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Title: Gospel Philosophy
       Showing the Absurdities of Infidelity, and the Harmony of
              the Gospel with Science and History

Author: J. H. Ward

Release Date: August 20, 2014 [EBook #46635]

Language: English

Character set encoding: ASCII


Produced by Samuel Shreeve, Mormon Texts Project Intern







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Salt Lake City, Utah:

Published at the Juvenile Instructor Office, 1884.

Entered, according to act of Congress, in the year 1884, by J. H. Ward, in the office of the Librarian of Congress at Washington.

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Sectarians generally dread meeting a "Mormon" Elder in discussion, for they well know the humiliating defeat which has been the result to their compeers in hundreds of instances.

But there is another class of persons who often bring formidable-looking arguments against the truths of the gospel. This class is composed frequently of persons of considerable learning, research and intelligence. They have long ago become disgusted with the absurdities of so-called Christianity; and are not slow in showing the disagreement of sectarian dogmas with the teachings of the Bible, or contrasting the Bible with supposed science. In some instances, otherwise valuable scientific works are marred by sneers at the books of inspiration. In this age of earnest thought and research into all branches of knowledge, many of these works fall into the hands of the young and hence the growth of skepticism in the minds of many. Many of the facts contained in this work have been collected from, and references made to larger works not easily accessible to the general reader. A large number of the illustrations have been designed expressly for this work, and engraved by Brother John Held, of Salt Lake City.

To gather into a small compass the leading arguments of infidel writers, and to refute them by well-known facts; to show the cause of the conflict between science and religion; and to harmonize true science with the teachings of God's word, has been the design in writing this little work. That in its perusal the young may find their faith strengthened in the principles of the gospel; thoughtful minds find food for reflection, and the missionary Elder a valuable book of reference, is the earnest wish of

The Author.

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Ancient Scientists 22, 164
Absurdities of Spiritualism 19
Anaesthetics Discovered 35
Astronomy not Exact 39
Apostles, their Character 122, 125
Atmosphere, Condition of Early 179
Aurochs not yet Extinct 188
Benefits of Romanism 23
Brahminism 16
Bruno 29
Buffon's Theory of Creation 65
Babylon, Prophecies Concerning 136,139
Books of New Testament 97
Burial Place in Catacombs 128
Bird, Earliest yet Found 196
Bird-Like Reptile 191
Bark from Coal Mine 182
Catacombs 127, 129
Calvin's Bigotry 29, 31
Constantine, Character of 93
Cosmas, Philosophy of 27
Copernicus 29
Causes of Infidelity 35, 36
Carlyle's Absurdities 77
Compte's Absurdities 83
Chesterfield's Letters 84
Coin Found at Philippi 89
Celsus, His Writings 95
Crust of the Earth 43
Comets 155, 156
Correspondence of Paine 84
Chalk Magnified 194
Climate of Coal Period 184, 198
Character of Heathen Gods 81
Disagreement of Scientists 13, 47
Dead Sea 70
Dispersion of Jews 117
Deluge, Scientific Theory of 154
Dinornis, Skeleton of 189
Development of Species 188
Eye, Section of Human 58
Errors in Astronomy 39
Egypt, Present State of 142
Errors of Romanism 25, 26
Early Vegetation 182
Extinct Birds 188, 189
Essential Conditions of Life 205
Fire-Mist, Theory of 64
Forest of Coal Period 185
Faculties of the Mind 207
Galileo 30
Geology Uncertain 41, 45
Giant Cities of Bashan 74
Gibbon's Testimony 93
Great Men Believers 212
Humboldt 33
Heathen Philosophy 79
Heathen Morals 80
Human Eye 58
Heat and Motion 178, 179
Huxley's Embryotic Theory 190
Illumination of St. Lawrence 176
Influence of Judaism 119
Jenner's Discoveries 35
Juggernaut 82, 83
Luther's Superstition 32
Light, Velocity of 156
    "     Various Sources of 175
    "     Without Sunshine 165, 166
    "     From the Earth 175, 176
Marcion, the Apostate 96
Milky Way 157
Modern Prophecy 149, 150
Monsters, Primeval 198
Man's Nervous System 208
Newman's Absurdities 77
New Testament Books 97
Nature in Continual Change 167
Ocean, Primeval 178
Olbers, Theory of 67
Plesiosaurius 197
Protestant Bigotry 33
Parker's Absurdities 77, 78
Plato's Code of Laws 80
Paine, his Character and Writings 84
Paul, the Apostle 102, 122
Pliny's Letters 109
Personal Appearance of the Savior 116
Prophetic Symbols 134
Prophecy Concerning Judea 144
       "                "         Egypt 142, 143
       "                "         Babylon 138
Protoplasm 204
Rosetta Stone 17
Revelation Progressive 72
Religion of India 15, 82
Rings of Saturn 153, 154
Reptilian Bird 192
Servetus Burned 31
Spirit Controls Protoplasm 205
Simpson, James Y. 35
Section of Earth's Crust 43
     "      of Human Eye 58
Solar System 66
Solomon's Knowledge 73
Saturn 153
Stars Variable 167
Sun Spots 173
Sun Inhabitable 174
Sun's Atmosphere 172
Spencer's Philosophy 206
Tertulian's Writings 104
Testimony of Tacitus 106
Trajan's Letter 111
Temple of Belus 137
Universe, Extent of 55, 158
Uintah Mountains, Section of 54
Worship of Juggernaut 82
Western Continent Upheaved 199

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The gospel is truly a grand system. Let us try to entertain right views concerning it. Let us enlarge our minds to grasp it, that we may, to some extent at least, conceive its greatness and appreciate its beauties.

The peculiar wants of the age in which we live are worthy of deep and careful consideration. Never was there a time in the history of the race, when learning and general intelligence were so well diffused as at the present. The press is throwing off continually its millions of printed pages, which are scattered broadcast as the leaves of Autumn. Books on almost every conceivable subject can be cheaply bought; and journals, {10} magazines and pamphlets, both of a good and evil influence, attract the attention of the young.

Never was there a time of more intense activity. Who can pass through the crowded streets of our cities, listen to the throbbings of the steam-engine, the hum of machinery, the appliances of electricity, gaze at the vast trains that are driven with fire and vapor along our railways, or view those magnificent structures that cross the mighty deep, without feeling that this is an earnest age?

Now, this earnest, active, thinking age demands a religion that has life and power in it. Not a religion of cold formality and narrow sectarianism, but a religion that will satisfy the intellect with its truths, touch the heart with its love, sway the will with its persuasiveness, gratify the taste with its beauties and fill the imagination with its sublimities. A religion is wanted that will enlist upon its side the whole nature of man, and command his willing and devoted homage; a religion that, bearing the full impress of its Author's image, shall carry its own credentials with it; and which, clothed with all the elements of truth and righteousness, beauty and grandeur of love and power, shall be revered by all those who love the truth, and dreaded by all who love it not.

This is the religion that the gospel reveals. There is no antagonism between philosophy and faith, between science and religion, whatever the seeming oppositions of the present; in reality it is perfect harmony. The gospel overwhelms, nay, rather, includes all philosophy. {11}

In the life of many young men there is a period of skepticism. Then the young man is extremely liable to doubt. Then he questions all his previous convictions, challenges all his accepted opinions, and is in danger of drifting aimlessly on the wide tossing sea of unbelief, the sport of every wind of doctrine, the easy prey of every theory conceived by the ingenious brain of man.

At this period his faith in God and man is liable to be swept away through a misconception of the real teachings of science, and the example of those who seek to excuse their wicked lives under the specious plea of unbelief. This period of skeptical tendency comes early in life, frequently when the young man is in college or in the schools of science, when he begins to think and act for himself. It is intelligent, earnest young men of brains and capacity who are in special danger from the skepticism of the age.

Many of these young men have been trained in the Sabbath school, but at nineteen or twenty a change comes over them. They feel the strength and vigor of awakening manhood, and that impatience of authority which is characteristic of young men in this formative period of life. A young man hears of men of learning who reject religion; he reads now and then a magazine full of doubts and insinuations, and he begins to feel that all his belief is simply the result of his education, and that under other circumstances he might have been a Confucian, a Buddhist or a Mahometan. Perhaps he meets with a tolerably educated but skeptical {12} friend, who tells him in effect that religion is a fraud, that the Bible is a very good book, to be sure, but destitute of divine authority. He tells him, in a word, that these things may do for women and children to believe, but as for himself, he has put away all such belief along with his childish toys.

Our young man listens to all this flippant nonsense with itching ears, until, at length, he pretends to believe the world was made by chance, is governed by chance and all things that exist are only the effects of chance.

But there is a comical side to this question, as well as to many others. Prof. Agassiz wisely observes that, "men frequently talk very learnedly of what they know but very little;" and I know of nothing more irresistibly ludicrous than to see one of these so-called scientific skeptics, who scarcely knows the difference between the leg of a wasp and the horn of a beetle, and yet will assume to patronize the Almighty and talk about progress and culture as though he was the most remarkable prodigy of the age in which he lives.

It is enough to disgust an honest man, to see some of these literary fops going along with Darwin's works under one arm and a case of transfixed grasshoppers and butterflies under the other, talking about Huxley's "protoplasm" and "natural selection," and "nebular hypothesis," and "biogensis," and "abigensis," all the while lisping with an "exthquithit lithp," and indicating by word, tone and gesture that all who dissent from their opinions {13} are grossly ignorant and scarcely worthy of their notice.

But the greatest joke is that the scientists which they so much admire do not agree. Darwin is charging at Lamarch, Walace spearing Cope, and Herschel denouncing Ferguson. How many colors in a ray of sun-light? Seven, says Newton; only three, says David Brewster. How high above the earth is the Aurora Borealis, or Northern Light? Two and a half miles, says Prof. Lias; one hundred and sixty-five, says Prof. Tumming. La Place says the moon was not put in the right place, it should have been four times as far away; while Prof. Lionville comes up just in time and gives us the wonderful information (?) that the Creator was acquainted with His business and fixed it exactly right.

How far is the sun from the earth? Less than a million miles, says Zadkiel; seventy-six millions of miles, says La Caille; eighty-two millions, says Humboldt; ninety millions, says Henderson; one hundred and four millions, says Mayer. Only a slight difference of one hundred and three millions of miles, or a good deal farther than a person could travel, at the rate of fifty miles per hour, during the next two centuries, if he could live that long. And yet, amidst all this confusion and contradiction, we are coolly asked to give up the words of inspiration and hang our hopes of the future on the miserable vagaries of self-contradicting philosophers.

Another very ludicrous as well as amusing instance {14} of the folly of infidelity is the fact that skeptics will catch at almost anything upon which to hang their faith. All around us, in every grade of society, are to be found men who will tell us that the Vedas and Shasters of the Hindoos are far more trustworthy than the writings of Moses, Isaiah, Paul, Nephi or Joseph. They will tell us what sublime philosophers Brahma and Confucius were, while, at the same time, they have never read a word of their doctrines, or even seen a volume of their works. All they know is what some other truth-hating infidel has told them.

But for the sake of argument let us glance at some of these wonderful writings. Socrates, one of the greatest of heathen philosophers, admits, "We must of necessity wait till some one from Him, who careth for us, shall come and instruct us how to behave toward God and toward man."

Plato declares, "We cannot know of ourselves what will be pleasing to God; it is necessary that a law-giver should be sent from heaven to instruct us." And he further adds, "Oh, how greatly do I long to see that man!" (Plato's Republic, Book iv and vi.)

Who has not felt sad at 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 all but God." Nor is the philosophy of India any better. A few years ago, when, through the labors of Oriental scholars, the Vedas and Shasters of the Hindoos were translated and printed in European languages, a great shout went {15} up from the army of infidels. "Here," said they, "is the true chronology. Henceforth the Jewish records must hide their heads." Accordingly the Shasters were, for a time, in high repute among those who knew very little about them.

Now, when we remember that these much-vaunted histories profess to reach back through ma-ha-yugs or epochs of 4,320,000 of our years, that a thousand of these epochs makes a kalpa or one day of the life of Brahma—the nights being of the same duration—and that his life consists of one hundred years of such days and nights, we can easily see the absurdity of these histories. In these works are also the records of the seven great continents of the world, separated by seven rivers and seven chains of mountains, four hundred thousand miles high, and the history of the families of their kings, one of whom had ten thousand sons, another sixty thousand who were born in a pumpkin, nourished in pans of milk, reduced to ashes by the curse of a demon and restored to life by the waters of the Ganges. These records give statements of wonderful eclipses, comets and deluges, seven of which covered the earth, not merely to the top of these wonderfully high mountains, but even reaching to the polar star. Yet infidels have the assurance to quote these as standard works of undoubted authority, and worthy of the credence of intelligent beings. (Duff's India, page 127.)

Nor are the promises of the future life any less absurd than the foregoing. "Tell me," said a {16} wealthy Hindoo, who had given all his wealth to the Brahmins who surrounded his dying bed, that he might obtain a pardon of his sins, "what shall become of my soul when I die?" The priest replied, "Your soul will go into the body of a holy cow." "And after that?" he asked again. "It will pass into the body of a divine peacock." "And after that?" "It will pass into a flower." "Where, O, where will it go last of all?" cried the dying man. "Where will it go last of all? Ah! that is the question."

While British infidels were admiring the sacred writings of the Hindoos, and holding them up before the world as superior to the word of God, French skeptics were busy in a similar employment. When Napoleon invaded Egypt, in 1798, he took with him a large corps of scientific men. In the ceiling of a temple at Dendera, in Upper Egypt, some of these scientists discovered a stone, tablet covered with strange characters. These characters, it was concluded, were a representation of the relative positions of the sun, moon and stars at the time the temple was built; and, calculating backwards, it was found that this could not be less than seventeen thousand years ago. This tablet was taken from the ceiling of the temple and carried away to France, and placed in the national library in Paris. Hundreds of thousands came to see the antediluvian monument, and infidel commentators were never wanting to inform them that this remarkable stone proved the whole Bible to be a series of lies. One of the discoverers, afterwards {17} a professor in 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." During the next thirty years, scores of such publications followed; and the base slander received many additions and improvements, until it was a common saying that this stone proved that "the priests of Egypt were carving astronomy on their pyramids ten thousand years before Adam was born."

It did not shake their credulity in the least, that no two of their wise men were agreed by some thousands of years, how old the stone was—that no one even knew the first principles of the Egyptian system of astronomy, and that none of them could read the hieroglyphics.

But, in 1832, the curious Egyptian astronomy was studied, and it then appeared that this object, which had caused so much commotion, was simply a calendar stone to aid in the measurement of time; and that the positions of the sun, moon and stars were so placed to enable common observers to ascertain the beginning of the year. At length, by means of the Rosetta Stone—which furnished a key to these hieroglyphics—Champolion and others learned to read the inscriptions on Egyptian monuments.

Rosetta Stone

[Rosetta Stone, showing present and original form, and specimens of Greek, Coptic and Hieroglyphic characters.]

The Rosetta Stone was discovered by the French, in 1799, at Rosetta, Egypt. When in a perfect condition it was a tablet of black basalt, three feet high, two feet five inches wide, and ten inches thick. The inscription was in three languages: {18} Coptic, Greek and ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics. On the publication of the inscriptions it was found that they were the key to the hieroglyphic characters. It was then discovered that the names of Venus, Mars, Jupiter and Saturn, were engraved on the stone, as well as the names of the Roman emperors Tiberius, Claudius, Nero and Domitian. The inscriptions revealed the fact that they had no reference to early Egyptian history. The edifice in which the first-mentioned stone was found was {19} simply a heathen Roman temple, built between the fourteenth and eighty-first years of the Christian era. Even at the present time, in the noon-day of modern science and so-called civilization, astrologers, mediums, clairvoyants and fortune-tellers by the hundred find a profitable business among those who consider themselves too learned, wise and progressive to believe in the word of God. One infidel lecturer even advertises that he will reveal to you the secrets of the future and cure you of any disease you may have, if you will only enclose in a letter a few hairs taken from your right temple and—and—a—ten dollar bill. Concerning the future life, infidels have every variety of oracles, conjectures and suppositions; but for their guesses they have no proof. The only thing upon which they seem agreed is in denying the resurrection of the body. According to their ideas, a poor, naked, shivering, table-rapping spirit, obliged to fly over the world at the sigh of any brainless fop or silly, sentimental girl, or the bidding of some brazen-faced strumpet, is all that ever shall exist of all the great and good men and women that have lived upon the earth. To such wild unreason does the mind of man descend when it rejects the gospel, for only through it life and immortality are brought to light. A year or two since, the leader of American infidels, Robert Ingersol, was called to deliver a funeral oration over the body of his brother. In that short discourse there were many beautiful sentiments: {20} but through it all, as through a transparent glass, was shown the need, which even Ingersol felt, of divine revelation and divine guidance.

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Truth is ever harmonious. Science and religion, in the true sense of the terms, can never be in conflict with each other. The direct revelations of God to man must ever agree with the results of scientific investigation. Invention and discovery are but the unfolding of the laws, attributes and objects of nature to man's finite understanding—the action of the divine will on the minds of men. So, whether man seeks for spiritual truth through the revelations of God, or looks out upon the material world and investigates the working of physical laws, the result must be the same. A truth revealed to the sensitive, impulsive human {21} heart to-day in its full play of emotions and passions cannot be at any real variance with a truth written upon a far-off planet rolling in the depths of space, or upon a fossil whose poor life ebbed away thousands of years ago. Yet, strange to say, a conflict has been going on for years between some students of science on one side and the devotees of religion on the other. Nearly all the great and good men of the medieval or modern times have been engaged on one side or the other, and a hard contest it has been. The war has been waged longer, the battles have been fiercer, the sieges more persistent, the diplomacy more far-reaching, and the revenge more deadly than ever characterized the military campaigns of Alexander, Caesar or Napoleon.

Let us then inquire into the causes of this conflict and try and understand something concerning it. In the first place we must be careful not to underrate science. On every side we see its beneficent effects. The food we eat, the clothes we wear, and the houses we dwell in depend in a great measure upon it for their existence. When we travel it is mostly by the appliances of science. The books we read are manufactured by its aid. It transmits our messages to and from our friends, and prepares the light that illuminates our streets and dwellings. It has contributed greatly to relieve human suffering and promote human happiness, and to distinguish the civilized from the savage races of the earth.

And what has religion done? So long as it was {22} true and pure it was the favored child of heaven. While the true church existed upon the earth, whether Jewish or Christian, we hear of no conflict between its members and the students of science. On the other hand we find from their writings that Moses, Job, David, Solomon and Isaiah were the leading scientists of the ages in which they lived. They understood natural history, architecture, sculpture, poetry, music, botany, and in astronomy they made such progress that many of the constellations still retain the names they used, such as Orion, Pleaides, etc. (See Job xxxviii, 31; Amos v, 8.) We read of no conflict between the truths of science and the teachings of Paul, though he was one of the most learned men of the age in which he lived. On the other hand the discourse of Paul in the court of the Areopagus, was the complement or sequel of ideas already held by the most celebrated Grecian philosophers. (See Acts xvii, 19-23.)

It was not till after the great apostasy, when the voice of inspiration had ceased, that the great conflict commenced between science and the so-called Christian church.

We shall better understand this fact, when we recollect that from the time of the apostles to the ninth century, science, literature and philosophy were well nigh extinct. No schools of painting flourished, no models in sculpture were designed, no order of architecture arose, no great poem was written, and no history compiled, which have been deemed worthy to be transmitted to our times. It {23} was only when European society came largely in contact with Jewish and Saracen influences during the wars of the Crusades and in contact with the Jews and Saracens of Spain, that any decided advances were made. As if to mark out to the world the real cause of its intellectual degradation, the regeneration of Italy commenced with the banishment of the popes to Avignon. Their exile continued more than seventy years; and during their absence, so rapid was the social and intellectual progress that on their return to Rome, they found it impossible to make any successful resistance, or to restore the old condition of society.

Yet even in her apostatized condition the Catholic church did much for the amelioration of society. At the commencement of the fourth century of the Christian era, a cloud of more than Cimmerian darkness overshadowed western Europe. It was then occupied by wandering savages. The period embraced in the next thousand years greatly improved its condition. It was during this period that the population were organized into families, communities and cities. Those centuries found it full of bondmen—they left it without a slave. Where there had been trackless forests, there were now farms, orchards and villages. Instead of bloody chieftains drinking out of their enemies' skulls, there were parish priests teaching the masses the crude beginning of religious thought. Instead of gladiatorial combats, which characterized ancient Roman civilization, there were {24} thoughtful men gravely pondering the problems of free agency and moral responsibility.

Enveloped as she was by the evils of the times, the Catholic church gave rise to many improvements. She taught the doctrine of an ultimate accountability for personal deeds, of which the ancient inhabitants of Europe had very indistinct perceptions. Under her direction the brotherhood of man was taught as it had never been before, and was illustrated, not merely by individual acts of charity, the memory of which is soon forgotten, but also by the establishment of permanent institutions, such as hospitals, alms-houses, schools and asylums for the relief of the afflicted, for the spread of knowledge and the succoring of the oppressed. Many of her high dignitaries, and even popes, were men who had risen from the humbler ranks of society. These men, true to their instincts, were often the champions of right against might. In an age of tyranny, the very organization of the church was essentially republican. It thus paved the way for modern representative governments, and prepared the minds of men for their introduction.

Still it was not over nations and communities that Rome showed her chief power, but in her control of domestic and individual interests. History presents no record like hers. Her pontiffs in the quiet halls of the Vatican could equally take in a hemisphere at a glance or examine the private character of any individual. Was there a rebellion in Spain? Her agents informed her of {25} it. Was there an obscure philosopher in Germany writing down the results of his investigations? She also knew it. While she restrained the power and tyranny of kings by her influence, she also relieved the hungry beggar or wandering minstrel at the monastery gate. In all Europe there was not a man too obscure, too insignificant or too desolate for her. Surrounded by her solemnities every one received his name at her altar, her bells chimed at his marriage and her knell tolled at his funeral. By her confessionals she extorted from him the secrets of his life, and by her penances she punished him for his faults. In the hour of sickness and trouble her servants sought him out, teaching him to place his trust in God, and strengthening him for the trials of life by the example of the good and faithful of former days. And when at length his lifeless body had become an offense, even to his friends, she received it into her consecrated ground, there to rest till the resurrection morning. She raised woman from nearly the condition of a slave and made her the equal and fit companion of man; and in turn, received a recompense by a firm friend in every home. In an age of bloodshed and plunder she lifted up her hand in defense of the weak, and made her sanctuaries a refuge for the despairing and oppressed.

But here arose the difficulty. The so-called Christian church by apostasy had lost the key of revelation. Her decisions depended not upon the voice of inspiration but upon the musty parchments of the past. Claiming to be the church of {26} God, she regarded her decisions as infallible and irrevocable, her teachings as beyond question. Her ideas were crystalized; her philosophy, if indeed it was worthy of that name, was stationary, as must be the case with all systems reposing on a final revelation of God. In the domain of the Catholic church during the space of a thousand years, namely from the time of the apostles to the eleventh century, not a book had been written, not a painting executed, nor statue sculptured of sufficient merit to rescue the name of the author from oblivion. Throughout the length and breadth of Europe there fell a dark cloud of intellectual stagnation, an invisible atmosphere of oppression ready to break down morally and physically whatever opposed its weight; except where a few feeble rays of light were kept flickering by the efforts of Jewish and Mahometan scholars. She at once disclosed her human and denied her divine origin by attempting to force fixed laws on society in the presence of higher truths and advancing civilization.

The first great conflict was in reference to geography—the shape and surface of the earth. When science disclosed the fact that the earth was round, there was a great commotion, and so much the more since it was by Mahometan scholars that the discovery had been made. It was asked, "Can any good thing come out of Nazareth?" In other words, "Is it possible for vile Mahometans to understand and teach such a truth when it is not yet known to the assumed church of God?" At {27} once the war-spirit became fierce and hot. The great writer Eusebius treated the doctrine with contempt. Lactantius asks, "Is there any one so senseless, as to believe that there are men whose footsteps are higher than their heads? That the crops and trees grow downwards? That the rains, snow and hail fall upward to the earth?" (For further particulars see Whewel's Hist. Induct. Sciences, Vol. I, page 196.) At this stage of the controversy, Cosmas Indicopleustes, by direction of the Catholic church, undertook to give a description of the earth. According to Cosmas, the universe is in the form of an immense box, twice as broad as it is high and twice as long as it is broad. At the bottom of this box lies the earth, surrounded by four great seas or oceans. At the outer edges of these seas, rise immense walls, which support the vault of heaven, even as the walls of a house support the roof; and thus walls and vault shut in the earth and all the heavenly bodies. This vast box he divides into two compartments or stories. In the lower one men were said to live, and sun, moon and stars to move. The upper one was said to be the abode of God and angels, whose principal work was to push and pull the sun and planets to and fro, and to open the windows of heaven, and thus regulate the quantity of rain.

The ignorance or impudence of Cosmas can only be partially imagined, when we recollect that he supported his theory by reference to the Bible, and quoted Genesis i, 6; Job xxvi, 11; Psalms cxlviii, 4; Isaiah xl, 22. All the sublime poetry and {28} beautiful imagery of these texts were thus debased to give credence to the wild vagaries of this ignorant man.

Space will not permit us to follow this contest in all its phases: suffice it to say that so late as the fourteenth century Cecco d' Ascoli was burned alive for asserting his belief in the rotundity of the earth. (See Neander's History of the Christian Church, Vol. II, page 63.) The student of history will also remember how Columbus at the great council of Salamanca was overwhelmed by texts of scripture wrested from their rightful meaning. It was only after the successful navigation of the earth, by Magellan's ship, the San Vittoria, that Rome ceased to persecute the adherents of this doctrine. In all this contest Rome's dogmas only resulted in injury to herself. The authority of the scriptures was not in the end weakened, but rather strengthened; but to thinking men, Rome's claim of divine right to interpret the scriptures was of little value. Rome had been "weighed in the balances and found wanting."

It was therefore in a scientific not less than a religious point of view that many leading minds looked with favor toward that great religious, movement known as the Reformation.

While Luther, Calvin and Zwingle were busy denouncing the corruptions of the Romish church, the forces were preparing for the second great conflict between science and so-called religion, namely, that concerning the motion of the earth. Copernicus lived at the same time as Luther, and died {29} two years before him. His was as brave a life as ever lived in story. For thirty-six years, at the very time the Protestant struggle was raging, he was working at that immortal book, De Revolutionibus Orbum, in which he so clearly demonstrates the motion of the earth, and the revolution of the planets around the sun. But he dared not print it for many years. If he published it at Rome, it would fall into the hands of the Inquisition; if he caused it to be printed in Germany, there were the Protestant leaders no less hostile; if he sent it to Switzerland, there stood Calvin and Zwingle ready to burn it. At length the work was ready for the press. By the entreaty of the Romish Cardinal Schomberg, and with many apologies, Copernicus ventured to publish it. He was now old and feeble. Patiently he waited at death's door to see a printed copy. At length the long looked-for copy arrived, he saw it, composed himself and died, 1543.

Seven years after the death of Copernicus, was born that strange mortal, Giordano Bruno. For teaching the rotation of the earth he had to flee to Switzerland. But Calvin held power there and Bruno was soon obliged to leave. Driven in succession from England, France and Germany, and, like Noah's dove, finding no rest for the sole of his foot, he at length ventured to return to Italy. He was arrested in Venice, and after eight years of solitary confinement, was burned at Rome, February 16, 1600. When the atrocious sentence was passed upon him, he nobly replied, "Perhaps it is with {30} greater fear that ye pass this sentence upon me than I receive it."

Meanwhile Galileo was prosecuting his studies at Florence. In May, 1609, he made his first telescope and pointing it toward the heavens saw the satellites of Jupiter and the phases of Venus. These were two of the weightiest arguments that had as yet been presented in favor of the Copernican theory. Already Galileo began to encounter vulgar indignation which accused him of impiety. In 1611, Galileo publicly exhibited the spots upon the sun. This only excited the rage of his persecutors. Goaded by opposition he wrote a letter, in 1613, to the Abbe Castelli, showing that the scriptures were given for our salvation, and not to teach astronomy in particular. This was repeating Bruno's offense. Galileo was brought before the Inquisition, and, after years of imprisonment, only saved his life by denying the great truths he had discovered. He died 1642, in the seventy-eighth year of his age, the prisoner of the Inquisition. But religious bigotry did not end there. It tried to follow him beyond the grave, disputing his right to make a will and denying him burial in consecrated ground. Nor were the leaders of the Protestant cause less bitter.

In reference to Copernicus, Luther declared, "People give ear to an upstart astrologer, who strives to show that the earth revolves;" and again, "This fool (Copernicus) wishes to reverse the whole system of astronomy." Melancthon, in his treatise Initia Doctrinea Physicae, says, "The eyes are the {31} witnesses that the heavens revolve about the earth in the space of twenty-four hours," and adds, "Now it is a want of decency to assert publicly the notions of Copernicus;" and Zwingle declares, "The earth can be no where, if not in the center of the universe. It is a part of a good mind to accept the truth as revealed by God, and acquiesce in it." (See Geschichte des Materialismus, Vol. I, page 217.)



Further, Calvin proved the darkness of his own mind when he put to death that celebrated philosopher and physician, Michael Servetus, whose greatest crimes were that in religion he denied the absurd dogma that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit are three separate and distinct beings and yet one and the same person; and in science he had partially succeeded in discovering the circulation of blood. The circumstances were also of the {32} most atrocious character. Servetus was roasted for two hours in the flames of a slow fire made of green wood. Meanwhile he was begging for the love of God that they would put on more wood or do something to end his torture.

So also in superstition the Protestants were not a whit behind the Catholics. In presence of the Protestant king, James I., of England, it was declared that Agnes Sampson with two hundred other witches had sailed in sieves from Leith to North Betwick church to hold a banquet with the devil. It was also said that the witches had baptized and then drowned a black cat, which caused a terrible storm in which the ship that carried the king narrowly escaped being wrecked. King James and the high church dignitaries who formed his privy council, believed the accusation and condemned the poor woman to the flames.

The leaders of German Protestantism were Luther and Melancthon, yet even they were victims of the grossest superstition. They believed that in the Tiber, not far distant from the pope's palace, a monster had been found having the body of a man, the head of an ass and the claws of a bird of prey. After much speculation and searching of their Bibles, they concluded it was a manifestation of God's anger against Rome, and they wrote a pamphlet about it. (See Buckle's Hist. of Civilization.)

It is a quite common error to suppose these persecutions to have emanated from the papal power exclusively. When we read of Copernicus escaping {33} persecution only by death, of Bruno, burned alive as a monster of impiety, of Galileo imprisoned and humiliated as the worst of misbelievers we are apt to look upon these things as the effect of Romish intolerance. But we should not forget that Kepler who stands pre-eminently conspicuous, who lead science on to greater victories than either Copernicus or Galileo, who thought and spake as one inspired—even he was hunted alike by Protestant and Catholic. Nor was this feeling of intolerance confined to any particular age. On the contrary we behold its continuance even to our own times. In Protestant England so late as 1772, the celebrated Dr. Priestly was not permitted to accompany the famous expedition for scientific discovery under Captain Cook, because he did not believe in the doctrine of the Trinity as taught by the Church of England.

On the 10th of May, 1859, was buried Alexander Von Humboldt. His labors were among the greatest glories of this century, and his funeral one of the most imposing of modern times. Among those who did themselves the honor of following his remains to their last resting-place was the present emperor of Germany. But no minister of any sect was present except the officiating clergyman and a few others who were considered as not in good standing in their respective churches. By these instances and many others it might be shown how has been wrought into the very fibre of modern society that pernicious idea that there is a necessary antagonism between science and religion.

{34} The lessons thus taught were clear and convincing. Many intelligent minds saw that Protestants as well as Catholics lacked not merely the charitable spirit of the gospel, but likewise that knowledge and authority, which are the certain results of divine revelation. The result was soon apparent. A violent reaction followed. Germany, the birthplace of the Reformation, is now the stronghold of infidelity.

And why was this? What was it that made large numbers of the best men in Europe hate both the Catholic and Protestant religions? Why did Ricetto, Bruno and Servetus in the hour of martyrdom turn with loathing from that sacred emblem, the crucifix? The reason was simply this: So-called Christianity had been made to them identical with the most horrible oppression of mind, because they who had assumed to represent Christianity had misrepresented it. In other words, the absurd theories, rigid dogmas and heathenish superstitions of apostate Christianity bore no more resemblance to the benign and heavenly principles of the gospel, than an ancient Egyptian mummy, with its shrunken skeleton and ghostly visage, bears to the person of a living being in the meridian of his mental and physical powers. (See appendix to Vol. IV. Histoire des Mathematiques.)

Did space permit it would be easy to show that the Protestant sects have opposed scientific truth as bitterly, and been overthrown as completely as Rome has ever been. Not merely in the examples {35} of geography and astronomy, but also in chemistry and natural philosophy, as shown in the imprisonment of Roger Bacon and John Barillon; in anatomy and surgery as illustrated in the persecutions against Versalius, the great anatomist of the sixteenth century. Nor was it merely in the olden times that this opposition was manifest. Scarcely eighty years have passed since Jenner, the discoverer of vaccination, barely escaped with his life from the persecutions of leading religionists in Protestant England, for conferring upon mankind the knowledge of prevention of a horrible disease. So, also, in 1847, James Y. Simpson, the eminent Scotch physician, who did so much to alleviate human suffering by means of anaesthetics, was denounced throughout Europe and America by the leading Protestant ministers. The persecutors seemed to forget that, in the first surgical operation of which we have record, God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam. (See Genesis ii., 21.)

So, also, in geology, scarcely forty years have elapsed since both Protestant and Catholic leaders were denouncing that science as a "dark art," "infernal artillery," and "an awful evasion of the testimony of revelation." While such honored names as Prof. Sedwick, Edward Hitchcock, Louis Agassiz and Mary Somerville were denounced coarsely by name for those studies which unfold the wonders of creation, and illustrate the goodness of our Heavenly Father—studies that have made their names honored throughout the world. (See Silliman's Journal. Vol. 30, page 114.)

{36} And what has been the result of all this? In the older nations have come forth, by natural reaction, the most formidable enemies the so-called Christian church has ever known. Of these Voltaire and Renan may be considered types, and there are many signs that the same causes are producing similar results in our own country. Yet Renan, Bennet and Ingersol are not haters of truth. Rather may it be said, they hate counterfeits and are indignant at the assumptions of apostate Christendom. In their impetuosity they have rushed into the other extreme, and demand for science more than she can rightly claim.

* * * * *




"A little or superficial knowledge may incline a man's mind to atheism; but depth in philosophy bringeth him back to religion." So said Francis Bacon, one of the world's greatest philosophers, and history has proved his saying to be true. The {37} great lights of the scientific world, such as Columbus, Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Herschel, Agassiz, Rosse or Proctor, all have cherished a reverence for religion. On the other hand, it is generally third or fourth rate men of learning, or those whose impetuosity is greater than their judgment, who ever attempt to achieve distinction as infidel lecturers. Men who have failed in their business for want of capacity, frequently turn misanthropes and denounce truths and men that they have not brains enough to comprehend. True, apostate Christianity has been "weighed in the balances and found wanting," but does that prove that there is no vital, no divine religion that will satisfy the intellect of man with its truths, and touch the heart with its love—a Christianity which, bearing the full impress of its Author's image, shall take its place among the various forces at work in society and eventually subordinate them all? Nay, verily! As well might we say that because there are counterfeit bank bills in existence, therefore, none are genuine.

One cannot help being amazed at the cool impudence with which infidels take for granted the very points to be proved, and set aside, as unworthy of serious examination, the most authentic records of history and facts of science. When skeptics, who are determined not to believe in the Bible, find the historical evidences of its genuineness, authority and inspiration impossible to be overthrown by ridicule or sophistry, they turn their attention to some other mode of attack; and, of {38} late years, they have ransacked the whole circle of sciences hoping to find a more powerful weapon. Especially has every new discovery been hailed by skeptics as an ally to their cause, until further acquaintance has proved that it was not so. Thus, when geology began to upheave its titanic form it was eagerly greeted by skeptics; but now that they have discovered the proofs it gives of a Creator they are getting shy of its acquaintance.

It is, therefore, worth while to enquire, is science really so positive as these persons pretend? Or, is it true that the students of the physical sciences have no certain knowledge of their theories? We need not here speak of the disputes between Herschel and Ferguson, Newton and Brewster, La Place and Lionville. Rather let us begin with the most positive of all sciences. Mathematics—the science of magnitude and numbers—and note a few things concerning it. Upon reflection, it is surprising how few subjects are capable of a mathematical demonstration.

The mathematician may demonstrate the size and properties of a triangle, but he cannot demonstrate the continuance of any actual triangle for one hour, or one minute after his demonstration.

A mathematical proof admits of no doubts or contingencies. A man may calculate the force of the wind, but he cannot tell how long it will continue to blow in that direction, whether it will increase to a hurricane or subside to a calm. He may count the revolutions of an engine, but he cannot test its extreme power, or prove its continued {39} existence for a single hour. How many of the most important affairs of life can be demonstrated by means of the multiplication table? It would be safe to say not one in ten. Again, mathematics frequently deal with purely ideal figures, which never did or never can exist. There is not a mathematical line—length without breadth—in all the universe. On careful examination, we find that there are no mathematical figures in nature. We speak of the earth as a sphere, but it is a sphere pitted with hollows as deep as the ocean, and crested with protuberances as high as the Andes or Himalayas, in every conceivable irregularity of form. There is not an acre of absolutely level ground on the face of the earth; even its waters pile themselves up in waves, or dash into breakers, rather than remain perfectly level for a single hour. The microscope reveals the fact that the pearl is proportionally rougher than the surface of the earth, and the dew-drop is no nearer round than a pear. When we speak of the orbits of the planets as elliptical or circular, it is only in a general way; just as we speak of a circular saw, the outline of its teeth being regularity itself, as compared with the motions of the planets in their orbits.

So also with Astronomy, it is far from being an exact science. From the comparative simplicity of the forces with which it has to deal, and the approximate regularity of the paths of the heavenly bodies, it may be regarded as the science in which the greatest possible certainty is attainable. {40} 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. Lest we should ascribe to the discoverers of the laws of the universe, the glory due to their Creator, let us glance at some of the errors of astronomy.

Sir John Herschel, than whom none has a better right to speak on this subject, devotes a chapter to the "Errors of Astronomy."

"No philosophical observation or experiment is absolutely accurate. 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."

To begin at our own little globe, where exactness is more easily attained, than among distant planets, we find that two of the greatest astronomers, Bessel and Newton, differ from each other in the measurement of the diameter of the earth fully eleven miles. So also the diameter of the earth's orbit is uncertain by 360,000 miles. Now the diameter of the earth, and the diameter of its orbit are the very foot rule and yard stick, as it were, by which astronomers measure the heavens. (See Humboldt's Cosmos, Vol, I. page 7, and Vol. IV. page 477.)

"Let us then be candid," says Loomis, "and claim no more for astronomy than is reasonably due. When in 1846 the great astronomer Le Verrier announced the existence of a planet hitherto unseen, and when he assigned to it its exact position {41} in the heavens, and declared that it shone like a star of the eighth magnitude, not an astronomer of France, and scarcely one in Europe had sufficient faith in the prediction to prompt him to point his telescope to the heavens."

So also geology, one of the most recent of the sciences, and in the hands of infidel nurses one of the most noisy, has been found to be unreliable in many particulars. True a wonderful outcry has been raised about the antagonism between the records of the rocks, and the records of the Bible. But no one has yet succeeded in proving such an antagonism; for the plain reason that neither the Bible nor geology says how old the earth is. They both say it is very old. The Bible says, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." The term here translated "in the beginning" signifies, as every Hebrew scholar knows, a period of such remote antiquity, that in Bible language it stands next to eternity. Now if the geologist could prove that the earth is a thousand million years older than the time when Adam appeared upon it, this would contradict no statement of the Bible. So when infidels come to us with their geological theories about the manner in which God made the earth, or in which the earth is said to have made itself, and how long it took to do it, and tell us that they have scientific demonstration from the rocks that the Bible is false, we surely have a right to enquire into the foundation of these theories upon which they have built such startling conclusions. Now it is remarkable that every infidel {42} argument is based not upon the facts, but upon the theories of geology. But how does our infidel geologist set about his work of proving that the earth has any given age, say a thousand million years? Why he simply commences with a theory or supposition. Yet a demonstration must rest upon facts, it admits of no suppositions. In examining the crust of the earth we find 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. These layers form what is termed the crust of the earth, and are altogether several miles in thickness. Yet not one of these layers gives us the element of time. They announce to us successive generations of animals and plants; but they do not tell us how long these generations lived. We have every reason to believe that the condition of the world was very different then, from what it is now; not only as regards its temperature, of which we have many proofs that it was much higher than at present; but likewise in regard to the density of the atmosphere and the distribution of water on the surface of the globe. All these conditions indicate that both animal and vegetable life were then far different from what they are now, as the fossil remains of those animals and plants abundantly and unquestionably prove. But in all this we have no means of determining the duration of those species. The various species of plants and animals may have flourished during a period of a thousand, a million, or a thousand million years for all we know.


Section of the Crust of the Earth

{44} Here is a problem exactly similar. On examination we find that a certain house is built on a foundation of well-cemented concrete three feet deep, that it has ten courses of 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; now tell us how long was the house in building? Why the very school-boy would laugh at the absurdity of such a question. He would say, "How can I tell unless I know where the materials were obtained, how they were conveyed, how many workmen were employed, and how much they could do in a day? If the rock had been brought from a distance, the brick to be made by hand, the lumber all dressed with a handsaw and jackplane, and all the work done by a slowgoing jobbing contractor who employed only three or four men—why, they would not get through in a year. But if the rock was found in excavating the cellar, if the brick were made by machinery and near at hand, the lumber dressed by steam saw and planing mills, and thirty or forty workmen employed, it might be all finished in a month."

So the geologist ought to say, "I do not know either the source of the materials of the earth's strata nor the distance from which they were conveyed to their present position, nor the forces which were employed in changing them from their {45} primitive elements to the forms in which we now see them; therefore I cannot tell the time required for their formation. If the crust of the earth was originally fused into granite by intense heat, and this granite has been thrown up into vast mountains by the internal heat of the earth; and in turn, these mountains have been slowly worn away, by the action of wind, rain and frost, and conveyed down to the shores of the primeval ocean, by the still slower agency of mountain torrents and rivers; and if these deposits having first been the home of various species of animals and plants have hardened into rock which in turn has been heaved up by volcanic forces—if this was the mode of creation, hundreds of millions of years may have been required to produce the effects we now see upon the surface of the globe.

"But if the crust of the earth originally consisted of the various elements of which granite and other rocks are composed, if (as is generally conceded, granite is the lowest in the scale of all the rocks with which man is acquainted,) the granite was fused into its present condition by the intense heat generated by the chemical action of these elements upon each other, and if the overlying strata were consolidated by the vast pressure of a universal ocean, as is generally conceded to have covered the earth at a certain geologic period, and if these rocks were baked by their own chemical heat or by the continuous heat of the underlying granite, while the cooler temperature of the water above prevented the upper strata from becoming {46} so solid—then, under such circumstances, a very few centuries might suffice." (See Lyell's Principles of Geology, chapters 12 and 32.)

Until these indispensable preliminaries are settled, geology can make no calculations of the length of time occupied by the formation of the strata.

Again, all geological computations of time are made upon the supposition that only the same agents were then at work which we now see, that they wrought with the same degree of force and produced the same results though working under widely different conditions. For example, suppose it now takes a year to deposit mud enough at the bottom of the sea, to make an inch of rocks, and if mud was deposited no faster in those remote ages, then the rocks would be as old as there are inches in the eight or nine miles depth to which the strata extends. But how can we prove that mud was deposited at the same rate then as now? And so the whole fabric of geological chronology vanishes into a mere unproved notion, based upon an if.

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. Thus Hugh Miller admits, "There are no calculations more doubtful than those of the geologist;" and again, "It furnishes us with no certain clue by which to unravel the unapproachable mysteries of {47} creation." (See Footprints of the Creator, page 313.)

These mysteries belong to the wondrous Creator, and to Him only. Men attempt to theorize upon them, and to reduce them to law; but all nature rises up against them in their presumptuous rebellion. A stray splinter of cone-bearing wood, a fish's skull, the skeleton of a reptile, the tooth or jaw of a quadruped, all or any of these things— weak and insignificant as they may seem—when found imbedded in the strata of the rocks, become evidence too strong for man and all his theories. These puny fragments in the grasp of truth become weapons as irresistible as the dry bone in the hand of Sampson of old; and our slaughtered theories lie piled up heaps upon heaps before them.

Then, again, they are quarreling about the leading principles of the science. Hopkins attempts to prove that the crust of the earth is eight hundred miles thick, while Humboldt asserts that it is less than twenty-four. As the temperature increases one degree for every forty-five feet we descend into the earth, so, at that rate, in less than twenty-four miles the heat would be so great as to melt iron and almost any known substance. But here, again, they differ. Wedgewood declares that iron melts at 21,000 degrees Fahrenheit; while Professor Daniels is positive that it melts at 2,786 degrees, Fahrenheit. Only a slight difference of 18,214 degrees.

But then comes the great question: if granite is the lowest layer in the strata, what is below the {48} granite? De Beaumont affirms that "the whole globe, with the exception of a thin envelope—much thinner in proportion than the shell of an egg—is a melted mass kept fluid by heat, but constantly cooling and contracting its dimensions and occasionally cracking and falling in, and squeezing upwards large portions of the mass, thus producing those folds or wrinkles which we call mountain chains." On the other hand, Davy and Lyell think that "we may perhaps refer the heat of the interior to chemical changes going on in the earth's crust." So much for the uncertainties of geology.

If space permitted, it would be easy to go over other sciences and show similar uncertainties in them all. It is worthy of notice that the uncertainties of science increase just in proportion to our interest in it. About what does not concern us, it is very positive; but very uncertain about our dearest interests. The astronomer may calculate with considerable certainty the movements of distant planets with which we have no intercourse; but he cannot predict the heat or cold, clouds or sunshine, and other phenomena continually occurring on our earth. The forces of heat may be measured, to some extent, but what physician can measure the strength of the malignant fever that is destroying 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 {49} stars and remote ages, but stammers and hesitates about the very lives of its professors.

If such are the uncertainties of science to the actual investigators, what shall we say to him who has learned his science at school? When we meet with such an infidel, who denounces religion while he extols the certainties of science, would it not be well to ask a few questions such as the following? Have you personally measured the diameter of the earth, observed the transit of Venus, or calculated the distance of the moon? Or, further, would you feel yourself competent to perform such labor; or is it possible that, after all your boasting, you have taken your science at second-hand, and on the testimony of another? Again, perhaps you are a student of the stone book (as scientists sometimes call the strata of the earth's crust), with its enduring records graven in the rock forever; and perhaps you profess to believe that under these ponderous strata the Bible has found an everlasting tomb! But how many of the volumes of this stone book have you perused personally! Have you ever visited the many localities in our own country, to say nothing of the instructive lessons to be learned from the strata of England, Scotland, Wales, the Himalayas, the Andes and the Lauretian rocks of Canada, where the different formations are to be seen? Have you personally excavated from their beds, the various fossils that form, as it were, the very alphabet of the science; or, is it possible that all you know of geology is from the specimens of collectors, and the statements {50} of lecturers aided by maps of ideal stratification in rose-pink, brimstone-yellow and indigo-blue?

But perhaps you are a chemist, and proud, as most chemists are, of the accuracy attainable in that most demonstrative science. But how much of it is really science to you? Of the nine hundred and forty-two substances mentioned in Turner's Chemistry, how many have you analyzed? Could you truthfully say one-half, one-fourth, or even one-tenth? Much less, 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, and giving an accurate analysis of their component parts?

In fact, do you know anything worth mentioning of the facts of science upon your own knowledge, except those of the trade by which you make your living? Or, after all your boasting about scientific certainty, is it true that you have been obliged to receive your science upon faith, at second-hand, and on the word of another, and to save your life you could not tell who that other is, or even name the discoverers of half the scientific truths you believe? Therefore, whatever precision may be attained by scientific men—and we have seen that it is not much—it is very certain you have 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.

{51} But this is not all. Most sciences are not only uncertain, but also insufficient. We demand the knowledge of truths of which science is profoundly ignorant. Of all the great problems and precious interests which belong to me as a mortal or immortal being, science knows nothing. I ask her whence I came. She points to her pinions stretched 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—she never heard it and does not pretend to understand it. 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 cannot even tell me how to be happy here! Poor, blind science!

Further still, all our dearest interests lie beyond the domains of physical 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. I can live, and love, and be happy without science; but not without companionship whose bond is faith. In its sunshine alone can happiness grow. It is faith sends man out in the morning to his work, nerves his arms through the toils of the day, brings him home in the evening, gathers the children around the table, inspires the oft-repeated efforts of the little prattler to ascend his parent's knee, clasps the chubby arms {52} around his neck, looks with the most confiding innocence into his eye and puts forth the little hand to catch his bread and share his cup. Undoubting faith is happiness even here below. Need we marvel, then, that man must be converted from his pride of empty, barren science, and casting himself with all his powers into the arms of faith, become as a little child before he can enter into the kingdom of heaven?

* * * * *




"Nature is but the name of an effect whose cause is God."—COWPER.

"The infidel astronomer is mad."—HERSCHEL.

Had the world a Creator, or did it make itself? Let us look out upon nature, and see what there is to suggest the idea of God. Infidels tell us that faith is destined to be left behind in the onward march of intellect; that it belongs to an infantile {53} stage of intellectual development; that children and childish notions are prone to superstition, which is only another name for religion. To account for the wonders of creation they will coolly talk of the eternity of matter, and the action of natural laws, as if these assertions would lead them out of their dilemma.

One of the most impressive lessons that a person ever learns, is from the manifestation of power as shown in the phenomena of nature, as, for example, when he gazes upon the phenomena of a thunder storm. The dark and thickening cloud, the flashes of the lightning, the roaring of thunder, the dashing of the rain and the wild sweep of the winds, sometimes crushing forests in their pathway, are all manifestations of an unseen power. Among the works of human hands, the traveler gazes with amazement at the ponderous bulk of the pyramids. But what are the pyramids to the Alps, which have been lifted by some power to an altitude thirty-three times the hight of the largest pyramid? And yet the Alps are little more than half the hight of the Andes, and not more than a hundredth part of their mass. These ponderous mountain chains have been upheaved bodily, tearing their way through masses of solid rock miles in thickness, uplifting, crushing, tilting and dislocating the solid floor of half a continent. Here is a power which may well amaze us.

Again, no strain, that man has ever applied, has compressed or stretched, in the least perceptible degree, a block of building stone. In fact, the {54} architects and builders of the most ponderous edifices, such as the Salt Lake Temple, make not the least allowance for the compression of the stones which lie at their very base. Yet such is the strain which nature exerts upon the rocky slabs built into the hill-sides, that they yield like india-rubber to the pressure; and when, by quarrying, the strain is relieved, the crushed rocks, with a groan, ease themselves back to their original dimensions. (See Winchel's Reconciliation of Science and Religion, page 334.)

Section of Uintah Mountains


And yet, after all, this is but one of nature's feeblest efforts. Look beyond the phenomena of uplifted mountain-masses, deep-scooped ocean basins, forest-laying tempests and land-consuming waves. Look out into limitless space! There hang worlds of ponderous bulk. They were fashioned by some skillful hand; they are upheld by some mighty agency; and moved onward in their {55} majestic course by some mysterious power. We cannot bring our minds to comprehend that power; but let us raise our thoughts and try to understand something concerning it. There is the sun whose bulk is so great that, if its center was placed where the center of the earth is, its body would extend in every direction as far as the moon. Nay, farther, it would extend beyond the moon a distance of twenty-four times the diameter of the earth. This vast sun, still in the fiery vigor of its youth, imparting light and life to all that dwell on the planets which revolve around it, is only one of the numberless orbs that shine in the abyss of heaven.

Now, what is this power that has formed these glorious suns and sent them whirling onward through the cycles of the ages? The infidel tells us it is gravity. But what is gravity? Whence proceeds that mighty force which men call by that name? Matter is inert, that is, it does not possess the power of moving itself. It is evident, then, that matter is acted upon by some power outside of itself. In human affairs we can find no result without a cause, no design without a designer; and, on thinking carefully, we find that every designer is under the control of a will. So, in the field of nature, every phenomenon is but the effect of some cause, and that cause must have acted under the control of some intelligent will.

We are still more amazed when we consider the inconceivable space over which this power extends. The bulk of the sun is beyond our mental grasp. How then shall we comprehend its distance from {56} us? It is generally considered that the sun is about ninety-two millions of miles distant. It is easy to say these words, but difficult to realize their meaning. Our express trains move at the rate of thirty miles an hour. Now if a railway stretched from the earth to the sun, it would require three hundred and fifty years for an express train to pass over it. If Champlain, the founder of Quebec, and Capt. John Smith and Pocahontas, so famous in early Virginia history, had stepped on board this train it would still require nearly eighty years more for their descendants to reach the end of their journey. The distance would still be so great, that only the great grand-children of the present generation could expect to reach the sun. And yet there is a power that reaches across this vast distance, swings the world around its orbit like a haltered colt trotting around a hitching post, lifts the ocean into a mighty tide and lashes the rocky shores with the fury of the angry waves. But this is not all. Light flashes across this mighty chasm in the brief space of eight minutes and a half. The light by which we read these lines started from the sun about the time we read the heading of this article. What shall we say of a space so vast, that this light must travel a year, a hundred, aye, even a thousand years before it reaches its destination? And yet there is a power that governs even there, a power so mighty that He "grasps the whole frame-work of stars and systems, and sends them whirling and wheeling through the depths of boundless space like a {57} handful of pebbles thrown through the air." Well might the great philosopher and poet, Addison, exclaim:

"The spacious firmament on high
With all the blue ethereal sky,
And spangled heavens, a shining frame,
Their great Original proclaim.

"In Reason's ear they all rejoice
And utter forth a glorious voice,
Forever singing as they shine,
The hand that made us is divine."

While we are amazed at the manifestations of power in creation, let us not forget the indications of intelligence and design that exist all around us. For example, I see a friend walking along the street in the rain, with an umbrella over his head, and I feel that somebody contrived that instrument with the design of keeping off the rain. In one word, it was intended for that purpose. In like manner we perceive marks of design and intelligence in the countless contrivances and instruments used in every-day life. In fact, we cannot look upon the simplest invention without feeling that it is the result of design and intelligence. Now the world is full of contrivances, which were not made by human hands, nor invented by human brains. The hand that wrote these words or the hand that set up the type to print them is a more ingenious contrivance than was ever made by human skill. If it required intelligence to make a pen, did it not require still greater intelligence to make the hand that wields the pen? If it required design to {58} fashion a metal type, did it not require a still greater design to form the hand that manipulates that type? not to speak of that subtle and mysterious power, called the mind, which guides the hand under both these circumstances.

In like manner we might observe the marks of design and mechanical skill displayed in the formation of the eye. First, there is the cavity in which it is placed, composed of seven little bones nicely fitted and glued together, lined with the softest fat and enveloped in a tissue, compared with which the softest silk is only coarse canvas. Then the cavity is so shaped as to exactly fit the eye, while the brow projects over like the roof of a veranda and the lids close down over it to protect it from injury. Again, we find that the ropes and pulleys used in the rigging of a ship are simplicity indeed as compared with the nerves and muscles used in the movements of the eye.

Section of the Human Eye

Most persons have seen a ship, and know the way in which the yards are moved, and the sails squared by means of ropes and pulleys. Now, there is a tackle called a muscle to pull the eye down when you want to look down; another to pull it up when you have done; there is one to pull it to the right, and another to pull it to the {59} left. There is one fastened to the eyeball in two places, and so arranged that it will move the eye in any direction, as when we roll our eyes; and a sixth fastened to the under side of the eye to keep it steady when we do not need to move it. Then the eyelids are provided with suitable gearing, and it needs to be durable too, for it is said to be used thirty thousand times a day, in fact, every time we wink.

Not less wonderful is the construction of the eye itself. The optic nerve is the part of the eye which conveys visions to the mind. Suppose instead of it 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 we 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. Also the tender points of the fibres of the optic nerve would soon become blunted 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, we 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 vision and protection. To this day man knows no substance clear enough for vision, hard enough for protection, and elastic enough to resume its form {60} after a blow. Now observe in the eye, that forward part, called the cornea, is as it were the watch-glass. It it is made of a substance at once hard, transparent and elastic; something which man has never been able to imitate.

It may be asked, what is the use of so many lenses in the eye? Light when refracted through a lens, becomes separated into its component colors—red, yellow, green, blue and violet. 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. This difficulty perplexed Sir Isaac Newton all his life, and he never discovered the mode of making a refracting telescope which would obviate it. That remained for M. Dolland, a celebrated physician, to do; and he did it by studying and imitating the formation of the eye. Now what absurdity to say that a law of nature, such as gravity, or electricity has such a knowledge of the principles of optics and mechanics as the eye proclaims its Former to have! In all this we see marks of the most admirable design. The eye is fitted both to gaze at the stars millions of miles away and minutely examine objects only a few inches distant. In the brightness of sunshine the pupil contracts in order to protect the optic nerve from injury; in twilight it expands so as to admit a greater amount of light. When we wish to regulate the admission of light to our rooms we have recourse to very clumsy contrivances. A self-acting window which shall expand in the twilight and partially close of its {61} own accord as the light increases towards noon, has never been manufactured by man. In short, anatomists have already observed more than eight hundred contrivances in the dead eye, while the greatest contrivance of all, the power of seeing, is utterly beyond their ken.

Similar arguments might be brought from every department of nature to prove the marks of design in creation. The question therefore returns with double force, had the world a creator or did it make itself? There are persons who say it did, and with a brazen-faced impudence declare that the Bible tells a falsehood 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 being wholly composed of matter, therefore, the heavens and the earth are eternal—never had a beginning nor a creator." Profound reasoning indeed! In the same manner we might say, "Here is a well-burned brick, fresh from the kiln, which may last for a thousand years to come; therefore, it has always existed."

Again, it is claimed by some that matter is indestructible. The foundation of the argument is as rotten as the superstructure. Who knows that fact? for the very reason that no one can tell what matter in its own nature is. We may heat water to a certain degree and change it into steam, but it is all there in the steam. We may burn coal and thus change is appearance, but its particles are all there, in the form of gas, ashes or tar. All that any one can say is, that matter is {62} indestructible by any power or agency known to man. But to assert that matter is eternal, because man cannot destroy it, is as if a child should try to beat a locomotive to pieces with his stick, and failing in the attempt should say, "I am sure this locomotive existed from eternity, because I am unable to destroy it."

But, supposing that matter is eternal, how does that account for the formation of this beautiful world? The earth consists not of one substance known by that name, but of a great variety of material substances as oxygen, hydrogen, carbon, sulphur, iron, and some fifty-two or three others already discovered (see Turner's Chemistry, section 341). Now which of these is the eternal matter referred to? Is it iron, or sulphur, or carbon, or oxygen? If it is any one of them, where did the others come from? Did a mass of iron, for example, becoming discontented with its condition, suddenly change itself into a cloud of gas or a pail of water? Or are all the elements eternal? Have we fifty-eight eternal substances? Are they all eternal in their present combinations, or is it only the simple elements that are eternal? Whatever may be the answers to these questions, they give no light on the formation of this world, which is not a shapeless mass called matter, but a beautiful building composed of a variety of substances. Has this earth existed as it is from eternity? No man who ever was in a quarry or gravel pit will say so, much less one who has the least smattering of chemistry or geology. If the elements which {63} compose the earth have not always existed as we now find them, then how came they to put themselves in their present shapes? Matter has no power of putting itself in motion when at rest, nor of coming to rest when in motion. A body will never change its place unless moved, and if once started will move on forever unless stopped. For example, if we leave our room, and on our return find a book missing, we know that some one has taken it—the book could not have gone off at its own suggestion.

Now will the infidels presume to tell us, that the fifty-eight primary elements danced about till the air, 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, Summer and Winter, with all its beautiful flowers and lofty trees, with all its variety of birds, beasts and fishes, not to speak of the beauties of the morning, the gorgeous dyes of sunset, or the silent glories of the midnight sky. Or to bring the question down to the level of the intellect of the most stupid atheist, tell us in plain English, did the paving stones make themselves?

Absurd as it seems, 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 found it out by supposing everything in the universe reduced to very fine powder, consisting of very fine grains, which they call atoms; or, if that is not fine enough, into gas, of which it is supposed the particles are too fine {64} to be perceived, and then by different arrangements of these atoms, according to the laws of attraction, electricity, or some other law, the various elements of the world were made, and arranged in their present forms. But then the difficulty is only multiplied millions of times. Each bit of paving stone, no matter how small you break it, can no more make itself or move itself, than could the whole stone composed of all these bits. So we are landed back at the sublime question, did the paving stones make themselves?

Others will tell you that millions of years ago the world existed as a vast cloud of fire-mist. What this fire-mist is they do not know, but only that there are certain comets, which come within fifty or sixty millions of miles of this earth, which they suppose may be composed of fire-mist. Hence they imagine that the earth also may have been made from the same fire-mist. But 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 the mist together? Was it red hot enough from all eternity to melt granite? Then why is it any cooler now? If it existed as a red hot fire-mist from eternity, why should it ever begin to cool at all? Infidels claim that there was nothing else in all the universe except this fire-mist. Then the cause of all this must have been in the mist itself. In other words, the fire-mist made itself, then the paving stones and the infidels afterwards.

{65} Others suppose that the world was once in a stage of solution, in primeval oceans, and that the mixing of these waters caused them to deposit a sediment, which hardened into rock, then vegetated into plants and trees, then grew into animals, these in turn developed into monkeys, and finally the monkeys into men. Thus it is clearly demonstrated that there is no need for the Creator if we only had somebody to make these primeval oceans, somebody to mix them together, and somebody to establish these laws of development.

Another favorite theory among infidels, is that of Buffon, the vain-glorious French philosopher. His theory was that the sun is a vast melted mass, and that once on a time a huge comet struck the sun in such a manner, that portions of it splashed off, just as a stone thrown in a slanting direction into a bucket of water would cause portions of the water to splash out of the vessel. These portions of matter (acting under certain laws) then formed themselves into spheres and being condensed by cold have become solid planets and satellites. Thus, according to this idea, creation was only an accident after all. Still, as might be expected, thinking men kept asking: "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, as to hit the sun exactly in an oblique direction."


Solar System


This idea received considerable encouragement from a certain class of scientific men during the early part of this century. Between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter is a vast space which was supposed to be unoccupied. In the first seven years of this century, three small planets were discovered revolving in orbits midway between Mars {67} and Jupiter. Afterwards many others were discovered until now the number exceeds two hundred. Dr. Olbers, the discoverer of two of them, Pallas and Vesta, finding that their orbits were comparatively near together and sometimes crossed each other, imagined that they were formed by the explosion of a large planet or by a comet coming in contact with a large planet and thus shattering it to pieces. This theory seemed all the more plausible seeing that these minor worlds or "pocket planets," as Herschel styles them, are exceedingly diminutive. So, to use a familiar illustration, he imagined the boiler of a large locomotive had burst and the fragments had all alighted on the track in the shape of hand-cars; much more, that the hand-cars had magnanimously resolved to keep running and do the business of the line. At first sight this theory seemed strengthened by every new discovery. It is true, reflecting men could not help wondering at such a strange event, that would produce beautiful little planets all by accident. They never heard of the blowing up of a palace producing cottages, or the fragments of a steam-ship changing into yawl-boats, nor even the pieces of a wrecked locomotive becoming neat little engines or even respectable hand-cars. However, as the theory removed God out of sight, it was generally accepted by the infidels and freely used by them, to show that the world has no need of a Creator.

Genuine scientists, however, were not long in seeing the absurdity and demonstrating the {68} impossibility of such a theory. It was found that their orbits did not coincide by more than twenty millions of miles. Again, it has been proven that comets are incapable of greatly affecting a sun or planet. Herschel says, "It is evident that the most unsubstantial clouds which float in the highest region of our atmosphere must be looked upon as dense and massy bodies compared with the filmy texture of a comet."

Thus Reason declares, that 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. The work is not the workman; the house is not the builder; the watch is not the watchmaker. The maker is always distinct from the thing made and superior to it. You, and I, and the universe have been made; therefore, our Creator is distinct from us, and superior to us.

The consciousness of our ignorance and weakness confirms this fact. The soul of man is not the highest intelligence in the universe. In his present state he has not yet acquired a knowledge of the laws and functions of the body he inhabits, much less the laws that sway the universe. He may know much about what does not concern him; but he feels his weakness where his dearest interests are concerned. He may be able to tell the place of a distant planet a century hence; but he cannot tell where he himself will be next year. He may calculate for years the motion of the tides; but he cannot tell how his own pulse will beat to-morrow, {69} or whether it will beat at all. Ever as his knowledge of the laws of nature increases, his conviction deepens that a wiser head and a stronger hand than his planned and rules the world.

The world's history declares the existence and government of God. History is but the record of men's acts and God's providences, of men's crimes and God's punishments. Once He swept away the human race with a flood of water because the wickedness of man was great upon the earth. Again, He testified His displeasure against the wicked of Sodom and Gomorrah by consuming those cities by fire from heaven, and leaving the Dead Sea to roll its solemn waves of warning to the end of time. No amount of learning or skill, wealth or commerce, power of arms, or extent of territory, has ever secured a wicked nation against the sword of God's justice. Read the black record of the past. Where is the greatness of Egypt, Nineveh, Babylon and Petra? Tyre had ships, colonies and commerce, Rome an empire of half a hemisphere; Greece had philosophy, arts and liberty secured by a confederation of republics, Spain the treasures of the earth's gold and silver? but these did not exempt them from the moral government of God. His laws sway the universe, and link together sin with misery, and crime with punishment, in the brazen fetters of eternal justice. These nations have been hurled down from the pinnacle of their greatness, to dash themselves 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 fragments of former greatness, to show that they once existed and were the enemies of God.


The Dead Sea






The philosopher finds only two books in all the world—two divine, original books, viz., the Volume of Nature, and the Revelations of God. All others are mere commentaries upon these two original, divine books. To these pertain all that has been thought, said or written, in all the ages past; and, we might add, all that ever will be written in all the ages to come. That which explains, delineates or illustrates the volume of nature is called Science. That which unfolds to us the attributes of God, our own nature and destiny is revelation. It treats of that which man cannot otherwise perceive; its records are called the Scriptures or Books of Inspiration. {72} The volume of nature is written upon the rocks, fields, forests and all the varied forms of animal life, in symbolic characters, which it is the province of science to decipher. The volume of revelation is the impress of the divine will on man's spiritual nature. Thus both are the handwriting of Deity Himself. Science teaches us material laws in relation to time. Revelation instructs not merely in these, but likewise includes spiritual laws and eternal duration. The lessons that man learns from age to age are progressive even as a school boy's. Science and revelation are therefore progressive, though in somewhat different ways. The former advances mainly through the exercise of human reason; the latter through man's more favored circumstances, and the increased divine illumination of his spiritual nature. How vain, how arrogant the babblings of the sectarians who tell us that the book of revelation is forever closed! That man, in this puerile state, has already taken possession of the whole treasure of divine truth! That the human mind with its poor plummet has already sounded the depths of the divine oracles! Still more benighted are they who do not see that there is a divine as well as human element in all our progress, that purity of heart is necessary for the clearest perception even of the truths of science. Thus the nations as well as the individuals who have the highest spiritual light are precisely those who have made the greatest intellectual progress. If we look over a map of the world we find that those {73} nations which possess the purest religious ideas are precisely those which have made the greatest intellectual, social and political progress. Now religious ideas emanate from God. They are the result of the action of the divine will on the minds of men. Thus the progress of the nations depends upon the revelations of God.

Thousands of years ago, Solomon perceived this fact. He was a man of great learning as well as practical common sense. He understood not merely the science of government, but likewise botany, or the science of plants, from the mighty trees that grew on Mount Lebanon, to the tiny hyssop that grew in crevices of the garden wall: and the natural history of beasts and birds, reptiles and fishes. He was also skilled in literature; he is said to have made "three thousand proverbs, and his songs were a thousand and five" (see I. Kings, iv chap). Better than all this, in the opinion of many, especially infidels, he made money, and tells us how to make and keep it. Any young man will make hundreds of dollars by reading his Proverbs and acting on them. They would have saved some of us many a thousand. Of course Solomon 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 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 (see I. Kings, chap. x). Solomon 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 between the nations of the earth. Some were enlightened, enterprising, civilized and flourishing; others were naked savages, perpetually at war with each other, living in ignorance, poverty, vice and on the verge of starvation.





Solomon also noticed another fact, that the nations which were favored with the revelations of God, were the civilized, enterprising and comparatively prosperous nations. In Palestine, Chaldea and Mesopotamia, God had revealed His will to certain persons for the benefit of the race. Even Egypt, it is now generally admitted, passed through the era of her greatest prosperity at the time she was in close relationship and communication with the Hebrew Patriarchs, Abraham, Jacob and Joseph, who were the living oracles of God, and whose influence greatly increased for a time her national prosperity. On the other hand the nations that were uninfluenced by the revelations of God, were the idolatrous savages, who were but little above the level of the brutes. Solomon epitomized these great facts in the proverb, "Where there is no vision the people perish, but he that keepeth the law, happy is he" (Proverbs xxix, 18).

"O," says the skeptic, "the world is wiser now than it was in Solomon's days. He lived in the old times of ignorance and superstition, when men attributed everything extraordinary to the gods. But we are too wise now to believe in revelation."

{76} Again, Straus says, "No just notion of philosophy or history is possible which includes a belief of those things that we do not understand." Depth of wisdom indeed! We do not understand how a blade of grass grows, therefore we must deny its existence.

One cannot 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 these arrogant assertions, as if they were self-evident truths. Let us look at this argument for a moment. Pagan religions have their fables, therefore, the Hebrew and Christian records are fables. In other words, since counterfeit bank bills exist therefore none are genuine.

Skeptics offer no proofs that miracles are impossible. Yet, surely, if they imply a contradiction, that contradiction could be shown. The creation of this world is the most stupendous of all miracles; yet all men admit that this miracle occurred. The experience of man is not the limit of knowledge. Revelation is not impossible because supernatural. The world is as full of supernatural works as of natural. The miracles recorded in the strata of the earth's crust are as great as any recorded in the Bible.

If, as the infidel asserts, religion and superstition are identical, and ignorance is the cause, how {77} happens it that the most intellectual and progressive nations are those which have the clearest religious ideas? The history of nations universally and unequivocally declares this fact. Even among the so-called Christian nations of Europe and America we find their intellectual culture and general progress in exact proportion to the purity of their respective faiths. While we look in vain, among the heathen nations of Africa to find a single benefactor of the race, or one worthy to be distinguished among the millions of her population in all the countless generations past.

In the face of all this we find a sort of spiritualistic philosophers who tell us that we have no need of communication from God. Newman, in his Phases of Faith, page 157, says, "Miraculous phenomena will never prove the attributes of God if we do not know these things in and of ourselves." Carlyle, in his Past and Present, page 307, exclaims, "Revelations! inspirations! indeed! and thy own mighty transcendent, god-like soul, dost thou not call that a revelation?" Such sort of trash, which passes for profound philosophy, is taught in hundreds of colleges, and is echoed from thousands of pulpits by men who call themselves Christian ministers, but who could not reap their rich salaries if they would openly avow their atheism.

Theodore Parker says, "If a fact depends upon revelation, it is not eternally true, and if it is not eternally true it is no truth at all." Profound philosophy indeed!—as if eternally true, and sufficiently known were just the same thing. To use {78} a familiar illustration, because vaccination would always have prevented the small pox, if it had been known, therefore the world is under no obligation to Jenner for informing us of the fact. Newman adds in another place, "I cannot receive instruction from another being." Again, "Neither God nor man can reveal any religious truths to our minds." Parker says, "On His (God's) word or as His second, be he whom he may, I can accept nothing" (Parker's Discourse page 209).

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 or fifty years ago, they made their appearance among mankind as little squalling babies, without insight enough to know their own names or who they were, 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 learned the art of speaking articulate sounds, by external revelation: viz., hearing and repeating sounds made by others. Further, on a certain day they had a book revelation made to them, in the shape of a ten cent primer, and received their first lessons by the instructions of another. They had not then the least "insight," or "spiritual faculty," or "mighty transcendent soul," by which they could learn all things in and of themselves. Faith in the word of their teachers was absolutely the only means by which they learned to speak, read and write.

{79} But this is not half their indebtedness to external revelation. They admit that a Feejee cannibal has just the same "mighty and transcendent soul" that they themselves have. How, then, does it happen that Newman, Emerson and Parker, and all their followers, who are too proud to be taught of God, are not assembled around a cannibal's oven, smearing their faces with the blood and feasting themselves on the limbs of women and children? Is it not, after all, the revelations of God and the teachings depending thereon that make the whole difference between the civilized American and his Feejee brother?

It is amusing to see how these modern atheists, who reject Moses and the Prophets, as well as Christ and His Apostles, will permit themselves to go into ecstacies over the supposed wisdom of ancient heathen philosophers, such as Socrates, Plato and Aristotle. But on examination we find that the teachings of all these philosophers were immoral. The gratification of the sensual appetites was openly taught. "He may steal," says Plato, "who knows how to do it." Oaths are frequent in the writings of Plato and Seneca. Anstippus taught that a wise man had a right to commit adultery. Aristotle vindicated the awful crimes of foeticide and infanticide. Even suicide was defended 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.

{80} The laws of the best-regulated heathen states commended or approved of vice. The student of the classics need not be reminded that the songs of Ovid, Horace and Virgil would not be tolerated in the vilest theater of New York or Chicago. The laws of Sparta required theft, and the murder of unhealthy children. The Carthaginian law required human sacrifices; and in ancient Babylon, prostitution was compulsory on every female. Plato, dissatisfied with the laws of his country, wrote out a code of morals and laws which he thought much better. In this heathen Utopia the ideas of home and family were ignored. Marriage was to be unknown; 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. Little boys and girls were to be led to battle at a safe distance, "that the young whelps may early scent carnage and be inured to slaughter." Such were the loftiest ideas of the greatest philosopher of antiquity. After all his speculations and writing, Plato admitted, "We cannot 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 adds, "This lawgiver must be more than man, that he may teach us things man cannot know by his own nature." 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 {81} the better part is a secret to every one but God!" Also those memorable words, "We must of necessity wait till some one, who careth for us, shall come and instruct us how we ought to behave toward God and toward man."

Nor is it to be expected that the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, Romans and other heathen nations should have an exalted idea of virtue, when we consider the character of the gods they worshiped. The Egyptian deities consisted of bulls and dogs, cats and rats, snakes and crocodiles. When a dog died the whole house went into mourning and fasted till night. A Roman soldier who had accidentally killed a cat was punished with death (see Diodorus Siculus, Book I). The "great, mighty and transcendent soul," as Carlyle terms it, had been degraded so low that there is a picture in one of the pyramids, of an Egyptian king worshiping his own coffin.

The Greeks from their intercourse with the Jews learned some correct religious ideas, especially after the conquest of Palestine by Alexander, and the translation of the scriptures into the Greek language, in the reign of Ptolemy Philadelphus, B. C. 240. Before this period little sense can be found in their religion. Their gods were as detestable as they were numerous. Hesiod tells us they had thirty thousand. Their supreme god, Jupiter, was an adulterer. Mars, a murderer. Mercury, a thief, Bacchus, a drunkard and Venus, a prostitute. To their inferior gods they attributed other crimes too horrible to be mentioned. These gods {82} they worshiped with ceremonies of lust, drunkenness and bloodshed unfit to be described.

If any one supposes that the condition of the modern heathens is any better than it was in ancient times, let him turn to India, where he will find one hundred and fifty millions of rational beings, possessing, as Theodore Parker says, "all needful spiritual light," who worship three hundred and thirty millions of gods in the form of hills and trees, rivers and rocks, elephants and tigers, monkeys and rats, serpents and crocodiles, and monsters unlike anything in heaven or on earth. The monster idol, Juggernaut, will do as a specimen of all. Around his temple countless multitudes from all parts of India, congregate annually, many of them having measured with their own bodies the whole distance of their weary pilgrimage. Within the temple, the monster idol, with its frightful grim and distorted visage, sits enthroned, amid thousands of massive sculptures, the representative emblem of that cruelty and vice which constitute the very essence of his worship. There in their sacred city of Benares may be seen at all times crowds of religious devotees and mendicants; some remaining all day with their heads on the ground and their feet in the air; some cramming their eyes with mud and their mouths with straw; others with their limbs fastened in unnatural positions, and still others with little pots of fire placed upon their breasts, hoping by these self-inflicted tortures to win the favor of the god. When the day of the high festival arrives, the horrid idol is {83} dragged forth from his temple and mounted on a lofty car in the presence of hundreds of thousands who rend the air with their shouts, "Victory to Juggernaut!" Then the officiating priest commences the ceremonies by a loathsome pantomimic exhibition accompanied by the utterance of obscene and filthy songs, to which the vast multitude at intervals respond, not in the strains of tuneful melody, but in loud yells of approbation. After this the terrible carnage commences; for as the car is dragged through the streets, the more enthusiastic devotees throw themselves beneath the wheels, and are instantly crushed to pieces, the infatuated victims of hellish superstition. On the neighboring hills, the so-called sacred vultures may be seen feasting on these corpses and the bleak and barren sands on the roadside are forever whitened with the skulls and bones of deluded pilgrims, which lie bleaching in the sun (see Duff's India, page 222).

Of course, high-toned infidels do not consider themselves as debased as the natives of India. What then is the tendency of their teachings? M. Compte, a leading skeptical writer, tells us, "Childhood should be taught to worship idols, youth to believe in one God, and full grown men (like himself) to adore the resultant of all the forces of the universe, not forgetting their worthy friends the animals" (see Politique Positive, Vol. II. page 60). If this is not the teachings of idolatry, what is it?

Again, we find that the whole school of infidel writers vindicate and apologize for the very worst {84} of crimes. Bradlaugh, the leading atheist of England, declares that, "A man is no more to be blamed for the indulgence of lust or anger, than he is for thirst or drowsiness." Hume, whose arguments are so often used by American infidels, taught that "adultery must be practiced by mankind, if they would obtain all the advantages of life." Lord Chesterfield, another prominent infidel, in his letters to his son (which were designed for publication) instructs him in the art of seduction, as part of a polite education.

Nor is the character of infidels any better than their teachings. Take, for example, Thomas Paine, the author of the Age of Reason, whose birth-day is annually celebrated, and who is held up by infidels as a model for the young. A few extracts from a letter written to him, by his fellow-infidel, and co-worker, William Carver, may not be out of place.

"New Rochelle, December 2nd, 1803.

"Mr. Thomas Paine.

     "Sir:—I received your letter dated the 25th ult., 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 take you to New York, from New Rochelle. It is fortunate for me that I have a living witness who saw you give me five guineas, and no more in my shop at your departure at that time. Now you have means, why do you not pay me the remainder? You said you would have given me more, but that you had no more with you at that time. You say, also, {85} that you found your own liquors during the time you boarded with me; but you should have said that you found only a small part of the liquor you drank during your stay with me. That part you purchased of John Fellows and consisted of a demi-john of brandy containing four gallons, and that did not serve you three weeks. This can be proved, and I mean not to say anything that I cannot 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, besides the demi-john above mentioned, and the last fourteen weeks you were sick. Was not this a sufficient supply 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?"

Such is the morality of those who denounce the Bible as an immoral book, and blaspheme the God of revelation as too vile to be reverenced or worshiped. Not even the friends of Paine have ever denied the genuineness of this and other letters that clearly reveal his private character. (For full particulars see Discussion Between Dr. Berg and Mr. Barker, published by W. S. Young, Philadelphia, 1854.)

Once in modern times a nation had the opportunity of showing the world a specimen of an infidel republic. The Bible was publicly burned. Death was declared an eternal sleep; God was declared a fiction, the Sabbath was abolished and religious worship denounced. And what was {86} the consequence? Revolution after revolution occurred. Thousands, aye millions, of the sons of France were slain in the wars that ensued. Wave after wave of blood rolled through the guilty streets of Paris, and the people were clothed in mourning from one end of the land to the other. In the Declaration of Independence it is declared that, "Mankind are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights." It is well said: the law of God is the only secure basis for the rights of man.





Faith rests upon facts, superstition on theories. Faith is increased by intelligence, superstition by ignorance, Faith courts investigation for thereby it is strengthened; superstition shuns it as fatal to its existence. Thousands can bear witness to the truth of the words of the Savior, "If any man will do His will he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself;" yet surrounded as we are by skeptics and cavilers of every sort, it is well that we should be prepared to ward off the fiery darts of the wicked, to meet them with their own arguments, and as the youthful {88} David did to Goliath in days of old, cut off the boastful atheistic giant's head with his own sword.

In looking over the history of the world, we find that those books, which collectively are called the scriptures, have in all ages, exerted a controlling influence over the destinies of mankind. Their teachings are perused with pleasure by the child, and pondered with patience by the philosopher. Their practical wisdom has guided the judgment of the wisest kings of antiquity and still teach the humblest peasant his duty to his neighbor. Their precious promises have lighted the prophetic eyes of old; they are still chanted by the mother over her cradle, and by the orphan over the tomb. Here, thousands of miles distant from the places where they were first revealed, in a language unknown alike at Cumorah and Jerusalem, they rule as lovingly and as powerfully as in their native soil.

With all these palpable facts in view, let us enquire into the origin of the book which has produced such results. On looking at the Bible we find it composed of a number of separate treatises written by different authors, 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 matters of which we have no other authentic history. Again, we find portions which treat of events connected in a thousand places with the affairs of the Medo-Persian, Macedonian and Roman empires, of which we have several credible {89} histories. Now the statements made in these works, so far as they refer to subjects mentioned in the Bible agree with the Biblical record, in every particular. Further, the inscriptions on monuments and ancient coins have often settled mooted questions in history and invariably have been found to agree with the scriptural narrative. For example, we are told in Acts, xiv 12, that Paul went "to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony." "Now," says the infidel, "Greece at that time was a conquered country; and it was contrary to Roman customs to form colonies of Roman citizens in conquered countries. Besides, we have no account by any Roman historian that Philippi was a colony. Hence we may conclude that the New Testament account is incorrect."

Roman Coin


At first all this seemed plausible, but a few years ago, a scientific association was formed to excavate among the ruins of eastern cities, and, among others, Philippi came in for a share of attention. In excavating around one of the ruins an ancient coin was unearthed, which bore upon its surface the effigy of a Roman emperor, surrounded by the following inscription: "PHILIPPI COLONA, CLAUDIUS IMPERATOR," which signifies in plain English, "Colony of Philippi, Claudius being emperor."

{90} Here, then, we have an ancient Roman coin bearing testimony to the truth of God's word. Further, by means of this coin we see a depth of meaning, in the last five verses of the 16th chapter of Acts, not at first perceptible. We are thus able to perceive, in some degree, the terror of the Philippian magistrates when they learned that Paul and Silas were also Romans.

Day by day as scientific investigation proceeds we hear of additional corroborative evidence. Every year throws some new light on oriental manners and customs, while from the ruins of Nineveh and the sepulchres of Egypt, we receive unlooked-for testimonies to the minute accuracy of the inspired penmen. The objection that the scriptures contain mysteries, or statements which are difficult to be understood, is in reality one of the strongest proofs of their divine source and authority. The words of a teacher are often misunderstood by the pupil, because the pupil's mind is not sufficiently developed to comprehend them. Sometimes, indeed, they are entirely misapprehended for the same reason. So also, it is to be expected that the full import of the divine communications would sometimes transcend the partially-developed intellect of man. The thoughts and methods of infinite wisdom, expressed in the plainest of human words, must sometimes remain inscrutible. After all that can be said in reference to the weakness of the human medium, through which the divine will has been communicated, we find in the scriptures, a wonderful agreement with the development of {91} truths which have come to man in the progress of the ages. Science has never successfully impeached any statement of the scriptures when rightly interpreted. For example, "in the first chapter of Genesis we find a brief account of the creation of the world. Until modern times, it was the popular opinion that this narrative taught that the earth and heavens were created during an interval of six days of twenty-four hours each and that the work dates back but a few thousand years. These views were entertained when our Bible was translated into English. Since that date, several sciences have sprung into existence which throw a vast amount of light on the history of the creation; and if King James' translators had their work to perform to-day, they would see meanings in Genesis of which the world had not dreamed two hundred years ago; and they would make the translation read a little differently, in order to make it agree more exactly with the original Hebrew." (Winchell's Reconciliations page 357).

Have we not here one of the plainest admissions of the total apostasy of the so-called Christian church? Had the translators of the scriptures been in possession of the Holy Spirit, they would have had no difficulty in translating the sentiments dictated by that same Spirit to the seers and prophets in ages past. Then, too, we would have had a translation which would have furnished a key by which to detect the true science from the false. In Genesis we have an account, to which, when rightly understood, the latest indications of {92} science admirably conform. This circumstance alone, ought to be strong evidence, even to a skeptic, of its super-human origin. Written ages before the birth of modern sciences, there was the utmost liability for mere human authorship to fall into the most egregious misstatements respecting the phenomena of the natural world; but in point of fact some of its statements were so far in advance of the highest human knowledge in all the ages past, and even the boasted science of the nineteenth century, that we are only just beginning to understand them.

Now, the only way for us to know anything beyond our eyesight, is to examine it, and gather testimony about it. All the blessings of education, civilization, law and liberty have come to us through the channel of abundant, reliable testimony. There is perhaps, not a man living who was present at the battle of Quebec, in the encampment of Valley Forge, or heard Washington deliver his farewell address; yet the fact that these things transpired as they are related, no one will doubt. Few persons now living ever saw Washington, yet no one doubts that he lived. Certainty about the Bible history is just as attainable as certainty about American history. Let us begin at the present and trace the records back to the times in which the New Testament was written. We presume there are few persons as ignorant as an infidel lecturer we once heard, who, when asked, "Who compiled the scriptures?" answered, after some hesitation, "The American Bible Society."

{93} Sometimes infidels tell us that the Emperor Constantine called various councils which compiled the New Testament, in the fourth century. We can scarcely wonder at this statement coming from those who look upon the Catholic church as representing Christianity. Constantine, the man who had murdered two of his sons, and strangled, while in a bath, the wife who had trusted in him, was surely a worthy representative of that church whom the Apostle John styles the mother of harlots and abominations of the earth. Still we cannot help asking how it was that this murderer who had made himself obnoxious even in pagan Rome on account of his crimes and his confederates equally wicked, was able to dictate words of such sublime virtue as are everywhere found in the New Testament. The infidel, Gibbon, attempts to explain, and tells us "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." But how came they to have this "belief, purity and zeal?" Just as if we should enquire how the Chicago fire originated, and you should tell us, that it burned very fast because it was very hot. What we want to know is how it happened that frivolous Greeks, licentious Asiatics and warlike Romans at once became pure and adopted the humble life of the early Christians? What implanted the belief of a judgment to come in the minds of {94} these heathen scoffers? Gibbon admits that, "Christian churches were sufficiently numerous in the Roman empire, to make it politic for the emperor to profess Christianity, and sufficiently powerful to secure his success." Thus according to the admissions of an infidel writer the Christians were already numerous, and the story of Constantine forming the New Testament, which had been read in churches and believed in for two hundred years, is as absurd as to hear it stated that the saloon keepers, prize-fighters and hoodlums of New York had just assembled in the Large Tabernacle in Salt Lake City to construct the revelations contained in the book of Doctrine and Covenants, which have been already accepted and believed by the Saints, for more than fifty years.

If, on the other hand, we consult any or all of the hundreds of manuscripts mentioned by Mosheim, Neander and Lardner in their ecclesiastical histories we shall find that there were thousands, aye millions, who believed in a teacher sent from God who had appeared in Palestine and taught this religion which they had embraced, and who had performed wonderful miracles such as opening the eyes of the blind, healing lepers and raising the dead. They believed also that this Teacher had been put to death by Pontius Pilate, a Roman governor, had risen again from the dead, had spoken to hundreds of people and gone out and in among them for six weeks after His resurrection, had ascended up to heaven in the sight of numbers of witnesses, and had promised that He would {95} come again in the clouds of heaven to raise the dead and judge every man according to his works. Further, that before He went away he appointed twelve of His intimate companions to teach His religion to the world; that they and their followers did so in spite of persecutions, sufferings and death, with so much success, that immense numbers gave up idolatry and embraced Christianity, braving the fury of the heathen mob, and the vengeance of the Roman law. Afterwards, when persecution had destroyed great numbers, and through apostasy they had lost the divine authority and priesthood we hear of various councils wherein they assembled for the settling of their disputes. These, so far from giving authority to the books of the New Testament, constantly quoted the words of these books and referred to them for proof and authority.

Again, one hundred years before the time of Constantine we find Celsus, a celebrated infidel writer and sensualist, disputing the teachings of the gospel because they interfered with his depraved appetites; and in his writings he quotes freely from the New Testament. So numerous are his quotations that from them alone, the student might gain all the principal facts of the Christian religion. As Paine quotes the New Testament to ridicule it, no man can deny that such a book was in existence at the time he wrote; so the quotations of Celsus are conclusive proofs that the books he referred to were considered authority at the time he wrote. Yet in all his writings, Celsus never {96} once casts a doubt on the authority of the scriptures, never questions the gospels as books of history nor denies the miracles recorded in them. It may also be added that the student who will examine the writings of Celsus, will cease to admire the professed wisdom of our modern skeptics. The objections made by Hume, Voltaire, Hobles and Paine are frequently only the arguments of Celsus served up in a modern style.

Going back still another hundred years we come to the times of the notorious apostate, Marcion. Several of the apostles were alive at the time Marcion was born; and his works date back to within twenty years of the latest apostolical writings. Having been cut off from the church, he was greatly enraged and said the worst he could about it. He traveled all the way from Sinope, on the Black Sea, to Rome, through Galatia, Bythynia, Asia-Minor, Greece and Italy, the very countries where the apostles preached, and the churches to which they wrote. He endeavored in many places to wrest the scriptures from their rightful meaning; but nowhere attempted to deny their authority (see Lardner, Vol. ix, page 358). Thus in the writings of Celsus and Marcion we have the most indubitable evidence, even the admission of enemies, that these books were in existence and universally received as true, by the early Christians, within twenty years of the time when they were written and by the very churches to which they were addressed. As printing was then unknown, and all important doctrines were written upon {97} parchment, the books of that period presented rather a bulky appearance. Probably for this reason the four books, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, were commonly joined together in one volume and named The Gospel. The Acts of the Apostles, and the Epistles to the churches of Thessalonica, Galatia, Rome, Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Collosse, the First Epistle of Peter, the First Epistle of John, together with those written to Philemon, Timothy and Titus, comprised a second volume called The Apostles. The remaining books of the New Testament, being the last written, usually formed a third volume and were known as Apostolical Writings. This arrangement did not injure the meaning but rather benefitted it by showing the relative dates of the various books comprising the New Testament.

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. This agreement of independent writers is the more remarkable, as the writers were persons of 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 a tax collector in the province of Galilee; Mark, a Hebrew citizen of Jerusalem; Luke, a Greek physician of Antioch; James and John owned and sailed a fishing boat {98} on Lake Tiberias; Jude left his home and shop in Galilee in order to preach the gospel; college-bred Paul cast his parchments and popularity aside, carried his sturdy independence in his breast, and his sail needles in his pocket, and dictated epistles and cut out jib sails and awnings in the tent factory of "Aquila, Paul & Co.," at Corinth; several of Paul's letters were written in a dungeon at Rome; the last of Peter's is dated at Babylon; Matthew's gospel was penned at Jerusalem, and John's gospels and epistles were written at Ephesus. The agreement of eight such witnesses, of different pursuits, and so scattered over the world, in relation to the same story is a convincing: proof of its veracity.

The manner in which the Apostles published their testimony to the world, bears every mark of truthfulness. Strong in the consciousness of right, they dared to assert that Jesus had 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. "The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom ye slew and hung on a tree. Him that 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). Had Paul been conscious that he was relating falsehood, would he have dared to appeal to the judge, before whom he {99} was on trial for his life, as 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).

The boldness of their preaching, however, is little, compared with the boldness of their design, which was nothing less than to convert the world. The heathens never dreamed of such a thing. 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" (Acts xxii, 22).

It is remarkable, that while in addressing the Saints, the apostles rarely allude to their power of working miracles (fourteen of the epistles make no allusion to apostolic miracles), but dwell on the subject of a holy life. Yet 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.

Read the story of the miraculous healing of the poor, lame beggar, who laid at the gate of the temple, as recorded in the third and fourth chapters of Acts. Who ever heard of an impostor standing up before the tribunal of his judges, and pleading his cause in the following manner, "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 {100} 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 who 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 cannot deny it."

The denial of the miracles of the gospel is a modern invention. The Scribes and priests, emperors and philosophers of the first century, who had the best opportunity of proving their falsehood, were unable to do so. Why, then, it may be asked, did they not all become Christians? Because a miracle cannot convert a man against his will. The religion of the gospel is not merely a belief in miracles, but the love of Christ and a life in conformity with His commands.

The labors and sufferings of the apostles themselves furnish strong proof of the facts of gospel history. 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 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 that by which they had their wealth. The most degraded wretch who perishes on the scaffold is not more contemptible in our eyes than the crucified Redeemer was to the Jewish and Roman peoples.

{101} What, then, could induce any men in their senses to stem the tide of such opposition if they were manufacturing falsehoods to gain popularity and power. The religion they preached was not adapted to please sensual men; even infidels admit that they preached a pure morality. No provision was made for making money by their preaching. One of their first acts was to cause the church to elect deacons who might manage its money matters, and allow the apostles to give themselves wholly to prayer and the ministry of the word (Acts vi, 2-5). Twenty-five years after 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: being defamed, we intreat: we are made as the filth of the world, and are the offscouring of all things unto this day" (I. Cor. iv, 11-13).

The New Testament opens with the story of the Savior'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 (II. Tim. iv chap.).

Unpopular and penniless, if the gospel story were not true, how could it have had preachers? When Paul was changed from a persecutor to a disciple, behold the prospect the Savior presents to him, "I will show him how great things he must suffer for my {102} sake." Paul declares, "The Holy Ghost testifieth that in every city bonds and afflictions abide me. Yet none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I may finish my course with joy" (Acts xx, 23, 24). In another place he adds, "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 T 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" (II. Cor. xi, 24-27).

Man can give no higher proof of his veracity, save to seal his testimony with his blood. This the apostles did. All, except John, suffered martyrdom for the truth of the gospel.





In a former chapter was shown some of the internal evidences of the validity of the New Testament. By continuing our investigations we find other and valuable proofs of its authenticity. There was no printing in those days; therefore the people to whom the gospels and epistles were addressed, had the opportunity of knowing by the handwriting whether these documents were genuine or not. For example, Paul in his second epistle to the Thessalonians, says: "The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is the token in every epistle: so I write. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen." These words show indeed the heart of an apostle; but what a business man would most appreciate is the fact how greatly these few lines add to the {104} security against forgery. It is a 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. The churches to whom the epistles were written and to whom the gospels were delivered consisted largely of business men, merchants, traders, city chamberlains and officers of Caesar's household. Does any one think that such men could not tell the handwriting of the apostle who had lived among them for years or that they cared less for the documents of the gospel, for which they risked their lives, than we would care about the genuineness of a ten dollar check? Tertulian, who lived from A. D. 145 to 222, was one of the most learned men of that age. He was well versed in Roman law, in ancient philosophy, history and poetry. He had been brought up a heathen, and was not therefore likely to favor the teachings of the apostles without due investigation. His writings are interesting, throwing much light on the circumstances and social questions of that age. He traveled extensively among the churches which the apostles had planted and claims to have seen the original copies of Matthew and John and the epistles written to the churches at Rome, Corinth, Thessalonica, Ephesus and Philippi, and refers skeptics to the places where these documents could be found. That these writings contained the same words as are in our present New Testament is evident from the numerous quotations in Tertulian's works.

{105} In the British and other museums may be found thousands of manuscripts on every conceivable subject embracing every age for the past sixteen hundred years and even some still earlier. Among these manuscripts are over two thousand copies of the New Testament, some of them dating back to apostolic times. These manuscripts have been scrutinized by the most critical scholars; yet the result of this examination is merely the suggestion of thirteen unimportant alterations in the seven thousand nine hundred and fifty-nine verses of the New Testament. This is a fact utterly unexampled in the history of manuscripts. We are thus, by the special providence of God, as undoubtedly in possession of genuine copies of the gospels and epistles, some of which were written while the companions of the Savior were still living and the divine authority and Priesthood were still upon the earth, as we are of genuine copies of the Constitution of the United States and of the Declaration of Independence.

There is no history so trustworthy as that prepared by cotemporary 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," Wellington's dispatches, and Washington's letters to Congress, will be as trustworthy as on the day they were written. Of the great facts described in these {106} documents addressed to their cotemporaries, able at a glance to detect a falsehood, we never entertain the least suspicion. Many such historical allusions might be quoted.

We have selected one from the well-known works of Tacitus, the celebrated Roman historian, who lived between A. D. 60 and 120, and wrote a history of Rome up to the reign of the emperor Trajan. Concerning this extract from the history of Tacitus the infidel, Gibbon, says, "The most skeptical criticism is obliged to respect the truth of this important fact and the integrity of this important passage of Tacitus." After relating the burning of the city of Rome by order of Nero, and his attempt to transfer the odium of it to the Christians, Tacitus 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; afterwards, a vast multitude were discovered by them; all of whom were condemned, not so much for the crime of the burning of 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 {107} 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."

Now let the reader take up the New Testament and read the last six chapters of Acts and the letters of Paul to Philemon, Titus and the second to Timothy. These letters were written when the aged prisoner was ready to be martyred, and the time of his departure was at hand. Then let the reader form his opinion of the origin and nature of that faith which enabled Paul 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."

There is still another kind of cotemporary history, which does not even propose to relate history at all; but is for that very reason entirely removed from the suspicion of making a false statement. By this is meant cotemporary correspondence. The undersigned and incidental use of a name, a date or a quotation often flashes conviction upon the reader's mind in the most forcible manner. If we have the private letters of celebrated men laid before us, we are enabled to look right into them, and see their true characters. Thus Macaulay exhibits to the world the proud, lying, stupid tyrant King, James, displayed in his own letters. Thus the celebrated Voltaire records himself an adulterer, and begs his friend {108} D'Alembert to lie for him, and his friend replies that he has done so. Thus the correspondence of Thomas Paine 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 veil 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 to the world their letters, and no just person would hesitate to pronounce Hume a sensualist, or Washington, "the noblest work of God," an honest man.

Now we are in possession of this same kind of indisputable evidence concerning the great facts of the New Testament. From the abundant notices of the faith, teachings and practices of the early saints, which are to be found in the works of cotemporaneous writers, historians and poets, philosophers and magistrates, Jewish, Christian and heathen; it may be well to select one, to corroborate and compare with the statements of the New Testament. Lest we should be accused of partiality, let us take the celebrated letter of Pliny to Trajan. This letter is utterly undeniable and admitted by the most skeptical to be beyond suspicion, Pliny, the younger, was born A. D. 61. He lived and died a pagan. In A. D. 106, when a little more than forty-five years of age, he was appointed by the emperor Trajan to be governor of the Roman provinces of Pontus and Bithynia—a vast tract of Asia-Minor, in which {109} were situated the cities and churches of Ephesus, Smyrna, Pergamos, Thyatira, Sardis and Philadelphia. The Epistles of Peter "to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia Asia, and Bithynia," brings us to the same mountainous region. Pliny, having taken up his residence in Ephesus, wrote the following letter to the Roman emperor:

"Pliny to the Emperor Trajan wishes health and happiness.

"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? T 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.

"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 (Rome).

"In a short time, the crime spreading itself even while under persecutions, as is usual in such cases, divers sorts of people came in my way. And information was presented to me, {110} without mentioning the author, containing the names of many persons, who, upon examination denied that they were Christians, or had ever been so; who repeated after me an invocation to 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 afterwards 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, who 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 {111} the open country. Nevertheless, it seems 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."

To this the Emperor Trajan replied:

"Trajan to Pliny wisheth health and happiness:

"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 supplication 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."

Now let us read the First General Epistle of Peter, the First General Epistle of John, and the second and third chapters of Revelation and we will be able to see the force of the various allusions, to the numbers, doctrines, morals and persecutions of the Saints as mentioned in this letter. The doctrines of the Christian faith then are not the gradual growth of centuries, as the infidel would make us believe. On the other hand the primitive churches possessed a perfection of doctrine and organization unknown to the so-called Christian churches of the present day. In the life time {112} of those who had seen the Savior crucified, and in countries a thousand miles distant from Jerusalem, we find the Saints scattered over Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, as well as in the world's proud capital, the city of Rome. In this letter also we have the testimony of apostates, eager to save their lives by giving such information as they knew would be acceptable to the persecuting governor, the testimony of the two servants under torture, and the unwilling, yet express testimony; of their torturer, that all his cruel ingenuity could discover nothing worse than what he called "a bad and excessive superstition." Now, what was it that this heathen governor called a "superstition?" Why simply that 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 a statue of the emperor was presented to them they refused to make supplication to it. For this refusal, and this alone, he ordered them away to death. And as these martyrs went away to torture and to death, may they not have heard tingling in their ears the words of Peter which had been written to them a few years previous: "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But 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" (I. Peter iv, 12-15). Pliny says that there were apostates twenty years previous, that is in the year 86. Now does not {113} that exactly coincide with what John wrote to them in the year 90: "They went out from us but they were not of us, for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us" (I. John ii. 19). So Pliny speaks of the apostates, "They all worshiped your image and 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 was it that enabled the early Saints of all ranks and all ages, of both sexes likewise, to joyfully meet death in its most horrid forms? It was the power of truth—it was the power of God.

Now, the grand idea that strikes us in the testimony of the Saints, both of primitive and modern times, 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. Confucius, Buddha or Zoroaster never attained to such sublime ideas. Our modern positivists and spiritualists perceiving the grandeur of this doctrine, have vainly attempted to destroy this, the key-stone of the gospel arch.

There is no instance in the whole world's history of any other religion ever producing the same effects; no other instance of men destitute of wealth, arms, power and learning, converting multitudes of lying, lustful, murdering idolators {114} into honest, peaceable Christians, simply by prayer and preaching. When the skeptic tells us of the rapid spread of impostures which enlist disciples by promising free license to lust, robbery and murder, and retain them by the terror of scimetar and rifle ball, he simply insults our common sense, by ignoring the difference between the degrading practices of vice, and the ennobling principles of virtue. The gospel stands alone in its doctrines, singular in its operation, unequalled in its success.

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The living or written testimony of those who have been actively engaged in the great latter-day {115} work will ever have a weight far superior to any given by inimical or disinterested parties. Still, the descriptions given and the historical facts and incidents related by such persons are often highly interesting as furnishing glimpses of scenes and facts unmentioned by more prominent actors. For example, the discourse delivered by Thomas L. Kane before the Historical Society of Pennsylvania, throws a flood of light upon the manners and customs of the Latter-day Saints and the scenes attending their expulsion from Nauvoo, which no history of the Church has exceeded; and this is all the more valuable as it corroborates many of the statements made by the Saints. So in like manner there are many references made by secular writers which throw light on New Testament history, and by this light we see a new beauty and force in the language of the inspired writers.

No man of sense will for a moment hesitate to acknowledge the superiority of the narratives written by Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, to any merely human composition. The biographies of the Savior, written by Fleetwood and others bear no comparison to the simple, yet sublime records of the evangelists. But it does not militate against the authority of the scriptures to read a description of the personal appearance of the Savior as described by Marcus, a Roman lawyer who resided at Jerusalem, and still preserved in the works of Origen:


"Jesus of Nazareth, sometimes called the Galilean, was a most remarkable person. In stature He was above the medium hight, straight and tall. His complexion was fair: His hair was of a brown color, and fell in heavy curls upon His shoulders. His eyes were blue, and possessed such a penetrating power that no man could meet His gaze. His beard was of a deep wine color, fine and full: it is said that He was never shaved. His countenance was majestic, calm and serene, bearing the impress of wisdom, justice and love."

Again, we have the testimony of Josephus, the celebrated Jewish historian who flourished between the thirty-seventh and ninety-eighth year of the Christian era. He was a Jewish priest and had no connection with the early saints; yet in the History of the Antiquities of the Jews, Book xviii, he declares:

"Now there was about this time, Jesus, a wise man, if it be lawful to call Him a man, for He was a doer of wonderful works, a teacher of such men as receive the truth with pleasure. He drew over to Him, both many of the Jews, and many of the Gentiles. He was the Christ. And when Pilate, at the suggestion of the principal men among us, had condemned Him to the cross, those that loved Him at the first, did not forsake Him, for He appeared to them alive on the third day: as the divine prophets had foretold these and ten thousand other wonderful things concerning Him. And the tribe of Christians, so named from Him, are not extinct at this day."

In the time of Christ, Palestine was in the very center of the then known world. To the north and north-east lay the decaying remnants of the Medo-Persian and still more ancient Babylonian and Assyrian empires; on the east were the powerful tribes of Arabia, who, fearless of any foreign power, had built their capital in the rugged defiles {117} of Arabia-Petrea, the magnificent ruins of which astonish the travelers of the present day.

On the south lay Egypt reposing in gloomy grandeur and already boasting a hoary antiquity; yet even this ancient civilization was to a great extent indebted to the founders of the Jewish commonwealth. On the west lay the classic countries of Greece and Italy.

As is well known, after the Babylonish captivity, the Jews were widely scattered. Comparatively few of them availed themselves of the permission granted by Cyrus, to return to Palestine. The majority remained in Babylonia or wandered into other lands. In Alexandria, for example, at the time of Christ, fully one-half the inhabitants were Jews, who by trading had become rich and powerful. At that time the coasts of Arabia and even India were visited by Jewish merchants. In Asia Minor and Greece there was scarcely a town without its Jewish synagogue. In Rome the Jews possessed the greater part of the Trastevere, or right bank of the Tiber. From the time of Julius Caesar they were allowed to build synagogues and granted many other privileges. All these Jews who lived outside of Palestine and formed a majority of the whole nation were commonly called the Dispersion, It was this class of persons to which the Jews referred, when in speaking of Christ, they said, "Will He go unto the dispersed among the Gentiles and teach the Gentiles?" (John vii, 25). Yet these Jews still considered Jerusalem as their center, regarded the Sanhedrim (or high council) {118} as their highest church court, sent yearly gifts of money and sacrifices to the temple, and visited it from time to time at the great festivals.

It is easy to see how this state of things aided the spread of the gospel. The feasts of the Passover and of Pentecost brought many of these dispersed Jews from the neighboring countries to Jerusalem. Thus thousands, who were not residents of Palestine, had an opportunity at these yearly feasts to become acquainted with the teachings and miracles of Jesus. It was also at the time of the great feast of the Passover, that the crucifixion took place. Fifty days later was the feast of Pentecost at which time occurred those wonderful events recorded in the second chapter of Acts.

Thus, we perceive, how it was that people from various nations had gathered together; and how important the gift of tongues whereby each could hear in his own language the wonderful works of God. (See Acts ii, 5, 9-11.)

These men on their return carried the news of Christianity to their homes. Then again the apostles in their missionary travels found synagogues in all the principal towns and cities; likewise, devout persons who were looking forward to the advent of the Messiah and the redemption of Israel. Of these might be mentioned Dorcas, and Cornelius, (Acts ix, 10.) Lydia (Acts xvi, 14.), Aquilla and Priscilla, (Acts xviii), Eunice and Lois, the mother and grandmother of Timothy, and many others.

{119} Every synagogue was, as it were, a missionary station in readiness for them with friends and inquirers already there to welcome them. The influence of the Jews had helped also to undermine heathenism and thus to prepare the ground for Christianity. So much was this the case that the Roman philosopher, Seneca, in speaking of the Jews, says, "The conquered have given laws to the conquerors." Josephus, in his Antiquities, Book 18, says, "Many of the Jews held high offices, and lived at the courts of princes. Even the empress Poppea, wife of Nero was a proselyte to Judaism." In his autobiography, he relates that, when in Rome, he made the acquaintance of this empress through a Jewish favorite of Nero, and at once received from her the release of some imprisoned Jewish priests together with large presents. Through her influence also was due much of that bitterness which characterized the persecutions of the saints in the reign of Nero.

Juvenal, a Latin poet, ridicules the prevalence of Jewish customs; also many of the Greeks, following the teachings of Socrates, believed in the existence of an "unknown God." It is in the very nature of man to believe in something. When the absurdities of heathenism became apparent, men fell into other superstitions. More and more was felt the want of a true religion. Even the Samaritans who were so carried away by the sorceries of Simon Magus, as to call him "the great power of God," readily received the preaching of the gospel. (Act viii, 5.) So also Sergius {120} Paulus, who, dissatisfied with heathenism, had with him the Jewish sorcerer and false prophet Elymas, was won to the Christian faith by the preaching of Paul (Acts xiii, 6-11). Indeed the best feature of that age was a strong religious yearning. Expectations of a coming Messiah, in various forms and degrees of clearness, were at that time, by the political collision of the nations and by their intellectual and religious contact, spread over all the nations; and, like the first red streaks upon the horizon, announced the approach of day. The Persians were looking for their Sosiosch, who should conquer Ahriman and his kingdom of darkness. The Chinese sage, Confucius, pointed his disciples to a Holy One who should appear in the west. The wise men who came to worship the new-born king of the Jews, we must look upon as representatives of the Messianic hopes of oriental heathens.

The western nations, on the contrary, looked toward the east for the dawn of a better day. The Roman historians, Suetonius and Tacitus, both speak of a current saying in the Roman empire, that in the east, and more particularly in Judea, a new universal empire would soon be set up.

Thus, in a time, the like of which history before or since has never seen, appeared the Savior of men. Amid the dying and decaying forms of ancient society, while those things that had been the objects of man's enthusiastic love were withering away, Christ came that through Him humanity should receive a new, youthful life.

{121} Impenitent Judaism, it is true, still wanders, ghost like through all ages and countries: but only as an incontrovertible living witness of the divinity of the Christian religion.

The Jews who were scattered through the various countries of the east came in contact with the manners and customs of those various countries, and this had a tendency to break down Jewish exclusiveness and prepare the minds of many for broader and more liberal views. Hence we find that several of the most useful men of the apostolic church, such as Stephen, the martyr, Philip, the deacon, Paul and Barnabas were of this class. Barnabas was, indeed one, of the most remarkable men of the age in which he lived. He was born in the island of Cyprus, but removed to Jerusalem where he became one of the active members of the apostolic church.

After the martyrdom of Stephen and in consequence of the persecution which followed, some of the disciples were scattered as far as Antioch, whither Barnabas was sent to organize a church, and here the disciples first received the name of Christians. (Acts xi, 26.) It was Barnabas who first introduced Paul to the rest of the apostles and removed the mistrust which was felt towards him. Afterwards, when Paul was living a retired life in his native city of Tarsus, Barnabas sought him out and brought him to Antioch. To win over this great reticent and susceptible soul, to labor with him and even to take a subordinate place under him, indicate both wisdom and {122} humanity; and this is what Barnabas did for Paul.

Saul, afterwards Latinized into Paul, was born at Tarsus in Cilicia, in the tenth or twelfth year of our era. Paul's father early intended that he should become a religious teacher, but, according to the customs of that age, taught him a trade also, by which he afterwards supported himself without becoming a burden to the church. He came to Jerusalem at an early age and entered the school of Gamaliel the elder. This Gamaliel was one of the most learned men in Jerusalem, and the youthful Paul soon became a leader in society. This is evident from the position he held at the death of Stephen. Paul was short in stature, somewhat stooping and at the middle age his hair was thin, inclining to baldness. His countenance was pale and half hidden by a dark beard. His nose was aquiline, his eyes piercing and his eyebrows heavy. It is said that he possessed one of those strange visages which though plain, yet, when lighted up by emotion, assumes a deep brilliancy and grandeur. Paul was a man of great politeness and exquisite manners. His letters show that he was a man of rare intelligence, who formed for his lofty sentiments, expressions of great beauty. No correspondence exhibits more careful attention, finer shades of meaning or more amiable pleasantries. What animation! What a wealth of charming sayings! What simplicity! It is easy to see that his character is that of a polite, earnest and affectionate man.

{123} Simon, or Peter, as he was afterwards called, was a son of the fisherman, Jonas. He resided at Capernaum, on the shore of the sea of Galilee, where he followed his father's occupation. His brother, Andrew, who had been a disciple of John the Baptist, first brought him to Jesus by whom he was called to be a fisher of men. He was one of the witnesses of the transfiguration on Mount Tabor, and the agony of the Savior in the garden of Gethsemane. He was evidently the leader of the ancient apostles. In the four places where a list of the twelve is given, he is invariably placed at the beginning; and in many other places he is mentioned as the leading speaker. In Peter's character we have a remarkable combination of great natural talents and virtues, with peculiar weaknesses. This apostle was distinguished from the other eleven by an ardent, impulsive, sanguine temperament, and an open, shrewd, practical nature. He was always ready to speak out his mind, to resolve and to act. His excitable, impulsive disposition led him sometimes to over-estimate his powers, to trust too much to himself, and, in the hour of danger, to yield to opposite impressions. Thus we find that, in spite of his usual firmness and joy in confessing his faith, he actually denied the Savior when arraigned in the palace of Caiphas. In learning he was inferior to Paul, and in loving character, to John; but he possessed, in an eminent degree, the gift of inspiration which enabled him to act with promptness and decision.

{124} The apostle and evangelist, John, was the son of Zebedee, and the brother of the elder James. His mother was one of the women who supported Jesus with their property, and brought spices to embalm Him. John himself owned a house in Jerusalem, into which he received the mother of the Savior after the crucifixion. He was the only one of the apostles who was present at the cross, and to him Jesus committed the care of his mother. (John xix, 26, 27.) Nicephorus states that Mary continued to live with John until her death, which occurred about fourteen years after the crucifixion. After this, John went to preside over the church at Ephesus. Here he wrote the gospel and epistle that bear his name. In the reign of Domitian, about the year 84, he was called to Rome where he was condemned to be put to death by being thrust into a caldron of boiling oil. From this he miraculously escaped, even as the three Hebrews who were cast into the fiery furnace. Afterwards he was banished to the solitary, rocky island, Patmos, where he received that wonderful prophetic history of the conflicts and conquests of the church, which is called the Apocalypse, or Revelation. In the opening chapter he says, "I, John, who also am your brother and companion in tribulation, and in the kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was in the isle that is called Patmos, for the word of God and for the testimony of Jesus Christ."

When Peter asked the manner of John's death, the Savior replied, "'If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee?'

{125} "Then went this saying abroad among the brethren that that disciple should not die."

Peter, James and John were the chosen among the chosen, upon whom the Savior bestowed special favor. Peter was a man of great energy, fitted to be a leader in the church and in society. John possessed a deep, affectionate nature, which made him the dearest of the Savior's three chosen friends.

Of James we know very little. He seems to have been of a quiet, earnest, meditative turn. He presided over the church at Jerusalem until the year forty-four of our era, when he sealed his testimony with his blood, being the first of that glorious band of apostolic martyrs.

Such were the chief actors in New Testament times. The great facts of their lives are corroborated both by Jewish and heathen writers, and admitted to be true by the most eminent of modern infidels, such as Volney, Straus and Renan. Christianity did not take its rise in an obscure corner of the earth. On the other hand, from the very first it attracted the attention of the good, the wise and the learned, and aroused the opposition of the wicked, though they were powerful kings and potentates of the earth. Yet, in spite of all, it has won its way, both in ancient times and at the present day among the honest in heart by the simplicity, grandeur and harmony of its truths.

We must, therefore, accept the New Testament as a whole. We cannot accept the writings of one, and say they are true, and reject the writings of {126} another, teaching the same doctrine, and say it is false. Neither can we accept the gospel and reject the epistles, for there is not a doctrine of the gospel which is not taught in the very first of them, that written by Matthew.

He who writes forgeries must needs be well posted in the matter of names, dates and places, or else he will contradict some well-known facts and so expose his forgery to the world. Men who write falsehoods do not write as follows:

"Now, in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother, Philip, tetrarch of Iturea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanius 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 family references, every one of which can be proven true by the statements of cotemporaneous secular writers. Infidels have utterly failed in their attempts to disprove one of the hundreds of such statements in the New Testament.

Among the various historical evidences of primitive Christianity, none seem more authentic or possess a deeper interest than those connected with the catacombs of ancient Rome. These were subterraneous chambers or excavations which were made in the soft, sandy rock which underlies the hills on which stood ancient Rome. To these {127} dreary vaults the early saints were in the habit of retiring, in order to celebrate their worship in times of persecution, and in them were buried many of the saints and martyrs of the primitive church. They consist of long, narrow galleries, usually about eight feet high and five feet wide, which twist and turn in all directions, very much resembling mines. The graves were constructed by hollowing out a portion of the rock at the side of the gallery, large enough to contain the body. The entrance was then built up, and generally an inscription was placed upon it.

Roman Catacomb



These excavations were first formed by quarrying the volcanic, sandy rock, in order to supply the materials necessary for the building of ancient Rome. They were afterwards increased in order to procure the sand used for cement, until, at length, they formed an area of very extensive dimensions. They are mentioned by the Roman writers, Horace and Varro, by Cicero and Seutonius. Jerome, writing about the middle of the fourth century, describes them as they existed in his day, declaring that he "was accustomed, as a youth, when studying in Rome, to visit these dark and dreary spots on Sundays, in order to see the tombs of apostles and martyrs."

Burial Place


Among the many inscriptions which the museum of the Vatican has derived from the catacombs is {129} the following. It relates to the reign of Marcus Aurelius, or Antoninus, as he is sometimes called, about A. D. 150:



"Alexander is not dead, but lives beyond the stars, and his body rests in this tomb. He lived under the Emperor Antoninus, who, foreseeing that great benefit would result from his services, returned evil for good. For, while on his knees and about to sacrifice to the true God, he was led away to execution. O, sad times! in which sacred rites and prayers, even in caverns, afford no protection to us. What can be more wretched than such a life, and what than such a death, when they could not be buried by their friends and relatives? At length they are resplendent in heaven. He has scarcely lived who has lived in Christian times."

Sometimes a victor's crown—one of laurel—is intended to mark that the interred one has passed {130} through the agony and strife of his Christian conflict, and was triumphant. At other times the simplest words indicated a saint's last resting place. In some cases these epitaphs are imperfectly spelled, indicating the humble class to which the survivors belonged.

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An astronomer is able to predict the eclipses of the sun and moon, because he knows the laws that govern the heavenly bodies. So also a countrywoman can predict the time of hatching, and the kind of birds that will come forth from a certain class of eggs placed under a fowl in the act of incubation, because she has many times observed {131} phenomena of this kind. Prophecy is only prediction in the highest sense of the term. Our Heavenly Father, who knows, not merely the laws that govern the material world, but also the mental, moral and physical laws that govern humanity, can foretell the phenomena incident to man's social and religious development. He who knows the origin of man—both his strength and his weakness—and the extent and influence of the powers of darkness, can foretell the result of that awful conflict that has been in progress since before the foundation of the world. When man, in obedience to law, shall have gained his higher development and become as one of the Gods, he will, no doubt, obtain the power of prophecy. Even in his present state, every true poet, philosopher and scientist may be said to possess, in a certain degree, this gift; in fact, so far as they can penetrate into the laws and mysteries of the universe beyond the ken of ordinary mortals. Thus the steam-engine was predicted eighteen hundred years before Watt heard the first deep, regular respiration of this modern evangel. Thus, the magnetic telegraph was expected for quite three hundred years before its first tap of the keys announced its presence. When Shakespeare wrote, "I'll put a girdle round about the earth in forty minutes," it was nothing but the instinct of the poet, peering with a glimmer of inspiration into the darkened chamber towards which science was advancing. Bruno, Galileo, Newton, Columbus and Washington had glimmerings of this celestial light. The lines {132} written by Julia Ward Howe are as truthful as they are beautiful:

"Lift up your eyes, desponding freemen,
  Fling to the winds your needless fears;
He who unfurled your glorious banner,
  Said it shall wave a thousand years.
A thousand years, my own Columbia,
  'Tis the glad day so long foretold;
'Tis the glad morn whose early twilight
  Washington saw in days of old."

But it is objected that the prophecies of scripture are obscure and wrapped up in symbolical language. This objection proceeds from a total misapprehension of the nature and design of prophecy, which is not to unveil the future for the gratification of our curiosity, but to give directions for our present duty and future welfare. The larger part of the prophecies of scripture is taken up with directions how men should regulate their conduct, rather than with information how God intends to regulate His.

As to the objection against the symbolical language of prophecy, it may be asked, how can heavenly things be revealed to earth-born men, but by earthly figures? Who knows a single word, in our 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? Spirit, memory, imagination, etc., are each a symbol or figure of speech. In what way could God or man teach us to know anything except by either showing us a picture of it, or telling us what it is like, that is, simply by {133} type or symbol? These are the only possible means for 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 should make it utterly unintelligible.

We may gather much valuable information from symbolic language; but history written in advance would be more difficult to decipher than the inscriptions of Nineveh or Egypt, or the still more obscure hieroglyphics of Central America. Imagine Alexander reading Bancroft instead of Daniel. The Hebrew prophet he might understand, for he himself was the fulfillment of a part of Daniel's prophecy, but what could he learn from reading such a record as this? "In the year of Christ, 1847, the United States conquered Mexico and annexed California." He would say, "In the year of Christ—what does that mean? The United States may mean the states of Greece; but on what shore of the Mediterranean can Mexico and California be found?" What information could Aristotle gather from the fact that the electric telegraph was invented in 1844? Could all the wise men of Rome have explained to Julius Caesar the following dispatch, if given in prophetic vision? "Sebastopol was evacuated last night after enduring, for three days, an infernal fire of shot and shell."

Should we diminish the vista to within two or three centuries, what could Oliver Cromwell, aided by the whole British parliament, have made {134} of a prophetic vision of a single newspaper paragraph, written in advance, to inform them that "Three companies of soldiers came down last night from Berwick to Southampton, by a special train, traveling fifty-four and a half 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 south-west?" 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 Apocalypse.

A complete prophetic history of the steam-engine, steam navigation and railways would have been necessary before they could have understood it.

The world has accepted God's symbols thousands of years ago, and it is too late in the day for skeptics to deride the laws of thought and forms of speech. David's prophetic psalms, Isaiah's celestial anthems, Ezekiel's glorious symbols, Solomon's terse proverbs and the Savior's lovely parables will be recited and admired ages after the foggy abstractions of Parker and Newman, Carlyle and Emerson have vanished from the earth. The Biblical symbols of the Thirst of Passion, the Blood of Murder, the Rod of Chastisement, the Iron Scepter, the Fire of Wrath, the Balance of Righteousness, the Sword of Justice and the Wheels of Providence will photograph their lessons on Memory's tablet, while the mists of the "positive philosophy" float past unheeded to the land of forgetfulness. God's prophetic symbols are the {135} glorious embodiments of living truths, while skeptics' theories are the melancholy ghosts of expiring nonsense.

The prophetic symbols are sufficiently plain to be distinctly intelligible after the fulfillment; but 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 it. 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 the revealing of a part of His plan of this world's affairs, to show that God and not man is the sovereign of it. Infidels feel the power of this manifestation of God in His word; and are driven to every possible denial of the fact. They feel, instinctively, that the 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 we find them frequently patronizing "mediums" and fortune tellers of various kinds.



The prophecies of the scriptures are frequently predictions at once unexampled and unparalleled. Nations could not perish before they had grown, {136} nor empires be destroyed till they had accumulated. Babylon, Nineveh, Damascus and Tyre had been growing and flourishing for a thousand years, at the time that Jonah, Micah, Hosea and Isaiah pronounced their sentences against them. At that time, mankind had not yet seen a ruined empire. Judging from the past they had no reason to expect {137} anything else than prosperity concerning these cities; yet the prophets pronounced desolation and solitude against these cities which were then the capitals of nations more populous than this continent at the present time, and displayed buildings, a sight of whose crumbling ruins is deemed sufficient recompense for the perils of a journey of ten thousand miles. Every church, hall, school-house, theatre and hospital of Salt Lake City could have been conveniently arranged in the basement of the great temple of Belus. On the first floor there was room enough for the whole adult population of Utah to assemble, while the remaining seven stories would have still been open for the accomodation of the citizens of Babylon. When the prophets wrote their predictions, the walls of Babylon had been raised to the hight 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" (Ezekiel xxvi 5), The infidel, Volney, tells us that, "Its commerce has declined to a trifling, {138} fishery;" but even that implies some few resident inhabitants. Rabbah of Ammon was to become, "A stable for camels and couching place for flocks" (Ezekiel xxv, 5). Lord Lindsay reports that, he "could not sleep amidst its ruins for the bleating of sheep in the sheep-folds and the braying of camels in its ruins." Yet sheep-folds imply that their Arab owners would occasionally reside near its ruins. But desolation, solitude and utter abandonment to the wild beast of the desert is the clearly-predicted doom of the ancient world's proud capital: "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 his tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their folds 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" (Isaiah xiii, 19 22).

Every traveler attests the fulfillment of this strange prediction. "It is a tenantless and desolate ruin," says Mignon, who, though fully armed and attended by six Arabs, could not be induced by any reward to pass the night among its ruins, from his apprehension of evil spirits. So completely fulfilled is the prophecy, "The Arabian shall not pitch his tent there." The same voice {139} that 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 sheep-fold, Babylon a menagerie of wild beasts—a very specific difference and very improbable. However, after it was destroyed and deserted, one of the Persian kings repaired its walls, converted it into a vast hunting ground and stocked it with various kinds of wild beasts; and to this day the apes of the Spice Islands, and the lions of the African wilds meet in its ruins and howl their testimony to the truth of God's word. Only a few years ago. Sir R. K. Porter and Dr. Rich, saw two majestic lions in the "Mujelibe" or ruins of the palace.

The nations selected as examples of divine justice are as various as their sentences are different—covering a space as long as from New York 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. The prophecies describe in their own expressive symbols, the nations yet unfounded and kings unborn, who should ignorantly execute the judgments of God. They also predict the future of over thirty states—no two of which are alike.

If, for instance, a prophet should declare that New York should be overturned and become a little fishing village—that Philadelphia should become a swamp and never be inhabited—that New {140} Orleans should become a dry, barren desert, and Chicago be utterly consumed with fire and never be rebuilt—that learning should depart from Boston and no travelers should 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—that the Russians should tread Washington under foot for a thousand years, but that God would preserve Pittsburg and Salt Lake City in the midst of destruction; then, if all these things should come to pass, would any man dare to say that the prophet spake the dictates of human sagacity, or the calculations of human reason, and was not inspired by the Spirit of God?

Such was the character of the prophecies concerning the geographical, political, social and religious condition of the greatest nations of antiquity.

Considering the modes of ancient warfare, Egypt was one of the most defensible countries in the world. Bounded on the south by high mountains, on the east by the Red Sea, on the west by the trackless, burning desert, she was able to defend the mouths of her river with a powerful navy, to drown an invading army every year by the inundation of the Nile. Egypt had not only maintained her independence, but extended her conquests for a thousand years. She had given learning, art, science and idolatry to half the world and had not yet risen to the hight of her fame or extent of her influence until many years after the {141} predictions against her were uttered. Yet it was prophesied, "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."



{142} The infidel, Volney, thus relates the fulfillment of these predictions:

"Such is the state of Egypt. Deprived twenty-three centuries ago of her natural properties, 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 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 no less extraordinary; they are replaced by slaves, brought from their original country." (Volney's Travels, Vol. I, page 74).

Gibbon, another infidel, states, "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." (Decline and Fall, chap. xlix).

It is needless to remind the reader that the idols are cut off. Neither the nominal Christians of Egypt nor the Mahometans allow images among them. The rivers, too, are drying up. In one day's travel forty dry water courses will be crossed {143} in the delta of the Nile; and the traveler needs to carry water with him, who explores the ruined cities through which once floated Greek and Roman navies.

Again, it was prophesied, "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 rule over the nations." (Ezekiel, xxix, 15). Every traveler attests the truth of this prediction. The wretched peasantry are rejoiced to labor for any one who will pay them five cents a day, and then quickly hide the treasure in the ground from the rapacious tax-gatherer.

"In Egypt there is no middle class, neither nobility, clergy, merchants nor land-holders. A universal appearance of misery arrests the attention of the traveler and points out to him the rapacity and oppression as well as the ignorance of the inhabitants, who are equally unable to perceive the cause of their evils or to apply the necessary remedies. Ignorance diffused through every class, extends its effects to every species of moral and physical knowledge."

Babylon was to be reduced to utter barrenness and desolation, Egypt to slavery and degradation; but a different and still more incredible doom is pronounced in the Bible upon Judea and its people: "I will make your cities waste and bring your sanctuaries unto desolation, 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 {144} sword after you: and your land shall be desolate and your cities waste." (Leviticus, xxvi, 31-33.)

"The generation to come of your children and the stranger from a far land shall say, Wherefore hath the Lord done thus to this land? What meaneth the heat of this great anger?"

The following testimony of Volney is an example of the manner in which God causes infidels and scoffers to fulfill the prophecies:

"I journeyed in the empire of the Ottomans, and traversed the provinces, which were formerly the kingdoms of Egypt and Syria. 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 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." (Volney's Ruins, Book I),

The malediction is no secret to any one who will read the twenty-ninth chapter of Deuteronomy.

Of Jerusalem it was predicted, "It shall be trodden down of the Gentiles." Saracens, Turks, Crusaders and pilgrims from all parts of the earth {145} have been and are fulfilling this prediction at the present day. Of the temple, it was said, "There shall not be left one stone upon another, that shall not be thrown down." 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. The Roman emperor, Julian, attempted to falsify the Savior's words, "Behold, your house is left unto you desolate;" 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; but the combined forces were obliged to desist from the attempt. "Horrible balls of fire, breaking out from the foundations with repeated attacks, rendered the place inaccessible to the scorched workmen and the enterprise was dropped." (Ammiam Marcellus, Book xxiii, chap. 1).

Such is the testimony of a heathen, confirmed by Jews and Christians. The Mahometan Mosque of Omar now rears its lofty dome where once stood the Temple of Solomon, and no Jew is permitted to tread that sacred spot.

Of the Israelitish nation God predicted that it should be a peculiar, distinct people, dispersed among, yet separate from, the other nations of the earth: "I will sift the house of Israel among all nations, like as corn is sifted in a sieve, yet shall not the least grain fall upon the earth." (Amos ix, 9). Again, "And yet, for all that, when they are in the land of their enemies, I will not cast them away, neither will I abhor them to destroy them {146} utterly, and to break my covenant with them; for I am the Lord their God." (Lev. xxvi, 44).

Here are four distinct predictions; national peculiarity, grievous oppression, universal dispersion and remarkable preservation. The fulfillment is obvious and undeniable. The infidel is sorely perplexed to give any account of this great phenomenon. How does it happen that these singular people are dispersed over all the earth, and for eighteen hundred years have resisted all the influences of nature, all the customs of society and all the powers of persecution driving them toward amalgamation, and irresistible in all other instances. In spite of the power of imperial Rome and the tortures of the Spanish Inquisition, amid the chaos of Asiatic and African tribes, and the fusion of American democracy, on the plains of Australia and the streets of San Francisco, the religion and the customs 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 their physiognomy the same as when Shishak caused them to be engraven on the monuments of ancient Karnack. Human sagacity cannot explain these facts as they exist to-day, much less could it foretell them three thousand years ago.

Did space permit, it might be shown that the predictions against the seven churches of Asia, were literally fulfilled. (See Rev. i and ii).

Ephesus, once famous for its magnificence and the great temple of Diana, the mart of commerce {147} and the busy avenue of travel, was the first to receive the doom of abused privileges: "I will remove thy candlestick out of its place unless thou repent."

"A few unintelligible heaps of stone," says Arundell, "with some mud cottages untenanted, are all that remain of the great city of the Ephesians. Even the sea has retired from the scene of desolation, and a pestilential morass, covered with mud and rushes, has succeeded to the waters which brought up the ships laden with merchandise" from the whole known world.

Laodicea, some of whose public buildings would contain 100,000 persons; Sardis, that once contained more specie than is now in circulation in the United States; Thyatira, that once manufactured the royal purple of kings and princes; Pergamos, the seat of learning and the birth-place of Galen, the father of medicine; all these cities are in ruins. Amid the fallen columns and broken arches, the temple of Jupiter, of Venus or of Diana, will equally elude the search of the curious traveler. They have all received their doom according to the words of Jesus. Yet, Smyrna, against which no doom was pronounced, is still the queen city of Asia Minor; and Philadelphia, of which it was said, "I will write upon him my new name," is still erect—a column in a scene of ruins. The prediction of the Savior is fulfilled in its modern name, Allah Sehr—the city of God.

The prophecies regarding the Messiah and their fulfillment might also be noticed. The time, the {148} place, the manner of His birth, His parentage and reception, were plainly declared, hundreds of years before He appeared. Compare Micah v. 2, and Matthew ii. 1; also Isaiah lxi. 1, and Matthew xi. 5; likewise Isaiah liii. 3, and Matthew xxvi. 56. These and many other passages prove that the character and mission of the coming Messiah were pointedly foretold long before He made His appearance in the flesh.

The one grand, unparalleled fact of the resurrection from the tomb is also predicted, "Thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor wilt Thou give Thine Holy One to see corruption" (Psalm xvi. 10). Often did Jesus predict this event before friend and foe. Even His enemies declared, "Sir, we remember that that deceiver said, while he was yet alive. After three days I will rise again." The last chapters of the gospel 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 a broiled fish and of a honeycomb. And He took it and did eat before them" (Luke xxiv. 39). Afterwards, "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 {149} heaven" (Luke xxiv. 50, 51). And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel and 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" (Acts i. 10-12). With our own eyes we 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.

In conclusion, let us notice a few of the prophecies given through the Prophet Joseph, and their wonderful fulfillment. When Joseph Smith was an obscure, unlearned youth, living at his father's house, in the then sparsely settled region of western New York, the angel Moroni told him that God had a work for him to do, and that his name should be had for good and evil among all nations, kindreds and tongues. Men of all classes are witnesses how literally this has been fulfilled.

Then, again, in 1832, when the United States were enjoying the blessings of profound peace, the Lord declared, by the mouth of the Prophet Joseph: "Verily, thus saith the Lord, concerning the wars that will shortly come to pass, beginning at the rebellion of South Carolina, which will eventually terminate in the death and misery of many souls. * * * * * *

For behold the Southern States shall be divided against the Northern States and the Southern States will call on other nations, even the nation {150} of Great Britain, as it is called," etc., (Doc. and Cov., Sec. lxxxvii). The whole adult population of the United States are witnesses of the fulfillment of this prophecy. For many years it remained unfulfilled, and the Elders who proclaimed it met with scorn and sneers; but, at length, arrived the terrible havoc and storm of war. There had been many rebellions within the territory of the United States. In Virginia had occurred Bacon's rebellion; in Maryland, Clayborne's rebellion; in New England, the insurrection, controlled by the Hartford convention, of 1814; in Western Pennsylvania, the State of Franklin, had, at one time, held a political existence for nearly two years. Then, by what human sagacity was it predicted that the war must commence in South Carolina? Let the skeptic read and ponder.





The grand error of infidel theories in regard to creation lies in the arrogant assumption on which every one of them must be founded. They assume that the theorist is acquainted with all substances and all forces in the universe, and with all the modes of their operation. This knowledge must apply, not merely to the present age, but to all past epochs; not merely to this world, but, likewise, to others in widely different and utterly unknown situations and conditions. Otherwise, that unknown force must have had its influence in framing the world. For instance, a theory of creation which would neglect the attraction of gravitation would be manifestly false. But there are other laws, the power of repulsion, for instance, whose omission would be equally fatal. Skeptics {152} are aware of this fact, and have sought to simplify matters, by reducing all substances to a few simple elements, and all forces to the form of one universal law. Instead of this, chemistry, every year, reveals new substances and increases our knowledge of nature's variety. At one time, it was boasted that astronomy would enable us to account for all the operations of the universe; but, instead of this, it has revealed substances and forces, whose nature and combinations are entirely unknown.

For example, it is estimated that the sun's heat at its surface is 300,000 times greater than at the surface of the earth. An exceedingly few rays of the sun, concentrated by a burning mirror, will convert gold and platina into vapor. At this rate, it is calculated that "if a cataract of icebergs, a mile high and as broad as the Atlantic ocean, was launched into the sun, with the velocity of a cannon ball, it would be converted into steam as fast as it entered his atmosphere, without cooling his surface in the least degree. But how is such an enormous heat kept up? Hitherto, every discovery, so far from giving us an explanation, seems rather to remove farther the prospect of probable explanation." (Outlines of Astronomy, Vol. vi., p. 400.) Yet the sun is the nearest of the fixed stars, by far the best known, and most nearly related to us. In fact, we are dependent on his influence for life and health. But if the infidel cannot tell the sun's substance, or the nature and cause of the light and heat he sends us, how can he presume to {153} tell us how this same sun was formed, or declare that the Biblical account is false?



Concerning the nearest planets, how little do we know! Are they built of the same materials as our planet? Are Saturn's rings solid or liquid? The planet, Saturn, is surrounded with a revolving belt consisting of several distinct rings, containing an estimated 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 has been proved that these rings could not be of uniform thickness all around, else when a majority of her seven moons were on the same side, the attraction would draw them in upon her on the opposite side; and once attracted to her surface, they could never get loose again, if they were solid. It was next ascertained that the motion of the moons of Saturn and her rings was such that the rings must be capable of changing their thickness according to circumstances. Finally, it was demonstrated that these rings were fluid and that their density is nearly that of water, and that the inner portion, at least, is so transparent {154} that the planet has been seen through it. The rings of Saturn are, then, a stream or streams of fluid, rather denser than water, flowing about the planet. This extraordinary fact, which shows how God can deluge a planet when He pleases, is given in the language of a philosopher whose thoughtless illustration of revelation is all the more valuable that it is unintentional:

"M. Otto Struve, Mr. Bond and Sir David Brewster are agreed that Saturn's third ring is fluid, that it is gradually approaching the body of Saturn, and that we may expect, sooner or later, to see it 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." (See Annual of Scientific Discovery, 1856, p. 377.)

Let the skeptic show that God did not, or could not suspend a similar celestial ocean over the earth, or cease to pronounce a universal deluge impossible.

Again, it may be asked. Has the moon an atmosphere? Are the atmospheres of the planets like ours? What is the cause of the light and heat of the sun? These and many other questions scientists variously answer, but leave unanswered after all.

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. They are the largest bodies known to us, stretching across hundreds of millions of miles.



[THE COMET OF 1811.]

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. While their density was doubtful, they formed very convenient material for the atheist's world-factory; but recently they have been literally dissipated into smoke by powerful telescopes. In fact a respectable wreath of smoke is quite substantial compared with the densest of the comets. Stars of the smallest magnitude remain distinctly visible though covered by what appears to be their densest portion; although these same stars would be completely obscured by a moderate fog extending only a few yards above the {156} earth. Neither are they dense enough to cast a shadow. It is thus evident that the most substantial clouds which float in our atmosphere are dense and massy bodies compared with the filmy and all but spiritual texture of a comet's tail.

Neither do men understand the laws that govern the motion of comets. As they approach the sun, they come under an influence directly the opposite of attraction. While the body of the comet travels towards the sun, sometimes with a velocity nearly one-third of that of light, the tail shoots forth in the opposite direction with much greater velocity. The greatest velocity with which we are acquainted on earth is the velocity of light, which travels a million times faster than a cannon ball, or at the rate of 195,000 miles per second.

Orbit of a Comet


But infidels tell us that the universe is infinite, and therefore self-existent. This assertion is essential to their creed. They must establish this fact {157} before they can convince themselves or any other person, that the universe had no Creator; for that which exists by the necessity of its own nature must exist in all time and in every place. But it can be easily shown that our solar system has boundaries, and does not fill the immensity of space. That broad band of luminous clouds, which stretches across the heaven, called the Milky Way, consists of millions of stars, so small and distant that we cannot see the individual stars, and so numerous that we cannot help seeing the light of the mass; just as we may see the outline of a forest at a distance, but are unable to distinguish the individual trees. Besides the Milky Way there are many other star-clouds, in various parts of the heavens, which have successively been shown by the telescope to consist of multitudes of stars. But all around these star-clouds, or Nebulae as they are called, the clear blue sky is discovered by the naked eye. Now it is easy to perceive that if all the regions of space were filled with self-luminous suns or planets capable of reflecting light, or even comets, we should see no blue sky at all: in a word, the whole heaven would be one vast Milky Way.

Though the telescope discovers multitudes of stars where the naked eye sees none, yet they are seen projected on a perfectly dark heaven. "And even through the Milky Way, and the other star-clouds, the telescope penetrates through intervals absolutely dark and completely void of any star of the smallest telescopic magnitude" (Outlines of Astronomy, chap. xvii). {158} It may assist us to understand the full import of this declaration to remember that the largest telescopes now in use, clearly define any object on the moon's surface as large as the Deseret Bank. We may comprehend to some extent their power of penetrating space by the fact that light, which flashes from San Francisco to London quicker than you can close your eye and open it again requires thousands of years to travel to our earth from the most distant stars discernible by these telescopes. If a solar system like ours existed anywhere within this amazing distance these telescopes would certainly reveal it. In gazing through these instruments we are made to feel most sensibly 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, planets, moons and firmaments, which our unaided eyes behold, are but as the handful of 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.

When we come to consider the vastness of these regions of darkness, over which no light has traveled for millions of years, and remember also that astronomers have looked clear through the nebulae, and find that they bear no more proportion to the infinite darkness behind them, than the sparks of a chimney do to the extent of the sky against {159} which they seem projected, so far from imagining the solar system to be infinite, we stand confounded at its relative insignificance.

There is no possible evasion of this great fact. It cannot be objected "that stars may exist at vast distances, whose light has not yet reached the limits of our system;" for there is no possible distance over which light could not have traveled, during eternal duration. But the eternal existence of these stars is the very thing which the atheist is concerned to prove. If we admit that these worlds had a beginning, we are compelled to seek a cause for that beginning: that is to say, a Creator.

Nor will it answer the purpose to say, "that these dark regions may be filled with dark stars." If it could be proven that some stars shine, while others are dark; then why this difference? Variety is an effect, and demands a prior cause. Worlds therefore do not exist by the necessity of their own nature, wherever there is room for them, but must have had a pre-existent, external and supernatural cause of their existence in the places where they exist. This implies design—will— God.

In these amazing disclosures of the unknown forces of the heavens, do we not hear a voice rebuking the presumption of ignorant theorists, and asking, "Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth" (Job xxxviii. 33). How many influences, hitherto undiscovered by our ruder senses, may be ever {160} streaming toward us, and modifying every terrestrial action. And yet, because man has traced a little concerning one or two of these laws, we have deemed our astronomy complete. We have no reason, save our own self-sufficient arrogance, to believe that the discovery of these forces exhausts the treasures of infinite wisdom.

But the infidel asks us, "Does not the Bible make a false declaration, when it says that the universe was created only some six or seven thousand years ago?" We reply by asking, Where does the Bible say so? "But," says our objector, "is not this the doctrine held by the various sects and taught by the various commentators?" That is not the question before us just now. We are not asking what sects believe, or uninspired teachers teach; but, "What does the Bible say." The Bible uniformly attributes the most remote antiquity to the work of creation. "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth" (Gen. i, 1). So far from supposing man's appearance on the earth to be even approximately coeval with the creation, human presumption is reproved in the remarkable words, "Where wast thou when I laid the foundations of the earth?" (Job, xxxviii. 4.) In majestic contrast with the frail human race, Moses glances at the primeval monuments of God's antiquity, as though by them he might form some faint conceptions of eternity, and sings, "Before the mountains were brought forth, or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, even from everlasting, to everlasting thou art God" (Ps. xc, 2). The {161} very phrase in 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 as the primary formations, those strata beyond which human knowledge cannot penetrate. This phrase, in Bible language, marks the last promontory on the boundless ocean of past eternity: the only positive phrase, by which we can express the most remote period of past duration. It expresses not a date—a point of duration; but a period—a vast cycle. But one boundary is perceptible to mortals: that where creation rises from its abyss. Created eye has never seen the other shore.

Let the geologist then penetrate as deeply as he can into the profundities of the earth's foundations, and bring forth the monuments of their hoary antiquity; we will follow with unfaltering faith. Let the astronomer raise his telescope and reflect, on our astonished eyes, the light which flashed from morning stars, on the first day of this earth's existence, or even the rays which began to travel from distant suns millions of years ere the first morning dawned on our planet: they shall shed a sacred lustre over the pages of inspiration, and give new beauties of illustration to its majestic symbols. But never in this life will geologists penetrate the depth of its mysteries, nor astronomers attain the sublimity of that beginning revealed in its pages. It is placed in an {162} 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."

The doctrine of the creation the earth only six or seven thousand years ago is a product of monkish ignorance. Clemens of Alexandria, who lived in the second century of the Christian era, and Justin Martyr, who was a disciple and companion of the Apostle John, both teach the existence of an indefinite period between the creation and the preparatory work, fitting it for the habitation of man. The Jewish rabbis also are perfectly explicit in recognizing these distinctions.

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. If he has no dictionary, he can satisfy himself thoroughly, as to the different meanings of these two words, by looking at their use in the Bible. He will find the term create used when there were no organized materials to form the earth from; unless we adopt the infidel absurdity that the paving stones made themselves. He will also find that the term make is applied to the adjusting of the earth in its present condition (see Gen., i, 21 and 27. Psalms, li, 10. Ecclesiastes, xii, 1. Col, i, 16).

{163} But between these two widely different processes, namely the creation, and the organizing of the world there intervened a period of indefinite length. That original chaos, which some would find in the second verse, never had an existence save in the brains of atheistic philosophers. It is purely absurd. The crystals of the smallest grain of sand, the sporules of the humblest fungus on the rotten tree, and the animalculae 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 most perfect beings on the earth.

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.

Infidels frequently attempt to make sport of the figures of sacred poetry such as the "pillars," and "windows of heaven," the "corners of the earth," the "four winds of heaven," etc. One prominent infidel writer asserts that Moses was so ignorant of the nature of the atmosphere, and the origin of rain that he taught that the firmament was simply a brazen hemisphere or huge caldron placed in an inverted position over the earth, that a fresh-water ocean was outside of this, and that the figurative term "windows of heaven" meant trap-doors to let {164} the waters descend in the form of rain upon the inhabitants of the earth. If so, Moses did not put his teachings into practice; for we find that he set up a brazen hemisphere in the tabernacle and placed its mouth upwards and put water on the inside of it. Such are the miserable subterfuges to which infidels will resort when in want of an argument. They seem to forget that a thousand years before skeptics 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, 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 greater clearness than they are described by Job, the ancient philosopher of the land of Uz. "He maketh small the drops of water: they pour down rain according to the vapor thereof, which the clouds do draw and distil upon man abundantly" (Job xxxvi. 27). The cause of this rarefaction of cold water, is as much a mystery to modern scientific associations as it was to Job and Elihu; and even were all the electrical tension of vapors disclosed, "the balancing of the clouds" would only be more clearly discovered to be, as the Bible declares, "the wonderful works of Him, who is perfect in knowledge." Three thousand years before the theory of the trade winds was {165} demonstrated by Maury, it was written in the Bible, "The wind goeth toward the south, and turneth about unto the north," and, "The wind returneth again according to his circuits" (Eccl. i, 6). Thousands of years before Newton, Galileo and Copernicus were born, Isaiah was writing about the orbit of the earth and the earth's relative insignificance (Isaiah xl, 22). Even the modern names of some of the constellations of the heavens were known to the ancients. "Canst thou bind the sweet influences of Pleiades, or loose the bands of Orion?" (Job xxxviii, 31).

One of the most vaunted objections, which infidels bring against the Bible, is that which represents God as creating light before the sun, and the sun, moon and stars, only two days before the creation of man. They seem to forget that the term to create is nowhere used in connection with the preparing of the earth for the habitation of man. By careful reading it will be seen at once that the darkness spoken of in the first chapter of Genesis had reference to this planet only. There is not the remotest hint, in any portion of scripture, that any other planet or star was shrouded in gloom at that time. 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," as this earth emerged from its primeval darkness.

{166} True the Bible represents that this earth was illuminated at a time when the sun was not visible from its surface. Now, if any one will presume to scoff at the Bible for speaking of light without sunshine—as infidels frequently do—what will he say of the light which exists in the midst of a London fog or on the banks of Newfoundland? To understand, how there may be day without sunshine, we need only conceive the whole earth enveloped in vapors such as Humboldt describes a portion of Peru. "A thick mist obscures the firmament in this region for many months. If by chance the sun's disc becomes visible during the day, it appears devoid of rays, as if seen through colored glasses. According to what modern geology has taught us concerning the ancient history of our atmosphere, its primitive condition must have been unfavorable to the transmission of light" (Humboldt's Cosmos, Vol iii, p. 139).

Dr. Dana is evidently of the same opinion. In speaking of the formation of coal and the peculiar vegetation which flourished upon the earth during that period, the remains of which are found imbedded in the coal measures; he says, "In the Pacific ocean, off the coast of Chili, there is an island named Chiloe, where it rains 300 days in the year, and where the light of the sun is shut out by perpetual fogs. On this island, arborescent ferns, form forests, beneath which grow herbaceous ferns, which rise three feet and upwards above a marshy soil, and a mass of plants flourish there, {167} resembling in their main features the plants found in the coal fields" (Manual of Geology, 1880). Thus science corroborates the word of God.

Another 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 on examination astronomy dispels the illusion, exhibits the course of nature as a succession of catastrophies, displays the conflagration of other worlds, and the extinction of other suns, before our eyes, and asks, Why should our sun differ from other suns? In short there is no permanence in the heavens, any more than on the earth; but a perpetual change is the destiny of suns and stars. A few instances it may be well to transcribe: "On the 11th of November, 1572, as the illustrious Danish astronomer, Tycho Brahe, 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 surpassing Sirius in luster, and even Jupiter—so that it could be seen by good eyes in the day time. After reaching its greatest brightness, it again diminished, {168} 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 distance" (Nicholl's Solar System, page 118).

Sir John Herschell describes the star, Eta Argus, which, in the year 1837, went through similar variations. Humboldt gives a catalogue of twenty-four such stars, whose variations have been recorded, and asks, Why should our sun differ from other suns? "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 new process of light, again become luminous" (Cosmos Vol. III, page 232).

Nicholl 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 the sun shall cease to be required to shine. The womb which contains the future is that which bore the past" (Solar System, page 190).

The threatenings of God's word are invested with a mantle of terrible literality by the facts we have been contemplating.





There is a class of aspirants to gentility who refuse to recognize any person not dressed in the style which they suppose fashionable among the higher classes. A story is told of a wealthy Glasgow brewer's wife, who, attired in all the magnificence of her satins, laces and jewelry, was driving out in her carriage one day in the vicinity of Balmoral. A quiet lady, clad in a plain, gingham dress and gray shawl, was gathering a bouquet of wild flowers in the hedge, and as the carriage passed by, wished the occupant a pleasant "good morning," to which the brewer's wife answered by a contemptuous nod, but afterwards learned to her great mortification, that she had thus lost an opportunity of forming an acquaintance with Queen Victoria. So a large class of pretenders to science refuse to become acquainted with Bible {170} 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.

Of late years the first chapter of Genesis has been assailed by scientists in such a manner that even some professing Christians and other devout believers in the Old Testament have come to doubt the authenticity of that chapter; while the efforts of some modern divines to interpret its sayings so as to conform to the declarations of so-called science, have in some cases been pitiful to behold. We do not claim that what is called science is infallible. True science is indisputable. But much that is called science is only theory. In the writings of learned men, concerning the formation of the world, and geologic processes and periods, there is a large mixture of theory and guess-work along with some demonstrated facts and principles. We believe, however, that there is no real conflict between the Mosaic account of the creation and the nebular theory, which is the most widely accepted among the most prominent scientists.

The Bible declares, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." Science admits that there was a "Great First Cause." The world-famous scientist, Herbert Spencer, says, "The universe had its origin in the unknown source of things." The Bible declares, "The earth was without form, and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep." Science teaches us that matter primarily existed without any form, in a highly {171} attenuated and invisible condition, but containing all the elements which now compose the solid and fluid portions of the earth, and while it was in this condition it was non-luminous. Before motion there was no light. The Bible says the "Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters." (The original word mayhim means literally a flowing, non-solid, fluid substance.) Scientists admit that motion as well as matter demands a cause, and that the earth was then a flowing or movable substance or fluid. Thus we see that the description given by Moses of that far, far off period is not only correct but likewise has a depth of meaning that is perfectly sublime.

Let us now turn to another chapter in nature's volume and compare it with the second event mentioned by Moses. "And God said. Let there be light: and there was light." Scientists admit that the first visible effect of motion in the fluid mass was the giving out of light. And here it may not be out of place to give a concise description of the nebular theory:

"La Place conceived the sun to be at one period the nucleus of a vast nebula or star-cloud, the matter of which extended beyond what is now the orbit of the remotest planet of the solar system. This mass of matter in process of condensation, and probably by the agency of electricity, was endued with a circulating motion around its center of gravity. The tendency which all revolving bodies possess to fly off from the center, caused portions of this nebula in process of condensation, {172} to detach themselves from the parent mass, and form themselves into concentric rings, which afterwards, by condensation and electrical action, separated themselves into distinct bodies. These masses, which hence constituted the various planets, in their turn condensing after the manner of the parent mass and abandoning their outlying matter, became surrounded by similar concentric rings, which in turn formed satellites or moons surrounding the various planetary masses. In proof of this, the case of the planet Saturn has been cited to show that the work of creation is still in progress. As is well known, this planet is surrounded by a revolving belt, consisting of several distinct rings still unbroken."

While infidels are scoffing at the idea of light without the sun, modern science has discovered the astonishing fact, that even at this moment the globe of the sun is not a source of light to itself much less to us; that, in fact light is no more connected with the sun than with a candlestick. The sun consists mainly of a dark nucleus, like the body of the earth and other planetary globes, surrounded by two atmospheres of enormous depths, the one nearest to him being cloudy and dense like our atmosphere, while the loftier stratum consists of dazzling electric and phosphorescent zephyrs that, bestow light on so many surrounding spheres. This phosphorescent atmosphere, or photosphere, as it is called, is by no means inseparably attached to the surface of the nucleus or dark body beneath. Nor is it in any degree stable, but is subject to {173} extensive fluctuations and the most violent commotions, being frequently swayed and whirled aside, laying bare the surface of the dark globe beneath for thousands of miles to the observation of astronomers, and even to the naked eye.

The Sun


In the month of June, 1843, a spot was visible which, according to the measurements of Schwabe, the astronomer, had a length of no less than 74,816 miles. On March 15th, 1858, observers of the great solar eclipse had an opportunity of seeing a spot which had a breadth of 107,520 miles. But {174} the most remarkable view of the sun was that exhibited September 25th, 1870. One of the openings was so vast that it was calculated that eighteen of our worlds, placed side by side, would have scarcely filled the chasm.

The latest discoveries in science tend rather to demonstrate that the sun's light is but very faintly visible on his globe; and that there is no such thing as solar heat. What is popularly called so is only the heat caused by the friction of the waves of light passing through the atmosphere, or striking against the earth. "We approach the question of the sun's inhabitability," says Sir David Brewster, "with the certain knowledge that the sun is not a red hot globe, but that its nucleus is a solid, opaque mass, receiving very little light from its luminous atmosphere." "For ought we know the dark, solid nucleus of the sun may have existed for millions of years and given out no light whatever. It is quite possible that variations of the sun's light may have been caused through electrical action. The telescope has shown us that the fixed stars are also luminous bodies similar to our sun, only very far distant from us. Some of these have suddenly flashed into existence, where none were previously visible. The appearance of twenty-one such stars is on record. Others have greatly increased in brightness; and, still further, many familiar suns have ceased to shine. On a careful re-examination of the heavens, many stars are found to be missing." (Herschel's Outlines, Sec. 832.)

{175} The variation of our supply of light from the sun is the only explanation we have of the great alternations of heat and cold which have been so extensive as, at one period, to have clothed high northern latitudes, such as Greenland and Siberia, with a more than tropical luxuriance of vegetation, and, at another time, to have buried vast tracts of Europe and America, now enjoying a genial climate, under vast glaciers and mountains of ice.

Again, light, so far from being solely derived from the sun, exists in, and can be educed from almost any known substance. The metallic bases of most earths and alkalies are capable of emitting light in suitable electrical conditions, and a brilliant flame can be produced by the combustion even of water. All the metals can be made to flash forth lightnings under suitable electric and magnetic excitements; and 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 of melted granite. Even at a far later period of its history, it may have shone with a luster little inferior to that of the sun; for lime, of which unknown thousands of miles of its strata consist, when subject to a heat much less than that produced by contact with melted granite or lava, emits a brilliant, white light of such intensity that the eye cannot support its luster. (See Turner's Chemistry, Sec. 160.)

As is well known, the moon is a dark, opaque body, therefore the copper color of the moon, {176} during a total eclipse, when the dark side of the earth is turned towards the moon, shows us that the earth, even now, is a source of light. That God could command the light to shine out of darkness, and convert the very ocean into a magnificent illumination, the following fact clearly proves:

"Captain Bonnycastle coming up the gulf of St. Lawrence, on the 7th 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 highland of Cornwallis County, and an instantaneous and intensely vivid light, resembling the aurora, or northern lights, shot out from the hitherto dark and gloomy sea, on the lee bow, which was so brilliant that it lighted every thing distinctly, even to the mast-head. The light spread over the sea between the two shores, and the waves, which before had been tranquil, now began to be agitated. Captain 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 top-sail yard and mizen 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 {177} most minute objects were distinctly visible." (Connection of Physical Sciences, p. 288.)

In the fourth and fifth verses of the first chapter of Genesis we are told, "And God saw the light, that it was good: and God divided the light from the darkness. And God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And the evening and morning were the first day."

In spite of all the sneers of infidels, the candid reader finds the divine record sublime in its simplicity. The good effect of light upon our planet was immediately apparent. The earth having now become sufficiently condensed to cast a shadow, there was, of course, one side enjoying the light of the sun while the other was in shadow. Thus the dark body of the earth was the means by which God divided the light from the darkness, as at the present; and the first rotation of the earth upon its axis causing the shadow and the light to be alternately on every part of the earth, produced the evening and the morning of the first day. How long the first day was, we know not. From observations of phenomena going on in the Spiral Nebula at the present time, it is reasonable to suppose that the first revolution of the earth upon its axis occupied a vast epoch of time.

The next process in the organization of the earth was the forming of an atmosphere: "And God said, let there be a firmament" (literally, expanse) "in the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters. And God made the firmament, {178} and divided the waters, which are under the firmament: and it was so." (Gen. i, 6-7).

Now let us turn to the book of nature and see how science corroborates these facts. Geologists tell us that the motion of the particles of matter which form the earth, in course of condensation became very hot; for heat and motion are only different names for the same thing. Heat is easily convertible into motion, as every one knows who has a steam engine, and motion can easily be changed into heat, as everybody knows, by friction, that is by rubbing two substances together.

M. Mangin, in his "Mysteries of the Ocean," thus graphically describes the first formation of the universal ocean: "As the earth continued to cool, a time arrived when its temperature became insufficient to maintain in a state of vapor the vast masses of water which floated in the atmosphere. These vapors would pass into a liquid state, and then the first rain fell upon the earth. This water would in turn be quickly evaporated and again ascend into the colder regions of space, where it would again condense and fall upon the earth. This might take place many times; but each time much heat would be withdrawn from the surface of the globe, and at last the waters would settle down and form a universal ocean. And the evening and the morning were the second day."

Further we are told: "And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto {179} one place, and let the dry land appear: and it was so. And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He seas." (Gen. i, 9,10).

Mark the phrase, unto one place. The oceans and seas are all connected; they are only names for parts of one place or basin. In the 104th Psalm we are told that God covered the earth "With the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains." Concerning the early condition of the earth, science declares, that the waters encased the whole globe, and were above the early mountains, which were afterwards formed by the contortions caused by the shrinking of the crust of the earth as it cooled.

Helmholtz has calculated that the shrinking of the earth one ten-thousandth of its diameter would generate an amount of heat equal to that which the earth receives from the sun during two thousand years. From this fact we may easily perceive the causes of that internal heat which, after the lapse of unknown ages, still manifests itself in geysers, earthquakes and volcanoes. Here, also, we may perceive that mighty force by which the Divine chemist prepared the materials for the earth's ultimate condition.

When God created light. He pronounced it good; when He divided the dry land from the waters. He pronounced it good; but when He created the firmament, or expanse. He did not declare it good. Why? Possibly because, until vegetation began, it was loaded with carbonic acid and {180} other poisonous gases, and totally unfit to support animal life. Science teaches us that this was the period when those strata known as the primary rocks were formed. No remains of animal life can be found in them. It is a well-known fact that most substances shrink as they cool. This is the principle that holds the tires upon wagon wheels. In the same manner the earth also shrank, in proportion, as it cooled. As the various parts might give out heat in an unequal manner, so irregularities would appear on its surface, forming the earliest mountain chains, valleys, rents and ravines. Gradually as these early mountains and table-lands rose above the surface of the primeval ocean, the waves would dash against them and the rains fall, slowly wearing away the rocks and thus forming the earliest soil on the new-made world.

Continuing our investigations, let us turn to another chapter of the book of nature and see how closely the teachings of science agree with the record given by Moses: "And God said, Let the earth bring forth grass" (literally, sproutage), "the herb yielding seed, and the fruit tree yielding fruit after his kind, whose seed is in itself, upon the earth; and it was so." (Gen. i, 11.)

Mark the order: First, the sproutage; second, seed-bearing herbs; and thirdly, fruit-bearing trees. Now what does science say on this subject? It tells us that the exact geological period, when plants first appeared upon the earth, cannot be told; for their delicate structure was such that their earliest forms have been entirely destroyed, unless {181} they are those which are still preserved in the strata of the coal measures. The earliest forms of which we have any knowledge were flowerless plants, which produced minute spores instead of seeds. Among these may be classed fungi, mosses and ferns. Thus we see how correctly Moses has described the first form of vegetable life by simply speaking of it as sproutage, without mentioning any seed.





With regard to this vegetation, it would imply the existence of sunlight, though some of the lower orders would require but little. The atmosphere was still dense and loaded with vapor. The lower orders of flowerless plants were succeeded by tree-like ferns, some of which grew to the enormous hight of forty or fifty feet. The careful observer will frequently find traces of this early vegetation in the lumps of common coal. Sometimes the galleries of coal mines are overhung with beautiful proportions of extinct vegetable forms. Thus a wise Providence has preserved the remains of primeval vegetation for perhaps millions of years, to tell us the story of those ancient forests, and reveal to us the various steps of creation. "The vegetation of the coal period presents a remarkable character, being composed almost entirely of {183} the highest class of flowerless plants, along with a few of the lowest class of those that flower." (Dawson's Chain of Life, p. 96.)

Concerning the climatic condition of the earth during the coal-forming, (carboniferous) period, as it is called, the description given by Hugh Miller, the eminent geologist, may not be out of place: "From the circumstance that no dew is deposited in our Summer evenings, save under a clear sky, it is now ascertained that even a thin covering of cloud—serving as a robe to keep the earth warm—prevents the surface heat of the planet from radiating into the space beyond. And such a cloud, thick and continuous, as must have wrapped round the earth, as with a mantle, during the earlier geologic periods, would have served to retard, for many ages, the radiation, and consequently the reduction, of that internal heat of which it was itself a consequence. Nor would a planet, covered over for ages with a thick screen of vapor, be a novelty yet in the universe. It is doubtful whether astronomers have ever yet looked on the face of Mercury. It is, at least, very generally held that, hitherto, only his clouds have been seen. Even Jupiter, though it is thought his mountains have been occasionally detected raising their peaks through openings in his cloudy atmosphere, is known chiefly by the dark, shifting bands that, flecking his surface in the line of his trade-winds, belong not to his body, but to his thick, dark covering. Nor, yet further, would a warm, steaming atmosphere, muffled in clouds, have been {184} unfavorable to a rank, flowerless vegetation like that of the coal measures.

"There are moist, mild, cloudy days of Spring and early Summer, that rejoice the heart of the farmer, for he knows how conducive they are to the young growth on his fields. The coal measure climate would have consisted of an unbroken series of these, with, mayhap, a little more of cloud and moisture and a great deal more of heat. The earth would have been a vast greenhouse covered with smoked glass, and a vigorous, though, perhaps, a loosely-knit and faintly-colored, vegetation would have luxuriated under its shade. That the vegetable growth must have been great we can easily imagine when we consider the immense quantities of coal throughout the world. It is a remarkable circumstance that, from the equatorial regions up to Melville Island in the Arctic Ocean, where continual frost now prevails; and from Spitzbergen to the center of Africa, the remains of the plants of the coal measures are identically the same. There seems to have been then only one climate over the whole globe, caused, no doubt, by the internal heat of the earth. We should not forget that Moses puts the elevating of the land and the production of vegetation in the same geological period, viz., between the second and third day."

"And the evening and the morning were the third day." (Gen. i, 13.) Before this time there seems to have been no seasons; but, after that, God appointed the sun, moon and stars "to give light upon the earth, and to be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and for years." That the sun and stars had been created long before this, we have no reason to doubt. We may, therefore, correctly infer that they were then, for the first time, visible from the surface of the earth.


Coal Forest





Philosophers lay it down as a rule, that the materials for all revolutions, whether political, moral or social are prepared before-hand. A revolution in ideas and modes of thought is by no means an exception to this rule. The unthinking throng may gaze in wonder at the spectacle afforded by the sudden outburst; but the thoughtful student will trace the order of events, and the forces that have been long at work preparing the minds of men for the new order of things.

{187} When in the latter part of the eighteenth century, Voltaire marshaled his arguments as a legion, and hurled his burning invectives against the corruptions of false Christianity, humanity stood aghast at the result, for they did not perceive that the forces which impelled it had long been preparing. When the works of Voltaire and Thomas Paine appeared, society was in such a condition that many accepted their teachings as a relief from existing evils. Much more, many persons were ready to follow them into all the wild sophistries of infidelity.

The history of that time, has been to some extent repeated in the great scientific revolution so vigorously at work in the nineteenth century. When Hugh Miller wrote his "Testimony of the Rocks" there were those who confidently expected that this work would overturn the Mosaic account of the creation; and a wonderful outcry was raised about the opposition between the records of the rocks and the Bible. After a time it was found that geology demonstrates the existence, wisdom and goodness of an Almighty Creator with irresistible evidence. So when Darwin, Huxley, Hooker, Spencer and others revealed to the world, a vast amount of knowledge concerning the origin of species and the development of plants and animals, there were those who would have gladly found an antagonism between the facts of science and the records of revelation. But now it is admitted that it would be equally wonderful, and would as much require the infinite powers of {188} Deity, "to develop all the varied and marvelous forms of organic life from a single germ as to call them into existence by special acts of creation." In reality we owe these philosophers a debt of gratitude for having studied nature so carefully and given us so many deeply interesting and important facts.

It is evidently part of the divine plan that species should develop from a lower to a higher condition. We see this in the improvements in the breeds of our domestic animals, as well as in the wild animals that now live, as compared with the remains of the ancient Saurians that once roamed over the earth. The doctrine of "Natural Selection" or "Survival of the Fittest," as Huxley terms it, is also a law of nature. We see this illustrated at the present time in the history of races of men and species of animals. The weaker races of men are gradually disappearing while those nations who possess the highest physical, mental and moral characteristics are extending their dominion over the earth. In the history of animals this is likewise apparent. The gigantic, unwieldy ox, the Urus of Caesar, has been extinct since Roman times. The Auroch, another ox whose bones are frequently found in the same strata with extinct animals, would have been now entirely extinct but for the imperial edict which preserves a few in the forest of Lithuania. The gigantic birds Dinornis and Aptornis have but recently passed away. Perfect skeletons of them are still preserved in the museum of Christchurch, New Zealand. From {189} the measurement of these skeletons they are estimated to have been nearly or quite twelve feet high. The Dodo, a heavy, clumsy bird, of fifty pounds' weight, with loose, downy feathers, and imperfect wings like a new-born chicken, became extinct only about 150 or 200 years ago. The Apteryx of Australia, which of all living birds most resembles some of the extinct species, still survives, ready to disappear. The lion, tiger, bison (or buffalo), elephant, rhinoceros, and, in fact, all the fiercer and larger animals, are even now disappearing before the advance of civilized man.



{190} The law of variation, as expressed by Darwin, is true with certain limitations. For example, every person must admit a vast change in the condition of the best breeds of our domestic swine, from their ancestors, the wild boars of medieval Europe. Yet nowhere can be found a single instance of transmutation of species. For example, if we should trace the pedigree of a horse backwards through a thousand generations we should find that the original animal was also a horse, though probably a very inferior animal. Of all the living animals and fossil remains of extinct ones, though thousands of specimens have been discovered, yet of land animals and the higher orders of creation not a single instance of transmutation can be found. In all this we see a beautiful agreement with the divine record, "And God said, Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind: and it was so" (Gen. i, 24).

True, we are told by Huxley that the embryos of different animals closely resemble each other, so that at an early stage of their existence they cannot be distinguished. But what of this? It only shows the unity of design in the works of the Creator which is one of the grand characteristics {191} of the world. Further, it teaches us a lesson of man's ignorance and imbecility. With all the aid of science we are unable to perceive those minute arrangements of atoms which will on development produce a tortoise or a fowl, a dog or a man. Who will presume to say that a castle was developed or "evolved" from a cottage because they were built of similar materials or because some of the rooms were after the same pattern? Why then should the Divine Architect's work be doubted because He gives to the germs of different beings the power of self-development according to a specified pattern, which is to end in the ultimate perfection of vastly different organisms?

Bird-like Reptile


But we are asked, is it not true that the most accurate and reliable geologists, have discovered in the rocky records of former ages the most undeniable evidence that the earliest birds were of a {192} strangely reptilian character, and that many of the reptiles of that age were of an extraordinary bird-like character? That in some cases it is difficult to determine which predominated to the greatest extent, the characteristics of the reptile, the bat or the bird? These animals were evidently amphibious, living either on land or in the sea. Some specimens still extant which were found in Mexico and South America and which are identical with, or closely resemble the extinct species, possess the double character of an aquatic and terrestrial animal. Some of them advance beyond the development common to the class, and from gill-breathers, fitted, only to inhabit the water, become lung-breathers adapted to live on land.

Reptilian Bird


Is it not also true that the remains of the earliest birds indicate them to have been of an aquatic character similar to the cranes, gulls and pelicans of the present time? Some of these were destitute of horn bills which birds of the present age possess. On the other hand their heads resembled those of reptiles. Neither were their wings always {193} covered with feathers, but in some cases their wings resembled those of the bat, and their feet closely resembled those of reptiles. Now, says the skeptic, is it not possible that reptiles and birds lived upon the earth previous to the creation of beasts? And, further, is it not possible that birds and reptiles may have been developed from the same original type, whereas Moses declares that God made the beast of the earth after his kind?

Not so fast, my friend. It is well known that these declarations of science are mere speculations, plausible indeed, but nowhere proven to be true. Granting all that the infidel asks, let us carefully read the sacred record and see if there really is any contradiction: "And God said. Let the waters bring forth abundantly the living creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven." (Gen. i, 20). Had Moses written, "And God now created every living thing that moveth in the waters," there might have been some reason for infidel objections. We should therefore especially notice that Moses does not say that this was the first dawn of animal life upon our globe, but simply that the waters were now to "bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl," etc. In all this there is no inconsistency between the geological and Biblical statements. On the other hand the wording of the text is such as to lead the student to believe that birds were of aquatic origin, that is, lived on the water.

{194} In the twenty-first verse we are told that God created great whales (literally sea-monsters) "and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind and every winged fowl after his kind." And here we also perceive that the waters are again represented to be as it were the nursing mother of both birds and the lower orders of animal life. Mark also that the term "created" is used only three times in the whole of this record; first in reference to the creation of the earth, second in reference to sea-monsters, and third in reference to the creation of man.

Magnified Chalk


{195} While revelation teaches us that the period when the waters were to bring forth abundantly, was in a succeeding epoch to that in which vegetation commenced; geology bears testimony that there are few remains of animal life till we come up to more recently formed strata, than the vegetable deposits of the coal measures. It is only when we arrive at the chalk measures that we find an "abundance" of animal life. Recent investigations have shown, that chalk is mostly composed of shells in every stage of change, some perfect, some broken, and still others decayed into an impalpable dust. Some of these shells are so minute that it would require 1,800 placed side by side to measure a single inch. Perhaps no human intellect is able to form a conception of this profuseness of animal life. Well might Moses say the sea brought forth abundantly.



It is at this epoch that we find the first remains of shell fish which are so common in the rocks of every land; also the remains of innumerable tiny fish, so prevalent in certain sections of our own land. Again, geology teaches us that "birds made their first appearance during this epoch." No fragments of the skeletons of birds have yet been discovered in formations older than the chalk.



Further it is only in strata formed subsequently to the chalk that we find the remains of those monsters that made the earth to tremble beneath their tread and lashed to foam the billows of the primeval ocean. To those who are unaccustomed to view fossil remains the dimensions of some of these seem almost incredible. Just think of monsters 120 feet in length with teeth eleven inches in diameter and eyes whose sockets were more than eighteen inches across; and we can easily perceive that the statement of Moses is verified, "And God created great whales" (literally sea monsters). Of this epoch, Le Conte says, "It was preeminently an age of reptiles." There are now on the whole face of the earth only six large reptiles over fifteen feet long—two in India, one in Africa, three in America—and none over twenty-five feet long. Yet in the strata that correspond to this period in Great Britain alone are found the skeletons of at least {197} five great Dinosaurs from twenty to sixty feet long, and in the United States the fullness of reptilian life was even greater; for, one hundred and forty-seven species of reptiles have been found, most of them of gigantic size. Among these are fifty species of Mosasaurs, seventy or eighty feet long, also species of crocodiles fifty feet long, besides great numbers of gigantic turtles." These are some of the remains that are still preserved. But the fossil animals of any period are only a remnant of the animals of that period. That the climate of the earth was then warm and uniform is sufficiently attested. All great reptiles are now found only in tropical or subtropical regions; but the remains of these monsters are scattered in all latitudes from New Zealand to Spitzbergen. In all this we see a wonderful agreement between the account given by Moses and the records of geology.


{198} Of the land animals which then inhabited the earth, might be mentioned the Dinotherium. From the remains of it which still exist it must have measured not less than sixteen feet high and twenty-four feet long with a head at least three feet in breadth and hence capable of containing a brain large enough for the most exacting phrenologist. Then again there was another huge animal called the Mastodon. We may get some idea of the enormous size of the animal from the fact that the remains of some of its grinding teeth, recently found in Pennsylvania, weighed no less than seventeen pounds. There existed at that time still another huge animal whose remains are found in Siberia, Sweden, Italy and North and South America. It is commonly called a Mammoth, {199} though on account of its resemblance to existing elephants, naturalists have named it Elephas Primigenius. It was covered with three kinds of hair: first strong bristles, secondly, soft hair, and thirdly with reddish wool growing among the hair.

Geologists agree that during the latter part of this period the earth began to assume conditions similar to those which prevail at the present time. This is indicated by the abundance of deciduous plants (that is plants that drop their leaves each autumn), which are to be found in North America. It is thus evident that the climate was becoming cooler, the dense atmosphere which so long had wrapped the earth as with a mantle had dissipated; the carbonic acid and other poisonous gases, which were totally unfit to support animal life had been absorbed by the rank vegetation of the coal period. Geologists tell us that this was the period when the Wasatch and Uintah mountains were formed and the center of the western continent upheaved, by which the great interior sea which previously divided America into two continents was abolished. The change of physical geography was enormous and the change of climate was doubtless correspondingly great. It was natural, therefore, to expect, with the opening of the next era, a very great change both in plant and animal life. So ended the fifth epoch of creation, for "The evening and the morning were the fifth day."

Moses opens the record of the sixth epoch by the words, "And God said, Let the earth bring {200} forth the living creature, after his kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast of the earth after his kind; and it was so." Geology confirms this by declaring, as it were, that then her modern history commenced. Then began the present aspect of field and forest; and modern types of animals were introduced and became predominant. Many of the species of both plants and animals were identical with those still living. Further, one of the most noteworthy facts connected with the first mammals (or milk-giving animals), is the suddenness of their appearance in great numbers, and of all, or nearly all orders, even the highest, except man.

Lastly, we are told, "And God said. Let us make man in our image, after our likeness; and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth." (Gen. i, 26). Thus from scripture we learn that the closing and completing work of the creation was man.

Geology triumphantly confirms the revealed fact that submarine animals, land vegetation, reptiles, birds and quadrupeds, were all of them in existence, successively and collectively, before the first of the human race. Further, that the earliest remains of men, yet discovered, indicate that they were distinctly and perfectly human, as much so as any race now living, and were not in any sense an intermediate link between man and the ape. When his habitation was prepared, and {201} the materials of the forest and of the mine were all ready for his use, then, and not till then, did man appear. Thus the record of Moses, and the record of nature bear each other witness. The same narrative told by the ruler of Israel four thousand years ago, is also told in its own expressive language by the very earth on which we tread, as if it were "graven with an iron pen and lead in the rock forever."

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The inspired records uniformly teach that man has a spiritual nature distinct from the body, the union of which with the body produces that which, for want of a better term, we call our present life. The union of some of these celestial spirits with {202} bodies of earthly matter forms the visible world of mankind. They teach us, also, that the existence and conscious faculties of the soul continue after the death of the body. Death is referred to in the scriptures as giving up the ghost, or spirit; and very many passages refer to the condition of disembodied spirits after death. In the account of the creation of Adam, we read that "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life; and man became a living soul," thus making an evident distinction between the body and the soul. In various parts of the Old Testament we find references to disembodied spirits, and various enactments in the Mosaic law against consulting them by means of divination and necromancy.

The Sadducees denied the separate existence of spirits; but, in our Savior's famous argument with them. He showed that the Old Testament clearly taught this doctrine when it represented God as saying, "I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob," adding, "He is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living." (Mark xii, 26.) Thereby teaching that these persons, although their bodies had been long dead, were still living. So, likewise, St. Paul speaks of being absent from the body, yet present with the Lord. St. John declares that he saw the souls of those who had been slain for their testimony of Jesus. (Rev. vi, 9.)

In examining the scientific evidence of these scriptural views concerning a spiritual existence, it will be necessary to inquire into the origin of {203} life as exhibited in physiology. This is confessedly a difficult question, yet one of great importance, since, driven from the sciences of astronomy and geology, infidelity has sought to entrench itself in natural history as in a citadel. Yet, even here, the ground crumbles beneath its feet; and the time is not far distant when a man, having a scientific education, will be ashamed to avow himself an infidel.

We have seen that astronomy and geology bear testimony to the truths revealed in the scriptures; so, likewise, does the science which treats of the functions of living beings.

Napoleon is said to have remarked to Dr. Antomarchi, at St. Helena, "You physicians are unbelievers because you cannot find the soul with your dissecting knife." However applicable this might have been to physicians of that day, it would fail of application now, since, by means of the microscope, man has been able to penetrate still more deeply into the recesses of nature's mysteries. With this instrument, science has been able to detect the beginnings of living structure, and to trace the fundamental laws of the process of development.

Chemistry has also done its part in investigating this phenomena. From these sources we learn the mutual relation, as well as individuality of all organic things. From the inorganic world, directly or indirectly, the bodies of all living things originate, and to it, naturally, they all return. By some power, unseen to mortal eyes, matter is arranged in new forms; and these forms, after using {204} the matter thus arranged, restore it again to the physical world. In this manner is kept up the wonderful circle of organic life. Scientists, though skeptically inclined, agree that there must have first existed an animated germ, the product of a previously-existing organism, which draws in and appropriates the inorganic elements, combines these elements into organisms, builds up an organized fabric, and discards, finally, the atoms and implements which it can no longer use. What this organism is we cannot fully explain, since it is evident that it is of such a refined or sublimated nature as to elude the grasp of science in its present stage of development. By no means, at our disposal, are we capable of rigidly examining it by our bodily senses.

To illustrate this subject, and at the same time to show the superiority and independence of the "vital principle," as it is called, or organizing spirit, to the cruder matter it uses, let us consider the history of a single microscopic atom, as it is used in the service of life. By some means—understood only by the Creator—it has become mysteriously endowed with life. Let us suppose its first connection with vitality to be in the simplest form of animated matter—that of the protoplasm. We find, on examination, that this protoplasm possesses what scientists call the "essential conditions of life," namely sensibility, contractibility and assimilation. We find that this atom of living jelly—for such it really is—is endowed with the power of selecting nutriment {205} from the inorganic matter around it for the support of its own existence. After a time it forms itself into a simple cell, a bladder-like form inclosing a fluid substance, and containing a few moving granules. After a time, this cell multiplies itself, that is, gives birth to a number of cells like itself. These are inclosed in the original cell, which at last bursts and sets them free. All scientists agree that "protoplasm is the physical basis of life." Now whence comes this wonderful principle which endows the protoplasm with the "essential conditions of life," and presses into its service the atoms and the laws of the material universe? Its effects are too palpable to allow a denial of its existence, while its power over earthly matter proves that it is distinct from it. Although too subtle to be analyzed by the philosopher, its existence is suggestive of the highest truths. It speaks to us of a spiritual world—a world to which the visible world is subservient, and which is itself unaffected by the many changes which take place around us.

Among the many theories which infidels have profounded, one of the most common is that which declares that life is the result of organization. This argument, like many others, is only an old one with a modern dress. We find in Plato's "Phaedo," that when Simmias argued against the immortality of the soul, the wise and good Socrates opposed him, proving that the soul existed before the body, as shown by the fact of pre-existent ideas. For example, the idea of goodness must necessarily exist, before we are able to form an opinion {206} concerning goodness. Infidels tell us that the idea of virtue is merely the harmony of the soul; but if the soul itself is only the "harmonious result of organization," then virtue is simply the harmony of a harmony, which is absurd. Socrates further showed that parts of the soul may be opposed to each other, as desire and reason, for example; and this fact overthrows the idea of harmony. Thus even a pagan philosopher could deal fatal blows against the positivism of his age as well as against the pretended wisdom of the nineteenth century.

Some tell that "no idea or feeling can arise, save as the result of some physical force expended in producing it." That because light, heat, electricity and motion are closely related, therefore they are the cause of life. As well might we say that the art and skill observed in a beautiful building were the offspring of the house itself, or that the architect was the result of a beautiful suite of rooms. In other words, the relation of cause and effect are completely reversed.

Yet we are told that heat, motion, electricity and chemical affinity are the causes of mental and moral action. This principle is even applied to the progress of civilization, and the statistics of crime; and Mr Herbert Spencer has made it the foundation of his new system of philosophy. Stripped of its parade and tinsel, however, this theory is nothing but the old pantheism revived. It is the desperate effort of infidelity to press into its service the researches of modern physiology and anatomy, as has formerly been tried with {207} astronomy and geology; but each of these sciences refuses an alliance with skepticism, and incontrovertibly points to a Creator and a spiritual world.

Let the honest skeptic inquire, "How do these theories explain the cause of life? Do they show us a single reason why some parts of matter become organized and others do not? Do they make plain why one cell develops a vegetable and another an animal, no perceptible difference existing between them, and the circumstances of each being the same except originating from different parentage? Can these philosophers tell us what they mean by physical force? Is it matter; or is it a creative power, or energy added to matter?"

An answer to these questions would cut the Gordian knot. While science stands on the very confines of a spiritual world, and points across the boundary, why should we fear to look in that direction, or spurn the guidance of that faith which would lead us to higher truths.

It may not be out of place to mention a few of the leading faculties of the mind, to show its independence.

Consciousness, that is, the knowledge which the mind has of its own operations. Perception, or the evidence we have of external objects by our senses. Memory, which implies a former conscious experience, its retention, revival and recognition. Imagination is a term used to represent the power which the mind has of combining ideas previously received. In its highest degree, imagination rises to the sphere of creative fancy, or poetic power.

{208} Judgment is the decision of the mind, the result of comparing two or more ideas. Conscience, sometimes called the moral sense, is that faculty by which we have ideas of right and wrong respecting actions, and corresponding feelings of approbation or disapprobation. It might, also, be claimed the faith faculty. It brings us into relation with the spiritual world and the claims of God and duty. Volition, or choice, is the dominion exercised by the mind over itself, employing or withholding its faculties in any particular action. These are a few of the faculties which link the mind to the body and likewise show its independence.

Thus far we have only considered the origin of life, as confirmatory of man's spiritual nature. There are, however, other themes which point as clearly to the same truth. The functions of the nervous system—sensation and voluntary motion—cannot be explained by any other theory. The nerve-structure only implies a capability of reception and transmission. In other words, it is the telegraph system that conveys intelligence to, and transmits the wishes of the immortal soul. It is true that the active exertions of the power of the soul require a corresponding health in the bodily organs, since the most accomplished artisan cannot exhibit his full powers with imperfect tools and materials; yet, as the injury or destruction of the implement is no proof of the death of the artisan, so the injury or destruction of the body destroys not the soul.

There is no constant relation between the {209} integrity of mind and body. The mind is sometimes an agonizing sufferer, while the body is in perfect health; and only slowly, and by degrees, the mind brings the bodily organs into a sympathetic state. Though the body cannot long resist the influence of mental disease; yet the mind can effectually resist the depressing influence of bodily disease or bodily pain, even to the period of their separation. Paralysis has unnerved and unstrung the whole system and yet the mind has remained uninjured. Such was the case with the great French statesman, Talleyrand, who, with a body like a living tomb, retained his faculties unimpaired. Nor need we more than allude to the rejoicing moment of the dying saint, or the triumphs of the martyr at the stake, to show that the mind can continue in calm serenity, while the body is enduring the most excruciating torments, or losing at once its vitality and power. Joy causes a brilliancy of the eyes. Melancholy produces a directly opposite effect from joy. The emotion of anger urges the circulation of the blood to the utmost vehemence, sometimes producing tremors or spasmodic action of the muscles. It acts also upon the secretions—the saliva, milk and bile— which often become actually poisoned. The sickness and death of many children are caused by taking the milk of an enraged mother.

The independent action of the mind is also manifest in the phenomenon of sleep. That personality is not suspended, is proved by voluntary waking at a predetermined hour.

{210} Dreaming is another proof of mental activity and independence. Then the mind is withdrawn from the ordinary influences of the world around, and lives, as it were, in a world of its own. Hence the adaptability of the dream state to spiritual communication and inspiration, as referred to so often in the scriptures. In examining, thus, a few particulars in which the bodily organization is acted upon by its spiritual inhabitant, we find abundant proof of the independent nature of the soul, as taught in holy writ.

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We repeat it: there is no antagonism between philosophy and faith. Whatever the seeming oppositions of the present, all in the end will be perfect harmony. The gospel not merely overwhelms but comprehends all philosophy.

The star of science shines very beautifully indeed in its own sphere; but its light at best is a {211} borrowed light, and its beams grow pale and vanish before the glorious sun of righteousness.

Often as the comparison has been made the result has been uniform—the sun outshines the star. Astronomy tried it. When the old Ptolemaic system was exploded by Copernicus, the vaunted wisdom of men proclaimed that the Bible also was exploded. But the Star-Maker triumphed over the star-gazers.

The gospel may indeed be likened to a splendid palace which the Great Builder founded on a rock, digging deep and bolting it to the solid granite; and false religion to a building of fair appearance, but founded upon the sand, which, when the floods come and storms beat, falls into irretrievable ruin. False religion cannot endure investigation; but the gospel, though tried by the severest tests that science can devise, only reveals more fully its beauty and solidity. Instead of astronomy undermining the temple of gospel truth, it has led the greatest of astronomers to unite with Herschel in the exclamation, "The infidel astronomer is mad."

Geology tried it. She came forth boasting her discoveries, and declaring that she had been among the rocks and deep down in the caves of the earth, and that she had found the teachings of the Bible contradicted by the strata of pre-Adamic ages, and had read its epitaph deeply chiseled by Nature herself in everlasting stone. But now the geologists admit that we have no rule for the measurement of geologic time.

{212} The fact is, we are not so far out of the dust, and chaos, and barbarism of antiquity as we had supposed. Geologically speaking, the very beginnings of our race are still almost in sight. The most eminent geologists admit that the total age of our race is not of necessity greater than indicated by the Mosaic history of primeval times.

Anatomy also tried it. By all the appliances of modern science every bone, muscle and tissue of the human body has been examined; yet no one has discovered the secret springs of action of the human soul. The power of vision, the source of muscular action, the fountain of life, have all eluded the skill of man. These mysteries belong to Him whose goings forth are from everlasting, and whose ways are past finding out. Man with all his learning and skill cannot solve the problem of his own being.

And so with all other sciences. Many a wild hurricane has spent its force on this tree of life, but has only caused it to strike its roots deeper. The day is hastening when men of science will be the very first to recognize the authority of God. Already it is largely so. What infidel names can be placed over against Raphael, Reynolds, Rubens, Trumbull, West and Cole as painters, or what against Canova or Thorwaldsen in sculpture, or Christopher Wren in architecture, or Michael Angelo in all three? In poetry, Milton, Young, Shakespeare, Dryden, Pope, Montgomery, Cowper, Watts, Wesley, Scott, Beattie, Goldsmith, Wordsworth, Tennyson, Bryant, Longfellow, Whittier, Hemans, {213} the Careys and hundreds of others who were all believers in inspiration. As if religion only was entitled to sing, infidelity has never produced a Handel, a Haydn, a Mozart, a Beethoven or a Spohr. Where can infidelity find such a galaxy of peerless judges as Grotius, Selden, Blackstone, Hale, Mansfield, Wirt, Story, Kent and Frelinghuysen. Among physicians, none can outrank Harvey, Sydenham, Boerhave, Gregory, Goode, Cooper and Rush; yet these all reverenced the name of God. Infidel philosophy can boast no names like Bacon, Newton, Locke, Stewart, Davy, Herschel, Cuvier, Whately, Hamilton, Proctor, Winchell or Le Conte. Jesus was in His appropriate place when among the doctors; and the wise men of the east were never wiser than when they brought their royal gifts to Him.

If the Being who made man has not had consideration enough for him to reveal to him His will, then he is not of the slightest consequence. These horrible wars which drown nations in sorrow, are the mere squabbles of a crowd of insects too insignificant for the divine notice. These dreams of moral purity, these aspirations after a higher life, these hopes of immortality, these out-reachings toward the everlasting Father, the assumption that we have a nature higher than the horse we drive or the dog we caress, are all miserable mistakes. If there is no authoritative revelation from God, what better are we than the brute creation? When we have set revelation aside and renounced our hope of immortality and {214} thrown off all our moral and religious obligations, and relinquished the leadership of the Savior, what shall we do for a restraining power to keep society together at all?

If men should be convinced that they are only animals, and that God takes no notice of them, whose property would be safe? Whose life would be sacred? Who would be secure from the unrestrained ravages of every base passion that finds its home in the human heart? When Christ, as a Divine Being, or as a man divinely commissioned, dies out of the popular faith, what then? Who shall comfort the hearts that mourn? Who shall assure us that virtue has a reward, or that there is any such thing as virtue? Who shall stimulate the love of brotherhood, and move men to works of benevolence? Who then would strive to raise the world out of its beastly degradation?

No candid observer will deny that whatever of good there is in our civilization is the product of the gospel. The very government under which we live was organized and established by men who were the instruments of God.

That which gives us protection by day and night—the dwellings we live in, the clothes we wear, the institutions of mental, social and moral culture—all these are the direct results of the revelations of God. A faith in God is the very fountain head of everything that is desirable in our civilization, and this civilization is the flower of time. Humanity has reached its noblest thrift, its highwater mark, its loftiest flight of excellence through the influence of this faith.

{215} And now we are told by infidels, in the most complacent language that the gospel is a myth, and that the Old Testament, which holds a relation to the New Testament and all other divine records as the blade holds to the ear, the bud to the flower, is a huge batch of absurdities with no valid claim to our respectful faith. We are told in effect that out of an ingenious lie, out of a cunning delusion, out of a baseless myth, out of a systematized falsehood has sprung all that there is in this life worth living for—the grandest motive of human progress in purity and power! We are, in effect, told that by means of a stupendous cheat, men are trained to goodness, purified of their passions, filled with love to one another, prompted to the highest heroism, inspired to sacrifices of life and fortune for the public good, and are built up into a civilization which is immeasurably superior to all that human nature, assisted merely by human reason and false religion, ever dreamed of!

We are, in effect, told all this; and we now ask reasonable men what they think of it. Who are the credulous men—those who believe in a divine power and personage, out of whose life has flown into humanity those pure principles and elevating and purifying motives—or those who believe that a lie has wrought those marvels?

Of all the credulous idiots that the age has produced, we know of none so pitiable as those who, in the full blaze of such a civilization as ours, soberly talk of the gospel as a myth and its Author as a cheat.



And now, dear reader, if you have diligently read the preceding pages, you can understand how carefully the various objections to our religion have been examined and how thoroughly answered. During the last twenty-five years human intellect has made advances which have astonished even students of science. Scientific positions which were deemed impregnable a generation ago, have been swept away by a storm of new ideas; and the sunshine of examination has melted many an iceberg of prejudice, and dissipated many an intellectual fog. True it is that in advance of us are "Banks of cloud darkly bounding the horizon, and loftier Alps of thought which remain to be scaled." Yet Faith penetrates the vail and sees the glorious land of promise—the inheritance of our race. Even to those who have not faith, the victories of God's truth over the vagaries of men is an earnest of future triumph. When men shall understand what is the true gospel and what is true science then will come not conflict, but the peace of mutual recognition and mutual understanding. Oh, let us be calm, and wait reverently for God to vindicate His own everlasting TRUTH.

"It breaks—it comes—the misty shadows fly;
A rosy radiance gleams upon the sky;
The mountain tops reflect it calm and clear,
the plain is yet in shade but day is near."

Transcriber's Notes:

The Table of Contents was not present in the original edition, but was added by the transcriber for the HTML edition, and reproduced in the text edition for consistency.

Many cases of archaic spelling have been preserved. However, the following have been judged to be errors in printing, and have been corrected as indicated:

On page 13, where the original reads "ninty," this edition reads "ninety."
On page 42, where the original reads "destribution," this edition reads "distribution."
On page 81, where the original reads "Eygptian," this edition reads "Egyptian."
On page 100, where the original reads "doeth," this edition reads "doth."
On page 118, where the original reads "Pasover," this edition reads "Passover."
On page 120, where the original reads "diciple," this edition reads "disciple."
On page 120, where the original reads "Messiaic," this edition reads "Messianic."
On page 160, where the original reads "evelasting," this edition reads "everlasting."
On page 163, where the original reads "orginal," this edition reads "original."
On page 164, where the original reads "philospher," this edition reads "philosopher."
On page 177, one of a set of duplicated words (be be) was deleted.
On page 198, where the original reads "enornous," this edition reads "enormous."
On page 211, where the original reads "spendid," this edition reads "splendid."

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