

No! God's law sways the universe; that law which, with the brazen
fetters of eternal justice, binds together sin and misery, crime and
punishment, and lays the burden on the backs of all ungodly nations,
irresistibly forcing them down--down--down the road to ruin. The vain
imagination that refuses to glorify God as God, leads to darkness of
heart, thence to Atheism, thence to gross idolatry, onward to selfish
gratification, violent rapacity, lust of conquest, and luxury,
licentiousness, and effeminacy begotten of its spoils; then military
tyranny, civil war, servile revolt, anarchy, famine and pestilence, and
the sword of less debauched neighbors, Christ's iron scepter, hurl them
down from the pinnacle of greatness, to dash them in pieces against each
other, in the valley of destruction; and there they lie, wrecks of
nations, ruins of empires, naught remaining, save some shivered
potsherds of former greatness, to show that once they were, and were the
enemies of God.

Oh, America, take warning ere it be too late! God rules the nations. "He
that chastiseth the heathen, shall he not correct you?"

A day of retribution, reader, comes to you, as an individual. Neither
your insignificance nor your unbelief can hide you from his eye, nor can
your puny arm shield you from his righteous judgment. His hand shall
find out his enemies. Oh, fly from the wrath to come! "Seek the Lord
while he may be found." He is not far from every one of us. His breath
is in our nostrils. His Word is in our hands. "Whosoever shall call on
the name of the Lord shall be saved."


[23] Cited in Pressense's _Jesus Christ, His Life and Times_. Page 10.

[24] Emerson.

[25] Duff's India, pages 99-114.

[26] Duff's India, page 119.

[27] Man's Origin and Destiny, 293.

[28] Webster's Dictionary.

[29] Emerson's Address to a Senior Class in Divinity.

[30] Hennell's Christian Theism, which shows how Theists of every
nation--Christian, Jew, Mohammedan, or Chinese--can meet upon common

[31] Atkinson's Letters, page 190.

[32] Festus, page 48.

[33] Swedenborg, or the Mystic (quoted by Pierson, 41), p. 68.

[34] Politique Positive, Vol. II. page 60.

[35] Emerson.

[36] Carlyle--Past and Present.

[37] Carlyle--Life of Sterling.



Religion consists of the knowledge of a number of great facts, and of a
course of life suitable to them. We have seen three of these: that God
created the world; that he governs it; and that he is able to conquer
his enemies. There are others of the same sort as needful to be known.
Our knowledge of these facts, or our ignorance of them, makes not the
slightest difference in the facts themselves. God is, and heaven is, and
hell is, and sin leads to it, whether anybody believes these things or
not. It makes no sort of difference in the beetling cliff and swollen
flood that sweeps below it, that the drunken man declares there is no
danger, and, refusing the proffered lantern, gallops on toward it in the
darkness of the night. But when the mangled corpse is washed ashore,
every one sees how foolish this man was, to be so confident in his
ignorance as to refuse the lantern, which would have shown him his
danger, and guided him to the bridge where he might have crossed in
safety. Some of the facts of religion lie at the evening end of life's
journey; the darkness of death's night hides them from mortal eye; and
living men might guide their steps the better by asking counsel of one
who knows the way. If they get along no better by their own counsel in
the next world than most of them do in this, they will have small cause
to bless their teacher. Who can tell that ignorance, and wickedness, and
wretchedness are not as tightly tied together in the world to come, as
we see them here?

Solomon was a knowing man and wise; and better than that, in the esteem
of most people, he made money, and tells you how to make it, and keep
it. You will make a hundred dollars by reading his Proverbs and acting
on them. They would have saved some of you many a thousand. Of course
such a man knew something of the world. He was a wide-awake trader. His
ships coasted the shores of Asia, and Africa, from Madagascar to Japan;
and the overland mail caravans from India and China drew up in the
depots he built for them in the heart of the desert. He knew the
well-doing people with whom trade was profitable, and the savages who
could only send apes and peacocks. He was a philosopher as well as a
trader, and could not help being deeply impressed with _the great fact_,
that there was a wide difference among the nations of the world. Some
were enlightened, enterprising, civilized, and flourishing; others were
naked savages, living in ignorance, poverty, vice, and starvation,
perpetually murdering one another, and dying out of the earth.

Solomon noticed _another great fact_. In his own country, and in
Chaldea, Mesopotamia, Egypt, and some others, God had revealed his will
to certain persons for the benefit of their neighbors. He did so
generally by opening the eyes of these prophets to see future events,
and the great facts of the unseen world, and by giving them messages of
warning and instruction to the nations. From this mode of revelation, by
opening the prophets eyes to see realities invisible to others, they
were called seers, and the revelations they were commissioned to make
were called visions; and revelation from God was called, in general,
vision. Solomon was struck with the fact that some nations were thus
favored by God, and other nations were not. The question would naturally
arise, What difference does it make, or does it make any difference,
whether men have any revelation of God's will or not?

Solomon was led to observe a _third great fact_. The nations which were
favored with these revelations were the civilized, enterprising, and
comparatively prosperous nations. In proportion to the amount of divine
revelation they had, and their obedience to it, they prospered. The
nations that had no revelation from God were the idolatrous savages, who
were sinking down to the level of brutes, and perishing off the face of
the earth. He daguerreotypes these three great facts in the proverb:
"Where there is no vision the people perish; but he that keepeth the
law, happy is he."

Oh, says the Rationalist, the world is wiser now than it was in
Solomon's days. He lived in the old mythological period, when men
attributed everything extraordinary to the gods. But the world is too
wise now to believe in any supernatural revelation. "The Hebrew and
Christian religions like all others have their myths." "The fact is, the
pure historic idea was never developed among the Hebrews during the
whole of their political existence." "When, therefore, we meet with an
account of certain phenomena, or events of which it is expressly stated
or implied that they were produced immediately by God himself (such as
divine apparitions, voices from heaven, and the like), or by human
beings possessed of supernatural powers (miracles, prophecies, etc.),
such an account is so far to be considered not historical." "Indeed, no
just notion of the true nature of history is possible without a
perception of the inviolability of the chain of finite causes, and of
the impossibility of miracles."[38] A narrative is to be deemed
mythical, 1st. "When it proceeds from an age in which there were no
written records, but events were transmitted by tradition; 2d. When it
presents, as historical, accounts of events which were beyond the reach
of experience, as occurrences connected with the spiritual world; or 3d.
When it deals in the marvelous, and is couched in symbolical
language."[39] So also a host of others, who pass for biblical
expositors, lay it down as an axiom, that all records of supernatural
events are mythical, viz: fables, falsehoods, because miracles are
impossible. Of course, from such premises the conclusion is easy. A
revelation from God to man is a supernatural event, and supernatural
events are impossible; therefore, a revelation from God is impossible.
But it would have been much easier, and quite as logical, to have laid
down the axiom in plain words at first, that a revelation from God is
impossible, as to argue it from such premises; for it is just as easy to
_say_, that a revelation from God is impossible, as to _say_ that
miracles are impossible; and as for _proof_ of either one or the other,
we must just take their word for it.

One can not help being amazed at the cool impudence with which these men
take for granted the very point to be proved, and set aside, as unworthy
of serious examination, the most authentic records of history, simply
because they do not coincide with their so-called philosophy; and at the
credulity with which their followers swallow this arrogant dogmatism, as
if it were self-evident truth. Let us look at it for a moment. Other
religions have their myths, or fables, therefore, the Hebrew and
Christian records are fables, says the Rationalist. Profundity of logic!
Counterfeit bank bills are common, therefore none are genuine. "The fact
is, the pure historic idea was never developed among the Hebrews," _i.
e._, Moses and the prophets were all liars. That is the fact, you may
take my word for it. "Indeed, no just notion of the true nature of
history is possible without a perception of the inviolability of the
chain of finite causes, and of the impossibility of miracles" which
translated into plain words is simply this: No man can understand
history who believes in God Almighty. "A narrative is to be deemed
fabulous when it proceeds from an age in which there were no written
records," such, for instance, as any account of the creation of the
first man--for no event could possibly happen unless there was a scribe
there to write it. Or, of the fall of man--we do not know that Adam was
able to write, and no man can tell truth unless he writes a history. "A
narrative is to be deemed fabulous when it presents, as historical,
accounts of events which were beyond the reach of experience, as events
connected with the spiritual world." Is it not self-evident that you and
I have had experience of everything in the whole universe, and whoever
tells us anything which we have never seen is a liar. "When a narrative
deals in the marvelous," such as Xenophon's Retreat of the Ten Thousand,
Herodotus' History, or Gibbon's Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,
dealing as it does in such marvelous accounts as the death of half the
inhabitants of the empire in the reign of Galerius, or any other history
of wonderful occurrence--it is of course a myth. Does not every one know
that nothing marvelous ever happened, or, if it did, would any historian
trouble himself to record a prodigy? "Or, if it is couched in symbolical
language," as is every eloquent passage in Thucydides, Robertson,
Gibbon, or Guizot, the records of China, and of India, the
picture-writing of the Peruvians, and especially the Egyptian
hieroglyphics, which were fondly expected to do such good service
against the Bible--it must be at once rejected, without further
examination, as mythological and unworthy of any credit whatever. Thus
we are conclusively rid forever of the Bible, for sure enough it is
couched in symbolical language. Blessed deliverance to the world! But
then, alas! this great deliverance is accompanied with several little
inconveniences. All poetry, three-fourths of the world's history, and
the largest part of its philosophy, is couched in symbolical language,
and especially the whole of the science of metaphysics, from which
these very learned writers have deduced such edifying conclusions, is,
from the beginning to the end, nothing but a symbolical application of
the terms which describe material objects, to the phenomena of mind.
Alas! we must forever relinquish "the absolute," and "the infinite," and
"the conditioned," with all their "affinities and potencies," up to
"higher unity," and "the rhythm of universal existence," and all the
rest of those perspicuous German hieroglyphics, whether entombed in
their native pyramids for the amazement of succeeding generations, by
Fichte, Schelling, or Hegel, or "worshiping in the great cathedral of
the immensities," "with their heads uplifted into infinite space," or
"lying on the plane of their own consciousness," in the writings of
Carlyle, Emerson, and Parker. They are myths, the whole of them, for
they "are couched in symbolical language;" and Bauer, De Wette, and
Strauss have pronounced every thing couched in symbolical language to be
mythical. Let us henceforth deliver our minds from all anxiety about
history, philosophy, or religion, and stick to the price current and the
multiplication table, the only accounts that are not "couched in
symbolical language."

Such is the sort of trash that passes for profound philosophy when once
it is made unintelligible, and such are the canons of interpretation
with which men calling themselves philosophers and Christians sit down
to investigate the claims of the Bible as a revelation from God. If they
would speak out their true sentiments, they would say, "There can not be
any revelation from God, because there is no God." But they could not
call themselves professors of Christian colleges, and pastors of
Christian churches, and reap the emoluments of such situations, if they
would honestly avow their Atheism. Besides, the world would see too
plainly the drift of their teaching; therefore it is cloaked under a
profession of belief in God, the Creator, who however is to be
carefully prevented from ever showing himself again in the world he has

No proof is attempted for the declaration that miracles are impossible.
Yet, surely, if it implies a contradiction to say so, that contradiction
could be shown. That it is not self-evident is shown by the general
belief of mankind that miracles have occurred. No man who believes in a
supernatural being can deny the possibility of supernatural actings. The
creation of the world is the most stupendous of all miracles, utterly
beyond the power of any finite causes, and entirely beyond the reach of
our experience, yet some of these men admit that this miracle occurred.
Supernatural events then are not impossible, nor unprecedented.

The vain notion that God, having created the world at first, left it for
ever after to the operation of natural laws, is conclusively demolished
by the discoveries of geology. These discoveries established the fact
recorded in Scripture, that in bringing the world into its present form
there were several distinct and successive interpositions of
supernatural power, in the distinct and successive creations of
different species of vegetable and animal life. In former periods, they
tell us, the earth was so warm that the present races of men and animals
could not have lived on it, and the plants and animals of that age could
not live now. These very men are profuse in proving that the earth
existed for ages before _man_ made his appearance upon it. This being
the case, we are compelled to acknowledge the creating power of God
above the laws of nature, for there is no law of nature which can either
create a new species of plants or animals, nor yet change one kind into
another, make an oak into a larch, or an ox into a sheep, or a goose
into a turkey, or a megatherium into an elephant, much less into a man.
Some men have dreamed of such changes as these, but no instance of such
a change has ever been alleged in proof of the notion. The most
distinguished anatomists and geologists are fully agreed that no such
change of one animal into another ever took place; much less that any
animal ever was changed into a man. Cuvier, from his comprehensive
survey of the fossils of former periods, establishes the fact, "that the
species now living are not mere varieties of the species which are
lost." And Agassiz says, "I have the conviction that species have been
created successively, at distinct intervals."[40] Revelations of God's
special interpositions in the affairs of this world are thus written by
his own finger in the fossils and coal, and engraved on the everlasting
granite of the earth's foundation stones. Dumb beasts and dead reptiles
start forward to give their irrefutable testimony to the repeated
supernatural acts of their Creator in this world which he had made.
Every distinct species of plants and animals is proof of a distinct
supernatural overruling of the present laws of nature. The experience of
man is not the limit of knowledge. His own existence is a proof that the
chain of finite causes is not inviolable. Geology sweeps away the very
foundations of skepticism, by demonstrating that certain phenomena
produced immediately by God himself--the phenomena of the creation of
life--have occurred repeatedly in the history of our globe. Revelation
is not impossible because supernatural. The world is just as full of
supernatural works as of natural. Nor is it incredible because it
records miracles. The miracles recorded in the coal measures are as
astonishing as any recorded in the Bible.

The Rationalist next assures us, however, that any external revelation
from God to man is _useless_, because man is wise enough without it. The
vulgar exposition of this sentiment is familiar to every reader. "You
need not begin to preach Bible to me. I know my duty well enough without
the Bible." The more educated attempt to reason the matter after this
fashion: "Miraculous phenomena will never prove the goodness and
veracity of God, if we do not know these qualities in him without a
miracle."[41] We may remark, in passing, that there are some other
attributes of God besides goodness and veracity--holiness and justice
for instance--which are proved by miracles. "Can thunder from the
thirty-two azimuths, repeated daily for centuries, make God's laws more
godlike to me? Brother, no. Perhaps I am grown to be a man now, and do
not need the thunder and the terror any longer. Perhaps I am above being
frightened. Perhaps it is not fear but reverence that shall now lead me!
Revelation! Inspirations! And thy own god-created soul, dost thou not
call that a revelation?"[42] It is manifest, however, that if Mr.
Carlyle needs not the Sinai thunder to assure him that the law given on
Sinai was from God, there were then, and are now, many who do, and some
of his own sect who doubt in spite of it. If he is above the weakness of
fearing God, all the world is not so.

The claims of a divine teacher are as unceremoniously rejected as those
of a divine revelation. "If it depends on Jesus it is not eternally
true, and if it is not eternally true it is no truth at all," says
Parker. As if eternally true, and sufficiently known, were just the same
thing; or as if because vaccination would always have prevented the
smallpox, the world is under no obligation to Jenner for informing us of
the fact. In the same tone Emerson despises instruction: "It is not
instruction but provocation that I can receive from another soul. What
he announces, I must find true in me, or wholly reject; and on his word,
or as his second, be he who he may, I can accept nothing." Again says
Parker, "Christianity is dependent on no outside authority. We verify
its eternal truth in our soul."[43] His aim is "to separate religion
from whatever is finite--Church, book, person--and let it rest on its
absolute truth."[44] "It bows to no idols, neither the Church, nor the
Bible, nor yet Jesus, but God only; its Redeemer is within; its
salvation within; its heaven and its oracle of God."[45] The whole
strain of this school of writers and their disciples is one of
depreciation of external revelation, and of exaltation of the inner
light which every man is supposed to carry within him. Religion is "no
Morrison's pill from without," but a "clearing of the inner light," a
"reawakening of our own selves from within."[46] So Mr. Newman[47]
abundantly argues that an authoritative book revelation of moral and
spiritual truth is impossible, that God reveals himself within us and
not without us, and that a revelation of all moral and religious truth
necessary for us to know is to be obtained by _insight_, or gazing into
the depths of our own consciousness. The sum of the whole business is,
that neither God nor man can reveal any religious truth to our minds, or
as Parker felicitously expresses it, "on his word, or as his second, be
he who he may, I can accept nothing."

Now, we are tempted to ask, Who are these wonderful prodigies, so
incapable of receiving instruction from anybody? And to our amazement we
learn, that some forty odd years ago they made their appearance among
mankind as little squalling babies, without insight enough to know their
own names, or where they came from, and were actually dependent on an
external revelation, from their nurses, for sense enough to find their
mothers' breasts. And as they grew a little larger, they obtained the
power of speaking articulate sounds by external revelation, hearing and
imitating the sounds made by others. Further, upon a memorable day,
they had a "book revelation" made to them, in the shape of a penny
primer, and were initiated into the mysteries of A, B, C, by "the
instructions of another, be he who he may." There was absolutely not the
least "insight," or "spiritual faculty," or "self-consciousness" in one
of them, by which they then could, or ever to this hour did, "find true
within them" any sort of necessary connection between the signs, c, a,
t--d, o, g--and the sounds _cat_, _dog_, or any other sounds represented
by any other letters of the alphabet. Faith in the word of their
teachers is absolutely the sole foundation and only source of their
ability to read and write. On "the word of another, and as his second,
be he who he may," every one of them has accepted every intelligible
word he speaks or writes.

There is living on Martha's Vineyard an old man who has never been off
the island, and the extent of his knowledge is bounded by the confines
of his home. He has been told of a war between the North and South, but
as he had never heard the din of battle, nor seen any soldiers, he
considered it a hoax. He is utterly unable to read, and is ignorant to
the last degree. A good story is told of his first and only day at
school. He was quite a lad when a lady came to the district, where his
father lived, to teach school. He was sent, and as the teacher was
classifying the school, he was called upon in turn and interrogated as
to his studies. Of course he had to say he had never been to school, and
knew none of his letters. The schoolmistress gave him a seat on one side
until she had finished the preliminary examination of the rest of the
scholars. She then called him to her and drew on the blackboard the
letter A, and told him what it was, and asked him to remember how it
looked. He looked at it a moment, and then inquired:

"H-h-how do you know it's A?"

The teacher replied that when she was a little girl she had been to
school to an old gentleman, who told her so.

The boy eyed the A for a moment and then asked:

"H-h-how do you know but he l-l-lied?"

The teacher could not get over this obstacle, and the poor boy was sent
home as incorrigible.

Mr. Emerson, and the whole school of those who despise instruction, had
better appoint this man their prophet of the inner light, and endow
Martha's Vineyard as the Penikese of skepticism.

But the knowledge of letters is not half of their indebtedness to
external revelation. For they will not deny that a Fiji cannibal has
just the same "insight," "spiritual faculty," "mighty and transcendent
soul," "self-consciousness," or any other name by which they may dignify
our common humanity, which they themselves possess. How does it happen,
then, that these writers are not assembled around the cannibal's oven,
smearing their faces with the blood, and feasting themselves on the
limbs of women and children? The inner nature of the cannibal and of the
Rationalist is the same--whence comes the difference of character and
conduct? And the inner light, too, is the same; for they assure us that
"inspiration, like God's omnipresence, is coextensive with the race." Is
it not, after all, mere external revelation, in the shape of
education--aye, moral and religious teaching that makes the whole
difference between the civilized American and his inspired Fiji brother?

These gentlemen not only acknowledge, but try to repay their obligations
to external revelation. As it is impossible for God to give the world a
book revelation of moral and religious truth, they modestly propose to
come to his assistance, it being quite possible for some men to do what
is impossible for God. Accordingly, we have a book revelation of moral
and religious truth, from one, in his treatise on "The Soul," an
"external revelation" from another, in his "Discourse Concerning
Religion," a "Morrison's pill from the outside," from a third, in his
"Past and Present," and "announcements" from a fourth, which assuredly
the great mass of mankind never "found true within them," else his
orations and publications had not been needed to convert them. It is to
be understood, then, that an "external revelation," or a "book
revelation" of spiritual truth is impossible, only when it comes from
God, but that these gentlemen have proved it quite possible for
themselves to deliver one.

In so doing they have undoubtedly attempted to meet the wishes of the
greater part of mankind, who have in all lands and in all ages longed
for some outward revelation from God, and testified their desire by
running after all sorts of omens, auguries, and oracles, consulting
witches, and treasuring Sibylline leaves, employing writing mediums, and
listening to spirit-rappers. The "inspiration which is limited to no
sect, age, or nation--which is wide as the world, and common as
God,"[48] has never produced a nation of Rationalists; a fact very
unaccountable, if Rationalism be true; and one which might well lead
these writers to acknowledge at least one kind of total depravity,
namely, that inspired men should love the darkness of external
revelations, and even of book revelations, and read Bibles, and Korans,
and Vedas, and "Discourses Concerning Religion," and "Phases of Faith,"
while yet "everything that is of use to man lies in the plane of our own
consciousness." Surely, such a universal craving after an external
revelation testifies to a felt necessity for it, and renders it
probable, or at least desirable, that God would supply the deficiency.
Is the religious appetite the only one for which God has provided no

The fact is undeniable, that the grand distinction between man and the
brutes presents itself right at this point. God guides animals by direct
revelation--by their instincts; but having given man reason, and free
will, he gives him the whole field of life for their exercise upon the
indirect revelations he makes to us through the mediation of others. For
all that we know of history, geography, politics, mechanics,
agriculture, poetry, philosophy, or any of the common business of life,
from the baking of a loaf of bread, or the sewing of a shirt, to the
following of a funeral, and the digging of a grave, we are indebted to
education, not to inspiration. All analogy then induces the belief that
religion also will be taught to mankind by the ministry of human
teachers, rather than by the direct inspiration of every individual.

But we are instructed, that, "as we have bodily senses to lay hold on
matter, and supply bodily wants, through which we obtain naturally all
needed material things, so we have spiritual faculties to lay hold on
God, and supply spiritual wants; through them we obtain all needed
spiritual things." That we have both bodily senses and spiritual
faculties is doubtless true; but whether either the one or the other
obtain all needed things is somewhat doubtful. I can not tell how it is
with mankind in Boston, for I am not there; and this being a matter in
which religious truth is concerned, Mr. Emerson will not allow me to
receive instruction about it from any other soul; but I see from my
window a poor widow, with five children, who has bodily senses to lay
hold on matter, and supply bodily wants; yet in my opinion she has not
obtained naturally all needed material things; and if there be a truth
which lies emphatically in the plane of her own consciousness, it is,
that she is in great need of a cord of wood, and a barrel of flour, for
her starving children. I know, also, a man, to whom God gave bodily
senses to lay hold on matter, and supply bodily wants, who, by his
drunkenness, has destroyed these bodily senses, and brought his family
to utter destitution of all needed material things. From one cause or
another, I find multitudes here in poverty and destitution,
notwithstanding they have bodily senses. It is reported, also, that
there is a poor-house in Boston, and poverty in Ireland, and starvation
in Madeira, and famine in the inundated provinces of France, and misery
and destitution in London; which, if true, completely overturns this
beautiful theory. For, if, notwithstanding the possession of bodily
senses, men do starve in this world for want of needful food and
clothing, it is very possible that they may have spiritual faculties
also, and yet not obtain through them all needed spiritual things.

The second part of the theory is as baseless as the first. All men have
spiritual faculties, and have not obtained by them all needed spiritual
things. They have not in their own opinion, and surely they are
competent judges of "what lies wholly in the plane of their own
consciousness." In proof of the fact that mankind have not, in their own
opinion, obtained all needed spiritual things by the use of their
spiritual faculties, without the aid of external revelation, we appeal
to all the religions of mankind, Heathen, Mohammedan, and Christian.
Every one of these appeals to revelations from God. Every lawgiver of
note professed to have communication with heaven, Zoroaster, Minos,
Pythagoras, Solon, Lycurgus, Numa, Mohammed, down to the chief of the
recent revolution in China. "Whatever becomes of the real truth of these
relations," says Strabo of those before his day, "_it is certain that
men did believe and think them true_." If mankind has found the supply
of all their spiritual wants within themselves, would they have clung in
this way to the pretense of external revelations? Is not the abundance
of quack doctors conclusive proof of the existence of disease, and of
the need of physicians?

Not only was the need of an external revelation of some sort
acknowledged by all mankind, but the insufficiency of the pretended
oracles which they enjoyed was deplored by the wisest part of them. We
never find men amidst the dim moonlight of tradition, and the light of
nature, vaunting the sufficiency of their inward light; it is only
amidst the full blaze of noonday Christianity that philosophers can
stand up and declare that they have no need of God's teaching. Had such
men lived in Athens of old, they would have found men possessed of
spiritual faculties, and those of no mean order, engaged in erecting an
altar with this inscription, "_To the Unknown God._" One of the wisest
of the heathen (Socrates) acknowledged that he could attain to no
certainty respecting religious truth or moral duty, in these memorable
words, "We must of necessity wait, till some one from him who careth for
us, shall come and instruct us how we ought to behave toward God and
toward man." The chief of the Academy, whose philosophy concerning the
eternity of matter occupies a conspicuous place in the creed of American
heathens, had no such confidence in the sufficiency of his own powers of
discovering religious truth. "We can not know of ourselves what petition
will be pleasing to God, or what worship we should pay to him; but it is
necessary that a lawgiver should be sent from heaven to instruct us."
"Oh how greatly do I long to see that man!" He further declares that
"_this lawgiver must be more than man, that he may teach us the things
man can not know by his own nature_."[49] Whether this want of a
revelation from God was real, or merely imaginary, will appear by a
brief review of the opinions and practices of those who never enjoyed,
and of those who reject the light of God's revelation.

_They knew not God._ If there is any article of religion fundamental,
and indispensable to its very existence, it is the knowledge of God. It
is admitted by Rationalists that the spiritual faculties are designed to
lay hold on God. It has been proved in the previous chapter, and it will
be admitted by all but Atheists, that God is an Intelligent Being. And
further it has been proved that God is not everything and everybody,
but distinct from and supreme over all his works. Besides, in this
country at least, there will not be much difference of opinion as to the
propriety of a rational being adoring a brute, or a log of wood, or a
lump of stone. It will be allowed that such stupidity shows both
ignorance and folly. Now let us inquire into the knowledge of God
possessed by the people who have no vision.

The Chaldeans, the most ancient people of whom we have any account, and
who had among them the immediate descendants of Noah, and whatever
traditions of Noah's prophecies they preserved, were probably the best
instructed of the heathen. Yet we find that they gave up the worship of
God, adored the sun, and moon, and stars of heaven, and in process of
time degenerated still further, and worshiped dumb idols. From this rock
we were hewn; the common names of the days of the week, and especially
of the first day of the week, will forever keep up a testimony to the
necessity of that revelation which delivered our forefathers and us from
burning our children upon the devil's altars on Sun-days.

The Egyptians were reputed the most learned of mankind, and Egypt was
considered the cradle of the arts and sciences. In her existing
monuments, hieroglyphic inscriptions, and tomb paintings, we have
presented to us the materials for forming a more correct opinion of the
religion and life of the Egyptians than of any other ancient people; and
the investigation of these monuments is still adding to our information.
Infidel writers and lecturers have not hesitated to allege that Moses
merely taught the Israelites the religion of Egypt; and some have had
the hardihood to allege that the ten commandments are found written on
the pyramids, as an argument against the necessity of a revelation. If
the statement were true, it would by no means prove the conclusion.
Egypt was favored with divine revelations to several of her kings, and
enjoyed occasional visits from, or the permanent teachings of, such
prophets as Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, and Moses, for four hundred years; a
fact quite sufficient to account for her superiority to other heathen
nations, as well as for the existence of some traces of true religion on
her monuments. But the alleged fact is a falsehood. Some good moral
precepts are found on the Egyptian monuments, but the ten commandments
are not there. It may be charitably supposed that those who allege the
contrary never learned the ten commandments, or have forgotten them,
else they would have remembered that the first commandment is, "Thou
shalt have no other gods before me;" and that Pharaoh indignantly asks,
"Who is Jehovah that I should obey his voice? I know not God:" and that
the second is, "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image," etc.,
and would have paused before alleging that these commands were engraved
on the very temples of idols, and by the priests of the birds, and
beasts, and images of creeping things which they adored. It is very
doubtful if they believed in the existence of one supreme God, as most
of the heathen did; but if they did, "they did not under any form,
symbol, or hieroglyphic, represent the idea of the unity of God," as is
fully proved by Wilkinson.[50] On the contrary, the monuments confirm
the satirical sketch of the poet,[51] as to the "monsters mad Egypt
worshiped; here a sea-fish, there a river-fish; whole towns adore a dog.
This place fears an ibis saturated with serpents; that adores a
crocodile. It is a sin to violate a leek or onion, or break them with a
bite." Cruel wars were waged between different towns, as Plutarch tells
us, because the people of Cynopolis would eat a fish held sacred by the
citizens of Latopolis. Bulls, and dogs, and cats, and rats, and
reptiles, and dung beetles, were devoutly adored by the learned
Egyptians. A Roman soldier, who had accidentally killed one of their
gods, a cat, was put to death for sacrilege.[52] Whenever a dog died,
every person in the house went into mourning, and fasted till night. So
low had the "great, the mighty and transcendent soul," been degraded
that there is a picture extant of one of the kings of Egypt worshiping
his own coffin! Such is man's knowledge of God without a revelation from

The Greeks, from their early intercourse with Egypt, borrowed from them
most of their religion; but by later connections with the Hebrews, about
the time of Aristotle and Alexander, they gathered a few grains of truth
to throw into the heap of error. After the translation of the Scriptures
into Greek, in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, any of their
philosophers who desired might easily have learned the knowledge of the
true God. But before this period we find little or no sense or truth in
their religion. And the same remarks will apply to the Romans. Their
gods were as detestable as they were numerous. Hesiod tells us they had
thirty thousand. Temples were erected to all the passions, fears, and
diseases to which humanity is subject. Their supreme god, Jupiter, was
an adulterer, Mars a murderer, Mercury a thief, Bacchus a drunkard,
Venus a harlot; and they attributed other crimes to their gods too
horrible to be mentioned. Such gods were worshiped, with appropriate
ceremonies, of lust, drunkenness, and bloodshed. Their most sacred
mysteries, carried on under the patronage of these licentious deities,
were so abominable and infamous, that it was found necessary, for the
preservation of any remnant of good order, to prohibit them.

It may be supposed that the human race is grown wiser now than in the
days of Socrates and Cicero, and that such abominations are no longer
possible. Turn your eyes, then, to India, and behold one hundred and
fifty millions of rational beings, possessed of "spiritual faculties,"
"insight," and "the religious sentiment," worshiping three hundred and
thirty millions of gods, in the forms of hills, and trees, and rivers,
and rocks, elephants, tigers, monkeys, and rats, crocodiles, serpents,
beetles, and ants, and monsters like to nothing in heaven or earth, or
under the earth. Take one specimen of all. There is "the lord of the
world," Juggernath. "When you think of the monster block of the idol,
with its frightfully grim and distorted visage, so justly styled the
Moloch of the East, sitting enthroned amid thousands of massive
sculptures, the representative emblems of that cruelty and vice which
constitute the very essence of his worship; when you think of the
countless multitudes that annually congregate there, from all parts of
India, many of them measuring the whole distance of their weary
pilgrimage with their own bodies; when you think of the merit-earning
assiduities constantly practiced by crowds of devotees and religious
mendicants, around the holy city, some remaining all day with their head
on the ground, and their feet in the air; others with their bodies
entirely covered with earth; some cramming their eyes with mud, and
their mouths with straw, while others lie extended in a puddle of water;
here one man lying with his foot tied to his neck, another with a pot of
fire on his breast, a third enveloped in a network of ropes; when,
besides these self-inflicted torments, you think of the frightful amount
of involuntary suffering and wretchedness arising from the exhaustion of
toilsome pilgrimages, the cravings of famine, and the scourgings of
pestilence; when you think of the day of the high festival--how the
horrid king is dragged forth from his temple, and mounted on his lofty
car, in the presence of hundreds of thousands, that cause the very earth
to shake with shouts of 'Victory to Juggernath, our Lord;' how the
officiating high priest, stationed in front of the elevated idol,
commences the public service by a loathsome pantomimic exhibition,
accompanied with the utterance of filthy, blasphemous songs, to which
the vast multitude at intervals respond, not in the strains of tuneful
melody, but in loud yells of approbation, united with a kind of hissing
applause; when you think of the carnage that ensues, in the name of
sacred offering--how, as the ponderous machine rolls on, grating harsh
thunder, one and another of the more enthusiastic devotees throw
themselves beneath the wheels, and are instantly crushed to pieces, the
infatuated victims of hellish superstition; when you think of the
numerous Golgothas that bestud the neighboring plain, where the dogs,
jackals and vultures seem to live on human prey; and of those bleak and
barren sands that are forever whitened with the skulls and bones of
deluded pilgrims which lie bleaching in the sun,"[53] you will be able
to see an awful force of meaning in the words of our text, and to
realize more fully the necessity of a revelation from God, for the
preservation of animal life to man. Literally, where there is no vision
the people _perish_. Man doth not live by bread only, but by every word
which proceedeth from the mouth of God.

Take one other illustration of ignorance of God in the minds of those
who close their eyes against the light of revelation--the heathen of
Europe and America, possessing that inspiration which is wide as the
world, looking abroad upon all the glorious works of the great Creator,
and declaring there is no God. On the other hand, we have men, possessed
of this same inspiration, deifying everything, and outrunning even the
Hindoos in the multitude of their divinities, declaring that every
stick, and stone, and serpent, and snail that crawls on the earth is
God, and making professions of holding spiritual communings with them
all. To crown the monument of folly, the chief of the Positive
Philosophy comes forth with a revelation from his spiritual faculties,
in which by way of improving on the proverb "both are best," and of
being sure of the truth, he unites Atheism, and Pantheism, and
Idolatry--teaches his child to worship idols, the youth to believe in
one God, and himself and other full-grown men to adore the "resultant of
all the forces capable of voluntarily contributing to the perfectioning
of the universe, _not forgetting his worthy friends, the animals_." To
such darkness are men justly condemned who shut their eyes against the
light of God's revelation. Where there is no vision the people perish
intellectually. He who turns away his ears from the truth must be turned
unto fables. "Hear ye and give ear, be not proud, for the Lord hath
spoken. Give glory to the Lord your God before he cause darkness, and
before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains, and while ye look for
light, he turn it into the shadow of death, and make it gross darkness."

_Without a revelation from God, the mind of man can attain to no
certainty regarding the most important of all his interests, the destiny
of his immortal soul._ He knows well--for every sickness, and sorrow,
and calamity declares it, and quick returning troubles will not allow
him to forget--that the Ruler of the world is offended with him; and
conscience tells him why. The sense of guilt is common to the human
race. This is, indeed, "the inspiration which knows no sect, no country,
no religion, no age; which is as wide as humanity." Reason asks herself,
Will God be always thus angry with me? Shall I always feel these pangs
of remorse for my sins? Will misery follow me forever, as I see and feel
that it does here? Or shall my soul exist under God's frowns, or perish
under his just sentence, even as my body perishes? Does the grave hide
forever all that I loved? Have they ceased to be? Shall we ever meet
again? Or must I say, "Farewell, farewell! An eternal farewell!" And in
a few days myself also cease to be? The only answer Reason gives
is--solemn silence.

The wisest of men could not tell. Who has not dropped a tear over the
dying words of Socrates, "I am going out of the world, and you are to
continue in it, but which of us has the better part is a secret to every
one but God." Cicero contended for the immortality of the soul against
the multitudes of philosophers who denied it in his day; yet, after
recounting their various opinions, he is obliged to say, "Which of these
is true, God alone knows; and which is most probable, a very great
question."[54] And Seneca, on a review of this subject, says:
"Immortality, however desirable, was rather promised than proved by
these great men."[55]

The multitude had but two ideas on the subject. Either their ghosts
would wander eternally in the land of shadows, or else they would pass
into a succession of other bodies, of animals or men. From the nakedness
and desolation of unclothed spirit, and the possibility which this
notion held out of some close contact with a holy and just judge, the
soul shrank back to the hope of the metempsychosis, and hoped rather to
dwell in the body of a brute, than be utterly unclothed and mingle with
spirits. This is the delusion cherished by the people of India and many
other lands to this day. How unsatisfactory to the dying sinner this
uncertainty. "Tell me," said a wealthy Hindoo, who had given all his
wealth to the Brahmins who surrounded his dying bed, that they might
obtain pardon for his sins, "Tell me what will become of my soul when I
die?" "Your soul will go into the body of a holy cow." "And after that?"
"It will pass into the body of the divine peacock." "And after that?"
"It will pass into a flower." "Tell me, oh! tell me," cried the dying
man, "where will it go last of all?" Where will it go last of all? Aye,
that is the question Reason can not answer.

The rejectors of the Bible here are as uncertain on this all-important
subject as the heathen of India. They have every variety of oracles, and
conjectures, and suppositions about the other world; but for their
guesses they offer no proof. When they give us their oracles as if they
were known truths, we are compelled to ask, How do you know? The only
thing in which they are agreed among themselves is in denying the
resurrection of the body; a point which they gathered from their heathen
classics. A poor, empty, naked, shivering, table-rapping spirit, obliged
to fly over the world at the sigh of any silly sewing girl, or the
bidding of some brazen-faced strumpet, is all that ever shall exist of
Washington, or Newton, in the scheme of one class of Bible rejectors. To
obtain rest from such a doom, others fly to the eternal tomb, and inform
us that the soul is simply an acting of the brain, and when the brain
ceases to act, the soul ceases also. Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow
we die. But even this hog philosophy is reasonable, compared with the
dogma of the large majority, that a man may blaspheme, swear, lie,
steal, murder, and commit adultery, and go straight to heaven--that
"many a swarthy Indian who bowed down to wood and stone--many a
grim-faced Calmuck who worshiped the great god of storms--many a Grecian
peasant who did homage to Phoebus Apollo when the sun rose or went
down--many a savage, his hands smeared all over with human
sacrifice--shall sit down with Moses and Jesus in the kingdom of
God."[56] To such wild unreason does the mind of man descend when it
rejects the Bible.

Life and immortality are brought to light by the gospel. Where there is
no vision, hope perishes. The only plausible creed for him who rejects
it is the eternal tomb, and the heart-chilling inscription: "Death is an
eternal sleep!"

_Without a revelation from God, men are as ignorant how to live, as how
to die._ They have no rule of life having either truth or authority to
direct them. Our Anglo-Saxon ancestors, of the purity of whose blood we
are so proud, trusted to their magical incantations for the cure of
diseases, for the success of their tillage, for the discovery of lost
property, for uncharming cattle and the prevention of casualties. One
day was useful for all things; another, though good to tame animals, was
baleful to sow seed. One day was favorable to the commencement of
business, another to let blood, and others wore a forbidding aspect to
these and other things. On this day they were to buy, on a second to
sell, on a third to hunt, on a fourth to do nothing. If a child was born
on such a day, it would live; if on another, its life would be sickly;
if on another, it would perish early.[57] Their descendants who reject
the Bible are fully as superstitious. Astrologers, and Mediums, and
Clairvoyants, in multitudes, find a profitable trade among them; and one
prominent anti-Bible lecturer will cure you of any disease you have, if
you will only inclose, in a letter, a lock of hair from the right
temple, and--a--five dollar bill.

The precepts of even the wisest men, and the laws of the best regulated
States, commanded or approved of vice. In Babylon prostitution was
compulsory on every female. The Carthaginian law required human
sacrifices. When Agathoclas besieged Carthage, two hundred children, of
the most noble families, were murdered by the command of the senate, and
three hundred citizens voluntarily sacrificed themselves to Saturn.[58]
The laws of Sparta required theft, and the murder of unhealthy
children. Those of ancient Rome allowed parents the power of killing
their children, if they pleased. At Athens, the capital of heathen
literature and philosophy, it was enacted "that infants which appeared
to be maimed should either be killed or exposed."[59]

Plato, dissatisfied with the constitution, made a scheme of one much
better, which he has left us in his Republic. In this great advance of
society, this heathen millennium, we find that there was to be a
community of women and of property, just as among our modern heathens.
Women's rights were to be maintained by having the women trained to war.
Children were still to be murdered, if convenience called for it. And
the young children were to be led to battle at a safe distance, "that
the young whelps might early scent carnage, and be inured to slaughter."

The teachings of all these philosophers were immoral. He may lie, says
Plato, who knows how to do it. Pride and the love of popular applause
were esteemed the best motives to virtue. Profane swearing was commanded
by the example of all their best writers and moralists. Oaths are
frequent in the writings of Plato and Seneca. The gratification of the
sensual appetites was openly taught. Aristippus taught that a wise man
might steal and commit adultery when he could. Unnatural crimes were
vindicated. The last dread crime--suicide--was pleaded for by Cicero and
Seneca as the mark of a hero; and Demosthenes, Cato, Brutus, and
Cassius, carried the means of self-destruction about them, that they
might not fall alive into the hands of their enemies.

The daily lives of these wisest of the heathen corresponded to their
teachings, so far at least as vice was concerned. The most notorious
vices, and even unnatural crimes, were practiced by them. The reader of
the classics does not need to be reminded that such vices are lauded in
the poems of Ovid, and Horace, and Virgil; that the poets were rewarded
and honored for songs which would not be tolerated for a moment in the
vilest theater of New York.

Recently some daily papers and broad-church preachers have taken to the
canonization of heathen saints; they denounce vigorously the bigotry of
any who will not open to them the gates of heaven, or who will, in
general, deny salvation to good heathens. But we do not deny salvation
to good heathens, or to good Jews, or to good Mohammedans, or to anybody
who is good. God is no respecter of persons; but in every nation, he
that feareth God and worketh righteousness is accepted of him. Nor are
we about to usurp Peter's keys, and lock anybody out of heaven, or into
it either; we are only acting as jurymen upon the life and conduct of
men held up to our children as noble examples of a good life, in their
classics, by heathens like themselves, and recommended now by Christian
clergymen, as fitter for the kingdom of God, than bad Christians; which
last may be very true, and so much the worse for the bad Christians. But
the question is not to be thus decided by comparisons, or by
generalities; we must have specified individual heathen saints. When,
however, we come to look for them, these saints and heroes prove to be
only fit for the penitentiary, according to the laws of any of our
States; and were they living now, and behaving themselves according to
their accustomed habits, the best of them would be fortunate if they got
there before they were tarred and feathered by an outraged public.
Socrates, Seneca, and the Emperor Marcus Aurelius, form the stock
specimens trotted out of the stables of heathen morality, for the
admiration and reverence of Christians in this nineteenth century. But
it has been well remarked of Socrates, that no American lady would live
with him a year without applying for a divorce, and getting it, too,
upon very sufficient grounds. Seneca, who wrote so beautifully upon
morals, was an adulterer; and, moreover, prostituted his pen to write a
defense of a man who murdered his mother. And Marcus Aurelius directed
the murder of thousands of innocent men and women, causing young ladies
to be stripped naked and torn to pieces by wild beasts, in the public
amphitheater, and others to be roasted alive in red-hot iron chairs, for
no other offense but that they avowed themselves Christians. Such are
these boasted saints and heroes of heathendom.

What, then, must the lives of the vulgar have been? In the very height
of Roman civilization, Trajan caused ten thousand men to hew each other
to pieces for the amusement of the Roman people; and noble ladies
feasted their eyes on the spectacle. In the Augustan age, when the
invincible armies of Rome gave law to half the world, fathers were in
the habit of mutilating their sons rather than see them subjected to the
slavery and terrible despotism of their officers. What, then, must the
state of the people of the vanquished countries have been? Whole
provinces were frequently given over to fire and sword by generals not
reputed inhuman; and such was the progress of war and anarchy, and their
never-failing accompaniments, famine and pestilence, that, in the reign
of Gallienus, large cities were left utterly desolate, the public roads
became unsafe from immense packs of wolves, _and it was computed that
one-half of the human race perished_. This was just before the
toleration of Christianity. God would allow the wisest and bravest of
mankind to try the experiment of neglecting his gospel and living
without his revelation, until all mankind might be convinced that such a
course is suicidal to nations. "Where there is no vision, the people

A brief reference to the codes of morals which the modern opposers of
the Bible would substitute for it in Christian lands shall conclude our
proof of the necessity of such a revelation of God's law to man, as
shall guide his life to peace and happiness.

The family is the basis of the commonwealth. Destroy family confidence
and family government, and you destroy society, subvert civil
government, and bring destruction on the human race. Mankind are so
generally agreed on this subject, that adultery, even among heathens, is
regarded and punished as a crime. The whole school of Infidel writers
and anti-Bible lecturers, male and female, apologize for, and vindicate
this crime. Lord Herbert, the first of the English Deists, taught that
the indulgence of lust and anger is no more to be blamed than the thirst
occasioned by the dropsy, or the drowsiness produced by lethargy. Mr.
Hobbes asserted that every man has a right to all things, and may
lawfully get them if he can. Bolingbroke taught that man is merely a
superior animal, which is just the modern development theory, and that
his chief end is to gratify the appetites and inclinations of the flesh.
Hume, whose argument against miracles is so frequently in the mouths of
American Infidels, taught that adultery must be practiced, if men would
obtain all the advantages of life, and that if practiced frequently, it
would by degrees come to be thought no crime at all--a prediction as
true as Holy Writ; the fulfillment of which hundreds of the citizens of
Cincinnati can attest, who have heard a lecturer publicly denounce the
Bible as an immoral book, and in the same address declare that if a
woman was married to a man, in her opinion of inferior development, it
was her duty to leave him and live with another. This duty is by no
means neglected, as the numerous divorces, spiritual marriages,
separations, and elopements among this class of persons, testify.
Voltaire held that it was not agreeable to policy to regard it as a vice
in a moral sense. Rousseau, a liar, a thief, and a debauched profligate,
according to his own printed "Confessions," held the same high opinion
of the inner light as our American Spiritualists. "_I have only to
consult myself_," said he, "_concerning what I do. All that I feel to be
right, is right._"[60]

In fact, the purport of this inner light doctrine is exactly as Rousseau
expressed it, and amounts simply to this, _Do what you like._

On this lawless principle these men acted. Take, for example, the chief
saint on the calendar of American Infidelity, whose birthday is annually
celebrated by a festival in this city, and in whose honor hundreds of
men, who would like to be reputed decent citizens, parade the streets of
Cincinnati in solemn procession--Thomas Paine--the author of "The Age of
Reason," as his character is depicted by one who was his helper in the
work of blaspheming God and seducing men, and whose testimony,
therefore, in the eyes of an Infidel, is unimpeachable--William Carver.

     "MR. THOMAS PAINE: I received your letter, dated the 25th
     ult., in answer to mine, dated November 21, and after minutely
     examining its contents, I found that you had taken to the
     pitiful subterfuge of _lying_ for your defense. You say that
     you paid me four dollars per week for your board and lodging,
     during the time you were with me, prior to the first of June
     last; which was the day that I went up, by your order, to
     bring you to York, from New Rochelle. It is fortunate for me
     that I have a living evidence that saw you give me five
     guineas, and no more, in my shop, at your departure at that
     time; but you said you would have given me more, but that you
     had no more with you at present. You say, also, that you found
     your own liquors during the time you boarded with me; but you
     should have said, 'I found only a small part of the liquor I
     drank during my stay with you; this part I purchased of John
     Fellows, which was a demi-john of brandy, containing four
     gallons,' and this did not serve you three weeks. This can be
     proved, and I mean not to say anything I can not prove, for I
     hold truth as a precious jewel. It is a well-known fact that
     you drank one quart of brandy per day, at my expense, during
     the different times you boarded with me; the demi-john above
     mentioned excepted, and the last fourteen weeks you were sick.
     Is not this a supply of liquor for dinner and supper." * * *
     "I have often wondered that a French woman and three children
     should leave France and all their connections, to follow
     Thomas Paine to America. Suppose I were to go to my native
     country, England, and take another man's wife and three
     children of his, and leave my wife and children in this
     country, what would be the natural conclusion in the minds of
     the people, but that there was some criminal connection
     between the woman and myself?"[61]

The death of this man was horrible.

The Philadelphia _Presbyterian_ says: "There is now in Philadelphia a
lady who saw Paine on his dying-bed. She informs us that Paine's
physician also attended her father's family in the city of New York,
where in her youth she resided, and that on one occasion whilst at their
house, he proposed to her to accompany him to the Infidel's dwelling,
which she did. It was a miserable hovel in what was then Raisin Street.
She had often seen Paine before, a drunken profligate, wandering about
the streets, from whom the children always fled in terror. On entering
his room she found him stretched on his miserable bed. His visage was
lean and haggard, and wore the expression of great agony. He expressed
himself without reserve as to his fears of death, and repeatedly called
on the name of Jesus, begging for mercy. The scene was appalling, and so
deeply engraven on her mind, that nothing could obliterate
it."--_Philadelphia Presbyterian_, March 17, 1857.

The physician's statement has been common, many years, and corresponds
with the above. So do Grant Thorburn's representations agree with both.
And the piece published by Rev. Jas. Inglis in his "Waymarks in the
Wilderness," which has proved so distasteful to the Paineites here,
substantially agrees with all the others. It is only the truthfulness of
it which is so offensive. It may be of interest to state, that the
facts therein named are the recollections of old Dr. McClay, a Baptist
minister of known power and veracity. The fact of Paine's miserable, and
cowardly, and man-forsaken end is too true. Let no one be foolhardy
enough to follow them, rejecting to do it, a fourfold cord of strong
testimony; nay, we may add, a stronger cord of fivefold testimony, as
Paine's nurse testifies like the rest.

In the East these facts are so notorious that even Infidels disown
allegiance or attachment to Paine, if they wish to be considered
respectable. Some of the severest denunciations against him, which we
ever heard, have been from Infidels. Indeed this is more than plain from
the very fact of all the Infidels having forsaken Paine on his
death-bed. Who was his doctor? A Christian. Who was his nurse? A
Christian? Who were his most constant visitors and sympathizers?
Thorburn, McClay, etc., Christians. They went, for mercy's sake;
Infidels, having no "bowels of mercies," kept away. Carver, Jefferson,
etc., were far from him in his extreme hour.

The testimony of Mons. Tronchin, a Protestant physician from Geneva, who
attended Voltaire on his death-bed, was: That to see all the furies of
Orestes, one only had to be present at the death of Voltaire. ("_Pour
voir toutes les furies d'Oreste, il n'y avait qu'a se trouver a la mort
de Voltaire._") "Such a spectacle," he adds, "would benefit the young,
who are in danger of losing the precious helps of religion." The
Marechal de Richelieu, too, was so terrified at what he saw that he left
the bedside of Voltaire, declaring that "the sight was too horrible for

And these are the saints, and apostles, and heroes of Infidelity, to
whose memories Infidels make orations and festivals, and whose writings
are reprinted in scores of editions, not only over Christendom, but
even in India, to teach mankind how to live and how to die!

Such are the lives and deaths of those who denounce the Bible as an
immoral Book, and blaspheme the God of the Bible as too unholy to be
reverenced or adored! "But, beloved, remember ye the words which were
spoken before of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how that they
told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after
their own ungodly lusts. These be they who separate themselves, sensual,
having not the Spirit." In the Free Love Institute about to be
established in our vicinity, we shall have the full development of these
filthy principles and practices.

Let fathers and husbands look to this matter. Especially let ungodly men
set to work and devise some law of man capable of binding those who
renounce the law of God, and with it all human authority. For there can
be no law of man, unless there is a revealed law of God. "What right,"
says the Pantheist, the Fourierist, the Spiritualist, the Atheist, "what
right have you to command me? Right and wrong are only matters of
feeling, and your feelings are no rule to me. The will of the majority
is only the law of might, and if I can evade it, or overcome it, my will
is as good as theirs. Oaths are only an idle superstition; there is no
judge, no judgment, no punishment for the false swearer." Take away the
moral sanction of law, and the sacredness of oaths, and what basis have
you left for any government, save the point of the bayonet? Take away
the revealed law of God, and you leave not a vestige of any authority to
any human law. "We hold these truths to be self-evident," said the
immortal framers of the basis of the American Confederation, "that all
men are created equal; that they are _endowed by their Creator_ with
certain unalienable rights." It was well said. The rights of God are the
only basis of the rights of man. One of the most sagacious of modern
statesmen has borne his testimony to this fundamental truth--that
religion is the only basis of social order--in words as trenchant as the
guillotine which suggested them. "It is not," says Napoleon, "the
mystery of incarnation which I perceive in religion, but the mystery of
social order. It attaches to heaven an idea of equality which prevents
the rich from being massacred by the poor."[63]

Once in modern times, the rejectors of the Bible had opportunity to try
the experiment of ruling a people on a large scale, and giving the world
a specimen of an Infidel Republic. You have heard one of them here
express his admiration of that government, and declare his intention to
present a public vindication of it. Of course, as soon as practicable,
that which they admire they will imitate, and the scenes of Paris and
Lyons will be re-enacted in Louisville and Cincinnati. Our Bibles will
be collected and burned on a dung-heap. Death will be declared an
eternal sleep. God will be declared a fiction. Religious worship will be
renounced; the Sabbath abolished; and a prostitute, crowned with
garlands, will receive the adorations of the mayors and councilmen of
Cincinnati and Newport. The reign of terror will commence. The
guillotine shall take its place on the Fifth Street Market place.
Proscription will follow proscription. Women will denounce their
husbands, and children their parents, as bad citizens, and lead them to
the ax; and well-dressed ladies, filled with savage ferocity, will seize
the mangled bodies of their murdered countrymen between their teeth. The
Licking will be choked with the bodies of men, and the Ohio dyed with
their blood; and those whose infancy has sheltered them from the fire of
the rabble soldiery will be bayoneted as they cling to the knees of
their destroyers.[64] The common doom of man commuted for the violence
of the sword, the bayonet, the sucking boat, and the guillotine, the
knell of the nation tolled, and the world summoned to its execution and
funeral, will need no preacher to expound the text, _Where there is no
vision, the people perish._


[38] Strauss' Life of Jesus, 64, 74, 87.

[39] Bauer's Hebrew Mythology.

[40] See Pearson on Infidelity, page 93, 40th edition; and Agassiz's
Penikese lectures.

[41] Newman's Phases of Faith, 157.

[42] Carlyle's Past and Present, 307.

[43] Discourse on Religion, p. 209.

[44] Carlyle's Past and Present, p. 312.

[45] Ib. p. 37.

[46] The Soul, p. 342.

[47] Ib. p. 359.

[48] Parker's Discourses, 171, 33.

[49] Plato. Republic. Books IV. and VI., and Alcibiades II.

[50] Manners and Customs of Ancient Egyptians, Second Series, Vol. II.
page 176, et passim.

[51] Juvenal, Satire XV.

[52] Diodorus Siculus, Book I.

[53] Duff's India, page 222.

[54] Tusc. Quæst. lib. 1.

[55] Seneca, Ep. 102.

[56] Parker's Discourse, 83.

[57] Turner's Anglo-Saxons, b. vii. chap. 13.

[58] Diodorus Siculus, b. xx. chap. 14.

[59] Aristotle, Polit. lib. vii. chap. 17.

[60] Horne's Introduction of the Scriptures, Vol. I. page 25.

[61] Printed repeatedly in New York newspapers, and given entire in the
report of the discussion between Dr. Berg and Mr. Barker. W. S. Young,
Philadelphia, 1854.

[62] _The Occident_, 20th August, 1874, San Francisco.

[63] Ardeches' Life of Napoleon I. 222.

[64] Horne's Introduction to the Scriptures, Vol. I. page 26, where
ample references to contemporary French writers are given.



     "The salutation of Paul with mine own hand, which is the token
     in every epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus
     Christ be with you all. Amen."--2 Thess. iii. 17.

Religion rests not on dogmas, but on a number of great facts. In a
previous chapter we found one of these to be, that people destitute of a
revelation of God's will ever have been, and now are, ignorant,
miserable, and wicked. If it were at all needful, we might go on to show
that there are people in the world, who have decent clothing and
comfortable houses, who work well-tilled farms and sub-soil plows, and
reaping machinery, who yoke powerful streams to the mill wheel, and
harness the iron horse to the market wagon, who career their floating
palaces up the opposing floods, line their coasts with flocks of
white-winged schooners, and show their flags on every coast of earth,
who invent and make everything that man will buy, from the brass button,
dear to the barbarian, to the folio of the philosopher, erect churches
in all their towns, and schools in every village, who make their
blacksmiths more learned than the priests of Egypt, their Sabbath
scholars wiser than the philosophers of Greece, and even the criminals
in their jails more decent characters than the sages, heroes, and gods
of the lands without the Bible; and that these people are the people who
possess a Book, which they think contains a revelation from God,
teaching them how to live well; which Book they call the Bible. This is
the book about which we make our present inquiry, Who wrote it?

The fact being utterly undeniable, that these blessings are found among
the people who possess the Bible, and only among them, we at once, and
summarily, dismiss the arrogant falsehood presented to prevent any
inquiry about the Book, namely, that "Christianity is just like any
other superstition, and its sacred books like the impositions of
Chinese, Indian, or Mohammedan impostors. They, too, are religious, and
have their sacred books, which they believe to be divine." A profound
generalization indeed! Is a peach-tree just like a horse-chestnut, or a
scrub-oak, or a honey-locust? They are all trees, and have leaves on
them. The Bible is just as like the Yi King, or the Vedas, or the Koran,
as a Christian American is like a Chinaman, a Turk, or a Hindoo. But it
is too absurd to begin any discussion with these learned Thebans of the
relative merits of the Bible as compared with the Vedas, and the Chinese
Classics, of which they have never read a single page. Let them stick to
what they pretend to know.

The Bible is a great fact in the world's history, known alike to the
prince and the peasant, the simple and the sage. It is perused with
pleasure by the child, and pondered with patience by the philosopher.
Its psalms are caroled on the school green, cheer the chamber of
sickness, and are chanted by the mother over her cradle, by the orphan
over the tomb. Here, thousands of miles away from the land of its birth,
in a world undiscovered for centuries after it was finished, in a
language unknown alike at Athens and Jerusalem, it rules as lovingly and
as powerfully as in its native soil. To show that its power is not
derived from race or clime, it converts the Sandwich Islands into a
civilized nation, and transforms the New Zealand cannibal into a British
shipowner, the Indian warrior into an American editor, and the Negro
slave into the President of a free African Republic. It has inspired the
Caffirs of Africa to build telegraphs, and to print associated press
dispatches in their newspapers; while the Zulus, one of whom would have
converted Bishop Colenso from Christianity, if he had been a Christian,
are importing steel plows by hundreds every year. It has captured the
enemy's fortresses, and turned his guns. Lord Chesterfield's parlor,
where an infidel club met to sneer at religion, is now a vestry, where
the prayers of the penitent are offered to Christ. Gibbon's house, at
Lake Lemon, is now a hotel; one room of which is devoted to the sale of
Bibles. Voltaire's printing press, from which he issued his infidel
tracts, has been appropriated to printing the Word of God.[65] It does
not look as if it had finished its course and ceased from its triumphs.
Translated into the hundred and fifty languages spoken by nine hundred
millions of men, carried by ten thousand heralds to every corner of the
globe, sustained by the cheerful contributions and fervent prayers of
hundreds of thousands of ardent disciples, it is still going forth
conquering and to conquer. Is there any other book so generally read, so
greatly loved, so zealously propagated, so widely diffused, so uniform
in its results, and so powerful and blessed in its influences? Do you
know any? If you can not name any book, no, nor any thousand books,
which in these respects equal the Bible--then it stands out clear and
distinct, and separate from all other authorship; and with an increased
emphasis comes our question, Who wrote it?

With all these palpable facts in view, to come to the examination of
this question as if we knew nothing about them, or as if knowing them
well, we cared nothing at all about them, and were determined to deny
them their natural influence in begetting within us a very strong
presumption in favor of its divine origin, were to declare that our
heads and hearts were alike closed against light and love. But to enter
on this inquiry into the origin of the Book which has produced such
results, with a preconceived opinion that it must be a forgery, and an
imposition, the fruit of a depraved heart, and a lying tongue, implies
so much home-born deceit that, till the heart capable of such a
prejudice be completely changed, no reasoning can have any solid fulcrum
of truth or goodness to rest on. It is sheer folly to talk of one's
being wholly unprejudiced in such an inquiry. No man ever was, or could
be so. As his sympathies are toward goodness and virtue, and the
happiness of mankind, or toward pride and deceit, and selfishness and
savageness, so will his prejudices be for or against the Bible.

On looking at the Bible, we find it composed of a number of separate
treatises, written by different writers, at various times; some parts
fifteen hundred years before the others. We find, also, that it treats
of the very beginning of the world, before man was made, and of other
matters of which we have no other authentic history to compare with it.
Again, we find portions which treat of events connected in a thousand
places with the affairs of the Roman Empire, of which we have several
credible histories. Now, there are two modes of investigation open to
us, the dogmatic and the inductive. We may take either. We may construct
for ourselves, from the most flimsy suppositions, a metaphysical
balloon, inflated with self-conceit into the rotundity of a cosmogony,
according to which, in our opinion, the world should have been made, and
we may paint it over with the figures of the various animals and noble
savages which ought to have sprung up out of its fornea, and we may
stripe its history to suit our notions of the progress of such a world,
and soaring high into the clouds, after a little preliminary amusement
in the discovery of eternal red-hot fire-mists, and condensing comets,
and so forth, we may come down upon the summit of some of this earth's
mountains, say Ararat, and take a survey of the Bible process of
world-making. Finding that the Creator of the world had to make his
materials--a business in which no other world-maker ever did
engage--and, further, that God's plan of making it by no means
corresponds to our patent process and that the article is not at all
like what we intend to produce when we go into the business, and that it
does not work according to our expectations, we can denounce the whole
as a very mean affair, and the Book which describes it as not worth
reading. If one wants some new subject for merriment, and does not mind
making a fool of himself, and is not to be terrified by old-fashioned
notions about God Almighty, and is perfectly confident that God can tell
him nothing that he does not know better already, and merely wants to
see whether he is not trying to pass off old fables upon wide-awake
people for facts--this dogmatic plan will suit him.

On the other hand, if one is tolerably convinced that he does not know
everything, not much of the world he lives in, less of its history, and
nothing at all about the best way of making it, and that when it needs
mending it will not be sent to his workshop; that he knows nothing about
what happened before he was born unless what other people tell him, and
that, though men do err, yet all men are not liars, that all the
blessings of education, civilization, law and liberty, from the penny
primer to the Constitution of the United States, came to him solely
through the channel of abundant, reliable testimony; that the only way
in which he can ever know anything beyond his eyesight with certainty,
is to gather testimony about it, and compare the evidence, and inquire
into the character of the witnesses; that when one has done so, he
becomes so satisfied of the truth of the report that he would rather
risk his life upon it than upon the certainty of any mathematical
problem, or of any scientific truth, whatever--that ninety-nine out of
every hundred citizens of the United States are a thousand times more
certain that the Yankees whipped the British in 1776, declared the
Colonies free and independent States, and made Washington President,
than they ever will be that all bodies attract each other directly as
their mass, and inversely as the squares of their distances, that the
sum of the angles of any triangle is equal to two right angles, or that
the earth is nearer the sun in winter than in summer--and that certainty
about the Bible history is just as attainable, and just as reliable, as
certainty about American history, if he will seek it in the same
way--and if he is really desirous to know how this Book was written,
which alone in the world teaches men how to obtain peace with God, how
to live well, and how to die with a firm and joyful hope of a
resurrection to life eternal, and what part of it is easiest to prove
either true or false--then he will take the inductive mode. He will
begin at the present time, and trace the history up to the times in
which the Book was written. He will ascertain what he can about that
part of it which was last written--the New Testament--and begin with
that part of it which lies nearest him--the Epistles.

By the comparison of the documents themselves, with all kinds of history
and monuments which throw light on the period, he will try to ascertain
whether they are genuine or not. And from one well-ascertained position
he will proceed to another, until he has traversed the whole ground of
the genuineness of the writings, the truth of the story, and the divine
authority of the doctrine.

This is my plan of investigation; one thing at a time, and the nearest
first. It is not worth while to inquire whether it be inspired by God,
if it be really a forgery of impostors; nor whether the gospel story is
worthy of credit, if the only book which contains it be a religious
novel of the third or fourth century. We dismiss then the questions of
the inspiration, or even the truth of the New Testament, till we have
ascertained its authors. We take up the Book, and find that it purports
to be a relation of the planting of the Church of Christ, of its laws
and ordinances, and of the life, death and resurrection of its Founder,
written by eight of his companions, at various periods and places,
toward the close of the first century. There is a general opinion among
all Christians that the Book was composed then, and by these persons. We
want to know why they think so? In short, is it a genuine book, or
merely a collection of myths with the apostles' names appended to them
by some lying monks? Is it a fact, or a forgery?

In any historical inquiry, we want some fixed point of time from which
to take our departure; and in this case we want to know if there is any
period of antiquity in which undeniably this Book was in existence, and
received as genuine by Christian societies. For I will not suppose my
readers as ignorant as some of those Infidels who allege that it was
made by the Bible Society. It used to be the fashion with those of them
who pretended to learning, to affirm that it was made by the Council of
Laodicea, in A. D. 364; because, in order to guard the churches against
spurious epistles and gospels, that Council published a list of those
which the apostles did actually write, which thenceforth were generally
bound in one volume.

Before that time, the four Gospels were always bound in one volume and
called "The Gospel." The Acts of the Apostles and the Epistles
universally and undoubtedly known to be written by Paul, to the churches
of Thessalonica, Galatia, Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Colosse, and
to Philemon, a well-known resident of that city, and those to Timothy
and Titus, missionaries of world-wide celebrity, the First General
Epistle of Peter, and the First General Epistle of John, which were at
once widely circulated to check prevailing heresies--were bound in
another volume and called "The Apostle." The Epistle to the Hebrews,
being general, and anonymous, _i. e._, not bearing the name of any
particular church, or person, to whom anybody who merely looked at it
could refer for proof of its genuineness, as in the case of the other
Epistles--was not so soon known by the European churches to be written
by Paul. The General Epistles of James, Jude, and the Second General
Epistle of Peter, lying under the same difficulty, and besides being
very disagreeable to easy-going Christians, from their sharp rebukes of
hypocrisy, and the Second and Third Epistles of John, from their
brevity, and the Revelation of John, being one of the last written of
all the books of the New Testament, and the most mysterious--were not so
generally known beyond the churches where the originals were deposited,
until the other two collections had been formed. They were accordingly
kept as separate books, and sometimes bound up in a third volume of
apostolical writings. Besides these, at the time of the Council of
Laodicea, and for a long time before, other books, written by Barnabas,
Clement, Polycarp, and other companions and disciples of the apostles,
and forged gospels and epistles attributed by heretics to the apostles,
were circulated through the churches, and read by Christians. The
Council of Laodicea did, what many learned men had done before them; it
investigated the evidence upon which any of these books was attributed
to an apostle; and finding evidence to satisfy them, that the Gospel
written by Luke had the sanction of the Apostle Paul, that the Gospel of
Mark was revised by the Apostle Peter, that the Epistle to the Hebrews
was written by Paul, and the other Epistles by John, Jude, James, and
Peter, respectively, and not finding evidence to satisfy them about the
Revelation of John, they expressed their opinion, and the grounds of it,
for the information of the world.[66] Into these reasons we will
hereafter inquire, for our faith in Holy Scripture does not rest on
their canons. We are not now asking what they _thought_, but what they
_did_; and we find that they did criticise certain books, reported to be
written by the apostles of Jesus Christ some three hundred years before,
approve some, and reject others as spurious, and publish a list of those
they thought genuine. Infidels admit this, and on the strength of it
long asserted that the Council of Laodicea made the New Testament. At
length they became ashamed of the stupid absurdity of alleging that men
could criticise the claims, and catalogue the names of books before they
were written; and they now shift back the writing--or the authentication
of the New Testament--for they are not quite sure which, though the
majority incline to the former--to the Emperor Constantine, and the
Council of Nice which met in the year 325. Why they have fixed on the
Council of Nice is more than I can tell. They might as well say the
Council of Trent, or the Westminster Assembly, either of which had just
as much to do with the Canon of Scripture. However, on some vague
hearsay that the Council of Nice and the Emperor Constantine made the
Bible, hundreds in this city are now risking the salvation of their

We have in this assertion, nevertheless, as many facts admitted as will
serve our present purpose. There did exist, then, undeniably, in the
year 325, large numbers of Christian churches in the Roman Empire,
sufficiently numerous to make it politic, in the opinion of Infidels,
for a candidate for the empire to profess Christianity; sufficiently
powerful to secure his success, notwithstanding the desperate struggles
of the heathen party; and sufficiently religious, or if you like
superstitious, to make it politic for an emperor and his politicians to
give up the senate, the court, the camp, the chase, and the theater,
and weary themselves with long prayers, and longer speeches, of
preachers about Bible religion. Now that is certainly a remarkable fact,
and all the more remarkable if we inquire, How came it so? For these
men, preachers, prince, and people, were brought up to worship Jupiter
and the thirty thousand gods of Olympus, after the heathen fashion, and
to leave the care of religion to heathen priests, who never troubled
their heads about books or doctrines after they had offered their
sacrifices. In all the records of the world there is no instance of a
general council of heathen priests to settle the religion of their
people. How happens it then that the human race has of a sudden waked up
to such a strange sense of the folly of idolatry and the value of
religion? The Council of Nice, and the Emperor Constantine, and his
counselors, making a Bible is a proof of a wonderful revolution in the
world's religion; a phenomenon far more surprising than if the
Secretaries of State, and the Senate, and President Grant should leave
the Capital to post off to London, to attend the meetings of a Methodist
Conference, assembled to make a hymn book. Now what is the cause of this
remarkable conversion of prince, priests, and people? How did they all
get religion? How did they get it so suddenly? How did they get so much
of it?

The Infidel gives no answer, except to tell us[67] that the austerity,
purity, and zeal of the first Christians, their good discipline, their
belief in the resurrection of the body and the general judgment, and
their persuasion that Christ and his apostles wrought miracles, had made
a great many converts. This is just as if I inquired how a great fire
originated, and you should tell me that it burned fast because it was
very hot. What I want to know is, how it happened that these licentious
Greeks, and Romans, and Asiatics, became austere and pure; how these
frivolous philosophers suddenly became so zealous about religion; what
implanted the belief of the resurrection of the body and of the judgment
to come in the skeptical minds of these heathen scoffers; and how did
the pagans of Italy, Egypt, Spain, Germany, Britain, come to believe in
the miracles of one who lived hundreds of years before, and thousands of
miles away, or to care a straw whether the written accounts of them were
true or false? According to the Infidel account, the Council of Nice,
and the Emperor Constantine's Bible-making, is a most extraordinary
business--a phenomenon without any natural cause, and they will allow no
supernatural--a greater miracle than any recorded in the Bible.

If we inquire, however, of the parties attending that Council, what the
state of the case is, we shall learn that they believed--whether truly
or erroneously we are not now inquiring--but they believed, that a
teacher sent from God, had appeared in Palestine two hundred and ninety
years before, and had taught this religion which they had embraced; had
performed wonderful miracles, such as opening the eyes of the blind,
healing lepers, and raising the dead; that he had been put to death by
the Roman Governor, Pontius Pilate, had risen again from the dead, had
spoken to hundreds of people, and had gone out and in among them for six
weeks after his resurrection; that he had ascended up through the air,
to heaven, in the sight of numbers of witnesses, and had promised that
he would come again in the clouds of heaven, to raise the dead, and to
judge every man according to his works; that before he went away he
appointed twelve of his intimate companions to teach his religion to the
world, giving them power to work miracles in proof of their divine
commission, and requiring mankind to hear them as they would hear him;
that they and their followers did so, in spite of persecutions,
sufferings, and death, with so much success, that immense numbers were
persuaded to give up idolatry and its filthiness, and to profess
Christianity and its holiness, and to brave the fury of the heathen mob,
and the vengeance of the Roman law; that a difference of opinion having
arisen among them as to whether this teacher was an angel from heaven,
or God, whether they should pray and sing psalms to Him, as Athanasius
and his party believed, or only give Him some lesser honor as Arius and
his party believed, and this difference making all the difference
between idolatry on the one hand, and impiety on the other, and so
involving their everlasting salvation or damnation, they had embraced
the first opportunity after the cessation of persecution, and the
accession of the first Christian Emperor, to assemble three hundred and
eighteen of their most learned clergymen, of both sides, and from all
countries between Spain and Persia, to discuss these solemn questions;
and that, through the whole of the discussions, both sides appealed to
the writings of the apostles, as being then well known, and of
unquestioned authority with every one who held the Christian name. These
facts, being utterly indisputable, are acknowledged by all persons,
Infidel or Christian, at all acquainted with history.[68]

Here, then, we have the books of the New Testament at the Council of
Nice well known to the whole world; and the Council, so far from
_giving_ any authority to them, _bowing to theirs_--both Arian and
Orthodox with one consent acknowledging that the whole Christian world
received them as the writings of the apostles of Christ. There were
venerable men of fourscore and ten at that Council; if these books had
been first introduced in their lifetime, they must have known it. There
were men there whose parents had heard the Scriptures read in church
from their childhood, and so could not be imposed upon with a new Bible.
The New Testament could not be less than three generations old, else one
or other of the disputants would have exposed the novelty of its
introduction, from his own information. The Council of Nice, then, did
not make the New Testament. It was a book well known, ancient, and of
undoubted authority among all Christians, ages before that Council. _The
existence of the New Testament Scriptures, then, ages before the Council
of Nice, is a great fact._

We next take up the assertions, propounded with a show of learning, that
the books of the New Testament, and especially the Gospels, were not in
use, and were not known till the third century; that they are not the
productions of contemporary writers; that the alleged ocular testimony
or proximity in point of time of the sacred historians to the events
recorded is mere assumption, originating in the titles which Biblical
books bear in our canon; that we stand here (in the gospel history),
upon purely mythical and poetical ground; and that the Gospels and
Epistles are a gradually formed collection of myths, having little or no
historic reality. So Strauss, Eichorn, De Wette, and their disciples
here, attempt to set aside the New Testament. In plain English, it is a
collection of forgeries.

These assertions are absurd. In the hundred years between the death of
the apostles, and the beginning of the third century, there was not time
to form a mythology. The times of Trajan's persecution, and that of the
philosophic Aurelius, and the busy bustling age of Severus, were not the
times for such a business. Bigoted Jews would not, and could not, have
made such a character as Jesus of Nazareth; and the philosophers of that
day, Celsus and Porphyry, for instance, hated it when presented to them
as heartily as either Strauss or Paine. There were not wanting thousands
of enemies, able and willing, to expose such a forgery.

The aspect and character of the gospel narrative are totally unlike
those of mythologies. Hear the verdict of one who confessedly stands at
the head of the roll of oriental historians: "In no single respect--if
we except the fact that it is miraculous--has that story a mythical
character. It is a single story, told without variations; whereas myths
are fluctuating and multiform: it is blended inextricably with the civil
history of the times, which it everywhere reports with extraordinary
accuracy; whereas myths distort or supersede civil history: it is full
of prosaic detail, which myths studiously eschew: it abounds with
practical instruction of the simplest and purest kind; whereas myths
teach by allegory. Even in its miraculous element it stands to some
extent in contrast with all mythologies, where the marvelous has ever a
predominant character of grotesqueness which is absent from New
Testament miracles. (This Strauss himself admits, _Leben Jesu_, 1-67.)
Simple earnestness, fidelity, painstaking accuracy, pure love of truth,
are the most patent characteristics of the New Testament writers, who
evidently deal with facts, not with fancies, and are employed in
relating a history, not in developing an idea. They write that 'we may
know the certainty of the things which are most surely believed' in
their day. They 'bear record of what they have seen and heard.' I know
not how stronger words could have been used to prevent the notion of
that plastic, growing myth which Strauss conceives to have been in
apostolic times."[69]

The character of Christ exhibited in the Gospels is the contrary of that
of the heroes of mythology; as contrary as holiness is to sin. The
invention of such a character by any man, or by the wisest set of men
who ever lived, would have been a miracle nearly as great as the
existence of such a person. When the character of Christ was presented
to the wisest men of the Greeks, and Romans, and Hebrews, so far from
admiring him as a hero, they crucified him as an impostor, and
persecuted the preachers of his gospel. There was nothing mythical in
the ten persecutions; these at least were hard historical facts. Every
line of examination of time, place, and circumstances proves the
falsehood of the mythical theory, and establishes the truth of the
gospel history.

The authenticity of the gospel history, and of the Apostolic Epistles is
confirmed by the testimony of their enemies. It is a well-authenticated
and undeniable fact, that, in the close of the second century, Celsus,
an Epicurean philosopher, wrote a work against Christianity, entitled,
"The Word of Truth," in which he quotes passages from the New Testament,
and so many of them, that from the fragments of his work which remain,
we could gather all the principal facts of the birth, teaching,
miracles, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, if the New Testament
should be lost. If Paine quotes the New Testament to ridicule it, no man
can deny that such a book was in existence at the time he wrote. If he
takes the pains to write a book to confute it, it is self-evident that
it is in circulation, and possessed of influence. So Celsus' attempt to
reply to the Gospels, and his quotations from them, are conclusive
proofs that these books were generally circulated and believed, and held
to be of authority at the time he wrote. Further, he shows every
disposition to present every argument which could possibly damage the
Christian cause. In fact, our modern Infidels have done little more than
serve up his old objections. Now nothing could have served his purpose
better than to prove that the records of the history of Christ were
forgeries of a late date. This would have saved him all further trouble,
and settled the fate of Christianity conclusively. He had every
opportunity of ascertaining the fact, living, as he did, so near the
times and scenes of the gospel history, and surrounded by heretics and
false Christians, who would gladly have given him every information. But
he never once intimates the least suspicion of such a thing--never
questions the Gospels as books of history--nor denies the miracles
recorded in them, but attributes them to magic.[70] Here, then, we have
testimony as acceptable to an Infidel as that of Strauss or Voltaire--in
fact, utterly undeniable by any man of common sense--that the New
Testament was well known and generally received by Christians as
authoritative, when Celsus wrote his reply to it, in the end of the
second century. If it was a forgery, it was undoubtedly a forgery of old
standing, if he could not detect it.

But we will go back a step farther, and prove the antiquity of the New
Testament by the testimony of another enemy, two generations older than
Celsus. The celebrated heretic, Marcion, lived in the beginning of the
second century, when he had the best opportunity of discovering a
forgery in the writings of the New Testament, if any such existed; he
was excommunicated by the Church, and being greatly enraged thereat, had
every disposition to say the worst he could about it. He traveled all
the way from Sinope on the Black Sea, to Rome, and through Galatia,
Bithynia, Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy, the countries where the
apostles preached, and the churches to which they wrote, but never found
any one to suggest the idea of a forgery to him. He affirmed that the
Gospel of Matthew, the Epistle to the Hebrews, those of James and Peter,
and the whole of the Old Testament, were books only for Jews, and
published a new and altered edition of the Gospel of Luke, and ten
Epistles of Paul, for the use of his sect.[71] We have thus the most
undoubted evidence, even the testimony of an enemy, that these books
were in existence, and generally received as apostolical and
authoritative by Christians, at the beginning of the second century, or
within twenty years of the last of the apostles, and by the churches to
which they had preached and written.

The only remaining conceivable cavil against the genuineness of the
books of the New Testament is: "That they bear internal evidence of
being collections of fragments written by different persons--and are
probably merely traditions committed to writing by various unknown
writers, and afterward collected and issued to the churches under the
names of the apostles, for the sake of greater authority." This theory
being received as gospel by several learned men, has furnished matter
for lengthy discussions as to the sources of the four Gospels.
Translated into English, it amounts to this, that Brown, Smith, and
Jones wrote out a number of essays and anecdotes, and persuaded the
churches of Ephesus, Jerusalem, Antioch, Corinth, and the rest, to
receive them as the writings of their ministers, who had lived for
years, or were then living, among them; and on the strength of that
notion of their being the writings of the apostles, to govern their
whole lives by these essays, and lay down their lives and peril their
souls' salvation on the truth of these anecdotes. As though they could
not tell whether such documents were forgeries or not!

It is almost incredible how ignorant dreaming book-worms are of the
common business of life. Most of my readers will laugh at the idea of a
serious answer to such a quibble. Nevertheless, for the sake of those
whose inexperience may be abused by the authority of learned names, I
will show them that the primitive Christians, supposing them able to
read, could know whether their ministers did really write the books and
letters which they received from them.

If you go into the Citizens' Bank, you will find a large folio volume
lying on the counter, and on looking at it you will see that it is
filled with men's names, in their own handwriting, and that no two of
them are exactly alike. Every person who has any business to transact
with the bank is requested to write his name in the book; and when his
check comes afterward for payment, the clerk can tell at a glance if the
signature is the same as that of which he has a single specimen. If
there has been no opportunity for him to become personally acquainted
with the bank, as in case of a foreigner newly arrived, he brings
letters of introduction from some well-known mutual friend, or is
accompanied by some respectable citizen, who attests his identity.
Business men have no difficulty whatever in ascertaining the genuineness
of documents. It is only when people want to dispute Holy Scripture that
they give up common sense.

Holy Scripture was known to be the genuine writing of the apostles, just
in the same way as any other writing was known to be genuine; only the
churches who received the writings of the apostles had ten thousand
times better security against forgery than any bank in the Union. In one
of the first letters Paul writes to the churches--the second letter to
the Thessalonians--to whom he had been preaching only a few weeks
before, sent from Athens, distant only some two days' journey, full of
allusions to their affairs, commands how to conduct themselves in the
business of their workshops, as well as in the devotions of the church,
and explanations of some misunderstood parts of a former letter sent by
the hand of a mutual friend--he formally gives them his signature, for
the purpose of future reference, and comparison of any document which
might purport to come from him, with that specimen of his autograph. He
gives not the name merely, but his apostolic benediction also, in his
own handwriting: _The salutation of me Paul with mine own hand, which is
the token in every epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ be with you all. Amen._ It shows the heart of an apostle of
Christ; but what concerns the present question is the remark, which
every business man will in a moment appreciate, how immensely the
addition of these two lines adds to the security against forgery. It is
a very hard thing to forge a signature, but give a business man two
lines of any man's writing besides that, and he is perfectly secure
against imposition.[72]

The churches to which the Epistles were written, and to which the
Gospels were delivered, consisted largely of business men, of merchants
and traders, tent makers and coppersmiths, city chamberlains, and
officers of Cæsar's household, and the like. Does any one think such men
could not tell the handwriting of their minister, who had lived among
them for years; or that men who were risking their lives for the
instructions he wrote them, would care less about the genuineness of the
documents, than you do about the genuineness of a ten dollar check? I am
not as long in this city as Paul was in Ephesus, nor one fourth of the
time that John lived there, yet I defy all the advocates of the mythical
theory of Germany, and all their disciples here, to write a myth half as
long as this essay, and impose it on the elders and members of my church
as my writing. Let it only be presented in manuscript to the
congregation--there was no printing in Paul's days--and in five minutes
a dozen members of the church will detect the forgery, even if I should
hold my peace. And were I to leave on a mission to China or India, and
write letters to the church, would any of these business men, who have
seen my writing, have the least hesitation in recognizing it again? Do
you think anybody could forge a letter as from me, and impose it on
them? What an absurdity, then, to suppose that anybody could write a
gospel or epistle, and get all the members of a large church to believe
that an Apostle wrote it. The first Christians, then, were absolutely
certain that the documents which they received as apostolic, were
really so. The Church of Rome could attest the Epistle to them, and the
Gospels of Mark and Luke written there. The Church of Ephesus could
attest the Epistle to them, and the Gospel, and Letters, and Revelation
of John written there. And so on of all the other churches; and these
veritable autographs were long preserved. Says Tertullian, who was
ordained A. D. 192: "Well, if you be willing to exercise your curiosity
profitably in the business of your salvation, visit the apostolical
churches in which the very chairs of the apostles still preside--in
which their authentic letters themselves are recited (apud quæ _ipsæ
authenticæ literæ_ eorum recitantur), sounding forth the voice and
representing the countenance of each one of them. Is Achaia near you,
you have Corinth. If you are not far from Macedonia, you have Philippi,
you have Thessalonica. If you can go to Asia, you have Ephesus; but if
you are near to Italy, you have Rome." There can not be the least doubt
about the preservation of documents for a far longer time than from Paul
to Tertullian--one hundred and fifty years. I hold in my hand a Bible,
the family Bible of the Gibsons--printed in 1599--two hundred and
fifty-seven years old, in perfect preservation; and we have manuscripts
of the Scriptures twelve to fourteen hundred years old, like the
Sinaitic Codex, perfectly legible.

They were moreover directed to be publicly read in the churches, and
they were publicly read every Lord's day. Is it credible that an
impostor would direct his forgery to be publicly read? If the epistle
was publicly read during Paul's lifetime, that public reading in the
hearing of the men who could so easily disprove its genuineness, was
conclusive proof to all who heard it, that they knew it to be the
genuine writing of the Apostle. The primitive churches then had
conclusive proof of the genuineness of the Apostolic Epistles and

The only difficulty which now remains is the objection that they might
have been corrupted by alterations and interpolations by monks, in later
times. We have two securities against such corruptions, in the way these
documents were given, and the nature of their contents. They were sacred
heirlooms, and they were public documents. Could you, or could any man,
have permission to alter the original copy of Washington's Farewell
Address? Would not the man who should attempt such sacrilege be torn in
a thousand pieces? But Washington will never be an object of such
veneration as John, nor will his Farewell Address ever compare in
importance with Paul's Farewell Letter to the Philippians. Besides,
these Gospels and Letters were public documents, containing the records
of laws, in obedience to which men are daily crossing their
inclinations, enduring the mockery of their neighbors, losing their
money, and endangering their lives. They contained the proofs and
promises of that religious faith in God and hope of heaven, for the sake
of which they suffered such things. Is it credible that they would allow
them to be altered and corrupted? You might far more rationally talk of
altering the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution of the
United States. Translated into different languages--transported into
Britain, Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Carthage, Egypt,
Parthia, Persia, India, and China--committed to memory by children, and
quoted in the writings of Christian authors of the first three
centuries, to such an extent, that we can gather the whole of the New
Testament, except twenty-six verses, from their writings--appealed to as
authority by heretics and orthodox in controversy--and publicly read in
the hearing of tens of hundreds of thousands every Sabbath day in
worship--we are a thousand times more certain that the New Testament has
not been corrupted, than we are that the Declaration of Independence is

On this ground then we plant ourselves. The whole story of a late and
gradual formation of the New Testament, or, in plain English, of its
forgery, stands out as an unmitigated falsehood in the eyes of every man
capable of writing his own name. The first churches could not be
deceived with forgeries for apostolic writings. Nor could they, if they
would, allow these writings to be corrupted. Be they true or false, fact
or fiction, the books of the New Testament are the words of the Apostles
of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. In the next chapter we will inquire
into the truth of their story.


[65] The Family Christian Almanac for 1859, p. 57, American Tract
Society, New York.

[66] Acta Concitia, sub voce Laodicea, Canon iv. Lardner vi. p. 368.

[67] Gibbon's Decline and Fall, II. p. 267.

[68] The original authorities may be found collected in the fourth
volume of Lardner's Credibility of the Gospel History; abstracts of
them, with ample references, in Mosheim and Neander's Ecclesiastical
Histories, and in Stanley's Eastern Church.

[69] Rawlinson's _Historical Evidences_, page 227.

[70] Origen Contra Celsum, passim.

[71] Lardner, Vol. IX. page 358.

[72] In fact, some persons were trying to impose a letter, "as from us,"
containing declarations, that the day of Christ was upon them.



     "For they themselves show of us what manner of entering in we
     had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols, to serve
     the living and true God; and to wait for his Son from heaven,
     whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us
     from the wrath to come."--1 Thess. i. 9, 10.

In the last chapter we ascertained that the Gospels and Epistles were
not forgeries of some nameless monks of the third century--that the
shopkeepers, silversmiths, tent-makers, coppersmiths, tanners,
physicians, senators, town councilors, officers of customs, city
treasurers, and nobles of Cæsar's household, in Rome, Antioch, Ephesus,
Corinth, Athens, and Alexandria, could no more be imposed upon in the
matter of documents, attested by the well-known signatures of their
beloved ministers, than you could by forged letters or sermons
purporting to come from your own pastor--and that the documents which
they believed to contain the directory of their lives, and the charter
of that salvation which they valued more than their lives, which they
read in their churches, recited at their tables, quoted in their
writings, appealed to in their controversies, translated into many
languages, and dispersed into every part of the known world, they
neither would, nor could, corrupt or falsify.

The genuineness of the copies of the New Testament, which we now
possess, is abundantly proved by the comparison of over two thousand
manuscripts, from all parts of the world; scrutinized during a period of
nearly a hundred years, by the most critical scholars, so accurately
that the variations of such things as would correspond to the crossing
of a t, or the dotting of an i, in English, have been carefully
enumerated; yet the result of the whole of this searching scrutiny has
been merely the suggestion of a score of unimportant alterations in the
received text of the seven thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine verses
of the New Testament. This is a fact utterly unexampled in the history
of manuscripts. There are but six manuscripts of the Comedies of
Terence, and these have not been copied once for every thousand times
the New Testament has been transcribed, yet there are thirty thousand
variations found in these six manuscripts, or an average of five
thousand for each, and many of them seriously affect the sense. The
average number of variations in the manuscripts of the New Testament
examined, is not quite thirty for each, including all the trivialities
already noticed.

We are, then, by the special providence of God, now as undoubtedly in
possession of genuine copies of the Gospels and Epistles, written by the
companions of Jesus, as we are of genuine copies of the Constitution of
the United States, and of the Declaration of Independence. These are
historic documents, of well-established genuineness and antiquity, which
we now proceed to examine as to their truthfulness.

There is no history so trustworthy as that prepared by contemporary
writers, especially by those who have themselves been actively engaged
in the events which they relate. Such history never loses its interest,
nor does the lapse of ages, in the least degree, impair its credibility.
While the documents can be preserved, Xenophon's Retreat of the Ten
Thousand, Cæsar's Gallic War, and the Dispatches of the Duke of
Wellington, will be as trustworthy as on the day they were written. Yet
some suspicion may arise in our minds, that these commanders and
historians might have kept back some important events which would have
dimmed their reputation with posterity, or might have colored those they
have related, so as to add to their fame. Of the great facts related in
memoirs addressed to their companions in arms, able at a glance to
detect a falsehood, we never entertain the least suspicion.

If, to this be added, the correspondence of monuments, architecture,
painting, statuary, coins, heraldry, and a thousand changes in the
manners and customs of a people, we become as absolutely convinced of
the truth of the narrative thus confirmed by these silent witnesses as
if we had seen the events described. No man who visits the disinterred
city of Pompeii, and sees the pavements marked by the wheel ruts, has
any doubt that the Romans used wheeled carriages. When he sees the
court-yards adorned with mosaic figures, and the walls with paintings of
the gods, and of the manners of the people who worshiped them, he is
profoundly impressed with the conviction that they excelled in the fine
arts, and in the coarse vices of heathenism. When he visits the
Coliseum, that vast ruin declares that the wealth of an empire, once
devoted to the gratification of the most savage passions, has been
diverted into some other channel. When he visits the catacombs, and
reads long lines of heathen epitaphs, with their despairing symbols of
broken columns, extinguished torches, and their heart-breaking
"Farewell! an eternal farewell!" and then turns to the monuments of only
two centuries later, and reads, "He sleeps in the Lord," "He waits the
resurrection to life eternal," recording the hopes of whole generations
of survivors, he can not doubt the truth of the written records of the
conversion of the Roman Empire.

There is, moreover, another kind of contemporary history not so
connected and regular as the formal diary or journal, which does not
even propose to relate history at all, but is for that very reason
entirely removed from the suspicion of giving a coloring to it; which,
at the cost of a little patience and industry, gives us the most
convincing confirmations of the truth, or exposures of the mistakes of
historians, by the undesigned and incidental way in which the use of a
name, a date, a proverb, a jest, an expletive, a quotation, an allusion,
flashes conviction upon the reader's mind. I mean contemporary
correspondence. If we have the private letters of celebrated men laid
before us, we are enabled to look right into them, and see their true
character. Thus Macaulay exhibits to the world the proud, lying, stupid
tyrant, James, displayed in his own letters. Thus Voltaire records
himself an adulterer, and begs his friend, D'Alembert, to lie for him;
his friend replies that he has done so. Thus the correspondence of the
great American herald of the Age of Reason exhibits him drinking a quart
of brandy daily at his friend's expense, and refusing to pay his bill
for boarding. In the unguarded freedom of confidential correspondence
the vail is taken from the heart. We see men as they are. The true man
stands out in his native dignity, and the gilding is rubbed off the
hypocrite. Give the world their letters, and let the grave silence the
plaudits and the clamors which deafened the generation among whom they
lived, and no man will hesitate whether or not to pronounce Hume a
sensualist, or Washington the noblest work of God--an honest man.

If we add another test of truthfulness, by increasing the number of the
witnesses, comparing a number of letters referring to the same events,
written by persons of various degrees of education, and of different
occupations and ranks of life, resident in different countries, acting
independently of each other, and find them all agree in their allusions
to, or direct mention of, some central facts concerning which they are
all interested, no one can rightfully doubt that this undesigned
agreement declares the truth. But if, in addition to all these
undesigned coincidences, we happen upon the correspondence of persons
whose interests and passions were diametrically opposed to those of our
correspondents, and find that, when they have occasion to refer to them,
they also confirm the great facts already ascertained, then our belief
becomes conviction which can not be overturned by any sophistry, that
these things did occur. If Whig and Tory agree in relating the facts of
James' flight, and William's accession, if the letters of his Jacobite
friends and those of the French ambassador confirm the statements of the
English historian, and if we are put in possession of the letters which
James himself wrote from France and Ireland to his friends in England,
does any man in his common sense doubt that the Revolution of 1688 did
actually occur?

When, in addition to all this concentration and convergence of
testimony, one finds that the matters related, being of public concern,
and the changes effected for the public weal, the people have ever since
observed, and do to this day celebrate, by religious worship and public
rejoicings, the anniversaries of the principal events of that
Revolution, and that he himself has been present, and has heard the
thanksgivings, and witnessed the rejoicings on those anniversaries, the
facts of the history come out from the domains of learned curiosity, and
take their stand on the market-place of the busy world's engagements. We
become at once conscious that this is a practical question--a great fact
which concerns us--that the whole of the law and government of a vast
empire has felt its impress--that our ancestors and ourselves have been
molded under its influence, and that the religion of Europe and America,
under whose guardianship we have grown to a prominent place among the
people of earth, and may arrive at a better prominence among the nations
of the saved, has been secured by that Revolution. We could scarcely
know whether most to pity or contemn the man who should labor to
persuade us that such a Revolution had never occurred, or that the
facts had been essentially misrepresented.

Now it is precisely on this kind of evidence that we believe the great
facts of the Christian Revolution. We have contemporary histories,
formal and informal; letters, public and private, from the principal
agents in it, and opposers of it, dispersed from Babylon to Rome, and
addressed to Greeks, Romans, Jews, and Asiatics, written by physicians,
fishermen, proconsuls, emperors, and apostles. We have miles of
monuments, paintings, statuary, cabinets of coins, and all the heraldry
of Christendom. And these great facts stand out more prominently on the
theater of the world's business as effecting changes on our laws and
lives, and their introduction as authenticated by public commemorations,
more solemn and more numerous than those resulting from the English or
the American Revolution. Our main difficulty lies in selecting, from the
vast mass of materials, a portion sufficiently distinct and manageable
to be handled in a single essay.

We shall be guided by the motto already announced as the rule of
inductive research. One thing at a time; and the nearest first. The
Epistles, being nearer our own times than the Gospels, claim our first
notice, and first among these, those which stand latest on the page of
sacred history, the letters of John; two from Peter to the Christians of
Asia; and those which Paul, in chains for the gospel, dictated from
imperial Rome.

From the abundant notices of the early Christians by historians and
philosophers, satirists and comedians, martyrs and magistrates, Jewish,
Christian, and heathen, I shall select only two for comparison with the
Epistles and of the apostles; and both those heathen--the celebrated
letter of Pliny to Trajan, and the well-established history of Tacitus;
both utterly undeniable, and admitted by the most skeptical to be above
suspicion. Not that I suppose that the testimony of men who do not take
the trouble of making any inquiry into the reality of the facts of the
Christian religion is more accurate than that of those whose lives were
devoted to its study; or that we have any just reason to attach as much
weight to the assertions of persons, who, by their own showing, tortured
and murdered men and women convicted of no crime but that of bearing the
name of Christ, as to those of these martyrs, whose characters they
acknowledged to be blameless, and who sealed their testimony with the
last and highest attestation of sincerity--their blood. Considered
merely as a historian, whether, as regards means of knowledge, or tests
of truthfulness, by every unprejudiced mind, Peter will always be
preferred to Pliny. But because the world will ever love its own, and
hate the disciples of the Lord, there will always be a large class to
whom the history of Tacitus will seem more veritable than that of Luke,
and the letters of Pliny more reliable than those of Peter. For their
sakes we avail ourselves of that most convincing of all
attestations--the testimony of an enemy. What friends and foes unite in
attesting must be accepted as true.

The facts which we shall thus establish are not, in the first instance,
those called miraculous. We are now ascertaining the general character
for truthfulness of our letter writers and historians. If we find that
their general historic narrative is contradicted by that of other
credible historians, then we suspect their story. But if we find that,
in all essential matters of public notoriety, they are supported by the
concurred testimony of their foes, and that the narrative of the
miracles they relate bears the seals of thousands who from foes became
friends, from conviction of its truth, then we receive their witness as
true. Even in Paul's day, heathen Greek writers bore testimony to the
apostles, what manner of entering in they had unto the converts of
Thessalonica; and how they turned to God from idols, to serve the
living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised
from the dead--even Jesus, who delivered us from the wrath to come.
Pliny wrote forty years later.

Pliny, the younger, was born A. D. 61, was prætor under Domitian, consul
in the third year of Trajan, A. D. 100, was exceedingly desirous to add
to his other honors that of the priesthood; was accordingly consecrated
an augur, and built temples, bought images, and consecrated them on his
estates; was, in A. D. 106, appointed Governor of the Roman Provinces of
Pontus and Bithynia[73]--a vast tract of Asia Minor, lying along the
shores of the Black Sea and the Propontis; and including the province
anciently called Mysia, in which were situated Pergamos and Thyatira,
and in the immediate vicinity of Sardis and Philadelphia. Pliny reached
his province by the usual route, the port of Ephesus; where John had
lived for many years, and indited his letters, A. D. 96, scarcely ten
years before. The letters of Peter to the strangers scattered through
Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, bring us to the same
mountainous region, eight hundred miles distant from Judea; whence, in
earlier days, our savage ancestors received those Phoenician priests
of Baal, whose round towers mark the coasts of Ireland nearest to the
setting sun; and whence, about the period under consideration, came the
heralds of the Sun of Righteousness, who brought the "_Leabhar
Eoin_"[74] which tells their children of him in whom is the life and the
light of men. Natives of these countries had been in Jerusalem during
the crucifixion of Jesus, and, though only strangers, had witnessed the
darkness, and the earthquake, and had heard the rumors of what had come
to pass in those days; and on the day of Pentecost had mingled with the
curious crowd around the apostles, and heard them speak, in their own
mother tongues, of the wonderful works of God. The remainder of the
story of their conversion we gather from the letters of Peter, John, and

     "Pliny, to the Emperor Trajan, wisheth health and

     "It is my constant custom, Sire, to refer myself to you in all
     matters concerning which I have any doubt. For who can better
     direct me when I hesitate, or instruct me when I am ignorant?

     "I have never been present at any trials of Christians, so
     that I know not well what is the subject matter of punishment,
     or of inquiry, or what strictures ought to be used in either.
     Nor have I been a little perplexed to determine whether any
     difference ought to be made upon account of age, or whether
     the young and tender, and the full grown and robust, ought to
     be treated all alike; whether repentance should entitle to
     pardon, or whether all who have once been Christians ought to
     be punished, though they are now no longer so; whether the
     name itself, although no crimes be detected, or crimes only
     belonging to the name ought to be punished.

     "In the meantime, I have taken this course with all who have
     been brought before me, and have been accused as Christians. I
     have put the question to them, whether they were Christians.
     Upon their confessing to me that they were, I repeated the
     question a second and a third time, threatening also to punish
     them with death. Such as still persisted, I ordered away to be
     punished; for it was no doubt with me, whatever might be the
     nature of their opinion, that contumacy and inflexible
     obstinacy ought to be punished. There were others of the same
     infatuation, whom, because they are Roman citizens, I have
     noted down to be sent to the city.

     "In a short time the crime spreading itself, even whilst under
     persecution, as is usual in such cases, divers sorts of people
     came in my way. An information was presented to me, without
     mentioning the author, containing the names of many persons,
     who, upon examination, denied that they were Christians, or
     had even been so; who repeated after me an invocation of the
     gods, and with wine and frankincense made supplication to your
     image, which, for that purpose, I have caused to be brought
     and set before them, together with the statues of the deities.
     Moreover, they reviled the name of Christ. None of which
     things, as is said, they who are really Christians can by any
     means be compelled to do. These, therefore, I thought proper
     to discharge.

     "Others were named by an informer, who at first confessed
     themselves Christians, and afterward denied it. The rest said
     they had been Christians, but had left them; some three years
     ago, some longer, and one or more above twenty years. They all
     worshiped your image, and the statues of the gods; these also
     reviled Christ. They affirmed that the whole of their fault or
     error lay in this: that they were wont to meet together, on a
     stated day, before it was light, and sing among themselves
     alternately, a hymn to Christ as a God, and bind themselves by
     a sacrament, not to the commission of any wickedness, but not
     to be guilty of theft, or robbery, or adultery; never to
     falsify their word, nor to deny a pledge committed to them,
     when called upon to return it. When these things were
     performed, it was their custom to separate, and then to come
     together again to a meal, which they ate in common, without
     any disorder; but this they had forborne since the publication
     of my edict, by which, according to your command, I prohibited
     assemblies. After receiving this account, I judged it the more
     necessary to examine two maid servants, which were called
     ministers, by torture. But I have discovered nothing besides a
     bad and excessive superstition.

     "Suspending, therefore, all judicial proceedings, I have
     recourse to you for advice; for it has appeared to me a matter
     highly deserving consideration, especially upon account of the
     great number of persons who are in danger of suffering. For
     many of all ages, and every rank, of both sexes likewise, are
     accused, and will be accused. Nor has the contagion of this
     superstition seized cities only, but the lesser towns also,
     and the open country. Nevertheless, it seems to me that it may
     be restrained and arrested. It is certain that the temples,
     which were almost forsaken, begin to be frequented. And the
     sacred solemnities, after a long intermission, are revived.
     Victims, likewise, are everywhere brought up, whereas, for
     some time, there were few purchasers. Whence, it is easy to
     imagine, what numbers of men might be reclaimed, if pardon
     were granted to those who shall repent."

                 *       *       *       *       *

     "Trajan to Pliny, wisheth health and happiness:[76]

     "You have taken the right course, my Pliny, in your
     proceedings with those who have been brought before you as
     Christians; for it is impossible to establish any one rule
     that shall hold universally. They are not to be sought after.
     If any are brought before you, and are convicted, they ought
     to be punished. However, he that denies his being a Christian,
     and makes it evident in fact, that is, by supplicating to our
     gods, though he be suspected to have been so formerly, let him
     be pardoned upon repentance. But in no case, of any crime
     whatever, may a bill of information be received without being
     signed by him who presents it, for that would be a dangerous
     precedent, and unworthy of my government."

I must request my reader now to procure a New Testament, and read, at
one reading, the First General Epistle of Peter, the First General
Epistle of John, and the Seven Epistles to the Churches in Ephesus,
Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis, Philadelphia, and Laodicea--only
about as much matter as four pages of _Harper's Magazine_, or half a
page of the _Commercial_--that he may be able to do the same justice to
the apostles as to the governor. He will thus be able to see the force
of the various allusions to the numbers, doctrines, morals,
persecutions, and perseverance of the Christians, contained in those
letters; the object which I have in view being, to establish their
authenticity by proving the truthfulness of their allusions to these
things. If you think this too much trouble, please lay down the book,
and dismiss the consideration of religion from your thoughts. If the
letters of the apostles are not worth a careful reading, it is of no
consequence whether they are true or false.

1. These letters take for granted, that the fact of the existence of
large numbers of Christians, organized into churches, and meeting
regularly for religious worship, at the close of the first century, is a
matter of public notoriety to the world. Here, in countries eight
hundred miles distant from its birthplace, in the lifetime of those who
had seen its founder crucified, we find Christians scattered over
Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia--churches in seven
provincial cities, the sect well known to Pliny, before he left Italy,
as a proscribed and persecuted religion, the professors of which were
customarily brought before courts for trial and punishment--though he
had not himself been present at such trials--and now so numerous in his
provinces, that a great number of persons, of both sexes, young and old,
of all ranks, natives and Roman citizens, professed Christianity.
Others, influenced by their example and instruction, renounced idolatry;
victims were not led to sacrifice; the sacred rites of the gods were
suspended, and their temples forsaken. The existence, then, of churches
of Christ, consisting of vast numbers of converted heathens, at the
close of the first century, is in no wise mythological or dubious. It is
an established historical fact. The Epistles of the apostles stand
confirmed by the Epistles of the governor and the emperor.

2. The second great fact presented in the Epistles, and confirmed by the
letters of the governor and the emperor, is, that the worship of the
Christian Church then was essentially the same which it is now. We find
these Christians of the first century commemorating the death and
resurrection of Christ, and rendering divine honors to him; the "stated
day" on which they assembled for worship, and the "common meal," are as
plain a description of the "disciples coming together upon the first day
of the week, to break bread," as a heathen could give in few words.
Their terms of communion too, to which they pledged their members by a
sacrament, "not to be guilty of theft, robbery, or adultery; never to
falsify their word, or deny a pledge committed to them," find their
counterpart in every well-regulated church at this day.

The articles of the Christian faith, then, are not the "gradual
accretions of centuries," nor is the "redemptive idea, as attaching to
Christ, a dogma of the post-Augustine period." The churches of the
first century commemorated the death and resurrection of Jesus, as that
of a divine person, "singing the hymn to him as a God," which their
descendants sing at this day around his table:

     "Forever and forever is, O God, thy throne of might,
     The scepter of thy kingdom is a scepter that is right,
     Thou lovest right, and hatest ill; for God, thy God, Most High,
     Above thy fellows hath with th' oil of joy anointed thee."

And the question will force itself upon our minds, and can not be
evaded, How did these apostles persuade such multitudes of heathens to
believe their repeated assertions of the death, resurrection, and glory
of Jesus? In the space of three octavo pages, Peter refers to these
facts eighteen times. John, in like manner, repeatedly affirms them. The
Christian religion consists in the belief of these facts, and a life
corresponding to them. Now, how did the apostles persuade such
multitudes of heathens to believe a report so wonderful, profess a
religion so novel, renounce the gods they had worshiped from their
childhood, and all the ceremonies of an attractive, sensual religion;
"temples of splendid architecture, statues of exquisite sculpture,
priests and victims superbly adorned, attendant beauteous youth of both
sexes, performing all the sacred rites with gracefulness; religious
dances, illuminations, concerts of the sweetest music, perfumes of the
rarest fragrance," and other more licentious enjoyments, inseparable
from heathen worship. How did they persuade them to exchange all this
for the assembly before daybreak, the frugal common meal, the psalm to
Christ, and the commemoration of the death of a crucified malefactor? If
we add, that they commemorated his resurrection, by observing the Lord's
day, the question comes up, How did they come to believe that he was
risen from the dead? Could a few despised strangers, or a few citizens
if you will, persuade such a community, purely by natural means, to
believe such a report, to care whether the Syrian Jew died or rose, or
to commemorate weekly, by a solemn religious service, either his death
or resurrection? It is evident they believed what they commemorated. How
did they come to do so?

But whether we can answer the question or not, the fact stands out as
indisputable, that not merely the writers of the Epistles and Gospels,
and a few enthusiasts, but an immense multitude of all ages, of both
sexes, and of every rank--the whole membership of the primitive
churches--did believe in the death, resurrection, and glory of the Lord
Jesus, and did render to him divine worship. The second great fact,
affirmed in the Epistles, stands confirmed by the testimony of the
heathen governor, and of the Roman emperor.

3. A mere theory of a new religion, unconnected with practice, may be
easily received by those who care little about any, so long as it brings
no suffering or inconvenience. But the religion of these Christians was,
as you see, a practical religion. If their new worship required a great
departure from the worship of their childhood, their Christian morals
required a still greater departure from their former mode of life. I
need not remind you of the moral codes of Socrates, Plato, and
Aristides, who taught that lying, thieving, adultery, and murder were
lawful; nor how much worse than the theory of the best of the heathen
were the lives of the worst; nor how unpopular to persons so educated
would be such teaching as this--"Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered
for us in the flesh, arm yourselves also with the same mind: for he that
hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin: that he no longer
should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but
to the will of God. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have
wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness,
lusts, excess of wine, revelings, banquetings, and abominable
idolatries; wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to
the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you: who shall give account to
him that is ready to judge the living and the dead." "Lay aside all
malice, and guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings."
"Whosoever abideth in Christ sinneth not. Whosoever sinneth hath not
seen him, neither known him. Little children, let no man deceive you. He
that doeth righteousness is righteous, even as he is righteous. He that
committeth sin is of the devil." So sharp, and stern, and strictly
virtuous is apostolic religion, as displayed in these letters. Is it
possible then that these converted heathens did really even approach
this standard of morality? Did this gospel of Christ actually produce
any such reformation of their lives?

You have the testimony of apostates, eager to save their lives by giving
such information as they knew would be acceptable to the persecutor; you
have the testimony of the two aged deaconesses, under torture; you have
the unwilling, but yet express, testimony of their torturer and
murderer, that all his cruel ingenuity could discover nothing worse than
an excessive superstition and culpable obstinacy. What, then, does this
philosophic inspector of entrails, and adorer of idols, call an
excessive superstition and culpable obstinacy? Why, they bound
themselves by the most solemn religious services, not to be guilty of
theft, robbery, or adultery; not to falsify their word, nor deny a
pledge committed to them; and when some senseless blocks of brass were
carried on men's shoulders, into the court-house, to represent a mortal
man, they would not adore them, nor pray to them; no, not though this
philosopher compiled the liturgy, and set the example. For this refusal,
and this alone, he ordered them away to death. Doubtless they heard, in
their hearts, the well-known words, "Let none of you suffer as a
murderer, or as a thief, or as an evil-doer, or as a busybody in other
men's matters. But if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be
ashamed, but let him glorify God on this behalf."

The morality of the Epistles, then, was not a merely a fine theory, but
an actual rule of life. The moral codes of the apostles were received as
actually binding on the members of the churches of the first century. In
this all-important matter of the rule of a good life--the fruits by
which the tree is known--the integrity, authority, and success of the
apostles, in turning licentious heathens into moral Christians, is
authenticated by the unwilling testimony of their persecutors. The
Epistles of the apostles stand confirmed, as to their ethics, by the
letters of Trajan and Pliny.

4. The only other fact to which I call your attention, from among the
multitude alluded to in these letters, is the cost at which these
converts from heathenism embraced this new religion. Every one who
renounced heathenism, and professed the name of Christ, knew very well
that he must suffer for it. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning
the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing
happened unto you, but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's
sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad with
exceeding joy;" this was the welcome of the Bithynian convert into the
Church of Christ. Persecution by fire and sword was then the common lot
of the Church. "I have never been present at any trials of the
Christians," says the governor. Such trials were well known to him it
seems. He was not sure whether he should murder all who ever had borne
the name of Christ, or only those who proved themselves to be really his
disciples, by refusing to revile him, and return to idolatry; and the
merciful emperor commands him to spare the apostates. Above twenty years
before--in A. D. 86--there were apostates from the persecuted religion.
In A. D. 90, John had written, "they went out from us, that it might be
made manifest they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they
would no doubt have continued with us; but they went out that it might
be made manifest that they were not all of us." So it seems Pliny
thought: "They all worshiped your image, and other statues of the gods;
these also reviled Christ. None of which things, as is said, they who
are really Christians can by any means be compelled to do." What these
means were he tells us: "I put the question to them, whether they were
Christians. Upon their confessing to me that they were, I repeated the
question a second and a third time, threatening, also, to punish them
with death. Such as still persisted, I ordered away to be punished."
What is very remarkable, it was, it seems, "usual in such cases, for the
crime to spread itself, even whilst under persecution." In the face of
such dangers, these heathen would still profess faith in Christ, and
when they might have saved their lives by reviling him, refused to do
so. From the published rescript of the emperor, approving of Pliny's
course, and condemning to death all who were convicted of being really
Christians; from the public circulars of the apostles, warning them of
"fiery trials," "Satan casting some of them into prison," and exhorting
them to "be faithful unto death;" and from such comments on these as the
torture and public execution of aged women as well as men--the terms of
discipleship were well known to the whole world. Yet we see that in the
face of all this, "great numbers of persons, of both sexes, and of all
ages, and of every rank," in Pliny's opinion, were so steadfast in their
faith, that "they were in great danger of suffering."

Here, then, is another well-attested fact, in which the testimony of the
apostles stands confirmed by the signatures of the Bithynian governor,
and the Roman emperor--a fact which stands forth clear, prominent, most
undoubted, without the smallest trace of anything mythological or misty
about it--that, in A. D. 106, great numbers of converted heathens did
suffer exile, torture, and death itself, rather than renounce Christ;
and that it was well known that the Christian faith enabled its
professor to overcome the world.

These four great facts of the later Epistles, being thus established
beyond dispute, in pursuance of our plan, we ascend the stream of
history some forty years, to the time of the earlier Epistles, when Paul
lay in the Prætorian prison, and his faithful companion, Luke, wrote the
continuation of his narrative of the things most surely believed among
the Christians; when "apostles were made as the filth of the world, and
the offscouring of all things;" and Christians "were made a gazing stock
both by reproaches and afflictions;" "were brought before kings and
rulers, and hated of all nations for Christ's name sake;" "endured a
great fight of afflictions;" were "for his sake killed all the day long,
and accounted as sheep for the slaughter;" "were made a spectacle to the
world, to angels, and to men." We remove the field of our investigation
from a remote province of Asia, to one equally remote from Judea, and
far more unfavorable for the growth of the religion of a crucified Jew,
to the proud capital of the world, imperial Rome. The time shall be
shortly after the burning of the city, in A. D. 64, and during the
raging of the first of those systematic, imperial, and savage
persecutions through which the Church of Christ waded, in the bloody
footsteps of her Lord, to world-wide influence, and undying fame. Our
historian shall be the well-known Tacitus; and the single extract from
his history, one of which the infidel Gibbon says:[77] "The most
skeptical criticism is obliged to respect the truth of this important
fact, and the integrity of this celebrated passage of Tacitus." I shall
not insert quotations from Paul or Luke; that were merely to transcribe
large portions of the Epistles and Gospels, which whoever will not
carefully peruse, disqualifies himself for forming a judgment of their
veracity. The confirmation of the four facts already established, of
the existence, worship, morals, and sufferings of the disciples of
Christ; and these facts as well known within thirty years after his
death, will sufficiently appear by the perusal of the following
testimony of Tacitus.[78]

After relating the burning of the city, and Nero's attempt to transfer
the odium of it to the sect "commonly known by the name of Christians,"
he says:

     "The author of that name was Christ, who, in the reign of
     Tiberius, was put to death as a criminal, under the
     procurator, Pontius Pilate. But this pestilent superstition,
     checked for a while, broke out afresh, and spread not only
     over Judea, where the evil originated, but also in Rome, where
     all that is evil on the earth finds its way, and is practiced.
     At first, those only were apprehended who confessed themselves
     of that sect; afterward, _a vast multitude_ discovered by
     them; all of whom were condemned, not so much for the crime of
     burning the city, as for their enmity to mankind. Their
     executions were so contrived, as to expose them to derision
     and contempt. Some were covered over with the skins of wild
     beasts, that they might be torn to pieces by dogs; some were
     crucified; while others, having been daubed over with
     combustible materials, were set up for lights in the night
     time, and thus burned to death. For these spectacles Nero gave
     his own gardens, and, at the same time, exhibited there the
     diversions of the circus; sometimes standing in the crowd as a
     spectator, in the habit of a charioteer; and, at other times,
     driving a chariot himself; until at length these men, though
     really criminal, and deserving of exemplary punishment, began
     to be commiserated, as people who were destroyed, not out of
     regard to the public welfare, but only to gratify the cruelty
     of one man."

We add no comment on this remarkable passage. Take up your New Testament
and read the contemporary history--Acts xxii. to the end of the
book--and the letters of Paul from Rome, to Philemon, Titus, the
Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, and the Second to Timothy, written
when the aged prisoner was ready to be offered, and the time of his
departure, amidst such scenes and sufferings, was at hand. Then form
your own opinion as to the origin and nature of that faith in Jesus
which enabled him to say: "None of these things move me, neither count I
my life dear unto me, that I may finish my course with joy, and the
testimony which I have received of the Lord Jesus." "I know in whom I
have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I
have committed to him against that day."

Whatever may be your opinion of the apostle's hope for the future, you
must acknowledge that we have ascertained, beyond contradiction, these
four facts of the past:

1. That without the power of force, or the help of governments, and in
spite of them, the apostles did convert vast multitudes of idolaters
from a senseless worship of stocks and stones, to the worship of the one
living and true God; a thing never done by the preachers of any other
religion before or since.

2. That without the help of power or civil law, and solely by moral and
spiritual means, they did persuade multitudes of licentious heathens to
give up their vices, and obey the pure precepts of the morality
contained in their Epistles; a thing never done by the preachers of any
other religion before or since.

3. That these converts were so firmly persuaded of the truth of their
new religion, that, with the choice of life and worldly honor, or a
death of infamy and torture before them, multitudes deliberately chose
to suffer torture and death rather than renounce the belief in one God,
obedience to his laws, and the hope of eternal life through Jesus
Christ, which they had learned from the sermons and letters of these
apostles; a thing never done by the professors of any other religion
before or since.[79]

4. The faith which produced such an illumination of their minds; which
caused such a blessed change in their lives; which filled them with joy
and hope, and enabled them even to despise torture and death, was
briefly this: "That Christ died for our sins, according to the
Scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again on the third
day, according to the Scriptures; that he ascended up into heaven, and
will come again to judge the world, and reward every man according to
his works; and that whosoever believes these things in his heart, and
confesses them with his mouth, shall be saved; and he that believeth
them not shall be damned."

It is a fact, then, indisputably proven by history, that the New
Testament does teach a religion which can enlighten men's minds, reform
their lives, give peace to their consciences, and enable them to meet
death with a joyful hope of life eternal. It has done these things in
times past, and is doing them now. These are its undoubted fruits.
Reader, this faith may be yours. It will work the same results in you as
it has done in others. Like causes ever produce like effects. Jesus
waits to deliver you from your sins, to fill you with joy and peace in
believing, and make you abound in hope, by the power of the Holy Ghost.
He has promised, if you will ask it, "I will give them a heart to know
me, that I am the Lord."


[73] Lardner VII. page 18, _et seq._

[74] Pronounced Laar Owen--John's Book.

[75] Lib. X. Ep. 97, Lardner VII. 22.

[76] Lib. X. Ep. 98, Lardner VII. 24.

[77] Decline and Fall, Vol. II. page 407.

[78] Lib. XV. chap. 44.

[79] The sufferings of the Jews, under Antiochus, are no exception. They
suffered for their faith in the true God, the Messiah to come, and a
resurrection to life eternal.



     "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which
     we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our
     hands have handled of the Word of life * * * that which we
     have seen and heard declare we unto you."--1 John i. 1.

We have seen that the companions of Jesus wrote the books of the New
Testament; that their statements of the existence, worship, morals, and
faith of the Christian Church are confirmed by their enemies, and that
multitudes of heathens were turned from vice to virtue by the belief of
the testimony of these men. They testified that Jesus Christ did many
wonderful miracles, died for our sins, and rose again from the dead;
that they saw, and felt his body, and ate, and drank, and conversed with
him for forty days after his resurrection; that he ascended up to heaven
in their sight; that he sent them to tell the world that he will come
again in the clouds of heaven, with his mighty angels, to judge the
living and the dead; that he who believes these things and is baptized
shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned. This is their
statement. The question is, Can we believe them?

1. The first thing which strikes us in their testimony is, that it
stands out utterly different from all other religions. There is nothing
in the world like it, not even its counterfeits. The great central fact
of Christianity--that Christ died for our sins, and rose again from the
dead--stands absolutely alone in the history of religions. The priests
of Baal, Brahma, or Jupiter, never dreamed of such a thing. The prophets
of Mohammedanism, Mormonism, or Pantheism, have never attempted to
imitate it. The great object of all counterfeit Christianity is to deny

There is no instance in the whole world's history of any other religion
ever producing the same effects. We demand an instance of men destitute
of wealth, arms, power, and learning, converting multitudes of lying,
lustful, murdering idolaters, into honest, peaceable, virtuous men
simply by prayer and preaching. When the Infidel tells us of the rapid
spread of Mohammedanism and Mormonism--impostures which enlist disciples
by promising free license to lust, robbery, and murder, and retain them
by the terror of the scimeter and the rifle ball; which reduce mankind
to the most abject servitude, and womanhood to the most debasing
concubinage; which have turned the fairest regions of the earth to a
wilderness, and under whose blighting influence commerce, arts, science,
industry, comfort, and the human race itself, have withered away--he
simply insults our common sense, by ignoring the difference between
backgoing vice and ongoing virtue; or acknowledges that he knows as
little about Mohammedanism, as he does about Christianity. The gospel
stands alone in its doctrines, singular in its operation, unequaled in
its success.

2. The next important point for consideration is, that the Christianity
preached by Christ and his apostles is a whole--a single system, which
we must either take or leave--believe entirely, or entirely reject it as
an imposture. There is no middle ground for you to occupy. It is all
true, or all false. For instance, you can not take one of Paul's
Epistles and say, "this is true," and take another of the same man's
letters, containing the very same religion, and say, "this is false." If
you accept the very briefest of Paul's Letters, that to Philemon,
containing only thirteen sentences on private business, you accept
eleven distinct assertions of the authority, grace, love, and divinity
of our Lord. Nor can you say you will accept Peter's Letters and reject
Paul's; for you will find the very same facts asserted by the one as by
the other; and moreover, Peter indorses "all the epistles of our beloved
brother Paul" as on the same pedestal of authority with the other
Scriptures. You can not say, "I will accept the letters and reject the
history," for the letters have no meaning without the history. They are
founded upon it, and assume or allege its facts on every page. Were the
gospels lost, we could collect a good account of the birth, teaching,
death, resurrection, ascension, and almighty power of the Lord Christ
from Paul's Epistles; and these letters are just as confident in
alleging the miraculous part of the history as the gospels themselves.
Neither can you gain any advantage by saying, "I accept the gospels, but
reject the letters," for there is not a doctrine of the New Testament
which is not taught in the very first of them, the Gospel by Matthew.
Further, the gospels contain the most solemn authentication of the
commissions of the apostles, so that whoever rejects their teaching,
brings upon himself guilt equal to that of rejecting Christ himself.
"Lo, I am with you alway"--"He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he
that receiveth me, receiveth him that sent me"--"Whosoever will not
receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or
city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, it shall
be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of
judgment, than for that city."

It is, if possible, more absurd to attempt to dissect the morality of
the gospel from its history, and to say, "We are willing to receive the
Christian code of morals as a very excellent rule of life, and to regard
Jesus as a rare example of almost superhuman virtue, but we must
consider the narrative of supernatural events interwoven with it as
mythological," _i. e._, false. Which is much the same as to say, "We
will be very happy to receive your friend if he will only cut his head
off." Of what possible use would the Christian code of morals be without
the authority of Christ, the lawgiver? If he possessed no divine
authority, what right has he to control your inclination or mine? And if
he will never return to inquire whether men obey or disobey his law, who
will regard it? Do you suppose the world will be turned upside down, and
reformed, by a little good advice? Nay, verily, the world has had trial
of that vanity long enough. "We must all appear before the judgment seat
of Christ, that every one may receive the things done in the body,
according to that he hath done, whether it be good or bad. Knowing,
therefore, _the terrors of the Lord_, we persuade men."

Take away the miraculous and supernatural from the gospel history, and
there is nothing left for you to accept. There is no political economy
nor worldly morality in it. It is wholly the history of a supernatural
person, and every precept of his morality comes with a divine sanction.
Further, you know nothing of either his life or his morality but from
the gospel history, and if the record of the miracles which occupy
three-fourths of the gospels be false, what reason have you to give any
credit to the remainder? For, as the German commentator, De Wette, well
says, "The only means of acquaintance with a history is the narrative we
possess concerning it, and beyond that narrative the interpreter can not
go. In these Bible records, the narrative reports to us only a
supernatural course of events, which we must either receive or reject.
If we reject the narrative, we know nothing at all about the event, and
we are not justified in allowing ourselves to invent a natural course of
events of which the narrative is totally silent." So, you see, you can
not make a Christ to suit your taste, but must just take the Christ of
the gospel, or reject him.

If you reject the testimony of Christ and his apostles as false, and say
you can not believe them in matters of fact, how can you respect their
morality? Of all the absurdities of modern Infidelity, the respectful
language generally used by its advocates in speaking of Christ and his
apostles is the most inconsistent. He claimed to be a Divine Person, and
professed to work miracles. The Infidel says he was not a Divine Person,
and wrought no miracles. The consequence is unavoidable--such a
pretender is a blasphemous impostor. And yet they speak of him as a
"model man," an "exemplar of every virtue." What! an impostor a model
man? A blasphemer and liar an exemplar of every virtue? Is that the
Infidel's notion of virtue? Why, the devils were more consistent in
their commendations of his character, "We know thee who thou art, THE
HOLY ONE OF GOD." Let our modern enemies of Christ learn consistency
from their ancient allies. We have also learned from our Master to
refuse all hypocritical, half-way professions of respect for his
character and teachings from those whose business is to prove him a
deceiver, and whose object in speaking respectfully of such a One can
only be to gain a larger audience, and a readier entrance for their
blasphemy among his professed disciples. From every man who professes
respect for Christ's character, and for the morality which he and his
apostles taught, we demand a straightforward answer to the questions:
"When he declared himself the Son of God, the Judge of the living and
the dead, did he tell the truth, or did he lie? When he promised to
attest his divine commission by rising from the dead on the third day,
had he any such power, or did he only mean to play a juggling imposture?
Is Jesus the Christ the Son of the Living God, or a deceiver?" There is
no middle ground. He that is not with him is against him.

The case is just the same with regard to the witnesses of his miracles,
death, and resurrection. They either give a true relation of these
things, or they have manufactured a series of falsehoods. How can we
believe anything from persons so habituated to lying as the narrators of
the mighty works of Jesus must be, if those mighty works never were
performed? How can we accept their code of morals if we refuse to
believe them when they speak of matters of fact? Is it possible to
respect men as moral teachers, whom we have convicted of forging stories
of miracles that never occurred, and confederating together to impose a
lying superstition on the world? For this is plainly the very point and
center of the question about the truth of the Bible, and I am anxious
you should see it clearly. A fair statement of this question is half the
argument. The question then is simply this, Was Jesus really the Divine
Person he claimed to be, or was he a blasphemous impostor? When the
apostles unitedly and solemnly testified that they had seen him after he
was risen from the dead, that they ate and drank with him, that their
hands had handled his body, that they conversed with him for forty days,
and that they saw him go up to heaven, did they tell the truth or were
they a confederated band of liars? There is no reason for any other
supposition. They could not possibly be deceived themselves in the
matters they relate. They knew perfectly whether they were true or not.
We are not talking about matters of dogma, about which there might be
room for difference of opinion, but about matters of fact--about what
men say they saw, and heard, and felt--about which no man of common
sense could possibly be mistaken. "That which we have seen with our
eyes, which we have heard, which we have looked upon, and our hands have
handled of the Word of life * * * that which we have seen and heard
declare we unto you." Such is their language. We must either take it as
truth, or reject it as falsehood. It is utter nonsense to talk of the
intense subjectivity of the Jewish mind, and the belief of the apostles
that the Messiah would do wonders when he came, and the powerful
impressions produced by the teaching of Jesus on their minds. We are not
talking about impressions on their minds, but about impressions produced
on their eyes, and ears, and hands. Did these men tell the truth when
they told the world that they did eat and drink with Jesus after he rose
from the dead, or did they lie? That is the question.

3. It is a hard matter to lie well. A liar has need of a good memory,
else he will contradict himself before he writes far. And he needs to be
very well posted up in the matters of names, dates, places, manners and
customs, else he will contradict some well-known facts, and so expose
his forgery to the world. Therefore writers of forgeries avoid all such
things as much as possible, and as surely as they venture on
specifications of that sort they are detected. A man who is conscious of
writing a book of falsehoods does not begin on this wise: "Now in the
fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being
Governor of Judea, and Herod being Tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother
Philip Tetrarch of Iturea and of the regions of Trachonitis, and
Lysanias Tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiphas being high priests, the
Word of God came unto John, the son of Zacharias, in the wilderness."
Here in one sentence are twenty historical, geographical, political, and
genealogical references, every one of which we can confirm by references
to secular historians. The enemies of the Lord have utterly failed in
their attempts to disprove one out of the hundreds of such statements in
the New Testament. The only instance of any _public political event_
recorded in the gospel, said not to be confirmed by the fragments of
secular history we possess, is Luke's account of a census of the Roman
Empire, ordered by Augustus Cæsar. Were it so that Luke stood alone in
his mention of this, surely his credit as a historian would be as good
for this fact, as the credit of Tacitus, when he states matters of which
Suetonius makes no mention, or of Pliny, when he relates things not
recorded by Tacitus. But we can account for the want of corroborative
history in this instance, when we know that all the history of Dion
Cassius, from the consulships of Antistius and Balbus to those of
Messala and Cinna--that is, for five years before and five years after
the birth of Christ--is lost; as also Livy's history of the same period.
It is certain that some one did record the fact, for Suidas, in his
lexicon upon the word _apographe_, says, "that Augustus sent twenty
select men into all the provinces of the empire to take a census, both
of men and property, and commanded that a just proportion of the latter
should be brought into the imperial treasury. And this was the first

To object to the gospel history, that everything contained in it of the
doings of Christ and his apostles in Judea, is not recorded by the
historians of Greece and Italy, is much the same as to say that there
are a multitude of facts recorded in D'Aubigne's History of the
Reformation in Germany, of which Hume and Macaulay make no mention in
their histories of England. How should they?--treating of different
countries, and for the most part of different periods, and writing civil
and not church history? Does anybody go to Macaulay to look for the
history of the Westminster Assembly, or to Bancroft for an account of
the Great Revival in New England? Or is the veracity of Baillie, or
Edwards suspected, because political history does not concern itself
much about religion? It is enough that not a single statement of the
gospel history has ever been disproved.

I might give you quotations from the enemies of the Christian faith,
from Josephus the Jew, and Celsus, and Porphyry, heathen philosophers,
and from the Emperor Julian, the apostate--who, having been raised a
Christian, became a heathen, and used all his ingenuity to overturn the
religion of Christ--expressly admitting the principal miracles recorded
in the gospel. But I attach no such importance to the testimony of this
class of persons as to suppose that it should be placed, for one moment,
on a level with the testimony of the apostles, or that their testimony
to the facts of the life and death of Christ needs any confirmation from
such witnesses. We have such overwhelming evidence of the sincerity and
truth of the witnesses chosen by God to bear testimony to the
resurrection of Christ, as we never can have of the credibility of any
secular historian whatever.

You will remember that these are the writers whose accounts of the
existence, the faith and worship, the numbers and morals of the
Christian Church, we have seen so strikingly confirmed by their enemies;
and we now inquire, Can we believe the other part of their history to be
as true? These are the men who taught the heathen a pure Christian
morality, one principal article of which was, "Lie not one to another,
seeing ye have put off the old man with his deeds"--"All liars shall
have their portion in the lake that burneth with fire and
brimstone"--and we are to inquire if they themselves lied; lied
publicly, lied repeatedly, if the very business of their lives was to
propagate falsehood, and if they died with a lie in their right hands.
You will remember that we proved conclusively that the belief of the
death and resurrection of Jesus did turn immense multitudes of wicked
men to a life of virtue, and now we are to inquire if the belief of a
lie produced this blessed result, and whether, if so, there be any such
thing as truth in the world, or any use in it?

4. Of no other series of events of ancient history do we possess the
same number of records by contemporary historians, as of the life,
death, and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. We have four direct
systematic memoirs of him by four of his companions; and we have a
collection of letters by four others, in which the events of the memoirs
are continually referred to. At the mouth of two or three witnesses any
man's property and life will be disposed of in a court of justice, but
here we have the testimony of eight eye-witnesses of the facts they
relate, and they refer to five hundred other persons, the greater part
of whom were then alive, who had also seen and heard Christ after his
resurrection. These eight persons give us their separate and independent
statements of those things they deemed worthy of record in the life and
death of Christ, and of the sayings and doings of several of his friends
and enemies. Now every person knows that it is impossible to make two
crooked boughs tally, or two false witnesses agree. You never saw two
lying reports of any considerable number of transactions agree, unless
the one was copied from the other.

It is evident that the gospels were not copied from each other, for they
often relate different events, and when they relate the same occurrence,
each man relates those parts of it which he saw himself, and which
impressed him most. Yet the utmost ingenuity of infidelity has utterly
failed to make them contradict each other in any particular. Here are
eight witnesses to the truth of the same story, four of whom in their
letters make occasional allusions to the facts of the history as being
perfectly well known, and therefore needing only to be alluded to, yet
these cursory references fit into the history with every mark of
truthfulness. Does the history of Matthew, written at Jerusalem, tell us
that Jesus took Peter, and James, and John up into a high mountain
apart, and was transfigured before them? Peter, in his letter, written
from Babylon, says, "We were eye-witnesses of his majesty. We were with
him in the holy mount."--2 Peter ii. 10. If the history tells how Paul
was beaten and cast into prison at Philippi, and his feet made fast in
the stocks, and that, nevertheless, he manfully defended his birthright
as a Roman citizen, and made the tyrannical magistrates humble
themselves, and apologize for their illegal conduct, we find Paul
himself, in a letter to a neighboring church, appealing to their
knowledge of the facts, "that after we had suffered before, and were
shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God
to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. For our
exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile. For
neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloak
for covetousness."--1 Thessalonians ii. 2. Hundreds of such undesigned
coincidences may be found in the New Testament, confirming the veracity
of the several historians and letter writers, and giving that impression
of the naturalness and truth of the story, which can neither be
described nor disputed. The reader who desires to prosecute this
interesting branch of the evidences of Christianity will find an ample
collection of these coincidences in Paley's Horæ Paulinæ.

This agreement of independent writers is the more remarkable, as the
writers were persons of very various degrees of education, of different
professions and ranks of life, born in different countries, and writing
from various places in Italy, Greece, Palestine, and Assyria, without
any communication with each other. Matthew was an officer of customs in
Galilee; Mark a Hebrew citizen of Jerusalem; Luke a Greek physician of
Antioch; James and John owned and sailed a fishing smack on Lake
Tiberias; Jude left his thirty-nine acres of land, worth nine thousand
denarii, to be farmed by his children when he went forth to preach the
gospel; and college-bred Paul carried his sturdy independence in his
breast, and his sail needles in his pocket, and dictated epistles, and
cut out marquees and lug-sails in the tent factory of Aquila, Paul &
Co., at Corinth. Several of his letters were written in a dungeon in
Rome; the last of Peter's is dated at Babylon; Matthew's Gospel was
penned at Jerusalem, and John's Gospel and Epistles were written at
Ephesus. The agreement of eight such witnesses, of such different
pursuits, and so scattered over the world, in the relation of the same
story, in all its leading particulars, together with their variety of
style and manner, and their various relations of minor incidents, yet
without a single contradiction, are most convincing proofs that they all
tell truth. Nothing but truth could be thus told without contradiction.

The fact that some considerable difficulties and many minor obscurities
in these brief though pregnant narratives, prevent the combination of
eight accounts so independent in their sources, and various in their
style, and design, and auditors, into a flowing historical novel, a
homogeneous mass, rounded and squared to our ideas of mathematical
precision, is only an additional proof of their truth to nature, which
abhors mathematical, as much as truth does rhetorical figures. Like the
variety of expression used by American, German, French, and Polish
witnesses in our courts of justice, testifying the same facts in their
native idioms, though in English words, the apparent discrepancy, but
actual harmony, becomes the most decisive test of the absence of any
collusion, and consequently of the verity of the facts which such
various witnesses unite in testifying. Especially will any such apparent
discrepancy resolve itself into our own unskillfulness or ignorance,
when we remember that the mists of ages, and the drapery of a strange
language, and world-wide removal of residence, and the turning of the
world upside down by the progress of Christian civilization, and our
consequent ignorance of the thousand little details of every-day life,
well known to the writer and his immediate readers, and of the force of
expressive idioms, perfectly familiar to them--have rendered us not near
so capable of detecting inaccuracies, as those contemporary writers and
opponents, who allowed them--if they existed--to pass unchallenged. Like
those antique coins, whose rust-dimmed and abbreviated inscriptions
exercise the patience and historic lore of the antiquarian, though
neither are needed to declare the precious material, this very rust of
antiquity, through which his patience has penetrated, becomes one of the
inimitable marks of historic verity. Every year throws some new light on
texts difficult to us from our ignorance of those manners, customs,
names, and places, which Infidel malice and Christian piety have
combined to explore; and from the ruins of Nineveh and the sepulchers of
Egypt we receive unlooked-for testimonies to the minute accuracy of the
penmen of the Bible.

5. The manner in which the apostles published their testimony to the
world bears every mark of truthfulness. Deception and forgery skulk, and
try to spread themselves at first in holes and corners, but he that
doeth truth cometh to the light. Had the apostles been conscious of
falsehood, would they have dared to assert that Jesus was risen from the
dead in the very streets of the city where he was crucified? in the
temple, the most public place of resort of the Jews who saw him
crucified? and to the teeth of the very men who put him to death? If
conscious of falsehood, would they have dared, before the chief priests,
and the council, and all the senate of Israel, to assert that "The God
of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hanged on a tree. Him
hath God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to
give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. And we are his
witnesses of these things, and so is also the Holy Ghost which God hath
given to them that obey him."--Acts v. 30. Would Paul, had he been
conscious that he was relating falsehood, have dared to appeal to the
judge, before whom he was on trial for his life, as to one who knew the
notoriety of these facts, "For the king knoweth of these things, before
whom also I speak freely; for I am persuaded that none of these things
are hidden from him: for this thing was not done in a corner."--Acts
xxvi. 26. Would such appeals have been suffered to pass uncontradicted
had the statements of the apostles been false?

The boldness of their manner, however, of telling their story, is
little, compared with the boldness of the design which they had in view
in telling it; which was nothing less than to convert the world. Now the
idea of proselyting other nations to a new religion was absolutely
unknown to the world at that time. The Greeks and Romans never dreamed
of any such thing. They would sometimes add a new god to their old
Pantheon, but the idea of turning a nation to the worship of new deities
was never before heard of. The Jews were so indignant at the project,
that when Paul hinted it to them, they cried, "Away with such a fellow
from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live." And this new and
strange idea, of conquering the world for a crucified man, is taken up
by a few private citizens, who resolve to overturn the craft by which
priests have their wealth, and to bring the kingdoms of the world to
become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ.

Impostors would never have appealed to their power of working miracles
as the apostles did; nor could enthusiasts have done so without instant
exposure. It is remarkable, that while in addressing those who believed
their divine commission, they rarely allude to it (fourteen of the
epistles make no allusion to apostolic miracles), but dwell on a subject
of far greater importance--a holy life--they never hesitate to confront
a Simon Magus, or a schismatical church at Corinth, or a persecuting
high priest and sanhedrim with this power of the Holy Ghost. "Tongues,"
says Paul, "are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that
believe not;" and this is true of all other miracles. This marks the
difference between real miracles and those of pretenders; who have
never attempted to establish a new religion by them, or to convert
unbelievers hostile to their claims and able to examine them, without
immediate exposure. But you never heard of an impostor standing up
before the tribunal of his judges and alleging the miraculous cure of a
well-known public beggar, lame from his mother's womb, whom they had
seen at the church gate every Sabbath for forty years, and bringing the
man into court after such a fashion as this, "If we this day be examined
of the good deed done unto the impotent man, by what means he is made
whole, be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that
by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God
raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand before you whole."
Such an appeal was unanswerable. "Beholding the man that was healed
standing with them, they could say nothing against it." Nay, they were
compelled to acknowledge "that indeed a notable miracle hath been done
by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem--we can not deny
it."--Acts iv.

The denial of the miracles of the gospel is a modern invention of the
enemy. The scribes, and priests, emperors, and philosophers of the first
centuries, who had the best opportunity of proving their falsehood, were
unable to do so. The persecutors and apostates, whose malice against the
Church knew no bounds, never dared to utter a charge of deception
against the apostles. Why, then, you ask, did they not all become
Christians? Because miracles can not convert any man against his will.
Christianity is not merely a belief in miracles, but the love of Christ,
and a life of holiness. There are many readers of this book who would
not turn from their sins if all the dead in Spring Grove Cemetery would
rise to-morrow to warn them from hell. God does not intend to force any
man to become a Christian. He just gives evidence enough to try you,
whether you will deal honestly and fairly with your own soul and your
God, and if you are determined to hate Christ and his holy religion, you
shall never want a plausible excuse for unbelief; as it is written,
"Unto them which are disobedient, Christ is a stone of stumbling and a
rock of offense." These ancient enemies of Christ acknowledged the
reality of his miracles, but attributed them to magical power, or the
help of Satan. The Jews said that he had acquired the power of miracles
by learning to pronounce the incommunicable name of God. Modern Infidels
deny all his miracles save the greatest--the turning of men from their
sins. They can not deny that; they can not ascribe it to the power of
Satan or of magic, for they do not believe in either; but they follow as
nearly in the footsteps of their fathers as possible, when they tell us
that multitudes of men, in every age, and in every land, have been
turned from falsehood to truth by the belief of a lie, and from vice to
virtue by the example of an impostor!

6. But the strongest proof of the truth of the facts of the gospel is
the existence, the labors and sufferings of the apostles themselves.
Nobody denies that such men lived, and preached, and were persecuted on
account of their preaching that Jesus died and rose again. Now, if this
was a falsehood, what motive had they to tell it? It was very
displeasing to their rulers who had crucified him, and who had every
inclination to give them the same treatment. To preach another king, one
Jesus, to the Romans, was to bring down the power of the empire upon
them. Nothing could be more absurd in the eyes of the Grecian
philosophers than to speak of the resurrection of the body. Nor could
any plan be devised more certain to arouse the fury of the pagan
priesthood, than to denounce the craft by which they had their wealth,
and to preach that they are no gods which are made by hands. The most
degraded wretch, who perishes by the hand of the hangman is not so
contemptible in our eyes, as the crucified malefactor was in the eyes of
the Roman people; nor could anything more disagreeable to the Jewish
nation be invented than the declaration, that the Gentiles should become
partakers of the kingdom of God. What then should induce any man in his
senses to provoke such an opposition to a new religion, and to make it
so contemptible and disagreeable to those whom he sought to convert, if
he were manufacturing a lie to gain power and popularity?

The religion they preached was not adapted to please sensual men, nor to
allow its preachers in sensual gratifications. "Our exhortation," says
Paul--and every reader of the New Testament knows that he says
truth--"Our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor of
guile." Infidels admit that they preached a pure morality. But it is a
long time since men learned the proverb, "Physician, heal thyself."
"Thou that preachest a man should not steal, dost thou steal? Thou that
sayest a man should not commit adultery, dost thou commit adultery? Thou
that abhorrest idols, dost thou commit sacrilege?" It could not, then,
be to obtain license for lust that these men preached holiness.

There is only one other conceivable motive which should induce men to
confederate together for the propagation of falsehood--the design of
making money by it. But their new religion made no provision for any
such thing. One of their first acts was to desire the church to elect
deacons who might manage its money matters, and allow them to give
themselves wholly to prayer and to the ministry of the word. Twenty-five
years after that they could appeal to the world that "Even to this
present hour, we" (the Apostles) "both hunger and thirst, and are naked,
and are buffeted, and have no certain dwelling-place, and labor working
with our hands; being reviled, we bless; being persecuted, we suffer it:
we are counted as the filth of the world, and the offscouring of all
things to this day." Their book opens with the story of their Master's
birth in a stable, with the manger for his cradle, and one of its last
pictures is that of his venerable apostle chained in a dungeon, and
begging his friend to bring his old cloak from Troas, and to do his
diligence to come before winter.

Unpopular, pure, and penniless, if the gospel story were not true, how
could it have had preachers? They at least believed it.

The last and most convincing testimony which any man can give to the
truth of a statement of fact is to suffer rather than deny it. Many have
wondered why God allowed his dear servants to suffer so much persecution
in the first ages of the Church. One principal reason was to give future
ages an irresistible proof of the sincerity and faithfulness of the
witnesses for Christ. The apostles lived lives of persecution and
suffering for the name of Jesus; sufferings which they might have
avoided if they had only abstained from preaching any more in this name.
But, said they, "We can not but speak of the things which we have seen
and heard." One who had no personal acquaintance with Jesus, and whose
first interview with him was while he was breathing out threatening and
slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, is converted and called to
be an apostle; and behold the prospect Jesus presents to him, "I will
show him _how great things he must suffer for my name_." "The Holy Ghost
testifieth," says Paul, "that in every city bonds and afflictions abide
me. Yet none of these things move me." That at least was a true
prophecy. "Seven times," says Clement, "he was in bonds, he was whipt,
he was stoned; he preached both in the East and West, leaving behind him
the glorious report of his faith, and so having taught the whole world
righteousness, and for that end traveled even to the utmost bounds of
the West, he at last suffered martyrdom by the command of the governors,
and went to his holy place, having become a most eminent pattern of
patience to all ages."[80] Hear his own appeal to those who envied his
authority in the church, "Are they ministers of Christ, I am more: in
labors more abundant, in stripes above measure, in prisons more
frequent, in deaths often. Of the Jews five times received I forty
stripes save one. Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned,
thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep:
in journeyings often, in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in
perils by my own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the
city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among
false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in
hunger and thirst, in cold and nakedness."--1 Corinthians ii. 23.

Man can give no higher proof of his veracity, than a life such as this,
unless it is to seal it with his blood; and this crowning testimony to
the truth the apostles gave. Save the aged disciple, who, after torments
worse than death, survived to address the persecuted church as, "Your
companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus
Christ," they all suffered martyrdom for the truth of the gospel

Let me again remind you that the gospel is not a collection of dogmas,
but a relation of facts; that these twelve men did not preach the death
and resurrection of Jesus, because they had read them in a creed, but
because they had seen them with their own eyes; that they lived holy
lives of toil, and hardship, and poverty, and suffering, in preaching
these facts to the world; and that they died painful and shameful deaths
as martyrs for their truth. You admit these things. Then I demand of
you, "What more could either God or man do to convince you of their

The faithful and true witness himself has given you this last,
undeniable test of veracity. With the certainty of an ignominious death
before him, he solemnly swears to the truth of this fact, and dies for
it. "And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by
the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of
God? Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said. Hereafter ye shall see the
Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds
of heaven."

Unbeliever, are you prepared to meet him there, and prove him a perjured


[80] Wake's Trans. of Clement, Ep. ad Cor. v.



"In fifty years all Europe will be either Cossack, or Republican." So
prophesied the most sagacious of modern politicians, by the inspiration
of genius, calculating the prospects of the future by the light of his
past experience. This prediction of Napoleon's is a very fair specimen
of the oracles of human sagacity; which always overlooks the most
stupendous facts--such as the conversion of an empire--and the commonest
experiences--such as the birth of a brace of conflicting twins from the
womb of the Rachel of revolution, when history happens to predict the
failure of the self-elected conquering savior. Man learns to believe
whatever he fondly desires, to expect what he believes, and to predict
what he expects. His predictions are the mirrors which photograph his
own moods of mind, rather than views through a telescope directed to the
distant cloud-capped mountains of futurity.

But it is confidently asserted that the science of party politics is
simply the exercise of the gift of prophetic vision on the theater of
civil life; and that a sagacious politician is, within his own sphere, a
prophet. He applies the conditions of the past, so far as he knows them,
to the calculation of the future. His success proves his sagacity, not
his supernatural inspiration. Why should religious predictions be
attributed to a different power?

For the very simple and satisfactory reason, that the great majority of
the calculations of party politicians are failures, while the
predictions of the Bible are verified by the event. Name a dozen leaders
of American politics during the last half century, and you name half a
score of disappointed presidential candidates, whose unfinished
monuments prevent the kindly green sward of oblivion from vailing their
disappointments, and check the prayer of the passing pilgrim that they
may rest in peace; while of the last half dozen who have occupied the
presidential chair, and guided the destinies of the most progressive
half of the world, not a single man had been suggested by the political
leaders even ten years before his election. No wonder politicians become
shy of prediction.

But it is alleged, that while on a field so contracted as to become the
arena of mere personal partialities it is confessedly difficult to
predict the future, on the wider field of the world's great interests,
the well-known uniformity of human passions and interests render their
results calculable to the sagacious statesman.

Thus Draper argues, that nations, like the individuals composing them,
have fixed periods of growth, manhood, decay, decrepitude, and
death--more or less rapid, according to the stock and situation. Those
who accept that dogma argue that all that is necessary in order to
predict the fate of a nation is a correct calculation of its present
age; whether of childhood, manhood, or senility.

It is wonderful how rashly men will risk their reputation for common
sense on the sound of a plausible analogy, which, even were it valid,
would not justify the inference drawn from it. For, suppose that there
were as fixed laws of national as of individual life, can any man
predict the period of the life of any individual, much less his destiny?
May not the life of the nation be as liable to accidents and diseases as
that of the individual?

But the claim has been actually made, that the skillful statesman, or
philosophic observer, is able to foresee, and foretell, even such
accidents. Dean Stanley quotes Mill as suggesting an ordinary sign of
statesmanship in modern times: "To have made predictions often verified
by the event, seldom or never falsified by it."

Others give a still wider range to prophetic inspiration. They tell us
that all genius is prophetic, inasmuch as it grasps general laws,
universal in their range, and unvariable in their operation, the
application of which to particular events constitutes prediction. The
Hebrew prophets were sagacious observers of human nature, and made very
shrewd calculations of the future progress of events by a careful
induction of the invariable laws of nature from the history of the past.
But there was nothing supernatural in that. Every poet, philosopher, and
statesman is more or less of a prophet. Indeed foresight, like insight,
is common to all men: a superior degree of this common possession
constitutes the prophet. Men of profound insight, or of extensive
foresight, are equally rare in all departments of science. Ignorance
ascribes to supernatural inspiration the sagacity derived from extensive
observation of nature and history; while philosophy traces to the same
source the inspiration of Moses and Mohammed, of Isaiah and Apollo, of
the Principia, Paradise Lost, and the Apocalypse, of Rothschild,
Napoleon, and Bismarck. Some geniuses expend themselves in poems, some
in paintings, others in predictions. All are alike imperfect and
fallible. Once in centuries, perhaps, we are astonished by the advent of
a master, while occasional less perfect attempts and shrewd guesses keep
the fires of ambition alive in the human breast.

But if this were a correct account of the case we should have our best
prophets as the result of our widest observations of nature and history;
the best should come last. The prophets of this nineteenth century
should be far ahead of Moses in prophetic foresight, standing as they do
on the summit of the observatory built by the experience of forty
centuries. Whereas, as a matter of fact, the world knows nothing about
these modern prophets, or their predictions. The instances alleged by
Rationalists are contemptibly trivial when compared with the Bible
predictions. Contrast, for instance, Cayotte's alleged prediction, that
the fate of Charles would befall Louis XVI., and that the rabble would
fill Paris with anarchy--with Daniel's grand historic outline of the
four great empires; or with our Savior's detailed prediction of the
siege of Jerusalem. Cayotte's guess commanded no respect, even while the
coming event cast its shadow before it; nor did he profess to utter it
in the name of the Great Disposer of all events as the seal and
authentication of a revelation of moral duty to man; and so it was of no
value to those threatened by the calamity. But our Lord's predictions
were so authoritative in their tone, and so definite in their details,
that they enabled his disciples to escape the impending destruction at
that time; and their fulfillment has furnished a decisive proof of his
divine foresight to all generations.

We are told by men who could not read one of Apollo's oracles to save
their lives, nor recite one of Isaiah's prophecies to save their souls,
that Apollo's oracles, no less than Isaiah's, were inspired. Could such
persons be prevailed upon to read carefully any single prophetic book of
Scripture, with the historic facts to which it refers, or even the
briefest abridgment of these facts, such as that contained in The
Comprehensive Commentary, they would not thus expose their ignorance
alike of heathen and Christian oracles.

The differences between them are too numerous to be easily enumerated.
The oracles of the heathen are always sources of gain to their prophets.
The ancient Pythoness must have a hecatomb, the writing medium a dollar,
and the modern Pythoness of the platform a dime. But under the
inspiration of God even a Balaam becomes honest, and the leprosy of
Naaman marks the sordid Gehazi and his seed forever.

The oracles of the heathen are always immoral in their tendency. From
the first spiritual communication through the serpent medium in the tree
of knowledge, down to the last spiritual marriage rapped out by the
oracle, they are all in favor of pride, ambition, lying, lust, and
murder. The oracles of God begin with a prohibition of curiosity, pride,
covetousness, and theft: "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt
surely die." And they are uniformly of the same tenor, forbidding,
reproving, threatening vice, and encouraging virtue, down to the last:
"Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to
the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city; for
without are dogs, and sorcerers, and whoremongers, and murderers, and
idolaters, and whosoever loveth and maketh a lie."

This last mark--falsehood--belongs to all heathen oracles, from the
first utterance by the serpent, down to the last response rapped out by
the medium. Take any one heathen oracle of which we have any definite
account--and the number is very small--and you will find that, if it is
not "as equivocal as Apollo," _it is false_.

For instance, Dean Stanley very confidently refers to certain heathen
oracles, "the fulfillment of which, according to Cicero, could not be
denied without a perversion of all history. Such was the foreshadowing
of the twelve centuries of Roman dominion, by the legend of the
apparition of the twelve vultures to Romulus, which was so understood
400 years before its accomplishment." Comparing the prophetic
predictions with such fables, he says: "_It is not that they are more
exact in particulars of time and place_; none can be more so than that
of the twelve centuries of the Roman Empire."[81]

The oracle thus exalted to a level with the predictions of our Lord and
his apostles is quoted by Censorinus,[82] A. D. 238, from Varro, who
died B. C. 28. Varro stated that he had heard Vettius, no common augur,
of great genius in disputing, a match with any of the most learned, say,
"If it was so, as the historians related, as to the auguries of the
founding of the city of Romulus and the twelve vultures, since the Roman
people had passed 120 years safe, it would reach 1,200."

Dean Stanley misquotes the oracle, and does injustice to the old heathen
prophet. He spake no word whatever about _dominion_; all he dared
conjecture for his city was _safety_. Even that is put in a highly
hypothetical mood. The augury begins with an "if," regarding the
apocryphal story of Romulus and the twelve vultures. But whether the
fable of the vultures be true or not, the augury of twelve centuries of
safety deduced from it is undeniably false, whether it refers to the
material city, or to the political constitution then established. The
city then built was burnt by Brennus, the Gaul. Its successor was taken
and plundered by Alaric, in A. D. 410; again by Genseric, and the
Vandals, in 455; and again by the Ostrogoths, in 546. Thus the material
city was repeatedly taken and destroyed during the twelve centuries
succeeding its founding. If the augury referred to the duration of the
political constitution then instituted, every school-boy knows that half
a dozen revolutions falsified the prediction. If, however, it be alleged
that it referred to the ultimate fate of the city of Rome, that it
should cease to exist after twelve centuries, it is self-evidently
false; for now, after the lapse of twenty-six centuries, Rome is larger,
its people more numerous, and its territory wider than it was for
centuries after Romulus saw the twelve vultures. Thus God "frustrateth
the tokens of the liars." Yet men who have read Roman history, and
whose business it is to read their Bibles, continue to cite Vettius
Valens as a prophet, and to compare his false auguries with the
predictions of the Scriptures of truth!

This is only one of a number of such secular predictions confidently
cited by the learned Dean as having been as minute and specific as those
of Scripture, and undeniably fulfilled. But a scholar of his own church
has examined his references and alleged facts, and the result is, that
not a single instance remains of the fulfillment of any definite
prediction given by the original writers; and where the transcriber and
the Dean have helped them out to a more definite prediction, it has
proved a false prophecy, as in the case of Sterling's and Spence's
prediction of the year of the disruption of the Union of the United
States. Dr. Pusey summarizes this discussion in his work on Daniel (p.
637), from which we extract and condense the following paragraphs on
this subject:

"Dean Stanley produces a certain number of alleged predictions in
secular history, as counterparts of the predictions of _the political
events_ of their own, and the surrounding nations," in the Hebrew
prophets, _i. e._ (in religious language), "of God's judgments upon both
for their sins against himself and their fellow-men." He says, "Every
one knows instances, both in ancient and modern times, of predictions
which have been uttered, and fulfilled, in regard to events of this
kind. Sometimes such predictions have been the results of political
foresight. Many instances will occur to students of history. Even within
our own memory the great catastrophe of the disruption of the United
States of America _was foretold, even with the exact date, several years
beforehand_. Sometimes there has been an anticipation of some future
epoch in the pregnant sayings of eminent philosophers and poets; as for
example the intimation of the discovery of America by Seneca; or of
Shakespeare by Plato; or the Reformation by Dante. Sometimes the result
has been produced by the power of divination, granted in some
inexplicable manner to ordinary men. Of such a kind were many of the
ancient oracles, the fulfillment of which, according to Cicero, could
not be denied without a perversion of history. Such was the
foreshadowing of the twelve centuries of Roman dominion by the legend of
the apparition of the twelve vultures to Romulus, which was so
understood 400 years before its actual accomplishment. Such, but with
less certainty, was the traditional prediction of the conquest of
Constantinople by the Mussulmans; the alleged predictions by Archbishop
Malachi, whether composed in the eleventh or sixteenth centuries, of the
series of popes down to the present time; not to speak of the well-known
instances which are recorded both in French and English history. But
there are several points which at once place the prophetic predictions
on a different level from any of these. _It is not that they are more
exact in particulars of time and place_; none can be more so than that
of the twelve centuries of the Roman Empire; and our Lord himself has
excluded the precise knowledge of times and seasons from the widest and
highest range of prophetic vision." (Jewish Church, 463. The Bible: its
Form and Substance, pages 80, 82.)

"It might safely be admitted," says Dr. Pusey, "that the outward
predictions of time and place are of the body, rather than of the soul
of prophecy, yet as indications that he revealed himself, who alone
could know long before what he willed to bring to pass by his
Providence, the predictions of the Hebrew prophets are not to be
paralleled by any human history.

"Definite predictions of the Hebrew prophets have been instanced above.
Dr. Stanley's instances of secular fulfillment are unhappy." He then
proceeds to examine in their turn the political, poetic, Popish,
Mohammedan, and heathen oracles quoted by Dean Stanley.

_I. The Political Predictions._

Sterling, as quoted by Mr. Spence, so far from predicting the great
catastrophe of the disruption of the United States _at the end_ of the
four years, says that no wise man would predict anything even within
those four years. "It appears to me that amid so many elements of
uncertainty as to the future, both from the excited state of men's minds
in the States themselves, and the complication of surrounding
circumstances, no wise man would venture to foretell the probable issue
of American affairs during the next four years." (On the American Union,
page 14.) And this was written amid all the heavings which preceded the
bursting of the volcano. It followed, after statesmen had, one after
another, seen the elements of that disruption. The probability of the
severance of the North and South has been a speculation to which the
older of us have long been familiar. And now [1864] who would venture to
predict the time of the close of that sad war? (First edition.) Now
[1865] that it has come to an end Americans taunt Europeans with their
want of foresight in their anticipations as to its issue. The _Times_
correspondent retorts as to false anticipations of Americans--(1) that
the issue would not interfere with slavery; (2) that there would be
separation without bloodshed; (3) that the war would last only some
ninety days; (4) that the United States would break up into fragments
(Northern); (5) they contemplated that the interests of trade would
suffice for the harmony of North and South when separated, etc., etc.
June 6, 1865. Europeans almost universally anticipated the success of
the South. So little did the human sagacity of men really sagacious,
with intimate knowledge of the strength of the different parties, their
numbers, resources, and all the calculations as to modern warfare,
enable them to anticipate within half a year the result of a war, which,
through the vivid description of it, and clear knowledge, was carried
on almost under their eyes. And these men would have us to suppose that
Hebrew prophets, living in the center of a small people, could, with
mere human knowledge, foretell with absolute certainty the overthrow of
flourishing empires, when at the acme of their power!

_II. The So-called Prophecies of S. Malachi._

These have long been recognized to be a forgery, unmeaning except for
the immediate purpose for which they were "forged by the partisans of
the Cardinal Simoncelli, one of the candidates for the tiara, who was
designated by the words 'de antiquitate orbis,' because he was of
Orvieto, in Latin, 'orbs vetus.'" (Biog. Unv'l v. Wion.) Menestrier
published a refutation of the pretended prophecies of S. Malachi, Paris,
1689, written with much solidity. Don Feijoo also refuted these
pretended prophecies in his _Teatro Critico_. The Noveau Dictionnaire
Historique, by MM. Chaudon and Delaudine, speaks of the "errors and
anachronisms with which this impertinent list swarms." "The
forgetfulness of common sense makes itself felt in a few pages. Those
who have set themselves to explain these too noted insipidities, always
find some allusion, forced or probable, in the country, name, arms,
birth, talents of the popes, the cardinalatory dignities they had borne,
etc.; _e. g._, the prophecy which related to Urban the Eighth was,
_Lilium et Rosæ_." It was fulfilled to the very letter, say these absurd
interpreters, for that pope had in his coat of arms bees, which suck
lilies and roses. (Art. Malachi and Wion.)

III. Dr. Pusey proceeds to examine the process by which a prediction of
_the conquest of Constantinople_ has been manufactured for the false
prophet, Mohammed.

"In the mosque of Sultan Mohammed the Second," says V. Hammer, "which
was finished A. D. 1469, there stands, to the right of the main door, on
a marble slab, on an azure field, in gold raised characters, the
tradition of the prophet relating to Constantinople. 'They _will
conquer_ Constantinople; and blessed the prince, blessed the army which
shall fulfill this.'" (Constant v. d. Bosporos I. 393.) Or (as he
renders more exactly in Gesch d. Osm. Reich, p. 523), "the best prince
is he who conquers it, and the best army, his army." This tradition,
being above eight centuries after Mohammed, has, of course, no value. It
reappears in a different form in Ockley, the conquest being presupposed,
rather than prophesied. Ockley says (History of Saracens, II. 128),
"Mohammed having said, 'The sins of the first army which takes the city
of the Cæsar are forgiven.'" Ockley referring only vaguely to Bokhari,
who, early in the third century, after Mohammed selected 7,000
traditions which he held to be genuine, out of some 267,000, I applied
to my friend, M. Reinaud, professor of Arabic at Paris, and member of
the Institute, not doubting that with his large knowledge he would be
able to point out to me the passage in the _Sahih_. This, with his
well-known kindness, he has done, amid his many labors. It puts an end
to all questions about prophecy. The passage is this: As Omm Heram has
related to us that she heard the prophet say, "The first army of my
people which shall war by sea will acquire merits with God, Omm Heram
said, 'I said, O Apostle of God, I will be among them.' He said, 'Thou
shalt be among them.' Then the prophet said, 'The first army of my
people which shall attack the city of the Cæsar, their sins shall be
forgiven them.' Then I said, 'I will be with them, O Apostle of God.' He
said, 'No!'" M. Reinaud adds, "There is no question but that Mohammed
conceived the idea of the invasion of the Roman Empire, and of the
kingdom of Persia by his disciples. He himself shortly before his death
tried his strength against the Roman forces in Syria. But the passage
does not say what Ockley makes him say. It does not say that
Constantinople would be taken."

The other prophecy referred to by Von Hammer is as follows: "Have you
heard of a city of which one side is land, the two others sea? They
said, 'Yea, O Apostle of God.' He said, 'The last hour will not come
without its being conquered by 70,000 sons of Isaac. When they come to
it they will not fight against it with weapons and engines of war, but
with the word, There is no god but God, and God is great!' Then will one
side of the sea walls fall; and at the second time the second; and at
the third time the wall on the land side; and they will enter in with

The framer of this prophesy expected the walls of Constantinople to fall
like those of Jericho, which he must have had in mind. He expected it to
fall before Arabs, "sons of Isaac," not before Turks. * * * Yet,
contrary to the expectation, and the prophecy, it did fall before the
Turks, after having been seven times besieged by the Arabs, and four
times by the Turks; by whom it was taken A. D. 1453. The framer of the
prediction anticipated that the representatives of the followers of the
prophet would be Arabs to some indefinite period, near the last hour; he
expected a miraculous destruction of Constantinople; it was besieged
seven times by those before whose war-cry he expected it to fall. It did
not fall before those before whom he said it would fall; it fell in an
ordinary way, not in that predicted; it was besieged in the way in which
he said it would not be besieged; lastly, it fell, but its walls fell
not. _Every detail of the prediction is contrary to the fact._ As for
the mere capture, it befalls all great cities in turn; so that a
prediction of the capture of any great city would be the safest of all
prophecies. But the prediction did not anticipate, what is now certain,
that as soon as Christian jealousies permit, before the end of the
world, it will be wrested from its captors.

IV. The legend of Romulus and the vultures, and the falsehood of the
prediction based upon it, have been exposed on a previous page.

V. In regard to Seneca's alleged prediction of the discovery of America,
it was exceedingly vague; and was wholly based on the undoubted
knowledge of its existence by the ancient Egyptians, and by Plato,
Proclus, Marcellus, Ammianus, Marcellinus, Diodorus, Aristotle, and
Plutarch; whose assertions influenced Columbus to undertake the search
for it. Nothing could be more certain than that such a continent would
be rediscovered. But in the only indication which Seneca gives us of its
location he erred; for Thule is still the utmost land northward, no new
continent having been discovered, nor remaining to be discovered, toward
the North Pole.

VI. As to the heathen oracles we have already spoken enough.

VII. "The anticipation of Shakespeare by Plato amounts to this, that he
makes Socrates compel his friends to admit, 'that it belongs to the same
man, how to compose comedy and tragedy, and that he who is by skill a
composer of tragedies is also a composer of comedies.' (Sympos fin.)
* * * But it is mere confusion to speak of this as _anticipation_. Plato
does not say that there would be any greater combination of the two
talents than there had been; he does not even say that the highest
excellence in one involved excellence in the other; he simply says that
the two faculties belonged to the same mind. According to his maxims, if
true, it would be rather marvelous that they were not more frequently
combined than that they were remarkably in one mind."

VIII. "Those best read in Dante are at a loss to find in him any trace
of a prediction of the Reformation. Dante, with his firm faith in all
Roman doctrine, could not have imagined or anticipated such a disruption
as Luther's. Dean Stanley corrects an unimportant misprint or two in the
second edition of his book, on the ground of the above statements. He
does not even attempt to supply a passage from Dante. I have looked for
one in vain."

Yet such a collection of errors, absurdities, falsehoods, and impostures
is gravely presented, in this nineteenth century, by a learned
clergyman, as comparable in regard to exact fulfillment with the oracles
of God.

It is not intended here to discuss the question of the continuance of
prophetic powers in the Church. If, as many believe, the promise in Joel
ii. 28--"It shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, that your
sons and your daughters shall prophesy," etc.--is a promise not yet
exhausted, predictions given by the Holy Spirit may have been given
through Christians in former times, and may still be given. But if such
be the fact, these are not secular predictions; but spiritual and
supernatural, and of the same class with those of Scripture; they are
therefore not to be cited by Rationalists as examples of secular

But it is objected that "the prophecies of Scripture are as obscure as
the oracles; are all wrapped up in symbolical language; that many of
them have a double meaning; that no two interpreters are agreed as to
the meaning of the unfulfilled predictions; and that no man can
certainly foretell any future event by means of them."

The objection proceeds on a total mistake of the nature and design of
prophecy, which is not to unvail the future for the gratification of
your curiosity, but to give you direction in your present duty;
precisely the reverse of the oracles referred to, which proposed to tell
their votaries what should happen, but rarely condescended to direct
them how to behave themselves so that things might happen well. The
larger part of the prophecies of Scripture is taken up with directions
to men how to regulate their conduct, rather than with information how
God means to regulate his. There is just as much of the latter as is
sufficient to show us that the God who gave the Bible governs the world,
and even that always urges the same moral lesson: "Say ye to the
righteous that it shall be well with him, for he shall eat the fruit of
his doings." "Woe to the wicked; it shall be ill with him, for the
reward of his hands shall be given him." Whenever a vision relates to
what God will do in the distant future, it is dark and mysterious; but
whenever any directions are given necessary for our immediate duty, then
the "vision is written and made plain on tables, _that he may run that
readeth it_." The possessors of a clearly engrossed title-deed have
surely no reason to complain that the president has chosen that his seal
appended to it shall consist of a device, which, by reason of its being
hard to read, and harder to imitate, secures both himself and them
against forgery. The double meaning of some prophecies is a double
check. So far from resembling the equivocations of heathen oracles, by
taking either of two opposite events for a fulfillment, they require
both of two corresponding ones; and some prophecies, like a master key,
open several successive events, and thus show that the same mind planned
both locks and key. When the prediction is fulfilled all mystery
vanishes, and men see plainly that thus it was written; that is to say,
men who look; for the man who will not open his eyes will never see
anything that it concerns him to know. But the man who thinks that it
concerns him so much to know what God will do with the world a hundred
years after he is dead, that unless the prophecies of the Bible are all
made plain to him, he will neither read God's word, nor obey his law,
may go on his own way. We expound no mysteries to such persons; for it
is written, "None of the wicked shall understand."

As to the objection taken from the symbolical language of prophecy, and
which seems to a number of our modern critics so weighty that they
remove to the purely mythologic ground everything "couched in symbolical
language," and account nothing to be prediction unless "literal history
written in advance"--I would merely ask, How is it possible to reveal
heavenly things to earth-born men but by earthly figures? Do you know a
single word in your own, or any other language to express a spiritual
state, or mental operation, that is not the name of some material state,
or physical operation, used symbolically? Heart, soul, spirit, idea,
memory, imagination, inclination, etc., every one of them a figure of
speech--a symbol. Nay, is there a letter in your own, or in any other
alphabet, that was not originally a picture of something? I demand to
know in what way God or man could teach you to know anything you have
never seen, but by either showing you a picture of it, or telling you
what it is like? That is simply by type or symbol; these are the only
possible media of conveying heavenly truth, or future history to our
minds. When, therefore, the skeptic insists that prophecy be given
literally, in the style of history written in advance, he simply
requires that God would make it utterly unintelligible. We can gather
clear and definite ideas from the significant hieroglyphics of
symbolical language, but the literalities of history written in advance
would be worse to decipher than the arrow-headed inscriptions of
Nineveh. Just imagine to yourself Alexander the Great reading Guizot,
instead of Daniel; or Hildreth, as being less mysterious than Ezekiel;
and meeting, for instance, such a record as this: "In the year of
Christ, 1847, the United States conquered Mexico and annexed
California." "In the year of Christ--what new Olympiad may be that?" he
would say. "The United States of course means the States of the Achæn
League, but on what shore of the Euxine may Mexico and California be
found?" What information could Aristotle gather from the record that,
"In 1857, the Transatlantic Telegraph was in operation?" Could all the
augurs in the seven-hilled city have expounded to Julius Cæsar the
famous dispatch, if intercepted in prophetic vision, "Sebastopol was
evacuated last night, after enduring for three days an infernal fire of
shot and shell?" Nay, to diminish the vista to even two or three
centuries, what could Oliver Cromwell, aided by the whole Westminster
Assembly, have made of a prophetic vision of a single newspaper
paragraph of history written in advance, to inform them that, "Three
companies of dragoons came down last night from Berwick to Southampton,
by a special train, traveling 54-1/2 miles an hour, including stoppages,
and embarked immediately on arrival. The fleet put to sea at noon, in
the face of a full gale from the S. W.?" Why, the intelligible part of
this single paragraph would seem to them more impossible, and the
unintelligible part more absurd, than all the mysterious symbols of the

The world has accepted God's symbols thousands of years ago, and it is
too late in the day for our reformers to propose new laws of thought,
and forms of speech, to the human race. David's prophetic lyrics,
Christ's graphic parables, Isaiah's celestial anthems, Ezekiel's
glorious symbols, and Solomon's terse proverbs, will be recited and
admired, ages after the foggy abstractions of mystified metaphysicians
have vanished from the earth. The Thirst of Passion, the Cup of
Pleasure, the Fountain of the Water of Life, the Blood of Murder, the
Rod of Chastisement, the Iron Scepter, the Fire of Wrath, the Balance of
Righteousness, the Sword of Justice, the Wheels of Providence, the
Conservative Mountains, the Raging Seas of Anarchy, and the Golden,
Brazen, and Iron Ages, will reflect their images in truth's mirror, and
photograph their lessons on memory's tablet, while the mists of the
"positive philosophy," "the absolute," and "the conditioned," float past
unheeded, to the land of forgetfulness. God's prophetic symbols are the
glorious embodiments of living truths, while man's philosophic
abstractions are the melancholy ghosts of expiring nonsense.

The prophetic symbols are sufficiently plain to be distinctly
intelligible _after_ the fulfillment, as we shall presently see;
sufficiently obscure to baffle presumptuous curiosity before it. Had
they been so written as to be fully intelligible beforehand, they must
have interfered with man's free agency, by causing their own
fulfillment. They hide the future sufficiently to make man feel his
ignorance; they reveal enough to encourage faith in the God who rules

The revelation of future events, however, is not the principal design of
the prophecies of the Bible; they bear witness to God's powerful present
influence over the world now. For God's prophecy is not merely his
foretelling something which will certainly happen at some future time,
but over which he has no control--as an astronomer foretells an eclipse
of the sun, but can neither hasten nor hinder it--but it is his
revealing of a part of his plan of this world's affairs, to show that
God, and not man, is the sovereign of this world. For this purpose he
tells beforehand the actions which wicked men, of their own free will,
will commit, contrary to his law, and the measures he will take to
thwart their designs, and fulfill his own. Nay, he declares he will so
manage matters that, without their knowledge, and even contrary to their
intentions, heathen armies, and infidel scoffers shall serve his
purposes, and show his power; while yet they are as perfectly voluntary
in all their movements as if they, and not God, governed the world.
Every fulfilled prophecy thus becomes an instance and evidence of a
supernatural government; and is, to a thinking mind, a greater miracle
than casting mountains into the sea. The style of prophecy corresponds
to this design. It is not by any means apologetic, or supplicating;
but, on the contrary, majestic, convincing, and terrifying to the

     "_Remember this and show yourselves men.
     Bring it again to mind, O ye transgressors.
     For I am God, and there is none else.
     I am God, and there is none like me.
     Declaring the end from the beginning,
     And from, ancient times the things that are not yet done,

Infidels feel the power of this manifestation of God in his word; and
are driven to every possible denial of the fact, and evasion of the
argument drawn from it. They feel instinctively that Bible prophecies
are far more than mere predictions. They would rather endow every human
being on earth with the power of predicting the future than allow the
God of heaven that power of ruling the present which these prophecies
assert. Hence the attempt to admit their predictive truth, and yet deny
their divine authority, by ascribing them to human sagacity.

Transatlantic steam navigation has produced a remarkable change in the
tone of Infidel writers and speakers in regard to the prophecies of the
Bible. You could not converse long with an Infidel on this subject, a
few years ago, until he would assure you, with all confidence, that the
prophecies were all written after their fulfillment, and so were not
prophecies at all. But now that travelers of all classes, scoffers,
sailors, and doctors in divinity, scientific expeditions, and
correspondents of daily papers, have flooded the world with undeniable
attestations that many of them are receiving their fulfillment at this
day, none but the most grossly ignorant and stupid attempt to deny that
the prophecies of the Bible were written thousands of years since, and
that many of them have since been accomplished; and that so many have
been fulfilled that their accomplishment can not be ascribed to chance.
But the force of the argument for the divine inspiration of the prophets
is met by the assertion, that there is nothing supernatural in prophecy,
and that it is only one form of the inspiration of genius applying the
general laws of nature.

Calculating securely on that profound ignorance of the Bible which
characterizes their followers, modern writers inform them that "none of
the prophets ever uttered any distinct, definite, unambiguous prediction
of any future event which has since taken place, which a man without a
miracle could not equally well predict." It is alleged that the
prophecies, in predicting the overthrow of the nations of antiquity,
predicted nothing beyond the ken of human sagacity, enlightened by a
careful study of the experience of the past, and the invariable laws of
nature; that it requires no inspiration to foretell the decay of
perishing things; that the invariable progress of all things, empires as
well as individuals, is first upward, through a period of youthful vigor
and energy, then onward through a period of ripe maturity, and then
downward, through a gradual decay, and final dissolution, to the
inevitable grave. The world's history is but a history of the decline
and fall of nations.

1. Now, if this be true, it is an awful truth for the Infidel, for _it
sweeps away the last vestige of a foundation of his hope for eternity_.
The only reason any unbeliever in Revelation could ever give, or that
modern Rationalists do give, for their hope of a happy eternity, is the
analogy of nature--the alleged constant progress of all things toward
perfection in this world. It is an awkward truth that individually we
must die, and the worms crawl over us; but then the wretched fate of the
individual was to be compensated by the glorious progress of the race
onward and ever onward and upward; from the fungus to the frog, and from
the frog to the monkey, from the monkey to the man, from the noble
savage wild in woods, to the pastoral tribe, thence to the empire and
the federal republic, and finally to the reign of individual and
passional attraction, and union with the sum of all the intelligences of
the universe, through a constant progress toward infinite perfection.

But, alas! it seems it was a false analogy, an ill-observed fact, a
delusion; the course of nature is all the other way. The tendency of all
perishing things is not to perfection, but to perdition; and it needs no
inspiration to tell that man's loftiest towers, and strongest cities,
and proudest empires will come to ruin; or that the most polished,
powerful, and populous nations of antiquity will dwindle down into
Turks, Moors, and Egyptians. Here is a fact of awful omen. Death reigns
in this world of ours; death moral, social, political, and physical, has
ever trampled upon man, proud man, learned man, civilized man, over all
the plans of man, over every man, and over every association of men,
even the largest, the widest, the mightiest. And now the Infidel, having
taken away our hope of help from heaven, comes with the serpent's hiss,
and fiendish sneer, to taunt the perishing world with this miserable
truism--that the tendency of everything on earth is to perdition, and
that it needs no inspiration to tell it. Truly it does not. Were that
all the prophets of God had to tell us--as it is all the prophets of
Infidelity can prophecy--we had as little need for the one as for the
other. Earthquake and hurricane, volcano and valley flood, autumn frosts
and winter blasts, fever, consumption, war, and pestilence, the
grave-yard and the charnel-house, the Parthenon and the Pyramids, the
silent cities of Colorado, and the buried palaces of Assyria, unite to
attest this awful doom.

But what reason has the skeptic to believe that this invariable law of
nature shall ever be repealed, and this inevitable progress of all
things to perdition be arrested? Why may not men be as selfish, and
filthy, and grasping, and murderous in the other world, as they are in
this? Why may not the course of nature be as fatal to the sinner's
prosperity there as it is here? Why may not the progress of the proud
empires and spheres of futurity be such as the skeptic declares the
progress of the past to have been, so invariably toward dissolution and
death, that it shall need no inspiration to predict its course downward,
downward, ever downward, to endless perdition? Stand forward, skeptic,
and point the world to an instance in which an ungodly nation has
stemmed this all-destroying torrent of ruin; or acknowledge that all you
can promise the nations of the world to come, from your experience of
the invariable laws of nature, is _perdition, endless perdition_.

2. It is manifest, however, that this destruction of nations and
desolation of empires must have had a beginning some time or other.
Nations could not perish before they had grown, nor empires be destroyed
till they had accumulated; and during all this period of their growth
and vigor the experience of mankind would never lead them to predict
their ruin. The sagacious observer, beholding Babylon, Nineveh,
Damascus, and Tyre, growing and flourishing during a period of a
thousand years past, could have had no reason from such an experience to
expect anything else than a thousand years of prosperity to come.
Especially impossible is it for human sagacity, enlightened by
experience, to predict _unexampled_ desolations, destructions such as
the world had never witnessed.

_Now the predictions of the Bible are predictions of unexampled
desolations, and unparalleled ruin of empires._ The desolation of any
extensive region of the earth, or the overthrow of any great nation, was
an event absolutely unknown to the world when the prophets of the Bible
began to utter their predictions; unless the skeptic will allow the
truth of the Bible record of the prediction and execution of the
deluge, and the destruction of Sodom. War and conquest had indeed caused
some provinces to change masters; one nation had made marauding
invasions on others, and carried off cattle and slaves; but the result
of the greatest military operation of which we have any record, at the
commencement of the prophetic era--the conquest of Palestine by the
Israelites--so far from desolating the region, or exterminating the
people, had been merely to increase its productiveness, and to drive its
former occupants to new settlements, where at that era they were fully
able to cope with their former conquerors. Whatever the experience of
thirty centuries may have since taught the nations concerning the
certainty of the connection between national crime and national ruin, a
long-suffering God had not then given any such signal examples of it, as
those of which he gave warning by the prophets.

The course of the nations and cities founded after the deluge had been
regularly onward and prosperous, and they were just rising to the
maturity of their power and splendor when Jonah, Micah, Hosea, and
Isaiah, began to pronounce their sentences. They denounced desolation
and solitude against nations more populous than this continent, one of
whose cities enumerated more citizens than some of our proud
commonwealths, and displayed buildings, a sight of whose crumbling ruins
is deemed sufficient recompense for the perils of a journey of six
thousand miles. The hundred churches of Cincinnati could all have been
conveniently arranged in the basement of the temple of Belus; on the
first floor our hundred thousand non-church-going citizens might have
assembled to listen to a lecture on spiritualism from some eloquent
Chaldean soothsayer; and the remaining seven stories would have still
been open for the accommodation of the natives of the original Queen
City. Every product of earth was trafficked in the markets of Tyre; a
single Jewish house imported annually more gold than all the banks of
this continent possess; and the whole coinage of the United States since
1793 would want a hundred millions of dollars of the value of the golden
furniture of a single temple in Babylon. In fact, in the suburbs of
Babylon or Nineveh, Washington or Cincinnati would have been
insignificant villages; and the stone-fronted brick palaces of Broadway
and the Fifth Avenue would make passable stables and haylofts for the
mansions of Thebes or Petra.

So far, therefore, from being the teaching of experience, there was
nothing more utterly unexampled and unparalleled than the complete
desolation of any nation at the time the prophets of Israel predicted
such things. If the world has grown wiser since regarding the decline
and fall of empires, it has gathered the best part of its sagacity from
the prophecies.

The degradation of the seed of Ham, and the colonization of Asia by the
descendants of Japhet, were however undeniably predicted by Noah long
before any examples or experiences of such things had occurred.
Centuries after the degradation of Canaan had been predicted, his
descendants were powerful, prosperous, and colonizing the shores of the
world. But God foresaw, and compelled their ancestor to foretell, the
corruption of the blood which would reduce his descendants to be
servants of servants to their brethren; and now the ruins of their
cities, and of the people descended from Canaan, are proverbial alike in
the libraries and slave markets of the world.

But on the other hand, the colonization of the world by the descendants
of Japhet was as particularly predicted by Noah as the degradation of
the Canaanites; and this can not be called a prediction of destruction,
but rather of great prosperity: "God shall enlarge Japhet." Every
emigrant ship which discharges its cargo at New York, and every new
prairie farm in America, and every sheep ranch in Australia, and every
new cattle kraal in South Africa fulfills the prediction: "He shall
dwell in the tents of Shem." The various Greek, Roman, English, and
Russian Empires of Asia attest the truth. From the Volga to the Amour,
and from Hong Kong to Singapore, and from the Ganges to the Indus,
Japhet to-day dwells in the tents of Shem.

3. The prophecies of the Bible are not vague general denunciations of
natural decline and extinction to all the nations of the world, which,
if they were merely the exposition of a universal _natural_ law of
national death, they would be; nor yet the application of any such
natural and inevitable law to some particular nation, denouncing its
destruction, without any specification of time, manner, instrument, or
cause of its infliction. They are all the applications of _moral
law_--sentences pronounced on account of national wickedness. In every
case the prophecy charges the crimes, and specifies the punishment,
selected by the Judge of all the earth. The nations selected as examples
of divine justice are as various as their sentences are different;
covering a space as long as from Eastport to San Francisco, and climes
as various as those between Canada and Cuba; peopled by men of every
shade of color and degree of capacity, from the negro servant of
servants, to the builders of the Coliseum, and the Pyramids. They
minutely describe, in their own expressive symbols, the nations yet
unfounded, and kings unborn, who should ignorantly execute the judgments
of the Lord. They predict the futures of over thirty States, _no two of
which are alike_; each prediction embracing a large number of minute
particulars, any one of which was utterly beyond the range of human
sagacity. To predict that a man will die may require no great sagacity;
but to tell the year of his death, that he will die as a criminal,
allege the crime for which he will be sentenced, the time, place, and
manner of his execution, and the name of the sheriff who will execute
the sentence, is plainly beyond the skill of man. Such is the character
of Bible predictions. Zedekiah's sentence was thus pronounced; and thus,
too, the sentences of nations doomed to ruin for their crimes are
recorded in the Bible, that men may know that the mouth of the Lord hath
spoken them. If, for instance, a prophet should declare that New York
should be overturned, and become a little fishing village, and that her
stones and timber, and her very dust, should be scraped off and thrown
into the East River; that Philadelphia should become a swamp, and never
be inhabited, from generation to generation; that Columbus should be
deserted, and become a hog-pen; that Louisville should become a dry,
barren desert; and New Orleans be utterly consumed with fire, and never
be built again; that learning should depart from Boston, and no
travelers ever pass through it any more; that New England should become
the basest of the nations, and no native American ever be President of
the Union, but that it should be a spoil and a prey to the most savage
tribes; and that the Russians should tread Washington under foot for a
thousand years; but that God would preserve Pittsburg in the midst of
destruction--and if all these things should come to pass, would any man
dare to deny that the prophet spake not the dictates of human sagacity,
or the calculations of genius, but the words of God?

To attempt to illustrate the divine wisdom displayed in a system of
connected predictions, covering the destiny of the nations of the world,
and extending from the dawn of history to the end of time, by presenting
two or three instances of the fulfillment of specific predictions, would
be something like exhibiting a fragment of a column as a monument of the
skill of the architect of a temple; yet, as such a fragment may excite
the curiosity of the traveler to visit the structure whence it was
taken, I shall present two or three prophecies in which specific
predictions are given, concerning the _geographical, political, social,
and religious condition_ of three of the great nations of
antiquity--_Egypt, Judea, and Babylon_--the fulfillment of which is
spread over the surface of empires and the ruins of cities, patent to
all travelers at the present hour, and abundantly attested in many

Could human sagacity have calculated that Egypt--the most defensible
country in the world, bounded on the south by inaccessible mountains, on
the east by the Red Sea, on the west by the trackless, burning desert;
able to defend the mouths of her river with a powerful navy, and to
drown an invading army every year by the inundation of the Nile; which
had not only maintained her independence, but extended her conquests for
a thousand years past, whose victorious king, Apries, had just sent an
expedition against Cyprus, besieged and taken Gaza and Sidon, vanquished
the Tyrians by sea, mastered Phoenicia and Palestine, and boasted that
not even a god could deprive him of his possessions--Egypt, which had
given arts, sciences, and idolatry to half the world, and which had not
risen to the full height of its world-wide fame, or the extent of its
influence for twenty-five years after the prediction[85]--that Egypt
should be invaded, conquered, spoiled, become a prey to strangers and
evermore to strangers, never have a native prince, sink into barbarism,
renounce idolatry, and become famous for her desolations? Yet the Bible
predictions are specific on all these matters: "_I will make the rivers
dry, and sell the land into the hand of the wicked: and I will make the
land waste, and all that is therein, by the hand of strangers: I the
Lord have spoken it. Thus saith the Lord God; I will also destroy the
idols, and I will cause the images to cease out of Noph; and there shall
be no more a prince of the land of Egypt._"[86]

Let Infidels read the fulfillment of these predictions, as described by
Infidels: "Such is the state of Egypt. Deprived twenty-three centuries
ago of her natural proprietors, she has seen her fertile fields
successively a prey to the Persians, the Macedonians, the Romans, the
Greeks, the Arabs, the Georgians, and at length the race of Tartars
distinguished by the name of the Ottoman Turks. The Mamelukes, purchased
as slaves and introduced as soldiers, soon usurped the power and
selected a leader. If their first establishment was a singular event,
their continuance is not less extraordinary; they are replaced by slaves
brought from their original country."[87] Says Gibbon: "A more unjust
and absurd constitution can not be devised than that which condemns the
natives of the country to perpetual servitude under the arbitrary
dominion of strangers and slaves. Yet such has been the state of Egypt
about five hundred years. The most illustrious sultans of the Baharite
and Beyite dynasties were themselves promoted from the Tartar and
Circassian bands; and the four and twenty beys, or military chiefs, have
ever been succeeded, not by their sons, but by their servants."[88]
Mehemet Ali cut off the Mamelukes, but still Egypt is ruled by the
Turks, and the present ruler (Ibrahim Pasha) is a foreigner. It is
needless to remind the reader that the idols are cut off. Neither the
nominal Christians of Egypt, nor the iconoclastic Moslem, allow images
to appear among them. The rivers, too, are drying up. In one day's
travel forty dry water-courses will be crossed in the Delta; and
water-skins are needed now around the ruined cities whose walls were
blockaded by Greek and Roman navies.

"_It shall be the basest of the kingdoms; neither shall it exalt itself
any more above the nations: for I will diminish them, that they shall no
more bear rule over the nations._"[89] Every traveler will attest the
truth of this prediction. The wretched peasantry are rejoiced to labor
for any who will pay them five cents a day, and eager to hide the
treasure in the ground from the rapacious tax-gatherer. I have seen
British horses refuse to eat the meal ground from the mixture of wheat,
barley, oats, lentiles, millet, and a hundred unknown seeds of weeds and
collections of filth, which forms the produce of their fields. For
poverty, vermin, and disease, Egypt is proverbial. Let us hear a
scoffer's testimony, however: "In Egypt there is no middle class,
neither nobility, clergy, merchants, nor landholders. A universal air of
misery in all the traveler meets points out to him the rapacity of
oppression, and the distrust attendant upon slavery. The profound
ignorance of the inhabitants equally prevents them from perceiving the
causes of their evils, or applying the necessary remedies. Ignorance,
diffused through every class, extends its effects to every species of
moral and physical knowledge. Nothing is talked of but intestine
troubles, the public misery, pecuniary extortions, and bastinadoes."[90]

The objector perhaps will allege in extenuation the modern improvements
now in progress, the Suez Canal, the railroads, the steamboats on the
Nile, the bridge across the Nile at Cairo, and the sugar and cotton

But if these were as evident tokens of progress in Egypt, as they would
be in America, they would not in the least invalidate the facts of the
past degradation of Egypt for centuries. But these speculations of the
Khedive are of no advantage to the people; rather, on the contrary, do
they afford him additional opportunities of exacting forced labor from
the miserable peasants. I have seen the population of several villages,
forced to leave their own fields in the spring, to march down to an old,
filthy canal, near Cairo, and almost within sight of the gate of the
palace, men, and women, and little boys, and girls, like those of our
Sabbath-schools, scooping up the stinking mud and water with their
hands, into baskets, carrying them on their heads up the steep bank,
beaten with long sticks by the taskmasters to hasten their steps; while
steam dredges lay unused within sight. Egypt is still the basest of the

Here, then, we have conclusive proof of the fulfillment at this day of
four distinct, specific, and improbable Bible predictions: concerning
the country, the rulers, the religion, and the people of Egypt.

Let us note now a distinct and totally different judgment pronounced
against the transgressors of another land. Pre-eminent in inflicting
destruction on others, her retribution was to be extreme. Degradation
and slavery were to be the portion of the learned Egyptians, but utter
extinction is the doom of mighty Babylon. It is written in the Bible
concerning the land where the farmer was accustomed to reap two
hundred-fold: "_Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth
the sickle in the time of harvest. * * * Every purpose of the Lord shall
be performed against Babylon, to make the land of Babylon a desolation
without an inhabitant. * * * Behold the hindermost of the nations shall
be a wilderness, a dry land, and a desert. * * * Because of the wrath of
the Lord it shall not be inhabited, but it shall be wholly

Proofs in abundance of the fulfillment of these predictions present
themselves in every volume of travels in Assyria and Chaldea. "Those
splendid accounts of the Babylonian lands yielding crops of grain of two
and three hundred fold, compared with the modern face of the country,
afford a remarkable proof of the _singular desolation_ to which it has
been subjected. The canals at present can only be traced by their
decayed banks. The soil of this desert consists of a hard clay, mixed
with mud, which at noon becomes so heated with the sun's rays, that I
found it too hot to walk over it with any degree of comfort."[92] "That
it was at some former period in a far different state is evident from
the number of canals by which it is traversed, now dry and neglected;
and the quantity of heaps of earth, covered with fragments of brick and
broken tiles, which are seen in every direction--the indisputable traces
of former cultivation."[93] "The abundance of the country has vanished
as clean away as if the besom of desolation had swept it from north to
south; the whole land, from the outskirts of Babylon to the farthest
stretch of sight, lying a melancholy waste. _Not a habitable spot
appears for countless miles._"[94]

As the desolation of the country was to be extraordinary, so the
desolation of the city of Babylon was to be remarkable. When the prophet
wrote, its walls had been raised to the height of three hundred and
fifty feet, and made broad enough for six chariots to drive upon them
abreast. From its hundred brazen gates issued the armies which trampled
under foot the liberties of mankind, and presented their lives to the
nod of a despot, who slew whom he would, and whom he would allowed to
live. Twenty years' provisions were collected within its walls, and the
world would not believe that an enemy could enter its gates.
Nevertheless, the prophets of God pronounced against it a doom of
destruction as extraordinary as the pride and wickedness which procured
it. Tyre, the London of Asia, was to _become a place for the spreading
of nets_,[95] and the Infidel Volney tells us its commerce had declined
to _a trifling fishery_; but even that implies some few resident
inhabitants. Rabbah, of Ammon, was to become _a stable for camels and a
couching place for flocks_.[96] Lord Lindsay reports that "he could not
sleep amidst its ruins for the bleating of sheep, that the dung of
camels covers the ruins of its palaces, and that the only building left
entire in its Acropolis is used as a sheepfold."[97] Yet sheepfolds
imply that the tents of their Arab owners are near, and that some human
beings would occasionally reside near its ruins. But desolation,
solitude, and utter abandonment to the wild beasts of the desert is the
specific and clearly predicted doom of the world's proud capital. The
most expressive symbols are selected from the desert to portray its

"_Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees'
excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall
never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to
generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall
the shepherds make their fold there: but wild beasts of the desert shall
lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls
shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there. And the wild beasts of
the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their
pleasant palaces._"[98]

Every traveler attests the fulfillment of this strange prediction. "It
is a tenantless and desolate metropolis," says Mignon; who, though
fully armed, and attended by six Arabs, could not induce them by any
reward to pass the night among its ruins, from the apprehension of evil
spirits. So completely fulfilled is the prophecy, "_The Arabian shall
not pitch his tent there._" The same voice which called camels and
flocks to the palaces of Rabbah, summoned a very different class of
tenants for the palaces of Babylon. Rabbah was to be a sheepfold,
Babylon a menagerie of wild beasts; a very specific difference, and very
improbable. One of the later Persian kings, however, after it was
destroyed and deserted, repaired its walls, converted it into a vast
hunting-ground, and stocked it with all manner of wild beasts; and to
this day the apes of the Spice Islands, and the lions of the African
deserts, meet in its palaces, and howl their testimony to the truth of
God's Word. Sir R. K. Porter saw two majestic lions in the Mujelibe (the
ruins of the palace), and Fraser thus describes the chambers of fallen
Babylon: "There were dens of wild beasts in various places, and Mr. Rich
perceived in some a strong smell, like that of a lion. Bones of sheep
and other animals were seen in the cavities, with numbers of bats and

Various destructions were predicted for Babylon. "_I will make it a
habitation for the bittern, and pools of water_,"[99] says one prophecy.
"_Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness_,"[100] says
another. How can such contradictions be true? says the scoffer.

But the scoffer's contradiction is a fact. God can cause the most
discordant agencies to agree in effecting his purpose. Babylon is
alternately an overflowed swamp, from the inundations of the obstructed
Euphrates, and an arid desert, under the scorching rays of an Eastern
sun. Says Mignon: "Morasses and ponds tracked the ground in various
places. For a long time after the subsiding of the Euphrates great part
of this place is little better than a swamp." At another season it was
"a dry waste and burning plain." Even at the same period, "one part on
the western side is low and marshy, and another an arid desert."[101]

Another, and widely different agent, to be employed in the destruction
of the great center of tyranny and idolatry, is thus specifically and
definitely indicated in the prediction: "_Behold, I am against thee, O
destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth: and
I will stretch out my hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks,
and will make thee a burnt mountain. And they shall not take of thee a
stone for a corner, nor a stone for foundations; but thou shalt be
desolate forever, saith the Lord._"[102]

"There is one fact," says Fraser, "in connection with the most
remarkable of these relics (the Birs Nimrod), which we can not dismiss
without a few more observations. All travelers who have ascended the
Birs have taken notice of the singular heaps of brick-work scattered on
the summit of this mound, at the foot of the remnant of the wall still
standing. To the writer they appeared the most striking of all the
ruins. That they have undergone the most violent action of fire is
evident from the complete vitrification which has taken place in many of
the masses. Yet how a heat sufficient to produce such an effect could
have been applied at such a height from the ground is unaccountable.
They now lie on a spot elevated two hundred feet above the plain, and
must have fallen from some much more lofty position, for the structure
which still remains, and of which they may be supposed originally to
have formed a part, bears no marks of fire. The building originally can
not have contained any great proportion of combustible materials, and to
produce so intense a heat by substances carried to such an elevation
would have been almost impossible, for want of space to pile them on.
Nothing, we should be inclined to say, short of the most powerful action
of electric fire, could have produced the complete, yet circumscribed,
fusion which is here observed. Although fused into a solid mass, the
courses of bricks are still visible, identifying them with the standing
pile above, but so hardened by the power of heat, that it is almost
impossible to break off the smallest piece; and, though porous in
texture, and full of air-holes and cavities, like other bricks, they
require, on being submitted to the stone-cutter's lathe, the same
machinery as is used to dress the hardest pebbles."[103]

The doom of Nineveh, the great rival and predecessor of Babylon, was
also predicted as the result of two apparently contradictory
agencies--an overrunning flood and a consuming fire. But both these
antagonistic elements conspired to devour her. The river, with an
overrunning flood, swept away a large portion of the walls. The
besiegers entered through the breach, and set the city on fire. The
charcoal, burnt beans, and slabs of half-calcined alabaster, in the
British Museum, demonstrate the fulfillment of the prediction.

Egypt was to be reduced to slavery and degradation. Babylonia to utter
barrenness and desolation; but a different and still more incredible
doom is pronounced in the Bible upon Judea and its people. The land was
to be emptied of its people, and remain uncultivated, retaining all its
former fertility, while the people were to be scattered over all the
earth, yet never to lose their distinct nationality, nor be amalgamated
with their neighbors: "_I will make your cities waste, and bring your
sanctuaries unto desolation, and I will not smell the savor of your
sweet odors. And I will bring the land into desolation: and your
enemies which dwell therein shall be astonished at it. And I will
scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword after you: and
your land shall be desolate, and your cities waste. Then shall the land
enjoy her Sabbaths, as long as it lieth desolate, and ye be in your
enemies' land; even then shall the land rest, and enjoy her
Sabbaths._"[104] "_Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and
the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, and the Lord
have removed men far away, and there be a great forsaking in the midst
of the land. But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and
shall be eaten: as a teil-tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in
them, when they cast their leaves._"[105] "_The generation to come, of
your children that shall rise up after you, and the stranger that shall
come from a far land, shall say, * * * Wherefore hath the Lord done thus
unto this land? What meaneth the heat of this great anger?_"[106]

It is superfluous to adduce proof of the undeniable and acknowledged
fulfillment of these predictions, but as an example of the way in which
God causes scoffers to fulfill the prophecies, let us again hear Volney:
"I journeyed in the empire of the Ottomans, and traversed the provinces
which were formerly the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria. I enumerated the
kingdoms of Damascus and Idumea, of Jerusalem and Samaria. This Syria,
said I to myself, now almost depopulated, then contained a hundred
flourishing cities, and abounded with towns, villages, and hamlets. What
has become of so many productions of the hand of man? What has become of
those ages of abundance and of life? _Great God! from whence proceed
such melancholy revolutions? For what cause is the fortune of these
countries so strikingly changed? Why are so many cities destroyed?_ Why
is not that ancient population reproduced and perpetuated? A mysterious
God exercises his incomprehensible judgments. He has doubtless
pronounced a secret malediction against the earth. He has struck with a
curse the present race of men in revenge of past generations."[107] The
malediction is no secret to any who will read the twenty ninth chapter
of Deuteronomy; nor is the avenging of the quarrel of God's covenant
confined to the sins of past generations. The philosopher who would
understand the fates of cities and empires should read the prophecies.

The Word of God specifies no less distinctly and definitely the destiny
of the Jewish than of the Babylonian capital, but fixes on a widely
different kind of destruction. Babylon was never to be built again, but
devoted to solitude; busy Tyre to become a place for spreading nets; the
caravans, which once brought the wealth of India through Petra, were to
cease, and the doom was to "cut off him that passeth by and him that
returneth." But Jerusalem, it was predicted, should long feel the
miseries of a multitude of oppressors, should never enjoy the luxury of
a solitary woe, but "_be trodden down of the Gentiles_."[108] Saracens,
Tartars, Turks, and Crusaders, Gentiles from every nation of the earth,
fulfilled the prediction of old, even as hosts of pilgrims from all
parts of the earth do at this day.

So minute and specific are the predictions of Scripture, that the fate
of particular buildings is accurately defined. One temple to the living
God, and only one, raised its walls in this world, which he had made for
his worship. Its frequenters perverted it from its proper use of leading
them to confess their sinfulness, to seek pardon through the promised
Savior to whom its ceremonies pointed, and to learn to be holy, as the
God of that temple was holy. They hoped that the holiness of the place
would screen them in the indulgence of pride, formality, and wickedness.
The temple of the Lord, instead of the Lord of the temple, was the
object of their veneration. But the doom went forth. "_Therefore for
your sakes shall Zion be plowed as a field, and Jerusalem shall become
as heaps, and the mountain of the house like the high places of the
forest._" History has preserved, and the Jews to this day curse the name
of the soldier, Terentius Rufus, who plowed up the foundations of the
temple. It long continued in this state. But the Emperor Julian the
Apostate conceived the idea of falsifying the prediction of Jesus,
"_Behold your house is left unto you desolate_,"[109] and sent his
friend Alypius, with a Roman army, and abundant treasure, to rebuild it.
The Jews flocked from all parts to assist in the work. Spades and
pickaxes of silver were provided by the vanity of the rich, and the
rubbish was transported in mantles of silk and purple. But they were
obliged to desist from the attempt, for "horrible balls of fire breaking
out from the foundations with repeated attacks, rendered the place
inaccessible to the scorched workmen, and the element driving them to a
distance from time to time, the enterprise was dropped."[110] Such is
the testimony of a heathen, confirmed by Jews and Christians. The
inclosures of the mosque of Omar, forbidding them all access to the spot
on which it stood, leave it desolate to the Jews to this day. I have
seen them (in 1872) kissing a few large stones, supposed to belong to
its foundations or sub-structures, from the outside; for which miserable
privilege they were obliged to pay their oppressors. On approaching the
spot from the Zion gate, right across Mount Zion to the temple ruins,
our way lay through a plowed field of young barley, and gardens of
cauliflowers hedged with enormous rows of cactus. To this day Zion is
plowed as a field.

4. No sane man can believe that such minute and accurate predictions of
various and improbable events could be the result of human calculations;
yet there is another feature of the Bible prophesies still farther
removed beyond the reach of human sagacity, and that is, remarkable and
unaccountable _preservation amidst the general ruin_. If, as skeptics
allege, destruction is the natural and inevitable doom, then
preservation is supernatural and miraculous--a miracle of divine power
controlling nature; and its prediction is a miracle of divine wisdom.
Now the prophecies of the Bible contain several very definite, and
widely different predictions of the preservation of people and cities
from the general destruction. We shall refer in this case also to those
of whose fulfillment there can be no manner of doubt, for the facts are
palpable and undeniable at the present day.

The prediction of the character and fate of the Arabs stands out a
remarkable contrast to the predictions of the destruction of the
surrounding nations. Of their ancestor, Ishmael, it was predicted: "He
will be a wild man; his hand shall be against every man, and every man's
hand against him; and he shall dwell in the presence of all his
brethren."[111] The nomad and warlike habits of the sons of Ishmael are
here distinctly predicted; and the singular anomaly which exempts them
alone, of all the people of the earth, from the law, "They that take the
sword, shall perish by the sword." The unconquered Arab laughs alike at
the Persian, Greek, Roman, Turkish, and French invaders of his deserts,
levies tribute on all who enter his territory, and dwells to-day, a free
man, in the presence of all his brethren, as God foretold.

Of the Israelitish nation God predicted, that it should be a peculiar,
distinct people, separate from the other nations of the world: "_Lo, the
people shall dwell alone, and shall not be reckoned among the
nations._"[112] In apparent contradiction to this separation, he further
threatened to punish them for their sins, by dispersing them over the
world: "_I will scatter you among the heathen, and will draw out a sword
after you._"[113] "_For lo, I will command, and I will sift the house of
Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall
not the last grain fall upon the earth._"[114] It was further
threatened, as if to make sure of their national destruction: "_And
among these nations shalt thou find no ease, neither shall the sole of
thy foot have rest: but the Lord shall give thee there a trembling
heart, and failing of eyes, and sorrow of mind: and thy life shall hang
in doubt before thee; and thou shalt fear day and night, and shall have
none assurance of thy life._"[115] Contrary to all appearances, and in
spite of all this dispersion and persecution, it is predicted that
Israel shall still exist as a nation, and be restored to the favor of
God, and that prosperity which ever accompanies it: "_And yet for all
that, when they be in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them
away, neither will I abhor them, to destroy them utterly, and to break
my covenant with them: for I am the Lord their God._"[116]

Here are four distinct predictions, of national peculiarity, universal
dispersion, grievous oppression, and remarkable preservation. The
fulfillment is obvious, and undeniable. You need no commentary to
explain it. Go into any clothing-store on Western Row, or into the
synagogue in Broadway, and you will see it. The Infidel is sorely
perplexed to give any account of this great phenomenon. How does it
happen that this singular people is dispersed over all the earth, and
yet distinct and unamalgamated with any other? How does it happen that
for eighteen hundred years they have resisted all the influences of
nature, and all the customs of society, and all the powers of
persecution, driving them toward amalgamation, and irresistible in all
other instances? In the face of the power of the Chinese Empire, in
spite of the tortures of the Spanish Inquisition, amid the chaos of
African nationalities, and the fusion of American democracy, in the
plains of Australia, and in the streets of San Francisco, the religion,
customs, and physiognomy of the children of Israel are as distinct this
day as they were three thousand years ago, when Moses wrote them in the
Pentateuch, and Shishak painted them on the tombs of Medinet Abou. How
does the Infidel account for it? It will not do to allege the favorite
story about purity of blood and Caucasian race; for the question is, How
does it happen that this people, and this people alone, have kept the
blood pure; while all other races are so mingled that no other race can
be found pure on earth? Besides, lest any should suppose such a cause
sufficient for their preservation, another nation, descended from the
same father and the same mother--the children of Jacob's twin
brother--has utterly perished, and there is not any remaining of the
house of Esau.

Human sagacity, with all the facts before its face, can not give any
rational account of the causes of this anomaly. It can not tell to-day
why this people exists separate from, and scattered through all nations,
from Kamschatka to New Zealand; how, then, could it foretell, three
thousand years ago, this singular exception to all the laws of national
existence? While the sun and moon endure, the nation of Israel shall
exist as God's witness to God's word, an undeniable proof that the mouth
of the Lord hath spoken it.

A very peculiar feature of the desolation of Israel was the
_desolation_, but not the _destruction_ of the cities. In most cases of
the desolations of war, the cities have been burned and the buildings
destroyed. There is no shelter for man or beast in the mounds of rubbish
which cover the ruined cities of Assyria. Where the buildings have not
been destroyed, or have been rebuilt, they have again been inhabited; as
we see in the cases of Rome, Constantinople, Jerusalem, and many others.
But on the cities of Israel it was written that God's curse should go
forth "till the cities should be wasted without inhabitant, and the
houses without man, and the land be left utterly desolate." But for a
long time the literal fulfillment of this prediction was not witnessed,
as the cities on this side the Jordan had been mostly reduced to ruins.
The richest and most populous part of the land, however, was the land of
Bashan; where, in a territory of about thirty miles by twenty, sixty
cities still remain standing to attest the wonderful fertility of the
soil and industry of the people. "And though the vast majority of them
are deserted, _they are not ruined_. * * * Many of the houses in the
ancient cities of Bashan are perfect, as if only finished yesterday. The
walls are sound, the roofs unbroken, the doors, and even the window
shutters in their places."[117] From two hundred to five hundred houses
have been found perfect in some of these cities; and from the roof of
the Castle of Salcah, Dr. Porter counted thirty towns and villages
dotting the plain, many of them perfect as when first built; "yet for
more than five centuries there has not been an inhabitant in one of
them." So sure is every word of God.

Take another instance of preservation, so remarkable amid the
surrounding destruction, that it arrested the attention and admiration
of the author of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, skeptic and
scoffer though he was.

The seven churches of seven of the most considerable cities of Asia
were then, as the churches of Christ still are, the salt of the earth.
Ten righteous men would have averted God's judgments from Sodom. Jesus
pronounced the sentences of these churches seventeen hundred and sixty
years ago, and the present condition of the cities attests the divine
authority of the record containing them. They are various and specific.
Three were to be utterly destroyed. Against two no special threatening
is denounced. To the remaining two promises of life and blessing are

Ephesus, famous for its magnificence, the busy avenue of travel, the
seat of the temple of Diana, long the residence of an apostle, and
afterward of Christian bishops--"one of the eyes of Asia"--as it stood
first on the roll of cities, first receives the doom of abused
privileges: "_I will remove thy candlestick out of its place, unless
thou repent._"

Says Gibbon: "The captivity and ruin of the seven churches of Asia was
consummated (by the Ottomans) A. D. 1312; and the barbarous lords of
Ionia and Lydia still trample on the monuments of classic and Christian
antiquity. In the loss of Ephesus the Christians deplored the fall of
the first angel, and the extinction of the first candlestick of the
Revelation. _The desolation is complete_, and the temple of Diana or the
church of Mary will equally elude the search of the curious

Since Gibbon's day the foundations of the temple have been discovered
twelve to fourteen feet below the soil; but no church of Christ remains
to illuminate the minds of the few squalid and lazy dwellers in the
village of Aisayalouk. One cobbler's stall represented the whole
manufacturing industry of Ephesus; and four boys playing a game like
drafts, with pebbles, in front of it seemed the only public likely to
patronize its theater, as I took note of its people and their
occupations, in 1872. Then leaving the storks in their nests, on the
top of the ruined arches of its great aqueduct, to proceed toward the
ruins of the great theater, we tried in vain to procure horses or asses
for the ladies; found the only road so filled with water from the recent
rains as to be impassable, and were fain to plunge on foot through the
plowed fields till we reached the elevation on which it was erected.
Here we surveyed its rock-hewn seats, capable of accommodating an
audience larger than that of all the theaters of New York; but there was
no longer a voice to cry, "Great is Diana of the Ephesians!" The sea has
forsaken the harbor, which is now a pestilential morass. We passed
through the ruins of the custom-house, now miles inland, and found a
single Turkish soldier on guard. The peasants who cultivate some parts
of the plain come from distant villages, and fever, filth, and beggary
reign in Ephesus.

Had the twenty thousand patrons of the drama, in the thirty-one theaters
of New York, honored the theater of Laodicea with their presence, its
polite citizens would have accommodated them all on the reserved seats,
retiring themselves to ten thousand less commodious sittings, and to two
less gigantic theaters. While yet busy in the erection of their splendid
places of public amusement, Jesus said, "_I will spew thee out of my
mouth._" "The circus, and three stately theaters of Laodicea, are
peopled with wolves and foxes," says Gibbon.

The church was spewed out of Christ's mouth, and the city too. It has
been overturned by earthquakes, and is now nothing but a series of
magnificent ruins, from which, however, ample evidence may be collected
of its former magnificence. Those of the aqueduct, the theater, and the
amphitheater, are remarkable; in the latter an inscription has been
found showing that it was in course of erection when the Lord dictated
the warning to its people. But the warning was unheeded, and now the
whole space inside the city walls is strewn with fragments of columns
and pedestals.

A Lydian capitalist once deposited in the vaults of Sardis more specie
than is now in circulation in this whole continent. But Jesus said,
"_Thou hast a name that thou livest and art dead. If, therefore, thou
shalt not watch, I will come upon thee as a thief, and thou shalt not
know what hour I will come upon thee._"

"Sardis," says Gibbon, "is a miserable village." A later writer (Durbin)
tells us that the Turks say, "Every one who builds a house in Sardis
dies soon, and avoid the spot." Arundell, in his account of his visit to
the seven churches, says: "If I were asked what impresses the mind most
strongly on beholding Sardis, I should say, its indescribable
_solitude_, like the darkness of Egypt, that could be felt. So deep the
solitude of the spot, once the lady of kingdoms, produces a feeling of
desolate abandonment in the mind which can never be forgotten." Connect
this feeling with the message of the Apocalypse to the church of Sardis,
"Thou hast a name that thou livest, and _art dead_, and then look around
and ask, Where are the churches? Where are the Christians of Sardis? The
tumuli beyond the Hermus reply, '_All dead!_'--suffering the infliction
of the threatened judgment of God for the abuse of their privileges. Let
the unbeliever, then, be asked, Is there no truth in prophecy?--no
reality in religion?"

Only twenty-seven miles north of this desolate metropolis, the
manufactories of Thyatira dispatch weekly to Smyrna, cloths, as famous
over Asia for the brilliancy and durability of their hues as those which
Lydia displayed to the admiration of the ladies of Philippi. Two
thousand two hundred Greek Christians, two hundred Armenian, and a
Protestant Church under the care of the missionaries of the American
Board of Commissioners of Foreign Missions, assemble every Sabbath to
commemorate the resurrection of Him who said to the church of Thyatira:
"_I will put upon you no other burden; but that which ye have already
hold fast till I come._"

The fragrant citron (_Bergamot_) still flourishes around the birthplace
of Galen; but the ruins of the famous library of 200,000 manuscripts are
far less durable memorials of the city of booksellers than those
beautifully dressed skins, which, taking their name (_Pergamena_) from
the place of their manufacture, will preserve the name and fame of
Pergamos as long as parchment can preserve man's memorials, or God's
predictions. Though famous for fragrance, physic, and philosophy,
Pergamos was infamous for idolatry, licentiousness, and persecution; yet
still endeared to Jesus as the scene of the martyrdom of faithful
Antipas, and the dwelling-place of a hidden church; and widely different
sentences are recorded against those opposite classes. The public
memorials are to perish, but the hidden word to endure. "The fanes of
Jupiter and Diana, and Venus and Esculapius (worshiped under the symbol
of a live snake), were prostrate in the dust, and where they had not
been carried away by the Turks to cut up into tombstones or pounded into
mortar, the Corinthian columns and the Ionic, the splendid capitals, the
cornices and the pediments, all in the highest ornament, were thrown in
unsightly heaps,"[119] is the comment on the threatening of Jesus, "_I
will fight against them_--the idolaters--_with the sword of my mouth_."
The 3,000 Greek and 300 Armenian Christians, and even the 10,000 Turkish
inhabitants of the modern Pergamos, have received hundreds of copies of
the promise, "_To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden
manna, and will give him a white stone and in the stone a new name
written, which no man knoweth, saving he that receiveth it._" But
whether the hidden church of Pergamos shine forth or not, Gibbon was
inaccurate in stating, in the face of facts, that "the god of Mohammed
without a rival is invoked in the mosques of Pergamos and Thyatira."
God's providence is as discriminating as his prophecy, though unbelief
may overlook both.

We have noted here instances of the prediction of remarkable destruction
to Sardis, Ephesus, and Laodicea; of continued existence to Pergamos and
Thyatira; let us now note a prediction of remarkable escape and
preservation from the universal doom. If it requires no inspiration to
prophecy destruction--the universal fate of humanity, according to the
Infidel--surely it requires more than human skill to say that any city
shall escape this universal fate, and more than human power to avert
this destruction. Of Philadelphia, but twenty-five miles distant from
the ruins of Sardis, Jesus said, and the Bible records the prophecy: "_I
know thy works: behold, I have set before thee an open door, and no man
can shut it: for thou hast a little strength, and hast kept my word, and
hast not denied my name. Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of
Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will
make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have
loved thee. Because thou hast kept the word of my patience, I will also
keep thee from the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all the
world, to try them that dwell upon the earth. Behold, I come quickly:
hold that fast which thou hast, that no man take thy crown. Him that
overcometh will I make a pillar in the temple of my God; and he shall go
no more out: and I will write upon him the name of my God, and the name
of the city of my God, which is New Jerusalem, which cometh down out of
heaven from my God: and I will write upon him my new name._"

"Philadelphia alone," says Gibbon, "has been saved by prophecy, or
courage. At a distance from the sea, forgotten by the emperors,
encompassed on all sides by the Turks, her valiant sons defended their
religion and their freedom alone for fourscore years, and at length
capitulated with the proudest of the Ottomans. Among the Greek colonies
and churches of Asia, Philadelphia is still erect--_a column in a scene
of ruins_--a pleasing example that the paths of honor and safety may be
the same."

In the pages of this eloquent writer it would be hard to discover
another instance of unqualified hearty commendation of soldiers or
sufferers for Christianity and liberty, such as Gibbon here bestows on
Philadelphia's valiant sons. But it was written, "_I will make them come
and worship before thy feet_," and the skeptic and scoffer must fulfill
the word of Jesus; even as the unbelieving Mohammedan also does, when he
writes upon it the modern name, Allah Sehr--_The City of God._ _A
majestic solitary pillar_, of high antiquity, arrests the eye of the
traveler, and reminds the worshipers in the six modern churches of
Philadelphia of the beauty and faithfulness of the prophetic symbol.
Heaven and earth shall pass away, but Jesus' word shall not pass away.

Improbable to human sagacity as this preservation must have seemed, the
resurrection of a fallen city is more utterly beyond man's vision. In
the Bible, however, tribulation and recovery were foretold to Smyrna:
"_Fear none of those things which thou shalt suffer: behold, the devil
shall cast some of you into prison that ye may be tried; and ye shall
have tribulation ten days. Be thou faithful unto death, and I will give
thee a crown of life._" "The populousness of Smyrna is owing to the
foreign trade of the Franks and Armenians," says the scoffer. No matter
to what it is owing, he who dictated the Bible foresaw it, and made no
mistake in foretelling it. Says Arundell: This, the other eye of Asia,
is still a very flourishing commercial city, one of the very first in
the present Turkish empire in wealth and population, containing 130,000
inhabitants. The continued importance of Smyrna may be estimated from
the fact that it is the seat of a consul from every nation in Europe.
The prosperity of Smyrna is now rather on the increase than the decline,
and the houses of painted wood, which were most unworthy of its ancient
fame and present importance, are rapidly giving way to palaces of stone
rising in all directions; and, probably, ere many years have passed, the
modern town may not unworthily represent the ancient city, which the
ancients delighted to call the crown of Ionia. Commercial activity and
architectural beauty, however, are but a small part of the glorious
destiny of the community to which Jesus says, "I will give thee a crown
of life."

Mark Twain suggests that the prophecy refers to the church, rather than
to the city; but forgets to remind us that the Church of Christ is well
represented and crowned with life in Smyrna. God's predictions regard
the vital part of communities, the spiritual forces; these, vigorous and
outspreading, secure the material progress. Close the Bible House,
printing presses, and schools of America, and real estate would not be
worth much more than in Asia. The Lord Christ rules this world. His
blessing has revived both the church and the city of Smyrna, according
to his promise. In 1872 I found its harbor busy with coasting craft and
ocean steamers, and its railroad doing a brisk business. Smyrna is a
live city.

Deliverance from the curse of sin, and communion with the Lord of Life,
alone can secure either a nation's or an individual's immortality.
Smyrna possesses the gospel of salvation. Several devoted English and
American missionaries proclaim salvation to its citizens. From its
printing presses thousands of copies of the Word of Life issue to all
the various populations of the Turkish Empire. A living Church of Christ
in Smyrna holds forth, for the acceptance of the dying nations around
her, that crown of life promised and granted by the Word of God, not to
her only, but to all who love his appearing and his kingdom.

5. This is the grand distinction of God's word of prophecy, _that it is
the Word of Life_. It is the only word which promises life, the only
word which bestows it on fallen humanity. Recognizing no inevitable law
of destruction but the sentence of God, no invariable law of nature
superior to the counsel of Jehovah, nor any progress of events which his
Almighty arm can not arrest and reverse, it points a despairing world to
sin as the cause of all destruction, to Satan as the author of sin, to
ungodly men in league with him as the foes of God and man, and to Christ
pledged to perpetual warfare with such until the last enemy be
destroyed. This word of prophecy tells us, that the battle-fields
Messiah has won are earnests of that great victory; points to the
columns which he has preserved erect amid scenes of ruin, as assurances
that he is able to save to the uttermost all that come unto God by him;
goes to the graveyards where fallen Smyrnas, idolatrous Saxons, debased
Sandwich Islanders, and cannibal New Zealanders have buried the image of
the living God, and in Jesus' name proclaims, "_I am the resurrection
and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he
live_;" and, amid the very ruins of destroyed cities, and the crumbling
heaps of their perished memorials, beholds the assurances that Satan's
rule of ruin shall not be perpetual, anticipates the day when the course
of sin and misery shall be reversed, and teaches Adam's sons to face the
foe, and chant forth that heaven-born note of victorious faith, "_Oh,
thou enemy! destructions are come to a perpetual end._"

Come forth, trembling skeptic, from the cave of thy dark invariable
experience of death and destruction, and from the vain sparks of thy
misgiving hopes of an ungodly eternity to come less miserable than the
past, and lift thine eyes to this heavenly sunrising on the dark
mountain tops of futurity, the like of which thou didst never dream of
in all thy Pantheistic reveries. Search over all the religions of the
world--the hieroglyphics of Egypt, the arrow-headed inscriptions of
Assyria, the classic mythologies of graceful Greece and iron Rome, the
monstrous shasters of thine Indian Pundits, or the more chaotic clouds
of thy German philosophies--in none of them wilt thou ever find this
divine thought, _an end of destructions--a perpetual end_. Cycles of
ruin and renovation, and of renovation and ruin, vast cycles, if you
will, but evermore ending in dire catastrophies to gods and men--an
everlasting succession of death and destructions--is the fearful vista
which all the religions of man, and thine own irreligion, present to thy
terrified vision. But thou wast created in the image of the living God,
and durst not rest satisfied with any such prospect. Now I come in the
name of the Lord to tell thee, that "God so loved the world that he gave
his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him _should not
perish, but have everlasting life_;" and I demand of thee that thou
acknowledge this promise of life everlasting to be the word of that
living God, and to show cause, if any thou hast, why thou dost
relinquish thy birthright, and spurn the gift of everlasting life which
is in Christ Jesus our Lord?

But, if thou hast no sufficient cause why thou shouldest choose death
rather than life, then hear, and your soul shall live, while I relate
the promise which God hath made of old to our fathers, and hath
fulfilled to us, their children, by raising up his Son, Jesus Christ,
from the dead, and sending him to bless you, by turning away every one
of you from your iniquities. For there can be no deliverance from misery
and destruction but by means of delivery from sin and Satan.

It is quite in agreement with the manner of our deliverance from any of
the evils of our fallen condition, that our deliverance from the power
of sin and Satan be effected by the agency of a deliverer. Our
ignorance is removed by the knowledge of a teacher, our sickness by the
skill of a physician, the oppressed nation hails the advent of a
patriotic leader, and oppressed humanity acknowledges the fitness and
need of a divine Deliverer, even by the ready welcome it has given to
pretenders to this character, and by the longing desire of the wisest
and best of men for a divinely commissioned Savior; a desire implanted
by the great prophecy, which stands at the portal of hope for mankind,
in the very earliest period of our history, that "_the seed of the woman
should bruise the serpent's head_," and so leave man triumphant over the
great destroyer.

The prophecies regarding the Messiah are so numerous, pointed, various,
and improbable, as to set human sagacity utterly at defiance; while they
are also connected so as to form a scheme of prophecy, which gradually
unrolls before us the advent, the ministry, the death, resurrection, and
ascension of the Lord, the progress of his gospel over all the world,
and the blessed effects it should produce on individuals, families, and
nations. It closes with a view of the second coming of Jesus to conquer
the last of his enemies, and take possession of the earth as his
inheritance. I can only lop off a twig or two from this blessed tree of
life, in the hope that the fragrance of the leaves may allure you to
take up the Bible, and eat abundantly of its life-giving promises. As I
have in the previous chapters abundantly proved the veracity of the New
Testament history, I shall now with all confidence refer to its account
of the birth, life, and death of Jesus, as illustrating the prophecies.

The time, the place, the manner of his birth, his parentage and
reception, were plainly declared, hundreds of years before he appeared.

When Herod had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people
together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born, and they said
unto him, "In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the
prophet: _And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, art not the least
among the princes of Judah: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that
shall rule my people Israel._" The first verse of this chapter records
the fact, "Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea."

The throne of Judah was to be occupied by strangers, and the line of
native princes was to cease upon the coming of this Governor, and not
till his coming: "_The scepter shall not depart from Judah, nor a
lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh shall come; and unto him
shall the gathering of the people be._" On the day of his crucifixion
the rulers of the Jews made this formal and public announcement of the
fact, "We have no king but Cæsar."

He was to address a class of people whom no other religious teacher had
condescended to notice before, and very few save those sent by Him ever
since: "_The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me; because the Lord hath
anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek: he hath sent me to
bind up the broken-hearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the
opening of the prison to them that are bound._" Hear Jesus' words: "Come
unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest. Go and show John again those things which ye do hear and see: The
blind receive their sight, and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed,
and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, _and the poor have the gospel
preached to them_. And blessed is he, whosoever shall not be offended in

Yet, notwithstanding his feeding of thousands, and healing of
multitudes, and teaching of the lowest of the people, it was foretold he
should be unpopular: "_He is despised and rejected of men; a man of
sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from
him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not._" The brief records are:
"Then all the disciples forsook him and fled." "Then began Peter to
curse and to swear, saying, I know not the man." "Pilate saith unto
them, Ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the
passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the
Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now
Barabbas was a robber."

All the prophets agree in predicting that for the sins of his people,
and to atone for their guilt, he should be put to death by a shameful
public execution: "_In the midst of the week Messiah shall be cut off,
but not for himself. He was wounded for our transgressions, he was
bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him;
and with his stripes we are healed. He was numbered with the
transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for
the transgressors. They pierced my hands and my feet._" The record says:
"The Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to
give his life a ransom for many." "And when they were come to the place
which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors,
one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus,
_Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do._"

The one grand unparalleled fact, one which demands the hope of dying men
for a victory over the great destroyer, and a resurrection from the
tomb--the fact that one man born of a woman died, and did not see
corruption, but rose again from the dead and went up into heaven, and
dieth no more--forms the theme of many a prophetic psalm of triumph:
"_Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor wilt thou give thine Holy One
to see corruption. Thou wilt show me the path of life. Thou wilt make me
full of joy with thy countenance. Thou hast ascended on high. Thou hast
led captivity captive._" Often did Jesus predict this prodigy before
friend and foe: "_Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, when he was
yet alive, After three days I will rise again._" The last chapters of
the gospels relate the proofs by which he convinced his incredulous
disciples that the prophecy was fulfilled: "Behold my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself. Handle me and see, for a spirit hath not flesh and
bones, as ye see me have. And when he had thus spoken, he showed them
his hands and his feet. And while they yet believed not for joy, and
wondered, he saith unto them, Have ye here any meat? And they gave him a
piece of broiled fish, and of an honey comb. And he took it and did eat
before them; and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it
behooved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day; and
that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name
among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these
things. And behold I send the promise of my Father upon you, but tarry
ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high.
And he led them out as far as to Bethany, and he lifted up his hands and
blessed them. And while he was blessing them he was parted from them,
and carried up into heaven. And while they looked steadfastly toward
heaven, as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel,
which said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up into heaven? This
same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in
like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

With your own eyes you shall see the fulfillment of this prophecy. Every
eye shall see him. The clouds of heaven shall then reveal the vision now
sketched on the page of revelation: "And I saw a great white throne, and
Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the heaven fled away,
and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small and
great, stand before God; and the books were opened; and another book was
opened, which is the Book of Life; and the dead were judged out of those
things which were written in the books, according to their works. And
the sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered
up the dead which were in them; and they were judged every man according
to their works. And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This
is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the Book of
Life was cast into the lake of fire. And I saw a new heaven and a new
earth: for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away; and
there was no more sea. And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
coming down from God, out of heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her
husband. And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying, Behold the
tabernacle of God is with men, and he will dwell with them, and they
shall be his people, and God himself shall be with them, and be their
God. And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall
be no more death, neither sorrow nor crying: neither shall there be any
more pain; for the former things are passed away. And he that sat upon
the throne said, _Behold, I make all things new._ And he said unto me,


[81] Jewish Church, 463, 4. The Bible, 80.

[82] De Die Natali, c. 17, cited in Pusey on Daniel, 642.

[83] Isaiah, chap. xlvi. 8-11.

[84] Newton on the Prophecies, and Keith on the Prophecies, are to be
found in all respectable libraries. The former contains valuable
extracts from ancient historians; the latter from the journals and
engravings of travelers.

[85] Wilkinson's Ancient Egyptians, I. 169. Herodotus, II. 169.

[86] Ezekiel, chap. xxx.

[87] Volney's Travels, I. 74, 103.

[88] Decline and Fall, chap. lix.

[89] Ezekiel, chap. xxix.

[90] Volney, I. 190.

[91] Jeremiah, chaps. l. and li.

[92] Mignon's Travels, 31.

[93] Trans. Bombay Lit. Soc. I. 123.

[94] Porter's Babylonia, II. 285.

[95] Ezekiel, chap. xxvi.

[96] Ezekiel, chap. xxv.

[97] Lindsay's Travels, II. 78, 117.

[98] Isaiah, chap. xiii.

[99] Isaiah, chap. xiv.

[100] Jeremiah, chap. li.

[101] Mignon, 139.

[102] Jeremiah, chap. li.

[103] Fraser's Mesopotamia, page 145.

[104] Leviticus, chap. xxvi.

[105] Isaiah, chap. vi.

[106] Deuteronomy, chap. xxix.

[107] Volney's Ruins of Empires, Book I.

[108] Luke, chap. xxi.

[109] Micah, chap. iii. Matthew, chap. xxii.

[110] Ammianus Marcellus, 23d chap. I.

[111] Genesis, chap. xvi. 12.

[112] Numbers, chap. xxiii.

[113] Leviticus, chap. xxvi.

[114] Amos, chap. ix.

[115] Deuteronomy, chap. xxviii.

[116] Leviticus, chap. xxvi.

[117] Porter's Giant Cities of Bashan, passim.

[118] Decline and Fall, chap. lxiv.

[119] Macfarlane's Seven Apocalyptic Churches.



In the foregoing chapters we have found, that we have great need of
God's teaching; that he has sent his Son, Jesus Christ, to show us the
way of life; that the gospel preached by him and his apostles has proved
itself the power of God, by saving men from their sins; and that this
gospel is truly recorded in the New Testament. From these facts, already
settled, we proceed, according to our plan of investigation, to examine
those which may be more obscure; to examine the Old Testament by the
light of the New.

The great majority of Jews and Christians have always believed, that the
world was in as great need of God's teaching before the coming of Christ
as it has been since; that God did put his words into the mouths of
certain persons, called prophets; and that he caused them to tell them
truly to their neighbors; that he enabled these prophets to make
predictions of future events beyond the skill of man to calculate, and
to do miracles which the power of man could not perform, as proofs that
they spake the Word of God; that he caused them truly to record in
writing a great many of these revelations, and so much of the history of
the times in which, and of the people to whom, they were given, as was
needful for a right understanding of them; that he has so managed
matters since, as that these revelations and narratives have been
faithfully preserved in the books of the Old Testament; that we are
bound to believe these revelations to be true, not because we can
otherwise demonstrate their truth, but because God, who can not lie,
has declared it; and that we are bound to do the things they command,
not merely because we see them to be right, but because God commands us.

It is needful to consider the divine authority of the Old Testament
distinctly from that of the New, not only because it is a distinct
subject in itself, and because our plan of investigation leads us
backward from the known and established fact of the divine authority of
the New Testament to the discovery or disproof of the like character in
the Old; but because a great many persons admit, in words at least, that
Christ was a teacher sent from God, who, either in so many words, or in
effect, deny the divine authority of the Old Testament. Some of the
modern Rationalists have revived the creed of the Gnostics of the first
century--that the Hebrew Jehovah was a being of very different character
from the Deity revealed by Jesus Christ. They will extol to the skies
the world-wide benevolence, compassion and kindness of the gospel of
Christ, in contrast with the alleged national pride, bigotry, and
exclusiveness of the Hebrew prophets. Others are desirous of appearing
remarkably candid in bestowing on the Old Testament a liberal
commendation as a collection of religious tracts of merely human origin,
and of various degrees of merit; some of them of extraordinary literary
excellence, well suited to the infancy of the human intellect, and
highly useful in their time in raising men from fetichism and idolatry
to the worship of one God; but which, containing many errors along with
this grand truth, have been set aside by the more perfect teachings of
Christ and his apostles, much in the same way as the old Ptolemaic
astronomy was displaced by the discoveries of Newton. Others still are
willing to acknowledge the Old Testament as inspired, provided we will
allow Shakespeare and the Koran to be inspired also. Besides all these,
there are several scores of scholars anxious to conceal its nakedness
under theories of inspiration made and trimmed in a great many styles,
but all cut from the same doctrine, to wit, that God revealed his truth
aright to Moses and the prophets, but they went wrong in the telling of
it. Now, all these notions are refuted by the fact, that God is the
Author of the Bible.

When we say that God is the Author of the Bible, and that it carries
with it a divine authority because it is the Word of God, we do not mean
that God is the Author of every saying in it, and that every sentiment
recorded in it is God's mind, any more than we mean to make D'Aubigne
responsible for every sentiment of priests, popes and monks which he has
faithfully recorded in his History of the Reformation. On the contrary,
we find, in the very beginning of the Bible, a very full expression of
the devil's sentiments recorded in the devil's own words--_Ye shall not
surely die_--and they are not one whit less devilish and lying, though
recorded in the Bible, than when expounded by any modern Universalist
preacher. But we mean that it is very true that the devil was the
preacher of that first Universalist sermon: and that God thought it
needful to let mankind know the shape of the doctrine, the character of
the preacher, and the consequences of listening to error; and therefore
directed Moses to record it truly for the information of all whom it may
concern. So there are many other sayings of wicked men, and even of good
men, recorded in the Bible, which are very false; but the Bible gives a
true record of them, by God's direction, that we may not be ignorant of
Satan's devices.

Nor, when we say that God directed the prophets what to write, and how
to write it, so that they did not go wrong in the writing of his word,
do we mean that he also so guided every piece of their behavior, as that
they never went wrong in doing their own actions; nor that the sins of
the saints, recorded in the Bible, are anything the less sinful for
being recorded there, or for being performed by men who ought to have
known better. There is not a perfect man upon the earth, that doeth
good, and sinneth not. If the Bible had left the faults of its writers
undiscovered it would not have been a true history. But these very
writers of the Bible tell us their own transgressions, under the
direction of the Spirit of God; a thing writers in general are very shy
about. Moses tells us how he spake unadvisedly with his lips, and was
punished for it. David's penitential psalms record the bitter tears he
wept over his transgression; tears which could not wash out the sentence
against the man after God's own heart--_the sword shall never depart
from thy house_. An overburdened people, a rotten court, a falling
empire, continual strife, a family of scolding women, and a foolish
son--might have been considered sufficient marks of God's displeasure,
without causing the wisest of men to pen, and publish to the world, such
a minute record of his madness, folly and misery, as we find in
Ecclesiastes. But these shipwrecked mariners were divinely directed to
pile up the sad memorials of their errors on the reefs where they were
wrecked, as beacons of warning to all inexperienced voyagers on life's
treacherous sea. The light-house is built by the same authority as the
custom-house, and is even more necessary.

Now let us take note of the objects of our investigation. We are not in
search of the literary beauty or poetic inspiration of the Bible; but we
inquire by what right does it command our obedience? Nor are we about to
inquire whether, when we have tried the Bible at the tribunal of our
reason, we shall give it a diploma to commend it to the patronage of
other critics; but whether it comes to us attested by such evidence of
being the Word of God, that our reason shall reverently bow down before
it as a higher authority, and seek light from it by which to judge of
all spiritual and moral matters.

Attempts are continually made to confuse these great questions, by
concessions of the literary excellence of the Bible, on the part of
those who deny its divine authority. For instance, one of the modern
oracles of infidelity says, and his admirers incessantly repeat the
grand discovery: "The writings of the Prophets contain nothing above the
reach of the human faculties. Here are noble and spirit-stirring appeals
to men's conscience, patriotism, honor and religion; beautiful poetic
descriptions, odes, hymns, expressions of faith almost beyond praise.
But the mark of human infirmity is on them all, and proofs or signs of
miraculous inspiration are not found in them."[120]

But what do the toiling millions of earth care about beautiful poetic
descriptions of a heaven and a hell that have no reality? Or what does
it signify to you or me, reader, that the Bible raises its head far
above the other cedars of earthly literature? If its top reaches not to
heaven, can it make a ladder long enough to carry us there? The Bible
contains predictions beyond the reach of the human faculties, as we have
fully proved. These predictions at least are from God, and have no mark
of human infirmity on them.

It does not at all meet this question to grant that the Bible is
inspired, just as every work of genius is inspired; nor to profess that
they believe the Bible to be from God, just as every pure and holy
thought, and every good work, proceed from him. When the assertors of
the divine authority of the Bible speak of it as inspired, they mean
that it is so as no other book is; and when they speak of it as coming
from God, they mean that it does not come simply as a gift of God's
bounty, as the soldier's land-warrant comes from the government; but
that it comes like the laws of Congress, carrying authority with it to
command our obedience.

We feel no interest whatever in the discussion of an inspiration, "like
God's omnipotence, not limited to the few writers claimed by the Jews,
Christians and Mohammedans, but as extensive as the race;"[121] or
perhaps as extensive as all creation, and leading us to regard even "the
solemn notes of the screech owl" as inspired.[122] What manner of use
could the Bible be to an ignorant soul groping its way to truth and
holiness, or to a dying sinner hastening to the judgment seat of God, if
it were true, that "the Bible's own teaching on the subject is that
everything good in any book, person or thing, is inspired? Milton and
Shakespeare, and Bacon and the Canticles, the Apocalypse and the Sermon
on the Mount, and the Eighth Chapter of the Romans are all inspired. How
much inspiration they respectively contain must be gathered from their

This liberal grant of inspiration, alike to Moses and Mohammed, to
Christ and to Shakespeare, is evidently a denial of divine authority to
any of them. If Hamlet, and the Sermon on the Mount, and the Koran, are
all of a like divine authority, or all alike without any, it is merely a
matter of taste whether I worship at Niblo's or the Tabernacle, or keep
a harem in my house or a prayer-meeting. Most men, however, find it hard
to believe that Christ and Mohammed taught exactly the same religion, or
that the church and the theater are precisely equal and alike in their
influences on the heart and life; and so they reject several of these
inspired men, and cleave to the one they like best. Whereas, if this
theory be true, they ought not to act in such a disrespectful way toward
any inspired man; but ought to attend the church, the theater and the
harem with equal regularity, and serve God, Mammon and Belial with
equal diligence.

"Oh," it is replied, "they are not all inspired in the same degree. It
does not follow that because Byron, and Shakespeare, and Paul are all
inspired, that their writings will produce exactly the same results, or
that they are alike suitable for every constitution and temper. How much
inspiration they severally possess must be determined by their results.
The tree is known by its fruits; and experience is the price of truth."

But truth may be bought too dear. I am sick and need some medicine, but
know not exactly what kind, or how much to take. "Here," says my
Rationalist friend, "is a whole drug store for you. Every drawer, and
pot, and bottle is full of medicine. Help yourself." But, my good sir,
how am I to know what kind will suit me? There are poisons here, as well
as medicines; and I can not tell the difference between arsenic and
calomel. One of my neighbors died the other day from swallowing oxalic
acid instead of Glauber's salts. Be kind enough to put the poisons on
one shelf, and the medicines on the other, or, at least, to label them,
so that I may know which to choose and which to refuse. "Oh," says my
Rationalist friend, "this distinction between medicines and poisons is
all an antiquated, vulgar prejudice. What you call poisons are really
medicines. Medical virtue is not confined to the few specifics
recognized by the Homeopathics, the Regular Faculty, or the
Hydropathics, but is as extensive as the world. Everything on earth has
a medical virtue; but how much, and of what sort, must be determined by
experience. In fact, you must try for yourself whether any particular
drug will kill you, or cure you. So here is the whole drug store to
begin your cure with." A valuable gift, truly! "In the day we eat
thereof, our eyes will be opened, and we shall be as gods, knowing good
and evil." I think, reader, you and I will let somebody else try that

"Why should men throw away their common sense, and swallow everything as
inspired?" says another friend of the Rationalistic school. "God has
given us reason to discern between good and evil, and commanded us to
use it. _Prove the spirits, whether they be of God._ _I spake as to wise
men._ _Judge ye what I say_, is the language of Scripture. The right of
private judgment is the inalienable inheritance of Protestants. I am for
examining the Bible according to the principles of reason and truth.
'That only is to be regarded as true and valid which is matter of
personal conviction.' The Old Testament is in many places contrary to my
convictions of truth and reason. I find that it consists of a great
variety of treatises of various degrees of merit. Even in the same book
it presents often strange contrasts--sublime moral precepts on one page;
on the next, solemn requirements of frivolous ceremonies, utterly
unworthy of God; or solemn narrations of miraculous interferences with
the established course of nature, which, taken literally, are absolutely
incredible. The judicious reader must therefore discriminate between
those divine precepts of morality which were infused into the minds of
the Hebrew sages, and those Jewish prejudices which their education and
character inclined them to regard as equally important; and he must
divest the narrative of facts as they actually occurred, from the
national legends and traditions which the compilers of the Pentateuch
added to adorn the history."

This, it will be seen, at once raises another and very important
question, namely: By what standard are the writings of the Old Testament
to be judged? Or rather it settles the question by taking it for
granted, that every inquirer is to judge them according to his own
notions of reason and truth. But this does not help me out of my
difficulty; for it supposes me already to possess the knowledge, and
the virtue, which a revelation from God is needed to communicate. If I
am able, by my own reason, to construct a perfect standard of morals to
judge the Bible by, what need have I for the Bible revelation? And if I
have the right to refuse obedience to any commands I may judge frivolous
or unreasonable, before I know whether they came from God or not, and am
bound to obey only those which agree with my notions of right, what
authority has the law of God? A revelation from God which should submit
its truths to be judged by the ignorance, and its commands by the
inclinations, of sinful men, would by that very submission declare its
worthlessness. The use of a divine revelation is either to tell us some
truth of which we are ignorant, or to enjoin some duty to which we are

Besides, it is not possible to make any such dissection of the moral
precepts of the Bible, from the miraculous history which forms their
skeleton, as will leave them either truth or authority. It is the
miraculous history that gives sanction to the divine morality, and
without it the ten commandments would have no more hold on any man's
conscience than the wise saws which Poor Richard says. Take, for
instance, one of the first and most important of the Bible
moralities--the sacredness of marriage--which is wholly based upon a
narrative of events utterly unparalleled; and, if judged by the usual
course of nature, perfectly incredible. The original difference in the
formation of man and woman, and God's making at first one man and one
woman, and joining them together with his blessing, constitute the
reasons, and consecrate the pledge of marriage. "_For this cause shall a
man leave his father and mother_--although the claims of the parental
relation are very strong--_and cleave to his wife_--with whom it may be
he has but a few weeks' acquaintance--_and they two shall be one flesh_.
_What therefore God hath joined together let no man put asunder._" But
if the cause had no existence, save in the brain of some antediluvian
novel-writer, and God did not so unite them, the consequence is only a
notion also, and any man may leave his wife whenever he likes.

By far the most incredible narrative in the Bible is contained in the
first verse: "_In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth._"
All the other miracles recorded in it sink into familiarity compared
with this stupendous display of the supernatural. To the believer of
this first great miracle none of its subsequent narratives can seem
incredible. But it is precisely upon this unexampled and incredible
narrative that the whole structure of Bible morality is built. If this
extraordinary narrative be rejected as false, all the moral precepts of
the Bible are not worth a feather. The morality of the Bible, then,
stands or falls with its history of God's supernatural works among men.

It has been argued, that no amount of testimony can authenticate
accounts of miracles; since a miracle, being a violation of the laws of
nature, is contradicted by an unalterable experience, but only supported
by fallible human testimony.

But every step of this sophism is in error. A miracle can not be proven
to be any more a violation of the laws of nature, than the existence of
the nature regulated by laws. It may be more unusual, but not more
supernatural. The restoration of life to a dead man is no greater
violation of the laws of nature than the first bestowal of life on dead
matter. Were the resurrections as common as childbirths nobody would
consider them violations of the laws of nature.

Moreover, our knowledge of the laws of nature is not based upon my
experience, or yours, but upon the testimony of our teachers; which, so
far from being uniform and invariable as to the supremacy of the
commonplace in nature, is perfectly conclusive as to the repeated
occurrence of the miraculous. The miracles of Scripture are better
authenticated than the facts of science.

Scientific men talk a great deal of nonsense about the laws of nature,
as if they were the only agents known in this world. But every man knows
that he himself possesses the power to control the laws of nature, by
bringing a higher law to arrest a lower; as when the power of vegetation
arrests the law of gravitation, and sends the drop of rain which had
trickled down the outside of the bark of the pine, climbing up again a
hundred feet; or as when the power of animal life converts a hundred
weight of grass into a leg of mutton; or as when the power of the human
intellect transforms a pound of zinc into telegrams, or a ton of niter
and sulphur into death and destruction. Now if man can thus control and
use the laws of nature for human purposes, why can not the God who made
him so cunning do as much? Aye, and as much more as God is greater than

But we are told that no testimony can prove that any wonderful work has
been wrought by God. "No testimony can reach to the supernatural;
testimony can apply only to apparent sensible facts; testimony can only
prove an extraordinary, and perhaps inexplicable, phenomenon or
occurrence; that it is due to supernatural causes is entirely dependent
on the previous belief or assumption of the parties."[124]

But when Christ said, "If I cast out devils by the Spirit of God, then
the kingdom of God is come unto you;" or when he said, at the grave of
Lazarus, to Martha, "Said I not unto thee that if thou wouldest believe
thou shouldest see the glory of God?" can we not believe our Lord's
testimony, that he cast out devils, and raised the dead, by the direct
intervention of God? He appeals to his miracles as evidences of his
divine authority: "The works that I do in my Father's name, they bear
witness of me." "If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But
if I do though ye believe not me, believe the works; that ye may know
and believe that the Father is in me, and I in him."[125] Now I demand
to know whether this testimony of our Lord is not to be believed? And
whether he does not directly claim to work miracles by the immediate
power of God? The testimony of the man whom God authenticates, by
enabling him to do such miracles as those of Moses and of Christ, is
conclusive as to the power by which they are wrought. So you read in
Exodus iii. that God commissioned Moses to work miracles as signs of his
divine commission, and seals of his testimony recorded in the Bible.

If we proceed now to examine the facts of this history, it is evident,
that neither your reason or mine, nor our personal convictions, can be
any rule of what is true and valid. The most that reason can say about
history is, that the story seems probable; but so does any well-written
novel; or that it is improbable; but truth is often stranger than
fiction; and every genuine history relates wonderful events. Neither
does our personal knowledge enable us to tell what was the original
historical fact, how much was added by the Hebrew prejudices of Moses,
and which are the legends with which it was afterward adorned; for
neither you nor I were there to see. Nor can any two of those critics,
who have undertaken to divide the facts from the fables according to
their personal convictions of what is true and valid, agree upon any
common principle of gleaning, or in gathering in their results. And if
they could, the crop would not be worth barn-room; for the only
conclusion in which they seem at all likely to agree is, that the story
of creation in the beginning of the Book is a myth, like one of Ovid's
Metamorphoses; and that the prophecy of the resurrection, at the end, is
another; and that there are a great many legends in the middle. Now, if
so, why winnow such chaff?

But while the Jewish people exist as a distinct race, it is impossible
rationally to deny some extraordinary origin of their extraordinary
character and customs; and the Bible is the only history which pretends
to tell it. The utter failure of Rationalistic criticism to give any
rational account of the facts which must be admitted to account for the
existence of the Jews as a distinct people, is ludicrously apparent in
the attempts generally made to explain the miraculous narratives of the
Bible. The tree of good and evil was a poisonous plant, like the poison
oak, or the machineal tree, under which our first parents fell asleep,
and dreamed about the temptation, and the fall. The shining face of
Moses was the natural effect of electricity. Zechariah's vision was the
smoke of the lamps of the golden candlestick in the temple. The wise men
of the East were some peddlers who presented toys to the child Jesus;
and the star which went before, their servant carrying a torch. The
angels who ministered to Christ in his temptation were a caravan bearing
provisions. The transfiguration was an electric storm. The plagues of
Egypt, the passage of the Red Sea, and the miracles of the desert, were
merely natural phenomena, dextrously used by Moses and Aaron to suit
their purpose.

It is alleged that these enthusiastic patriots, full of the
superstitions of an early age, which attributed all prodigies to God,
and placed all heroes under his guidance, succeeded by their fiery
eloquence in inspiring their captive countrymen with the love of
liberty; and had political dexterity enough to create a faction in their
favor in the Egypt cabinet. Then taking advantage of a fortunate
succession of calamities arising from natural causes--such as an
extraordinary rising of the Nile, in consequence of which it was more
deeply colored than usual with the red mud of Nubia, and overflowed the
country to a greater extent than usual, leaving on its retreat numerous
ponds, which, of course, bred swarms of frogs and gnats, and raised
malaria, spreading various sicknesses over the land, both to man and
beast; a devastating visit of locusts, the well-known scourge of Africa;
a remarkable thunder-storm, accompanied with hail, causing great havoc
of growing crops, as such hail-storms always do; followed by the
chamsin, or dust-storm from the desert, darkening the air with clouds of
dust and sand; and by an extraordinary mortality, the natural result of
these various causes--they persuaded the superstitious Egyptians that
these calamities were tokens of the displeasure of the God of the
Hebrews, and improved the opportunity to escape, while the resources of
the Egyptians were exhausted, and their minds confounded by these
various misfortunes. Leading them to that part of the Red Sea south of
Suez, where a succession of shoals stretch across from the Egyptian to
the Arabian side, they crossed safely at low water, while the Egyptian
army perished by the rising of the tide; and the Israelites betaking
themselves to a wandering, pastoral life in the wilderness of Arabia,
lived, as the Bedouins do at this day, on the milk of their flocks and
the manna which was spontaneously produced by the tamarisk trees of
Sinai; where they remained until they had framed a civil and religious
code, and whence they prosecuted their conquests in various directions
for fifty years, until their invasion of Palestine. This is the sum of
what, with various modifications, Rationalist writers and preachers
present us, as the genuine historic basis of the Mosaic narrative.

It really does seem to have been very fortunate for the Israelites that
so many misfortunes should happen to fall upon their oppressors, all in
one season, and just at the time that men of such cleverness as Moses
and Aaron were among them; and that the Egyptians should luckily have
imbibed the superstition, that all nature was under the direction of a
Supreme Moral Governor, who was able and willing to wield all the
elements for the punishment of oppressors.

It was also very lucky for these poor, overworked, and oppressed
slaves--the class which in all other ages and countries suffers most
from hard times--that they should have escaped unhurt by these
calamities; for if they had suffered by them as well as the Egyptians,
they could not have persuaded them that God favored Israel.

Here one can not but wonder that these learned Egyptians, whose colleges
of priests were planted on the banks of the Nile, and who had made the
climate, soil, and productions of their native land their constant
study, should have been so ignorant of these natural causes of the
plagues--so easily discovered nowadays by anybody who makes a summer
trip to Egypt--as to be terrified into emancipating their slaves by a
stormy season. Just imagine to yourself a couple of abolitionist
lecturers proceeding to Lexington and commanding the slaveholders of
Kentucky to liberate their slaves immediately, on pain of the Ohio being
muddy during high water, and the swamps of the river-bottom being full
of frogs and musquitoes! But this interpretation does not reach the
climax of absurdity till our Rationalist Punch, by way of signalizing
his deliverance from Egyptian bondage, makes Pharaoh and his army forget
that the tide ebbs and flows in the Red Sea, raises the tide over a
shoal faster than cavalry could gallop from it, gathers an annual crop
of twenty millions of bushels of manna from the thorn-bushes of Sinai,
and feeds three millions of men, women, and children for forty years
upon purgative medicine!!!

"We must then give up the problem as insoluble; for if reason be
insufficient to give authority to the Bible, and criticism fails to
discover its truth, how are we to know that it possesses either?"

Just as you would discover the truth of any other history, or the
authority of any other law. You do not say, "The tale of the successive
swellings of the Catawba, the Yadkin, and the Dan--three times in a
fortnight, in February, 1781, immediately after the American army had
retreated across these rivers, preventing Cornwallis and the British
forces from crossing till the little handful of weary and famished
patriots had escaped--savors of the marvelous and leans so much toward
the superstition of a special providence, that it must be rejected as
not historical." You inquire if there be sufficient testimony to the
fact. You do not say, "The Revised Statutes present internal evidence of
being a collection of political tracts by various authors, written at
different times, differing also in style, and of various degrees of
merit, many of them contrary to my inmost personal convictions;
therefore I can not acknowledge them as true and valid." You simply ask
if this be a true copy of the laws passed by the legislature and signed
by the governor? Our inquiry about the truth of the history, and the
authority of the laws of the Bible, must be of the same kind--an inquiry
after testimony. Is this Book genuine or a forgery? Is it a true history
or a lying romance? Have we any testimony on the subject?

But it is alleged that the Book contains in itself evidence of having
been written in an unscientific age, and in an unhistorical manner; and,
particularly, that its statements of the creation of the world, and of
mankind, only six thousand years ago, are refuted by the discoveries of
geology; which show us, that the world is many millions of years old,
and that man has been on this world at least one hundred thousand years.
In support of this last assertion, geologists refer to the remains of
the lake dwellings in Switzerland; to skeletons of men found in caves,
with bones of animals now extinct; to flint tools and weapons found in
gravel beds, said to be of remote antiquity; to bones found deep in the
Mississippi bottom; and to the monuments of Egypt.

In replying to this objection, we have first to say that we have
elsewhere, in this volume, shown that the Bible nowhere alleges that
God created the earth only six thousand years ago, but in many places
emphatically affirms the contrary.

In the second place, as to the antiquity of man, the Bible nowhere says,
that Adam was the first human being whom God created; nor that he and
his posterity were the only intelligent beings occupying this world
before our tenancy of it; nor that we are even now the exclusive
occupants. On the contrary, it makes very distinct allusions to other
races, capable of assuming serpentine, swinish, and human bodies, and of
meddling disastrously in earthly affairs in former times; though, as it
does not profess to teach us truths which do not concern us, it gives us
no narration of the creation or history of pre-Adamite animals or men.
But there is no more ground of objection against the Bible for
neglecting to give us a history of pre-Adamite men, if there were such
men, than for neglecting to describe the pre-Adamite animals, or the
coal measures, or the nebulæ, or the climate, soil, population, and
politics of Jupiter. The Bible has one great object--to teach men how to
be holy and happy; and it can not be shown that the chronicles of the
pre-Adamites, if they kept chronicles of their alleged savage state,
would help us in the acquisition of holiness.

No discoveries, then, which geologists may make of pre-Adamite races of
men, can at all affect the credit of Moses' account of the creation of
Adam, and of the history of his family. They may fill museums, if they
please, with their flint arrow-heads and axes, they may pile up pyramids
of stone mortars, they may perhaps some day discover an old-world bronze
railroad, and bronze-clad or copper-bottomed steamboats, they may
produce pre-Adamic electric, aeronautic engines, and magnetic sewing
machines, or bone needles, we care not which; and we will admire them,
and confess that they are very curious, and perhaps very old; but
unless they can show that Adam was descended from these old-world
folks, we have no biblical quarrel with them. Like Moses, we will let
them rest in peace.

But we would remark, thirdly, that no such discoveries have yet been
made. No human bone, implement, or monument, has yet been discovered
which can be proved to be more ancient than Adam, or nearly so ancient.
There is not a single indisputable fact to show, that any of the tools,
bones, or monuments; alleged in this discussion, is of any specific date
whatever, save that the Danish bogs came down to the date of the Danish
invasion of Ireland in the eleventh century; the burnt corn of the Swiss
lake dwellings was probably that which Julius Cæsar describes the
Helvetians as burning preparatory to their invasion of Gaul; and the
monuments of Egypt, for which Bunsen claimed twenty thousand years, are
now acknowledged by the best Egyptologists to reach not quite to 3000 B.
C. As to the bone found at the base of the bluff at Memphis, it was not
found _in situ_, and probably was washed out of some Indian grave at the
top, and buried in the _debris_. The Abbeville skull[126] _had a fresh
tooth in it_, for which thirty-five thousand years was claimed, until
examination by a competent committee exposed the deception. Where there
is a good paying demand for pre-Adamite skulls, there will always be a
good supply. Dr. Dowler calculates the age of a skeleton of an Indian,
found at the depth of sixteen feet in digging the gas works at New
Orleans, at fifty thousand years; while the U. S. Coast Surveying
Department show that the whole Delta is not more than four thousand four
hundred years old.

These gross errors, which affront our common sense, wherever we are able
to test geological calculations, fill us with mistrust of their
allegations of evidence, which, from the nature of the case, we can not

Of this class is the discovery of human bones in caves containing the
bones of cave bears, rhinocerii, mammoths, and other extinct animals.
The argument is that man and these animals lived at the same time. Very
well, what time was that? There is no evidence to show that it was a
hundred thousand years ago. The Siberian hunters fed their dogs on the
flesh of a mammoth they found frozen in mud bluffs at the mouth of the
Lena, and its hair and wool are now in the museum of St. Petersburg. Dr.
Warren's _mastodon giganteus_ had some bushels of pine and maple twigs,
in excellent preservation, in its stomach, when exhumed in Orange
County, New York; and you may see for yourself the vegetable fiber found
in its teeth in his museum in Boston.[127] Does any one believe that the
vegetable fiber and maple twigs have kept their shape one hundred
thousand years? The mammoth found in the ditch of the Tezcucoco road
must have fallen in after the Incas had dug that ditch. The Indians have
a tradition that their fathers hunted a huge deer with a hand on his
face, which slept leaning against the trees. And there is good
geological reason for believing that the final extinction of the
mammoth, the European rhinoceros, and their contemporaries, was caused
by the change of climate in Northern Europe, Asia, and America, caused
by the elevation of these northern lands, which has been going on since
the tenth century, and which, about three centuries ago, closed the
Polar Sea, rendering Greenland uninhabitable. The juxtaposition, then,
of the bones of man and extinct animals is no proof of the remote
antiquity of either. And no proof has been made from the nature or depth
of the overlying deposits.

The shape, size, and general character of the skulls alleged to be of
such remote antiquity give no countenance to the theory of man's brutal
origin; which is the great thing to be gained by giving him a remote
antiquity. The Enghis skull is in no way inferior to many good modern
Indian skulls; and the man of Mentone stood six feet one in his stocking
soles (if he wore stockings), having a good John Bull head between his
shoulders, with a facial angle equal to that of Generals Grant or Von
Moltke; and in fact being a fine old Gallic gentleman, all of the good
old times.

Geologists, however, lay stress on the cumulative character of the
evidence they produce; owning that no single fact is conclusive, but
claiming that credence should be given to the accumulation of facts. But
no accumulation of ciphers will amount to anything. All the alleged
facts are found to be fatally defective either in authenticity or
definiteness. No multitude of doubts can assure us of the certainty of a
fact or assertion. The evidence for the pre-Adamite antiquity of man is
only a gathering of facts doubtful, and wholly indeterminate, without
any element of proof of remote antiquity.[128]

But there is a source of evidence of the most undeniable character, to
which we may appeal for a decision of the subject. The law of population
is as certain as any other law of nature; and it tends to the regular
increase of mankind. Population tends to double itself every twenty-five
years, as we see in the United States. In less favored countries the
rate is not so rapid. In Europe it doubles every fifty years; and
nowhere in less than two centuries. And the result is, that if the human
race had existed on this earth under existing laws of nature, as the
evolutionists allege, for one hundred thousand years, not only must they
have multiplied until their bones would have covered the earth, and
filled the sea, but, as Sir John Herschel shows, they would have formed
a vertical column, having for its base the whole surface of the earth,
and for its height three thousand six hundred and seventy-four times the
sun's distance from the earth![129]

The existing population of the globe corresponds pretty well to the
natural increase of three pairs in forty centuries, which is something
near to the Bible chronology. The laws of population, then, inexorably
refuse the indefinite, or even the remote antiquity of mankind, and
vindicate Moses as a writer of truthful history.

The alleged anachronisms of the Pentateuch have been adduced as
testimony that it could not have been written till long after the time
of Moses. These alleged anachronisms are generally the insertion of a
modern name of a city instead of the ancient name, or an explanatory
addition which would not have been necessary in the days of Moses. Now
if all these cases could be proved, they would at most only show that
the scribes who copied the manuscripts in later ages had inserted these
explanatory changes or additions, under proper authority. Everybody's
common sense will tell him, that Moses did not narrate his own death in
the last chapter of Deuteronomy; but it is none the less true though
Joshua, or some other prophet, added that postscript.

But Hengstenberg has[130] examined these alleged anachronisms in detail,
and shown that the objectors allow themselves to interpolate into the
text a meaning of their own in order to show the inaccuracy of the
Bible. For instance, Genesis xii. 6, "The Canaanite was then in the
land," they maintain could only be written after the Canaanites had been
driven out. They interpolate _still_, which is not in the text. But they
entirely mistake the meaning of the passage, which refers to an earlier
statement of the same fact, chapter x. 15, to show that Abraham, the
heir of the promise, came as a stranger and a pilgrim to a land
preoccupied by a powerful people, who are again mentioned, chapter xiii.
7, for the purpose of showing how Lot and Abraham came to be so crowded
as to separate.

Another of the prominent instances is the name of the ancient city of
Hebron, which, in the book of Joshua, is said to have been anciently
called Kirjath-arba. But Numbers xiii. 22, which states that Hebron was
built seven years before Zoan in Egypt, and was the residence of Ahiman,
Sheshai, and Talmai, the sons of Anak, shows that the writer was well
acquainted with the history of the place, and Genesis xxxv. 27 shows
that Hebron was the first name, and that it had two other names added to
it, both after the time of Abraham, since Mamre was his contemporary,
and the Anakim lived centuries later. This may stand for a specimen of
the alleged anachronisms of the Pentateuch.

But now comes Bishop Colenso with his slate and pencil to demonstrate to
us that, no matter who wrote it, or by what external authority it is
commended, the Pentateuch is so full of arithmetical errors, and of
impossible narratives, in its accounts of common affairs, as well as in
its miraculous stories, that not only is it not the Word of God, but
that it is not even a truthful history, and stands self-convicted of
being a collection of fables. Of course, if that can be proved, there is
an end of the matter, though it would still seem strange that it should
have been left for the bishop to discover Moses' ignorance of
arithmetic, and of camp-life among the Arabs. Nevertheless the very
novelty of a bishop assaulting the Bible in such a style has secured
for him a large number of readers, many of them ignorant enough to
believe his assertions, though too indolent to test his calculations, or
even to read the passages he criticises. This renders some notice of his
criticisms necessary according to our plan of considering objections
according to their popularity, rather than according to their merit.
For, on examining the bishop's objections to the Bible, they are all
found to arise from want of science, want of sense, or ignorance of
Scripture--an inability to read the Scriptures in their original Hebrew,
or even to cite them correctly in English. In some criticisms he
contrives to compile these three kind of blunders into a single chapter,
making a mosaic of very amusing reading indeed.

Of course we can only give specimens of his peculiar style of attack on
the Bible; for to expose all his blunders would require some volumes as
large as his own. But we shall select illustrative instances of the
bishop's blunders from each of the departments indicated above.

As a specimen of the bishop's blunders in science, let us take the first
which he offers--his attempt to convict Moses of a contradiction to
geology in his account of the deluge.

Bishop Colenso declares that the Bible teaches that the deluge was
universal, and that this is contradicted, among other things, by certain
geological discoveries, in Auvergne, of volcanic cones of light cinders,
which would have been swept away by any such flood.

Aye, if they had only been there at that time! But Eli de Beaumont, a
learned geologist, not convicted of so many blunders as the bishop,
alleges that the whole of the system of Teanarus, including the
elevation of Stromboli, and Ætna, has been formed since the catastrophe
of the principal Alps; and that the volcanoes of Auvergne and the
Vivarrus are of post-Adamic origin.[131] So the bishop's geology does
not contradict what he thinks the Bible says after all. On the contrary,
so far from geology contradicting a universal deluge, the best
geologists speak of every part of the earth having been repeatedly under
the sea, and they collect its fossils on the tops of the mountains.

But the bishop ought to know that hundreds of years ago, before geology
was born, some of the most learned bishops and theologians of his own
Church, as well as some of the chief scholars of the dissenters,
following the most learned of the Hebrew rabbis, did not believe that
the Bible taught that the deluge was universal. For instance, Bishop
Stillingfleet, in his great work, _Origines Sacra_, says: "I can not see
any urgent necessity from the Scriptures to assert that the flood did
spread over all the surface of the earth. That all mankind, those in the
ark excepted, were destroyed by it, is most certain, according to the
Scriptures. The flood was universal as to mankind, but from thence
follows no necessity at all of asserting the universality of it as to
the globe of the earth, unless it be sufficiently proved that the whole
earth was peopled before the flood; which I despair of ever seeing
proved." Matthew Poole says: "Where was the need of overwhelming those
regions of the earth in which there were no human beings? It would be
highly unreasonable to suppose that mankind had so increased before the
deluge as to have penetrated to all the corners of the earth. It is
indeed not probable that they had extended themselves beyond the limits
of Syria and Mesopotamia. Absurd it would be to affirm that the effects
of the punishment, inflicted upon men alone, applied to those places in
which there were no men. If, then, we should entertain the belief that
not so much as the hundredth part of the globe was overspread with
water, still the deluge would be universal; because the extirpation took
effect upon all the part of the globe then inhabited."

Nor does the language of the Bible necessarily convey the idea that the
whole surface of the globe was covered with water. Dathe, professor of
Hebrew (in his _Opuscala ad Crisin_, edited by Rosenmuller, 1795), says:
"Interpreters do not agree whether the deluge inundated the whole earth
or only the regions then inhabited. I adopt the latter opinion. The
phrase _all_ does not prove the inundation to have been universal. It
appears that in many places _kol_ is to be understood as limited to the
thing or place spoken of. Hence all the animals introduced into the ark
were only those of the region inundated."

But the most literal rendering of the language of Moses does not
necessitate our belief that when he says that the waters covered the
whole earth, _arets_, he meant the whole globe. The common Bible meaning
of this word is land, country, or region, as the perpetually recurring
phrases, the land, _arets_, of Havilah, the land of Nod, the land of
Ethiopia, the land of Goshen, the land of Egypt, the land of Canaan,
which occurs three hundred and ninety times, may convince every reader
beyond the possibility of mistake. How now, from this word being used by
Moses, could this learned bishop conclude that he necessarily meant to
describe the globe? Moses says, "The waters prevailed upon and covered
the whole country." The bishop translates, "covered the whole globe;"
evidently in order to make Moses commit a blunder.

But reference is made to the expression, "All the high hills under the
whole heavens were covered;" which the bishop will have it meant all the
mountains under the moon.

But the popular use of the word "heavens," in Moses' day, had as little
reference to universal space, as the word earth, or land, had to the
whole globe. It meant simply the visible heavens over any place; and its
extent was defined by the extent of the earth those visible heavens
covered. Thus Moses himself defines it, Deuteronomy iv. 32: "Ask from
the one side of heaven unto the other." Deuteronomy xxviii. 8: "Thy
heaven over thee shall be as brass." Deuteronomy ii. 25: "This day I
will begin to put the fear of thee upon the nations that are under the
whole heaven." And so commonly throughout the Bible, "the clouds of
heaven," "the fowls of heaven," refer to the optical heavens. Such is
the meaning in Genesis. Noah describes the deluge as it appeared to him,
as covering all the hills within the horizon of observation, and Moses
copies Noah's log-book.

The geologist adds his testimony to the existing evidences of the recent
submergence of a large region of Persia and Turkey around the Caspian
Sea, and its subsequent elevation. But it is no part of our business to
show in what way God produced the deluge. Geology shows us, however,
that the submergence of parts of the earth beneath the sea, and their
subsequent elevation, is the most common of all geological phenomena;
almost all existing continents and islands having been submerged.

The bishop is as far behind the age in his astronomy as in his geology.
He blindly follows the Infidels of the last century in their attack on
Joshua's miracle, arresting the sun and moon, as inconsistent with their
science; which taught the immobility of the sun and moon, it seems, and
was entirely ignorant of the modern discovery of the grand motions of
the fixed stars, including our sun, and of the dependence of all the
planets, including our earth and moon, upon that grand motion for the
motive power of their revolutions.[132]

One wonders from what college the bishop came out ignorant of facts
known to the boys of American common schools.

A great many of the bishop's blunders are occasioned by want of sense.
The process is very simple. The sacred history is very brief. Only the
headings of things are recorded. Much must be supplied by the common
sense of the reader. The manners of the East are very different from
ours. Three thousand years have greatly changed the face of the country.
Ignore all this, and interpret the Pentateuch as though it consisted of
the letters of Our Own Correspondent, and you will find difficulties on
every page. Such is the style of Colenso's criticism. Assume that Moses
gives a full and complete chronicle of all events which have happened
since the creation, and then dispute the recorded facts because it can
easily be shown he omitted many.

But the bishop has not the honor of discovering this method, or of
founding this school of criticism. We have heard village critics of the
loom and the forge discuss such questions as are handled by Colenso, and
the Essays and Reviews, and often with much more acuteness and
penetration. With what _eclat_ has our village critic unhorsed the
itinerant preacher with the inquiry, What became of the forks belonging
to the nine and twenty knives which Ezra brought back from Babylon? but
was, alas! himself routed in the moment of triumph by the inquiry as to
the sex of the odd clean beasts of Noah's sevens. How often has our
village blacksmith critic requested a sermon upon the genealogy of
Melchizedek, which the minister agreed to furnish when our blacksmith
could tell him the foundry which manufactured Tubal Cain's hammer and
anvil. Lot's wife, the witch of Endor, Jonah's whale, the sundial of
Ahaz, and the population of Nineveh, were all duly discussed, together
with the bodies in which the angels dined with Abraham. Did the loaves
and fishes miraculously multiply in numbers, or increase in size? Where
did the angel get the flour to bake the cake for Elijah? Did our Lord
catch the fish by net, or by miracle, which he used in the Lord's Dinner
on the shore of the Sea of Galilee. But _the_ question--which we marvel
beyond measure that the bishop overlooks--always was, Where did Cain
get his wife? This is the fundamental question for such critics. The
difficulty, it will be perceived, lies across the very threshold of the
history. How did he stumble over it without record of his misadventure?
It recurs, however, on every page. If the bishop will only answer that
question, and introduce us politely to Cain's wife, I will engage that
she will answer most of these other difficult questions. Had Seth a
wife? How could Noah and his three sons build a ship larger than the
Great Eastern? We can imagine the roars of laughter with which the
bigger school-boys will greet the serious exhibition of their old tests
of dullness, in a printed book, and by a learned bishop, as objections
to the inspiration of the Bible. But the bishop does actually devote
Chapter V. to the impossibility of Moses addressing all Israel; Chapter
VI. to the extent of the camp compared with the priest's duties; Chapter
XX. to the grave difficulty of the three priestly families consuming the
offerings of some millions of people; which surely to a bishop of the
Church of England should not be an unparalleled feat. Such chapters
enable us to appreciate the mental caliber of our critic, and excuse us
from argument with a man incapable of interpreting popular phrases. He
would prove the associated press dispatches all a myth, because it is
impossible for the House of Commons to appear at the bar of the House of
Lords--six hundred men to stand on four square yards of floor; for
McClellan to address the Army of the Potomac, which extended along a
line of thirty miles; for Grant and Sherman--two men--to capture
Vicksburg and thirty thousand prisoners! Manifestly impossible.

The most specious of all the sophistry spread over the volume is that
contained in the Seventeenth Chapter, regarding the increase of Jacob's
family, of seventy persons, to a nation of two or three millions, in
Egypt, during the two hundred and fifteen years to which he confines the
bondage. But it is only another case of Cain's wife. The Pentateuch
gives us the list of Jacob's children and their wives, but makes no
formal mention in that place of their servants and retainers. These, in
Abraham's times, amounted to three hundred fencible men, or a population
of fifteen hundred; who would have increased in Jacob's time to several
thousands, capable of defending the border land of Goshen against the
marauding Bedouin. And this population could easily increase to the
three millions of the Exodus, at the same ratio in which the population
of the United States is now increasing; so that it is a mere superfluity
of naughtiness for the bishop to deny what the sacred historian so
emphatically asserts: "That the people were fruitful, and increased
abundantly, and multiplied, and the land was filled with them." But the
bishop utterly ignores the people of the _clan_, and taking his slate
and pencil ciphers out the impossibility of Jacob's _family_ amounting
to so many. And yet it is not impossible that in the four hundred and
thirty years which the sacred historian so precisely asserts as the
period of their sojourn in Egypt, Exodus xii. 40, the family alone might
have multiplied as fast as the family of the famous Jonathan Edwards,
which, in a hundred years after his death, numbered two thousand souls.

Peter Cartwright, the venerable Methodist minister, celebrated his
eighty-seventh birthday on the first of September, 1871, at Pleasant
Plains, Sangamon County, Illinois, surrounded by one hundred and twenty
children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Now, if this family of
two persons could so increase in eighty-seven years, why could not
Jacob's family, of seventy persons, increase in equal ratio? In that
case, even in the two hundred and fifteen years to which the bishop
limits the sojourn in Egypt, the Israelites would have amounted to over
eight millions. If it be objected that this was a case of special
blessing, we answer that the Israelites are expressly asserted to have
been specially and wonderfully multiplied. There is, therefore, no
improbability in Moses' numbers.

The bishop ascribes to Moses another of his own blunders; this time,
however, in reading his Bible in plain English, which correctly
translates the Hebrew--Exodus xiii. 2. The Lord commands Moses and
Israel to "Sanctify to him every male that openeth the womb, both of man
and beast," from the time of the death of the first-born of the
Egyptians. The impropriety of _ex post facto_ legislation, the reason
assigned for this law, and the grammatical meaning of the language in
the present tense, all combine to show that the law is prospective; and
the number of the first-born, twenty-two thousand two hundred and
seventy-five, afterward given in Numbers, shows plainly that this is the
meaning, being about the proper increase of thirteen months. But the
bishop strangely blunders into the notion that this is the number of all
the first-born of Israel; only about one in forty-five or fifty, and
therefore argues against the historical veracity of the Pentateuch. A
good many of the bishop's blunders arise in this way from misreading his

He makes another blunder of this kind, and as usual charges it on Moses,
in his misreading of Leviticus xxiii. 40, as if directing Israel to make
booths of palm branches and willows at the feast of tabernacles, instead
of bearing the palms of victory in triumph into the temple of God. The
son of the chief rabbi of London ridicules the bishop's Hebrew
scholarship here, saying that any Jewish child could have set him right;
but had he read even his English translation carefully he need not have
blundered here.

In connection with the subject of the numbers of the people we notice
his tacit assumption--that Moses records everything necessary for a
statistical table--in his criticisms on the numbers of the Danites and
Levites, Chapters XVIII. and XVI.; and on Judah's family, Chapter II.
He takes it for granted that because the Exodus took place in the
lifetime of the fourth generation of some of the sons of Jacob,
therefore there were none but four generations born in the two hundred
and fifteen years to which he confines the bondage, and none but those
whose names are recorded. This is a blunder of the same sort as if he
should mistake the list of the British peerage for a census of all the
families of Great Britain, and calculate the average duration of human
life by the ages of the Duke of Wellington and Lord Palmerston. But here
we have a wonderful instance of the providence which often makes
objectors refute themselves. The chapter on Judah's family (II.) shows
that in forty-two years Judah had grandchildren ten or twelve years old;
as many Syrians, Persians, and Hindoos have at this day. But if six
generations could thus be born in Syria, or India, in a century, why not
in Egypt? And 1 Chronicles vii. 20, 21 enumerates ten generations of the
sons of Ephraim; giving ample opportunity for the biblical increase.

Another set of the bishop's blunders is occasioned by his utter
ignorance of camp-life, especially among the Arabs. In Chapter VIII. he
assumes that all the people had tents, and the bishop orders them made
of leather. But he concludes they could not possibly get them, nor if
they had them could they carry them. By and by he provides them with two
millions of cattle, however; and it is likely each of them had a skin,
and was able to carry it for a while, while the Hebrews dwelt in the
booths of the encampments they still commemorate in the feast of
tabernacles. But the word "tents" is the common phrase for any kind of
shelter in Scripture, including even houses in the expression, "To your
tents, O Israel," used in the days of David.

In Chapter IX. he discusses the probability of their obtaining arms in
Egypt. A week with one of the Union armies would show him how speedily
freedmen can provide themselves with arms and learn tactics; and a
short residence in Ireland would teach him the utter impossibility of
preventing a discontented people from arming themselves even with
firearms; much more when every grove furnished artillery. He protests
that all Egypt could not furnish lambs enough for the passover; because
in Natal an acre will only graze one sheep, forgetting that Moses was
not raising sheep in Natal, but in the best of the land of Goshen,
which, if as fertile as the county of Dorset in England, would easily
keep five millions of sheep.

In Chapter X. he insists on the impossibility of giving warning of the
passover, and subsequent march, in one day, to a population as large as
London, scattered over two or three counties. Has he forgotten the
straws carried over all Ireland in one night, and the Chupatties of the
Indian Mutiny? The negro insurrection of Charleston was known by the
negroes of Louisiana two days before their masters received the
intelligence by mail. Critics know little of the power of the love of
freedom. But there is no reason for the bishop's supposition that all
the preparations for leaving were made in one day, save his own mistake
of the Hebrew of Exodus xii. 12, as referring to the night of the day on
which God spake to Moses, instead of the night of the day of which he
was speaking, as the slightest reflection on the context shows.

In Chapter XI. the bishop assumes the functions of Major-General, and
masses his army--rank, and file, wagon train, hospital, commissariat,
contrabands, droves of cattle, and camp followers--into a mass of fifty
front and twenty-two miles long. Very naturally he gets into a
tremendous jam, out of which we have no intention of extricating him;
merely remarking that bishops do not make good generals, and that Arab
Sheikhs do not march in that way. They scatter themselves and their
cattle over the whole country for forty or fifty miles, and have no
confusion; and attend moreover to Moses' sanitary camp regulations, in
their several encampments.

In Chapter XII. he exerts himself to starve the cattle for want of
pasture and water; garbling Moses' account of the wilderness for that
purpose, Deuteronomy viii. 15, "Beware that thou forget not Jehovah, thy
God, who led thee through the great and terrible wilderness, wherein
were fiery serpents, and scorpions, _where there was no water_." Here he
stops, as if this was all that referred to the subject. But when we turn
to the passage, we find that he omits the most material part of the
speech. For Moses goes on to say, in the hearing of all Israel, who
could certainly have contradicted him had the fact not been well known
to them, "Who brought thee forth water out of the rock of flint." Moses'
account is quite self-consistent, and the bishop's garbling of it is
dishonest. There were districts of Arabia so dry and sterile that but
for this miraculous supply both men and beasts had perished; but the
greater part of the country was simply uninhabited pasture land,
sufficiently productive even now to support several Arab tribes; and
much better wooded and watered then. The monuments of Egypt abundantly
testify the number and power of its shepherd kings, who pastured their
flocks upon it in their successive invasions of Egypt.

The bishop says, Chapter XIII., that the climax of inconsistencies
between facts and figures is reached when we come to the notice by the
Lord to Israel, contained in Exodus xxiii. 29, "I will not drive them,
the Canaanites, out from before thee in one year, lest the land become
desolate, and the beasts of the field multiply against thee." The
argument is that a population of two millions was assigned to a
territory of only eleven thousand square miles; and consequently would
be more dense than the population of the agricultural region of England,
where there is no danger of wild beasts multiplying.

But the objection is again based on a blunder, and a garbling of the
text of Scripture. Had the bishop done himself and his readers the
justice to complete the passage which he has half cited, by inserting
the next two verses, he could have read verse thirty-one: "And I will
set thy bounds from the Red Sea even to the Sea of the Philistines, and
from the desert unto the river," _i. e._, the Euphrates, as other
passages show, Genesis xv. 18. That is to say, a territory five hundred
miles long by one hundred miles broad, or fifty thousand square miles,
was to be occupied by two millions of people. That is about the present
population, and all travelers testify that three-fourths of it lies
desolate. Prof. Porter saw seventy deserted towns and villages in Bashan
alone. But for the rifle and gunpowder the wild beasts would now
overpower the inhabitants.

By a wonderful providence, contemporaneously with these attacks, the
Lord has raised up an army of scholars, travelers, and archæologists,
whose explorations illustrate the Bible in a remarkable manner, throwing
new light upon its history, poetry, and prophecy. It is refreshing to
turn from the cavils of ignorant criticism to the clear light of
discovered facts and imperishable monuments.

The Bible history has recently received a wonderful amount of
illustration and confirmation from the researches of scholars and
discoverers amid the ruins of Egypt, Persia, and Assyria; completely
exploding the theory that this history was a comparatively recent
composition, written long after the events which it records, and
betraying its want of genuineness by the anachronisms and errors of
description of historical and natural events with which it abounds.
Wherever it differed from the statements of any Greek, or other heathen
historian, it was forthwith alleged that Moses was wrong, and the
profane author was right; and for a long time nobody could bring any
evidence on the other side, because there were no contemporary records;
the oldest heathen historian being a thousand years later than Moses.
But by some strange inspiration, the Lord set a multitude of explorers
to work upon the monuments of Egypt, deciphering the hieroglyphics which
had so long puzzled the world, digging into the mounds which had for
centuries covered the ruined palaces and cities of Persia and Assyria,
and bringing to Europe ship-loads of recovered statues, marbles,
cylinders, mummies, obelisks, papyrii, covered with all manner of
pictures and inscriptions, civil, religious, and political, contemporary
with the Bible history, and setting the best scholars of Europe to
decipher and translate them. They are only, as yet, in the middle of
their labors, but already so much has been discovered as to warrant the
assertion that before they have finished they will furnish full
corroboration of all the great outlines of Old Testament history.

Egypt was the first to come forward in furnishing her quota of
commentary to the corroboration of the Books of Moses. Hengstenberg's
_Egypt and the Books of Moses_, Wilkinson's _Ancient Egyptians_, and
Osburn's _Monumental History of Egypt_, furnish almost a commentary upon
Moses' account of Egyptian affairs, confirming every biblical allusion
to Egypt as historically correct, and revealing to us even the natural
causes of the seven years high Nile and plenteous harvests; in the
overflow of the great central lake in Nubia wearing away the embankment;
and of the seven years subsequent low Nile and famine, by the drought
consequent on this immense drainage. The very titles of Joseph as,
"Director of the Full and Empty Irrigating Canals," "Steward of the
Granaries," etc. etc., are still to be read on his tomb at
Sakkarah,[133] and much more of the same sort.

F. Newman ridicules the Bible narrative of Shishak's expedition against
Rehoboam as a mere fictitious embellishment of an otherwise tame
narrative;[134] but Egyptologists, like Stuart, Poole, and Brugsch, have
examined the inscription of Shishak, at Karnak, and allege that it fully
corroborates the Scripture history.[135]

Some of the most obscure portions of the Bible, which have long been
stumbling-blocks to commentators and historians, are now thus
illuminated by the light of modern discoveries of monuments and
inscriptions found in the ruins of the ancient cities of Persia and
Assyria, upon which they in turn cast such light as to enable the
discoveries of Layard and Rawlinson to assume an intelligible coherency.
The tenth and eleventh chapters of Genesis, written a thousand years
before Herodotus or Manetho, and which Rationalistic commentators were
so long "unable to verify by their own consciousness," and which were
therefore consigned to the realm of mythology, are now acknowledged by
the first scholars and discoverers to stand at the head of the page of
reliable history, and to form the basis of all scientific ethnography.

The diversity of languages among mankind seems not to have attracted the
attention of the Greek philosophers. When modern inquirers began to
investigate the matter, they were well-nigh confounded by the multitude
of dialects and languages. The labor of three generations of scholars
has been expended upon philology, the most ancient monument of mankind.
And the result is that all the various languages of earth have at length
been classified under three tongues--the Shemitic, the Aryan, and the
Turanian. But this most recent discovery of comparative philology was
narrated by Moses thirty centuries ago, with the historical account of
the origin of the division of the primeval family into three separate
colonies, colonizing the earth after their families and after their
tongues.--Genesis x. 32. The discovery of this coincidence fills Bunsen
with astonishment. "Comparative philology," he says, "would have been
compelled to set forth as a postulate the supposition of some such
division of languages in Asia, especially on the ground of the relation
of the Egyptian language to the Shemitic, even if the Bible had not
assured us of the truth of this great historical event. It is truly
wonderful; it is a matter of astonishment; it is more than a mere
astounding fact that something so purely historical, and yet divinely
fixed--something so conformable to reason, and yet not to be conceived
of as a mere natural development--is here related to us out of the
oldest primeval period, and which now for the first time, through the
new science of philology, has become capable of being historically and
philosophically explained."

The brief, yet definite, assertions of the Hamitic origin of the old
empire of Babylon, and of an Asiatic Cush or Ethiopia, which have been
so repeatedly charged against the Bible as blunders, even by some
profound scholars, have been vindicated by the recent discoveries in the
mounds of Chaldea Proper of multitudes of inscriptions in a language
which Sir H. Rawlinson affirms "is decidedly Cushite or Ethiopian," and
the modern languages to which it makes the nearest approaches are those
of Southern Arabia and Abyssinia. The old traditions have then been
confirmed by comparative philology, and both are side lights to
Scripture. * * * "The primitive race which bore sway in Chaldea Proper
is demonstrated to have belonged to this Ethnic type."[136]

"The conquest of Palestine is recorded on the annals of Sennacherib, and
the cylinder of Tiglath-Pileser describes his invasion of Palestine.
The names of Jehu, of Amaziah, of Hezekiah, of Omri, Ahaz, and Uzziah
have been made out. _The very clay which sealed the treaty between the
kings of Judah and Assyria, with the impresses of their joint seals upon
it, is preserved in the Nineveh gallery._ The library of Assurbanipal,
in twenty thousand fragments, contains among other scientific treatises,
such as astronomical notices, grammatical essays, tables of verbs,
genealogies, etc., an historico-geographical account of Babylonia and
the surrounding countries. As far as these fragments have been
translated, the district and tribal names given in the Bible correspond
very closely with them."[137]

But this is not the only illustration and confirmation which these old
Assyrian monuments offer to the Sacred Writings. From the first invasion
of the Assyrians, under Tiglath-Pileser, to the restoration of Israel
from Babylon, and the rebuilding of the temple, under Darius, the Bible
history is full of references to the Assyrian, Babylonian, and Persian
monarchies, and their affairs with Israel and Judah. And the inscribed
tablets, cylinders, and temple tablets, and statues, are full of
references which directly or indirectly elucidate and corroborate the
Bible history, attesting to skeptics the truthfulness of its wonderful
narrative; the very stones of Nineveh, and the ruined palaces of Babylon
and Assyria, crying out in vindication of the veracity of the Bible.
Already so much has been discovered as to fill several volumes, to which
we must refer the reader for details.[138]

One of the alleged historical errors greatly insisted on by
Rationalistic commentators was the statement by Daniel, that Belshazzar
was King of Babylon when it was taken by the Medo-Persians, and that he
was slain at the storming of the city. Herodotus and Berosus had stated
that Nabonnidus was king, and that he was not in the city then, but was
afterward taken prisoner and treated generously by Cyrus. These accounts
seemed contradictory; and as Herodotus and Berosus were generally
esteemed respectable historians, the Rationalists ridicule Daniel as an
erroneous writer of history. But one of Sir H. Rawlinson's discoveries
has vindicated the prophet, and also explained how the historians were
truthful too. W. Taylor, one of Rawlinson's assistants, discovered an
inscribed cylinder in Ur of the Chaldees containing an account of the
reign of this very Nabonnidus, which Sir Henry describes in a letter to
the _Athenæum_, (1854, page 341): "The most important facts, however,
which they disclose are that the eldest son of Nabonnidus was named
Bel-shar-ezar, and that he was admitted by his father to a share in the
government." This name is undoubtedly the Belshazzar of Daniel, and thus
furnishes a key to the explanation of that great historical problem
which has hitherto defied solution. We can now understand how
Belshazzar, as _joint-king_ with his father, may have been Governor of
Babylon when the city was attacked by the combined forces of the Medes
and Persians, and may have perished in the assault which followed; while
Nabonnidus, leading a force to the relief of the place, was defeated,
and was obliged to take refuge in Borsippa, capitulating after a short
resistance, and being subsequently assigned, according to Berosus, to an
honorable retirement in Carmania. A minute coincidence also is thus
brought to light, showing the accuracy of the inspired historian in one
of the details of his narrative. Belshazzar elevates him to the position
of Grand Vizier, or Prime Minister, which, under ordinary circumstances,
would be the _second_ place of dignity in the empire. But Daniel
represents the king as raising him to the _third_ place, which we now
see to be strictly correct, since Belshazzar himself was the second in
rank. Thus the weapons discharged against the Bible ever recoil upon the
heads of its assailants.

Not only among the monuments of the great historic nations do we now
discover corroborations of Scripture, the records and monuments of even
obscure nations are most strangely turning up and being discovered,
after lying unnoticed for centuries, as if God had reserved their
testimony for the time when it would be needed and valued. The Bible
does not refer to the history of the surrounding nations, save in
connection with their relations to Israel; but it is surprising to see
how many of these references are corroborated by recent discoveries. The
Bible, for instance, describes[139] Omri as establishing a kingdom with
his capital at Samaria, and he and his son, Ahab, making war on Mesha,
King of Moab, conquering him and making him pay an annual tribute of one
hundred thousand lambs and one hundred thousand rams, with the wool. But
it came to pass that when Ahab was dead that the King of Moab rebelled
against the King of Israel.

Now amid the perpetual wars of the petty kingdoms of Asia, and after the
utter extirpation of the Moabitish nation, the chances were millions to
one against our recovering any historical monuments whatever of that
people; and almost infinite against recovering any which should coincide
with the half dozen allusions to them in the Bible. But Mr. Klein
discovered in the ruins of Dibon, one of the ancient cities of Moab, and
Capt. Warren recovered, the fragments of the now famous Moabite Stone,
on which, in the old Samaritan characters, we read: "I, Mesha, son of
Jobin, King of Moab. My father reigned over Moab thirty years, and I
reigned after my father. I erected this altar unto Chemosh, who granted
me victory over mine enemies, the people of Omri, King of Israel, who,
together with his son, Ahab, oppressed Moab a long time--even forty
years,"[140] etc.

But space forbids even the enumeration of the corroborations of Bible
history from the days of Abraham to the time of the first census of the
Roman Empire, when Cyrenius was Governor of Syria the second time. In
every instance where its monuments have spoken of biblical affairs they
have confirmed the accuracy of the Bible history. The history of Great
Britain, or of the United States, is not more authentic than, and not so
accurate as, the long line of history recorded in the Bible. No
important error has been proven in any of its historical statements of
the world's history for forty centuries. This accuracy contrasted with
the acknowledged errors of the best historians, is proof to every candid
mind of divine direction and help to the sacred writers.

Sweeping away, then, these cobwebs, we open the volume and form our
opinion of its genuineness and authenticity from its own internal
evidences--its nature and contents--and from the way in which it was
used by the Hebrew nation.

It is important at the outset to know how long these documents have
undoubtedly existed. No one denies that they were in existence eighteen
hundred years ago. Indeed, the first literary attack on them which has
been recorded was made about that time; and Josephus' defense of the
Scriptures against Apion still exists. The very same writings which the
Protestant churches now acknowledge as canonical, and none other, were
then acknowledged to be of divine authority by the Jews. It is true they
bound their Bibles differently from ours, but the contents were the very
same. They made up their parchments of the thirty-nine books in
twenty-two rolls or volumes, one for every letter of their alphabet;
putting Judges and Ruth, the two books of Samuel, the two books of
Kings, the two books of Chronicles, Ezra and Nehemiah, Jeremiah's
Prophecy and Lamentations, and the twelve minor prophets, in one volume
respectively. They also distinguished the five books of Moses as, _The
Law_; the Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon as, _The
Psalms_; and all the remainder as, _The Prophets_.[141] Moreover, it is
well known that two hundred and eighty-two years before the Christian
era, these writings were translated into Greek and widely circulated in
all parts of the world. They were, in fact, not only popular, but
received as of divine authority by the Jews at that time, read in their
synagogues in public worship, and regarded with sacred reverence. How
did they come to receive them in this manner?

These writings were not only acknowledged by the Jews; their bitterest
enemies--the Samaritans--owned the divine authority of the five books of
Moses, and preserve an ancient copy of them, differing in no essential
particular from the Hebrew version, to this day. The Samaritans always
bore to the Hebrews such a relation as Mohammedans do to Christians, and
the Hebrews returned the grudge with interest: "For the Jews have no
dealings with the Samaritans." These heathen Babylonians, four centuries
or more before the Christian era, were somehow induced to receive the
Pentateuch as of divine authority, and to frame some sort of religion
upon it. Their enmity to the Jews is conclusive proof that, since that
time, neither Jews nor Samaritans have altered the text; else the
manuscripts would show the discrepancy.

These books are not such as any person would forge to gain popularity,
or to make money by. There is nothing in them to bribe the good opinion
of influential people, or catch the favor of the multitude. On the
contrary, their stern severity, and unsparing denunciation of popular
vice and profitable sin must have secured their rejection by the Jewish
people, had they not been constrained by undeniable evidence to
acknowledge their divine authority. They set out with the assertion of
the divine authority of the law of Moses, and everywhere sharply reprove
princes, priests, and people for breaking it. The prophets, so far from
seeking popularity, are foolhardy enough to denounce the bonnets, hoops,
and flounces of the ladies, and to cry, Woe! against the regular
business of the most respectable note-shavers,[142] to croak against the
march of intellect, and shake public confidence in the prosperity of
their great country,[143] to ally themselves with fanatic abolitionists,
and introduce agitating political questions into the pulpit; crying,
_Woe to him that useth his neighbor's service without wages, and giveth
him not for his work._[144] To crown all, they organized abolition clubs
to procure immediate emancipation, and published incendiary
proclamations in the cities of the slaveholders,[145] and, strange to
say, they were allowed to escape with their lives; and their writings
were held sacred by the children of those very men and women they so
unsparingly denounced; a conclusive proof that the calamities they
predicted had compelled them to acknowledge these prophets as the
heralds of God. The proof must have been conclusive, indeed, which
compelled the Jews to acknowledge the writings of the prophets as

Another very striking feature of these writings is, their mutual
connection with each other. They were written at various intervals,
during a period of a thousand years' duration, by shepherds and kings,
by prophets and priests, by governors of States and gatherers of
sycamore fruit; in deserts and in palaces, in camps and in cities, in
Egypt and Syria, in Arabia and Babylon; under the iron heel of despotic
oppression, and amid the liberty of the most democratic republic the
world ever saw; yet, circumstances, and lapse of time, they ever hold to
one great theme, always assert the same great principles, and
perpetually claim connection with the writers who have preceded them.
There is nothing like this in the histories of other nations. Two
centuries will work such changes of opinion, that you can not find
nowadays any historian who approves the sentiments of Pepys or
Clarendon, whatever use he may make of their facts. But the historians
of the Bible not only refer to their predecessors' writings, but refer
to them as of acknowledged divine authority. Thus the very latest of
these books gives the weight of its testimony to the first--"_And they
set the priests in their divisions, and the Levites in their courses for
the service of God, which is at Jerusalem, as it is written in the book
of Moses._"[146] And Daniel spake of the books of Moses as well known
when he says, "_Therefore the curse is poured upon us, and the oath that
is written in the law of Moses the servant of God._"[147] The shortest
book in the Old Testament--the prophecy of Obadiah, consisting only of
twenty sentences--contains twenty-five allusions to the preceding
histories and laws. The last of the prophets shuts up the volume with a
command to "_Remember the law of Moses._" In fact, just as the epistles
prove the existence and acknowledged authority of the gospels; so do the
prophets prove the existence and acknowledged authority of the law of
Moses. They were acknowledged not merely by one generation of the Jewish
people, but by the nation during the whole period of its national
existence; and they are of such a character, that they must then, and
now, be taken as one whole--all accepted, or all rejected together.

The reader of the Old Testament will speedily find that these writings
are not merely a connected history of the nation, of great general
interest, like Bancroft's or Macaulay's, but of no such special interest
to any individual as to force him, by a sense of self-interest, or the
danger of loss of liberty or property, to correct their errors. On the
contrary, every farmer in Palestine was deeply concerned in the truth
and accuracy of the Bible; for it contained not only the general
boundaries of the country, and of the particular tribes, like the survey
of the Maine boundary, or of Mason and Dixon's line, but it delineated
particular estates, also, and was, in fact, the report of the
Surveyor-General, deposited in the county court for reference, in case
of any litigation about sale or inheritance of property.[148] The
genealogies of the tribes and families were also preserved in these
writings; and on the authenticity and correctness of these records, the
inheritance of every farm in the land depended; for as no lease ran more
than fifty years, every farm returned to the heirs of the original
settler at the year of jubilee.[149] Thus every Jewish farmer had a
direct interest in these sacred records; and it would be just as hard to
forge records for the county courts of Ohio, and pass them off upon the
citizens as genuine, and plead them in the courts as valid, as to impose
at first, or falsify afterward, the records of the commonwealth of

This will appear more clearly when we consider that they contained also
the laws of the land--the Constitution of the United States of Israel,
with the statutes at large--according to which every house, and farm,
and garden in the whole country was possessed, every court of justice
was guided,[150] every election was held, from the election of a petty
constable, to that of Governor of the State,[151] and the militia
enrolled, mustered, officered, and called out to the field of
battle.[152] These laws prescribed the way in which every house must be
built, regulated the weaver in weaving his cloth, and the tailor in
making it, and the cooking of every breakfast, dinner and supper eaten
by an Israelite over the world, from that day to this.[153] Now, let any
one who thinks it would be an easy matter to forge such a series of
documents, and get people to receive and obey them, try his hand in
making a volume of Acts of Assembly, and passing it off upon the people
of Ohio for genuine. Let him bring an action into one of the courts, and
persuade the judges to give a decision in his favor, upon the strength
of his forged or falsified statutes, and then he may hope to convince us
that the laws of Moses are simply a collection of religious tracts,
which came to be held sacred through lapse of time, nobody knows how or

Nor were these laws, and the usages thus established, common, and such
as the people would be ready easily to adopt. On the contrary, Moses
repeatedly asserts, and all ancient history shows, that they were quite
peculiar to the Hebrew people then; and they are to this day confined to
the republics which, like our own, have drawn their ideas from the
Bible. It is enough to name the common law and trial by jury; the armed
nation; the right of free public assembly, free speech, free passport,
and free trade; the election of civil, judicial, and military officers
by universal suffrage; the division of the land in fee-simple among the
whole people; the rights of women to hold real estate in their own
right, to speak in public assemblies, and to prophetic functions; and
the support of religion by the voluntary offerings of the people.

Our own republic resembles Israel as a daughter her mother. The land of
liberty was the Bible country. The first republic which the world ever
saw was designed by Almighty God, and revealed to the world in the
Bible, and by the example of the United States of Israel. From that
pattern our forefathers copied all the grand features of our glorious
republic--the equitable distribution of the land, in fee-simple, among
the people; securing them, by the jubilee, against the introduction of
feudal tenure, and landlordism; the abolition of a standing army, and
the defense of the country by the militia; the election of all officers,
civil and military, from the town constable, and the justice of the
peace, up to the president of the republic, the Lord Jehovah himself, by
universal suffrage--and the Federal Union of the twelve tribes into one
nation, with township, county, and state governments, with a common law,
common schools, and the equality of all citizens before the law; the
right of naturalization; sanitary and social institutions, such as
modern philanthropists are only beginning to dream of, for the elevation
of the people; and all this avowedly held in trust for all mankind, as a
fountain of blessings for all the families of the earth. No such ideas
of liberty, equality, and fraternity, ever existed among the wisest
heathen nations--the Egyptians, Persians, Greeks, or Romans. On the face
of the whole earth there never was, and there is not to-day, a free
republic outside of the light and liberty of the Bible. The so-called
republics of Athens and Rome were hideous aristocracies, and tyrannies.
From the Bible the men of the Continental Congress learned the grand
truth, which they emblazoned on the forefront of their immortal
Declaration of Independence, "That all men are endowed by their Creator
with certain inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of
happiness;" thus planting the rights of man upon the only immovable
basis--the throne of the eternal God.

But there were other features of the Mosaic legislation so far in
advance of the ideas of our modern Materialism as not to have been even
yet suggested in our social congresses, nor even dreamt of by our most
advanced Christian philanthropists, in their endeavors after the
elevation of the masses. Moses' idea was the prevention of pauperism,
and of the conflict between labor and capital, and of the gambling
speculating fever, and the formation of an independent, intelligent,
joyous, religious, healthy, and thrifty people, well-bred, well-fed,
well-lodged, able to fight their foes on the battle-field, to reap their
ridge on the harvest-field, to enjoy the blessings of healthy families,
and to rejoice before the Lord. A volume would be needed to develop the
social bearings of the laws of the Hebrews. We can only suggest for
consideration the laws regarding inalienability of the homestead, and
the bankrupt law; the laws of marriage and inheritance; the laws of
servitude and wages; the sanitary laws regarding building, clothing,
bathing, eating, and contagion; the protection of the rights of animals;
the dispersion of the educated class; and the three great national
festivals, during which the whole people were released from the labors
of the field, and of the kitchen, and enjoyed during the eight summer
days of each picnic such an excitement of social enjoyment, religious
fervor, and political patriotism, as modern Christendom anticipates in
the millennium, but which neither Church nor State has, as yet,
systematically attempted to nurture.

That the Hebrews did not obey the law, and so did not enjoy the
happiness obedience would have secured, is only what God foresaw, and
foretold repeatedly, with solemn warning of the disastrous degradation
to which disobedience to God's laws must ever reduce man. Nevertheless,
even their very imperfect conformity to these institutions gave them
such superiority of blood and breeding to their ungodly neighbors, that
they have survived the most powerful nations, and, in spite of
dispersion, exile, disfranchisement, and persecution, they exist as a
distinct people, superior intellectually, commercially, and morally to
all the heathen nations at this day. How much higher had been their
position had they fully obeyed the law.

Our argument is, that this law of liberty, equality, fraternity, and
religion, was worthy of our Father in heaven, and a seed of blessing to
all the families of the earth.

To a Jew living before the coming of Christ, the unanimous testimony of
his nation, confirmed by all the commemorative observances of the
sacrifices, the passover, the Sabbath, and the jubilee, by the reading
of the law and the prophets, and the singing of the historical psalms in
the temple and the synagogues, by the execution of the laws of Moses in
the courts, and by the very existence of his nation as a distinct
people, separate from all the other nations--could leave no doubt that
laws so peculiar and beneficent must have been enacted by a wisdom
superior to that of man, and their observance imposed by divine
authority; nor that the miracles by which these laws were authenticated,
and the national existence of the people of Israel was secured, were
genuine, and divine. The chain of historical and internal evidence is
too strong to be broken, while the Jewish nation exists.

But yet this historical and internal evidence of the authority of the
Old Testament is but the smallest part of that which we possess, who
have the testimony of Christ on this subject. For this testimony removes
the question from the mists of antiquity, and even from the debatable
ground of historic certainty, and resolves the whole process of
searching for, and comparing and examining a host of second-hand
witnesses, into the easy and certain one of hearing the Author himself
say, whether he acknowledges this Book to be his or not. Christians
receive the Old Testament as the Word of God, because Jesus says so.

Now, reader, it is of the utmost importance that you should stop just
here, and give a plain, confident answer to these questions: Dost thou
believe upon the Son of God? Is Jesus the Messiah of whom Moses in the
law, and the prophets, did write? Are you perfectly satisfied of the
truth of the New Testament, and willing to venture your eternal
salvation upon the words of Christ contained in it?

For, if not, of what use is it for you to trouble yourself about the Old
Testament? You might as well waste your time in examining the
genuineness of the bills of a broken bank; they may be genuine or they
may be forgeries; but who cares? They will never be paid. If the first
promises of the bank of heaven, to send the Messiah eighteen hundred
years ago, have been fulfilled, its other paper may be also valuable; if
not, it must be equally worthless. If the New Testament be not of divine
authority, you may place the prophets on the same shelf with the Poems
of Ossian; and then follows the serious consequence, that there is not a
grain of hope left for you or for any man on earth. If Jesus be indeed
an Almighty Savior, and if he has indeed risen from the dead, then,
through the power of his mighty love, your filthy soul may be washed
from its sins, and your mortal body may be raised from the rottenness of
the grave. But if Christ be not risen, you are yet in your sins. You
have no notion that any of the gods of the heathen, or the precepts of
the Koran, can purify your heart. You know well that Infidelity never
sanctified any of your comrades. Conscience tells you that you are not
any better now than you were a year ago, but worse. You are yet in your
sins; and in them you must live and die! Aye, while your immortal soul
lives, while the laws of human nature continue, you must carry those
brands of infamy on your character, and daily progress from bad to
worse; sinking deeper and deeper in the contempt of all intelligent
beings; and, were there no other avenger, in the remorse and despair of
your own mind, you must experience the horrors of perdition. Jesus, able
to save to the uttermost, all that come unto God by him, is your only
hope. There is none other name given under heaven among men whereby we
must be saved. If his gospel be true, you may be saved; if it is false,
you must be damned.

If you have the shadow of a doubt of the truth of the New Testament, go
over the subject again; re-read the former chapters of this book; pray
to God for light and truth; above all, read the Book again and again;
and if, in your case, as in that of one of the most famous teachers of
German Neology--De Wette--the careful study of the New Testament impels
you to rush through all the mists of doubt to the higher standpoint of a
lofty faith, and the sunshine of real religion; and if with him you can
now say, "Only this one thing I know, that in no other name is there
salvation than in the name of Jesus Christ the crucified, and that for
humanity there is nothing higher than the incarnation of Deity set
before us in him, and the kingdom of God established by him,"[154] you
may then go on with your inquiry into the divine authority of the Old
Testament. With the Master himself before you, the Author, the Inspirer,
by whom, and for whom, the prophets spake, and to whom all the
Scriptures point, you will not think of wasting time in examining
second-hand evidence; but go direct to Jesus himself. His testimony will
not be merely so much additional testimony--another candle added to the
chandelier by whose light you have perused the evidences of the
Scriptures; it will shine out on your soul as the light of the Sun of
Righteousness with healing on his wings. Every word from his lips will
awaken in your heart the voice from heaven, "_This is my beloved Son.
Hear him._" What saith Christ, then, respecting the Old Testament?

The moment you open the New Testament to make this inquiry, you are met
by a reference to the Old. "_The book of the generation of Jesus Christ,
the Son of David, the Son of Abraham_," is its formal title; and the
most cursory perusal tells you that you have taken up, not a separate
and independent work, which you can profitably peruse and understand
without much reference to some foregoing volumes--as one might read
Abbott's Life of Napoleon without needing at the same time to study the
History of the Crusades--but that you have taken up a continuation of
some former work--the last volume in fact of the Old Testament--and that
you can not understand even the first chapter without a careful reading
of the foregoing volumes. Before you have finished the first chapter you
meet with the most unequivocal assertion of the harmony of the gospels
and the prophecies, and of the divine authority of both--"_Now all this
was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the
prophet_," etc. The whole tenor of the New Testament corresponds to this
beginning, teaching that the birth, doctrine, miracles, life, death,
resurrection, ascension, and second coming of the Lord, are the
fulfillments of the Old Testament promises and prophecies; of which no
less than a hundred and thirty-nine are expressly quoted, beginning with
Moses and ending with Malachi.

We can not explain this by saying, with the mythical school of
interpreters, that this was merely the opinion of the writers of the
gospels and of the Jews of their age; whose longings for the Messiah led
them to imagine some curious coincidences between the events of Christ's
life and the utterances of these ancient oracles to be ready
fulfillments; and that Christ did not deem it needful in all cases to
undeceive them. For to suppose that Christ--the Truth--would sanction or
connive at any such sacrilegious deception, is at once to deprive him,
not only of his divine character, but of all claim to common honesty. So
far from the Jews longing for any such events as those which fulfilled
the prophecies, they despised the Messiah in whom they were fulfilled,
and refused to believe in him; and his disciples were as far from the
gospel ideal of the Messiah, when Jesus needed to reproach them with,
"_O fools, and slow of heart, to believe all that the prophets have
spoken._"[155] It was not the Jews, nor yet the disciples, but the Lord
himself who perpetually insisted on the divine authority of the Old
Testament as the _Word_ of his Father, and the sufficient attestation of
his own divine character, after this manner: "_Ye have not his word
abiding in you; for whom he hath sent, him ye believe not. Search the
Scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they
which testify of me. * * * Had ye believed Moses, ye would have
believed me: for he wrote of me. But if ye believe not his writings, how
shall ye believe my words?_"[156]

His first recorded sermon contains a remarkable and solemn attestation
to the divine authority of the Old Testament, and of his own relation to
it as its substance and supporter, "_Think not that I am come to destroy
the law, and the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfill. For
verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle
shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled._"[157] The
whole of this discourse is an exposition of the true principles of the
Old Testament, stripping off the rubbish by which tradition had made
void the law of God, and enforcing its precepts by the sanction of his
divine authority. And in one of his last discourses after his
resurrection: "_Beginning at Moses, and the prophets, he expounded unto
them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself. * * * And he
said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was
yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in
the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me.
Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the

In this distinct enumeration of the whole of the Scriptures of the Old
Testament; in the assertion that they all treated of him, and that their
principal predictions were fulfilled in him; and in his bestowal of
divine illumination to enable them to understand these divine
oracles--we have such an indorsement of their character by the Truth
himself, as must command the faith and obedience of every believer in
him. Had no objections been raised against particular doctrines or
features of the Old Testament, we should stop here; perfectly satisfied
with the attestations to the truth of its history, given by the
continual references, and to the authority of its precepts, by the
solemn formal declarations of the Son of God. But some popular
objections to its completeness and perfection demand a brief notice.

1. The general character of the Old Testament being then ascertained
beyond doubt, our first inquiry must be as to the integrity and
completeness of the collection. For it is manifest that their divine
authority being admitted, any attempt to add to them any human writings,
or to take away those which were from God, would be a crime so serious
in its consequences, that it could not escape the notice of him who
severely rebuked even the verbal traditions by which the Jews made void
the law of God. Now we are told by some that a great many inspired
books have been lost; and they enumerate the prophecy of Enoch; the book
of the Wars of the Lord; the book of Joshua; the book of Iddo the seer;
the book of Nathan the prophet; the acts of Rehoboam; the book of Jehu,
the son of Hanani; and the five books of Solomon, on trees, beasts,
fowls, serpents, and fishes; which are alluded to in the Bible.

If the case were so, it is difficult to see what objection could be
raised against the divine authority of the books we have, because of the
divine authority of those we have not; for it is not supposed that one
divinely inspired book would contradict another. Nor yet can we see how
the loss of these books should disprove their inspiration, much less the
inspiration of those which remain, any more than the want of a record of
the multitude of words and works of Jesus himself which were never
committed to writing,[159] should be an argument against the divine
authority of the Sermon on the Mount. It will hardly be asserted that
God is bound to reveal to us everything that the human race ever did,
and to preserve such records through all time, or lose his right to
demand our obedience to a plain revelation of his will; or that we do
well to neglect the salvation of our own souls until we obtain an
infallible knowledge of the acts of Rehoboam.

But there is not the shadow of a proof that any of these were inspired
books, or that some of them were books at all. The Bible nowhere says
that Enoch wrote his prophecy, or that Solomon read his discourses on
natural history; nor of what religious interest they would have been to
us any more than the hard questions of the Queen of Sheba, and his
answers to them. Though the loss of these ancient chronicles may be
regretted by the antiquarian, the Christian feels not at all concerned
about it; knowing as he does, on the testimony of Christ, that the Holy
Scriptures, as he and his apostles delivered them to us, contain all
that we need to know in order to repent of our sins, lead holy lives,
and go to heaven; and that we have the very same Bible of which Jesus
said: "_They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them. * * * If
they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded
though one rose from the dead._"[160]

2. Another objection is, that the religion of the Old Testament was
essentially different from that of the New. It is at once acknowledged,
that the light which Christ shed on our relations to God, and to our
brethren of mankind, is so much clearer than that of the Old Testament
that we see our duties more plainly, and are more inexcusable for
neglecting them, than those who had not the benefit of Christ's
teaching. And no objection can be raised against God for not sending his
Son sooner, or for not giving more light to the world before his coming,
unless it can be shown that he is debtor to mankind, and that they were
making a good use of the light he gave them. So that the question is
not, Did God give as full and expanded instructions to the Church in her
infancy as he has given in her maturity? but, Did he give instructions
of a different character? It is not, Did Christ reveal more than Moses?
but, Did Christ contradict Moses? And here, at the very outset, we are
met by Christ's own solemn formal disclaimer of any such intention:
"_Think not that I am come to destroy the law and the prophets. I am not
come to destroy, but to fulfill._" And as to the actual working of the
Christian religion, when Paul is asked, "_Is the law then against the
promises of God?_"[161] he indignantly replies, "_God forbid!_"

But it is urged, "Judaism is not Christianity. You have changed the
Sabbath, abolished the sacrifices, trampled upon the rules of living,
eating, and visiting only with the peculiar people, you neglect the
passover, and drop circumcision, the seal of the covenant, all on the
authority of Christ. Do you mean to say that these are not essential
elements of the Old Testament religion?"

Undoubtedly. Outward ceremonies of any kind never were essential parts
of religion. "_I will have mercy and not sacrifice_," is an Old
Testament proverb, which clearly tells us that outward ceremonies are
merely means toward the great end of all religion. "_The law_," says the
Holy Ghost, by the pen of Paul, "_was our schoolmaster to bring us to
Christ_." The bread of heavenly truth is served out to God's children
now on ten thousand wooden tables, instead of one brazen altar; but it
is made of the same corn of heaven, it is dispensed by the same hand of
love, to a larger family, it is true, but received and eaten in the
exercise of the very same religious feelings, by any hearer of the
gospel in New York, as by Abraham on Moriah. By faith in Christ the
sinner now is justified, "_Even as Abraham believed God, and it was
imputed to him for righteousness._" So says one who knew both law and
gospel well. "_Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid!
Yea, we establish the law!_" The Epistles to the Romans and to the
Hebrews are just demonstrations of this truth, that the law was the
blossom, the gospel the fruit.

But it is alleged that the religion of the Old Testament could not but
be defective, as it wanted the doctrines of immortality and the
resurrection; of which, it is alleged, the Old Testament saints were

It were easy to prove, from their own words and conduct, that Job,
Abraham, David, and Daniel, were not ignorant of these great
doctrines.[162] But the manner in which our Lord proves the truth of
the resurrection, by a reference to it as undeniably taught in the Old
Testament, must ever silence this objection. "_But as touching the
resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto
you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the
God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living._"[163]

3. But it is objected the Hebrew Jehovah tolerated and approved
polygamy, slavery, and divorce; and, in general, a low code of morals
among the Hebrews.

But we demand to know what standard of morals our objectors adopt? That
of the ancient oriental world in which Israel lived? Then the laws of
Jehovah were very far in advance of that age. The slave had his blessed
Sabbath rest secured to him; which is more than modern civilization can
secure for her railway slaves; his master was forbidden to treat him
cruelly; and the maid-servant's honor was protected by the best means
then known; while the Sacred Writings held up for example the primitive
example of marriage, interposed the formality of a legal document before
divorce, and elevated the family far above the degraded state of the
heathen around them.

But the objector falls back on the morals of Christendom, the
civilization of the nineteenth century, and judges the laws of Moses by
that standard. Very well. This is simply to say that our ideas have been
raised to the standard of Christianity; and then the objection is that
the laws of Moses are not so spiritual and elevated as the precepts of
Christ. Our Lord himself asserts the same thing. He says Moses tolerated
divorce because of the hardness of the people's hearts; but from the
beginning it was not so. And Paul (Hebrews viii. 6, 7) alleges the
imperfection of Moses' law as a good reason for the introduction of a
better covenant. The Bible itself then recognizes an advance from good
to better, the path of the just shining more and more unto the perfect

But then it is asked, Is God the Author of an imperfect law? Could God
give a defective code of morals? The question entirely misses the design
of God's revelation as a process of educating his children. Suppose we
ask, Could God speak Hebrew--a language so defective in philosophical
terms? God must condescend to the mental, and even, in some degree, to
the moral level of mankind if he is to reach us at all. All education
must begin low, and rise from step to step. The A, B, C of morals must
be first learned. The whole analogy of providence shows this to be God's
method of procedure. The kingdom of God is like the growing seed; first
the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear. Gradual, and
even slow, progress is the law of nature.

Our modern civilization, which is so proudly invoked, is very far indeed
from any such perfection as might enable us to look down upon Moses'
legislation with contempt. We have only to name our standing armies and
conscriptions; our national promises to pay debts, which no one ever
expects to pay; our laws regarding drunkenness, and our revenues derived
from the licenses for the sale of liquors; the utter failure of our
attempts to put down betting, gambling, and stock and gold speculations,
prostitution, bribery, frauds, and plundering of the public funds; to
convince ourselves that there are many things law can not do, even in
this nineteenth century of civilization.

Our little progress, such as it is, has not been made all at once, or by
one great advance. God gives mankind blessings by degrees. He gave the
mariner's compass to the fourteenth century, the printing press and
America to the fifteenth, the Bible in the vulgar tongue to the
sixteenth, parliamentary government to the seventeenth, the steam
engine to the eighteenth, railroads and the telegraph to the nineteenth.
One might as well cavil at his providence for not giving the Hebrews
sewing machines, Hoe's printing presses, and daily newspapers, when they
entered into Canaan, as for delaying to give them the elements of
Christian civil law, and social life, before they were able to value and
to use them.

As it was, Moses' law was so far in advance of their own ideas of
propriety, and so far in advance of those of all the people around them,
that they were continually falling back from it, and rebelling against
it, and subjecting themselves to the discipline which God had threatened
for disobedience. Thus they were kept ever looking upward to a higher
model. Their transgressions must be confessed as sins, and atoned for by
bloody sacrifices, declaring the transgressor worthy of death. Their
consciences were educated to the idea of holiness, an idea utterly
wanting among the heathen; and the law became a powerful motive power,
urging them to higher and holier lives, and preparing them to receive
the higher and holier example and precepts of Christ.

The imperfection, then, of the law of Moses, so far from being an
evidence of the human origin of the Bible, is a mark of the infinite
wisdom of the great Lawgiver in adapting his legislation to the
condition of his people; and while tolerating for the time then present
an imperfect state of society, just as at this time he tolerates a
Christendom far below the gospel standard, yet implanting in the minds
of his people principles of righteousness and love which were certain
eventually to raise them to the high level of the kingdom of God. This,
then, is simply an instance of the general law of divine development.

4. Again, however, it is contended, "that the morality of the Old
Testament was narrow and bigoted; requiring, indeed, the observance of
charity to the covenant people, but allowing Israel to hate all others
as enemies, and as well expressed in the text, _Thou shalt love thy
neighbor and hate thine enemy._"[164]

But let it be noticed, that this is no text of Scripture, nor does our
Lord so quote it. He does not say it is so written, but, _ye have heard
it said by them of old time_. The first part is God's truth; the second
is the devil's addition to it, which Christ clears away and denounces.
It were easy to quote multitudes of passages from the Old Testament,
commanding Israel to show kindness to the stranger, and a whole host of
promises, that in them all the families of the earth should be blessed;
any one of which would sufficiently refute the foolish notion, that the
morality of the Old Testament was geographical, and its charity merely
national. But the simple fact, that the most sublime sanction of
world-wide benevolence which ever fell even from the lips of Christ
himself, was uttered by him as the sum and substance of the teachings of
the Old Testament, conclusively confutes this dogma. The Golden Rule was
no new discovery, unless its Author was mistaken, for he says:
"_Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do
ye even so to them_: FOR THIS IS THE LAW AND THE PROPHETS."[165] He
declares the very basis and foundation of the whole Old Testament
religion to be those eternal principles of godliness and charity, which
he quotes in the very words of the law: "_Then one of them, which was a
lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, Master, which is
the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love
the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all
thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is
like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two
commandments hang all the law and the prophets._"[166] The law and the
prophets, then, taught genuine world-wide benevolence, Christ being
witness; and the moral law of the Old Testament is the moral law of the
New Testament, if we may believe the Lawgiver.

5. Still, it is alleged, "it can not be denied that the writers of the
Old Testament breathed a spirit of vindictiveness, and imprecated curses
on their enemies, utterly at variance with the precepts of the gospel,
which command us to bless and curse not; and even in their solemn
devotions uttered sentiments unfit for the mouth of any Christian; nor
that their views of the character of God were stern and gloomy, and that
they represented the Hebrew Jehovah as an unforgiving and vengeful
being, utterly different from the kind and loving Father whom Christ
delighted to reveal."

This, if the truth were told, is the grand objection to the Old
Testament. The holy and righteous sin-hating God, presented in its
history, is the object of dislike. The God who drowned the old world,
destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven, commanded the
extermination of the lewd and bloody Canaanites, thundered his curses
against sinners of every land and every age, saying, "_Cursed be he that
confirmeth not all the words of this law to do them_," requiring all the
people to say _Amen_,[167] is not the God whom Universalists can find in
their hearts to adore. A mild, easy, good-natured being, who would allow
men to live and die in sin without any punishment, would suit them
better. They try to think that he is altogether such an one as
themselves, and an approver of their sin.

But it is worth while to inquire whether the Father of our Lord Jesus
Christ be in this respect anything different from the Hebrew Jehovah, or
whether the gospel has in the least degree lessened his displeasure
against iniquity. Paul thought not that he was a different person, when
he said:

"_We know him who hath said, Vengeance belongeth unto me, I will
recompense, saith the Lord._"[168] Jesus thought not that he was more
lenient to sinners when he cried, "_Woe unto thee, Chorazin! Woe unto
thee, Bethsaida! * * * Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven,
shalt be brought down to hell * * * It shall be more tolerable for the
land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee._"[169] It is not in
the Old Testament, but in the New, that we are told that Jesus himself
shall come "_In flaming fire taking vengeance on them that know not God,
and that obey not the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ; who shall be
punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and
from the glory of his power._"[170] It is not an old, bigoted Hebrew
prophet giving a vision of the Hebrew Jehovah, but the beloved disciple
who leaned on Jesus' breast, picturing the Savior himself, who says:
"_He was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood; and his name is called
the Word of God. And the armies which were in heaven followed him upon
white horses, clothed in fine linen, white and clean. And out of his
mouth goeth a sharp sword, that with it he should smite the nations; and
he shall rule them with a rod of iron; and he treadeth the wine-press of
the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God._"[171]

Let no man imagine that the New Testament offers impunity to the wicked,
or that the Old Testament denies mercy to the repenting sinner, or that
Christ exhibited any other God than the God of Abraham, Isaac and
Jacob--the same Hebrew Jehovah who _commands the wicked to forsake his
way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; and to return unto the Lord,
and he will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for he will abundantly
pardon_.[172] It is exceedingly strange that those who dwell upon the
paternal character of God, as a distinctive feature of Christ's personal
teaching, should have forgotten that the hymns of the Old Testament
church, a thousand years before his coming, were full of this endearing
relation; that it was by the first Hebrew prophet that the Hebrew
Jehovah declared, "_Israel is my son, even my first-born; and I say unto
thee, Let my son go, that he may serve me_;"[173] and that by the last
of them he urges Israel to obedience by this tender appeal: "_If I be a
father, where is mine honor?_"[174] It was not Christ, but David--one of
those gloomy, stern, Hebrew prophets--who penned that noble hymn to our
Father in heaven, which Christ illustrated in his Sermon on the Mount:

     "The Lord is merciful and gracious,
     Slow to anger and plenteous in mercy.
     He will not always chide,
     Neither will he keep his anger forever.
     He hath not dealt with us after our sins,
     Nor rewarded us according to our iniquities;
     For as the heaven is high above the earth,
     So great is his mercy to them that fear him;
     As far as the East is from the West,
     So far hath he removed our transgressions from us.
     Like as a father pitieth his children,
     So the Lord pitieth them that fear him."--Psalm ciii.

It is utter ignorance of the Old Testament which prompts any one to
imagine that it presents any other character of God than "_The Lord, the
Lord God, merciful and gracious, long-suffering, and abundant in
goodness and truth, keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and
transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the
guilty._"[175] This is the name which God proclaimed to Moses, and this
is the character which he proclaimed in Christ, when he cried on the
cross: "_My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? But thou art holy, O
thou that inhabitest the praises of Israel._"[176] Justice and mercy are
united in Christ dying for the ungodly.

It is untrue to say that the prophets of the Old Testament were actuated
by a spirit of malice, or of revenge for personal injuries as such, in
praying for, or prophesying destruction on the inveterate enemies of God
and his cause.[177] Of all Scripture characters, David has been most
defamed for vindictiveness; but surely never was man more free from any
such spirit, than the persecuted fugitive, who, with his enemy in his
hand in the cave, and his confidential advisers urging him to take his
life, cut off his skirt instead of his head; and on another occasion
prevented the stroke which would have smitten the sleeping Saul to the
earth, and sent back even the spear and the cruse of water, the trophies
of his generosity. When cursed himself, and defamed as a vengeful
shedder of blood by the Benjamite, he could restrain the fury of his
followers, protect the life of the ruffianly traitor, and thus appeal to
God as the witness of his innocence:

     "O Lord, my God! if I have done this,
     If there be iniquity in my hands,
     If I have rewarded evil to him that was at peace with me,
     Yea I have delivered him that without cause was mine enemy."[178]

It is true that he does bitterly curse several living persons; of whom
it is observable that some had done him no sort of personal injury; as
Doeg the Edomite--the Nana Sahib of his day--who anticipated the scenes
of Cawnpore, in the streets of Nob, by mercilessly butchering
unoffending men, helpless women, and innocent babes. But surely no
friend of humanity can imagine that it is improper that the chief
magistrate of Israel, anointed for the very purpose of being a terror to
evil doers, should express his righteous indignation against such
atrocities; nor confound such public execration with the petty gnawings
of private revenge. Still less can the fearer of God doubt the propriety
of his expressing by the mouth of his prophet, that displeasure he
signally displayed by his providence, scathing and blasting the accursed
wretch into a terror to all bloody and deceitful men who shall read
their own warning in his doom.

     "God shall likewise destroy thee forever,
     He shall take thee away and pluck thee from thy dwelling,
     And root thee out of the land of the living."[179]

We have the most solemn assurance, that every one of the historical
incidents of Scripture is recorded for our instruction, and that every
prophecy gives a lesson to all ages. "_Now all these things happened
unto them for ensamples: and they are written for our admonition, upon
whom the ends of the world are come._"[180] The imprecations of the
Bible against individual sinners are the gibbets on which these
malefactors are hung up for warning to all men to flee the crimes that
brought them to that fate.

It is put beyond the possibility of doubt, by the combined testimony of
the Lord and his apostles, that by far the greater number of the curses
which David uttered, he spoke in the person of Christ himself, of whom
he was a type; and with direct reference to the crimes and punishment of
his enemies. Thus the Sixty-ninth Psalm, and the One hundred and ninth,
pre-eminently the cursing Psalms, are most explicitly and repeatedly
asserted by Christ, by Peter, and by John, to belong to Christ, and to
express his very words: "_This scripture must needs have been fulfilled,
which the Holy Ghost by the mouth of David spake before concerning
Judas, which was guide to them that took Jesus. * * * For it is
written in the book of Psalms, Let his habitation be desolate, and let
no man dwell therein. And, His bishopric let another take._"[181] If any
one feels reluctant to imagine that such cursings should fall from the
lips of the merciful Savior, let him remember that the most awful curse
which shall ever fall on the ears of terrified men shall be pronounced
by Jesus himself, "_Depart, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared
for the devil and his angels._"[182] The solemn facts of the Bible will
not accommodate themselves to our likes and dislikes. Christ loves
righteousness and hates iniquity; in the Bible he takes leave to say so,
and he expects his people to share his feelings, and to be willing to
express them on fit occasions.

Personal revenge, and curses for mere personal injuries, are forbidden
in the New Testament as well as in the Old. But it was an apostle of
Jesus Christ who cried, "_If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let
him be accursed. Though we or an angel from heaven bring any other
gospel unto you, let him be accursed._"[183] Nor until we can in some
measure feel this holy indignation against sin, and this burning desire
to see all tyranny, superstition, bribery, licentiousness, and
profanity, crushed and banished from the earth, can we pray in truth
"_Thy kingdom come._" Still less can we be prepared for the rejoicings
of heaven over the conquest of the enemies of God and man: "_Rejoice
over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets, for God hath
avenged you on her._"

Reader, you hope to go to heaven; but it may be a different place from
what you dream of. Did you ever study the employment of the saints
there? Are you washed from your sins? Is your mind purified from your
carnal notions? Unless a man be born again he can not see the kingdom of
God. Are your likes and dislikes, your sentiments and sympathies, your
understanding and your will, all brought into subjection to Christ? Can
you heartily love and adore a sin-hating, sin-avenging God? Or do you
shrink back in terror or dislike from God's denunciations of wrath
against the wicked? Would your benevolence lead you to deal alike with
the righteous and the wicked; and to abhor the thought of destroying
them that destroy the earth? Then how will you join in the hallelujahs
of heaven; for God's judgments are the themes of thanksgiving and praise
from saints and angels there, and this is their song:

"_Hallelujah, salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord,
our God, for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged
the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and
hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hands. And again they
said, Hallelujah! And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four
and twenty elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped
God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen! Hallelujah! And a voice came
out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants; and ye
that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of
a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of
mighty thunderings, saying, Hallelujah!_ FOR THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT

And now, if this be the character of God, if he be indeed one who hates
iniquity, and punishes impenitent sinners, we need not wonder that those
who spake his word should utter imprecations, either in the Old
Testament or in the New; but rather bless the mercy which warns before
justice strikes, which hangs the red lantern over the abyss, and which
seeks by the terrors of the Lord to persuade men from perdition. The
curses of the Bible are denounced against the enemies of God, with the
design of showing sinners their danger, and leading them to repentance.

The conclusion, then, of our investigation is, that the Old Testament is
the Word of God no less than the New; that it is in no respect contrary
to it; that all its parts--the law and the prophets, and the Psalms--are
of divine authority; that all its contents were written by divine
direction, whether prophecy or history, ceremony or morality, promise or
threatening, curses or blessings. It is of the Old Testament principally
that the Holy Ghost declares: "_All Scripture is given by inspiration of
God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for
instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect,
thoroughly furnished unto all good works._"[185]


[120] Parker's Absolute Religion, p. 205.

[121] Parker's Discourses on Religion, p. 161.

[122] Macknight's Doctrine of Inspiration, p. 161, and seq.

[123] Macknight's Doctrine of Inspiration, p. 192, etc.

[124] Essays and Reviews, page 121.

[125] John, chap. x. 25, 38.

[126] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1864, p. 254. Annual Cyclopædia,
1863, p. 377.

[127] Mastodon Giganteus, Boston, 1855, p. 199.

[128] For a fuller discussion of the subject, and references to the
authorities, which our space here forbids, I must refer the curious
reader to the _Princeton Review_, Vol. XL. No. 4, where I have noticed
every fact bearing on the subject up to that date; merely adding that no
new fact, establishing man's remote antiquity, has been established up
to this date, September 21, 1874.

[129] Familiar Lectures, page 456.

[130] Authenticity of the Pentateuch, II. 150.

[131] Creation's Testimony to its God. London, 1867, page 338.

[132] See this subject more fully discussed in chapter XII., Telescopic
Views of Scripture.

[133] Osburn's Monumental History.

[134] Hebrew Monarchy, 160.

[135] Prof. Rawlinson's Modern Skepticism, 285.

[136] Ancient Monarchies I. 65.

[137] W. R. Cooper, Secretary Biblical Archæological Society, in _Faith
and Free Thought_, page 257.

[138] Rawlinson's Illustrations of Scripture.

[139] 2 Kings, chap. iv. 2 Chronicles, chap. xx.

[140] Recovery of Jerusalem, page 496, Gunsberg's Essay.

[141] Josephus against Apion, Book I. Sect. 8. Horne's Introduction
Chap. ii. Sect. 1.

[142] Isaiah, chap. iii. 16. Ezekiel, chap. xviii. 12.

[143] Jeremiah, chaps. xxi., and xxii. 16.

[144] Jeremiah, chap. xxii. 13.

[145] Jeremiah, chap. xxxiv.

[146] Ezra, chap. vi. 18.

[147] Daniel, chap. ix. 11.

[148] Joshua, chaps. xiii.-xix.

[149] 1 Chronicles, chaps. i.-ix. Leviticus, chap. xxv.

[150] Exodus, chap. xxi. 6. Deuteronomy, chap. i. 16; chap. xix.

[151] Exodus, chap. xviii. 21.

[152] Deuteronomy, chap. xx. Numbers, chap. x. 9.

[153] Deuteronomy, chap. xxii. 8, 11, 12. Leviticus, chap. xi.

[154] Preface to Exposition of the Apocalypse.

[155] Luke, chap. xxiv. 25.

[156] John, chap. v. 38, 39, 46, 47.

[157] Matthew, chap. v. 17, 18.

[158] Luke, chap. xxiv. throughout.

[159] John, chap. xx. 30.

[160] Luke, chap. xvi. 29.

[161] Galatians, chap. iii. 21.

[162] Job, chap. xix. 25. Psalm xvi. 10. Hebrews, chap. xi. 13-16.
Daniel, chap. xii. 2, 3.

[163] Matthew, chap. xxii. 31, 32.

[164] Matthew, chap. v. 43.

[165] Matthew, chap. vii. 12.

[166] Matthew, chap. xxii. 35-40.

[167] Deuteronomy, chap. xxvii. 26.

[168] Hebrews, chap. x. 30.

[169] Matthew, chap. xi.

[170] 2 Thessalonians, chap. i.

[171] Revelation, chap. xix.

[172] Isaiah, chap. lv.

[173] Exodus, chap. iv. 22.

[174] Malachi, chap. i.

[175] Exodus, chap. xxxiv.

[176] Psalm xxii.

[177] 2 Timothy, chap. iv. 14.

[178] Psalm vii.

[179] Psalms vii. and lii. and 2 Samuel, chaps. xvi., xxi. and xxii.

[180] 1 Corinthians, chap. x.

[181] John, chap. ii. 17; chap. xv. 25; chap. xix. 28. Acts, chap. i.

[182] Matthew, chap. xxv. 41.

[183] Galatians, chap. i. 9. 1 Corinthians, chap. xvi. 22. Revelation,
chaps. xix., xx. and xxi.

[184] Revelation, chaps. xix., xx. and xxi.

[185] 2 Timothy, chap. iii. 16, 17.



     A little or superficial knowledge of philosophy may incline a
     man's mind to Atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth men's
     minds about to religion.--BACON.

When skeptics, who are determined not to believe in the Bible, find the
historical evidences of its genuineness, authority, and inspiration,
impregnable against the assaults of criticism, they turn their attention
to some other mode of attack, and of late years have selected their
weapons from the physical sciences. The argument thus raised is, that
the Bible can not be the Word of God, because it asserts facts contrary
to the teachings of science. Of this warfare Voltaire may be considered
the leader, in his celebrated attack on the chemical processes recorded
in Scripture; in which he exposed himself to the ridicule of all the
chemists and metallurgists in Europe, by denying the possibility of
dissolving the golden calf; the solution of gold being actually found in
every gilder's shop in Paris, and known even to coiners and forgers, for
hundreds of years before he made this notable discovery. The result was

The whole circle of the sciences has been ransacked for such arguments,
and especially has every new discovery been hailed by skeptics as an
ally to their cause, until further acquaintance has demonstrated that
the stranger, too, was in alliance with religion. Thus, when a few years
ago, Geology began to upheave his titanic form, he was eagerly greeted
as a being undoubtedly not of celestial, but rather of subterranean, or
even of infernal origin, willing to employ his gigantic powers in the
assault upon heaven, and able to overwhelm the Bible and the Church
under the ruins of former worlds. But now that skeptics have discovered
the proofs he gives of the presence of the Almighty on this world of
ours, they are getting shy of his acquaintance, and are cultivating the
society of some still more juvenile visitors from the chambers of animal
magnetism and biology. The same scene will doubtless be acted over
again; and these infantile strangers, when able to give distinct
utterance to the facts of their developed consciousness, will bear
testimony to the truth of God.

Such objections to the Bible are very rarely brought forward by truly
scientific men. It is a phenomenon, like the advent of a great comet, to
find a man profoundly versed in science attack the Bible. Your third or
fourth rate men of learning attain distinction in this field. An
anti-Bible writer or lecturer has generally been promoted to that high
eminence from the school-room, or the editorial sanctum of an
unsuccessful newspaper; or his patients have not sufficiently
appreciated his physic; or he has failed in getting a patent right for
his wonderful perpetual motion; or possibly he has enlarged his
practical knowledge of science in the laboratory of some college, or has
had his head turned by being asked to hear the mathematical recitations
during the sickness of some professor. But to hear of men like Galileo,
Kepler, Boyle, Newton, and Leibnitz, or Lyell, Mantell, Herschel,
Agassiz, Hitchcock, Faraday, Balbo, Nichol, or Rosse, heading an attack
upon Christianity, would be an unprecedented phenomenon. Such men are
profoundly impressed with the thorough agreement between the facts of
nature rightly observed, and the declarations of the Bible rightly

It is equally rare to hear of a specialist in any department of science
assume Atheistic ground in that department; though a few of that class
are willing to believe that some other department of science, of which
they have no personal knowledge, favors Infidelity. Even Huxley, with
all his nonsense about the identical composition of the protoplasm of
the mutton chop, and that of the lecturer, denies, and disproves,
spontaneous generation, and votes in the London School Board for the
reading of the Bible. The leading Infidel writers, such as Comte and
Spencer, are not distinguished by any personal scientific researches and
discoveries; they are merely collectors and retailers, at second-hand,
of other men's discoveries. The original scientific explorers and
discoverers are few and modest.

Nevertheless, the other class, being both the most numerous and the most
noisy, make up by loquacity for their deficiency of science, and
counterbalance their ignorance by their assurance. Such writers,
assuming that they have outstripped all the philosophers of former days,
will tell you how foolishly David, and Kepler, and Bacon, and Newton,
and Herschel dreamed of the heavens declaring the glory of the Lord, and
the firmament showing his handiwork; "while at the present time, and for
minds properly familiarized with true astronomical philosophy, the
heavens display no other powers than those of natural laws, and no other
glory than that of Hipparchus, of Kepler, of Newton, and of all who have
helped to discover them." Theology belongs only to the infancy of the
human intellect; metaphysical philosophy is the amusement of youth; but
the full-grown man has learned to relinquish both religion and reason,
and comes to the "positive state of science in which the human mind,
acknowledging the impossibility of obtaining absolute knowledge,
abandons the search after the origin and destination of the universe,
and the knowledge of the secret causes of phenomena." The crown of
modern science is ultimately to be placed upon the brow of Atheism; but
long before that eagerly desired achievement, the old Bible theology is
to be buried beyond the possibility of a resurrection, under mountains
of natural laws, and monuments of scientific discovery. These
assertions, confidently made, and perseveringly reiterated in the ears
of ungodly men ignorant of the facts, of impetuous youths eager to throw
off the restraints of religion, of Christians weak in the faith, and
even poured into the unsuspecting mind of childhood, produce the most
painful results; and it becomes the imperative duty of the bishops of
the Church of Christ not to allow them to pass unchallenged, but to
convince the gainsayers, and stop the mouths of these unruly and vain
talkers; or, if that be not possible, to make their folly manifest to
all men. The implements for such a service are well tried and abundant,
and the difficulty lies only in making a proper selection.

At first view, the extinction of religion by science seems very
unlikely. It is as unlikely that any thing that an Infidel says about
religion should be true, as that a blind man should describe the sun
correctly, or even read a chapter accurately, with the book open before
him? I shall show you presently that learned Infidels make the grossest
blunders respecting the plainest Scripture records of scientific facts.
It is very unlikely that Infidels, who lay no claim to prophetic
inspiration, should make any predictions about religion more reliable
than those they have been telling so abundantly for two hundred years
past, respecting the immediate overthrow of Christianity and the Bible;
which, nevertheless, has been going on conquering new kingdoms every
year, its missionaries outstripping scientific ardor in exploring the
mysteries of African geography, honorably receiving the prizes which the
Infidel Volney instituted for philological proficiency, and printing
Bibles from Voltaire's printing-press. And it is very unlikely that
these physical sciences, so long worshipers in the temple of God, should
now become impious; as unlikely as that Hitchcock, or McCosh, or Hodge,
or Barnes should now, in their old days, renounce the Bible, and
blaspheme God. What! astronomy, and zoology, and botany, and
ethnography, that were suckled at the breast of the Bible, raise their
hands against the mother that bore them! Incredible! These sciences made
an early profession of religion; taught Sabbath-school in the days of
Job, Zophar, and Elihu; wrote sacred poetry, and were licensed to
preach, in the days of Solomon; poured forth prophetic raptures in the
days of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz, and Hezekiah; wrote volumes on the
politics of Christianity in Babylon, and painted glorious visions of the
victories of the Lamb of God, and dazzling views of the landscapes of
paradise restored, in Patmos; employed the gigantic intellect of Newton,
the elegant pen of Paley, the eloquence of Chalmers, Herschel's
heaven-piercing eye, and Miller's muscular arm, to guard the outer
courts of the sanctuary, while they sung sublime anthems to the music of
David's harp within. Have they now, after such a life of devotion,
relinquished all these sublimities and beatitudes, taken lodgings in the
sty, and renounced their faith in God, and hope of heaven, for the
Infidel maxim, "Let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die?" God forbid!
On the contrary, all matured science glorifies its Creator.

As a specimen of the testimony of matured science to religion, let us
look at the progress of astronomy, as it has successively swept away one
Atheistic theory after another, answered anti-Bible objections, and
illustrated promises couched in heavenly figures, long incomprehensible
to the Church. If, in order to present something like a fair outline of
the bearings of astronomy on modern Atheism, we should have occasion to
repeat, expand, and illustrate some things already introduced in
previous chapters, the repetition won't hurt us. A good story is nothing
the worse for being twice told; and the story of our opponents is
nothing but a ceaseless repetition of the Atheism of twenty centuries.

The progress of astronomical science has swept away the alleged facts on
which all systems of Atheism have been based.

1. _It has refuted the fundamental dogma of Atheism, that the universe
is infinite, and therefore self-existent._

The assertion is confidently made by Atheists and Pantheists, that the
universe has no boundaries; not merely none which we can see, but that
it actually fills all immensity; suns succeeding suns, and firmament
clustering beyond firmament, throughout infinite space.

It is indispensable for the Atheist not only to assert, but to prove
this to be the fact, if he would convince himself, or any other person,
that the universe had no Creator, but exists by the necessity of its own
nature; for that which exists by the necessity of its own nature must
exist in all time, and in every place. No reason can be given why
self-existent suns, planets, and moons should exist in any one portion
of space, and not exist in any other similar portion of space. For if
such a reason could be given, that reason must show a cause for their
existence in the one place, and their non-existence in another; and that
cause must have existed before the universe, and must have been a cause
sufficient to produce the effect. This sufficient cause includes ability
to produce, wisdom to arrange, and force to put in motion all the powers
of the universe; qualities which reside only in an intelligent being.
This is the cause which the Bible asserts when it says, "In the
beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth," and which Atheists
deny when they assert that "the universe is eternal and infinite."

Now, this fundamental article of the creed of Infidels is utterly
incapable of proof. If the fact were really so, they never could prove
it. They acknowledge no revelation from an infinite understanding, but
found their belief on the knowledge of a number of finite and ignorant
beings. Before they are competent to pronounce upon the extent of the
universe, they must explore it thoroughly; which, when they shall have
done, they will have demonstrated that it has boundaries, seeing they
have discovered them; but, if they have not thoroughly explored the
universe, they can not say that it is infinite, because they do not
know. The very utmost, then, which could possibly be asserted on the
matter would be, not that the universe has no boundaries, but that man
has never reached them. As in the case of ocean soundings, if we can not
find bottom, we are not therefore to conclude that there is none, but
that our line is not long enough, or our lead not heavy enough to reach

It were a logical absurdity to say, that the whole is greater than the
sum of its parts--that any number of finite parts could compose an
infinite universe. Each sun or planet is a finite object, and any
possible number of them can be counted in a sufficient time. It is
impossible that any number can be infinite; for we are not using the
word infinite here in the loose sense in which it is used by
mathematicians, when they speak of an infinite series; that is, a series
which, though it has no end, has a beginning; but in the strict sense of
something having neither beginning nor end. A beginning of the universe,
either in space or time, is the very thing the Atheist denies.

The same objection applies to the allegation, that infinite space is
full of ether, air, gas, nebulæ, or any other kind of matter. It is an
assertion incapable of proof; and therefore thoroughly unscientific; as
all Infidel theories are. But if it could be proven that every part of
space accessible to our telescopes is full of an ether whose undulations
transmit light, as we believe it can, that would be only a proof of the
finitude of matter. That ether consists of parts whose movements can be
measured and numbered; and no possible multitude of such parts can
amount to the infinite.

While reason thus enables us to show this dogma of the infinity of the
universe to be theoretically improbable, and logically irrational,
science has lately taken a more decisive step, and demonstrated it to be
actually false. The universe has boundaries, and we have seen them. The
proof is simple, and easily demonstrable. That broad band of luminous
cloud which stretches across the heaven, called the Milky Way, consists
of millions of stars, so small and distant that we can not see the
individual stars, and so numerous that we can not help seeing the light
of the mass; just as you see the outline of the forest at a distance,
but are unable to distinguish the individual trees. Besides this mass of
stars to which our solar system belongs, there are thousands of smaller
similar clouds in various parts of the heavens, which have successively
been shown to consist of multitudes of stars. But all around these
star-clouds the clear blue sky is discovered by the naked eye.

Now, it is easy to perceive, that if all the regions of infinite space
were filled either with self-luminous suns, or planets capable of
reflecting light, or luminous nebulæ, or comets of gaseous consistency,
at such distances as the Milky Way, or any other star-cloud demonstrates
to be safe and practicable, we should see no blue sky at all; but the
whole vault of heaven would present that whitish light resulting from
the mingling of the rays of multitudes of stars, planets, and comets,
which the Milky Way does actually exhibit. No matter how small or how
distant these stars, _if they were only infinitely numerous_, it is
impossible that there could be any point in the heavens unilluminated by
their rays, even although the stars themselves were invisible to our
eyes, or even to our telescopes. The whole heaven would be one vast
Milky Way. Or rather, as Humboldt reasons, "If the entire vault of
heaven were covered with innumerable strata of stars, one behind the
other, as with a widespread starry canopy, and light were undiminished
in its passage through space, the sun would be distinguished only by its
spots, the moon would appear as a dark disc, and amid the general blaze
not a constellation would be visible."[186] It would appear also to
follow, as a necessary consequence, that such an infinite multitude of
blazing suns must generate a heat compared with which the general
conflagration would be cool and comfortable.

But the telescope shows us a state of matters vastly different from
this. It shows us, in fact, that space, so far from being occupied with
suns and stars, is mostly empty. Our universe is only a little island in
the great ocean of infinite space.

Though the telescope discovers multitudes of stars where the naked eye
sees none, yet they are, in far the greater number of instances, "_seen
projected on a perfectly dark heaven, without any appearance of
intermixed nebulosity_."[187] And even through the Milky Way, and the
other nebulæ, the telescope penetrates, through "_intervals absolutely
dark, and completely void of any star, of the smallest telescopic
magnitude_."[188] It may assist us to understand the full import of this
declaration, to remember that Lord Rosse's large telescope clearly
defines any object on the moon's surface as large as the Custom House.
Its power of penetrating space surpasses our power of imagination, but
is represented by saying, that light, which flashes from San Francisco
to London quicker than you can close your eye and open it again,
requires _millions of years_ to travel to our earth from the most
distant star-cloud discoverable by this telescope.[189] If a galaxy like
this of ours existed anywhere within this amazing distance, that
telescope would discover its existence. It has, in fact, augmented the
universe visible to us, 125,000,000 times, and thus made us feel that
not merely this world, which constitutes our earthly all, and yon
glorious sun, which shines upon it, but all the host of heaven's suns,
and planets, and moons, and firmaments, which our unaided eyes behold,
are but as a handful of the sand of the ocean shore compared with the
immensity of the universe. But ever, and along with this, it has shown
us the ocean as well as the shore, and revealed boundless regions of
darkness and solitude stretching around and far away beyond these
islands of existence. The telescope, then, enlarges and confirms our
views of the extent of the unoccupied portions of space.

If there were only one dark point of the heavens no larger than the
apparent magnitude of the smallest star, this one unoccupied space would
sufficiently disprove the infinity of the universe, inasmuch as there
would be a portion of space of boundless length, and of a diameter not
less than the diameter of the earth's orbit, say 190,000,000 miles, in
which stars might exist, as they do in its borders, but yet do not. But
the argument becomes utterly overwhelming, when the attempt is made to
calculate the proportion of space occupied by the stars to that left
unoccupied. Whether we take Herschel's computation, that the nebulæ
cover one two hundred and seventieth part of the superficies of the
visible heaven,[190] or Struve's supposition of the existence of a star
subtending no measurable angle, in every part of the visible sky as
large as the surface of the moon, the vast disproportion of the
universe, to the space in which it is placed, forces itself upon our
notice. For, upon the largest of these computations, the proportion of
existence to empty space is mathematically proved to be not greater
than as the cube of one to the cube of two hundred and sixty-nine; that
is to say, there is room for 19,395,109 such universes as this of ours
in that small part of infinite space open to the view of Herschel's
telescopes. But when we come to consider the vastness of these regions
of darkness, over which no light has traveled for twenty millions of
years, and remember also that astronomers have looked clear through the
nebulæ, and find that they bear no more cubical proportion to the
infinite darkness behind them than the sparks of a chimney do to the
extent of the sky against which they seem projected, so far from
imagining the universe to be infinite, we stand confounded at its
relative insignificance, and are convinced that it bears no more
proportion to infinite space than a fishing-boat does to the Atlantic

There is no possible evasion of this great fact, by any contradictory
hypothesis. It can not be objected "that stars may exist at infinite
distances, whose light has not yet reached the limits of our universe."
If they do, they did not exist from eternity, for there is no possible
distance over which light could not have traveled, during eternal
duration. But their eternal existence is the very thing which the
Atheist is concerned to prove. Grant that infinite space is filled with
worlds _which had a beginning_, and their necessary existence instantly
falls, and we are compelled to seek for a cause of their beginning of
existence; that is to say, a Creator.

Nor will it answer the purpose to say, "that for anything we know to the
contrary, these dark regions may be filled with dark stars."

If the fact were so, it is equally fatal to the dogma of self-existence.
Some stars shine; others are dark. Why so? Wherefore this difference?
Variety is an effect, and demands a prior cause. Were there only two
stars in the sky, or two substances on the earth, and those unlike in
any particular, that plurality, and that variety, would prove that they
could not be infinite or self-existent, but dependent upon some cause
for their existence, and for their variety of form.

But we do know many things contrary to the notion that the dark regions
of infinite space may be full of dark stars. Light is not the only
indication of the presence of a star. The attraction of gravity, which
is wholly independent of light, is a proof quite as certain and
satisfactory to the astronomer. The presence of stars and planets too
faint to be discovered by the naked eye, and of one, the planet
Neptune,[191] as far distant from the planet disturbed by its attraction
as the earth is from the sun, was ascertained, and its place pointed out
by Adams and Le Verrier, _before it was seen_. If the dark
interplanetary spaces, then, were full of dark attracting bodies, the
perturbations of the other planets would discover their existence. So
the presence of some invisible stars at much greater distances from
their visible associates has been discovered by Bessel,[192] and it is
quite possible that a dark firmament may yet be discovered, containing
as great a number of dark stars as we now behold of luminaries; another
group of islets in the ocean of infinite space. But the very facts which
will prove their existence will disprove their infinity; for we can know
their presence only by their perturbation of the proper motions of the
visible stars; but if infinite space were full of dark bodies, the
visible stars would have no room to move at all. It is easily
demonstrable, that if infinite space were filled with dark stars, the
equilibrium and coherence of our galaxy, and of all other clusters of
stars, would be destroyed. The existence of nebulæ, and clusters, and
the revolutions of the binary stars, are conclusive proof that the dark
parts of infinite space are not full of dark attracting bodies.

Nor can the Atheist here raise his usual argument from unknown facts,
and say that, "far beyond the range of our most powerful telescopes, a
boundless expanse of firmaments may exist." It concerns not our present
argument whether such exist or not. Whatsoever discoveries may be made
to eternity, of firmaments, ten thousand times ten thousand times larger
than we now behold, _they can never bear the smallest proportion to the
infinite space in which they exist_. Beyond these islets will extend
gulfs and oceans immeasurable. Our argument, however, has no concern
with the unknown possible, but with the actual fact--visible to the
naked eye and confirmed by the telescope--that there is a portion of
space in which millions of universes such as this might exist with
safety, yet they do not. Worlds, therefore, do not exist by the
necessity of their own nature, wherever there is room for them, but must
have had some pre-existent, external, and supernatural cause of their
existence in this place and not in other places. This implies

The physical refutation of the self-existence of the universe is
completed by the discovery, _that all the orbs of heaven, as well as the
earth, are in motion, and that an orderly and regulated motion_.[193]
The fact need not be illustrated, for it is not denied. The consequence
is inevitable. That which is self-existent must be unchangeable; for
change is an effect, and demands a cause; and the cause must exist
before the effect, and produce it. Whatsoever is changeable, then, is a
product of a prior cause, and so not self-existent. But every part of
the universe is changeable, for it is in motion, which is a change of
place; and, therefore, is not self-existent, but the product of a prior

Professor Fick, who was some time since called from Zurich to fill the
professorship of physiology at Wurzburg, and who is known by his
experiments on muscular physics, in a recent work on the transformation
of force, brings out the argument in proof of the non-eternity of our
universe in a new form. He shows that heat is continually being lost by
radiation; and when mechanical force is converted into heat _some_ of
that heat can never be brought back to be mechanical force. And as this
change from mechanical force to heat is ever going on, all force must at
last turn into heat, in which case all difference of temperature would
be lost and universal stagnation and death would be the result. He then
concludes in the following words, which we quote from _Nature_,
Macmillan's weekly: "We are come to this alternative; either in our
highest, or most general, our most fundamental scientific abstractions
some great point has been overlooked; or the universe will have an end,
and must have had a beginning; could not have existed from eternity, but
must at some date, not infinitely distant, have arisen from something
not forming part of the chain of natural causes, _i. e._, must have been

To this it has been replied, that motion is the normal condition of
matter; arising from the force of gravitation, acting in and upon the
various bodies composing the universe; and mathematical calculations
have been attempted to show how vortices, and spiral motions, could be
produced by the force of gravitation, and the mutual resistances of the
atoms originally composing the universe.

But this attempt is easily seen to be a failure. The attraction of
gravitation alone can not possibly produce any such motion as we behold
in the heavens; nor can it originate, nor sustain, any kind of eternal
motion whatever. For the attraction of gravitation is always in right
lines; but there is no rectilinear motion in the heavens; all celestial
motions are curvilinear. Nor can the attraction of gravitation account
for the maintenance of any kind of eternal motion. Its tendency is to
draw all bodies to the center of gravity, and to keep them there, in one
vast heap, by the force of their mutual attraction; thus bringing all
motion to an eternal rest.

To this it is now replied that motion is the equivalent of light, heat,
electricity, and chemical reaction; all of which are convertible into
motion. These are properties of matter, and inseparable from it, and so
as eternal as itself.

We have already disproved the eternity of matter; but if, for the sake
of argument, it were granted, yet would not the regulated and orderly
motions of the universe be thereby accounted for. For these forces
either exactly balance the force of gravitation, or they do not. If they
do not, and their repulsion prevails, by even the slightest degree, the
particles of matter had been driven away into infinite space millions of
years ago, and suns, and planets, and atheistic philosophers, would have
vanished like the baseless fabric of a vision. But if the attraction of
gravitation had prevailed, by even the weight of an ounce, long ages ago
sun, moon and stars would have rushed together into one vast mountain
mass, whose attraction would have been so great, that no living creature
could move upon its surface, and whose parts would be compressed into a
density compared with which quicksilver would be lighter than cork.

But if, on the other hand, it be alleged, that these inherent forces of
matter exactly balance its power of gravitation--with which they have no
other apparent relation--then the argument is irresistible, that these
grains of sand and drops of water and globes of granite being unequal to
such calculations, there was some calculating engineer at work arranging
the motions of the stars.

No mechanical law is a sufficient cause for this motion. To allege that
a power of orderly, regulated motion--and there is no other sort of
motion in heaven or earth--is an inherent property of matter, is simply
to insult our common sense, and overturn the foundation of all reason.
For we have no knowledge of matter, and can have none, more certain than
we have of the constitution of our own minds, which requires us to trace
up every change among material objects to _the energy and will of a
person_ capable of planning and effecting the change. To refer us to the
law of gravity is not to give us a cause for the motions of the heavenly
bodies, but only a _name_; for law is only _a rule of action_. We demand
a lawgiver--an agent--a _force_, capable of producing effects. When the
law of projectiles makes a cannon-ball, and projects it, we will believe
that the law of gravity made the worlds, and moves them.

"Descending within the mind's interior chambers, I find no conviction so
sure of the existence of an external world, as is my belief in the
reality of _power_--of something that sustains succession, and causes
order. Again, then, whence this idea, and what is it? What this
attribute with which I endow material laws, and raise them into
_forces_? Now, in my apprehension, the strictest scrutiny can not obtain
for these inquiries any reply save one; we _primarily_ connect the idea
of _power_ with no change or movement, except an act or determination of
the FREE WILL; but from such acts, that idea is inseparable. If,
therefore, in order to explain the progress of material things, we
require the agency of _efficient causes_, is not this a direct and
solemn recognition--through all form and transiency--of the necessity of
an _ever-present creative power_; a power requisite and necessary to
uphold--to renew the universe every moment--or, rather, to prolong
creation by the persistence of the creative act? And, in very truth,
startling though it be, such is the only and ultimate scientific idea of
the divine omnipresence. Law is not even the Almighty's minister; the
order of the material world, however close and firm, is not merely the
Almighty's ordinance. The _forces_, if so we name them, which express
that order, are not powers which he has evolved from the silences, and
to whose guardianship he has committed all things, so that he himself
might repose. No! above, below, around, _there_ is God; there his
universal presence, speaking to finite creatures, in finite forms, a
language which only the living heart can understand. In the rain and
sunshine; in the soft zephyrs; in the cloud, the torrent, and the
thunder; in the bursting blossom, and the fading branch; in the
revolving season, and the rolling star; there is the infinite essence,
and the mystic development of HIS WILL."[195]

2. _Scientific astronomy inexorably demolishes the Atheistic scheme for
the arrangement of the solar system by accident, commonly known as
Buffon's cosmogony._

"Buffon supposed that the force of a comet falling obliquely on the sun
has projected to a distance a torrent of the matter of which it is
composed, as a stone thrown into a basin causes the water which it
contains to splash out. This torrent of matter, in a state of fusion,
has broken into several parts, which have been arrested at different
distances from the sun, according to their density, or the impetus they
received. They then united in spheres, by the effect of the motion of
rotation, and condensing by cold, have become opaque and solid planets
and satellites."[196]

This formation of worlds by accident, it is true, gave no reason for the
form of their orbits, for their rotation on their axes, in one
direction, and that, too, the direction of their motion, nor for several
other matters, of which Infidels make little account, but about which
plain men like to ask, namely: Where did the sun come from? What melted
it down into a fluid state, fit to be splashed about? Where did the
comet come from? And who threw it with so correct an aim through
infinite space as exactly to hit the sun _in an oblique direction_.
Creation, it seems, was nearly missed, after all. This chaotic theory
never gained much respect from men of science, though its simplicity
speedily opened its way among the vulgar, and it has ever been a
favorite with the most ignorant class of Infidels, numbering thousands
of warm advocates, even at the present day.

It was thought to be very much corroborated by the discovery of the
asteroids, and their supposed formation by the explosion of a larger
body. There is a certain proportion observed in the distances of the
orbits of the planets from each other--a breadth or gauge, as it were,
on the celestial railroad. But there was the breadth of a track between
the orbits of Mars and Jupiter on which no train ran, and this vacancy
excited the curiosity of astronomers. In the first seven years of this
century, three very small planets were discovered, running near this
track; and Dr. Olbers, the discoverer of Pallas, finding that they were
nearly in the same track, and sometimes crossed each other, and that
they were diminutively small--bearing about the same proportion to a
regular planet which a hand-car does to a freight train--imagined that
they were formed by the explosion of a large planet; that the boiler of
the large locomotive had burst, the fragments had all lighted upon the
track again, in the shape of hand-cars, and the hand-cars had
magnanimously resolved to keep running, and do the business of the line;
and that, as there must have been material enough in the original planet
to make some thousands of them, more would be discovered by watching two
depots, at the crossings of the tracks, in the constellations Virgo and
the Whale, where they must all pass. In fact, he did himself find
another, very near one of these nodes; more recently many others have
been found; and astronomers now expect to hear of one or two more every

At first sight his theory seemed strengthened by every new discovery.
It is true, reflecting men could not help wondering at such a
marvelously regular explosion as would produce beautiful little orderly
planets, going so regularly too, and all by accident. They never heard
of the blowing up of a palace producing cottages, or the explosion of a
steamboat throwing off the hurricane deck in the shape of whaleboats, or
the bursting of a locomotive producing model engines, or even hand-cars.
However, as the theory removed God out of sight, it was generally
accepted and freely used by Infidels, to show that the world had no need
of a Creator.

But astronomers saw, that as each new asteroid had a track of its own,
and ran to a different terminus, and the roads in which they ran were of
different gauges and grades--one little asteroid, Pallas, running up and
down a track inclined thirty-five degrees, just as speedily as the
others--every new discovery increased the difficulty of accounting for
their origin by explosion. But the discovery of the planet Hygeia, at a
vast distance from the others, utterly overturned the explosion theory.
Loomis says:

"The difficulties in the way of our regarding these small planets, as
fragments of a single body, were well nigh-insuperable before the
discovery of Hygeia. This last discovery has probably given the
death-blow to the theory of Olbers. The orbit of Hygeia completely
incloses the orbits of several of the asteroids, its perihelion
distance--that is, its least distance from the sun--exceeding the
aphelion--or greatest distance--of Flora by _twenty-five millions of
miles_. _No change of position of the orbits could, therefore, bring
these orbits to a coincidence._"[197]

The matter has been finally settled by the greatest of modern
mathematicians, Le Verrier, who has subjected the eccentricities,
distances, and inclinations of the orbits of the asteroids to a
mathematical investigation, the result of which is as follows:

"In the present state of things, these eccentricities and these
inclinations are totally incompatible with Olbers' hypothesis, which
supposed that the small planets--some of which were discovered even in
his day--were produced from the wreck of a larger star, which had
exploded. The forces necessary to launch the fragments of a given body
in such different routes (whose existence we should be obliged to
suppose) would be of such an improbable intensity, that the most limited
mathematical knowledge could not but see its absurdity." He concludes
the memoir by advancing four propositions, "which forever annihilate
Olbers' hypothesis."[198]

3. _The progress of astronomical discovery has utterly refuted the
notion of creation by natural law, known as the Development Theory, or
the Nebular Hypothesis._

Scientific Infidels knew that there was too much order and regularity in
the motions of the planets to allow any rational mind to ascribe these
motions to accident, according to Buffon's notion. They saw that these
movements must be regulated by law. La Place, an eminent mathematician,
saw that there are at least five great regularities pervading the
system, for which Buffon's theory gave no reason:

1. The planets all move in elliptical orbits, nearly circular. They
might, on the contrary, have been as elongated as those of comets.

2. They revolve in orbits nearly in the plane of the sun's equator. They
might have revolved in orbits inclined to it at any angle, or even in
the plane of his poles.

3. They revolve around the sun all in the same direction, which is the
direction of his rotation on his axis.

4. They rotate on their axes, also, so far as known, in the same

5. The satellites (with the exception of those of Uranus) revolve around
their primary planets, and also rotate on their axes, in the same normal

It was evident, even to the believers in chance, that so many
regularities were not produced by accident. La Place found, by computing
the chances by the formula of probabilities, that the chances were two
millions to one against these regularities happening by chance, _and
four millions to one in favor of these motions having a common origin_.
The grand phenomenon being a motion of rotation in the whole system, of
which the rotation of the sun is the central part, he thought if he
could account for this, he could explain all the rest.

He set out by supposing, that the sun and planets originally existed as
a vast cloud of gaseous matter, intensely heated--a vast
fire-mist--placed in a region of space much cooler, and that this cloud,
by gradual cooling, and the pressure of its parts, settled down into
solid forms. It was supposed that some portions of this cloud would
begin to cool sooner than others, and so become solid sooner, and that
the hot gas, rushing to the solid part, would form a vortex, which would
set the cloud in motion around its center. As the speed of its rotation
would increase, and the outside condense and grow solid before the
inside, the cloud would whirl off the rings of solid matter, which would
keep revolving in the same orbits in which they were cast off, and would
revolve faster and faster as they grew cooler and more solid, till they
broke up, by the force of their velocity, into smaller pieces; which
fragments, in their turn, repeated the process, until the present number
of planets and their satellites was produced.[199]

This theory differs from Buffon's much as a low pressure engine,
deriving most of its power from the condenser, differs from one of high
pressure. La Place does not explode the boiler to make his planets, but
merely runs his train so fast as to break an axle every now and then,
when the wheel runs off with the velocity it has got, and keeps its
track as well as if it had an engineer to guide it, grows into a little
locomotive by dint of running, and after a while breaks an axle
too--breaking is a hereditary failing of these suns and planets that had
no God to make them--and the wheels thus thrown off supply it with moons
and rings, like Saturn's. The illustration is not nearly so absurd as
the theory, inasmuch as a locomotive is an incomparably less complicated
contrivance than a planet. However the nonsense was cradled in the halls
of philosophy by means of antiquity, and distance.

As no fiction was too marvelous for the credence of the Greek, if it
were only a hundred years old, or located beyond the Euxine, so to our
development philosopher any impossibility may be accepted, if it can
only be dissolved into gas, and located a good many millions of miles
away; and to make it an article of faith on which he will risk his soul,
it is only necessary to give it a remote antiquity. No Papist ever
insisted more on antiquity as the solvent of all absurdity. Antiquity,
distance, and expansion are his trinity, with which all absurdities
become scientific facts.

Herschel had discovered numbers of nebulæ, or luminous clouds, in the
distant heavens shining with a distinct light, but which, with the
highest magnifying power he could apply, presented no trace of stars.
Some nebulæ, it is true, his largest telescope resolved, like our own
Milky Way, into beds of distinct stars; but there were others--for
instance, one in the belt of Orion--visible to the naked eye as a cloud,
but which his forty feet telescope only displayed as a larger cloud,
without any shape of stars. Now, reasoning upon the matter, he found
that if these nebulæ were composed of stars as large as those distinctly
visible, they must be immensely distant to be indistinguishable by his
telescope, and exceedingly numerous and close together to give a cloud
of light visible to the naked eye. In fact, the suns of those firmaments
must be so close to each other as to present a blaze of glory, and
complexities of revolution inconceivable to the dwellers on earth. But
as this daring idea seemed incredible, even to his giant mind, he
thought the appearance of these nebulæ might be more rationally
accounted for by supposing that they were not stars at all, but simply
clouds of gaseous matter, like the matter of comets, from which he
supposed that stars were formed by a long process of condensation and
solidification. He thought this theory was favored by the fact, that
nebulæ are generally seen in those portions of the heavens that are not
thickly strewn with stars; and also by the various forms of these
clouds. Some were merely loose clouds, without any definite form; others
seemed gathering toward the center. In some, of a roundish, or oval
form, the central mass seemed well defined. In a few, the process seemed
nearly complete, a bright star shining in the midst of a faint nebulous
halo. Here, then, it was said, we see the whole progress of the growth
of stars; their development from the gaseous nebulous fluid into solid,
brilliant suns. La Place accepted Herschel's discoveries as conclusive
proof of the truth of his theory, and it was generally accepted by the
scientific world. Oddly enough, Infidels seem not to have noticed that
those appearances of _condensation toward the center_, which seemed to
Herschel so strongly in favor of his theory of the nebulous fluid, were
diametrically opposed to La Place's requirements of _condensation at the
circumference_; and these two contradictory notions were supposed to
support each other, and to furnish a solid basis for the development

This theory, as stated by Herschel, and expounded by Nichol, Dick, and
other Christian writers, _is not necessarily Atheistical_. On the
contrary, they allege that it furnishes us with greater evidences of the
power of God, and gives us higher ideas of his wisdom, to suppose a
system of creation by development, under natural law, than by a direct
exercise of his will. Undoubtedly, had God so pleased he could have made
suns from fire-mists, according to some plan which his infinite wisdom
could devise, and his omnipotent power could execute; but it is beyond
the possibilities even of omniscience and omnipotence to make worlds, or
to make anything but nonsense, according to La Place's plan. Had God so
pleased, to make firmaments grow as forests do, and if he should please
to enable us to discover such celestial growth in some distant part of
heaven, we should have the same kind of evidence of his being, power,
wisdom, and goodness in this creation by natural law which we now have
from his providence by natural law, in the growth of the fruits of the
earth, and as much greater an amount of it as the heavens are greater
than the earth. The first beginning of primeval elements demands a
Creator. The contrivance of the law of development proclaims a
Contriver. The force by which it operates--whether that of gravity or
chemical reaction--must be the force of an Agent.

_The development theory, then, fails to account for the origin of the
universe, or even of our own world._ Herbert Spencer, its most eloquent
expounder, admits this. He says: "It remains only to point out that
while the genesis of the solar system, and of countless other systems
like it, is thus rendered comprehensible, the ultimate mystery continues
as great as ever. The problem of existence is not solved; it is simply
removed farther back. The Nebular Hypothesis throws no light on the
origin of diffused matter; and diffused matter as much needs accounting
for as concrete matter. The genesis of an atom is not easier to conceive
than the genesis of a planet. Nay, indeed, so far from making the
universe a less mystery than before, it makes it a greater mystery.
Creation by manufacture is a much lower thing than creation by
evolution. A man can put together a machine, but he can not make a
machine develop itself. The ingenious artisan, able as some have been,
so far to imitate vitality as to produce a mechanical piano-forte
player, may in some sort conceive how, by greater skill, a complete man
might be artificially produced; but he is unable to conceive how such a
complex organism gradually arises out of a minute, structureless germ.
That our harmonious universe once existed potentially as formless,
diffused matter, and has slowly grown into its present organized state,
is a far more astonishing fact than would have been its formation after
the artificial method vulgarly supposed. Those who hold it legitimate to
argue from phenomena to noumena, may rightly contend that the Nebular
Hypothesis implies a First Cause as much transcending 'the mechanical
god of Paley,' as this does the fetish of a savage."[200]

The Nebular Hypothesis, then, can not exist without God. However, as it
seems to remove him to a great distance from this present world, both in
space and time, it has become popular with Atheists.

The Nebular Hypothesis, as presented by Atheists, _imagines a state of
primeval matter as simple, or homogeneous, of which science presents no
example, in heaven or on earth_.

This homogeneous condition of matter is the very foundation of the
theory. Spencer reasons at great length, that all progress is from the
simple to the differentiated. And it is indispensable for the Atheists
to prove that the primeval world was composed of matter perfectly simple
and homogeneous. If they alleged that it was composed of several
ingredients, nobody would believe them that this compound was eternal.
There is no conviction of common sense stronger than that every compound
has been put together by some compounder.

They could not persuade a child that a plum pudding made itself, or that
a steamship filled with passengers existed so from eternity, much less a
planet with a much larger crew and company. They therefore alleged that
the first matter of the universe was perfectly homogeneous and simple.
When common people objected that no such thing was to be seen in this
world nowadays, since all things here--stones, water, air, earth,
plants, animals--are compounded and built up out of a great variety of
matters, they claimed that this is the result of the growth of our
planet; but that the nebulæ, which astronomers see far away in the sky,
are young suns and planets, just beginning to condense, and that the gas
they consist of is the genuine, simple, homogeneous matter out of which
this world, and all worlds, originally made themselves. They thought the
nebulæ were so very far away that nobody would ever go there to see and
come back to contradict them; and so they were quite safe in pointing to
them as examples of homogeneous matter.

Now one does not see, if the nebula had been exactly what the
development men assert--_simple, homogeneous matter_--_how they could
ever have made such a composite world as this out of it_, or indeed how
they could make anything but itself out of it. No chemical actions or
reactions can begin in a simple substance; there must always be at least
two simple substances to make a compound. Heating or cooling a simple
substance will never make it a compound. You may heat water in a boiler
and cool it again as often as you please, but your heating and cooling
will never make coffee out of it, unless you put coffee into it. So you
may heat and cool your simple nebula to all eternity, but you will never
get coffee out of it, much less coffee and coffee-pot, china and
company, with the biscuits and butter; all which, and a great deal
more, our philosophers contrive to churn out of the primeval homogeneous

But the progress of science has enabled us to show that the nebulæ, far
from being simple, homogeneous matter, are compounded of as many
ingredients as the flame of your lamp or gas light, which is combined of
half a score of different substances. By the discovery of Spectrum
Analysis we are able to analyze the chemical composition of the most
distant flames, to tell whether they proceed from solids or gases in a
state of combustion, and what are the gases and minerals consumed in
them. As space forbids the details of this discovery here, I can only
state the results, namely that some of the nebulæ consist of clouds of
small solid stars, of which the nebula in Orion is an instance; but
others consist of flames of gases, in all cases compound, and showing,
besides the oxygenated flame, the lines which declare the presence of
hydrogen, and of several metals. Thus it is proved, that no such
eternal, homogeneous nebulæ are to be found in heaven, and consequently
nobody could ever make worlds out of a substance which had no existence.

This theory of development was always _a mere notion, a castle in the
air_, and never could be anything more. To say that it was mere
moonshine would be to give it far too respectable a standing; for
moonshine has a real existence, and may be seen and felt. But nobody
ever saw or felt a homogeneous nebula. Indeed, its inventor never
pretended that he, or anybody else, ever saw one; or saw it sailing off
into moons, and planets, and suns, or ever would see any such thing. No
scientific man has ever pretended that it was an established fact, or
anything more than a theory, a notion. Young people, who are invited to
hazard their souls on the strength of this miscalled scientific theory,
should remember that it is not science, which means something a man
knows, but merely a theory, which is some notion which he imagines.

_It is an unsatisfactory notion._ It does not answer the purpose of its
inventors. As we have already seen, it gives us no account of the origin
of the homogeneous matter of the nebula. It gives no answer to the
questions, How did it get to be so hot, while all the space around it
was so cold? Is the fire that heated it burning still, or is it
exhausted for want of fuel? Were the germs of all the plants and animals
in it while it was blazing at a white heat? If they were, how did they
escape being burnt to ashes? If they were not, where did they come from?
For there was nothing but that nebula then in existence. Did it contain
within itself all the principles of things, all the forces now found in
the worlds which grew out of it? If so, how came they there? If not, how
did attraction, and repulsion, vegetable life, animal life, intellect,
and free will, work themselves into that cloud of homogeneous gas?

Professor Tyndall thus exposes the absurdity of the supposition that the
nebula contained the elements of mind: "For what are the core and
essence of this hypothesis? Strip it naked and you stand face to face
with the notion that not alone the more ignoble forms of animalcular or
animal life, not alone the noble forms of the horse and lion, not alone
the exquisite and wonderful mechanisms of the human body, but the human
mind itself--emotion, intellect, will, and all these phenomena, were
once latent in a fiery cloud. Surely the mere statement of such a notion
is more than a refutation."[201]

_It was only one of several contradictory notions._ Thus a writer in the
_Atlantic Monthly_, so far from accepting the notion that the sun and
earth are solidifying and cooling down, as explanatory of the facts
revealed by astronomy and geology, infers the very contrary from the
acknowledged facts, namely, that we are coming up to the nebular
condition, rather than developing from it. He writes as follows:

     "The earth is progressing by excessively slow changes toward
     the solar and nebulous condition. Its history is a repetition
     of the solar, and a time must arrive when the surface,
     becoming incandescent, will be obscured only by casual dark
     pits in a brilliant atmosphere, a _souvenir_ of the present
     darkness of the crust; yet during a certain period, within
     fixed limits of gravitating force and heat of mass, the human
     race may continue to exist; progressing, we may suppose, in
     force and fineness of organization. The race will perish,
     perhaps, in the order of nature, by failure or insufficient
     number of offspring, a principal cause of the extinction of
     superior races. The earth must become lone and voiceless long
     before the incandescence of the crust. Science may follow it
     into the condition of an attendant star, and then of an
     expanding nebula.

     "In the cosmos all movements are cyclical, and recurrent,
     without change, save interchange among forms of motion. A
     universe which is, in its total, the same to-day as yesterday,
     and always, would appear idle and dull if it were not the
     footstool of divine force, upon which the creative will
     maintains a certain equipoise, necessary to the continued
     production of spiritual forms."

_It is an impracticable notion, contrary to the first principle of
mechanics, that action and reaction are equal._

The grand requirement of the system--power to work the engine--can never
be raised by La Place's, nor by any other mechanical plan. The cooling
cloud of fire-mist is simply a very big machine, and no machine can
generate power to work itself. If La Place could have somehow or other
got power for the motion of rotation outside of his cloud, he might have
made it revolve, and scatter off great lumps of the lightest outside
stuffs, as your grindstone scatters off drops of water when you turn it
rapidly; but, having no such power, his theory is a plan to make the
grindstone turn itself. It is, therefore, precisely of the same value
as any one of the hundred of ingenious schemes for creating power by
machinery, of the perpetual motion men, in defiance of the first law of
mechanics, that action and reaction are equal.

Moreover, he proposes to raise the power by making the gas cool at one
part of the surface faster than at another, and so to make a vortex
around that spot, which would set the whole mass to revolving. But no
conceivable reason can be alleged why the homogeneous mass should begin
to cool at one place faster than another, or indeed why an eternally hot
mass should ever begin to cool at all. But, letting that pass, to make
the required vortex for the rotation of the whole mass, it should not
begin to cool at any part of the surface, but at the center, where, as
every engine driver who ever saw a condenser, and every woman who ever
cooled a dish of mush knows, it could not possibly begin to cool till
the outside mass had become cold; and so no motion could be produced.
This is so well known in the machine shops that it is rare to find a
machinist own the theory.

But even a more fatal objection has been raised by one of the most
eloquent expounders of the theory. Mr. Spencer shows us that the mass,
condensing under the influence of gravitation, so far from cooling _must
necessarily evolve heat_. He is perfectly clear and decided on this
matter, _that the condensing mass could never, by any possibility, begin
to cool, but must begin to heat, and go on heating till it burst out in
a blaze_. He says: "Heat must inevitably be generated by the aggregation
of diffused matter into a concrete form; and throughout our reasonings
we have assumed that such generation of heat has been an accompaniment
of nebular condensation."[202] "While the condensation and the rate of
rotation are progressively increasing, the approach of the atoms
necessarily generates _a progressively increasing temperature_. As this
temperature rises light begins to be evolved, and ultimately there
results a revolving sphere of fluid matter radiating intense light and
heat--a sun."[203]

This, it will be perceived, is exactly the reverse of the original
nebular theory of a cooling globe, or spheroid of homogeneous nebular
matter, diffused by intense heat, and cooling down into suns, and moons,
and planets. So far as the Spencer system is accepted, it displaces La
Place's theory, and the inventor accordingly works out a new theory of
his own, and equally inconsistent with known facts and principles. But
as Mr. Spencer candidly owns that his scheme can neither generate matter
nor force, as we have already seen, it needs no further discussion in
this connection.

The fact is simply this, a chemical perpetual motion is as impossible as
a mechanical one. The discovery of the convertibility of forces shows
this. The development theory of the generation of motion by processes of
the self-heating or the self-cooling of the machine, or by chemical
actions and reactions, is, in its last analysis, only a big perpetual
motion humbug.

Even were the rotation, and the cooling process, to take place, as is
supposed, _no such results would proceed from these combined operations
as the case requires_; for, according to the theory, as the cooling and
contracting rings revolve in the verge of a vortex of fluid less dense
than themselves, one of these two results must take place: either, as is
most probable, from their exceeding tenuity, the rings will break at
once into fragments, when, instead of flying outward, they will sink
toward the center, and, as long as they are heavier than the surrounding
fluid, _they will stay there_; and, as the cooling goes on on the
outside, so will the concentration of the heavier matter, till we have
_one_ great spheroid, with a solid center, liquid covering, and gaseous
atmosphere. A vortex will never make, nor allow to exist beyond its
center, planets heavier than the fluid of which it is composed. The
other alternative, and the one which La Place selected, was the
supposition that the cooling and contracting rings did not at first
break up into pieces, but retained their continuity; but, contrary to
all experience and reason, he supposed that these cooling rings kept
contracting and widening out from the heated mass, at the same time. The
only fluid planetary rings which we can examine--those of Saturn--have
been closing in on the planet since the days of Huygens, and eventually
will be united with the body of the planet. Every boy who has seen a
blacksmith hoop a cart-wheel has learned the principle, that a heated
ring contracts as it cools, and in doing so presses in upon the mass
around which it clings. But, according to this nebular notion, the
fire-mist keeps cooling and shrinking up, while the rings, of the very
same heat and material, keep cooling faster, and widening out from it; a
piece of schismatical behavior without a parallel among solids or
fluids, either in heaven or earth, or under the earth.

Plateau's illustration of the mode in which centrifugal force acts in
overcoming molecular attraction, has been cited as a demonstration of
the truth of the nebular hypothesis. The conditions, however, are
entirely different. By means of clock-work he caused a globule of oil to
rotate in a mixture of alcohol and water _of the same density_, thus
entirely getting rid of the power of gravitation; and by increasing the
velocity he caused it to flatten out into a disc, and finally to project
a multitude of minute drops, which continued their revolutions so long
as the fluid in which they floated kept revolving by the motion of the
rotating spindle, _the divergent drops, the central mass, and the
surrounding fluid, being all the while of the same density_. But the
essential conditions of the nebular theory are, that _the central mass_
exert an attraction of gravitation upon all its parts, and _therefore be
denser than the surrounding ether or empty space_, and that _the cooling
and contracting rings be of a different density from the rest of the
mass_. Their divergence from the more fluid portion is supposed to arise
from their growing denser. And Reclus shows[204] that the divergent
drops owe their existence to the _expansion_, not to the _contraction_,
of the globule of oil. This experiment, then, contradicts the theory, so
far as it is applicable.

Plateau himself never adduced this experiment in support of the nebular
theory; but having, by way of illustration, spoken of the revolving
drops as satellites, and finding that expression misunderstood, he
corrected the error in a subsequent paper. He says: "It is clear that
this mode of formation is entirely foreign to La Place's cosmogonic
hypothesis; therefore we have no idea of deducing from this little
experiment, which only refers _to the effects of molecular attraction_,
and _not to those of gravitation_, any argument in favor of the
hypothesis in question; an hypothesis which _in other respects we do not

_It was always contrary to the facts of astronomical science._ It has
accordingly been repudiated by the most eminent astronomers.

Sir John Herschel declares that the appearance of those groups, or
clusters, of stars, supposed to be formed by the condensation of nebulæ
is quite different from that depicted by this theory, and that no traces
of the ring-making process is visible among them. He thus describes the
appearances of these groups; exactly the contrary of that demanded by
the theory, which he emphatically disclaims, from the presidential chair
of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

"If it is to be regarded as demonstrated truth, or as receiving the
smallest support from any observed numerical relations which actually
hold good among the elements of the primary orbits, I beg leave to
demur. Assuredly it receives no support from the observation of the
effects of sidereal aggregation as exemplified in the formation of
globular and elliptic clusters, supposing them to have resulted from
such aggregation. For we see this cause working out in thousands of
instances, to have resulted, _not_ in the formation of a single large
central body, surrounded by a few smaller attendants disposed in one
plane around it, but in systems of infinitely greater complexity,
consisting of multitudes of nearly equal luminaries, grouped together in
a solid elliptic or globular form. So far then as any conclusions from
our observations of nebulæ can go, the result of agglomerative
tendencies _may_ indeed be the formation of families of stars of a
general and very striking character, but we see nothing to lead us to
presume its further result to be the surrounding of those stars with
planetary adherents."[206]

_This theory is contradicted by the peculiarities of our solar system._
The orbits of the comets being inclined at all angles to the sun's
equator, are often out of the plane of his rotation, and so in the way
of the theory. The moons of Uranus revolve in a direction contrary to
all the other bodies, and fly right into the face of the theory.
According to the nebular theory, the outer planets, first cast off from
the sun, ought to be lighter than those nearer him, as these had longer
pressing near the middle of the mass; and the sun himself, having been
pressed by the weight of all the rest of the system, should be the
densest body of the whole. And the author of _The Vestiges of Creation_,
in expounding the theory, manufactures a set of facts to suit it, and
tells his readers that the planets exhibit a progressive diminution in
density from the one nearest the sun to that which is most distant. Our
solar system could not have lasted thirty years had that been the case.
The Earth, Venus, and Mars, are nearly of the same density. Uranus is
more dense than Saturn, which is nearer the sun. Neptune is more dense
than either. The sun, which ought to be the heaviest of all, according
to the theory, is only one-fourth the density of the earth. La Place
himself has demonstrated that these densities and arrangements are
indispensable to the stability of the system. But they are plainly
contradictory to his theory of its formation.[207]

The palpable difference of luminosity between the sun and the planets,
which, as they are all made of the very same materials, and by the same
process, according to this theory, ought to be equally self-luminous, is
in itself a self-evident refutation of the nebular hypothesis, or of any
other process of creation by mere mechanical law. "The same power,
whether natural or supernatural, which placed the sun in the center of
the six primary planets, placed Saturn in the center of the orb of his
five secondary planets; and Jupiter in the center of his four secondary
planets; and the earth in the center of the moon's orbit; and,
therefore, had this cause been a blind one, _without contrivance or
design_, the sun would have been a body of the same kind with Saturn,
Jupiter, and the Earth; that is, _without light or heat_. Why there is
one body in our system qualified to give light and heat to all the rest,
I know no reason, but because the Author of the system thought it
convenient." So says the immortal Newton.[208]

The great expounder of modern science--Humboldt--is equally explicit in
enumerating the decisive marks of choice and will in the construction of
the solar system, and in contemptuously dismissing the notion of
development and creation by natural law from the halls of science.

"Up to the present time, _we are ignorant, as I have already remarked,
of any internal necessity--any mechanical law of nature_--which (like
the beautiful law which connects the square of the periods of revolution
with the cube of the major axis) represents the above-named
elements--the absolute magnitude of the planets, their density,
flattening at the poles, velocity of rotation, and presence or absence
of moons--of the order of succession of the individual planetary bodies
of each group, in their dependence upon the distances. Although the
planet which is nearest the sun is densest--even six or eight times
denser than some of the exterior planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and
Neptune--the order of succession in the case of Venus, the Earth, and
Mars, is very irregular. The absolute magnitudes do, generally, as
Kepler has already observed, increase with the distances; but this does
not hold good when the planets are considered individually. Mars is
smaller than the Earth; Uranus smaller than Saturn; Saturn smaller than
Jupiter, and succeeds immediately to a host of planets, which, on
account of their smallness, are almost immeasurable. It is true, the
period of rotation generally increases with the distance from the sun;
but it is in the case of Mars slower than in that of the Earth, and
slower in Saturn than in Jupiter."[209] "_Our knowledge of the primeval
ages of the world's physical history does not extend sufficiently far to
allow of our depicting the present condition of things as one of

Sir David Brewster adds his testimony as follows: "Geology does not
pretend to give us any information respecting the process by which the
nucleus of the earth was formed. Some speculative astronomers indeed
have presumptuously embarked in such an inquiry; but there is not a
trace of evidence that the solid nucleus of the globe was formed by
secondary causes, such as the aggregation of attenuated matter diffused
through space; and the _nebular theory_, as it has been called, though
maintained by a few distinguished names, has, we think, been overturned
by arguments which have never been answered. Sir Isaac Newton, in his
four celebrated letters to Dr. Bentley, has demonstrated that the
planets of the solar system could not have been thus formed and put in
motion round a central sun."[211]

4. _Astronomy not only exposes the folly of past cosmogonies, but
demonstrates the impossibility of framing any true theory of creation,
and thus refutes all future cosmogonies._

The grand error of all cosmogonies lies in the arrogant assumption, on
which every one of them must be founded, _that the theorist is
acquainted with all substances, and all forces in the universe_, and
with all the modes of their operation; not only at the present period,
and on this earth, but in all past ages, and in worlds in widely
different, and utterly unknown situations; for, if he be ignorant of any
substance, or of any active force in the universe, his generalization is
avowedly imperfect, and necessarily erroneous. That unknown force must
have had its influence in framing the world. Its omission, then, is
fatal to the theory which neglects it. A theory of creation, for
instance, which would neglect the attraction of gravitation would be
manifestly false. But there are other forces as far reaching, whose
omission must be equally fatal; for instance, the power of repulsion.

A conviction of this truth has given rise to a constant effort to
simplify matters down to the level of our ignorance, by reducing all
substances to one, or at most two simple elements, and all forces to the
form of one universal law; but the progress of science utterly blasts
the attempt. Instead of simplifying matters, the very chemical processes
undertaken with that view revealed new substances, and every year
increases our knowledge of nature's variety. No scientific man now
dreams of one primeval element. In the same way, astronomy, which, it
was boasted, would enable us to account for all the operations of the
universe, by reducing all motion to one mechanical law, has revealed to
us the existence of other forces as far reaching as the attraction of
gravitation, and more powerful; and substances whose nature and
combinations are utterly unknown. But every cosmogony is just an attempt
to simplify matters, by ignoring the existence of these unknown
substances, and mysterious forces; a process which science condemns, as
utterly unphilosophical and absurd.

Astronomy has shown us _our ignorance of the substances_, or
_materials_, _of our own little globe_. It has demonstrated that the
whole body of the earth must have an average density equal to iron. As
the rocks near the surface are much lighter, those toward the center
must be heavier than iron, to make up this density. Of what, then, do
they consist? The geologist says he does not know. No geologist ever saw
them. No mortal ever will see them, and report their chemical
constitution, their dip, and the arrangement of their strata, to the
American Association for the Advancement of Science. The very utmost "we
can say is that they are unlike anything with which we are acquainted."
Very well; then be pleased to have the decency to abstain from telling
us how the world was made, when you don't know what it is made of.

The sun's heat, at its surface, is 300,000 times greater than at the
surface of the earth, but a tenth of this amount, collected in the focus
of a lens, dissipates gold and platinum in vapor. When the most vivid
flames which we can produce are held up in the blaze of his rays, they
disappear. If a cataract of icebergs, a mile high, and wider than the
Atlantic Ocean, were launched into the sun with the velocity of a
cannon-ball, the small portion of the sun's heat expended on our earth
would convert that vast mass into steam as fast as it entered his
atmosphere without cooling its surface in the least degree. "The great
mystery, however, is to conceive how so enormous a conflagration (if
such it be) can be kept up. Every discovery in chemical science here
leaves us completely at a loss, or rather seems to remove farther the
prospect of probable explanation."[212] Yet, the sun is the nearest of
the fixed stars, and by far the best known, and most nearly related to
us. In fact, we are dependent on his influences for life and health. But
if the theorist _can not tell his substance, or the nature and cause of
the light and heat he sends us_, how can he presume so far on the
world's credulity as to present a theory of his formation?

"Astronomical problems accumulate unsolved upon our hands, because we
can not, as mechanicians, chemists, or physiologists, experiment on the
stars. Are they built of the same material as our planet? Are Saturn's
rings solid, or liquid? Has the moon an atmosphere? Are the atmospheres
of the planets like ours? Are the light and heat of the sun begotten of
combustion? And what is the fuel which feeds these unquenchable fires?
These are questions, which we ask, and variously answer, _but leave
unanswered after all_."[213] But, till he can answer these, and a
thousand questions like these, let no man presume to describe the
formation of these unknown orbs.

Comets constitute by far the greatest number of the bodies of our solar
system. Arago says seven millions frequent it, within the orbit of
Uranus.[214] They are the largest bodies known to us, stretching across
hundreds of millions of miles. They approach nearer to this earth than
any other bodies, sometimes even involving it in their tails, and
generally exciting great alarm among its inhabitants. But the nature of
the transparent luminous matter of which they are composed is utterly
unknown. As they approach the sun, they come under an influence directly
the opposite of attraction. The tail streams away from the sun, over a
distance of millions of miles, _and yet the rate of the comet's motion
toward the sun is quickened_, as though it were an immense rocket,
driven forward by its own explosion.

Further, while the body of the comet travels toward the sun, sometimes
with a velocity nearly one-third of that of light, the tail sends forth
coruscations in the opposite direction, with a much greater velocity.
The greatest velocity with which we are acquainted on earth is the
velocity of light, which travels a million of times faster than a
cannon-ball, or at the rate of 195,000 miles per second; but here is a
substance capable of traveling twenty-three times faster, and here is a
force propelling it, twenty-three times greater than any which exists on
earth. Its existence was first discovered by the coruscations of the
comet of 1807. "In less than one second, streamers shot forth, to two
and a half degrees in length; they as rapidly disappeared, and issued
out again, sometimes in proportions, and interrupted, like our northern
lights. Afterward the tail varied, both in length and breadth; and in
some of the observations, the streamers shot forth from the whole
expanded end of the tail, sometimes here, sometimes there, in an
instant, two and a half degrees long; _so that within a single second
they must have shot out a distance of 4,600,000 miles_."[215] Similar
exhibitions of this unknown force were made by the comet of 1811, by
Halley's comet, and several others.

In these amazing disclosures of the unknown forces of the heavens, do we
not hear a voice rebuking the presumption of ignorant theorists, with
the questions, Knowest _thou_ the ordinances of heaven? Canst _thou_ set
the dominion thereof in the earth? Hear one of the most distinguished of
modern astronomers expound the moral bearings of such a discovery: "The
intimation of a new cosmical power--I mean of one so unsuspected before,
but which yet can follow a planet through all its wanderings--throws us
back once more into the indefinite obscure, and checks all dogmatism.
How many influences, hitherto undiscovered by our ruder senses, may be
ever streaming toward us, and modifying every terrestrial action. And
yet, because we had traced one of these, we have deemed our astronomy
complete! Deeper far, and nearer to the root of things, is that world
with which man's destiny is entwined."[216]

We can have no reason, save our own self-sufficient arrogance, to
believe that the discovery of these two forces exhausts the treasures of
infinite wisdom. Humboldt thus well refutes the folly of such an
imagination: "The imperfectibility of all empirical science, and the
boundlessness of the sphere of observation, render the task of
explaining the forces of matter by that which is variable in matter, an
impracticable one. What has been already perceived, by no means exhausts
that which is perceptible. If, simply referring to the progress of
science in our own times, we compare the imperfect physical knowledge of
Robert Boyle, Gilbert, and Hales, with that of the present day, and
remember that every few years are characterized by an increasing
rapidity of advance, we shall be better able to imagine _the periodical
and endless changes which all physical sciences are destined to
undergo. New substances and new forces will be discovered._"[217]

Thus, all true science, conscious of its ignorance, ever leads the mind
to the region of faith. Its first lesson, and its last lesson, is
humility. It tells us that every cosmogony, which the children of theory
so laboriously scratch in the sand, must be swept away by the rising
tide of science. When we seek information on the great questions of our
origin and destiny, and cry, "Where shall wisdom be found, and what is
the place of understanding?" The high priests of science answer, in her
name, "It is not in me; the measure thereof is longer than the earth,
and broader than the sea."

We receive this honest acknowledgment as an inestimable boon. We are
saved thereby the wearying labor of a vain and useless search after
knowledge which lies not in her domain. We come down to the Bible with
the profound conviction that science can give us no definite information
of our origin, no certainty of our destiny, and but an imperfect
acquaintance with the laws which govern this present world. If the Bible
can not inform us on these all-important questions, we must remain
ignorant. Science declares she can not teach us. The Word of God
remains, not merely the best, but absolutely the only, the last resource
of the anxious soul.

The Bible gives us no theory of creation. It simply asserts the fact,
that "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," but does
not tell us _how_ he did so. The knowledge could be of no use to us, for
he never means to employ us as his assistants in the work of creation.
Nor could we understand the matter. The force by which he called the
worlds into being, and upholds them in it, exists in no creature. "He
stretcheth forth the heavens alone. He spreadeth abroad the earth by
himself." "He upholdeth all things by the word of his power."

But it presents anxious, careworn, humbled souls with something
infinitely more precious than cosmogonies; even an explicit declaration
of the love toward them of him who made these worlds.

     "Thus saith the Lord, THY REDEEMER,
     And he who formed thee from the womb:
     I am the Lord, who maketh all things;
     Who stretcheth forth the heavens alone,
     And spreadeth abroad the earth, by myself."

     "He healeth the broken in heart,
     And bindeth up their wounds.
     He telleth the number of the stars,
     And calleth them all by their names.
     Great is our Lord, and of great power;
     His wisdom is infinite!"

Yes, the Creator of heaven and earth, who upholds all things by the word
of his power, became a man like you, and dwelt on earth, and suffered
the sorrow, the shame, the pain, the death, that sinful man deserved;
and when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand
of the Majesty on high. From that heavenly throne his voice now sounds,
reader, in your ear, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are
heavy-laden, and _I will give you rest_."


[186] Cosmos III. 138.

[187] Herschel's Outlines, chap. xvii. sec. 887.

[188] Cosmos III. 197.

[189] Nichol's Architecture of the Heavens, 9th ed. p. 180.

[190] Cosmos IV. 292.

[191] Nichol's Contemplations on the Solar System, xxx.

[192] Cosmos III. 253.

[193] Herschel's Outlines of Astronomy, chap. xvi.

[194] _New York Evangelist_, May 5, 1870.

[195] Nichol's Architecture of the Heavens, 9th edition, 272.

[196] Pontecoulant in _System of the World_, p. 70.

[197] Progress of Astronomy, 70.

[198] Memoirs of the French Academy, by M. Le Verrier; from _The Annual
of Scientific Discovery_, for 1855, p. 376.

[199] Herschel's Outlines of Astronomy, p. 558, ed. of 1853.

[200] Illustrations of Universal Progress, page 298.

[201] Fragments of Science and Scientific Thought, p. 163.

[202] Illustrations of Progress, page 292.

[203] Illustrations of Progress, page 34.

[204] The Earth, page 256.

[205] Taylor's Scientific Memoirs, Vol. V., cited in McCosh's Typical
Forms and Special Ends in Creation, p. 403.

[206] Opening Address to the British Association, 1845.

[207] Taking water as the unit of density, Mercury is 6.71; Venus, 5.11;
Earth, 5.44; Mars, 5.21; Saturn, 0.76; Uranus, 0.97; Neptune, 1.25; the
Sun, 1.37.--Cosmos IV. p. 447.

[208] Newton's Optics, IV. p. 438.

[209] Cosmos, IV. p. 425.

[210] Cosmos, III. p. 28.

[211] More Worlds Than One, p. 45.

[212] Herschel's Outlines, VI. Sect. 400.

[213] Dr. George Wilson, F. R. S. E., in Edinburgh Phil. Journal, V. p.

[214] Somerville's Connection of the Physical Sciences, p. 360.

[215] Dick's Sidereal Heavens, chap. xx.

[216] Nichol's Solar System, p. 76.

[217] Cosmos, III. p. 27.



In the last chapter we saw astronomy demonstrating our need of a
revelation from God. In this we shall see how it illustrates and
confirms that revelation. Seen through the telescope, the Bible glows
with celestial splendor. Even its cloudy mysteries are displayed as
clouds of light, and its long misunderstood phrases are resolved, by a
scientific investigation, into galaxies of brilliant truths, proclaiming
to the philosopher that the Book which describes them is as truly the
Word of God as the heavens which it describes are his handiwork.

If, once in a century, a profound practical astronomer is found denying
the inspiration of the Bible, he will either acknowledge, or discover
himself, not familiar with its contents. For the most part, the charges
brought against the Bible, of contradicting the facts of astronomy, are
based upon misstatements and mistakes of its teachings, and so do not
fall within the range of the telescope, or the department of the
observatory. The Sabbath-school teacher, and not the astronomer, is the
proper person to correct such errors. A few months' instruction in the
Bible class of any well-conducted Sabbath-school would save some of our
popular anti-Bible lecturers from the sin of misrepresenting the Word of
God, and the shame of hearing children laugh at their blunders.

A favorite field for the display of their knowledge of science, and
ignorance of the art of reading, by our modern Infidels, is the Bible
account of creation, in the first chapter of Genesis, which is alleged
to be utterly irreconcilable with the known facts of astronomy and
geology. Leaving the latter out of view, for the present, the
astronomical objections may all be arranged under four heads. First:
that the Bible account of the creation of man, only some six or seven
thousand years ago, must be false; because the records of astronomical
observations, taken more than seventeen thousand years ago, by the
Hindoos and Egyptians, are still in existence, and have been verified.
Second: that the light of some of the stars, now shining upon us, and
especially of some of the distant nebulæ, must have left them millions
of years ago, to have traveled over the vast space which separates them
from us, and be visible on our globe now; whereas, the Bible teaches
that the universe was created only some six or seven thousand years ago.
Third: that the Bible represents God as creating the sky a solid
crystal, or metallic sphere, or hemisphere (they are not agreed which),
to which the stars are fastened, and with which they revolve around the
earth; which every school-boy knows to be absurd. Fourth: that the Bible
represents God as creating the sun and moon only two days before Adam,
and as creating light before the sun, which is also held to be absurd.

1. The first of these objections--that the Hindoos and Egyptians made
astronomical observations thousands of years before Adam, and that the
accuracy of these observations has been verified by modern
calculations--_is simply untrue_. No such observations were ever made.
The pretended records of such have been proved, in the case of the
Hindoo astronomy, to be forgeries, and in the case of the Egyptian
records, blunders of the discoverers. There is not an authentic
uninspired astronomical observation extant for two thousand years after

The objection, however, is worth noticing, and its history worth
remembering, as a specimen of the way in which ignorant men swallow
impudent falsehoods, if they only seem to contradict the Word of Truth.
When the labors of oriental scholars had made the Vedas and
Shasters--the sacred books of the Hindoos--accessible to European
philosophers, a wonderful shout was raised among Infidels. "Here," it
was said, "is the true chronology. We always knew that man was not a
degenerate creature, fallen from a higher estate, some few thousand
years ago, but that he has existed from eternity, in a constant progress
toward his present lofty position; and now we have the most authentic
records of the most ancient and civilized people in the world--the
people of India--reaching back for millions of years before the Mosaic
cosmogony, and allowing ample time for the development of the noble
savage into the cultivated philosopher. These records have every mark of
truth, giving minute details of events, and histories of successive
lines of princes; and, moreover, record the principal astronomical facts
of the successive periods--eclipses, comets, positions of stars,
etc.--which attest their veracity. Henceforth, the Hebrew records must
hide their heads. Neither as poetry nor history can they pretend to
compare with the Vedas."

The Hindoo Shasters were accordingly, for a time, in high repute, among
people who knew very little about them. Even Dr. Adam Clarke was so far
led away with the spirit of the age, as to pollute his valuable
commentary by the insertion of the _Gitagovinda_, after the Chaldee
Targum on the Song of Solomon; where the curious reader can satisfy
himself as to the scientific value of such Pantheistic dotings. By the
Infidels of Britain and America they were appealed to as standard works
of undoubted authority; and hundreds, who declared that it was
irrational credulity to believe in the Bible, risked their souls on the
faith of the Vedas, _of which they never had read a single sentence_!

Now, when we remember that these veracious chronicles reach back through
_maha yugs_ of 4,320,000 years of mortals, a thousand of which, or
4,320,000,000, make a _kalpa_ or one day of the life of Brahma, while
his night is of the same duration, and his life consists of a hundred
years of such days and nights, about the middle of which period the
little span of our existence is placed; that among the facts of the
history are the records of the seven great continents of the world,
separated by seven rivers, and seven chains of mountains, four hundred
thousand miles high (reaching only to the moon); of the families of
their kings, one of whom had a hundred sons, another only ten thousand,
another sixty thousand, who were born in a pumpkin, nourished in pans of
milk, reduced to ashes by the curse of a sage, and restored to life by
the waters of the Ganges; and that among the astronomical observations,
by which the accuracy of these extraordinary facts is confirmed, are
accounts of deluges, in which the waters not only rose above the tops of
earth's mountains, but above the seven inferior and three superior
worlds, _reaching even to the Pole Star_[218]--we may well wonder at the
faith which could receive all this as so true, that on the strength of
it they rejected the miracles of the Bible as false. Even Voltaire
ridiculed these stories.

But a visionary man, named Baillie, calculated the alleged observations
backward, and found them sufficiently correct to satisfy him that all
the rest of the story was equally true. It never seems to have occurred
to him, that if he could calculate eclipses _backward_, so could the
Hindoos. It is just as easy to calculate an eclipse, or the position of
a planet, backward as forward. If I watch the motion of the hands of a
clock accurately, and find that the little hand moves over the twelfth
of a circle every hour, and the large hand around the circle in the same
time, and that the large hand, now at noon, covers the little one, I
can calculate, that at sixteen minutes and a quarter past three it will
nearly cover it again; but then, it is just as easy to count that the
two hands were covered at sixteen minutes and a quarter before nine that
morning, or that they were exactly in line at 6 A. M. If my clock would
keep going at the same rate for a thousand years, I could predict the
position of the hands at any hour of the twenty-ninth of March, of the
year 2857; but it is evident that the very same calculation applied the
other way would show the position that the hands would have had a
thousand years ago, or five thousand years ago, just as well. And if I
were to allege that my clock was made by Tubal Cain, before the flood,
and for proof of the fact declare, that on the first of January, 3857 B.
C., at 6 o'clock P. M., I had seen the two hands directly in line, and
some wiseacre were to calculate the time, and find that at that hour the
hands ought to have been just in that position, and conclude thence that
I was undoubtedly one of the antediluvians, and the clock no less
certainly a specimen of the craft of the first artificer in brass and
iron, the argument would be precisely parallel to the Infidel's argument
from the Tirvalore Tables, and the astronomy of the Vedas.

But suppose my clock ran a little slow; say half a minute in the month,
or so; or that it was made to keep sidereal time, which differs by a
little from solar time, and that I did not know exactly what the
difference was; it is evident that on a long stretch of some hundreds or
thousands of years, I would get out of my reckoning, and the hands would
not have been in the positions I had calculated. Now, this was just what
happened with the Brahmins and their calculations. The clock of the
heavens keeps a uniform rate of going, but they made a slight mistake in
the counting of it; and so did their Infidel friends. But our modern
astronomers have got the true time, set their clocks, and made their
tables by it; and on applying these tables to the pretended Hindoo
observations, find that they are all wrong, and that no such eclipses as
they allege ever did occur or possibly could have happened in our solar
system.[219] So the Hindoo astronomy is now consigned to the same tomb
with the Hindoo chronology and cosmogony, except when a missionary, on
the banks of the Ganges, exhibits it to the pupils of his English
school, as a specimen of the falsehoods which have formed the swaddling
bands of Pantheism.

Failing in the attempt to substitute Brahminism for Christianity,
Infidels beat a retreat from India, and went down into Egypt for help.
Here they made prodigious discoveries of the scientific and religious
truths believed by the worshipers of dogs and dung beetles, recorded
upon the coffins of holy bulls, and the temples sacred to crows and
crocodiles. The age was favorable for such discoveries.

Napoleon and his savans cut out of the ceiling of a temple, at Denderah,
in Egypt, a stone covered with uncouth astronomical, astrological, and
hieroglyphic figures, which they insisted was a representation of the
sky at the time the temple was built; and finding a division made
between the signs of the crab and the lion, and marks for the sun and
moon there, they took it into their heads that the sun must have entered
the Zodiac at that spot, on the year this Zodiac was made; and,
calculating back, found that must be at least seventeen thousand years
ago. Hundreds of thousands visited the wonderful antediluvian monument,
in the National Library, in Paris, where it had been brought; and where
Infidel commentators were never wanting to inform them that this
remarkable stone proved the whole Bible to be a series of lies. A
professor of the University of Breslau published a pamphlet, entitled
_Invincible Proof that the Earth is at least ten times older than is
taught by the Bible_. Scores of such publications followed, and for
forty years Infidel newspapers, magazines, and reviews kept trumpeting
this great refutation of the Bible. From these it descended to the
vulgar, with additions and improvements; and it is now frequently
alleged as proving that "ten thousand years before Adam was born, the
priests of Egypt were carving astronomy on the pyramids." There is
scarcely one of my French or German readers who has not heard of it.

It did not shake the Skeptic's credulity in the least that no two of the
savans were agreed, by some thousands of years, how old it was--that
they could not tell what the Egyptian system of astronomy was--_and that
none of them could read the hieroglyphics which explained it_. Whatever
might be doubtful, of one thing they were all perfectly sure, that it
was far older than the creation. But in 1832 the curious Egyptian
astronomy was studied, and it appeared that the sun and moon were so
placed on the Zodiac to mark the beginning of the year there; and the
dividing line fenced off one half of the sky under the care of the sun,
while the other was placed under the moon's patronage. Then it was
discovered that the positions of the stars were represented by the
pictures of the gods whose names they bore--Jupiter, Saturn, etc.--and
by calculating the places of these pictures back, it was found that this
Zodiac represented their places in the year of our Lord 37; the year of
the birth of Nero, a great temple-builder and repairer. Finally,
Champollion learned to read the hieroglyphics, and the names, surnames,
and titles of the emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero, and Domitian were
found on the temple of Denderah; and on the portico of the temple of
Esneh, which had been declared to be a few thousand years older than
that of Denderah, were found the names of Claudius and Antoninus Pius;
while the whole workmanship and style of building have satisfied all
antiquarians that these buildings were erected during the declining days
of art in the Roman Empire. The Roman title, _autocrat_, engraved on
the Zodiac itself, attests its antiquity to be not quite two thousand,
instead of seventeen thousand years.

But, not satisfied with merely demolishing the batteries of Infidelity,
astronomy has been employed to ascertain the dates of numbers of events
recorded on Egyptian monuments to have happened to one or other of the
Pharaohs, "beloved of Ammon, and brother of the sun," when such a star
was in such a position. Mr. Poole has spent years in gathering such
inscriptions, and in calculating the dates thus furnished. The
astronomer royal, at Greenwich, Mr. Airy, has reviewed the calculations,
and finds them correct. Wilkinson, the great Egyptologist, agrees with
their conclusions. And the result is, that _the astronomical chronology
of the Egyptian monuments sustains the Bible chronology_.[220] Geology
comes forward to confirm the testimony of her elder sister, and assures
us, that the alleged vast antiquity of the Egyptian monuments is
impossible, as it is not more than 5,000 years since the soil of Egypt
first appeared above water, as a muddy morass.[221] The learned Adrian
Balbo thus sums up the whole question: "No monument, either astronomical
or historical, has yet been able to prove the books of Moses false; _but
with them, on the contrary, agree, in the most remarkable manner, the
results obtained by the most learned philologists and the profoundest

2. To the second objection--that astronomers have discovered stars whose
light must have been millions of years traveling to this earth, and that
consequently these stars must have existed millions of years ago, and
therefore the Bible makes a false declaration when it says the universe
was created only some six or seven thousand years ago--I reply by
asking, _Where does the Bible say so?_

"What," says our objector, "is not that the good old orthodox doctrine
of Christians and commentators? Do they not unanimously denounce
geologists and astronomers as heretics, for asserting the vast antiquity
of the earth?"

We shall see presently that no such unanimity of denunciation has ever
existed, and that some of the most ancient and learned Christian
commentators taught the antiquity of the earth, from the Bible, before
geology was born. But that is not the question before us just now. We
are not asking what the good old orthodox doctrine of Christians, or the
unanimous opinion of commentators may have been; but what is the reading
of the Bible--_What does this Book say?_--not, "What does somebody

"Well," replies our objector, "does not the Bible say, in the first of
Genesis, that God created the heavens and the earth in six days, and
Adam on the sixth; and are not chronologists agreed that that was not
more than seven thousand years ago, at the very utmost?"

If the Bible had said that God created the heavens and the earth in six
days, and that the end of that period was only seven thousand years ago,
it would by no means follow that the beginning of it was only a few
hours before that; for every Bible reader knows, that the most common
use of the word _day_, in Scripture, is to denote, not a period of
twenty-four hours, but a period of time which may be of various
lengths.[223] In this very narrative (Genesis ii. 5) it is used to
denote the whole period of the six days' work: "In the day the Lord God
made the earth and the heavens." Does it mean just twenty-four hours
there? In the first of Genesis, its duration is defined to consist of
"the evening and the morning." Before our Infidel chronologist finds
out the Bible date of creation, he must be able to tell us _of what
length was the evening which preceded the first morning_, and with it
constituted the first day? God has of set purpose placed
stumbling-blocks for scoffers at the entrance and the exit of the Bible,
as a rebuke to pride and vain curiosity.[224]

The duration of the seventh day is also hidden from man. It is God's
Sabbath, on which he entered when he ceased from the work of creation, a
rest which still continues, and which he invites us to enter into
(Hebrews iv. 1-5) as a preparation for the eternal rest. God's rest day
has already lasted six thousand years, and no man can tell how much
longer it may last. Perhaps his working days were each as long.

But if our objector had read the Bible attentively, he would have seen
that it _does not say that God created the heavens and the earth in six
days_. Before it begins to give any account of the six days' work, it
tells us of a previous state of disorder; and going back beyond that
again, it says: "_In the beginning_, God created the heavens and the
earth." It is as self-evident that this _beginning_ was before the six
days' work, as that the world must have existed before it could be
adjusted to its present form. How long before, the Bible does not say,
nor does the objector pretend to know. It may have been as many millions
of years as he assigns to the stars, or twice as many, for anything he
knows to the contrary. He must have overlooked the first two verses of
the Bible, else he had never made this objection; which is simply a
blunder, arising from incapacity to read a few verses of Scripture

But it is replied, "Does not the Bible say, in the fourth commandment,
'In six days the Lord made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that
in them is,'" etc.? True. But we are speaking just now of a very
different work--the work of _creation_. If any one does not know the
difference between _create_ and _make_, let him turn to his dictionary,
and Webster will inform him that the primary literal meaning of _create_
is, "To produce; to bring into being from nothing; to cause to exist."
The example he gives to illustrate his definition is this verse, "In the
beginning God _created_ the heavens and the earth." But the primary
meaning of _make_ is, "To compel; to constrain;" thence, "to form of
materials;" and he illustrates the generic difference between these two
words by a quotation from Dwight: "God not only _made_, but _created_;
he not only made the work, but the materials." Both words are as good
translations of the Hebrew originals, _bra_, and _oshe_, as can be

If any of my readers has not a dictionary he can satisfy himself
thoroughly as to the different meanings of these two words, and of their
equivalents in the original Hebrew, by looking at their use in his
Bible. Thus, he will find _create_ applied to the creation of the
heavens and the earth, in the beginning, when there could have been no
pre-existent materials to make them from; unless we adopt the Atheistic
absurdity, of the eternity of matter--that is to say, _that the paving
stones made themselves_.[225] Then it is applied to the production of
animal life--verse twenty-one--which is not a product or combination of
any lifeless matter, but a direct and constant resistance to the
chemical and mechanical laws which govern lifeless matter: "God created
great whales, and every living creature that moveth."[226] Next it is
applied to the production of the human race, as a species distinct from
all other living creatures, and not derived from any of them. "God
_created_ man in his own image."[227] It is in like manner applied to
all God's subsequent bestowals of animal life and rational souls, which
are directly bestowed by God, and are not in the power of any creature
to give. "Thou sendest forth thy spirit: they are _created_." "Remember
now thy _Creator_, in the days of thy youth."[228] In all these
instances, the use of the word determines its literal meaning to be what
Webster defines it: "To bring into being from nothing."

The metaphorical use of the word is equally expressive of its literal
meaning, for it is applied to the production of new dispositions of mind
and soul utterly opposite to those previously existing. "Create in me a
clean heart;" which God thus explains: "A new heart will I give you, and
a new spirit will I put within you; and I will take away the stony heart
out of your flesh, and I will give you an heart of flesh."[229] The
Hebrew word _bra_ has as many derivative meanings as our English word
_create_; as we speak of "creating a peer," "long abstinence creating
uneasiness," etc.; but these no more change the primitive idea in the
one case than in the other.

From this word _create_, the Bible very plainly distinguishes the words
_make_ and _form_, using them as the complement of the former, in many
passages which speak of both creation and making. Thus, man was both
created and made. His life and soul are spoken of as a creation; his
body as a formation from the dust; his deputed authority over the earth
also implies a primal creation, and subsequent investiture; and so both
terms are applied to it. So the words _make_ and _form_ are applied to
the production of the bodies of animals from pre-existing materials,
while animal life is ever spoken of as a product of creative power. But,
that we may see that these processes are distinct, and that the words
which express them have distinctive meanings, _the Author of the Bible
takes care to use them both_ in reference to this very work, in such a
way that we can not fail to perceive he intends some distinction, unless
we suppose that he fills the Bible with useless tautologies. For
instance, "On the seventh day, God rested from all his work, which God
_created_ and _made_." "These are the generations of the heavens and the
earth, when they were _created_; in the day the Lord God _made_ the
earth and the heavens." "But now thus saith the Lord that _created_
thee, Jacob, and he that _formed_ thee, O Israel." "For thus saith the
Lord that _created_ the heavens, God himself, that _formed_ the earth,
and _made_ it; he hath established it; he _created_ it not in confusion;
he _formed_ it to be inhabited."[230] In all these passages _creation_
is clearly distinguished from _formation_ and _making_, if the Bible is
not a mass of senseless repetitions. If _create_, and _make_, and
_form_, have all the same meaning, why use them all in the same verse?
These, and many similar passages, show that the Bible teaches the work
of _creation_--calling things into being--to be previous to and distinct
from the work of _making_--forming of materials already created.

Between these two widely different processes--of the original creation
of the universe, and the subsequent preparation of the habitable earth,
by the six days' work--two intervening periods are indicated by
Scripture, both of indefinite length. The first of these is that which
intervened between the original creation and the period of disorder
indicated in the second verse. The second is that disordered period
during which the earth continued without form and void.

That original chaos which some would find in the second verse, never had
any existence, save in the brains of Atheistic philosophers. It is
purely absurd. God never created a chaos. Man never saw it. The
crystals of the smallest grain of sand, the sporules of the humblest
fungus on the rotten tree, the animalculæ in the filthiest pool of mud,
are as orderly in their arrangements, as perfect after their kind, and
as wisely adapted to their station, as the angels before the throne of
God. And as man never saw, so he has no language to describe, a state of
original disorder; for every word he can use implies a previous state of
regularity; as disorder tells of order dissolved; confusion of previous
forms melted together. So the poets who have tried to describe a chaos
have been obliged to represent it as the wreck of a former state.

Both the Bible language and the Bible narrative correspond to the
philosophy and philology of the case; for, by the use of the substantive
verb, in the past tense, implying progressive being, according to the
usual force of the word in Hebrew, we are told literally, "the earth
_became_ without form and void." God did not create it so, but after it
was created, and by a series of revolutions not recorded, it became
disordered and empty. The Holy Spirit takes care to explain this verse,
by quoting it in Jeremiah iv. 23, as the appropriate symbolical
description of the state of a previously existing and regularly
constituted body politic, reduced to confusion by the calamities of war.
Again, he explains both the terms used in it in Isaiah xxxiv. 11, by
using them to describe, not the rude and undigested mass of the heathen
poet, but the wilderness condition of a ravaged country, and the
desolate ruins of once beautiful and populous cities: "He will stretch
out upon it the line of _confusion_, and the stones of _emptiness_." In
both these cases the previous existence of an orderly and populous state
is implied. And finally, we are expressly assured, that the state of
disorder mentioned in the second verse of Genesis i., was not the
original condition of the earth--Isaiah xlv. 18--where the very same
word is used as in Genesis i. 2, "He created it not, _teu_,
_disordered_, in _confusion_." The period of the earth's previous
existence in an orderly state, or that occupied by the revolutions and
catastrophes which disordered its surface, is not recorded in Scripture.

The second period is that of disorder, which must have been of some
duration, more or less, and is plainly implied to have been of
considerable length, in the declaration that "the Spirit of the Lord
moved"--literally, _was brooding_ (a figure taken from the incubation of
fowls)--"upon the face of the waters." But no portion of Scripture gives
any intimation of the length of this period.

If, then, astronomers and geologists assert that the earth was millions,
or hundreds of millions of years in process of preparation for its
present state, by a long series of successive destructions and
renovations, and gradual formations, _there is not one word in the Bible
to contradict that opinion_; but, on the contrary, very many texts which
fully and unequivocally imply its truth. But, as the knowledge of the
exact age of the earth is by no means necessary to any man's present
happiness, or the salvation of his soul, it is nowhere taught in the
Bible. God has given us the stars to teach us astronomy, the earth to
teach us geology, and the Bible to teach us religion, and neither
contradicts the other.

This is no new interpretation evoked to meet the necessities of modern
science. The Jewish Rabbins, and those of the early Christian Fathers
who gave any attention to criticism, are perfectly explicit in
recognizing these distinctions. The doctrine of the creation of the
world only six or seven thousand years ago is a product of monkish
ignorance of the original language of the Bible. But Clement of
Alexandria, Chrysostom, and Gregory Nazianzen, after Justin Martyr,
teach the existence of an indefinite period between the creation and the
formation of all things. Basil and Origen account for the existence of
light before the sun, by alleging that the sun existed, but that the
chaotic atmosphere prevented his rays from being visible till the first
day, and his light till the third.[231] Augustine, in his first homily,
represents the first state of the earth, in Genesis i. 1, as bearing the
same relation to its finished state, that the seed of a tree does to the
trunk, branches, leaves, and fruit. Horsley, Edward King, Jennings,
Baxter, and many others, who wrote during the last two centuries, but
before the period of geological discovery, explained the second verse
substantially as did Bishop Patrick, a hundred and fifty years ago. "How
long all things continued in confusion, we are not told. _It might have
been, for anything that is here revealed, a very great while._"[232]

Some persons, however, have supposed that the chaos of the second verse
succeeded immediately to the creation of the first, and that the six
days' work in like manner followed that instantaneously, or at least
after a very brief interval, because the records of these cycles are
connected by the word _and_, which, they think, precludes the idea of
any lengthened periods or intervals. But the slightest reflection upon
the meaning of the word will show that _and_ can not of itself be any
_measure_ of time, its use being to indicate merely _sequence_ and
_connection_. When used historically, it always implies an interval of
time; for there can be no succession without an interval; but the length
of that interval must be determined from the context, or some other
source. A very cursory perusal of the Bible, either in English or
Hebrew, will show that very often in its brief narratives, the interval
indicated by _and_, and its Hebrew originals, is a very long time. The
descent of Jacob and his children into Egypt is connected with the
record of their deaths, in the very next verse, by this word _and_,
which thus includes nearly the lifetime of a generation. That event,
again, is connected with a change of dynasty in Egypt, and the
oppression and multiplication of the Israelites there, recorded in the
next verse, by the same word, _vau_, _and_; while the period over which
it reaches was over two hundred years.[233] So in the brief record of
the family of Adam, after reciting the birth of Seth, the historian
adds, in the next verse, "And to Seth also was born a son, and he called
his name Enos;" while the interval thus indicated by the word _and_ was
a hundred and five years. The command to build the ark, recorded in the
last verse of the sixth chapter of Genesis, is connected with the
command to enter into it, in the first verse of the seventh chapter, by
this same word _and_, although we know, from the nature of the case,
that the interval required for the construction of such a huge vessel
must have been considerable; and from the third verse of the sixth
chapter, we learn that it was a hundred and twenty years. So the births
and deaths of the antediluvians are connected by this same word _and_,
throughout the fifth chapter of Genesis; while the interval, as we see
from the narrative, was often eight or nine hundred years. The descent
of the Holy Spirit upon Christ, to qualify him for judging the world, is
connected with the actual discharge of that office, in the destruction
of Antichrist by the breath of his mouth, by this word _and_,[234]
although the interval has been over eighteen hundred years. If in the
records of the generations of mortal men, the word _and_ is customarily
employed as a connecting link in the narrations of events separated by
an interval of hundreds of years, it is quite consistent with the
strictest propriety of language to employ it, with an enlargement
proportioned to the duration of the subject of discourse, to connect
intervals of millions, in the narrative of the generations of the
heavens and the earth.

The Bible uniformly attributes the most remote antiquity to the work of
creation. So far from supposing man to be even approximately coeval with
it, the emphatic reproof of human presumption is couched in the
remarkable words, "Where wast thou, when I laid the foundations of the
earth?" In majestic contrast with the frail human race, Moses glances at
the primeval monuments of God's antiquity, as though by them he could
form some faint conceptions even of eternity, and sings, "Before the
mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and
the universe, even from everlasting to everlasting thou art God."[235]

The very word here used, _the beginning_, is in itself an emphatic
refutation of the notion that the work of creation is only some six or
seven thousand years old. Geologists have been unable to invent a
better, and have borrowed from the Bible this very form of speech, to
designate those strata beyond which human knowledge can not
penetrate--_the primary formations_. But, with far greater propriety,
the Holy Spirit uses this word with regard to ages, compared with which
the utmost range of the astronomer's or geologist's reasonings is but as
the tale of yesterday. For this word, in Bible usage, marks the last
promontory on the boundless ocean of eternity; the only positive word by
which we can express the most remote period of past duration. It is not
a date--a point of duration. It is a period--a vast cycle. It has but
one boundary; that where creation rises from its abyss. Created eye has
never seen the other shore. It is that vast period which the Bible
assigns to the manifestations of the Word of God, "whose goings forth
have been of old, from everlasting." Carrying our astonished gaze far
back beyond the era of his creature, man, and ages before the "all
things" that were made by Him, the Bible places this _beginning_ on the
very shore of the eternity of God, when it declares, "_In the beginning_
was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."[236]
Thus, both by the use of the imperfect tense, _was_, denoting continued
existence, and by the connection of this _beginning_ with the eternity
of the Word, does the Bible teach us to dismiss from our thoughts all
narrow views of the period of duration employed in manifesting the glory
of the self-existent Eternal One, and to raise our conceptions to the
highest possible pitch, and then to feel, that far beyond the grasp of
human calculation lies that _beginning_ which includes the years of the
right hand of the Most High, and is even used as one of the names of the
Eternal: "I AM THE BEGINNING _and the Ending, saith the Lord, who is,
and who was, and who is to come_--THE ALMIGHTY."[237]

In another Bible exhibition of the eternity of the Son of God, we are
conducted from that _beginning_, downward, stage by stage, from those
periods of remote antiquity prior to the formation of water, the
upheaval of the mountains, the alluvial deposits, the subsidence of the
existing sea basins, and the adornment of the habitable parts of the
earth, to that comparatively recent event, the existence of the sons of
men. Our ideas of the eternity of the love of Christ are thus enhanced,
by the vastness of the ages which stretch out between the human race and
that beginning when He was, as it were, "The Lamb slain from before the
foundations of the world."

     "The Lord possessed me _in the beginning of his way_,
     _Before his works of old_.
     I was set up from everlasting,
     _From the beginning, or ever the earth was_.
     When there were no depths, I was brought forth;
     When there were no fountains, abounding with water;
     Before the mountains were settled,
     Before the hills, was I brought forth;
     While as yet he had not made the earth, nor the fields,
     Nor the highest part of the dust of the world
     When he prepared the heavens, I was there;
     When he described a circle upon the face of the deep;
     When he established the clouds above;
     When he strengthened the fountains of the deep;
     When he gave to the sea his decree,
     That the waters should not pass his commandment;
     When he appointed the foundations of the earth:
     Then was I by him, as one brought up with him;
     And I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him:
     Rejoicing in the habitable parts of his earth;
     And my delights were with the sons of men."[238]

Let the geologist, then, penetrate as deeply as he can into the
profundities of the foundations of the earth, and bring forth the
monuments of their hoary antiquities: we will follow with the most
unfaltering faith, and receive with joy these proofs of his eternal
power and Godhead. Let the astronomer raise his telescope, and reflect
on our astonished eyes the light which flashed from morning stars, on
the day of this earth's first existence, or even the rays which began to
travel from distant suns, millions of years ere the first morning dawned
on our planet: we will place them as jewels in the crown of Him who is
the bright and morning star. They shall shed a sacred luster over the
pages of the Bible, and give new beauties of illustration to its
majestic symbols. But never will geologist penetrate, much less exhaust,
the profundity of its mysteries, nor astronomer attain, much less
explore, the sublimity of that beginning revealed in its pages; for eye
hath not seen, nor ear heard, nor hath it entered into the heart of man
to conceive, either the antiquity, or the nature, or the duration of the
things which God hath prepared for them that love him. Human science
will never be able to reach the Bible era of creation. It is placed in
an antiquity beyond the power of human calculation, in that sublime
sentence with which it introduces mortals to the Eternal: "_In the
beginning God created the heavens and the earth._"

3. The third objection we have named is equally unfounded. _The Bible
nowhere teaches that the sky is a solid sphere, to which the stars are
fixed, and which revolves with them around the earth._ I know that
Infidels allege that the word _firmament_, in the first chapter of
Genesis, conveys this meaning. It does not. Neither the English word,
nor the Hebrew original, has any such meaning. As to the meaning of the
English word, I adhere to the dictionary. Infidels must not be allowed
to coin uncouth meanings for words, different from the known usage of
the English tongue, for which Webster is undeniable authority. His
definition of _firmament_ is, "The region of the air; the sky, or
heavens. In Scripture, the word denotes an expanse--a wide extent; for
such is the signification of the Hebrew word, coinciding with _regio_,
_region_, and _reach_. The original, therefore, does not convey the
sense of solidity, but of stretching--extension. The great arch or
expanse over our heads, in which are placed the atmosphere and the
clouds, and in which the stars _appear_ to be placed, and are _really_
seen." The word _firmament_, then, conveys no such meaning as the
Infidel alleges, to any man who understands the English tongue.

No Hebrew speaking man or woman ever did, or ever could understand the
original Hebrew word _reqo_ in any other sense than that of _expanse_;
for the verb from which it is formed means to extend, or spread out, as
even the English reader may see, by a few examples of its use, in the
following passages of Scripture; where the English words by which the
verb _reqo_ is expressed, are marked in italics. "Then did I beat them
small as the dust of the earth, and did stamp them as the mire of the
street, and _did spread them abroad_." "The goldsmith _spreadeth it
over_ with gold." "Thus saith the Lord: he that created the heavens, and
stretched them out; he that _spread forth_ the earth." "I am the Lord,
that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone, and
_spreadeth abroad_ the earth by myself." "To him that _stretcheth out_
the earth above the waters." "The censers of these sinners against their
own souls, let them _make them broad_ plates, for a covering for the
altar. _And they were made broad._" "Hast thou with him _spread out_ the
sky;"[239] or, in Humboldt's elegant rendering, "the pure ether,
_spread_ (during the scorching heat of the south wind) as a melted
mirror over the parched desert."[240] We might refer to the opinions of
lexicographers, all unanimous in ascribing the same idea to the word;
but the authorities given above are conclusive. The meaning, then, of
the Hebrew word rendered firmament is so utterly removed from the notion
of compactness, or solidity, or metallic or crystalline spheres, that it
is derived from the very opposite; the fineness or tenuity produced by
processes of expansion. Science has not been able to this day to invent
a better word for the regions of space than the literal rendering of the
original Hebrew word used by Moses--_the expanse_.

The inspired writers of the New Testament, though they found the world
full of all the absurdities of the Greek philosophy, and their Greek
translations of the Bible continually using the word _stereoma_, which
expressed these notions, _never used it_ but once, and then not for the
sky, but for the _steadfastness of faith_ in Christ. Their thus using it
once shows that they were acquainted with the word, and its proper
meaning, and that their disuse of it was intentional; while their disuse
of it, and choice of another word to denote the heavens, proves
decisively that they disapproved of the absurdity which it was
understood to express. Now, whether you account for this fact by
admitting their inspiration, or by alleging that they drew their
language from the Hebrew original, and not from the Greek translation,
it is in either case perfectly conclusive as to the scriptural meaning
of the word. Indeed, it is marvelous how any man who is familiar with
his Bible, and knows that the Scriptures usually describe the sky by
metaphors conveying the very opposite ideas to those of solidity or
permanence--as, "stretched out like a curtain," "spread abroad like a
tent to dwell in," "folded up like a vesture," and the like--should
allow himself to be imposed on by the impudent falsehood of Voltaire,
that the Bible teaches us that the sky is a solid metallic or crystal
hemisphere, supported by pillars.

Those beautiful figures of sacred poetry in which the universe is
represented as the palace of the Great King, adorned with majestic
"pillars," and "windows of heaven," whence he scatters his gifts among
his expectant subjects in the courts below, have been grossly abused for
the support of this miserable falsehood. We are assured, that so
ignorant was Moses of the true nature of the atmosphere, and of the
origin of rain, that he believed and taught that there was an ocean of
fresh water on _the outside_ of this metal hemisphere, which covered the
earth like a great sugar-kettle, bottom upward, and was supported on
pillars; and at the bottom of the ocean were trap-doors, to let the
rain through; which trap-doors in the metal firmament are to be
understood, when the Bible speaks of the windows of heaven. Now, the
bottom of an ocean is an odd place for windows, and a trap-door is
rather a strange kind of watering-pot; and if Moses put the ocean of
fresh water on the _outside_ of his metal hemisphere, he must have
changed his notions of gravity materially from the time he planned the
brazen hemisphere for the tabernacle, which he turned mouth upward, and
put the water in the _inside_.

While such writers are quite clear about the metal trap-doors and the
ocean, they have not yet fully fathomed the construction and arrangement
of the pillars. Whether the Bible teaches that they are "pillars of
salt," like Lot's wife, or of flesh and blood, like "James, Cephas, and
John," or such "iron pillars and brazen walls" as Jeremiah was against
the house of Israel--whether they consisted of "cloud and fire," like
the pillar Moses describes in the next book as floating in the sky over
the camp of Israel, or are "pillars of smoke," such as ascend out of the
wilderness--whether they are those "pillars of the earth which tremble"
when God shakes it, or "the pillars of heaven which are astonished at
his reproof"--whether they are the pillars of the earth and its
anarchical inhabitants, which Asaph bore up, or are composed of the same
materials as Paul's "pillar and basis of the truth," or the pillars of
victory which Christ erects "in the temple of God"[241]--they have not
yet decided. Whether the Hebrews understood these pillars to be arranged
on the outside of the metal hemisphere, and if so, to imagine any use
for them there; or in the inside, and in that case whether they kept the
sky from falling upon the earth, or only supported the earth from
falling into the sky, these learned men are by no means agreed. Having
trampled the pearl into fragments, their attempts to combine them into
another shape are more amusing than successful; and it is hard to say
which of the seven opinions ascribed to the Bible by Infidel
commentators is least probable. That opinion, however, will, doubtless,
after more vigorous and protracted rooting, be discovered and greedily
swallowed amid grunts of satisfaction; an appropriate reward of such
laborious stupidity.

The absurdities of the Greek philosophers were not drawn from the Bible.
Had the Greeks read the Bible more, they would have preserved the common
sense God gave them a great deal longer, and would not, while professing
themselves to be wise, have become such fools as to adore blocks and
stones, and dream of metal firmaments. But they turned away their ears
from the truth, and were turned unto such fables as Infidels falsely
ascribe to the Bible. A thousand years before the cycles and epicycles
of the Ptolemaic astronomy were invented, and before learned Greeks had
learned to talk nonsense about crystal spheres, and trap-doors in the
bottom of celestial oceans, the writers of the Bible were recording
those conversations of pious philosophers concerning stars, and clouds,
and rain, from which Galileo derived the first hints of the causes of
barometrical phenomena. The origin of rain, its proportion to the amount
of evaporation, and the mode of its distribution by condensation, could
not be propounded by Humboldt himself with more brevity and perspicuity
than they are expressed by the Idumean philosopher: "He maketh small the
drops of water; they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof,
which the clouds do drop and distill upon man abundantly. Also, can any
understand the spreadings of the clouds, or the noise of his
tabernacles?"[242] The cause of this rarefaction of _cold water_ is as
much a mystery to the British Association as it was to Elihu; and even
were all the mysteries of the electrical tension of vapors disclosed,
"the balancings of the clouds" would only be more clearly discovered to
be, as the Bible declares, "the wonderful works of Him who is perfect in
wisdom." But the gravity of the atmosphere, the comparative density of
floating water, and its increased density by discharges of electricity,
were as well known to Job and his friends as they are to the wisest of
our modern philosophers. "He looketh to the ends of the earth, and seeth
under the whole heaven, _to make weight to air, and regulate waters by
measure, in his making a law for the rain, and a path for the lightning
of thunder_."[243] Three thousand years before the theory of the trade
winds was demonstrated, or before Maury had discovered the rotation and
revolutions of the wind-currents, it was written in the Bible, "The wind
goeth toward the south, and turneth about to the north. _And the wind
returneth again, according to his circuits._"[244]

Thousands of years before Newton, Galileo, and Copernicus were born,
Isaiah was writing about the "orbit of the earth," and its
insignificance in the eyes of the Creator of the host of heaven.[245]
Job was conversing with his friends on the inclination of its axis, and
its equilibrium in space: "He spreadeth out the north over the empty
space, and hangeth the earth upon nothing."[246]

So far from entertaining the least idea of the waters of the atmosphere
being contained either on the outside or the inside of a metal or solid
hemisphere, the writers of the Bible never once use, even figuratively,
any expression conveying it. On the contrary, the well-known scriptural
figures for the fountains of the rain, are the soft, elastic, leathern
waterskins of the east, "the bottles of the clouds," or the wide,
flowing shawl or upper garment wherein the people of the east are
accustomed to tie up loose, scattering substances.[247] "He bindeth up
the waters in his thick cloud, and the cloud is not rent under them."
"Who hath bound the waters in a garment;" "As a vesture thou shalt
change them;" or the loose, flowing curtains of a royal pavilion; or the
extended covering of a tent: "his pavilion around him were dark waters,
and thick clouds of the skies;" "the spreadings of the clouds, and the
noise of his tabernacle;" "he spread a cloud for a covering."[248]
Instead of the notion of a single ocean, the "number of the clouds" is
proverbial in the Scriptures[249] for a multitude; and in direct
opposition to the permanence of a vast metallic arch, the chosen emblems
of instability and transitoriness, and of the utmost rapidity of motion,
suitable even for the chariot of Jehovah, are selected from the

In short, there is not the slightest vestige of any foundation in
Scripture for the notions long afterward introduced by the Greek
philosophers. Yet Christians, who have read these passages of Scripture
over and over again, allow themselves to give heed to Infidels, who have
not, asserting, without the shadow of proof, that Moses taught
absurdities which were not invented for a thousand years after his
death. The Bible gives hints of many profound scientific truths; it
teaches no absurdities; _and, instead of countenancing the notion that
the sky is a solid metal hemisphere, it teaches, both literally and
figuratively, directly the contrary_.

4. We come now to the fourth objection, _that the Bible represents God
as creating light before the sun_, which is supposed to be an absurdity,
_and as creating the sun, moon, and stars only two days before Adam_.
This is the only astronomical objection to the Bible account of creation
which has any foundation of Scripture statement to rest upon; but we
shall soon see that here, also, Infidels have not done themselves the
justice of reading the Bible with attention.

I have already corrected that confusion of ideas and carelessness of
perusal which confounds the two distinct and different words, _create_
and _make_, so as to make both mean the same thing. God _created_ the
heavens, as well as the earth, _in the beginning_; a period of such
remote antiquity that, in Bible language, it stands next to eternity.
The sun and moon then came into being. Through what changes they passed,
or when they were endowed with the power of giving light to the
universe, the Bible nowhere declares; but on the fourth day, it tells
us, they _were made lights_, or, literally, _light-bearers_, to this
earth. The comparatively insignificant place allotted to the stars, in
the narrative of this earth's formation, corresponds, with the strictest
propriety, to the nature of the discourse; which is not an account of
the system of the universe, but of the process of preparation of this
earth for the abode of man. Compared with the influences of "the two
great light-bearers," those of the stars are very insignificant; since
the sun sheds more light and heat on the earth in one day, than all the
fixed stars have done since the creation of Adam. It is evident, from
the words, that Moses is not speaking either of their original creation,
or of their actual magnitude, but of their appointment and use in
relation to us, when he says, "And God made two great light-bearers (the
greater light-bearer to rule the day, and the lesser light bearer to
rule the night), and the stars. And God set them in the firmament of the
heavens, to give light upon the earth, and to rule over the day and the
night, and to divide the light from the darkness."

Neither here nor elsewhere does he say they were _created_ at this time,
but in all the subsequent references uses other words, such as
"prepared," "divided," "made," "appropriated," "made for ruling,"
"gave;" a studious omission, which shows that the Author of the Bible
had not forgotten how long it was since he had called them into being.
_The Bible, then, does not say that God created the sun and stars only
two days before Adam._

Another correction of careless Bible reading is necessary, that we may
be satisfied about what the Bible _does not say_, ere we begin to defend
what it does say. The Bible does not say, nor lead us to believe, that
the darkness spoken of in the second verse of the first of Genesis had
existed from eternity. Darkness is not eternal; it requires the exercise
of creative power for its production. Light is the eternal dwelling of
the Word of God.[251] The darkness which brooded over our earth, at the
period of its formation, is very plainly described in the Bible as a
temporary phenomenon, incident to, and necessary for, the birth of
ocean. It is confined by the adverb of time, _when_, to the period of
condensation, upheaval, and subsidence, occupied by the birth of that
gigantic infant, "_when_ it burst forth as though it had issued from the
womb; _when_ I made the cloud a garment for it, and thick darkness a
swaddling band for it, and broke up for it my decreed place, and set
bars and doors."[252] The sun may have shone for millions of years
before upon the earth, or might have been shining with all his
brilliance at that very time, while not a single ray penetrated the
thick darkness of the vapors in which earth was clothed. But whether or
not, darkness must, from its very nature, be limited, both in space and
time. To speak of infinite and eternal darkness is as unscriptural as it
is absurd. The source of light is Uncreated and Eternal.[253]

Further--if my readers are not tired with these perpetual corrections of
careless reading and mistaken meaning--the light called into existence
in the third verse of the first chapter of Genesis is as evidently a
different word from _the two lights_ spoken of in the fourteenth verse,
as the singular is different from the plural; and the thing signified by
it is as distinct from the things spoken of in the fourteenth verse, as
the abstract is from the concrete; as, when I say of the first, "light
travels 195,000 miles per second," but mean a totally distinct subject
when I say, "Extinguish the lights." The Hebrew words are even more
palpably different, the word for _light_, in the third verse, being
_aur_, while the words for _the lights_, in the fourth day's work, are
_maurt_ and _at emaur_; words as distinct in shape and sense as our
English words, _light_ and _the lighthouses_.

The locality of the light of the third verse is, moreover, wholly
different from that of the light-bearers of the fourteenth verse. That
was placed on earth--these in heaven. It was of the earth alone the
writer was speaking, in the second verse; the earth alone is the subject
of the following verses. It was the darkness of earth that needed to be
illuminated; but there is not the remotest hint, in any portion of
Scripture, that any other planet or star was shrouded in gloom at this
time. But, on the contrary, we are most distinctly informed that the
wonders which God was performing in this world at that very time were
distinctly visible amid the cheerful illumination of other orbs, "when
the morning stars sang together, and all the sons of God shouted for
joy,"[254] as this earth emerged from its temporary darkness. It was not
from the light of heaven, but out of this darkness of earth, that God,
who still draws the lightning's flash from the black thunder-cloud,
commanded the light to shine.[255] And it was upon this earth, and not
throughout the universe, that it produced alternate day and night. To
extend this command for the illumination of the darkened earth, so as to
mean the production of light in general, and the lighting of the most
distant telescopic, and even invisible stars--which are neither
specified in the command itself, nor by any necessity of language or
Scripture implied in it, but, on the contrary, excluded, by the express
Scripture declarations of the pre-existence of light, and of morning
stars--is an outrage alike against all canons of criticism, laws of
grammar, and dictates of common sense. The command, "Let there be
light," had respect to this earth only.

The Bible does represent this earth as illuminated at a time when the
sun was not visible from its surface--perhaps not visible at all. Now,
if any one will undertake to scoff at the Bible for speaking of light
without sunshine, or of the sun shining upon a dark earth--as Infidels
abundantly do--we demand that he tell us, What is light, and how is it
connected with the sun? If he can not, let him cease to scoff at matters
too high for him.

If he can tell us, he knows that the retardation of Encke's comet, which
every year falls nearer and nearer the sun, has discovered the existence
of an attenuated ether in the expanse or firmament; and that the
experiments of Arago on the polarization of light have finally
demonstrated that our sensation of light is exerted by a series of
vibrations or undulations of this fluid,[256] he will then be able to
perceive the propriety with which the Author of light and of the Bible
speaks, not of _creating_ light, as if it were a material substance, but
of _forming_ or commanding its display. And he will be better able to
comprehend the beauty and scientific propriety with which he selected
the active participle of the verb _to flow_, as the name for the
undulations of this fluid; for the primary meaning of the Hebrew verb
_ar_ is, _to flow_, or, when used as a noun, _a flood_. "It shall be
cast out and drowned, as by the _flood_ of Egypt."[257] And of the like
import are the nouns, _iar_ and _aur_, formed from it. "Who is this that
covereth up like a _flood_, whose waters are moved like the
rivers?"[258] The philosopher, even though he be a skeptic, will cease
to mock the Bible when he reads there, that 6000 years ago its Author
termed light _the flowing--the undulation_. "In the words of the 'Son of
God,' and the 'Son of Man,' no less than in his works, with all their
adaptation to the circumstances of the times and persons to whom they
were originally delivered, are things inexplicable--concealed germs of
an infinite development, reserved for future ages to unfold."[259] To
the man of learning and reflection, this progressive fullness, and
unfathomable depth of the Scripture, is a most conclusive proof that it
was dictated by Him in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and

But the ignorant scoffers--the great majority--will mock on, and speak
evil of the things they know not. Their mockery is founded on two
assumptions, which they believe to be irrefutable; that the sun is the
only possible source of light to the earth; and that it is impossible
for the sun to exist without illuminating the earth. Unless they can
_prove_ both of these assumptions to be true, they can not prove the
Bible account of creation to be false, nor even show it to be
impossible. Neither of these assumptions can possibly be proved true;
for none of them can explore the universe, to discover the sources of
light, nor put the sun through every possible experiment, to discover
that his light is an inseparable quality. The only thing Infidels can
truly allege against the Bible account of the origin of light is, _their
ignorance of the process_. The argument is simply this: "God could not
cause light without sunshine, _because I don't know how he did it_. Nor
_can I understand_ how the sun shone on a dark earth; therefore, it is

These arguments from ignorance need no other answer than the questions,
Do you know how the sun shines at all? Is your ignorance the measure of
God's wisdom?

But I shall demonstrate the utter falsehood of both these assumptions,
by showing the actual existence of many sources of light besides the
sun, and the perfect possibility of the existence of the sun without
sunshine, and of sunshine without any light reaching the earth. Thus,
both the alleged _impossibilities_ upon which the argument against the
truth of the Bible is based will be removed, and the gross ignorance of
natural science displayed by professedly scientific scoffers at the
Bible exposed.

Light, so far from being solely derived from the sun, exists in, and can
be educed from, almost any known substance. Even children are familiar
with the light produced by the friction of two pieces of quartz; and no
one needs to be informed how light may be produced by the combustion of
inflammable substances. But the number of these substances is far
greater than is generally supposed, and light can be produced by
processes to which we do not generally apply the idea of burning.
Resins, wool, silks, wood, and all kinds of earths and alkalies, are
capable of emitting light in suitable electrical conditions; so that
the surface of our earth may have been a source of light in past ages,
as it even now is,[260] near the poles and the equator, flashing its
Aurora Borealis and Aurora Australis, and sending out its belts of
Zodiacal light,[261] far into the surrounding darkness.

Schubert, quoted by Kurtz, says: "May not that polar light, which is
called the Aurora of the North, be the last glittering light of a
departed age of the world, in which the earth was inclosed in an expanse
of aerial fluid, from which, through the agency of electric magnetic
forces, streamed forth an incomparably greater degree of light,
accompanied with animating warmth, almost in a similar mode to what
still occurs in the luminous atmosphere of our sun?"

Again, the metallic bases of all the earths are highly inflammable. A
brilliant flame can be produced by the combustion of water. All the
metals can be made to flash forth lightnings, under suitable electric
and magnetic excitements. The crystals of several rocks give out light
during the process of crystallization. Thousands of miles of the earth's
surface must once have presented the lurid glow of a vast furnace full
of igneous rocks. Even now, the copper color of the moon during an
ellipse shows us that the earth is a source of light.[262] The mountains
on the surface of Venus and the moon, and the continents and oceans of
Mars, attest the existence of upheaval and subsidence, and of volcanic
fires, capable of producing such phenomena, and of course of sources of
light in those planets, such as exist on the earth. We know, then, most
certainly, that there are many other bodies capable of producing light
besides the sun. That God could command the light to shine out of
darkness, and convert the very ocean into a magnificent illumination,
the following facts clearly prove. "Capt. Bonnycastle, coming up the
Gulf of St. Lawrence, on the seventh of September, 1826, was roused by
the mate of the vessel, in great alarm, from an unusual appearance. It
was a starlight night, when suddenly the sky became overcast, in the
direction of the high land of Cornwallis County, _and an instantaneous
and intensely vivid light, resembling the Aurora, shot out of the
hitherto gloomy and dark sea_, on the lee bow, which was so brilliant
that it lighted everything distinctly, even to the mast-head. The light
spread over the whole sea, between the two shores, and the waves, which
before had been tranquil, now began to be agitated. Capt. Bonnycastle
describes the scene as that of _a blazing sheet of awful and most
brilliant light_. A long and vivid line of light, superior in brightness
to the parts of the sea not immediately near the vessel, showed the base
of the high, frowning, and dark land abreast; the sky became lowering,
and more intensely obscure. Long tortuous lines of light showed immense
numbers of large fish, darting about as if in consternation. The topsail
yard and mizzen boom were lighted by the glare, as if gas-lights had
been burning directly below them; and until just before daybreak, at
four o'clock, the most minute objects were distinctly visible."[263]

The other assumption, that the sun could not possibly have existed
without giving light to the earth, is contradicted by the most familiar
facts. The earth and each of the planets might have been, and most
probably were, surrounded by a dense atmosphere, through which the sun's
rays could not penetrate. It is not at all necessary to prove that such
was the fact. I am only concerned to prove the _possibility_; for the
Infidel's objection is founded on the presumed _impossibility_ of the
coexistence of a dark earth and a shining sun. Any person who has ever
been in Pittsburg, Glasgow, or the manufacturing districts of England,
and has seen how the smoke of even a hundred factory chimneys will
shroud the heavens, can easily comprehend how a similar discharge, on a
larger scale, from the thousands of primeval volcanoes,[264] would cover
the earth with the pall of darkness. By the eruption of a single
volcano, in the island of Sumbawa, in 1815, the air was filled with
ashes, from Java to Celebes, darkening an area of more than 200,000
square miles; and the darkness was so profound in Java, three hundred
miles distant from the volcano, that nothing equal to it was ever
witnessed in the darkest night.[265] Those who have witnessed the fogs
raised on the Banks of Newfoundland, in the Gulf of St. Lawrence, and in
the Bay of San Francisco, by the mingling of currents of water of
slightly different temperatures, can be at no loss to conceive the
density of the vapors produced by the boiling of the sea around and over
the multitude of volcanoes[266] which have produced the countless
_atolls_ of the Pacific, and by the vast upheavals of thousands of miles
of heated rocks of the primary formations into the beds of primeval
oceans. While such processes were in progress, it was impossible but
that darkness should be upon the face of the deep.[267] Even now, a
slight change of atmospheric density and temperature would vail the
earth with darkness. We see this substantially done every time that God
"covereth the light with clouds, and commandeth it not to shine by the
cloud that cometh betwixt," although the sun continues to shine with all
his usual splendor. To understand how there may be a day without
sunshine, we need only conceive the whole earth temporarily enveloped
in the vapors of the unastronomical atmosphere of Peru, thus described
by Humboldt:

"A thick mist obscures the firmament in this region for many months,
during the period called _tiempo de la garua_. Not a planet--not the
most brilliant stars of the southern hemisphere--are visible. It is
frequently almost impossible to distinguish the position of the moon.
If, by chance, the outline of the sun's disc be visible during the day,
it appears devoid of rays, as if seen through colored glasses. According
to what modern geology has taught us to conjecture concerning the
ancient history of our atmosphere, its primitive condition in respect to
its mixture and density _must have been unfavorable to the transmission
of light_. When we consider the numerous processes which, in the primary
world, may have led to the separation of the solids, fluids, and gases
around the earth's surface, the thought involuntarily arises, _how
narrowly the human race escaped being surrounded with an untransparent
atmosphere_, which, though not greatly prejudicial to some classes of
vegetation, would yet have completely vailed the whole of the starry
canopy. All knowledge of the structure of the universe could then have
been withheld from the inquiring spirit of man."[268] The sun, then, may
have shone with all his brilliancy, for thousands of years, and a single
ray never have penetrated the darkness upon the face of the deep.

But we will go further, and show that so far from light being an
essential property of suns, it is a very variable attribute, and that in
several cases suns have ceased, and others begun, to shine, before our

The fixed stars are self-luminous bodies, similar to our sun, only
immensely distant from us. Their numbers, magnitudes, and places, are
known and recorded. But new stars have frequently flashed into view,
where none were previously seen to exist; and others have gradually
grown dim and disappeared, without changing their place; and a few which
had disappeared have reappeared in the same spot they formerly occupied;
while others have changed their color since the era of astronomical
observation. In short, there is no permanence in the heavens, any more
than on the earth; but a perpetual progress and change is the destiny of
suns and stars, of which the most conspicuous indication is the
variability of their powers of giving light, of which I shall transcribe
a few instances.

"On the eleventh of November, 1572, as the illustrious Danish
astronomer, Tycho, was walking through the fields, he was astonished to
observe a new star in the constellation Cassiopea, beaming with a
radiance quite unwonted in that part of the heavens. Suspecting some
delusion about his eyes, he went to a group of peasants, to ascertain if
they saw it, and found them gazing at it with as much astonishment as
himself. He went to his instrument, and fixed its place, from which it
never after appeared to deviate. For some time it increased in
brightness--greatly surpassed Sirius in luster, and even Jupiter. It was
seen by good eyes in the daytime; a thing which happens only to Venus,
under very favorable circumstances; and at night it pierced through
clouds which obscured the rest of the stars. After reaching its fullest
brightness, it again diminished, passed through all degrees of visible
magnitude, assuming in succession the hues of a dying conflagration, and
then finally disappeared." "It is impossible to imagine anything more
tremendous than a conflagration that could be visible at such a

Astronomers now recognize a class of such _Temporary Stars_, which have
appeared from time to time in different parts of the heavens, blazing
forth with extraordinary luster, and after remaining awhile, apparently
immovable, have died away, and left no trace.[270] Twenty-one of such
appearances of new suns are on record.[271]

Still further, many familiar suns have ceased to shine. "On a careful
re-examination of the heavens, _many stars are found to be
missing_."[272] "There are many well authenticated cases of the
disappearance of old stars, whose places had been fixed with a degree of
certainty not to be doubted. In October, 1781, Sir William Herschel
observed a star, No. 55 in Flamstead's Catalogue, in the constellation
Hercules. In 1790 the same star was observed by the same astronomer, but
since that time no search has been able to detect it. The stars 80 and
81 of the same catalogue, both of the fourth magnitude, have likewise
disappeared. In May, 1828, Sir John Herschel missed the star No. 42, in
the constellation Virgo, which has never since been seen. Examples might
be multiplied, but it is unnecessary."[273]

The demonstration of the variableness of the light-giving power of suns
is completed by the phenomena of the class called _Variable Stars_;
though the best astronomers are now agreed that _variability, and not
uniformity_, in the emission of light, is the general character of the
stars.[274] But the variations which occur before our eyes impress us
more deeply than those which require centuries for their completion. Sir
John Herschel has observed, and graphically described, one such instance
of variation of light.

"The star Eta Argus has always hitherto been regarded as a star of the
second magnitude; and I never had reason to regard it as variable. In
November, 1837, _I saw it, as usual_. Judge of my surprise to find, on
the sixteenth of December, that _it had suddenly become a star of the
first magnitude_, and almost equal to Rigel. It continued to increase.
Rigel is now not to be compared with it. It exceeds Arcturus, and is
very near equal to Alpha Centauri, being, at the moment I write, the
fourth star in the heavens, in the order of brightness."[275] It has
since passed through several variations of luster. Humboldt gives a
catalogue of twenty-four of such stars whose variations have been

"A strange field of speculation is opened by this phenomenon. Here we
have a star fitfully variable to an astonishing extent, and whose
fluctuations are spread over centuries, apparently in no settled period,
and with no regularity of progression. What origin can we ascribe to
these sudden flashes and relapses? What conclusions are we to draw as to
the comfort or habitability of a system depending for its supply of
light and heat on such an uncertain source? Speculations of this kind
can hardly be termed visionary, when we consider that, from what has
been before said, we are compelled to admit a community of nature
between the fixed stars and our own sun; and when we reflect, that
geology testifies to the fact of extensive changes having taken place,
at epochs of the most remote antiquity, in the climate and temperature
of our globe; changes difficult to reconcile with the operation of
secondary causes, such as a different distribution of sea and land, but
which would find an easy and natural explanation in a slow variation of
the supply of light and heat afforded by the sun himself."[276] "I can
not otherwise understand alterations of heat and cold so extensive as at
one period to have clothed high northern latitudes with a more than
tropical luxuriance of vegetation, and at another to have buried vast
tracts of Europe, now enjoying a genial climate, and smiling with
fertility, under a glacier crust of enormous thickness. Such changes
seem to point to causes more powerful than the mere local distribution
of land and water can well be supposed to have been. In the slow secular
variations of our supply of light and heat from the sun, _which, in the
immensity of time, may have gone to any extent, and succeeded each other
in any order, without violating the analogy of sidereal phenomena which
we know to have taken place_, we have a cause, not indeed established as
a fact, but readily admissible as something beyond a bare possibility,
fully adequate to the utmost requirements of geology. A change of half a
magnitude on the luster of our sun, regarded as a fixed star, spread
over successive geological epochs--now progressive, now receding, now
stationary--_is what no astronomer would now hesitate to admit as a
perfectly reasonable and not improbable supposition_."[277]

The most eminent astronomers are perfectly unanimous in their deductions
from these facts. They regard _variability as the general characteristic
of suns and stars, our own sun not exempted_. "We are led," says
Humboldt, "by analogy to infer, that as the fixed stars _universally_
have not merely an apparent, but a real motion of their own, so their
surfaces or luminous atmospheres are generally subject to those changes
(in their "light process") which recur, in the great majority, in
extremely long, and therefore unmeasured, and probably undeterminable
periods, or which, in a few, recur without being periodical, as it were,
by a sudden revolution, either for a longer or a shorter time." And he
asks, _Why should our sun differ from other suns?_

In reference to the extinction of suns, he says: "What we no longer see
is not necessarily annihilated. It is merely the transition of matter
into new forms--into combinations which are subject to new processes.
Dark cosmical bodies may, by a renewed process of light, again become

In confirmation of the fact adduced in support of this view, by La
Place, "that those stars which have become invisible, after having
surpassed Jupiter in brilliancy, have not changed their place during the
time they continued visible," he adds, "The luminous process has simply
ceased." Bessel asserts[279] that, "_No reason exists for considering
luminosity an essential property of these bodies._" And Nichol sums up
the matter in the following emphatic words: "No more is light _inherent_
in the sun than in Tycho's vanished star; and with it and other orbs, a
time may come when, through the consent of all the powers of nature, he
shall cease to be required to shine. _The womb which contains the future
is that which bore the past._"[280]

Here, then we behold astronomy presenting to our observation facts and
processes so similar to those which revelation presents to our faith,
that all those men who are most profoundly versed in her lore, reasoning
solely from the facts of science, and without any reference to the
Bible, unanimously conclude that there was such a state of darkness and
confusion before our era, as the Bible declares--that its causes were
most probably such as the Bible implies--and that the sudden
illuminating of dark bodies, and their extinction, and even
re-illumination, are facts so perfectly well authenticated as matters of
observation in regard to other suns, that no reasonable man can hesitate
to believe any credible assurance that our sun has passed through such a
process. With what feelings, then, are we to regard men who, in
defiance of the most common facts, and in contradiction to the
demonstrations of science, blaspheme the God of truth as a teacher of
falsehood, because he speaks of light distinct from that of the sun?
Surely, such men are those whom he describes as "having the
understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through
the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their hearts.
In whom the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that
believe not."[281]

These facts, of the sudden kindling of stars, their gradual passage
through all the hues of a dying conflagration, and their final
extinction, and present blackness of darkness, are facts of fearful omen
to the enemies of God. They are the original threatenings of Heaven,
whence the fearful language of Bible warning is derived. They attest its
truth, and illustrate its import.

The favorite theory of the unbeliever is the uniformity of nature.
"Where," says he, "is the promise of Christ's coming to judgment; for
since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were since
the beginning of the world?" But the telescope dispels the illusion,
exhibits the course of nature as a succession of catastrophes, displays
the conflagration of other worlds, and the extinction of their suns,
before our eyes, and asks, _Why should our sun differ from other suns?_
It is not the preacher, but the philosopher, who has turned prophet,
when--looking back on the period when the Siberian elephant and
rhinoceros were frozen amid their native jungle, and icebergs visited
the plains of India--he proclaims, "_The womb that bore the past
contains the future._"

The threatenings of God's Word are invested with a mantle of terrible
literality by the facts we have been contemplating. Raised at the day of
resurrection, in these bodies, and with these senses, and this
capability of rejoicing in the light, and shuddering and pining amid
outward gloom, physical darkness will be the terrible prison of those
who chose darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. The
Father of Lights shall withdraw his blessed influences from the hearts,
the dwellings, the eyes, of those who say to him, "Depart from us, for
we desire not the knowledge of thy ways." The sun shall cease to vivify
God's corn, and wine, and oil, which ungodly men consume upon their
lusts. The moon shall cease to shine upon the robber's toil, and the
stars to illumine the adulterer's path. The light of heaven shall cease
to gild the field of carnage, where men perform the work of hell. In the
very midst of your worldliness and business, unbeliever, when you are in
all the engrossment of buying and selling, and planting and building,
and marrying and giving in marriage, without warning or expectation,
"the sun shall go down at noon, and the stars shall be darkened in the
clear day." As in the warning and example given to the enemies of the
Lord in Egypt, thick darkness, that may be felt, shall wind its
inevitable chains around you, preventing your escape from the judgment
of the great day, and giving you a fearful foretaste of that "blackness
of darkness for ever" of which you are now forewarned in the Word of

     "The sun shall be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light,
     And the stars shall fall from the heavens,
     And the powers of the heavens shall be shaken;
     And then shall appear the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens,
     And then shall all the tribes of the earth mourn;
     And they shall see the Son of Man coming in the clouds of heaven,
     With power and great glory."

     "Cast ye the unprofitable servant into outer darkness;
     There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth."

     "Hear ye, and give ear; be not proud,
     For the Lord hath spoken.
     Give glory to the Lord, your God,
     Before he cause darkness,
     And before your feet stumble upon the dark mountains;
     And while ye look for light,
     He turn it into the shadow of death,
     And make it gross darkness."

     "I am the light of the world;
     He that followeth me shall not walk in darkness,
     But shall have the light of life."[282]


[218] Duff's India, 127.

[219] Somerville's Connection of the Physical Sciences, p. 83.

[220] Poole's Horæ Egyptiacæ.

[221] Henri L'Egypte Pharonique.

[222] Atlas Ethnographique, Eth. I.

[223] See Cruden's Concordance, Art. _Day_.

[224] Dan., chap. xii. 10. Job, chap. xxxviii. 4. Col., chap. ii. 18.

[225] Chap. I. _Did the World Make Itself?_

[226] Genesis, chap. i. 21.

[227] Genesis, chap. i. 27.

[228] Psalm civ. 30. Eccl., chap. xii. 1.

[229] Psalm li. 10. Ezekiel, chap. xxxvi. 26.

[230] Genesis, chap. ii. 1-5. Isaiah, chap. xliii. 1-7; chap. xlv. 1, 2.

[231] Wiseman's Lectures on the Connection of Science and Revealed
Religion, 1-297.

[232] Commentary on Genesis, i. 2.

[233] Exodus, chap. i. 5, 8.

[234] Isaiah, chap. xi. 3, 4.

[235] Psalm xc.

[236] John, chap. i. 1.

[237] Revelation, chap. i. 8.

[238] Proverbs, chap. viii. 22.

[239] Samuel, chap. xxii. 43. Isaiah, chap. xl. 19; chap. xliv. 24;
chap. xlii. 5. Psalm cxxxvi. 6. Numbers, chap. xvii. 38. Job, chap.
xxxvii. 18.

[240] Cosmos v. 2, p. 60.

[241] Genesis, chap. xix. 26. Exodus, chap. xiii. 20; chap. xxxiii. 10.
Jeremiah, chap. i. 18. Galatians, chap. ii. 7. Song, chap. iii. 6. Job,
chap. ix. 6; chap. xxvi. 11. Psalm lxxv. 3. 1 Timothy, chap. iii. 15.
Revelation, chap. iii. 12.

[242] Job, chap. xxxvi. 27.

[243] Job, chap. xxviii. 24--literal reading.

[244] Ecclesiastes, chap. i. 6.

[245] Isaiah, chap. xl.

[246] Job, chap. xxvi. 7.

[247] Ruth, chap. iii. 15.

[248] Job, chap. xxxviii. 37; chap. xxvi. 8; chap. xxxviii. 9; chap.
xxxvi. 29. Psalm cv. 39; lxxvii. 17.

[249] Isaiah, chap. xliv. 22. Jeremiah, chap. iv. 13. Job, chap.
xxxviii. 37. Proverbs, chap. xxx. 4.

[250] Ecclesiastes, chap. xi. 4. Psalm civ. 3. Matthew, chap. xxix. 30.

[251] Isaiah, chap. xlv. 7. 1 John, chap. i. 5. Daniel, chap. ii. 22. 1
Timothy, chap. vi. 16.

[252] Job, chap. xxxviii. 9, 10. Literally, _In my making_, etc.

[253] Revelation, chap. xxi. 23; chap. xxii. 5. Isaiah, chap. lx. 19.

[254] Job, chap. xxxviii. 7.

[255] 2 Corinthians, chap. iv. 6.

[256] Somerville's Connection of the Physical Sciences, Sec. 19-23.

[257] Amos, chap. viii. 8.

[258] Jeremiah, chap. xlvi. 7. Genesis, chap. xli. 1-18. See Parkhurst's
Hebrew Lexicon, sub voce.

[259] Neander.

[260] Cosmos, Vol. I. p. 196.

[261] Annual of Scientific Discovery. 1856.

[262] Cosmos, Vol. I. p. 196. Nichol's Solar System, 184.

[263] Somerville's Connection of Physical Sciences, 288.

[264] Cosmos, Vol. I. p. 250.

[265] Lyell's Principles of Geology, 465.

[266] Cosmos, Vol. I. p. 250.

[267] Cosmos, Vol. I. pp. 198, 216.

[268] Cosmos, Vol. III. p. 139.

[269] Nichol's Solar System, 188. Connection of Physical Sciences, 363.

[270] Herschel's Outlines, Sec. 827.

[271] Cosmos, Vol. VIII. p. 210.

[272] Herschel's Outlines, Sec. 832.

[273] Mitchell's Planetary and Stellar Worlds, 294.

[274] Cosmos, Vol. III. p. 253.

[275] Astronomical Observations, 351.

[276] Herschel's Outlines, Sec. 830.

[277] Astronomical Observations, 351.

[278] Cosmos, Vol. III. pp. 222-232.

[279] Cosmos, Vol. III. p. 246.

[280] Solar System, 190.

[281] Ephesians, chap. iv. 18. 2 Corinthians, chap. iv. 4.

[282] Matthew, chap. xxiv. 29. John, chap. viii. 12. Jeremiah, chap.
xiii. 15. Matthew, chap. xxii. 13 and chap. xxv. 30.



No kind of knowledge is more useful to man than the knowledge of his own
ignorance; and no instrument has done more to give him such knowledge
than the telescope. Faith is the believing of facts we do not know, upon
the word of one who does. If any one knows everything, or thinks he
does, he can have no faith. A deep conviction of our own ignorance is,
therefore, indispensable to faith. The telescope gives us this
conviction in two ways. It shows us that we see a great many things we
do not perceive, tells us the size and the distances of those little
sparks that adorn the sky, and leads us to reason out their true
relations to our earth. Then it tells us, that what we see is little of
what is to be seen; that our knowledge is but a drop from the great
ocean, a rush-light sparkling in the vast darkness of the unknown. It
tells us, that we do not see right, and that we do not see far; and that
there may be things, both in heaven and earth, not dreamed of in our
philosophy. Further, it confirms the Bible testimony concerning the
facts of its own province, by removing all improbability from some of
its most wonderful narratives, attesting the accuracy of its language,
and confirming, by some of its most recent discoveries the truth of its
statements. Our space will only allow us to select five illustrations of
the tendency of faith in the telescope, to produce faith in the Bible.

1. One of the latest astronomical discoveries throws light upon one of
the most ancient scientific allusions of the Bible, and one which has
perplexed both commentators and geologists; _that which hints at the
second causes of the deluge_. Not that it is at all needful for us to be
able to tell where God Almighty procured the water to drown the ungodly
sinners of the old world, before we believe his word that he did so;
unless, indeed, somebody has explored the universe, and knows that there
is not water enough in it for that purpose, or that it is so far away
that he could not fetch it; for, as to the fact itself, geology assures
us that all the dry land on earth has been drowned, not only once, but
many times. It is not the province of the commentator, but of the
geologist, to account for the phenomenon.

Several solutions of the difficulty of finding water enough for the
purpose have been proposed. One of these supposes that some of the
internal caverns of the earth are filled with water, which, when heated
by neighboring volcanic fires, would expand one twenty-third of its
bulk, and flow out, and raise the ocean. When the volcanic fire was
burnt out, and the water cooled, it would of course contract to its
former dimensions, and the ocean recede. These caverns they suppose to
be meant by "the fountains of the great deep," in Genesis vii. 11.

But the Bible describes another, and plainly a very important source of
the waters of the deluge, in the rain which fell for forty days and
forty nights. At present, all the water in our atmosphere comes from the
sea, by evaporation; and the quantity is too insignificant to cover the
globe to any considerable depth. Divines and philosophers were perplexed
to give any adequate explanation of this language, and considered it
simply as Noah's description of the appearance of things as viewed from
the ark, rather than an accurate explanation of the actual causes of the
deluge. Now, it is certainly true, that the Bible does describe things
as they appear to men. It is, however, beginning to be discovered, that
these popular appearances are closely connected with philosophical
reality. Our purblind astronomy and prattling geology may be as
inadequate to expound the mysteries of the Bible philosophy as was the
incoherent science of Strabo and Ptolemy. The experience of another
planet, now transacting before our eyes, admonishes us not to limit the
resources of Omnipotence by our narrow experience, or to suppose that
our young science has catalogued all the weapons in the arsenal of the

The planet Saturn is surrounded by a revolving belt, consisting of
several distinct rings, containing an area a hundred and forty-six times
greater than the surface of our globe, with a thickness of a hundred
miles. From mechanical considerations it had been proved, that these
rings could not be of a uniform thickness all around, else when a
majority of his seven moons were on the same side, the attraction would
draw them in upon him, on the opposite side; and once attracted to his
surface, they could never get loose again, if they were solid.[283] It
was next ascertained that the motions of the moons and of the rings were
such, that if the inequality was always in the same place, the same
result must follow; so that the ring must be capable of changing its
thickness, according to circumstances. It must be either composed of an
immense number of small solid bodies, capable of shifting freely about
among themselves, or else be fluid. Finally, it has been demonstrated
that this last is the fact; that the density of this celestial ocean is
nearly that of water; and that the inner portion, at least, is so
transparent, that the planet has been seen through it.[284] "The ring of
Saturn is, then, a stream or streams of fluid, rather denser than water,
flowing about the primary."[285] The extraordinary fact, which shows us
how God can deluge a planet when he pleases, I give not in the words of
a divine, but of a philosopher, whose thoughtless illustration of
Scripture is all the more valuable, that it is evidently unintentional.

"M. Otto Struve, Mr. Bond, and Sir David Brewster, are agreed that
Saturn's third ring is fluid, that this is not of very recent formation,
and that it is not subject to rapid change. And they have come to the
extraordinary conclusion, that the inner border of the ring has, since
the day of Huygens, been gradually approaching to the body of Saturn,
and that we may expect, sooner or later--perhaps in some dozen years--to
see the rings united with the body of the planet. _With this deluge
impending, Saturn would scarcely be a very eligible residence for men,
whatever it might be for dolphins._"[286]

Knowing, as we most certainly do, that the fluid envelopes of our own
planet were once exceedingly different from the present,[287] here is a
possibility quite sufficient to stop the mouth of the scoffer. Let him
show that God did not, or prove that he could not, suspend a similar
series of oceans over the earth, or cease to pronounce a universal
deluge impossible.

2. That sublime ode, in which Deborah describes _the stars in their
courses as fighting against Sisera_[288] has been rescued from the grasp
of modern scoffers, by the progress of astronomy. It has been alleged as
lending its support to the delusions of judicial astrology; by one class
desiring to damage the Bible as a teacher of superstition, and by
another to help their trade. The Bible reader will doubtless be greatly
surprised to hear it asserted, that the Bible lends its sanction to this
antiquated, and, as he thinks, exploded superstition. He knows how
expressly the Bible forbids God's people to have anything to do with
it, or with its heathenish professors. "Thus saith the Lord, Learn not
the way of the heathen, and be not dismayed at the signs of heaven, for
the heathen are dismayed at them."[289] And they will be still more
surprised to learn, that those who object against the Bible, that it
ascribes a controlling influence to the stars, are firm believers in
Reichenbach's discovery of _odyle_; an influence from the heavenly
bodies so spiritual and powerful, that they imagine it able to govern
the world, instead of God Almighty.[290]

The passage thus variously abused is a description, in highly poetic
strains, of the battle between the troops of Israel and those of Sisera;
of the defeat of the latter, and of an earthquake and tempest, which
completed the destruction of his exhausted troops. The glory of the
victory is wholly ascribed to the Lord God of Israel; while the rain,
the thunder, lightning, swollen river, and "the stars in their courses,"
are all described, in their subordinate places, as only his
instruments--the weapons of his arsenal.

     "Lord, when thou wentest out of Seir,
     When thou marchedst out of the field of Edom,
     The earth trembled, and the heavens dropped,
     The clouds also dropped down water;
     The mountains also melted from before the Lord,
     Even that Sinai, from before the Lord God of Israel."

Then, after describing the battle, she alludes to the celestial
artillery, and to the effects of the storm in swelling the river, and
sweeping away the fugitives who had sought the fords:

     "They fought from heaven;
     The stars in their courses fought against Sisera;
     The river Kishon swept them away;
     That ancient river, the river Kishon."[291]

After describing some further particulars the hymn concludes with an
allusion to the clearing away of the tempest and the appearance of the
unclouded sun over the field of victory:

     "So let all thine enemies perish, O Lord;
     But let them that love thee be as the sun, when he goeth forth
         in his might."

Where is there the least allusion here to any controlling influence of
the stars? You might just as well say, "The Bible ascribes a controlling
influence over the destinies of men, to the river Kishon;" for they are
both spoken of, in the same language, as instruments in God's hand for
the destruction of his enemies.

But it is objected, "Even by this explanation you have the Bible
representing the stars as causing the rain." Not so fast. If a man were
very ignorant, and had never heard of anything falling from the sky but
rain, he might think so. And if the Bible did attribute to the stars
some such influence over the vapors of the atmosphere, as experience
shows the moon to possess over the ocean, are you able to demonstrate
its absurdity?

Deborah, however, when she sang of the stars _in their courses_ fighting
against Sisera, was describing a phenomenon very different from a fall
of rain--was, in fact, describing a fall of ærolites upon the army of
Sisera. Multitudes of stones have fallen from the sky, and not less than
five hundred such falls are recorded.

"On September 1, 1814, a few minutes before midday, while the sky was
perfectly serene, a violent detonation was heard in the department of
the Lot and Garonne. This was followed by three or four others, and
finally by a rolling noise, at first resembling a discharge of musketry,
afterward the rumbling of carriages, and lastly that of a large building
falling down. Stones were immediately after precipitated to the ground,
some of which weighed eighteen pounds, and sunk into a compact soil, to
the depth of eight or nine inches; and one of them rebounded three or
four feet from the ground."

"A great shower of stones fell at Barbatan, near Roquefort, in the
vicinity of Bordeaux, on July 24, 1790. A mass fifteen inches in
diameter penetrated a hut and killed a herdsman and bullock. Some of the
stones weighed twenty-five pounds, and others thirty pounds."

"In July, 1810, a large ball of fire fell from the clouds, at Shahabad,
which burned five villages, destroyed the crops, and killed several men
and women."[292]

Astronomers are perfectly agreed as to the character of these masses,
and the source whence they come. "It appears from recent astronomical
observations that the sun numbers among his attendants not only planets,
asteroids, and comets, but also immense multitudes of meteoric stones,
and shooting stars."[293] Ærolites are, then, really stars. They are
composed of materials similar to those of our earth; the only other star
whose materials we can compare with them. They have a proper motion
around the sun, in orbits distinct from that of the earth. They are
capable of emitting the most brilliant light, in favorable
circumstances. Some of them are as large as the asteroids. One, of
600,000 tons weight, passed within twenty-five miles of the earth, at
the rate of twenty miles a second. A fragment of it reached the
earth.[294] "That ærolites were called _stars_ by the ancients is
indisputable. Indeed, Anaxagoras considered the stars to be only stony
masses, torn from the earth by the violence of rotation. Democritus
tells us, that invisible dark masses of stone move with the visible
stars, and remain on that account unknown, but sometimes fall upon the
earth, and are extinguished, as happened with the stony star which fell
near Aegos Potamos."[295]

When Deborah, therefore, describes the _stars in their courses_ as
fighting against Sisera, it is an utterly unfounded assumption to
suppose that she has any allusion to the baseless fancies of an
astrology everywhere condemned by the religion she professed, when a
simple and natural explanation is afforded by the fact, that stars do
fall from the heavens to the earth, and _that they do so in their
courses_, and just by reason of their orbital motion; and that the
ancients both knew the fact, and gave the right name to those bodies.
Let no reasonable man delude himself with the notion that God has no
weapons more formidable than the dotings of astrology, till he has taken
a view of the arsenals of God's artillery, which he has treasured up
against the day of battle and of war.

Here it may be well to notice the illustration which the remarkable
showers of meteors, particularly those of November, 1833, shed upon
several much ridiculed texts of Scripture. Scientific observation has
fully confirmed and illustrated the scientific accuracy of the Bible in
such expressions as, "the stars shall fall from heaven;" "there fell a
great star from heaven, burning as it were a lamp;" "and the stars of
heaven fell unto the earth, even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely
figs, when she is shaken of a mighty wind." Whatever political or
ecclesiastical events these symbols may signify, there can be no
question, now, that the astronomical phenomenon used to prefigure them
is correctly described in the Bible. Most of my readers have seen some
of these remarkable exhibitions; but for the sake of those who have not,
I give a brief account of one. "By much the most splendid meteoric
shower on record, began at nine o'clock, on the evening of the twelfth
of November, 1833, and lasted till sunrise next morning. It extended
from Niagara and the northern lakes of America, to the south of Jamaica,
and from 61° of longitude, in the Atlantic, to 100° of longitude in
Central Mexico. Shooting stars and meteors of the apparent size of
Jupiter, Venus, and even the full moon, darted in myriads toward the
horizon, _as if every star in the heavens had darted from their
spheres_." They are described as having been as frequent as the flakes
of snow in a snow-storm, and to have been seen with equal brilliancy
over the greater part of the continent of North America.[296]

The source whence these meteors proceed is distinctly ascertained to be,
as was already remarked with regard to the ærolites, a belt of small
planetoids, revolving around the sun in a little less than a year, and
in an orbit intersecting that of the earth, at such an angle, that every
thirty-three years, or thereabouts, the earth meets the full tide on the
twelfth of November. These meteors are true and proper stars. "All the
observations made during the year 1853 agree with those of previous
years, and confirm what may be regarded as sufficiently well
established: the cosmical origin of shooting stars."[297]

3. The language of the Bible with respect to _the circuit of the sun_ is
found to have anticipated one of the most sublime discoveries of modern
astronomy. True to the reality, as well as to the appearance of things,
it is scientifically correct, without becoming popularly unintelligible.

There is a class of aspirants to gentility who refuse to recognize any
person not dressed in the style which they suppose to be fashionable
among the higher classes. A Glasgow butcher's wife, in the Highlands,
attired in all the magnificence of her satins, laces, and jewelry,
returned the courteous salute of the little woman in the gingham dress
and gray shawl with a contemptuous toss of the head, and flounced past,
to learn, to her great mortification, that she had missed an opportunity
of forming an acquaintance with the Queen. So a large class of
pretenders to science refuse to become acquainted with Bible truth,
because it is not shrouded in the technicalities of science, but
displays itself in the plain speech of the common people to whom it was
given. They will have it, that because its author used common language,
it was because he could not afford any other; and as he did not
contradict every vulgar error believed by the people to whom he spoke,
it was because he knew no better; and because the Hebrews knew nothing
of modern discoveries in astronomy, geology, and the other sciences, and
the Bible does not contain lectures on these subjects, the God of the
Hebrews must have been equally ignorant, and the Bible consequently
beneath the notice of a philosopher.

You will hear such persons most pertinaciously assert, that Moses
believed all the absurdities of the Ptolemaic astronomy; that the earth
is the immovable center, around which revolve the crystal sphere of the
firmament, and the sun, and moon, and stars, which are attached to it,
after the manner of lamps to a ceiling; and that he, and the world
generally in his day, had not emerged from the grossest barbarism and
ignorance of all matters of natural science. Yet these very people will
probably tell you, in the same conversation, of the wonderful
astronomical observations made by the Egyptians, ten thousand years
before the days of Adam! So beautiful is the consistency of Infidel
science. But when you inquire into the source of their knowledge of the
philosophy of the ancients, you discover that they did not draw it from
the writings of Moses, of which they betray the grossest ignorance, nor
of any one who lived within a thousand years of Moses' time. Voltaire is
their authority for all such matters. He transferred to the early
Asiatics all the absurdities of the later Greek philosophers, and would
have us believe that Moses, who wrote before these Greeks had learned to
read, was indebted to them for his philosophy. Of the learning of the
ancient patriarchs Voltaire does not tell them much, for a satisfactory

Yet it might not have required much learning to infer, that the eyes,
and ears, and nerves of men who lived ten times as long as we can, must
have been more perfect than ours; that a man who could observe nature
with such eyes, under a sky where Stoddart now sees the ring of Saturn,
the crescent of Venus, and the moons of Jupiter, with the naked
eye,[298] and continue his observations for eight hundred years, would
certainly acquire a better knowledge of the appearance of things than
any number of generations of short-lived men, called away by death
before they have well learned how to observe, and able only to leave the
shell of their discoveries to their successors; that unless we have some
good reason for believing that the mind of man was greatly inferior,
before the flood, to what it is now, the antediluvians must have made a
progress in the knowledge of the physical sciences, during the three
thousand years which elapsed from the creation to the deluge, much
greater than the nations of Europe have effected since they began to
learn their A, B, C, about the same number of years ago; and that though
Noah and his sons might not have preserved all the learning of their
drowned contemporaries, they would still have enough to preserve them
from the reproach of ignorance and barbarism; at least until their sons
have succeeded in building a larger ship than the ark, or a monument
equal to the Great Pyramid. The Astronomer Royal of Scotland[299] has
demonstrated, that in this imperishable monument, erected four thousand
years ago, the builders, who took care to keep it alone, of all the
buildings of Egypt, free from idolatrous images or inscriptions,
recorded with most laborious care, in multiples of the earth's polar
diameter, a metric system, including linear and liquid measures, and a
system of weights based on a cubical measure of water of uniform
temperature; which uniform temperature they took the utmost care to
preserve. He shows further, that they were acquainted with the
precession of the equinoxes, with the density of the earth, and with the
earth's distance from the sun; or at least calculated it at what proves
to be nearly a mean of our discordant calculations; and that they were
acquainted with problems just beginning to attract the attention of the
science of Europe.

When we know that the Chaldeans taught the Egyptians the expansive power
of steam, and the induction of electricity by pointed conductors; that
from the most remote antiquity the Chinese were acquainted with decimal
fractions, electro-magnetism, the mariner's compass, and the art of
making glass; that lenses have been found in the ruins of Nineveh, and
that an artificial currency was in circulation in the first cities built
after the flood;[300] that astronomical observations were made in China,
with so much accuracy, from the deluge till the days of Yau, B. C. 2357,
that the necessary intercalations were made for harmonizing the solar
with the lunar year, and fixing the true period of 365-1/4 days; and
that similar observations were conducted to a like result within a few
years of the same remote period, in Babylon;--if the reader does not
conclude that the world may have forgotten as much ancient lore during
eighteen hundred years of idolatrous barbarism before the coming of
Christ, as it has learned in the same number since, he will, at least,
satisfy himself that the ancient patriarchs were not ignorant
savages.[301] "Whole nations," says La Place, "have been swept from the
earth, with their languages, arts, and sciences, leaving but confused
masses of ruins to mark the place where mighty cities stood. Their
history, with a few doubtful traditions, has perished; _but the
perfection of their astronomical observations marks their high
antiquity, fixes the periods of their existence, and proves that even at
that early time they must have made considerable progress in
science_."[302] The Infidel theory, that the first men were savages, is
a pure fiction, refuted by every known fact of their history.

That, however, is not the matter under discussion. We are not inquiring
now, what Moses and the prophets _thought_, but what the Author of the
Bible _told them to say_. The scribe writes as his employer dictates. "I
will put my words in thy mouth," said God to Jeremiah. "My tongue is as
the pen of a ready writer," said David. The prophets began, not with
"Thus saith Isaiah," but "Thus saith the Lord." Unless the Word of God
was utterly different from all his other works, it must transcend the
comprehension of man in some respects. The profoundest philosopher is as
ignorant of the cause of the vegetation of wheat as the mower who cuts
it down; but their ignorance of the mysteries of organic force is no
reason why the one may not harvest, and the other eat and live. Just so
God's prophets conveyed previous mysteries to the Church, of the full
import of which they themselves were ignorant; even as Daniel heard but
understood not. The prophets, to whom it was revealed, that they did not
minister to themselves, but to us, inquired and searched diligently into
the meaning of their own prophecies; which meaning, nevertheless,
continued hid for ages and generations.[303] If the prophets of the old
economy might be ignorant of the privileges of the gospel day, of which
they prophesied, at God's dictation, they might very well be ignorant,
also, of the philosophy of creation, and yet write a true account of the
facts, from his mouth.

Let us suppose, then, that the ancient Hebrews and their prophets were,
if not quite as ignorant of natural science as modern Infidels are
pleased to represent them, yet unacquainted with the discoveries of
Herschel and Newton; and, as a necessary consequence, that their
language was the adequate medium of conveying their imperfect ideas,
containing none of the technicalities invented by philosophers to mark
modern scientific discoveries; and that God desired to convey to them
some religious instruction, through the medium of language; must we
suppose it indispensable for this purpose that he should use strange
words, and scientific phrases, the meaning of which would not be
discovered for thirty-three hundred years? Could not Dr. Alexander write
a Sabbath-school book, without filling it full of such phrases as "right
ascension," "declination," "precession of the equinoxes," "radius
vector," and the like? Or, if some wiseacre did prepare such a book,
would it be very useful to children? Perhaps even we, learned
philosophers of the nineteenth century, are not out of school yet. How
many discoveries are yet to be made in all the sciences; discoveries
which will doubtless render our fancied perfection as utterly childish
to the philosophers of a thousand years hence as the astronomy of the
Greeks seems to us; and demand the use of technical language, which
would be as unintelligible to us as our scientific nomenclature would
have been to Aristotle. If God may not use popular speech in speaking to
the people of any given period, but must needs speak the technical
language of perfect science, and if science is now, and always will be,
of necessity, imperfect, we are led to the sage conclusion, that every
revelation from God to man must always be unintelligible!

Does it necessarily follow, that because the Author of the Bible uses
the common phrases, "sun rising," and "sun setting," in a popular
treatise upon religion, that therefore he was ignorant of the rotation
of the earth, and intended to teach that the sun revolved around it? He
is certainly under no more obligation to depart from the common language
of mankind, and introduce the technicalities of science into such a
discourse, than mankind in general, and our objectors in particular, are
to do the like in their common conversation. Now, I demand to know
whether they are aware that the earth's rotation on its axis is the
cause of day and night? But do you ever hear any of them use such
phrases as "earth rising," and "earth setting?" But if an Infidel's
daily use of the phrases, "_sun rising_," "_sun setting_," and the like,
does not prove, either that he is ignorant of the earth's rotation as
the cause of that appearance, or that he intends to deceive the world by
those phrases, why may not Almighty God be as well informed and as
honest as the Infidel, though he also condescends to use the common
language of mankind?

Do you ever hear astronomers, in common discourse, use any other
language? I suppose Lieut. Maury, and Herschel, and Le Verrier, and
Mitchell, know a little of the earth's rotation; but they, too, use the
English tongue very much like other people, and speak of sunrise and
sunset; yet nobody accuses them of believing in the Ptolemaic astronomy.
Hear the immortal Kepler, the discoverer of the laws of planetary
revolution: "We astronomers do not pursue this science with the view of
altering common language; but we wish to open the gates of truth,
without affecting the vulgar modes of speech. We say with the common
people, 'The planets stand still, or go down;' 'the sun rises, or sets;'
meaning only that so the thing appears to us, although it is not truly
so, as all astronomers are agreed. How much less should we require that
the Scriptures of divine inspiration, setting aside the common modes of
speech, should shape their words according to the model of the natural
sciences, and by employing a dark and inappropriate phraseology about
things which surpass the comprehension of those whom it designs to
instruct, perplex the simple people of God, and thus obstruct its own
way toward the attainment of the far more exalted end to which it aims."

It is evident, then, that God not only may, _but must_, use popular
language in addressing the people, in a work not professedly scientific;
and that if this popular language be scientifically incorrect, such use
of it neither implies his ignorance nor approval of the error.

But it may be worthy of inquiry whether this popular language of
mankind, used in the Bible, be scientifically erroneous. If the language
be intended to express an absolute reality, no doubt it is erroneous to
say the sun rises and sets; but if it be only intended to describe an
appearance, and the words themselves declare that intention, it can not
be shown to be false to the fact. Now, when the matter is critically
investigated, these phrases are found to be far more accurate than those
of "earth rising," and "earth setting," which Infidels say the Author of
the Bible should have used. For, as up and down have no existence in
nature, save with reference to a spectator, and as the earth is always
down with respect to a spectator on its surface, neither rising toward
him, nor sinking from him, in reality, nor appearing to do so, unless in
an earthquake, the improved phrases are false, both to the appearance of
things, and to the cause of it. Whereas, our common speech, making no
pretensions to describe the causes of appearances, can not contradict
any scientific discovery of these causes, and therefore can not be false
to the fact; while it truly describes all that it pretends to
describe--the appearance of things to our senses. And so, after all the
outcry raised against it by sciolists, the vulgar speech of mankind,
used by the Author of the Bible, must be allowed to be philosophical
enough for his purpose, and theirs; at least till somebody favors both
with a better.

Though we are in no way concerned, then, to prove that every poetical
figure in Scripture, and every popular illustration taken from nature,
corresponds to the accuracy of scientific investigation, before we
believe the Bible to be a revelation of our duty to God and man, yet it
may be worth while to inquire, further, whether we really find upon its
sacred pages such crude and egregious scientific errors as Infidels
allege. We have seen in the last chapter, that they are not able to read
even its first chapter without blundering. Indeed, they generally boast
of their ignorance of its contents. It is a very good rule to take them
at their word, and when they quote Scripture, to take it for granted
_that they quote it wrong_, unless you know the contrary. The first
thing for you to do when an Infidel tells you the Bible says so and so,
is to get the Book, and see whether it does or not. You will generally
find that he has either misquoted the words, or mistaken their meaning,
from a neglect of the context; or perhaps has both misquoted and
mistaken. Then, when you are satisfied of the correct meaning of the
text, and he tells you that it is contrary to the discoveries of
science, the next point is to ask him, _How do you know?_ You will find
his knowledge of science and Scripture about equal. Both these tests
should be applied to scientific objections to the Bible, as they are all
composed of equal parts of biblical blunders, and philosophical

In the objection under consideration, for instance, both statements are
wrong. The Bible does not represent the earth as the immovable center of
the universe, or as immovable in space at all. It does not represent the
sun and stars as revolving around it. Nor are the facts of astronomy
more correctly stated. It is not the Bible, but our objector, that is a
little behind the age in his knowledge of science.

If we inquire for those texts of Scripture which represent the earth as
the immovable center of the universe, we shall be referred to the
figurative language of the Psalms, the book of Job, and other poetical
parts of Scripture, which speak of the "foundations of the earth," "the
earth being established," "abiding for ever," and the like, when the
slightest attention to the language would show _that it is intended to
be figurative_. The accumulation of metaphors and poetical images in
some of these passages is beautiful and grand in the highest degree; but
none, save the most stupid reader, would ever dream of interpreting them
literally. Take, for instance, Psalm civ. 1-6, where, in one line, the
world is described as God's house, with beams, and chambers, and
foundations; but in the very next line the figure is changed, and it is
viewed as an infant, covered with the deep, as with a garment.

     "Bless, the Lord, O my soul.
     O Lord my God, thou art very great;
     Thou art clothed with honor and majesty:
     Who coverest thyself with light, as with a garment;
     Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain;
     _Who layeth the beams of his chambers upon the waters_:
     Who walketh upon the wings of the wind:
     Who maketh his angels spirits:
     His ministers a flaming fire:
     _Who laid the foundations of the earth,
     That it should not be removed for ever_.
     Thou coveredst it with the deep, as with a garment:
     The waters stood above the mountains."

But if any one is so gross as to insist on the literality of such a
passage, and to allege that it teaches the absolute immobility of the
earth, let him tell us what sort of immobility the third verse teaches,
and how a building could be stable, the beams of whose chambers are
_laid upon the waters_--the chosen emblems of instability. "He hath
founded it upon the seas: he hath established it upon the floods," says
the same poet, in another Psalm--xxiv 1. This, and all other expressions
quoted as declaring the immobility of the earth _in space_, are clearly
proved, both by the words used, and the sense of the context, to refer
to an entirely different idea: namely, _its duration in time_. Thus,
Ecclesiastes i. 4, "One generation passeth away, and another cometh; but
the earth abideth forever," is manifestly contrasting the duration of
earth with the generations of short-lived men, and has no reference to
motion in space at all.

Again, in Psalm cxix. 89-91, our objectors find another Bible
declaration of the immobility of the earth in space:

     "For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven;
     Thy faithfulness is unto all generations;
     Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth.
     _They continue to this day_, according to thine ordinances."

The same permanence is here ascribed to the heavens (to which, as our
objectors argue, the Bible ascribes a perpetual revolution) as to the
earth. The next verse explains this permanence to be _continuance to
this day_; durability, not immobility. That the word _establish_ does
not necessarily imply fixture, is evident from its application, in
Proverbs viii. 28: "He _established_ the clouds," the most fleeting of
all things. Nor is the Hebrew word _kun_ (whence our English word,
cunning), inconsistent with motion; else, the Psalmist had not said that
"a good man's footsteps are _established_ by the Lord."[304] "He
_established_ my goings." Wise arrangement is the idea, not permanent

The same remarks apply to Psalm xciii. 1; xcvi. 10; 1 Chronicles xvi.
30, and many other similar passages.

     "The world is established, that it can not be moved;
     Thy throne is established of old:
     Thou art from everlasting."

Where the establishment, which is contrasted with the impossible
removal, and which explains its import, is evidently not a local fixing
of some material seat, in one place, but the everlasting duration of
God's authority. The idea is not that of position in space, at all, but
of continued duration.

Space does not allow us to quote all the passages which refer to this
subject; but after an examination of every passage in the Bible usually
referred to in this connection, and of a multitude of others bearing
upon it, I have no hesitation in saying, that it does not contain a
single text which asserts or implies the immobility of the earth in
space. The notion was drawn from the absurdities of the Greek
philosophy, and the superstitions of popery, but was never gathered from
the Word of God.

But it is alleged that other passages of Scripture do plainly and
unequivocally express the motion of the sun, and his course in a
circuit; as, for instance, the Nineteenth Psalm:

     "In them he hath set a tabernacle for the sun,
     Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
     And rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.
     His going forth is from the end of heaven,
     And his circuit unto the ends of it."

And again, in the account of Joshua's miracle, in the tenth chapter of
his book, it is quite evident that the writer supposed the sun to be in
motion, in the same way as the moon, for he commanded them both to stand
still: "Sun, stand thou still upon Gibeon, and thou moon in the valley
of Ajalon. And the sun stood still, and the moon stayed, until the
people had avenged themselves upon their enemies." Now, it is said, if
the writer had known what he was about, he would have known that the sun
was already standing still, and would have told the earth to stop its
rotation. And if the earth had obeyed the command, we should never have
heard of the miracle; for, as the earth rotates at the rate of a
thousand miles an hour, the concussion produced by such a stoppage would
have projected Joshua, and Israelites, and Amorites, beyond the moon, to
pursue their quarrel among the fixed stars.

When we hear men of some respectability bring forward such stuff, we are
constrained to wonder, not merely were they ever at school, but if they
ever traveled in a railroad car, or whether they suppose their hearers
to be so ignorant of the most common facts as to believe that there is
no way of bringing a carriage to a stand but by a sudden jerk, or that
God is more stupid than the brakeman of an express train. We will do
them the justice, however, to say, that they did not invent it, but
merely shut their eyes, and opened their mouths, and swallowed it for
philosophy, because they found it in the writings of an Infidel scoffer,
and of a Neological professor of theology[305]--an edifying example of
Infidel credulity!

Let it be noticed, that in neither of these texts, nor in any other
portion of Scripture, does the Bible say a single word about the
revolution of the sun _round the earth_, as the common center of the
universe; on which, however, the whole stress of the objection is laid.
The passages do not prove what they are adduced to prove. They speak of
the sun's motion, and of the sun's orbit, _but they do not say that the
earth is the center of that orbit_. These texts, then, do not prove the
Author of the Bible ignorant of the system of the universe.

The objection is based upon utter ignorance of one of the most important
and best attested discoveries of modern astronomy; the grand motion of
the sun and solar system through the regions of space, and the
dependence of the rotation of all the orbs composing it, upon that
motion. It is not the Author of the Bible who is ignorant of the
discoveries of modern astronomy--when he speaks of the orbit of the sun,
and his race from one end of the heavens to the other, and of the need
of a miraculous interposition to stop his course for a single day--but
his correctors, who have ventured to decry the statements of a Book
which commands the respect of such astronomers as Herschel and Rosse,
while ignorant of those elements of astronomy which they might have
learned from a perusal of the books used by their children in our common
schools. For the benefit of such, however, I will present a brief
explanation of the grounds upon which astronomers are as universally
agreed upon the belief of the sun's motion around a center of the
firmament, as they are upon the belief of the revolution of the earth
round the sun.

When you are passing in a carriage, at night, through the street of a
city lighted up by gas-lamps in the streets, and lights irregularly
dispersed in the windows, or passing in a ferry-boat, from one such city
to another, at a short distance from it, you observe that the lights
which you are leaving appear to draw closer and closer together, while
those toward which you are approaching widen out, and seem to separate
from each other. If the night were perfectly dark, so that you could see
nothing but the lights, you could certainly know not only that you were
in motion, but also to what point you were moving, by carefully watching
their appearances. So, if all the fixed stars were absolutely fixed, and
the sun and planets, including our earth, were moving in any
direction--say to the north--then the stars toward which we were moving
would seem to widen out from each other, and those which we were
leaving would seem to close up; so that the space which appeared between
any two stars in the south, in a correct map of the heavens, a hundred
years ago, would be smaller, and that between any two stars in the north
would be larger, than the space between the same stars upon a correct
map now. Now, such changes in the apparent positions of stars are
actually observed. The stars do not appear in the same places now as
they did a hundred years ago.

The fixed stars, then, are either drifting past our solar system, which
alone remains fixed; or, the fixed stars are all actually at rest, and
our sun is drifting through them; or, our solar system and the so-called
fixed stars are both in motion. One or other of these suppositions must
be the fact. The first is simply the old Ptolemaic absurdity, only
transferring the center of the universe to the sun. The second is
contrary to the observed fact, that multitudes of the stars, which were
supposed to be fixed, are actually revolving around each other, in
systems of double, triple and multiple suns. And both are contrary to
the first principles of gravitation; for, as every particle of matter
attracts every other, directly as the mass, and inversely as the square
of the distance, if any one particle of matter in the universe is in
motion, the square of its distance from every other particle varies, and
its attraction is increased in one direction, and diminished in another;
and so every particle of matter in free space, as far as the force of
gravitation extends, will be put in motion too. But our earth, and the
planets, and the double and triple stars, are in motion, and the law of
gravitation extends to every known part of the universe; therefore every
known particle of matter in the universe is in motion too, our sun

The third supposition, then, is most indisputably true; our solar
system, and all the heavenly bodies, are in motion. To this conclusion
all the observed facts conform. The Bible does say that the sun moves,
and moves in a curve. All mathematicians prove that it must of necessity
do so. All astronomers assert that it does so. The unanimous verdict of
the scientific world is thus rendered by Nichol: "_As to the subject
itself, the grand motion of the sun, as well as its present direction,
must be received now as an established doctrine of astronomy._"[306] But
the discovery was anticipated, three thousand years ago, by the Author
of the Bible.

But, as will readily be perceived, the difficulty of determining either
the direction or the rate of this motion is immensely increased in this
case; for we are now not like persons riding in a carriage, watching the
fixed lights in the street to determine our direction and rate of
progress; but we are watching the lamps of a multitude of carriages,
moving at various distances, and with various velocities, and, for
anything we can tell at first sight, in various directions. We are on
board a steamer, and are watching the lights of a multitude of other
steamers, also in motion; and it is not easy to find out, in the
darkness, how either they or we are going. If each were pursuing its own
independent course, without any common object or destination, the
confusion would be so great that we could learn nothing of the rate or
direction either of our own motion or theirs.

But astronomers are not content to believe that the universe is governed
by accident. The whole science is based upon the assumption, that a
presiding mind has impressed the stamp of order and regularity upon the
whole cosmos. They are deeply convinced that God's law extends to all
God's creation; that all his works display his intelligence, as well as
his power, and proceed according to a wise plan. Having seen that all
the stellar motions previously known are orderly motions, in circular or
elliptical orbits, and that the most of the solid bodies belonging to
our own system revolve in one direction, they reasoned from analogy,
that this might be the case with the sun and the fixed stars, and went
to work with great diligence, to see whether it was or not; and, by
comparing a great multitude of observations, ancient and modern, made
both in the northern and southern hemispheres, and on all sorts of
stars, they have come to the conclusion, that our sun, and all the
bodies of the solar system, are flying northward, at the rate of three
millions three hundred and thirty-six thousand geographical miles a
day--five thousand times faster than a railway express train--toward the
constellation Hercules, in R. A. 259° Dec. 35°.

Further, as the direction of this motion is slowly and regularly
changing, just as the direction of the head of a steamer in wearing, or
of a railway train running a curve, it is certain that the sun is
moving, not in a straight line, but in a curve. The revolution of the
sun in such an orbit was known to the Author of the Bible when he wrote,
"_his circuit_ is to the end of heaven." The direction of the
circumference of a circle being known, that of its center can be found;
for the radius is always a tangent to the circumference, and the
intersection of two of these radii will be the center; so that, if we
certainly knew the sun's orbit to be circular, or nearly so, we could
calculate the center. But as we do not certainly know its form, we can
not certainly calculate the center; we can only come near it. And as we
know that the line which connects the circumference with the center of
the sun's orbit, runs through the group of stars known as the Pleiades,
or the Cluster; and as all the stars along that line seem to move in the
same direction--a different direction from that of the stars in other
regions, just as they must do if they and we were revolving around that
group--Argelander and others have concluded, with a high degree of
probability, that the grand center around which the sun and our
firmament revolve, is that constellation which the Author of the Bible,
more than three thousand years ago, called _kyme_--_the pivot_.

It would require a greater knowledge of electro-magnetism than most of
my readers possess, to explain the connection of the earth's rotation
with the sun's grand movement. I will merely state the facts.
Electro-magnetism is induced by friction. The regions of space are not
empty, but filled with an ether, whose undulations produce light; and
this ether is sufficiently dense to retard the motions of comets. The
friction, produced by the rapid passage of the sun and solar system
through this ether, must be immense, and is one source of electricity,
and the principal source of electro-magnetism. This kind of electricity
differs from the other kinds, in that _its action is always at right
angles to the current, and tends to produce rotation in any wheel,
cylinder, or sphere, along whose axis it flows_.[307] The sun, and all
the planets, traveling in the direction of their poles, the current is
of course in the direction of the axis; and the result is, that while
the sun moves along his grand course, he and all the bodies of the
system will rotate, by the influence of the electro-magnetism generated
by that motion; and if he stops, his and their rotation stops too. Day
and night on earth are produced by the sun's motion causing the earth's
rotation. You can see the principle illustrated by the child who runs
along the street with his windmill, to create a current, which will make
it revolve. The Author of the Bible made no mistake when, desiring to
lengthen the day, he commanded the sun to stand still. It is not the
Creator, but his correctors, who are ignorant of the mechanism of the

Thus, these long-misunderstood and much-assailed Scriptures are not
only vindicated, but far more than vindicated, by the progress of
astronomical discovery. It not only proves the language of the Bible to
be correct; it assures us that it is divine. The same Hand which formed
the stars to guide the simple peasant to his dwelling, at the close of
day, and to lead the mighty intellects of Newton and of Herschel among
the mysteries of the universe, formed those expressions which, to the
peasant's eye, describe the apparent reality, and, to the astronomer's
reason, demonstrate the reality of the appearance of the heavens, and
are thus, alike to peasant and philosopher, the _oracles of God_.

Nor is this the only instance of such Bible oracles. Thousands of years
before philosophers knew anything of the formation of dew, Moses
described it exactly, and noticed how it differed from the rain which
drops down, while the dew evaporates. "My doctrine shall drop as the
rain, my speech shall _distill_ as the dew."--Deuteronomy xxxii. 2.
Solomon described the cycloidal course of the wind, and recorded it in
Ecclesiastes long before Admiral Fitzroy's discovery; as he also
anticipated the doctrine of aqueous circulation in his pregnant proverb:
"Unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return
again."--Ecclesiastes i. 7. Job declared the law of pneumatics when he
declared that "God maketh _weight_ for the winds." Long before Madler,
the celebrated Russian astronomer, published his remarkable opinion: "I
regard the Pleiades as the central group to the whole astral system, and
the fixed stars, even to its outer limits, marked by the Milky Way; and
I regard Alcyone as that star of all others, composing the group which
is favored by most of the probabilities as being the true central sun of
the universe," Moses tells us they were known as "the hinge, or pivot,"
of the heavens; and God asks, "Canst thou bind the secret influences of
the Pleiades?" Though Peter was no geologist, and probably incapable of
calculating the ratio of the central heat, he tells us that the heavens
and the earth are "reserved unto fire," literally, "stored with fire."

Equally in advance of modern medical science, thousands of years before
our modern discoveries, the Author of the Bible declared that "the life
is in the blood," and spoke of the slow combustion of starvation exactly
in the language of the most recent physiology, "they shall be _burnt_
with hunger, and devoured with burning heat."--Deuteronomy xxxii. 24.

Here we have scientific truth not discovered for centuries by our men of
science, but revealed by prophets--scientific discovery, in advance of
science--predictions of the future progress of the human intellect, no
less than revelations of the existing motions of the stars. He who wrote
these oracles knew that the creatures to whom he gave them would one day
unfold their hidden meaning (else he had not so written them), and in
the light of scientific discovery, see them to be as truly divine
predictions of the advance of science, as the prophecies of Jeremiah and
Ezekiel, read among the ruins of Thebes or Babylon, are seen to be
predictions of the ruin of empires. Man's discoveries fade into
insignificance in the presence of such unfolding mysteries; and we are
led to our Bibles, with the prayer, "Open mine eyes, that I may behold
wondrous things out of thy law."

4. The ancient charter of the Church was written in the language of one
of the most recent astronomical discoveries, thirty-six hundred years
before Herschel and Rosse enabled us to understand its full
significance: "He brought him forth abroad, and said unto him, _Look now
toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and
he said unto him, So shall thy seed be._"[308]

The scenery was well calculated to impress Abraham's mind with a sense
of the ability of Christ to fulfill a very glorious promise, by a very
improbable event; but the illustration was as well calculated as the
promise to test the character of that faith which takes God's Word as
sufficient evidence of things not seen; for, if the promise was a trying
test of faith, so was the illustration. Before this, God had promised
that his seed should be as the dust of the earth; and afterward he
declared it should be as the sand of the seashore; the well-known symbol
of a multitude beyond all power of calculation. To couple the stars of
heaven with the sand upon the seashore in any such connection as to
imply that the stars too were innumerable, or that their number came
within any degree of comparison with the ocean sands, must have seemed
to Abraham in the highest degree mysterious, even as it has appeared to
scoffers, in modern times, utterly ridiculous; for, though the first
glance at the sky conveys the impression that the stars are really
innumerable, the investigations of our imperfect astronomy seem to
assure us that this is by no means the case. And, as the patriarch sat,
night after night, at his tent door, and, in obedience to the command of
Christ, counted the stars, and made such a catalogue of them as his
Chaldean preceptors had used, he would very speedily come to the
conclusion, that so far as he could see, they were by no means
innumerable; for the catalogue of Hipparchus reckons only one thousand
and twenty-two as visible to one observer, and the whole number visible
in both hemispheres by the naked eye does not exceed eight
thousand.[309] And even if we suppose, that these old patriarchs had
better eyes, as we know they had a clearer sky, than modern western
observers, and that Abraham saw the moons of Jupiter, and stars as
small, still the number would not seem in the least degree comparable
with the number of the sands upon the seashore--whereof a million are
contained in a cubic inch,[310] a number greater than the population of
the globe in a square foot,[311] while the sum total of the human race,
from Adam to this hour, would not approach to the aggregate of the sands
of a single mile. Though the stars of a size too small to be visible to
our eyes, are much more numerous than the larger stars, yet even up to
the range of view possessed by ordinary telescopes, they are by no means
innumerable. In fact, they are counted and registered, and the number of
the stars of the ninth magnitude, which are four times as distant as the
most distant visible to our eyes--so distant that their light is five
hundred and eighty-six years in traveling toward us--is declared to be
exactly thirty-seven thousand seven hundred and thirty-nine. Abraham's
sense and Abraham's faith must have had many a conflict on this promise,
as the faith and the sense of many of his children, especially the
scientific portion of them, have since, when reading such portions as
this; and those other Scriptures which represent it as an achievement of
Omniscience, that "he telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them
all by their names."[312] It is indeed remarkable how God delights to
test the faith of his people, and to stumble the pride of fools, by
presenting this mysterious truth, of the innumerable multitude of the
stars, in every announcement of the wonderful works of Him who is
perfect in wisdom. Infant astronomy stretched out her hands to catch the
stars, and count them. Many a proud Infidel wondered that Moses could be
so silly as to suppose he could not count the stars, and the believer
often wondered what these words could mean. But faith rests in the
persuasion of two great truths: "God is very wise," and "I am very

The increase of knowledge, by widening the boundaries of our ignorance,
seemed for a time to render the difficulty even greater. The increased
power of Herschel's telescope, and his discovery of the constitution of
the Milky Way, mark an era in the progress of astronomy, and enlarge our
views of the extent of the universe, to an extent inconceivable by those
who have not studied the science. Where we see only a faint whitish
cloud stretching across the sky, Herschel's telescope disclosed a vast
bed of stars. At one time he counted five hundred and eighty-eight stars
in the field of his telescope. In a quarter of an hour, one hundred and
sixteen thousand passed before his eye. In another portion, he found
three hundred and thirty-one thousand stars in a single cluster.[313] He
found the whole structure of that vast luminous cloud which spans the
sky, "to consist entirely of stars, _scattered by millions, like
glittering dust_, on the background of the general heavens."

Yet still it was not supposed to be at all impossible to estimate their
numbers. Even this distinguished astronomer, a few years ago, computed
it at eight or ten millions. Schroeter allowed twenty degrees of it to
pass before him, and withdrew from the majestic spectacle, exclaiming,
"What Omnipotence!" He calculated, however, that the number of the stars
visible through one of the best telescopes in Europe, in 1840, was
twelve millions; a number equaled by a single generation of Abraham's
descendants, far below the power of computation, and utterly
insignificant, as compared with the sands of the sea.

Had our powers of observation stopped here, the great promise must still
have seemed as mysterious to the astronomer, as it once seemed to the
Patriarch. But if either the Father of the Faithful, or the Father of
Sidereal Astronomy, had deluded himself with the notion, that he fully
comprehended either the words or the works of Him who is wonderful in
counsel, and excellent in working, and argued thence that, because the
revealed words and the visible works seemed not to correspond, they were
really contradictory, he would have committed the blunder of modern
Infidels, who assume that they know everything, and that as God's
knowledge can not be any greater than theirs, every Scripture which
their science can not comprehend must be erroneous. The grandest truths,
imperfectly perceived in the twilight of incipient science, serve as
stumbling-blocks for conceited speculators, as well as landmarks on the
boundaries of knowledge to true philosophers, who will ever imbibe the
spirit of Newton's celebrated saying: "I seem to myself like a child
gathering pebbles on the shore, while the great ocean of knowledge lies
unexplored before me;" or the profound remark of Humboldt: "What is seen
does not exhaust that which is perceptible."

But the progress of science was not destined merely to coast the shore
of this ocean. In 1845, Lord Rosse, and a band of accomplished
astronomers, commenced a voyage through the immensities, with a
telescope which has enlarged our view of the visible universe to one
hundred and twenty-five million times the extent before perceived, and
displayed far more accurately the real form and nature of objects
previously seen. Herschel's researches into the Architecture of the
Heavens, which have justly rendered his name immortal as the science he
illustrated, had revealed the existence of great numbers of
_nebulæ_--clouds of light--faint, yet distinct. He supposed many of
these to consist of a luminous fluid, pretty near to us; at least,
comparatively so; for to believe that they were stars, so far away as to
be severally invisible in his forty feet telescope, while yet several
of these clouds are distinctly seen by the naked eye, involved the
belief of distances so astounding, and of multitudes so incredible, and
of a degree of closeness of the several stars so unparalleled by
anything which even he had observed, that his imagination and reason
failed to meet the requirements of such a problem. The supposition was,
however, thrown out by this gigantic intellect, that these clouds might
be firmaments; that the Bible word _heavens_ might be literally plural;
and more than that, he labored in the accumulation of facts which tended
to confirm it. He disclosed the fact, that several of these apparent
clouds, which, to very excellent telescopes, displayed only a larger
surface of cloudy matter, did, in the reflector of his largest
telescope, display themselves in their true character, as globular
clusters, consisting of innumerable multitudes of glorious stars; and,
moreover, that, stretching away far beyond star, or Milky Way, or
nebulæ, he had seen, in some parts of the heavens, "a stippling," or
uniform dotting of the field of view, by points of light too small to
admit of any one being steadily or fixedly examined, _and too numerous
for counting_, were it possible so to view them! What are these?
Millions upon millions of years must have elapsed ere that faint light
could reach our globe, from those profundities of space, though it
travels like the lightning's flash. If they are stars, the sands of the
seashore are as inferior in numbers as the surface of earth is inferior
in dimensions to the arch of heaven. But if these faint dots and
stipplings are not single stars!--if they are
star-clouds--galaxies--firmaments, like our Milky Way--our infinity is
multiplied by millions upon millions! Imagination pants, reason grows
dizzy, arithmetic fails to fathom, and human eyes fear to look into the
abyss. No wonder that this profound astronomer, when a glimpse of
infinity flashed on his eye, retired from the telescope, trembling in
every nerve, afraid to behold.

And yet this astounding supposition is a literal truth; and the light of
those suns, whose twilight thus bowed down that mighty intellect in
reverent adoration, now shines before human eyes in all its noonday
refulgence. One of the most remarkable of these nebulæ--one which is
visible to a good eye in the belt of Orion--has been disclosed to the
observers at Parsontown as a firmament; and minute points, scarce
perceptible to common telescopes, blaze forth as magnificent clusters of
glorious stars, so close and crowded, that no figure can adequately
describe them, save the twin symbol of the promise, "the sand by the
seashore," or "the dust of the earth." "There is a minute point, near
Polaris," says Nichol, "so minute, that it requires a good telescope to
discern its being. I have seen it as represented by a good mirror,
blazing like a star of the first magnitude; and though examined by a
potent microscope, clear and definite as the distinctest of these our
nearest orbs, when beheld through an atmosphere not disturbed. Nay,
through distances of an order I shall scarcely name, I have seen a mass
of orbs compressed and brilliant, so that each touched on each other,
_like the separate grains of a handful of sand_, and yet there seemed no
melting or fusion of any one of the points into the surrounding mass.
Each sparkled individually its light pure and apart, like that of any
constituent of the cluster of the Pleiades."[314]

"The larger and nearer masses are seen with sufficient distinctness to
reveal the grand fact decisive of their character, viz: that they
consist of multitudes of closely related orbs, forming an independent
system. In other cases we find the individual stars by no means so
clearly defined. Through effect, in all probability, of distance, the
intervals between them appear much less, the shining points themselves
being also fainter; while the masses still further off _may be best
likened to a handful of golden sand, or, as it is aptly termed, star
dust_; beyond which no stars, or any vestige of them, are seen, but only
a patch or streak of milky light, similar to the unresolved portions of
our surrounding zone."[315]

To say, then, that the stars of the sky are actually innumerable is only
a cold statement of the plainest fact. Hear it in the language of one
privileged to behold the glories of one out of the thousands of similar
firmaments: "The mottled region forming the lighter part of the mass
(the nebula in Orion) is a very blaze of stars. But that stellar
creation, now that we are freed from all dubiety concerning the
significance of those hazes that float numberless in space, how
glorious, how endless! Behold, amid that limitless ocean, every speck,
however remote or dim, a noble galaxy. Lustrous they are, too; in
manifold instances beyond all neighboring reality--beyond the loftiest
dream which ever exercised the imagination. The great cluster in
Hercules has long dazzled the heart with its splendors, but we have
learned now that among circular and compact galaxies, a class to which
the nebulous stars belong, there are multitudes which infinitely surpass
it--nay, that schemes of being rise above it, sun becoming nearer to
sun, until their skies must be one blaze of light--a throng of burning
activities! But, far aloft stands Orion, the pre-eminent glory and
wonder of the starry universe! Judged by the only criticism yet
applicable, it is perhaps so remote that its light does not reach us in
less than fifty or sixty thousand years; and as at the same time it
occupies so large an apparent portion of the heavens, how stupendous
must be the extent of the nebula. It would seem almost as if all the
other clusters hitherto gauged were collected and compressed into one,
they would not surpass this mighty group, _in which every wisp--every
wrinkle--is a sand-heap of stars_. There are cases in which, though
imagination has quailed, reason may still adventure inquiry, and prolong
its speculations; but at times we are brought to a limit across which no
human faculty has the strength to penetrate, and where, as now, at the
very footstool of the secret THRONE, we can only bend our heads, and
silently _adore_. And from the inner Adyta--the invisible shrine of what
alone is and endures--a voice is heard:

     "Hast thou an arm like God?
     Canst thou thunder with a voice like Him?
     Canst thou bind the sweet influences of the Pleiades,
     Or loosen the bands of Orion?
     Canst thou bring forth Mazzaroth in his seasons?
     Canst thou guide Arcturus and his sons?[316]
     He telleth the number of the stars:
     He calleth them all by their names.
     Great is our Lord, and of great power;
     His understanding is infinite."[317]

Thus, nobly does science vindicate Scripture, and display the wisdom and
power of the Lord of Hosts, whose kingdom extends through all space, and
endures through all duration. He who called these countless hosts of
glorious orbs into being is abundantly able to multiply, to an equally
incalculable number, the humble sands which line the oceans of
terrestrial grace, the brilliant stars which shall yet adorn the heavens
of celestial glory. All, of every nation, who shall partake of Abraham's
faith, are Abraham's children. They are Christ's, and so Abraham's seed,
and heirs, according to this promise.[318] When the great multitude,
which no man can number, out of every nation, and tongue, and people,
stand before the throne of God, and cause the many mansions of our
Father's house to re-echo the shout, "Salvation to our God which sitteth
on the throne, and to the Lamb," the answering hallelujahs of the most
distant orbs shall expound the purport of that solemn oath to Abraham
and Abraham's seed: "By myself have I sworn, saith the Lord, for because
thou hast done this thing, and hast not withheld thy son, thine only
son, that in blessing I will bless thee, and _in multiplying I will
multiply thy seed as the stars of heaven, and as the sand which is upon
the seashore_."[319]

5. It is not probable that the mysteries of the distant heavens, _or of
those future glories of the redeemed which the Bible employs them to
symbolize_, will ever be fully explored by man, or adequately
apprehended in the present state of being. But it is most certain that
God would not have employed the mysteries of astronomy so frequently as
the symbols of the mysteries of the glory to be revealed, had there not
been some correspondence between the things which eye hath not seen, and
these patterns shown in the mount. So habitual, indeed, is the Scripture
use of these visible heavens as the types of all that is exalted, pure,
cheering, and glorious, that, to most Christians, the word has lost its
primary meaning, and the idea first suggested to their minds by the word
_heaven_ is that of future glory; yet their views of the locality and
physical adornments of the many mansions of their Father's house are dim
and shadowy, just because they do not acquaint themselves sufficiently
with the divine descriptions in the Bible, and the divine illustrations
in the sky. The Bible would be better understood were the heavens
better explored. "I go," said Jesus, "to prepare a _place_ for you." The
bodies of the saints, raised on the resurrection morn, will need a
_place_ on which to stand. The body of the Lord, which his disciples
handled, and "saw that a spirit had not flesh and bones, as they saw him
have," is now resident in a place. Where He is, there shall his people
be also. Why, then, when the Bible employs all that is beauteous in
earth, and glorious in heaven, to describe the adornments of the palace
of the King of kings, should we hesitate to believe that the power and
wisdom of God are not exhausted in this little earth of ours, but that
other worlds may as far transcend ours in glory, as many of them do in
magnitude?--or, to allow that the glorious visions of Ezekiel and John
were not views of nonentities, or mere visions of clouds, or of some
incomprehensible symbols of more incomprehensible spiritualities, but
actual views of the existing glories of some portion of the universe,
presented to us as vividly as the dullness of our minds and the
earthliness of our speech will permit? It is certain that the recent
progress of astronomical discovery has revealed celestial scenery which
illustrates some of the most mysterious of these visions.

It has long been known, that "one star differeth from another star in
glory," and that the orbs of heaven shine with various colors. Sirius is
white, Arcturus red, and Procyon yellow. The telescope shows all the
smaller stars in various colors. Under the clear skies of Syria their
brilliance is vastly greater than in our climate. "_One star shines like
a ruby, another as an emerald, and the whole heavens sparkle as with
various gems._"[320] But the discovery of the double and triple stars
has added a new harmony of colors to these coronets of celestial jewels.
These stars generally display the complementary colors. If the one star
displays a color from the red end of the spectrum, the other is
generally of the corresponding shade, from the violet end. For instance,
in O2 Cygni, the large star is yellow, and the two smaller stars are
blue; and so in others, through all the colors of the rainbow. "It may
be easier suggested in words," says Sir John Herschel, "than conceived
in imagination, what a variety of illumination two stars--a red and a
green, or a yellow and a blue one--must afford a planet circulating
around either, and what cheering contrasts and grateful vicissitudes a
red and a green day, for instance, alternating with a white one, and
with darkness, must arise from the presence or absence of one, or other,
or both, from the horizon."[321] But suppose one of the globular
clusters--for instance, that in the constellation Hercules--thus
constituted; its unnumbered thousands of suns, wheeling round central
worlds, and exhibiting their glories to their inhabitants; "skies
blazing, with grand orbs scattered regularly around, and with a
profusion to which our darker heavens are strangers;" the overhead sky,
seen from the interior regions of the cluster, _must appear gorgeous
beyond description_. In the strictest literality it might be said to the
dwellers in such a cluster, "Thy sun shall no more go down, neither
shall thy moon withdraw herself." The surrounding walls of such a
celestial palace must seem indeed "garnished with all manner of precious
stones." Sapphire, emerald, sardius, chrysolite, and pearl, must seem
but dim mirrors of its glorious refulgence. Under its ever rising suns
the gates need not be shut at all by day, "for there shall be no night
there." That glorious place now exists, though far away.

But the Lord of these hosts has said, "Behold, I come quickly." He will
not tarry. A thousand times faster than the swiftest chariot, our solar
system and the surrounding firmament wing their flight toward that same
glorious cluster in Hercules. As our firmament approaches, under the
guidance of Omnipotent wisdom, it too must fly to meet our sun, with a
velocity increasing with an incalculable ratio. The celestial city will
then be seen to descend from heaven. Once within the sphere of its
attractions, our sun and surrounding planets will feel their power.
Their ancient orbits and accustomed revolutions must give way to the
higher power. Old things must pass away, and all things become new. A
new heaven, no less than a new earth, will form the dwelling of

These are no longer the visions of prophecy merely, but the sober
calculations of mathematical science, based upon a foundation as solid
as the attraction of gravitation, and as wide as the existence of that
ether whose undulations convey the light of the most distant stars; for,
so surely as that attraction is efficient, must all the firmaments of
the heavens be drawn more closely together; and as certainly as they
revolve not in empty space, but in a medium capable of retarding Encke's
comet three days in every revolution, must that retarding medium bring
their revolutions to a close. "And so," said Herschel, casting his eye
fearlessly toward future infinities, "we may be certain that the stars
in the Milky Way will be gradually compressed, through successive stages
of accumulation, until they come up to what may be called the ripening
period of the globular cluster." Unnumbered ages may be occupied with
such a grand evolution of celestial progress, beyond our power of
calculation; but will the changes of created things, even then, have
come to an end? Hear again the voice, not of the prophet, but of the
astronomer: "Around us lie stabilities of every order; but it is
_stability_ only that we see, not _permanence_." As the course of our
inquiry has already amply illustrated, even majestic systems, that at
first appear final and complete, are found to resolve themselves into
mere steps or phases of still loftier progress. Verily, it is an
astonishing world! Change rising above change--cycle growing out of
cycle, in majestic progression--each new one ever widening, like the
circles that wreathe from a spark of flame, enlarging as they ascend,
finally to become lost in the empyrean! And if all that we see, from
earth to sun, and from sun to universal star-work--that wherein we best
behold images of eternity, immortality and God--if that is only a state
or space of a course of being rolling onward evermore, what must be the
Creator, the Preserver, the Guide of all!--He at whose bidding these
phantasms came from nothingness, and shall again disappear;--whose name,
amid all things, alone is _Existence_--I AM THAT I AM?

     "Of old hast thou laid the foundations of the earth,
     And the heavens are the works of thy hands;
     They shall perish,
     But thou shalt endure;
     Yea, all of them shall wax old like a garment:
     As a vesture shalt thou change them, and they shall be changed;
     But thou art the same,
     And thy years shall have no end.
     The children of thy servants shall continue,
     And their seed shall be established before thee."

Psalm cii. 25

     "And I saw a new heaven, and a new earth;
     For the first heaven and the first earth were passed away,
     And there was no more sea.
     And I John saw the holy city, New Jerusalem,
     Coming down from God out of heaven,
     Prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.
     And I heard a great voice out of heaven, saying,
     Behold the tabernacle of God is with men,
     And he will dwell with them,
     And they shall be his people,
     And God himself shall be with them, and be their God."

Revelation xxi.

       *       *       *       *       *

Reader, is this glorious heaven your inheritance? Is this unchangeable
Jehovah your God? Are you looking for and hasting unto the coming of the
day of God? Is it your daily prayer, Even so, Lord Jesus, come quickly?


[283] Kendall's Uranography, 268.

[284] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1856, p. 380.

[285] Ibid. 1852, p. 376.

[286] Ibid. 1856, p. 377.

[287] Cosmos, Vol. I. pp. 198-215.

[288] Judges, chap. v.

[289] Jeremiah, chap. x.

[290] Some of my readers may deem any notice of such a subject, in the
nineteenth century, entirely unnecessary; but having lived for some
years within sight of the dwelling of a woman who publicly advertised
herself in the newspapers as a professor of astrology, and seen the
continual flow of troubled minds to the promised light--the humble
serving-girl stealing up the side entrance, and the princely chariot
discharging its willing dupes at the door, and rolling hastily away, to
await them at the corner--I know of a certainty that folly is not yet
dead. There are women, aye, and men too, who are above the folly of
reading the Bible, but just wise enough to pay five dollars for, and
spend hours in the study of an uncouth astrological picture,
representing a collocation of the stars, which was never witnessed by
any astronomer. There are men who would not give way to the superstition
of supposing that their destiny was regulated by the will of Almighty
God, yet who believe that every living creature's fate is regulated by
the aspect of the stars at the hour of his nativity; the same stars
always causing the same period of life and mode of death; though every
day's experience testifies the contrary. The same stars presided over
the birth of the poor soldier, who perished in an instant at Austerlitz;
of his imperial master, who pined for years in St. Helena; of the old
gentleman who died in his own bed, of gout; and of the batch of puppies,
whereof old Towser was the only surviving representative, the other nine
having found their fate in the horse-pond, in defiance of the
controlling stars. They were all born at the same hour, and under the
same auspices, and destined to the same fate, by the laws of astrology.
Yet half a dozen professors of astrology find patrons enough in each of
our great cities to enable them to live and to pay for advertising in
the daily papers.

[291] Judges, chap. v.

[292] Dick's Celestial Scenery, p. 57, Applegate's edition, where many
such instances are related.

[293] Vaughn's Report to the American Association for the Advancement of
Science, in Annual of Scientific Discovery for 1855, p. 364.

[294] Somerville's Connection of the Physical Sciences, 382.

[295] Cosmos, Vol. I. p. 122; Vol. IV. p. 569.

[296] Somerville's Connection of the Physical Sciences, 383.

[297] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1854, p. 361.

[298] Letter to Herschel, from Oroomiah, in Persia--Annual of Scientific
Discovery, 1854, p. 367.

[299] _Life and Work in the Great Pyramid_, by Piazzi Smyth, F. R. S.,
LL. D.

[300] "These tablets (of unbaked clay, with inscriptions, found in the
tombs of Erech, the city of Nimrod--Genesis, chap. x. 10--and deciphered
by Rawlinson) were, in point of fact, the equivalent of our bank notes,
and prove that a system of artificial currency prevailed in Babylon and
Persia at an unprecedentedly early age; centuries before the
introduction of paper and writing."

_Rawlinson, in News of the Churches, February, 1858, p. 50._

[301] Wilkinson's Manners and Customs of the Egyptians, Vol. III. p.
106; Cosmos, Vol. I. pp. 173, 182; Chinese Repository, Vol. IX. p. 573;
Williams' Middle Kingdom, Vol. II. p. 147.

[302] Somerville's Connection of Physical Sciences, 82.

[303] Daniel, chap. xii. 8. 1 Peter, chap. i. 10. Ephesians, chap. i. 3.

[304] Psalm xl. 1, and xxxvii. 23, margin.

[305] M. Voltaire; M. Cheneviere; Theol. Essays, Vol. I. p. 456.

[306] Humboldt's Cosmos, Vol. I. p. 139; Herschel's Outlines, 380;
Kendall's Uranography, 205.

[307] Somerville's Connection of the Physical Sciences, 171, 337, 315;
Architecture of the Heavens, 286.

[308] Genesis, chap. xv. 5.

[309] Cosmos I. 140.

[310] Ehrenberg computes that there are forty-one millions of the shells
of animalculæ in a cubic inch of Bilier Slate.

[311] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1860, p. 341.

[312] Psalm cxlvii. 4.

[313] Dick's Sidereal Heavens, 59; Herschel's Outlines.

[314] Architecture of the Heavens, 62.

[315] Architecture of the Heavens, 64. These unresolved milky streaks
and patches have since been discovered to be true nebulæ, or phosphoric
clouds, in some way connected with their adjacent stars.

[316] Architecture of the Heavens, 144.

[317] Job, chap. xxxviii. 31. Psalm cxlvii. 4.

[318] Genesis, chap. xxii. 16.

[319] Galatians, chap. iii. 14, 29. Gen. xxii. 16, 17.

[320] Architecture of the Heavens, 217.

[321] Architecture of the Heavens, 77, 130.



"Faith is destined to be left behind in the onward march of the human
intellect. It belongs to an infantile stage of intellectual development,
when experience, dependent on testimony, becomes the slave of credulity.
Children and childish nations are prone to superstition. Religion
belongs properly to such. Hence the endless controversies of religious
sects. But as man advances into the knowledge of the physical sciences,
and becomes familiarized with mathematical demonstration and scientific
experiment, he demands substantial proofs for all kinds of knowledge,
and rejects that which is merely matter of faith. The certainties of
science succeed the controversies of creeds. Science thus becomes the
grave of religion, as religion is vulgarly understood. But science gives
a new and better religion to the world. Instead of filling men's minds
with the vague terrors of an unknown futurity, it directs us to the best
modes of improving this life."--"This life being the first in certainty,
give it the first place in importance; and by giving human duties in
reference to men the _precedence_, secure that all interpretations of
spiritual duty shall be in harmony with human progress."--"Nature refers
us to science for help, and to humanity for sympathy; love to the lovely
is our only homage, study our only praise, quiet submission to the
inevitable our duty; and truth is our only worship."--"Our _knowledge_
is confined to this life; and _testimony_, and _conjecture_, and
_probability_, are all that can be set forth in regard to
another."--"Preach nature and science, morality and art; _nature, the
only subject of knowledge_; morality, the harmony of action; art, the
culture of the individual and society."[322]

Or, if you will insist upon preaching religion, support it "with such
proofs as accompany physical science. This I have always loved; for I
never find it deceives me. I rest upon it with entire conviction. There
is no mistake, and can be no dispute in mathematics. And if a revelation
comes from God, why have we not such evidence for it as mathematical

Such is the language now used by a large class of half-educated people,
who, deriving their philosophy from Comte, and their religion from the
_Westminster Review_, invite us to spend our Sabbaths in the study of
nature in the fields and museums, turn our churches into laboratories,
exchange our Bibles for encyclopedias, give ourselves no more trouble
about religion, but try hard to learn as much science, make as much
money, and enjoy as much pleasure in this life as we can; because we
_know_ that we live now, and can only _believe_ that we shall live
hereafter. I do not propose to take any notice here of the proposal of
Secularism--for that is the new name of this ungodliness--to deliver men
from their lusts by scientific lectures, and keep them moral by
overturning religion. That experiment has been tried already. But it is
worth while to inquire, Is science really so positive, and religion so
uncertain, as these persons allege? Is a knowledge of the physical
sciences so all-sufficient for our present happiness, so attainable by
all mankind, and so certain and infallible, that we should barter our
immortality for it? And, on the other hand, are the great facts of
religious experience, and the foundations of our religious faith, so
dim, and vague, and utterly uncertain, that we may safely consign them
to oblivion, or that we can so get rid of them if we would?

The object of this chapter is to refute both parts of the Secularist's
statement; to show some of the uncertainties, errors, contradictions,
and blunders of the scientific men on whose testimony they receive their
science; and to exhibit a few of the facts of religious experience which
give a sufficient warrant for the Christian's faith.

Scientific observations are made by fallible men exposed to every
description of error, prejudice and mistake; men who can not possibly
divest themselves of their preconceived opinions in observing facts, and
framing theories.

Lord Bacon long ago observed that "the eye of the human intellect is not
dry, but receives a suffusion from the will and the affections, so that
it may be almost said to engender any science it pleases. For what a man
wishes to be true, that he prefers believing." "If the human intellect
hath once taken a liking to any doctrine, either because received and
credited, or because otherwise pleasing, it draws everything else into
harmony with that doctrine, and to its support; and albeit there may be
found a more powerful array of contradictory instances, these, however,
it does not observe, or it contemns, or by distinction extenuates, and

A prejudiced observer sees the facts distorted and exaggerated. "Thus it
is that men will not see in the phenomena what alone is to be seen; in
their observations they interpolate and expunge; and this mutilated and
adulterated product they call a fact. And why? Because the real
phenomena, if admitted, would spoil the pleasant music of their
thoughts, and convert its factitious harmony into a discord. In
consequence of this many a system professing to be reared exclusively on
observation and fact, rests, in reality, mainly upon hypothesis and
fiction. A pretended experience is indeed the screen behind which every
illusive doctrine regularly retires. 'There are more false facts,' says
Cullen, 'current in the world than false theories.' Fact, observation,
induction, have always been the watchwords of those who have dealt most
extensively in fancy."[324] We propose, therefore, to show that, _I. The
students of the physical sciences have no such certain knowledge of
their facts and theories as Secularists pretend._

1. Mathematical science relating merely to abstract truth is supposed to
possess powers of demonstration, and capability of scientific certainty
superior to all other kinds of knowledge, but the moment we begin to
apply it to any existing facts we enter the domain of liability to
errors as numerous as our fallible observations of these facts; and when
we attempt to apply mathematical demonstration to the infinite, and to
enter the domain of faith, in which as immortals we are chiefly
concerned, it baffles, deceives, and insults our reason. Take the
following illustrations:

Let an infinite whole be divided into halves; the parts must be either
finite or infinite. But they can not be finite, else an infinite whole
would consist of a finite number of parts; neither can they be infinite,
being each less than the infinite whole.

Again: it is mathematically demonstrable, that any piece of matter is
infinitely divisible. A line therefore of half an inch long is
infinitely divisible, or divisible into an infinite number of parts.
Thus we have an infinite half inch. Further, for a moving body to pass a
given point requires some time; and to pass an infinite number of points
must require an infinite number of portions of time, or an eternity;
therefore, as half an inch contains an infinite number of points, it
will require eternity to pass half an inch.

Again: it is mathematically demonstrable, that a straight line, the
asymptote of a hyperbola, may _eternally approach_ the curve of the
hyperbola and _never meet_ it. But no axiom can be plainer than that if
two lines continually approach each other they must at length meet. Here
is a demonstration contradicting an axiom; and no man has ever yet shown
the possibilities of reconciling them, nor yet of denying either side of
the contradiction.

Again: it is a fundamental axiom, contained in the definition of a
circle, that it must have a center; but the non-existence of this center
is mathematically demonstrable, as follows: Let the diameter of the
circle be bisected into two equal parts; the center must be in one, or
the other, of these parts, or between them. It can not be in one of
these parts, for they are equal; and, therefore, if it is in the one, it
must also be in the other, and thus the circle would have two centers,
which is absurd. Neither can it be between them, for they are in
contact. Therefore the center must be a point, destitute of extension,
something which does not occupy or exist in space. But as all existences
exist in space, and this supposed center does not, it can not be an
existence; therefore it is a non-existence.

In like manner it has been mathematically demonstrated,[325] that
motion, or any change in the rate of progress in a moving body, is
impossible; because in passing from any one degree of rapidity to
another, all the intermediate degrees must be passed through. As when a
train of cars moving four miles an hour strikes a train at rest, the
resulting instantaneous motion is two miles an hour; and the first train
must therefore be moving at the rate of four, and at the rate of two
miles an hour at the same time, which is impossible. And so the ancients
demonstrated the impossibility of motion.

Thus the non-existence of the most undeniable truths, and the
impossibilities of the most common facts are mathematically
demonstrable; and the proper refutation of such reasoning is, not the
scientific, but the common sensible; as when Plato refuted the
demonstration of the impossibility of motion, by getting up and walking
across the floor. In the hyperbola we have the mathematical
demonstration of the error of an axiom. In the infinite inch we behold
an absurdity mathematically demonstrated. So that it appears we can give
mathematical demonstration in support of untruth, impossibilities and
absurdities; and our reason can not discover the error of the reasoning!
Alas, for poor humanity, if an endless destiny depended upon such
scientific certainty! Yet mathematical reasoning about abstract truth is
universally conceded to be less liable to error than any other form of
scientific analysis. This line, then, is too short to fathom the ocean
of destiny; too weak to bear inferences from even the facts of common

Attempts have indeed been made to apply mathematics to the facts of life
in what is called the doctrine of chances. By this kind of calculation
it can be shown, that the chances were a thousand millions to one that
you and I should never have been born. Yet here we are.

But when we begin to apply mathematics to the affairs of every-day life,
we immediately multiply our chances of error by the number and
complexity of these facts. The proper field of mathematics is that of
magnitude and numbers. But very few subjects are capable of a
mathematical demonstration. _No fact_ whatever which depends on the will
of God or man can be so proved. For mathematical demonstration is
founded on necessary and eternal relations, and admits of no
contingencies in its premises. The mathematician may demonstrate the
size and properties of a triangle, but he can not demonstrate the
continuance of any actual triangle for one hour, or one minute, after
his demonstration. And if he could, how many of my most important
affairs can I submit to the multiplication table, or lay off in squares
and triangles? It deals with purely ideal figures, which never did or
could exist. There is not a mathematical line--length without
breadth--in the universe. When we come to the application of
mathematics, we are met at once by the fact that there are no
mathematical figures in nature. It is true we speak of the orbits of the
planets as elliptical or circular, but it is only in a general way, as
we speak of a circular saw, the outline of its teeth being regularity
itself compared with the perturbations of the planets. We speak of the
earth as a spheroid, but it is a spheroid pitted with hollows as deep as
the ocean, and crusted with irregular protuberances as vast as the
Himalaya and the Andes, in every conceivable irregularity of form. Its
seas, coasts, and rivers follow no straight lines nor geometrical
curves. There is not an acre of absolutely level ground on the face of
the earth; and even its waters will pile themselves up in waves, or dash
into breakers, rather than remain perfectly level for a single hour. Its
minuter formations present the same regular irregularity of form. Even
the crystals, which approach the nearest of any natural productions to
mathematical figures, break with compound irregular fractures at their
bases of attachment. The surface of the pearl is proportionally rougher
than the surface of the earth, and the dew-drop is not more spherical
than a pear. As nature then gives no mathematical figures, mathematical
measurements of such figures can be only approximately applied to
natural objects.

The utter absence of any regularity, or assimilation to the spheroidal
figure, either in meridianal, equatorial, or parallel lines, mountain
ranges, sea beaches, or courses of rivers, is fatal to mathematical
accuracy in the more extended geographical measurements. It is only by
taking the mean of a great many measurements that an approximate
accuracy can be obtained. Where this is not possible, as in the case of
the measurements of high mountains, the truth remains undetermined by
hundreds of feet; or, as in the case of the earth's spheroidal axis,
Bessel's measurement differs from Newton's, by fully eleven miles.[326]
The smaller measures are proportionately as inaccurate. No field, hill,
or lake, has an absolute mathematical figure; but its outline is
composed of an infinite multitude of irregular curves too minute for
man's vision to discover, and too numerous for his intellect to
estimate. No natural figure was ever measured with absolute accuracy.

All the resources of mathematical science were employed by the
constructors of the French Metric System; but the progress of science in
seventy years has shown that _every element_ of their calculations was
erroneous. They tried to measure a quadrant of the earth's
circumference, supposing the meridian to be circular; but Schubert has
shown that that is far from being the case; and that no two meridians
are alike; and Sir John Herschel, and the best geologists, show cause to
believe that the form of the globe is constantly changing; so that the
ancient Egyptians acted wisely in selecting the axis of the earth's
rotation, which is invariable, and not the changing surface of the
earth, as their standard of measure.

The Astronomer Royal, Piazzi Smyth, thus enumerates the errors of
practice, which they added to those of their erroneous theory: "Their
trigonometrical survey for their meter length has been found erroneous,
so that their meter is no longer sensibly a meter; and their standard
temperature of 0° centigrade is upset one way for the length of their
scale, and another way for the density of the water employed; and their
mode of computing the temperature correction is proved erroneous; and
their favorite natural reference of a quadrant of the earth is not
found a scientific feature capable of serving the purpose they have been
employing it for; and even their own sons show some dislike to adopt it
fully, and adhere to as much of the ancient system as they can."[327]

But coming down to more practical and every-day calculations, in which
money is invested, how very erroneous are the calculations of our best
engineers, and how fatal their results. Nineteen serious errors were
discovered in an edition of _Taylor's Logarithms_, printed in 1796; some
of which might have led to the most dangerous results in calculating a
ship's place, and were current for thirty-six years. In 1832 the
_Nautical Almanac_ published a correction which was itself erroneous by
one second, and a new correction was necessary the next year. But in
making this correction a _new error was committed of ten degrees_.[328]
Who knows how many ships were run ashore by that error?

Nor can our American mathematicians boast of superior infallibility to
the French or British. In computing the experiments which were made at
Lowell (for a new turbine wheel), it was found that when the gate was
fully open, the quantity of water discharged through the guides was
_seventy per cent. of the theoretical discharge_. (An error of thirty
per cent.) The effect of the wheel during these experiments was
eighty-one and a half per cent. of the power expended; but when the gate
was half open the effect was sixty-seven per cent. of the power, while
the discharge through the guides eleven per cent. more than the
theoretical discharge. But when the opening of the gate was still
further reduced to one-fourth of the full opening, the effect was also
reduced to forty-five per cent. of the power, while the discharging
velocity was raised to _forty-nine per cent. more than that given by
the theory_.[329] An unscientific man would hardly call that good
guessing; but it was the best result of labored and expensive scientific
calculation. No wonder the _London Mechanics' Magazine_ says: "More can
be learned in this way (testing engines in the workshop) in half an
hour, than can be derived from the theoretical instructions, however
good, in a year." So much for the infallibility of a mathematical
demonstration. In regard even to the very limited circle of our
relations which can be measured by the foot rule, and the small number
of our anxieties which may be resolved by an equation, if by
mathematical accuracy be meant anything more than tolerable correctness,
or by mathematical demonstration a very high degree of probability,
mathematical certainty is all a fable.

2. _Astronomy._

The omniscience and prescience of the human intellect have been largely
glorified by some Infidel lecturers, upon the strength of the accuracy
with which it is possible to calculate and predict eclipses, and to the
disparagement of Bible predictions. And this glorification has been
amazingly swollen by Le Verrier's prediction in 1846 of the discovery of
the planet Neptune. But the prediction of some unknown motion would form
a more correct basis for a comparison of the prophecies of science with
those of Scripture; such, for instance, as Immanuel Kant's prediction of
the period of Saturn's rotation at six hours twenty-three minutes
fifty-three seconds; "which mathematical calculation of an unknown
motion of a heavenly body," he says, "_is the only prediction of that
kind in pure Natural Philosophy_, and awaits confirmation at a future
period." It is a pity that this unique scientific prediction should not
have had better luck, for the encouragement of other guessers; but
after waiting long and vainly, for the expected confirmation, it was
finally falsified by Herschel's discovery of spots on the surface of the
planet, and observation of the true time, ten hours sixteen minutes
forty-four seconds.[330] This, however, was not his only astronomical
prediction. He predicted that immense bodies in a transition state
between planets and comets, and of very eccentric orbits, would be found
beyond the orbit of Saturn, and intersecting it, but no such bodies have
been discovered. Uranus and Neptune have no cometary character whatever,
their orbits are less eccentric than others and do not intersect, nor
approach within millions of miles of Saturn's orbit. The verification of
Le Verrier's prediction affords even a more satisfactory proof of the
necessarily conjectural character of astronomical computations of
unknown quantities and distances. The planet Neptune has not one-half
the mass which he had calculated; his orbit, which was calculated as
very elliptical, is nearly circular; and the error of the calculation of
his distance is three hundred millions of miles![331]

"Let us then be candid," says Loomis, "and claim no more for astronomy
than is reasonably due. When in 1846 Le Verrier announced the existence
of a planet hitherto unseen, and when he assigned it its exact position
in the heavens, and declared that it shone like a star of the eighth
magnitude, and with a perceptible disc, _not an astronomer of France,
and scarce an astronomer in Europe, had sufficient faith in the
prediction to prompt him to point his telescope to the heavens_. But
when it was announced that the planet had been seen at Berlin, that it
was found within one degree of the computed place, that it was indeed a
star of the eighth magnitude, and had a sensible disc--then the
enthusiasm not only of the public generally, but of astronomers also,
was even more wonderful than their former apathy. The sagacity of Le
Verrier was felt to be almost superhuman. Language could scarce be found
strong enough to express the general admiration. The praise then
lavished upon Le Verrier was somewhat extravagant. _The singularly close
agreement between the observed and computed places of the planet was
accidental._ So exact a coincidence could not reasonably have been
anticipated. If the planet had been found even ten degrees from what Le
Verrier assigned as its probable place, _this discrepancy would have
surprised no astronomer_. The discovery would still have been one of the
most remarkable events in the history of astronomy, and Le Verrier would
have merited the title of First Astronomer of the age."[332]

Nevertheless, astronomy from the comparative simplicity of the bodies
and forces with which it has to deal, and the approximate regularity of
the paths of the heavenly bodies, may be regarded as the science in
which the greatest possible certainty is attainable. It opens at once
the widest field to the imagination, and the noblest range to the
reason; it has attracted the most exalted intellects to its pursuit, and
has rewarded their toils with the grandest discoveries. These
discoveries have been grossly abused by inferior minds, ascribing to the
discoverers of the laws of the universe the glory due to their Creator;
and boasting of the power of the human mind, as if it were capable of
exploring the infinite in space, and of calculating the movements of the
stars through eternity. Persons who could not calculate an eclipse to
save their souls, have risked them upon the notion that, because
astronomers can do so with considerable accuracy, farmers ought to
reject the Bible, unless its predictions can be calculated by algebra.
It may do such persons good, or at least prevent them from doing others
harm, to take a cursory view of the errors of astronomers; errors
necessary as well as accidental.

Sir John Herschel, than whom none has a better right to speak on this
subject, and whose devotion to that noble science precludes all
supposition of prejudice against it, devotes a chapter to _The Errors of
Astronomy_,[333] which he classifies and enumerates:

     "I. External causes of error, comprehending such as depend on
     external uncontrollable circumstances; such as fluctuations of
     weather, which disturb the amount of refraction from its
     tabulated value, and being reducible to no fixed laws, induce
     uncertainty to the amount of their own possible magnitude.

     "II. Errors of observation; such as arise for instance from
     inexpertness, defective vision, slowness in seizing the exact
     instant of the occurrence of a phenomenon, or precipitancy in
     anticipating it; from atmospheric indistinctness, insufficient
     optical power in the instrument, and the like.

     "III. The third, and by far the most numerous class of errors,
     arise from causes which may be deemed instrumental, and which
     may be divided into two classes.

     "The first arises from an instrument not being what it
     professes to be, which is _error of workmanship_. Thus if an
     axis or pivot, instead of being as it ought, exactly
     cylindrical, be slightly flattened or elliptical--if it be not
     exactly concentric with the circle which it carries--if this
     circle so called be in reality not exactly circular--or not in
     one plane--if its divisions, intended to be precisely
     equidistant, shall be in reality at unequal intervals--_and a
     hundred other things of the same sort_.

     "The other subdivision of instrumental errors comprehends such
     as arise from an instrument not being placed in the position
     it ought to have; and from those of its parts which are made
     purposely movable not being properly disposed, _inter se_.
     These are _errors of adjustment_. Some are unavoidable, as
     they arise from a general unsteadiness of the soil or building
     in which the instruments are placed.[334] Others again are
     consequences of imperfect workmanship; as when an instrument,
     once well adjusted, will not remain so. But the most important
     of this class of errors arise from the non-existence of
     natural indications other than those afforded by astronomical
     observations themselves, whether an instrument has, or has
     not, the exact position with respect to the horizon, and the
     cardinal points, etc., which it ought to have, properly to
     fulfill its object.

     "Now, with regard to the first two classes of error, it must
     be observed, that in so far as they can not be reduced to
     known laws, and thereby become the subjects of calculation and
     due allowance, _they actually vitiate in their full extent the
     results of any observations in which they subsist_. With
     regard to errors of adjustment, not only the possibility, _but
     the certainty of their existence in every imaginable form, in
     all instruments_, must be contemplated. _Human hands or
     machines never formed a circle, drew a straight line, or
     executed a perpendicular, nor ever placed an instrument in
     perfect adjustment, unless accidentally, and then only during
     an instant of time._"

The bearing of these important and candid admissions of error in
astronomical observations upon all kinds of other observations made by
mortal eyes, and with instruments framed by human hands, in every
department of science, is obvious. No philosophical observation or
experiment is absolutely accurate, or can possibly be more than
tolerably near the truth. The error of a thousandth part of an inch in
an instrument will multiply itself into thousands, and millions of
miles, according to the distance of the object, or the profundity of the
calculation. Our faith in the absolute infallibility of scientific
observers, and consequently in the absolute certainty of science, being
thus rudely upheaved from its very foundations by Sir John Herschel's
crowbar, we are prepared to learn that scientific men have made errors
great and numerous.

To begin at home, with our own little globe, where certainty is much
more attainable than among distant stars, we have seen that astronomers
of the very highest rank are by no means agreed as to its diameter. Its
precise form is equally difficult to determine. Newton showed that an
ellipsoid of revolution should differ from a sphere by a compression of
1/230. The mean of a number of varying measurements of arcs, in five
different places, would give 1/299. The pendulum measurement differs
very considerably from both, and "no two sets of pendulum experiments
give the same result."[335] The same liability to error, and uncertainty
of the actual truth, attends the other modes of ascertaining this
fundamental measurement. A very small error here will vitiate all other
astronomical calculations; for the earth's radius, and the radius of its
orbit, are the foot-rule and surveyor's chain with which the astronomer
measures the heavens. But this last and most used standard is uncertain;
and of the nine different estimates, it is certain that eight must be
wrong; and probably that all are erroneous. For example, Encke, in 1761,
gives the earth's distance from the sun at

     Encke, in 1769,              95,820,610
     Lacaille,                    76,927,900
     Henderson,                   90,164,110
     Gillies and Gould,           96,160,000
     Mayer,                      104,097,100
     Le Verrier,                  91,066,350
     Sir John Herschel,           91,718,000
     Humboldt,                    82,728,000[336]

Here now is the fundamental standard measure of astronomy; and nine
first-class astronomers are set to determine its length; but their
measurements range all the way from seventy-seven to one hundred and
four millions of miles--a difference of nearly one-fourth. Why the
old-fashioned finger and thumb measure used before the carpenter's
two-foot rule was invented never made such discrepancies; it could
always make a foot within an inch more or less; but our scientific
measurers, it seems, can not guess within two inches on the foot.

Their smaller measurements are equally inaccurate. Lias says the Aurora
Borealis is only two and a half miles high; Hood and Richardson make its
height double that, or five miles; Olmsted and Twining run it up to
forty-two, one hundred, and one hundred and sixty miles![337] When they
are thus inaccurate in the measurement of a phenomenon so near the
earth, how can we believe in the infallibility of their measurements of
the distances of the stars and the nebulæ in the distant heavens?

The moon is the nearest to us of all the heavenly bodies, and exercises
the greatest influence of any, save the sun, upon our crops, ships,
health and lives, and consequently has had a larger share of
astronomical attention than any other celestial body. But the most
conflicting statements are made by astronomers regarding her state and
influences. There is no end to the controversy whether the moon
influences the weather; though one would think that question, being
rather a terrestrial one, could easily be decided. Schwabe says Herschel
is wrong in saying that the years of most solar spots were fruitful; but
Wolf looks up the Zurich meteorological tables, and confirms Herschel.

In _Ferguson's Astronomy_, the standard text-book of its day, we are
informed that "Some of her mountains (the moon's) by comparing their
height with her diameter, are found to be three times higher than the
highest hills on earth." They would thus be over fifteen miles high. But
Sir Wm. Herschel assures us that "The generality do not exceed half a
mile in their general elevation." _Transactions of the Royal Society_,
May 11, 1780. Beer and Madler have measured thirty-nine whose height
they assure us exceed Mont Blanc. But M. Gussew, of the Imperial
Observatory at Wilna, describes to us, "a mountain mass in the form of a
meniscus lens, rising in the middle to a height of seventy-nine English
miles."[338] As this makes the moon lopsided, with the heavy side toward
the earth, the question of an atmosphere, and of the moon's
inhabitability is reopened; and the discussion seems to favor the man in
the moon; only he keeps on the other side always, so that we can not see

The best astronomers have gravely calculated the most absurd
problems--for instance the projection of meteorites from lunar
volcanoes; Poisson calculated that they would require an initial
velocity of projection of seven thousand nine hundred and ninety-five
feet per second; others demanded eight thousand two hundred and
eighty-two; Olbers demanded fourteen times as much; but La Place, the
great inventor of the nebular theory, after thirty years' study fixed it
definitely at seven thousand eight hundred and sixty-two! It appears
that the absurdity of the discharging force of a part greater than the
attracting force of the whole never occurred to him.[339]

This same La Place supposed, that he could have placed the moon in a
much better position for giving light than she now occupies; and that
this was the only object of her existence. As this was not done he
argued that her waxing and waning light was a proof that she was not
located by an Omniscient Creator. He says he would have placed her in
the beginning in opposition to the sun, in the plane of the ecliptic,
and about four times her present distance from us, with such a motion as
would ever maintain that position, thus securing full moon from sunset
to sunrise, without possibility of eclipse. But Lionville demonstrates
that "if the moon had occupied at the beginning the position assigned
her, by the illustrious author of the _Mecanique Celeste_, she could not
have maintained it but a very short time."[340] In short, La Place's
hypothetical calculations generally have proved erroneous when applied
to any existing facts; and we have no reason to attach more value to his
nebular theory calculations.

The sun is the principal orb of our system, and by far the most
conspicuous, and the most observed of all observers, astronomers
included. But we have seen already how contradictory their measurements
of his distance, and their observations of the influence of his spots.
Far more conflicting are the theories as to his constitution, of which
indeed we may truly say very little was known before the application of
photography and the spectroscope to heliography within the last seven
years. One astronomer fixed the period of his rotation at twenty-five
days, fourteen hours, and eight minutes; another at twenty-six days,
forty-six minutes; another at twenty-four days, twenty-eight

In regard to the sun's heat, a matter fundamental to the nebular
theory, the calculations differ widely, and some of them must be grossly
erroneous. M. Vicaire called the attention of the French Academy, at a
recent meeting, to this unsatisfactory condition of science. Father
Secchi estimates it at eighteen million Fahrenheit; while Pouillet says
it ranges from two thousand six hundred and sixty-two to three thousand
two hundred and one; and others range from two hundred thousand
downward. The most singular thing is that these results are derived from
observations or radiations made by apparatus identical in
principle.[342] But Waterston calculates the temperature of the solar
surface at above ten, and probably twelve million Fahrenheit.[343]

Now what feeds these enormous fires? The old opinion of astronomy, that
the sun was a mass of fire, was assailed by Sir Wm. Herschel, who
maintained that it was in the condition of a perpetual magnetic storm.
This notion was altered into the belief of a central dark body,
surrounded by a stratum of clouds, outside of which is a photosphere of
light and heat; which some made one thousand five hundred miles in
depth, others four thousand. Outside of this was another layer of
rose-colored clouds. To this theory Arago, Sir John Herschel and
Humboldt assented. But Le Verrier declares that the facts observed
during late eclipses are contrary to this theory, and a new theory is
slow in process of construction, to be demolished in its turn by later

One of the most recent theories is that the fuel is furnished by a
stream of meteorites, planetoids, and comets, falling in by the power of
attraction, and being speedily converted into gas flames; a process the
very reverse of the theory of the evolution of the solid celestial
bodies from gas. But it is pretty evident from these conflicting
theories that nobody knows anything certainly as to the materials of the
sun, or the fuel which feeds his flames. But if the very best
astronomers do not know of what he is made, is it not too great a demand
upon our credulity to ask us to believe that they can tell how he was

The size, density, and distances of the planets, which form such
essential elements in the calculations of the nebular theory of
evolution, are equally uncertain. Ten or twelve years ago Mercury was
believed to be nearly three times as dense as the earth (2.94); and the
theory of evolution was partly based upon this assumed fact. But Hausen
now finds that it is not half so dense; that, as compared with the
earth, it is only 1.22; and that its mass is less than half (5/12) of
what had been confidently calculated.[345] Corrections of the masses and
densities of other planets are also offered.

Still wider differences prevail in calculating the velocities of these
bodies; velocities _calculated_ and found to correspond with the theory
of evolution. Bianchini gives the period of the rotation of Venus at
twenty-four days, eight hours; but Schroeter says it is not as many
hours as Bianchini gives days; that it is only twenty-three hours and
twenty minutes. Sir Wm. Herschel can not tell which is right, or whether
both are wrong.[346]

From such imperfect and erroneous calculations astronomers have deduced
what they called a _law_, which holds the same place in nature that the
Blue Laws of Connecticut maintain in history; and which like them have
imposed upon the credulous. Titius and Bode imagined that they had
discovered that, "When the distances of the planets are examined, it is
found that they are almost all removed from each other by distances
which are in the same proportion as their magnitudes increase." And this
_law_ played an important part in introducing the theory of evolution,
which, it was alleged, exactly corresponded with such an arrangement.
But more accurate calculations and recent discoveries have dissipated
the supposed order of progression. Humboldt says of it, it is "a law
which scarcely deserves this name, and which is called by Lalande and
Delambre a play of numbers; by others a help for the memory. * * * In
reality the distances between Jupiter, Saturn, and Uranus approximate
very closely to the duplication. Nevertheless, since the discovery of
Neptune, which is much too near Uranus, the defectiveness in the
progression has become strikingly evident." And Olbers rejects it, as
"contrary to the nature of all truths which merit the name of laws; it
agrees only approximately with observed facts in the case of most
planets, and what does not appear to have been once observed, not at all
in the case of Mercury. It is evident that the series, 4, 4+3, 4+6,
4+12, 4+48, 4+96, 4+192, with which the distances should correspond, is
not a continuous series at all. The number which precedes 4+3 should not
be 4; _i. e._, 4+0, but 4+3/2. Therefore between 4 and 4+3 there
should be an infinite number, or as Wurm expresses it, for _n_=1, there
is obtained from 4+2^{n-2}.3; not 4, but 5-1/2."[347] Thus this
so-called law is erroneous in both ends, and defective in the middle.
Finally it has been utterly abolished by the discovery of the planet
Vulcan, which does not correspond to any such law.[348] If the theory of
evolution then corresponds to Bode's law, as its advocates alleged, it
corresponds to a myth.

About the nebulæ which have played so large a part in the atheistic
world building, our astronomers are utterly at variance. Sir John
Herschel says they are far away beyond the stars in space. But the
Melbourne astronomer, M. Le Seur, suggests that the star Eta and the
nebulous matter are neighbors; that the nebulous matter formerly around
it, which has recently disappeared, while the star has blazed up into
flames, is being absorbed and digested by the star. This has happened
before, thirty years ago, to that star. Why may not our sun also absorb
and burn up nebulæ. But if so, what becomes of the rings of the nebular

The light of the stars is almost the only medium through which we can
observe them, and it would naturally be supposed that astronomers would
be at pains to have clear views of light. But the most surprising
differences of statement regarding it exist among the very first
astronomers. They do not see it alike. Herschel says a Herculis is red;
Struve says it is yellow. They dispute about its nature, motion, and
quantity. Some astronomers believe the sun to be the great source of
light, at least to our system. But Nasmyth informs the Royal
Astronomical Society that "the true source of latent light is not in the
solar orb, but in space itself, and that the grand function of the sun
is to act as an agent for the bringing forth into existence the
luciferous element, which element I suppose to be diffused throughout
the boundless regions of space."[349] The nature of light is however
still as great a mystery as when Job demanded, "Where is the way where
light dwelleth?" The undulatory theory of light, now generally accepted,
assumes that light is caused by the vibrations of the ether in a plane
transverse to the direction of propagation. In order to transmit motions
of this kind, the parts of the luminiferous medium must resist
compression and distortion, like those of an elastic solid body; its
transverse elasticity being great enough to transmit one of the most
powerful kinds of physical energy, with a speed in comparison with
which that of the swiftest planets of our system is inappreciable, and
its longitudinal elasticity immensely greater--both of these
elasticities being at the same time so weak as to offer no perceptible
resistance to the motion of the planets, and other visible bodies.[350]
Is the velocity of light uniform? Or, if variable, is the variation
caused by the original difference of the projectile force of the
different suns, stars, comets, etc.? or by the different media through
which it passes? Arago alleges that light moves more rapidly through
water than through air; but Brequet asserts that the fact is just the
reverse.[351] Both admit that its velocity varies with the medium.
Jacobs alleges that during the trigonometrical survey of India he
observed the _extinction_ of light reflected through sixty miles of
horizontal atmosphere.[352] How, then, can astronomers make any reliable
calculations of the velocity of light reaching us through regions of
space filled with unknown media? Newton calculated the velocity of light
at one hundred and fifty-five thousand five hundred and fifty-five and
five-ninth miles a second; but Encke shows he erred thirty per cent.
Other eminent astronomers make the time of the passage of light from the
sun all the way from eleven to fourteen minutes, instead of Newton's
seven or eight. Busch reckons its velocity at one hundred and
sixty-seven thousand nine hundred and seventy-six miles; Draper one
hundred and ninety-two thousand; Struve two hundred and fifteen thousand
eight hundred and fifty-four. Wheatstone alleges that electric light
travels at the rate of two hundred and eighty-eight thousand miles a
second; but Frizeau's calculations and measurements give only one
hundred and sixty-seven thousand five hundred and twenty-eight for the
light of Oxygen and hydrogen.[353] Thus we have a variation of one
hundred and twenty thousand miles a second in all calculations of
sidereal distances. Humboldt tries to reconcile these differences by the
suggestion, that no one will deny, that lights of different magnetic or
electric processes may have different velocities; a fact which throws
all sidereal astronomy into inextricable confusion, and sets aside all
existing time tables on sidereal railroads.

They are no more agreed as to its composition after it reaches us than
as to its velocity. Newton taught that it consisted of seven colors;
Wallaston denies more than four; Brewster reduces the number to
three--red, yellow, and blue. Newton measures the yellow and violet, and
finds them as forty to eighty. Fraunhofer makes the proportion
twenty-seven to one hundred and nine. Wallaston's spectrum differs from
both. Field says, "No one has ventured to alter either estimate, and no
one who is familiar with the spectrum will put much faith in any
measurement of it, by whosoever and with what care soever made."[354] He
says white light is composed of five parts red, three yellow, and eight
blue; which differs wholly from Brewster, who gives it three parts red,
five yellow, and two of blue.

Equally wild are their calculations of the quantity of light emitted by
particular stars. Radeau calculates Vulcan's light at 2.25 that of
Mercury; Lias, from the same observations, at 7.36, nearly three times
as much.[355] Sir John Herschel calculates that _Alpha Centauri_ emits
more light than the sun; that the light of Sirius is four times as
great, and its parallax much less; so that by such a calculation Sirius
would have an intrinsic splendor sixty-three times that of the sun. But
Wallaston only calculates his light at one-fourth of this amount; and
Steinheil makes it only one two-hundredth part of the former

Astronomers have lately been comforting the world with the assurance
that we have little to fear from comets; that the superstitious fear of
the comets prevalent in the past was ill founded, because comets are so
very thin that we might pass through one without its breaking up
anything. But that, as Principal Leitch shows us, is not the only
question. "We know that the most deadly miasmata are so subtle that it
is impossible to detect them by any chemical tests, and a very
homeopathic dose of a comet, in addition to the elements of our own
atmosphere, might produce the most fatal effects."[357]

The phenomena indicative of cosmical processes are out of the range of
astronomical observation. We can only observe those indicated by light,
and gravitation; but how small a proportion of the formative processes
of our own world indicate themselves by these two classes of phenomena!
How few of the chemical, vegetative, animal, moral, social, or even
geological processes, now progressing under our own observation, could
give us notice of their existence by the two channels of light and
gravitation? How, then, can philosophers ever learn the process of
building worlds like our own in which many other powers are at work?

Astronomers are not all agreed as to the existence of a cosmical ether;
nor do those who assert it agree as to its properties. What is its
nature, density, power of refraction and reflection of light, and
resistance to motion? What is its temperature? Is it uniform, or like
our atmosphere, ever varying? These are manifestly questions
indispensable to be answered before any theory of the development of
worlds is even conceivable. But of the properties of this all-extending
cosmical atmosphere, which is the very breath of life of the development
theory, astronomers present the most conflicting statements. Professor
Vaughan says, "If such a body exists, it is beyond our estimation of all
that is material. It has no weight, according to our idea of weight; no
resistance, according to our idea of calculating resistance by
mechanical tests; no volume, on our views of volume; no chemical
activity, according to our experimental and absolute knowledge of
chemical action. In plain terms, it presents no known re-agency by which
it can be isolated from surrounding or intervening matter."[358] Or, in
plainer terms, we know nothing about it.

The only fact about it which astronomers have ventured to specify and
calculate is its temperature; for upon this all the power of the
development world-making process depends. But they are very far from any
agreement; indeed, they are much farther apart than the equator from the
poles. Stanley finds the temperature of absolute space--58°; Arago--70°;
Humboldt--85°; Herschel--132°; Saigey--107°; Pouillet, to be exact to a
fraction--223-6/10° below the freezing point; though when it gets to be
so cold as that one would think he would hardly stay out of doors to
measure fractions of a degree. But Poisson thinks he is over 200° too
cold, and fixes the temperature accurately, in his own opinion, 8-6/10°.
Moreover, he alleges that there is no more uniformity in the temperature
of the heavens than in that of our own atmosphere, owing to the unequal
radiations of heat from the stars; and that the earth, and the whole
solar system, receive their internal heat from without, while passing
through hot regions of space.[359]

From this chaos of conflicting assertions of unknown facts the theory of
development develops itself. Its fundamental postulate is the
difference of temperature between the nebulæ and the surrounding space.
But the fact is that nobody knows what is the temperature of either
space or nebulæ, nor is anybody likely ever to know enough of either to
base any scientific theory upon. Astronomy will never teach men how to
make worlds; nor is it of the least consequence that it does not; since
we could not make them, even if we knew how.

From these specimens of the errors and contradictions of the best
astronomers, the teachers upon whose accuracy we depend for our faith in
science, we can see, that though the Pope and the Infidel savans may
claim infallibility, yet after all the savant is just as infallible as
the Pope, viz: he is right when he is right, and he is wrong when he is
wrong, and that happens frequently and common folks can not always tell
when. There is no such thing, then, as infallible science upon faith, in
which I can venture to reject God's Bible, and risk my soul's salvation.
Science is founded on faith in very fallible men.

3. _Geology_, one of the most recent of the sciences, and in the hands
of Infidel nurses one of the most noisy, has been supposed to be
anti-Christian. The supposition is utterly unfounded. Such of its facts
as have been well ascertained have demonstrated the being, wisdom, and
goodness of an Almighty Creator, with irresistible evidence. Nor, though
a wonderful outcry has been raised about the opposition between the
records of the rocks and the records of the Bible, regarding the
antiquity of the earth, has any one yet succeeded in proving such an
opposition, for the plain reason that neither the Bible nor geology says
how old it is. They both say it is very old. The Bible says, "In the
beginning God created the heavens and the earth;" and by the use which
it makes of the word _beginning_, leaves us to infer that it was long
before the existence of the human race.[360] If the geologist could
prove that the earth was six thousand millions of years older than Adam,
it would contradict no statement of the Bible. The Bible reader,
therefore, has no reason to question any well ascertained fact of
geology. But when Infidels come to us with their geological _theories_
about the mode in which God made the earth, or in which the earth made
itself, and how long it took to do it, and tell us that they have got
scientific demonstration from the rocks that the Bible account is false,
and that our old traditions can not stand before the irresistible
evidence of science, we are surely bound to look at the foundation of
facts, and the logical superstructure, which sustain such startling

Now it is remarkable that every Infidel argument against the statements
of the Bible, or rather against what they suppose to be the statements
of the Bible, is based, not on the _facts_, but upon the _theories_, of
geology. I do not know one which is based solely on facts and inductions
from facts. Every one of them has a wooden leg, and goes hobbling upon
an _if_.

Take for example the argument most commonly used--that which asserts the
vast antiquity of the earth--a thing in itself every way likely, and not
at all contrary to Scripture, if it could be scientifically proved. But
how does our Infidel geologist set about his work of proving that the
earth is any given age, say six thousand millions of years? A scientific
demonstration must rest upon _facts_--well ascertained facts. It admits
of _no suppositions_. Now what are the facts given to solve the problem
of the earth's age? The geologist finds a great many layers of rocks,
one above the other, evidently formed below the water, some of them out
of the fragments of former rocks, containing bones, shells, and casts of
fishes, and tracks of the feet of birds, made when these rocks were in
the state of soft mud, and altogether several miles thick. He has a
great multitude of such facts before him, but they are all of this
character. Not one of them gives him the element of _time_. They
announce to him a succession of events, such as successive generations
of fishes and plants; but not one of them tells how long these
generations lived. The condition of the world was so utterly different
then, from what it is now, that no inference can be drawn from the
length of the lives of existing races, which are generally also of
different species. The utmost any man can say, in such a case, is, _I
suppose_, for there is no determinate element of time in the statement
of the problems, and so no certain time can appear in the solution.

Here is a problem exactly similar. A certain house is found to be built
with ten courses of hewn stone in the basement, forty courses of brick
in the first story, thirty-six courses in the second, thirty-two in the
third; with a roof of nine inch rafters covered with inch boards, and an
inch and a half layer of coal tar and gravel; how long was it in
building? Would not any school-boy laugh at the absurdity of attempting
such a problem? He would say, "How can I tell unless I know whence the
materials came, how they were conveyed, how many workmen were employed,
and how much each could do in a day? If the brick had to be made by
hand, the lumber all dressed with the hand-saw and jack-plane, the
materials all hauled fifty miles in an ox-cart, the brick carried up by
an Irishman in a hod, and the work done by an old, slow-going, jobbing
contractor, who could only afford to pay three or four men at a time,
they would not get through in a year. But if the building stone and sand
were found in excavating the cellar, if the brick were made by steam and
came by railroad, a good master builder, with steam saw and planing
mills, steam hoists, and a strong force of workmen, would run it up in
three weeks."

So our geologist ought to say; "I do not know either the source of the
materials of the earth's strata, nor the means by which they were
conveyed to their present positions; therefore I can not tell the time
required for their formation. If the crust of the earth was created
originally of solid granite, and the materials of the strata were ground
down by the slow action of frost and rain, and conveyed to the ocean by
the still slower agencies of rivers and torrents--hundreds of millions
of ages would not effect the work. But if the earth was created in such
a shape as would rationally be considered the best adapted for future
stratification; if its crust consisted of the various elements of which
granite and other rocks are composed; if these materials were ejected in
a granular or comminuted form, and in vast quantities by submarine
volcanoes generated by the chemical action of these elements upon each
other; and if, after being diffused by the currents of the ocean, and
consolidated by its vast pressure, the underlying strata were baked and
melted and crystallized into granite[361]--a very few centuries would
suffice. Until these indispensable preliminaries are settled, geology
can make no calculations of the length of time occupied by the formation
of the strata."

But instead of saying so, he _imagines_ that God chose to make the earth
out of the most impossible materials, by the most unsuitable agencies,
and with the most inadequate forces; and that therefore a long time was
needed for the work. In short, to revert to our illustration of the
house-building, he _supposes_ that Almighty God built the earth with the
ox-team, and employed only the same force in erecting the building,
which he now uses for doing little jobbing repairs. Almost all
geological computations of time are made upon the supposition that only
the same agents were at work then which we see now, that they only
wrought with the same degree of force, and that they produced just the
same effects in such a widely different condition of the earth as then
prevailed. It takes a year say to deposit mud enough at the bottom of
the sea to make an inch of rock now; _and if mud was deposited no
faster_ when the geological strata were formed, they are as many years
old as there are inches in eight or nine miles depth of strata. But this
is not the scientific proof we were promised. How does he prove that mud
was deposited at just the same rate then as now? The very utmost he can
say is that it is a very probable supposition. I can prove it a very
improbable supposition. But it is enough for my present purpose to point
out that, probable or improbable, it is _only supposition_. No proof is
given or can possibly be given for it. Any conclusion drawn from such
premises can be only a _supposition_ too. And so the whole fabric of
geological chronology, upon the stability of which so many Infidels are
risking the salvation of their souls, and beneath which they are
boasting that they will bury the Bible beyond the possibility of a
resurrection, vanishes into a mere _unproved notion_, based upon an

It is truly astonishing, that any sober-minded person should allow
himself to be shaken in his religious convictions by the alleged results
of a science so unformed and imperfect, as geologists themselves
acknowledge their favorite science to be. "The dry land upon our globe
occupies only _one-fourth_ of its whole superficies. All the rest is
sea. How much of this fourth part have geologists been able to examine?
and how small seems to be the area of stratification which they have
explored? We venture to say not one _fiftieth part of the whole_."[362]
"Abstract or speculative geology, were it a perfect science, would
present a history of the globe from its origin and formation, through
all the changes it has undergone, up to the present time; describing its
external appearance, its plants and animals at each successive period.
_As yet, geology is the mere aim to arrive at such knowledge_; and when
we consider how difficult it is to trace the history of a nation, even
over a few centuries, we can not be surprised at the small progress
geologists have made in tracing the history of the earth through the
lapse of ages. To ascertain the history of a nation possessed of written
records is comparatively easy; but when these are wanting, we must
examine the ruins of their cities and monuments, and judge of them as a
people from the size and structure of their buildings, and from the
remains of art found in them. This is often a perplexing, always an
arduous task; _much more so is it to decipher the earth's
history_."[363] "The canoes, for example, and stone hatchets found in
our peat bogs afford an insight into the rude arts and manners of the
earliest inhabitants of our island; the buried coin fixes the date of
some Roman emperor; the ancient encampments indicate the districts once
occupied by invading armies, and the former method of constructing
military defenses; the Egyptian mummies throw light on the art of
embalming, the rites of sepulture, or the average stature of ancient
Egypt. This class of memorials yields to no other in authenticity, but
it constitutes a small part only of the resources on which the historian
relies; whereas in geology it forms the only kind of evidence which is
at our command. For this reason _we must not expect to obtain a full and
connected account of any series of events beyond the reach of
history_."[364] "There are no calculations more doubtful than those of
the geologist."[365] In fact, no truly scientific geologist pretends
that it stands on the same level with any authentic history, much less
with the Bible record; inasmuch as the discovery of a single new fact
may overturn the whole theory. "It furnishes us with no clew by which to
unravel the unapproachable mysteries of creation. These mysteries belong
to the wondrous Creator, and to him only. We attempt to theorize upon
them, and to reduce them to law, and all nature rises up against us in
our presumptuous rebellion. A stray splinter of cone bearing wood--a
fish's skull or tooth--the vertebra of a reptile--the humerus of a
bird--the jaw of a quadruped--_all_, _any_ of these things, weak and
insignificant as they may seem, become in such a quarrel too strong for
us and our theory--the puny fragment in the grasp of truth forms as
irresistible a weapon as the dry bone did in that of Samson of old; and
our slaughtered sophisms lie piled up, 'heaps upon heaps,' before

The history of the progress of geology furnishes abundant proof of the
truth of these admissions of weakness and fallibility. In almost every
instance when we have had the opportunity of testing geological
calculations of time they have proved to be erroneous; and sometimes
grossly erroneous. The lake dwellings of Switzerland, which were once
alleged to be at least fifteen thousand years old, are found surrounded
by heaps of burnt corn; illustrating Cæsar's account of the burning of
their corn by the Helvetians, preparatory to the invasion of Gaul, which
he repelled. The peat bogs of Denmark, surrounding stumps of oak, beech,
and pine, claimed to be successive growths, and at least twelve thousand
five hundred years old, have been compared with a piece of primeval bog
and forest, on the Earl of Arran's estate, in Scotland, which
corresponds perfectly to the Danish bog; but which shows the three
growths not successive, but contemporaneous, at different levels; the
bog growing as well as the trees. And the frequent discovery of Danish
remains of the stone and bronze ages in the old Danish forts and
battle-fields of Ireland fixes their historical period at the era of the
Danish invasion; some of these stone and bronze weapons being found on
the battle-field of Clontarf, dating A. D. 827. Skeletons of warriors
with gold collars, bronze battle-axes, and flint arrow heads are quite
common in the Irish bogs. The absence of iron, on which so great a
theory of the stone, bronze, and iron ages as successive developments of
civilization has been raised, is easily accounted for by the perishable
nature of iron when exposed to moisture. But that this Celtic race used
iron also, as well as bronze and stone, is proved incontestably by the
discovery, in 1863, of the slag of their iron furnaces, among a number
of flint weapons, and Celtic skulls, at Linhope, in Northumberland; the
iron itself having perished by rust.[367] The pottery, glass, and
handmills found beside these skulls show that their owners were by no
means the degraded savages supposed to represent the so-called stone

Horner's Nile pottery, discovered at a depth of sixty feet, and
calculated to be twelve thousand years old, and fragments found still
deeper in this deposit, and calculated at thirty thousand years, were
found to be underlaid by still deeper layers, producing Roman pottery;
and in the deepest boring of all, at the foot of the statue of Rameses
II., the discovery of the Grecian honeysuckle, marked on some of these
mysterious fragments, which they had claimed as pre-historic, proved
that it could not be older than the Greek conquest of Egypt. Sir Robert
Stephenson found in the neighborhood of Damietta, at a greater depth
than Mr. Horner reached, a brick bearing the stamp of Mohammed Ali.[368]
The shifting currents of all rivers flowing through alluvial deposits
bury such things in a single season of high water.

The raised beaches of Scotland are quite conspicuous geological features
of the Highlands, and have furnished themes for calculations of their
vast antiquity. Here and there human remains had been discovered in
them, but no link could be had to connect them otherwise than
geologically with history. Geologists, accordingly, with their visual
generosity of time, assigned them to the pre-Adamite period. But
recently the missing link has been found, and these progenitors of Tubal
Cain, and the pre-Adamites generally, are found to have been in the
habit of supping their broth out of Roman pottery!

Lyell, the acknowledged prince of geologists, is famous for his
chronological blundering; of which his calculations of the age of the
delta of the Mississippi is a very good American example. He calculates
the quantity of mud in suspension in the water, and the area and depth
of the delta, and says it must have taken sixty-seven thousand years for
the formation of the whole; and if the alluvial matter of the plain
above be two hundred and sixty-four feet deep, or half that of the
delta, it must have required thirty-three thousand five hundred years
more for its accumulation, even if its area be estimated at only equal
to the delta, whereas it is in fact larger.[369] He makes no allowance
for tidal deposits.

But Brig. Gen. Humphrey, of the United States Surveying Department,
goes over Lyell's calculations, and shows that instead of 3,702,758,400
cubic feet of mud brought down by the Mississippi, as estimated by
Lyell, the actual amount is 19,500,750,000,000; that the rate at which
the delta is now advancing into the gulf is fifty feet per annum, and
that the age of the delta and alluvial deposit is four thousand four
hundred, instead of Lyell's one hundred thousand five hundred
years.[370] We might go on and give a dozen such instances of geological
miscalculations of time did space permit; but these are enough to
disabuse us of any faith in such calculations.

With such specimens before us of the miscalculations of the smaller
periods by geologists, we are not surprised to find that they grossly
exaggerate the larger cycles of time. The necessities of the evolution
of the ascidian into the snail, of the snail into the fish, and of the
fish into the lizard, of the lizard into the monkey, and of the monkey
into the man, by slow and imperceptible changes, demanded an almost
infinite length of time; and the geologists of that school accordingly
asserted the existence of animal life upon our globe for hundreds of
thousands of millions of years.

But Sir Wm. Thompson, one of the first mathematicians, demonstrates[371]
the impossibility of any such length of time being spent in the process
of cooling our little globe. Beginning with their own assumption, of a
globe of molten granite cooling down to the present state, he proves
that the earth can not have been in existence longer than a hundred
millions of years; and of course that plants and animals have existed on
it a much shorter time; as for the greater part of that period it was
too hot for them. The geologists are now becoming ashamed of their
poetical cycles, and some acknowledge that their chiefs blundered
egregiously in their calculations.

The principles of geology seem to be as unsettled as its facts. There is
no agreement upon any of its theories. The history of its theories, like
that of their framers, begins with their birth, and ends with their
burial. Each new theory placed the tombstone upon the preceding, and
inscribed it with the brief record of the antediluvian, "and he died." A
busy time they must have had with their Wernerian, Huttonian, and
Diluvian hypotheses; not to mention the Hutchinsonian theory, the animal
spirits flowing from the sun, the vegetative power of stories, and other
sage and serious facts and theories, theological and philosophical,
invented to account for the world's creation. "No theory," says Lyell,
"could be so far-fetched or fantastical as not to attract some
followers, provided it fell in with the popular notion." "Some of the
most extravagant systems were invented or controverted by men of
acknowledged talent." A more amusing exhibition of philosophical
absurdity can not be found than those chapters which he devotes to "The
Historical Progress of Geology,"[372] unless perhaps the scientific
discussions of the erudite acquaintances of Lemuel Gulliver.

Let it not be supposed that the progress of inductive science, and the
prevalence of the Baconian philosophy have banished absurdities and
contradictions from the sphere of geology. It would require a man of
considerable learning to find three geologists agreed, either in their
facts, or in their theories. In a general way, indeed, we have the
Catastrophists, with Hugh Miller, overwhelming the earth with dire
convulsions in the geological eras, and upheaving the more conservative
Lyell and the Progressionists; who affirm that all things continue as
they were from the beginning of the world. And there is perhaps a
general agreement now that the underlying _primitive_ rocks, so called,
are not primitive at all, as geologists thought twenty years ago; but,
like the foundations of a Chicago house, have been put in long after the
building was finished and occupied. But then comes the question how they
were inserted--whether as Elie de Beaumont thinks, the mountains were
upheaved by starts, lever fashion, or, as Lyell affirms, very gradually,
and imperceptibly, like the elevation of a brick house by screws.[373]
Nor is there the least likelihood of any future agreement among them;
inasmuch as they can not agree either as to the thickness of the earth's
solid crust which is to be lifted, or the force by which it is to be
done? Hopkins proves by astronomical observation that it is eight
hundred miles thick. Lyell affirms that at twenty-four miles deep there
can be no solid crust, for the temperature of the earth increases one
degree for every forty-five feet, and at that depth the heat is great
enough to melt iron and almost every known substance. But then there is
a difference between philosophers about this last test of
solidity--those who believe in Wedgewood's Pyrometer, which was the
infallible standard twenty years ago, asserting that the heat of melted
iron is 21,000° Fahrenheit; while Professor Daniells demonstrates by
another infallible instrument that it is only 2,786° Fahrenheit;[374]
which is rather a difference. In one case the earth's crust would be
over two hundred miles thick, in the other twenty-four. But then comes
the great question, What is below the granite? and a very important one
for any theory of the earth. It evidently underlies the whole foundation
of speculative geology, whether we assume with De Beaumont and Humboldt,
that "the whole globe, with the exception of a thin envelope, much
thinner in proportion than the shell of an egg, is a fused mass, kept
fluid by heat--a heat of 450,000° Fahrenheit, at the center, Cordier
calculates--but constantly cooling, and contracting its dimensions;" and
occasionally cracking and falling in, and "squeezing upward large
portions of the mass;" "thus producing those folds or wrinkles which we
call mountain chains;" or, with Davy and Lyell, that the heat of such a
boiling ocean below would melt the solid crust, like ice from the
surface of boiling water--and with it the whole theory of the primeval
existence of the earth in a state of igneous fusion, its gradual cooling
down into continents and mountains of granite, the gradual abrasion of
the granite into the mud and sand which formed the stratified rocks, and
all the other brilliant hypotheses which have sparked out of this great
internal fire. Instead of an original central heat he supposes that "we
may _perhaps_ refer the heat of the interior to chemical changes
constantly going on in the earth's crust."[375] Now if the very
foundations of the science are in such a state of fusion, and floating
on a _perhaps_, would it not be wise to allow them to solidify a little
before a man risks the salvation of his soul upon them?

The various theories are contradictions. The igneous theory assault the
aqueous theory with the greatest heat; while the aqueous theorists pour
cold water, in torrents, upon the igneous men. The shocks of conflicting
glacier theories have shaken the Alps and convulsed all North America;
and have not yet ceased. There are eleven theories of earthquakes, which
have been, and are still, such energetic agents in geology; and the
whole eleven afford not the least rational idea of their causes; nor of
any means of preventing, predicting, or escaping their ravages. The best
geologists have described fossil tracks as the footprints of gigantic
birds, which others equally as authoritative pronounce the tracks of
frogs and lizards. Indeed, a good part of every geological treatise, and
of the time of every association of geologists, is taken up with
refutations of the errors of their predecessors.

There are no less than nine theories of the causes of the elevation of
mountains; some scoop out the valleys by water; others by ice; others
heave up the mountains by fire; and some by the chemical expansion of
their rocks; while others still upheave them by the pressure of molten
lava from beneath; and others again make them out to be the wrinkles of
the contraction of the supposed crust of the liquid interior. Of all
these theories an able geologist says: "The many proposed theories of
mountain elevation are based upon assumptions which unfortunately are
not true; but that is an unimportant matter to the majority of our
speculating geologists; and one never seen by the inventors of the
theories, who allow themselves to be led captive by a poetic
imagination, instead of building their inductions upon field

"Thus, to suppose that mountains are elevated by a wedge like intrusion
of melted matter is to give to a fluid functions incompatible with its
dynamic properties. So also the supposition that the igneous rocks were
intruded, as solid wedges separating and lifting the crust, is opposed
to the fact that no apparent abrasion, but generally the closest
adhesion, exists at the line of contact of the igneous and stratified
rocks. Equally fatal objections may be advanced against the other

Multitudes of the alleged facts of Infidel geologists are as apocryphal
as their theories. Thus in a recent ponderous quarto volume, the
production of half a dozen philosophers, this identical impossible
theory--of the cooling of the earth's crust down to solidity, while an
irresistible central heat remains below--is presented to the world as an
ascertained fact; we are informed of the discovery of a human skull
fifty-seven thousand years old, _in good preservation_; asked to believe
that two tiers of cypress snags could not be deposited in the delta of
the Mississippi in less than eleven thousand four hundred years; and to
calculate that the delta of the Nile must have been a great many ages in
growing to its present size, because it is quite certain that for the
last three thousand years _it has never grown at all_.[377]

It were easy to fill a volume with such mistakes of geologists, but my
limits restrict me to a few specimens. Silliman's Journal, in a review
of "_The Geology of North America_, by Julius Marcoe, U. S. Geologist,
and Professor of Geology in the Federal Polytechnic School of
Switzerland; quarto, with maps and plates," says:

"The author describes the mountain systems of north America as _he
supposes they must be_, according to the theoretical views of Elie de
Beaumont." "Thus one single fossil--that one a species of pine, and only
very much resembling the _Pinites Fleurotti_ of Dr.
Monguett--_establishes_ a connection between the New Red of France, and
that of America. This is a very strong word for a geologist to use on
evidence so small, _and so uncertain_, with the fate of four thousand or
five thousand feet of rock at stake, and the beds beneath, containing
'perhaps Belemnites.' The prudent observer would have said, _establishes
nothing_; and such is the fact." "_On such evidence_ a region over the
Rocky Mountains, which is one thousand miles from north to south, and
eight hundred miles from east to west, is for the most part colored in
the maps as Triassic. Such a region would take in quite a respectable
part of the continent of Europe." "We now know beyond any reasonable
doubt, that all the country from the Platte to the British Possessions,
and from the Mississippi to the Black Hills, is occupied by Cretaceous
and Tertiary rocks. And as regards the region from the Platte southward
to the Red River, very far the largest part _is known to be not
Triassic_, while it is possible the Trias may occur in some parts of
it." "It is unfortunate in its bearing on the progress of geological
science to have false views about some five hundred thousand miles of
territory, and much more besides, spread widely abroad through
respectable journals, and transactions of distinguished European

One can not but sympathize with the poor abused Rocky Mountains,
tormented and misrepresented for a thousand miles by this French
geologist. But our American patriotism may be partially pacified when we
find that Europe fares no better; and that Great Britain, and Old
Scotland, Hugh Miller's own cradle, which has been the very lecture room
of geologists, has nevertheless been most grossly misrepresented in all
books and maps, up till the last decade. The _Edinburgh Review_, a
competent authority, says (No. cxxvii.): "The new light which has been
thus thrown on the history of the geological series of Scotland (by Sir
Roderick Murchison), showing that great masses of crystalline rocks,
called primary, and supposed to be much more ancient than the Silurian
system, are here simply metamorphosed strata of that age, may with
justice be looked upon as one of the most valuable results which have
been attained by British geologists for many years." A very just remark
indeed! If only geologists would learn a little modesty from this
discovery, which completely turns upside down their old world-building
process of grinding down all the upper strata out of the molten
granite, and gives us, instead, the baking of the strata into
crystalline rocks; a process exactly the reverse of the former, and of
that asserted by the theory of evolution. There is no prospect of any
cessation of the war of geological theories.

4. _Zoology._

Equally hostile to each other are the expounders of the development of
man from the monkey. As Ishmaelites their hand is against every man.
Each is a law in theorizing unto himself. Their contendings may well
teach us caution. Lamarck set those right who preceded him. The author
of the _Vestiges of Creation_ outstripped Lamarck, and Mr. Darwin sets
both aside; while he in his turn is severely censured by M. Tremaux, and
has all his reasoning controverted in favor of the new theory. Lamarck
believed in spontaneous generation; Darwin does not. The author of the
_Vestiges of Creation_ expounded a law of development, and Mr. Darwin
replaces it by Natural Selection. M. Tremaux has repudiated the origin
which Mr. Darwin has assumed, and insists on our believing that, not
water, but the _soil_, is the origin of all life, and therefore of man.
With him there is no progress; all creatures have reached their resting
place. But man rises or sinks, according to the more ancient or recent
soil he dwells upon. Professor Huxley is unwilling to abandon his idea
that life may come from dead matter, and is not disposed to accept of
Mr. Darwin's explanation of the origin of life by the Creator having, at
first, breathed it into one or more forms. While accepting of Mr.
Darwin's theory of a common descent for man with all other creatures, he
not only differs from him as to the beginning, but he admits that there
is no gradual transition from the one to the other. He acknowledges that
the structural differences between man and even the highest apes are
great and significant; and yet because there is no sign of gradual
transition between the gorilla, and the orang, and the gibbon, he
infers that they all had a common origin; whereas the more natural
conclusion from the facts would be that they had separate beginnings.
Mr. Wallace, whose claims are admitted to be equal to these of Mr.
Darwin, as the propounder of the theory of the origin of species by
Natural Selection, has firmly asserted that, with all its resources,
Natural Selection is utterly inadequate to account for the origin and
structure of the human race.[379] Thus they go, biting and devouring
each other, until at last it becomes a reproduction of the Kilkenny
cats, and there is nothing left but the tails. We have only to wait, and
the current Infidel theory will certainly be exposed and demolished next
year, by the author of some equally impossible theory.

Not merely individual scientists, but the most learned societies have
blundered. "Has not the French Academy pronounced against the use of
quinine and vaccination, against lightning rods and steam engines? Has
not Reaumer suppressed Peysonnel's 'Essay on Corals,' because he thought
it was madness to maintain their animal nature? Had not his learned
brethren decreed, in 1802, that there were no meteors, although a short
time later two thousand fell in one department alone; and had they not
more recently still received the news of ether being useful as an
anæsthetic with sure and unanimous condemnation?"[380]

If space permitted we could go over the circle of the sciences, and show
that a similar state of uncertainty and exposure to error exists in them
all. We have, however, confined our attention to those whose certainty
is now most loudly vaunted, and whose theories are most largely used as
the basis of Infidelity. Nor have we by any means exhausted the list of
errors and contradictions of these. A volume as large as this would be
required to present the list of several hundred errors, absurdities,
contradictions, and mutual refutations of scientists, in the physical
sciences, now before me; errors not sought after, but incidentally
observed and noted in the spare hours' reading of a busy professional

It is worthy of notice, that the uncertainties of science increase just
in proportion to our interest in it. It is very uncertain about all my
dearest concerns, and very positive about what does not concern me. The
greatest certainty is attainable in pure mathematics, which regards only
ideal quantities and figures; but biology--the science of life--is
utterly obscure. The astronomer can calculate with considerable accuracy
the movements of distant planets, with which we have no intercourse; but
where is the meteorologist bold enough to predict the wind and weather
of next week, on which my crops, my ships, my life may depend? Heat,
light, and electricity may be pretty accurately measured and registered,
but what physician can measure the strength of the malignant virus which
is sapping the life of his patient? The chemist can thoroughly analyze
any foreign substance, but the disease of his own body which is bringing
him to the grave, he can neither weigh, measure nor remove. Science is
very positive about distant stars and remote ages, but stammers and
hesitates about the very life of its professors.

4. Such, then, are a few of the uncertainties, imperfections, and
positive and egregious errors of science at its fountain head. To the
actual investigator infallible certainty of any scientific fact is
hardly possible, error exceedingly probable, and gross blunders in fact
and theory by no means uncommon. But how greatly diluted must the
modified and hesitating conviction possible to an actual observer
become, when, as is generally the case, a man is not an actual observer
himself, but _learns his science at school_. Such a person leaves the
ground of demonstrative science, and stands upon faith. The first
question then to be proposed to one whose demonstrative certainty of the
truths of physical science has disgusted him with a religion received on
testimony and faith, is, How have you reached this demonstrative
certainty in matters of science? Are you quite sure that your certainty
rests not upon the testimony of fallible and erring philosophers, but
solely upon your own personal observations and experiments?

To take only the initial standard of astronomical measurements--the
earth's distance from the sun. Have you personally measured the earth's
radius, observed the transit of Venus in 1769, from Lapland to Tahiti at
the same time, calculated the sun's parallax, and the eccentricity of
the earth's orbit? Would you profess yourself competent to take even the
preliminary observation for fixing the instruments for such a reckoning?
Were you ever within a thousand miles of the proper positions for making
such observations? Or have you been necessitated to accept this primary
measure, upon the accuracy of which all subsequent astronomical
measurers depend, merely upon hearsay and testimony, and subject to all
those contingencies of error and prejudice, and mistakes of copyists,
which, in your opinion, render the Bible so unreliable in matters of

Or to come down to earth. You are a student of the stone book, with its
enduring records graven in the rock forever; and perhaps have satisfied
yourself that "under the ponderous strata of geological science the
traditionary mythology and cosmogony of the Hebrew poet has found an
everlasting tomb." But how many volumes of this stone book have you
perused personally? You are quite indignant perhaps that theologians and
divines, who have no practical or personal knowledge of geology, should
presume to investigate its claims. Have you personally visited the
various localities in South America, Siberia, Australia, India,
Britain, Italy, and the South Seas, where the various formations are
exhibited; and have you personally excavated from their matrices the
various fossils which form the hieroglyphics of the science? Have you,
in fact, ever seen one in a thousand of these minerals and fossils _in
situ_? Or are you dependent on the tales of travelers, the specimens of
collectors, the veracity of authors, the accuracy of lecturers, aided by
maps of ideal stratifications, in rose-pink, brimstone-yellow, and
indigo-blue, for your profound and glowing convictions of the
irresistible force of experimental science, and of the shadowy vagueness
of a religion dependent upon human testimony?

To come down considerably in our demands, and confine ourselves to the
narrow limits of the laboratory. You are a chemist perhaps, and proud,
as most chemists justly are, of the accuracy attainable in that most
palpable and demonstrative science. But how much of it is experimental
science _to you_? How many of the nine hundred and forty-two substances
treated of in Turner's Chemistry have you analyzed? One-half? One-tenth?
Would you face the laughter of a college class to-morrow upon the
experiment of taking nine out of the nine hundred, reducing them to
their primitive elements, giving an accurate analysis of their component
parts, and combining them in the various forms described in that, or any
other book, whose statements, because experimentally certain, have
filled you with a dislike of Bible truths, which you must receive upon
testimony? In fact, do you know anything worth mention of the facts of
science upon your own knowledge, except those of the profession by which
you make your living?

Or, after all your boasting about scientific and demonstrative
certainty, have you been obliged to receive the certainties of science
"upon faith, and at second-hand, and upon the word of another;" and to
save your life you could not tell half the time who that other is, by
naming the discoverers of half the scientific truths you believe? What!
are you dependent on hearsay, and probability, for any little science
you possess, having in fact never obtained any personal demonstration or
experience of its first principles and measurements, nor being capable
of doing so? Then let us hear no more cant about the uncertainty of a
religion dependent upon testimony, and the certainties of experimental
science. Whatever certainty may be attainable by scientific men--and we
have seen that is not much--it is very certain you have got none of it.
The very best you can have to wrap yourself in is a second-hand
assurance, grievously torn by rival schools, and needing to be patched
every month by later discoveries. Your science, such as it is, _rests
solely upon faith_ in the testimony of philosophers, often contradictory
and improbable, and always fallible and uncertain.

5. Nor would you cease to be dependent upon faith could you personally
make all the observations and calculations of demonstrative science. The
knowledge of these facts does not constitute science; it is merely the
brick pile containing the materials for the building of science. Science
is knowledge systematized. But if the parts of nature were not arranged
after a plan, the knowledge of them could not be formed into a system.
Chaos is unintelligible. Our minds are so constituted that we look for
order and regularity, and can not comprehend confusion. We possess this
expectation of order before we begin to learn science, and without it
would never begin the search after a system of knowledge. All scientific
experiment is but a search after order, and order is only another name
for intelligence--for God. Deprive us of this fundamental faith in cause
and effect, order and regularity--of reason, in short--and science
becomes as impossible to man as to the orang-outang. _All science, even
in its first principles, rests upon faith._

Not only science, reason, also, is founded upon faith; for we can not
prove by reason the truths which form the data of reasoning. The
intuitions of the mind, which form the postulates necessary to the first
process of reasoning, are believed, not proven. When the wise fool
attempted to prove his own existence by the celebrated sophism, "I
think, therefore I exist," he necessarily postulated his existence in
order to prove it. How did he know that there was an "I" to think? And
how did he know that the "I" thought? Certainly not by any process of
reasoning, but by faith. He believed these truths; but could never
reason them into his consciousness. Faith, then, underlies reason

We may now proceed to inquire whether or not faith, which we have found
so prevalent even among those who repudiate it, is a thing to be ashamed
of; or if it be a sufficiently certain and reliable basis for human life
and conduct.

1. We are met at the very outset by the great fact that God has so
constituted the world and everything in it, that _in all the great
concerns of life we are necessitated to depend on faith_; without any
possibility of reaching absolute certainty regarding the result of any
ordinary duty. We sow without any certainty of a crop, or that we may
live to reap it. We harvest, but our barns may be burned down. We sell
our property for bank-bills, but who dare say they will ever be paid in
specie? We start on a journey to a distant city, but even though you
insure your life, who will insure that fire, or flood, or railroad
collision may not send you to the land whence there is no return?

Science is the child of yesterday; but from the beginning of the world
men have lived by faith. Before science was born, Cain tilled his ground
without any mathematical demonstration that he should reap a crop. Abel
fed his flock without any scientific certainty that he should live to
enjoy its produce; and Tubal Cain forged axes and swords without any
assurance that he should not be plundered of his wages. All the
experience of mankind proves that experimental certainty regarding the
most important business of this life is impossible. By what process of
philosophical induction is religion alone put beyond the sphere of faith
and hope? If religious duties are not binding on us, unless religion be
scientifically demonstrated, then neither are moral obligations; for
these two can not be separated. Is it really so, that none but
scientific men are bound to tell the truth, and pay their debts; and
that a person may not fear God, and go to heaven, unless he has
graduated at college? The common sense of mankind declares that we live
by faith, not by science.

2. _We demand the knowledge of truths of which science is profoundly
ignorant._ Science is but an outlying nook of my farm, which I may
neglect and yet have bread to eat. Faith is my house in which all my
dearest interests are treasured. Of all the great problems and precious
interests which belong to me as a mortal and an immortal, science knows
nothing. I ask her whence I came? and she points to her pinions scorched
over the abyss of primeval fire, her eyes blinded by its awful glare,
and remains silent. I inquire what I am? but the strange and questioning
_I_ is a mystery which she can neither analyze nor measure. I tell her
of the voice of conscience within me--she never heard it, and does not
pretend to understand its oracles. I tell her of my anxieties about the
future--she is learned only in the past. I inquire how I may be happy
hereafter--but happiness is not a scientific term, and she can not tell
me how to be happy here! Poor, blind science!

3. _All our dearest interests lie beyond the domains of science, in the
regions of faith._ Science treats of things--faith is confidence in
persons. Take away the persons, and of what value are the things? The
world becomes at once a vast desert, a dreary solitude, and more
miserable than any of its former inhabitants the lonely wretch who is
left to mourn over the graves of all his former companions--the last
man. Solitary science were awful. Could I prosecute the toils of study
alone, without companion or friend to share my labors? Would I study
eternally with no object, and for no use; none to be benefited, none to
be gratified by my discoveries? Though you hung maps on every tree, made
every mountain range a museum, bored mines in every valley, and covered
every plain with specimens, made Vesuvius my crucible, and opened the
foundations of the earth to my view--yet would the discovery of a single
fresh human footprint in the sand fill my heart with more true hope of
happiness, than an endless eternity of solitary science. I can live, and
love, and be happy without science, _but not without companionship,
whose bond is faith_.

Faith is the condition of all the happiness you can know on earth. Law,
order, government, civilization, and family life, depend not upon
science, but upon confidence in moral character--upon faith. In its
sunshine alone can happiness grow. It is faith sends you out in the
morning to your work, nerves your arms through the toils of the day,
brings you home in the evening, gathers your wife and your children
around your table, inspires the oft-repeated efforts of the little
prattler to ascend your knee, clasps his chubby arms around your neck,
looks with most confiding innocence in your eye, and puts forth his
little hand to catch your bread, and share your cup. Undoubting faith is
happiness even here below. Need you marvel, then, that you must be
converted from your pride of empty, barren science, and casting yourself
with all your powers into the arms of faith, become as a little child
before you can enter into the kingdom of heaven?

4. But religion is not founded upon faith as distinct from observation
and experiment. _It is the most experimental of all the sciences._ There
is less of theory, and more of experience in it than in any other
science. Its faith is all practical. It is a great mistake to suppose
that faith is the opposite pole of experience. On the contrary,
experience is the fruit which ripens from the blossom of faith. We have
seen how an underlying conviction of the existence of an intelligent
planner and upholder of the laws of nature is the source of all
scientific experiment, and systematized knowledge. A similar underlying
conviction of the existence of a moral governor of the world is the
source of all religious experience. _He that cometh to God must believe
that he is, and that he is the rewarder of those that diligently seek
him._ But this fundamental axiom believed, long trains of experience
follow; of every one of which you can be, and actually are, infinitely
more certain than of any fact of physical science. Your eyes, your ears,
your touch, your instruments, your reason, may be deceived; but your
consciousness can not. If your soul is filled with joy, that is a
_fact_. You know it, and are as sure of it as you are that the sun
shines. If you feel miserable, you are so. A sense of neglected duty, a
consciousness that you have done wrong, and are displeased with yourself
for it; a certainty that God is displeased with you for wrong-doing, and
that he will show his displeasure by suitable punishment; the tenacious
grasp of vicious habits on your body and soul, and the fearful thought
that by the law of your nature these vipers, which you vainly struggle
to shake off, will forever keep involving you more closely in their
cursed coils--these are _facts of your experience_. You are as certain
that they give you disquiet of mind, when you entertain them, as that
the sea rages in a tempest; and that you can no more prevent their
entrance, nor compel their departure, nor calm nor drown the anxiety
they occasion, than you can prevent the rising of the tempest, dismiss
the thunder-storm, or drown Etna in your wine-glass. Of these primary
facts of moral science, and of others like them, you possess the most
absolute and infallible certainty from your own consciousness. They
result from the inertia of moral matter, which, when put into a state of
disturbance, has no power of bringing itself to rest; as expressed in
the formula, _There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked._[381]

Let us now go out of your own experience, as you must do in every other
science, into the region of observation, and study a few of the other
phenomena of religion. Your comrade, Jones, has taken to drinking of
late, and also to going with you to Sunday lectures, and in the evening
to other places of amusement. He has, however, been warned that the next
time he comes drunk to the workshop he will be discharged; and as he is
a clever young fellow, and knows more about the Bible than you, having
gone to Sabbath-school when a boy, and is able to use up the saints
cleverly, you would be sorry to lose his company. So you set on him to
go with you to hear a temperance lecture, hoping that he may be induced
to take the pledge; for if he does not you fear he will soon lie in the
gutter. He curses you, and himself too, if ever he listens to any such
stuff; and refuses to go. You can easily gather a hundred other
illustrations of the great law of the moral repulsion between vice and
truth, expressed in the following formula: "_This is the condemnation,
that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than
light, because their deeds were evil. For every one that doeth evil
hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be
reproved._"[382] Your life, however, is but a long illustration of this
principle. Have you not willingly remained in ignorance of the contents
of the Bible, because you dislike its commands?

There is another fact of the same science--there, in the gutter before
you, wallowing in his own vomit, covered with rags, besmeared with mud,
smelling worse than a hog, his bruised and bleeding mouth unable to
articulate the obscenities and curses he tries to utter. "Is it possible
that can be Bill Brown! Why, only three years ago we worked at the same
bench. It was he who introduced me to the Sunday Institute; as clever a
workman and as jovial a comrade as I ever knew, but would get on a spree
now and again. He had a good father and mother, got considerable
schooling, had good wages, got married to a clever girl, and had two
fine children. Is it possible he could make such a beast of himself in
such a short time?" Yes, quite possible, and more, quite certain. Not
only in his case, but in all others, the law of moral gravitation is
universal and infallible. "_Evil men and seducers wax worse and
worse._"[383] The degradation may not always be in this precise form,
nor always as speedy; as all heavy bodies do not fall to the same place,
nor with like rapidity. But it is always as certain and always as deep,
and will one day be far more public. Fix it firmly in your mind. It
concerns you more than all the science you will ever know. You, too, are
in the course of sin, and you know it. You have already begun to fall.

Come again into this room. "What, into a prayer-meeting? I don't go to
such places." But, if you want to study the phenomena of religion
scientifically, you should go to such places; just as if you want to
study geology, you should go to the places where the strata are exposed
to view. I do not ask you to speak, and to ask people to pray for you,
but only to look on and listen. If you are a philosopher I wish you to
cease dogmatizing about fanaticism, and enthusiasm, and the ignorance,
and credulity of believers, at least until you philosophically examine
the evidence upon which they believe. You can set aside, if you please,
their unfounded beliefs concerning matters beyond their capacity, and
also their confident hopes for futurity. What I wish you to examine is
their _actual experience of religion_, as they severally relate it. For
as we have seen, the facts of consciousness are just as certain, and as
ascertainable, as the facts discovered by our senses; and there is no
reason in the world why we should not pursue the study of religion in
the same way that we gain a knowledge of science; namely, by collecting
and studying the facts accumulated by those who have made experiments,
and have obtained a practical knowledge of the matter.

There are here, as you see, a great number of religious experimenters.
They are also of very various conditions of life, and of various degrees
of education. Many of them are moreover well known to you, so that you
are in a favorable position for forming a fair judgment of their
discoveries. There is your comrade Smith, Hopkins who does the hauling
for your establishment, Lawyer Hammond, Professor Edwards, whose
chemical lectures you attend, Dr. Lawrence, who lectured before the
Lyceum last winter, Mr. Heidenberger, who wrote a series of articles on
Comte's Positive Philosophy for the Investigator, Mrs. Bridgman, your
Aunt Polly, who nursed you during your typhoid fever, and a great many
others whom you know quite well. Professor Edwards leads in prayer, and
gives a brief address. You never dreamt that he was hoaxing you when he
told you of his chemical experience; have you any reason to offer for
believing that he now solemnly, and in the presence of God, lies to you
and to this assembly, when he tells you of the peace he has found in
believing in Christ, and the happiness he experiences in uniting with
his brethren in the worship of God? Or is he more liable to error in
noting the fact of his mental joy or sorrow, than in observing the
effect of the extraordinary ray in double refraction? If not, the fact
that he has felt this religious experience, is just as certain as the
fact, that he has seen polarized light.

There is your comrade Smith, whom you have known for years, actually
got up to speak in meeting. You are surprised; but listen: "Neighbors
and friends, most of you know I never cared much about religion, and was
often given to take more liquor than was good for me, and then I would
fight and curse awful bad. I knew as well as anybody that it wasn't
right, and always felt bad after a spree, and many a time I said I would
turn over a new leaf, and be good. But it was all no use, for as soon as
any of the fellows would come around after me, I always went along with
them, till at last I gave it up and said it was no use to try. Still,
whenever any of my acquaintances died, I felt scared like; and I kept
away as far as I could from churches and preachers and such like,
because I could not bear to think about God and judgment to come. Well,
about five weeks ago my little Minnie set on me one Sabbath morning to
carry her to church, and to please the little creature--for she is as
pert a darling as you could see anywhere--I told my wife to get her
ready, and we would go. She seemed as if she would cry, and kept talking
to herself all the way. When we got into the church the singing almost
upset me, for I had not been to a church since I was a little fellow,
just before father and mother died. But it seemed as if it was the same
tune, and as if the tune brought them all back, and as if I saw them
again and all the family, and heard mother sing as she used to, and I
forgot church and everything, and thought I was a little fellow playing
about on the floor just as I used to do when I was a happy child. When
they stopped I was so sorry, and wished I could just be as innocent and
as happy as I was then. Well, it seemed like the preacher had been
reading my thoughts, for he gave out for his text, '_Verily, verily, I
say unto you, unless a man be born again he can not see the kingdom of
God._' He began to preach how Jesus can give us new hearts, and save us
from our sins; that his blood cleanses from all sin; that he is able to
save to the uttermost all that come unto God through him. The tears
came into my eyes, and I could hardly keep my mouth shut till I got out.
When I got home I knelt down, and cried to Jesus to save me from my
sins; and my wife prayed too, and we cried for mercy. The Lord heard us,
and I felt light and happy, and I went to church again, and sung with
the rest. And the best of it is, the Lord delivered me from the drink;
as I told a man who asked where I was going to-day, and I told him I was
going to prayer-meeting, for I had got religion now. He said there were
a great many religions, and most of them wrong, and a great many people
said all religion was only a notion, and preaching only nonsense. I says
to him, 'Look here, stranger, do you see that tavern there?' 'Yes,' says
he. 'Well,' says I, 'do you see me?' 'I do, of course,' says he. 'Well,'
says I, 'every little fellow in these parts knows that so long as Tom
Smith had a quarter in his pocket he could never pass that tavern
without having a drink. All the men in Jefferson could not stop him. Now
look here,' says I, 'there is my week's wages, and I can go past, and
thank God I don't feel the least like drinking, for the Lord Jesus has
saved me from it. If you call that a notion, it is a mighty powerful
notion, and it is a notion that has put clothes on my children's backs,
and plenty of good food on my table, and songs of praise to the Lord in
my mouth. _That's a fact, stranger._ Glory be to God for it. And I would
recommend you to come to prayer-meeting with me, and maybe you would get
religion too. A great many people are getting religion now.'"

His last remark is certainly very true. There are so many, and of such
various characters and grades of life, and in so many places, that every
reader can easily find several Tom Smiths of his own acquaintance, whose
conversions display all the essential facts of this case, and prove

5. The facts of religious experience _are better attested, and more
unobjectionable_ than those of any other science.

Unless they can be shown to be unreasonable or impossible, we are bound
to receive them, when presented by the experimentists who have
discovered them, though personally we may not have any such experience;
just as we believe the chemists, or the astronomers who relate their
discoveries which personally we have not observed. But the facts of
religion are _by no means unreasonable_. They can not be shown to
contradict any known law of the human mind. It is true they are
mysterious. But so are the facts of physical science--heat, light,
electricity, gravitation. Of either, we may be quite certain that such
phenomena exist, and utterly ignorant of the mode of their operation. It
were as utterly unphilosophical to deny that Almighty God could impart
nervous energy to the languid limbs of your sick neighbor, because you
are ignorant of its origin and means of transmission, as to deny that
God could impart spiritual electricity to his paralyzed soul, because
you are ignorant of the mode in which he bestows it. And ignorance is
all that you can plead in this case. You must just admit that having
tried an experiment which you have not, your religious friend has a
right to know more than you.

Moreover, the facts of religion are presented for belief upon _the most
abundant and reliable testimony_. In physical science you must rely on
the testimony of a very few observers--the great bulk even of scientific
men having no opportunity of testing the facts themselves, and being
well satisfied if any fact is confirmed by the testimony of two or three
philosophers--and this testimony often contradictory, and always
fallible, as the discordant results of their experiments prove. But here
you have a great multitude of experimentists, in every city and village
of the land, of every variety of intellect and education, prosecuting
the same course of experiments, and all arriving at the same results.
They do not all confess the _same_ sins, but they all felt the power of
_some_ sin, and felt miserable in their guilt. And however they may
differ in their external circumstances, their inward constitution, or in
their views of the outward part of religion, there is no difference
among them about the great facts of their religious experience. They all
believed the faithful saying that Christ Jesus came into the world to
save sinners, cried to God for mercy through him, and received peace of
mind, grace to live a new life, and to delight in the worship of God. Do
you know any science which has been prosecuted by one-hundredth part of
this number of inquirers? Which has been confirmed by one-thousandth
part of this number of experimenters? Or any experiment tried with such
uniform and unfailing success as this, "_Whosoever shall call on the
name of the Lord shall be saved?_"[384] Why then do you hesitate to
admit the correctness of these facts? Is it because you perceive they
lead to results which you dislike?

They do lead to results. They are effects and tell us of a cause. They
are powerful effects, and proclaim a powerful cause. They are moral and
spiritual effects, and assure us of the existence of a moral and
spiritual agent who has caused them. They are holy effects, and convince
your sinful soul that they are produced by a holy being. But they are
also benevolent, life-giving, blessed effects, and proclaim that God is
love. The Lord, the Spirit, is as plainly declared in the facts of
religious experience, as the Creator is in the creation of the universe;
and it were as rank Atheism to attribute these orderly and blessed
results to chance or to evil passions, as to attribute the Cosmos to
blind fate, or to the beasts that perish. He is as much an enemy to his
happiness who denies the one, as a foe to his reason who rejects the
other. Dear reader, why should you not believe in,

6. _The only science which can make you happy?_ which can bestow peace
of mind, nerve you to conquer your evil habits, enable you to live a
holy and happy life, and to die with a blessed hope of a glorious
resurrection? You know there is no science which makes any such offers,
or which you would believe if it did. But the Bible unfolds a science
which does, and enables you to believe it too. The facts of religious
experience give most convincing evidence of the reality and power of the
grace of God. It were as easy to persuade a Christian that he had
produced this change of heart and life by the excitement of his own
feelings, as that he had kindled the sun with a lucifer match. And the
character of the work and the worker assures him that it will not be
left unfinished. His faith receives these facts of religious experience
as the first installments upon God's bonds, and as pledges for the
payment of the remainder of his promises. The joy and peace which God
gives him now, prove most satisfactorily his ability and willingness to
give him larger measures of these enjoyments when he is capable of
receiving them. Just as we have good reason to believe that he who has
made the sun to rise out of darkness will guide him onward in his course
to perfect day, have we also good reason to believe that he that hath
begun the good work of his grace in us will perform it until the day of
Jesus Christ. Christ is in us the hope of glory. This eternal life,
which is begun in our souls, is so much superior to mere animal
vitality, that we can not doubt that he who has given us the greater,
will also give us the lesser, and quicken our mortal bodies also, by his
Spirit which dwelleth in us. We know that our Redeemer liveth.

7. And now, in conclusion, dear reader, we ask you not to take these
things on our testimony, nor yet on our experience; _but to try for
yourself_. Oh taste and see that the Lord is good. Come see the Savior
who has saved us, and be saved by him too. There is nothing more
dangerous, unless resisting the evidence of the truth as it is in Jesus,
than acknowledging this to be truth without immediately obeying the
gospel. God requires your immediate and cordial acceptance of Christ to
save you from your sins. He tells you that the only way of escape from
your sins now and from hell hereafter is through him; for there is none
other name given under heaven or among men whereby you must be saved. He
promises to hear your prayer and give you his Holy Spirit to work in you
the work of faith with power, if you will only and earnestly ask. "_Ask,
and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall
be opened unto you: What man is there of you whom if his son ask bread,
will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a
serpent? If ye then being evil know how to give good gifts unto your
children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good
things to them that ask him?_"[385]

Thus you will come to possess an actual experimental knowledge of the
most excellent of the sciences. In the present begun enjoyment of
eternal life you will, not merely believe in, but positively _know_, its
Author, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent. You will
rest in no fallible and erring testimony of man's wisdom, but your faith
will stand in the power of God. You will be able to say, "_Now we
believe not because of thy sayings: for we have heard him ourselves,
and_ KNOW _that this is indeed the Christ, the Savior of the

Hear God's own warrant and invitation to your poor, thirsty soul, to
forsake your vanities and come and be eternally blessed in Christ. Have
the witness in yourself and be a living proof of the blessed reality of

     "Ho every one that thirsteth! Come ye to the waters!
     And he who hath no money! Come ye, buy and eat!
     Yea, come! Buy wine and milk without money and without price.
     Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread?
     And your labor for that which satisfieth not?
     Hearken diligently unto me and eat ye that which is good,
     And let your soul delight itself in fatness.
     Incline your ear and come unto me:
     Hear and your soul shall live:
     And I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
     Even the sure mercies of David.
     Behold! I have given him for a witness to the people,
     A leader and a commander to the people:
     Behold! thou shall call nations that thou knowest not,
     And nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee,
     Because of the Lord thy God,
     And for the Holy One of Israel, for he hath glorified thee.

     "Seek ye the Lord while he may be found,
     Call ye upon him while he is near:
     Let the wicked forsake his way,
     And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
     And let him return unto the Lord, and he will have mercy upon him,
     And to our God for he will abundantly pardon.
     For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
     Neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.
     For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
     So are my ways higher than your ways,
     And my thoughts than your thoughts.
     For as the rain cometh down, and the snow from heaven,
     And return not thither again,
     But water the earth, and cause it to bring forth and bud,
     That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater;
     So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth:
     It shall not return unto me void,
     But it shall accomplish that which I please,
     And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.
     For ye shall go out with joy, and be led forth with peace.
     The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing,
     And all the trees of the fields shall clap their hands.
     Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree,
     And instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree:
     _And it shall be to the Lord for a name,
     For an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off._"


[322] Holyoak's Discussion with Grant and Tonney.

[323] Bacon Novum Organum, I. xlix. xlvi.

[324] Sir W. Hamilton's Lectures, I. 53.

[325] Journal of Speculative Philosophy, I. 20.

[326] Humboldt, _Cosmos_, Vol. I. p. 7, 156.

[327] Our Inheritance in the Great Pyramid, 356.

[328] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1852.

[329] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1852.

[330] _Cosmos_, 4, 518. Dick's _Celestial Scenery_, chap. III. Sec. 7.

[331] _Cosmos_, 1, 75. Loomis' _Progress of Astronomy_, pp. 34, 40

[332] Loomis' _Progress of Astronomy_, p. 34, etc.

[333] _Outlines of Astronomy_, III. Sec. 13, 140.

[334] Thus several of the best telescopes in the world are rendered
nearly useless by the passage of heavy railroad trains in their

[335] Somerville's Physical Sciences, VI.

[336] Cosmos IV. 477. Phillips' Address to the British Association,

[337] North British Review, LXV.

[338] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1864, 158.

[339] Cosmos I. 109.

[340] Cosmos IV. 501.

[341] Cosmos IV. 378.

[342] Harper's Magazine, June, 1872, p. 149.

[343] Annual Scientific Discovery, 1864, 134.

[344] Cosmos III. 40; IV. 363. Annual, 1861, 395, 396.

[345] Cosmos IV. 474.

[346] Kendall's Uranography, p. 11.

[347] Cosmos, 443-5.

[348] North British Review, No. LXV.

[349] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1852, 119.

[350] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1854, 150.

[351] Cosmos III. 115.

[352] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1860.

[353] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1852, 139.

[354] Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1864, 166.

[355] Plurality of Worlds, XII.

[356] North British Review, LXV.

[357] God's Glory in the Heavens, 168.

[358] Annual Scientific Discovery, 1863, 324.

[359] Cosmos IV. 378.

[360] See this proved chapter XI., _Daylight Before Sunrise_.

[361] See the possibility of such a source of volcanic action, of such a
formation of plutonic rocks, proved by Lyell. _Principles_, chaps.

[362] Sir David Brewster, K. H., D. C. L., F. R. S., _More Worlds than
One_, p. 56.

[363] _Rudiments of Geology_, W. & R. Chambers, p. 10.

[364] Lyell's _Principles of Geology_, p. 3.

[365] Miller, _Old Red Sandstone_, p. 25.

[366] Hugh Miller, _Footprints of the Creator_, p. 313.

[367] American Cyclopædia, 1863, p. 374. Annual of Scientific Discovery,
1861, p. 351.

[368] London Quarterly Review, 1866, No. 51, p. 240.

[369] Lyell's Second Visit to the United States.

[370] _The Advance_, Chicago, May 28, 1868.

[371] Geological Time.

[372] _Principles_, Chaps. III. and IV.

[373] _Principles_, chap. XI.

[374] _Principles_, p. 530.

[375] _Principles_, chap. XXXI.

[376] Chambers' Cyclopædia Art. Appalachians.

[377] Types of Mankind, 329, 335, 338.

[378] The American Journal of Science and Art, edited by Profs. Silliman
and Dana, XXVI. 235, 300.

[379] Frazer--Blending Lights, p. 113.

[380] De Vore's _Modern Magic_, 58.

[381] Isaiah, chap. xlviii. 22.

[382] John, chap. iii.

[383] 2 Timothy, chap. iii. Read the whole chapter.

[384] Romans, chap. x. Read the chapter.

[385] The Sermon on the Mount. Read it all.

[386] John, chap. iv.


Transcriber's Notes:

Missing punctuation, including periods, hyphens, and commas, has been

Obvious typographical errors have been corrected.

Variations in spelling have been left as in the original in the
following words:

     coveredst         coverest
     orang-otang       orang-outang
     water-skin        waterskin

The following words use an oe ligature in the original:

     foetus            Phoenician
     Phoebus           Phoenicians

The spelling of the last name of Scottish astronomer John Pringle Nichol
has been corrected throughout the text.

The spelling of the last name of French naturalist Jean-Baptiste Lamarck
has been corrected throughout the text.

The spelling of the last name of French physicist Claude-Servais-Mathias
Pouillet has been corrected throughout the text.

The spelling of the last name of Hellenistic astrologer Vettius Valens
has been corrected throughout the text.

The spelling of the last name of French mathematician Urbain Jean Joseph
Le Verrier has been corrected throughout the text.

A series of three asterisks * * * represents an ellipsis in the text.
Shorter and longer rows of asterisks have been standardized to three

The carat ^ character indicates that the following numbers (enclosed in
{} brackets) are superscripted in the original.

The mathematical formula 4+3/2 is rendered 4 + 1-1/2 in the original.

Footnote 15 reads "Origin of Species, 4, 10, 127, 9, 97, 100, 409, 410,
415, 423. Descent of Man, 192, 204, and II.--15, 257." The page number
"9" is probably a typographical error, but it has been left as in the

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