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Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith - Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity
by Robert Patterson
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"O Lord, my God! if I have done this, If there be iniquity in my hands, If I have rewarded evil to him that was at peace with me, Yea I have delivered him that without cause was mine enemy."[178]

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

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

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

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

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

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

"Hallelujah, salvation, and glory, and honor, and power, unto the Lord, our God, for true and righteous are his judgments; for he hath judged the great whore, which did corrupt the earth with her fornication, and hath avenged the blood of his servants at her hands. And again they said, Hallelujah! And her smoke rose up for ever and ever. And the four and twenty elders and the four living creatures fell down and worshiped God that sat on the throne, saying, Amen! Hallelujah! And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants; and ye that fear him, both small and great. And I heard as it were the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Hallelujah! FOR THE LORD GOD OMNIPOTENT REIGNETH."[184]

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

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

FOOTNOTES:

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

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

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

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

[124] Essays and Reviews, page 121.

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

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

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

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

[129] Familiar Lectures, page 456.

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

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

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

[133] Osburn's Monumental History.

[134] Hebrew Monarchy, 160.

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

[136] Ancient Monarchies I. 65.

[137] W. R. Cooper, Secretary Biblical Archaeological Society, in Faith and Free Thought, page 257.

[138] Rawlinson's Illustrations of Scripture.

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

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

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

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

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

[144] Jeremiah, chap. xxii. 13.

[145] Jeremiah, chap. xxxiv.

[146] Ezra, chap. vi. 18.

[147] Daniel, chap. ix. 11.

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

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

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

[151] Exodus, chap. xviii. 21.

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

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

[154] Preface to Exposition of the Apocalypse.

[155] Luke, chap. xxiv. 25.

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

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

[158] Luke, chap. xxiv. throughout.

[159] John, chap. xx. 30.

[160] Luke, chap. xvi. 29.

[161] Galatians, chap. iii. 21.

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

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

[164] Matthew, chap. v. 43.

[165] Matthew, chap. vii. 12.

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

[167] Deuteronomy, chap. xxvii. 26.

[168] Hebrews, chap. x. 30.

[169] Matthew, chap. xi.

[170] 2 Thessalonians, chap. i.

[171] Revelation, chap. xix.

[172] Isaiah, chap. lv.

[173] Exodus, chap. iv. 22.

[174] Malachi, chap. i.

[175] Exodus, chap. xxxiv.

[176] Psalm xxii.

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

[178] Psalm vii.

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

[180] 1 Corinthians, chap. x.

[181] John, chap. ii. 17; chap. xv. 25; chap. xix. 28. Acts, chap. i. 20.

[182] Matthew, chap. xxv. 41.

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

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

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



CHAPTER X.

INFIDELITY AMONG THE STARS.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professor Fick, who was some time since called from Zurich to fill the professorship of physiology at Wurzburg, and who is known by his experiments on muscular physics, in a recent work on the transformation of force, brings out the argument in proof of the non-eternity of our universe in a new form. He shows that heat is continually being lost by radiation; and when mechanical force is converted into heat some of that heat can never be brought back to be mechanical force. And as this change from mechanical force to heat is ever going on, all force must at last turn into heat, in which case all difference of temperature would be lost and universal stagnation and death would be the result. He then concludes in the following words, which we quote from Nature, Macmillan's weekly: "We are come to this alternative; either in our highest, or most general, our most fundamental scientific abstractions some great point has been overlooked; or the universe will have an end, and must have had a beginning; could not have existed from eternity, but must at some date, not infinitely distant, have arisen from something not forming part of the chain of natural causes, i. e., must have been created."[194]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

"The difficulties in the way of our regarding these small planets, as fragments of a single body, were well nigh-insuperable before the discovery of Hygeia. This last discovery has probably given the death-blow to the theory of Olbers. The orbit of Hygeia completely incloses the orbits of several of the asteroids, its perihelion distance—that is, its least distance from the sun—exceeding the aphelion—or greatest distance—of Flora by twenty-five millions of miles. No change of position of the orbits could, therefore, bring these orbits to a coincidence."[197]

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This theory, as stated by Herschel, and expounded by Nichol, Dick, and other Christian writers, is not necessarily Atheistical. On the contrary, they allege that it furnishes us with greater evidences of the power of God, and gives us higher ideas of his wisdom, to suppose a system of creation by development, under natural law, than by a direct exercise of his will. Undoubtedly, had God so pleased he could have made suns from fire-mists, according to some plan which his infinite wisdom could devise, and his omnipotent power could execute; but it is beyond the possibilities even of omniscience and omnipotence to make worlds, or to make anything but nonsense, according to La Place's plan. Had God so pleased, to make firmaments grow as forests do, and if he should please to enable us to discover such celestial growth in some distant part of heaven, we should have the same kind of evidence of his being, power, wisdom, and goodness in this creation by natural law which we now have from his providence by natural law, in the growth of the fruits of the earth, and as much greater an amount of it as the heavens are greater than the earth. The first beginning of primeval elements demands a Creator. The contrivance of the law of development proclaims a Contriver. The force by which it operates—whether that of gravity or chemical reaction—must be the force of an Agent.

The development theory, then, fails to account for the origin of the universe, or even of our own world. Herbert Spencer, its most eloquent expounder, admits this. He says: "It remains only to point out that while the genesis of the solar system, and of countless other systems like it, is thus rendered comprehensible, the ultimate mystery continues as great as ever. The problem of existence is not solved; it is simply removed farther back. The Nebular Hypothesis throws no light on the origin of diffused matter; and diffused matter as much needs accounting for as concrete matter. The genesis of an atom is not easier to conceive than the genesis of a planet. Nay, indeed, so far from making the universe a less mystery than before, it makes it a greater mystery. Creation by manufacture is a much lower thing than creation by evolution. A man can put together a machine, but he can not make a machine develop itself. The ingenious artisan, able as some have been, so far to imitate vitality as to produce a mechanical piano-forte player, may in some sort conceive how, by greater skill, a complete man might be artificially produced; but he is unable to conceive how such a complex organism gradually arises out of a minute, structureless germ. That our harmonious universe once existed potentially as formless, diffused matter, and has slowly grown into its present organized state, is a far more astonishing fact than would have been its formation after the artificial method vulgarly supposed. Those who hold it legitimate to argue from phenomena to noumena, may rightly contend that the Nebular Hypothesis implies a First Cause as much transcending 'the mechanical god of Paley,' as this does the fetish of a savage."[200]

The Nebular Hypothesis, then, can not exist without God. However, as it seems to remove him to a great distance from this present world, both in space and time, it has become popular with Atheists.

The Nebular Hypothesis, as presented by Atheists, imagines a state of primeval matter as simple, or homogeneous, of which science presents no example, in heaven or on earth.

This homogeneous condition of matter is the very foundation of the theory. Spencer reasons at great length, that all progress is from the simple to the differentiated. And it is indispensable for the Atheists to prove that the primeval world was composed of matter perfectly simple and homogeneous. If they alleged that it was composed of several ingredients, nobody would believe them that this compound was eternal. There is no conviction of common sense stronger than that every compound has been put together by some compounder.

They could not persuade a child that a plum pudding made itself, or that a steamship filled with passengers existed so from eternity, much less a planet with a much larger crew and company. They therefore alleged that the first matter of the universe was perfectly homogeneous and simple. When common people objected that no such thing was to be seen in this world nowadays, since all things here—stones, water, air, earth, plants, animals—are compounded and built up out of a great variety of matters, they claimed that this is the result of the growth of our planet; but that the nebulae, which astronomers see far away in the sky, are young suns and planets, just beginning to condense, and that the gas they consist of is the genuine, simple, homogeneous matter out of which this world, and all worlds, originally made themselves. They thought the nebulae were so very far away that nobody would ever go there to see and come back to contradict them; and so they were quite safe in pointing to them as examples of homogeneous matter.

Now one does not see, if the nebula had been exactly what the development men assert—simple, homogeneous matterhow they could ever have made such a composite world as this out of it, or indeed how they could make anything but itself out of it. No chemical actions or reactions can begin in a simple substance; there must always be at least two simple substances to make a compound. Heating or cooling a simple substance will never make it a compound. You may heat water in a boiler and cool it again as often as you please, but your heating and cooling will never make coffee out of it, unless you put coffee into it. So you may heat and cool your simple nebula to all eternity, but you will never get coffee out of it, much less coffee and coffee-pot, china and company, with the biscuits and butter; all which, and a great deal more, our philosophers contrive to churn out of the primeval homogeneous nebula.

But the progress of science has enabled us to show that the nebulae, far from being simple, homogeneous matter, are compounded of as many ingredients as the flame of your lamp or gas light, which is combined of half a score of different substances. By the discovery of Spectrum Analysis we are able to analyze the chemical composition of the most distant flames, to tell whether they proceed from solids or gases in a state of combustion, and what are the gases and minerals consumed in them. As space forbids the details of this discovery here, I can only state the results, namely that some of the nebulae consist of clouds of small solid stars, of which the nebula in Orion is an instance; but others consist of flames of gases, in all cases compound, and showing, besides the oxygenated flame, the lines which declare the presence of hydrogen, and of several metals. Thus it is proved, that no such eternal, homogeneous nebulae are to be found in heaven, and consequently nobody could ever make worlds out of a substance which had no existence.

This theory of development was always a mere notion, a castle in the air, and never could be anything more. To say that it was mere moonshine would be to give it far too respectable a standing; for moonshine has a real existence, and may be seen and felt. But nobody ever saw or felt a homogeneous nebula. Indeed, its inventor never pretended that he, or anybody else, ever saw one; or saw it sailing off into moons, and planets, and suns, or ever would see any such thing. No scientific man has ever pretended that it was an established fact, or anything more than a theory, a notion. Young people, who are invited to hazard their souls on the strength of this miscalled scientific theory, should remember that it is not science, which means something a man knows, but merely a theory, which is some notion which he imagines.

It is an unsatisfactory notion. It does not answer the purpose of its inventors. As we have already seen, it gives us no account of the origin of the homogeneous matter of the nebula. It gives no answer to the questions, How did it get to be so hot, while all the space around it was so cold? Is the fire that heated it burning still, or is it exhausted for want of fuel? Were the germs of all the plants and animals in it while it was blazing at a white heat? If they were, how did they escape being burnt to ashes? If they were not, where did they come from? For there was nothing but that nebula then in existence. Did it contain within itself all the principles of things, all the forces now found in the worlds which grew out of it? If so, how came they there? If not, how did attraction, and repulsion, vegetable life, animal life, intellect, and free will, work themselves into that cloud of homogeneous gas?

Professor Tyndall thus exposes the absurdity of the supposition that the nebula contained the elements of mind: "For what are the core and essence of this hypothesis? Strip it naked and you stand face to face with the notion that not alone the more ignoble forms of animalcular or animal life, not alone the noble forms of the horse and lion, not alone the exquisite and wonderful mechanisms of the human body, but the human mind itself—emotion, intellect, will, and all these phenomena, were once latent in a fiery cloud. Surely the mere statement of such a notion is more than a refutation."[201]

It was only one of several contradictory notions. Thus a writer in the Atlantic Monthly, so far from accepting the notion that the sun and earth are solidifying and cooling down, as explanatory of the facts revealed by astronomy and geology, infers the very contrary from the acknowledged facts, namely, that we are coming up to the nebular condition, rather than developing from it. He writes as follows:

"The earth is progressing by excessively slow changes toward the solar and nebulous condition. Its history is a repetition of the solar, and a time must arrive when the surface, becoming incandescent, will be obscured only by casual dark pits in a brilliant atmosphere, a souvenir of the present darkness of the crust; yet during a certain period, within fixed limits of gravitating force and heat of mass, the human race may continue to exist; progressing, we may suppose, in force and fineness of organization. The race will perish, perhaps, in the order of nature, by failure or insufficient number of offspring, a principal cause of the extinction of superior races. The earth must become lone and voiceless long before the incandescence of the crust. Science may follow it into the condition of an attendant star, and then of an expanding nebula.

"In the cosmos all movements are cyclical, and recurrent, without change, save interchange among forms of motion. A universe which is, in its total, the same to-day as yesterday, and always, would appear idle and dull if it were not the footstool of divine force, upon which the creative will maintains a certain equipoise, necessary to the continued production of spiritual forms."

It is an impracticable notion, contrary to the first principle of mechanics, that action and reaction are equal.

The grand requirement of the system—power to work the engine—can never be raised by La Place's, nor by any other mechanical plan. The cooling cloud of fire-mist is simply a very big machine, and no machine can generate power to work itself. If La Place could have somehow or other got power for the motion of rotation outside of his cloud, he might have made it revolve, and scatter off great lumps of the lightest outside stuffs, as your grindstone scatters off drops of water when you turn it rapidly; but, having no such power, his theory is a plan to make the grindstone turn itself. It is, therefore, precisely of the same value as any one of the hundred of ingenious schemes for creating power by machinery, of the perpetual motion men, in defiance of the first law of mechanics, that action and reaction are equal.

Moreover, he proposes to raise the power by making the gas cool at one part of the surface faster than at another, and so to make a vortex around that spot, which would set the whole mass to revolving. But no conceivable reason can be alleged why the homogeneous mass should begin to cool at one place faster than another, or indeed why an eternally hot mass should ever begin to cool at all. But, letting that pass, to make the required vortex for the rotation of the whole mass, it should not begin to cool at any part of the surface, but at the center, where, as every engine driver who ever saw a condenser, and every woman who ever cooled a dish of mush knows, it could not possibly begin to cool till the outside mass had become cold; and so no motion could be produced. This is so well known in the machine shops that it is rare to find a machinist own the theory.

But even a more fatal objection has been raised by one of the most eloquent expounders of the theory. Mr. Spencer shows us that the mass, condensing under the influence of gravitation, so far from cooling must necessarily evolve heat. He is perfectly clear and decided on this matter, that the condensing mass could never, by any possibility, begin to cool, but must begin to heat, and go on heating till it burst out in a blaze. He says: "Heat must inevitably be generated by the aggregation of diffused matter into a concrete form; and throughout our reasonings we have assumed that such generation of heat has been an accompaniment of nebular condensation."[202] "While the condensation and the rate of rotation are progressively increasing, the approach of the atoms necessarily generates a progressively increasing temperature. As this temperature rises light begins to be evolved, and ultimately there results a revolving sphere of fluid matter radiating intense light and heat—a sun."[203]

This, it will be perceived, is exactly the reverse of the original nebular theory of a cooling globe, or spheroid of homogeneous nebular matter, diffused by intense heat, and cooling down into suns, and moons, and planets. So far as the Spencer system is accepted, it displaces La Place's theory, and the inventor accordingly works out a new theory of his own, and equally inconsistent with known facts and principles. But as Mr. Spencer candidly owns that his scheme can neither generate matter nor force, as we have already seen, it needs no further discussion in this connection.

The fact is simply this, a chemical perpetual motion is as impossible as a mechanical one. The discovery of the convertibility of forces shows this. The development theory of the generation of motion by processes of the self-heating or the self-cooling of the machine, or by chemical actions and reactions, is, in its last analysis, only a big perpetual motion humbug.

Even were the rotation, and the cooling process, to take place, as is supposed, no such results would proceed from these combined operations as the case requires; for, according to the theory, as the cooling and contracting rings revolve in the verge of a vortex of fluid less dense than themselves, one of these two results must take place: either, as is most probable, from their exceeding tenuity, the rings will break at once into fragments, when, instead of flying outward, they will sink toward the center, and, as long as they are heavier than the surrounding fluid, they will stay there; and, as the cooling goes on on the outside, so will the concentration of the heavier matter, till we have one great spheroid, with a solid center, liquid covering, and gaseous atmosphere. A vortex will never make, nor allow to exist beyond its center, planets heavier than the fluid of which it is composed. The other alternative, and the one which La Place selected, was the supposition that the cooling and contracting rings did not at first break up into pieces, but retained their continuity; but, contrary to all experience and reason, he supposed that these cooling rings kept contracting and widening out from the heated mass, at the same time. The only fluid planetary rings which we can examine—those of Saturn—have been closing in on the planet since the days of Huygens, and eventually will be united with the body of the planet. Every boy who has seen a blacksmith hoop a cart-wheel has learned the principle, that a heated ring contracts as it cools, and in doing so presses in upon the mass around which it clings. But, according to this nebular notion, the fire-mist keeps cooling and shrinking up, while the rings, of the very same heat and material, keep cooling faster, and widening out from it; a piece of schismatical behavior without a parallel among solids or fluids, either in heaven or earth, or under the earth.

Plateau's illustration of the mode in which centrifugal force acts in overcoming molecular attraction, has been cited as a demonstration of the truth of the nebular hypothesis. The conditions, however, are entirely different. By means of clock-work he caused a globule of oil to rotate in a mixture of alcohol and water of the same density, thus entirely getting rid of the power of gravitation; and by increasing the velocity he caused it to flatten out into a disc, and finally to project a multitude of minute drops, which continued their revolutions so long as the fluid in which they floated kept revolving by the motion of the rotating spindle, the divergent drops, the central mass, and the surrounding fluid, being all the while of the same density. But the essential conditions of the nebular theory are, that the central mass exert an attraction of gravitation upon all its parts, and therefore be denser than the surrounding ether or empty space, and that the cooling and contracting rings be of a different density from the rest of the mass. Their divergence from the more fluid portion is supposed to arise from their growing denser. And Reclus shows[204] that the divergent drops owe their existence to the expansion, not to the contraction, of the globule of oil. This experiment, then, contradicts the theory, so far as it is applicable.

Plateau himself never adduced this experiment in support of the nebular theory; but having, by way of illustration, spoken of the revolving drops as satellites, and finding that expression misunderstood, he corrected the error in a subsequent paper. He says: "It is clear that this mode of formation is entirely foreign to La Place's cosmogonic hypothesis; therefore we have no idea of deducing from this little experiment, which only refers to the effects of molecular attraction, and not to those of gravitation, any argument in favor of the hypothesis in question; an hypothesis which in other respects we do not adopt."[205]

It was always contrary to the facts of astronomical science. It has accordingly been repudiated by the most eminent astronomers.

Sir John Herschel declares that the appearance of those groups, or clusters, of stars, supposed to be formed by the condensation of nebulae is quite different from that depicted by this theory, and that no traces of the ring-making process is visible among them. He thus describes the appearances of these groups; exactly the contrary of that demanded by the theory, which he emphatically disclaims, from the presidential chair of the British Association for the Advancement of Science.

"If it is to be regarded as demonstrated truth, or as receiving the smallest support from any observed numerical relations which actually hold good among the elements of the primary orbits, I beg leave to demur. Assuredly it receives no support from the observation of the effects of sidereal aggregation as exemplified in the formation of globular and elliptic clusters, supposing them to have resulted from such aggregation. For we see this cause working out in thousands of instances, to have resulted, not in the formation of a single large central body, surrounded by a few smaller attendants disposed in one plane around it, but in systems of infinitely greater complexity, consisting of multitudes of nearly equal luminaries, grouped together in a solid elliptic or globular form. So far then as any conclusions from our observations of nebulae can go, the result of agglomerative tendencies may indeed be the formation of families of stars of a general and very striking character, but we see nothing to lead us to presume its further result to be the surrounding of those stars with planetary adherents."[206]

This theory is contradicted by the peculiarities of our solar system. The orbits of the comets being inclined at all angles to the sun's equator, are often out of the plane of his rotation, and so in the way of the theory. The moons of Uranus revolve in a direction contrary to all the other bodies, and fly right into the face of the theory. According to the nebular theory, the outer planets, first cast off from the sun, ought to be lighter than those nearer him, as these had longer pressing near the middle of the mass; and the sun himself, having been pressed by the weight of all the rest of the system, should be the densest body of the whole. And the author of The Vestiges of Creation, in expounding the theory, manufactures a set of facts to suit it, and tells his readers that the planets exhibit a progressive diminution in density from the one nearest the sun to that which is most distant. Our solar system could not have lasted thirty years had that been the case. The Earth, Venus, and Mars, are nearly of the same density. Uranus is more dense than Saturn, which is nearer the sun. Neptune is more dense than either. The sun, which ought to be the heaviest of all, according to the theory, is only one-fourth the density of the earth. La Place himself has demonstrated that these densities and arrangements are indispensable to the stability of the system. But they are plainly contradictory to his theory of its formation.[207]

The palpable difference of luminosity between the sun and the planets, which, as they are all made of the very same materials, and by the same process, according to this theory, ought to be equally self-luminous, is in itself a self-evident refutation of the nebular hypothesis, or of any other process of creation by mere mechanical law. "The same power, whether natural or supernatural, which placed the sun in the center of the six primary planets, placed Saturn in the center of the orb of his five secondary planets; and Jupiter in the center of his four secondary planets; and the earth in the center of the moon's orbit; and, therefore, had this cause been a blind one, without contrivance or design, the sun would have been a body of the same kind with Saturn, Jupiter, and the Earth; that is, without light or heat. Why there is one body in our system qualified to give light and heat to all the rest, I know no reason, but because the Author of the system thought it convenient." So says the immortal Newton.[208]

The great expounder of modern science—Humboldt—is equally explicit in enumerating the decisive marks of choice and will in the construction of the solar system, and in contemptuously dismissing the notion of development and creation by natural law from the halls of science.

"Up to the present time, we are ignorant, as I have already remarked, of any internal necessity—any mechanical law of nature—which (like the beautiful law which connects the square of the periods of revolution with the cube of the major axis) represents the above-named elements—the absolute magnitude of the planets, their density, flattening at the poles, velocity of rotation, and presence or absence of moons—of the order of succession of the individual planetary bodies of each group, in their dependence upon the distances. Although the planet which is nearest the sun is densest—even six or eight times denser than some of the exterior planets: Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune—the order of succession in the case of Venus, the Earth, and Mars, is very irregular. The absolute magnitudes do, generally, as Kepler has already observed, increase with the distances; but this does not hold good when the planets are considered individually. Mars is smaller than the Earth; Uranus smaller than Saturn; Saturn smaller than Jupiter, and succeeds immediately to a host of planets, which, on account of their smallness, are almost immeasurable. It is true, the period of rotation generally increases with the distance from the sun; but it is in the case of Mars slower than in that of the Earth, and slower in Saturn than in Jupiter."[209] "Our knowledge of the primeval ages of the world's physical history does not extend sufficiently far to allow of our depicting the present condition of things as one of development."[210]

Sir David Brewster adds his testimony as follows: "Geology does not pretend to give us any information respecting the process by which the nucleus of the earth was formed. Some speculative astronomers indeed have presumptuously embarked in such an inquiry; but there is not a trace of evidence that the solid nucleus of the globe was formed by secondary causes, such as the aggregation of attenuated matter diffused through space; and the nebular theory, as it has been called, though maintained by a few distinguished names, has, we think, been overturned by arguments which have never been answered. Sir Isaac Newton, in his four celebrated letters to Dr. Bentley, has demonstrated that the planets of the solar system could not have been thus formed and put in motion round a central sun."[211]

4. Astronomy not only exposes the folly of past cosmogonies, but demonstrates the impossibility of framing any true theory of creation, and thus refutes all future cosmogonies.

The grand error of all cosmogonies lies in the arrogant assumption, on which every one of them must be founded, that the theorist is acquainted with all substances, and all forces in the universe, and with all the modes of their operation; not only at the present period, and on this earth, but in all past ages, and in worlds in widely different, and utterly unknown situations; for, if he be ignorant of any substance, or of any active force in the universe, his generalization is avowedly imperfect, and necessarily erroneous. That unknown force must have had its influence in framing the world. Its omission, then, is fatal to the theory which neglects it. A theory of creation, for instance, which would neglect the attraction of gravitation would be manifestly false. But there are other forces as far reaching, whose omission must be equally fatal; for instance, the power of repulsion.

A conviction of this truth has given rise to a constant effort to simplify matters down to the level of our ignorance, by reducing all substances to one, or at most two simple elements, and all forces to the form of one universal law; but the progress of science utterly blasts the attempt. Instead of simplifying matters, the very chemical processes undertaken with that view revealed new substances, and every year increases our knowledge of nature's variety. No scientific man now dreams of one primeval element. In the same way, astronomy, which, it was boasted, would enable us to account for all the operations of the universe, by reducing all motion to one mechanical law, has revealed to us the existence of other forces as far reaching as the attraction of gravitation, and more powerful; and substances whose nature and combinations are utterly unknown. But every cosmogony is just an attempt to simplify matters, by ignoring the existence of these unknown substances, and mysterious forces; a process which science condemns, as utterly unphilosophical and absurd.

Astronomy has shown us our ignorance of the substances, or materials, of our own little globe. It has demonstrated that the whole body of the earth must have an average density equal to iron. As the rocks near the surface are much lighter, those toward the center must be heavier than iron, to make up this density. Of what, then, do they consist? The geologist says he does not know. No geologist ever saw them. No mortal ever will see them, and report their chemical constitution, their dip, and the arrangement of their strata, to the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The very utmost "we can say is that they are unlike anything with which we are acquainted." Very well; then be pleased to have the decency to abstain from telling us how the world was made, when you don't know what it is made of.

The sun's heat, at its surface, is 300,000 times greater than at the surface of the earth, but a tenth of this amount, collected in the focus of a lens, dissipates gold and platinum in vapor. When the most vivid flames which we can produce are held up in the blaze of his rays, they disappear. If a cataract of icebergs, a mile high, and wider than the Atlantic Ocean, were launched into the sun with the velocity of a cannon-ball, the small portion of the sun's heat expended on our earth would convert that vast mass into steam as fast as it entered his atmosphere without cooling its surface in the least degree. "The great mystery, however, is to conceive how so enormous a conflagration (if such it be) can be kept up. Every discovery in chemical science here leaves us completely at a loss, or rather seems to remove farther the prospect of probable explanation."[212] Yet, the sun is the nearest of the fixed stars, and by far the best known, and most nearly related to us. In fact, we are dependent on his influences for life and health. But if the theorist can not tell his substance, or the nature and cause of the light and heat he sends us, how can he presume so far on the world's credulity as to present a theory of his formation?

"Astronomical problems accumulate unsolved upon our hands, because we can not, as mechanicians, chemists, or physiologists, experiment on the stars. Are they built of the same material as our planet? Are Saturn's rings solid, or liquid? Has the moon an atmosphere? Are the atmospheres of the planets like ours? Are the light and heat of the sun begotten of combustion? And what is the fuel which feeds these unquenchable fires? These are questions, which we ask, and variously answer, but leave unanswered after all."[213] But, till he can answer these, and a thousand questions like these, let no man presume to describe the formation of these unknown orbs.

Comets constitute by far the greatest number of the bodies of our solar system. Arago says seven millions frequent it, within the orbit of Uranus.[214] They are the largest bodies known to us, stretching across hundreds of millions of miles. They approach nearer to this earth than any other bodies, sometimes even involving it in their tails, and generally exciting great alarm among its inhabitants. But the nature of the transparent luminous matter of which they are composed is utterly unknown. As they approach the sun, they come under an influence directly the opposite of attraction. The tail streams away from the sun, over a distance of millions of miles, and yet the rate of the comet's motion toward the sun is quickened, as though it were an immense rocket, driven forward by its own explosion.

Further, while the body of the comet travels toward the sun, sometimes with a velocity nearly one-third of that of light, the tail sends forth coruscations in the opposite direction, with a much greater velocity. The greatest velocity with which we are acquainted on earth is the velocity of light, which travels a million of times faster than a cannon-ball, or at the rate of 195,000 miles per second; but here is a substance capable of traveling twenty-three times faster, and here is a force propelling it, twenty-three times greater than any which exists on earth. Its existence was first discovered by the coruscations of the comet of 1807. "In less than one second, streamers shot forth, to two and a half degrees in length; they as rapidly disappeared, and issued out again, sometimes in proportions, and interrupted, like our northern lights. Afterward the tail varied, both in length and breadth; and in some of the observations, the streamers shot forth from the whole expanded end of the tail, sometimes here, sometimes there, in an instant, two and a half degrees long; so that within a single second they must have shot out a distance of 4,600,000 miles."[215] Similar exhibitions of this unknown force were made by the comet of 1811, by Halley's comet, and several others.

In these amazing disclosures of the unknown forces of the heavens, do we not hear a voice rebuking the presumption of ignorant theorists, with the questions, Knowest thou the ordinances of heaven? Canst thou set the dominion thereof in the earth? Hear one of the most distinguished of modern astronomers expound the moral bearings of such a discovery: "The intimation of a new cosmical power—I mean of one so unsuspected before, but which yet can follow a planet through all its wanderings—throws us back once more into the indefinite obscure, and checks all dogmatism. How many influences, hitherto undiscovered by our ruder senses, may be ever streaming toward us, and modifying every terrestrial action. And yet, because we had traced one of these, we have deemed our astronomy complete! Deeper far, and nearer to the root of things, is that world with which man's destiny is entwined."[216]

We can have no reason, save our own self-sufficient arrogance, to believe that the discovery of these two forces exhausts the treasures of infinite wisdom. Humboldt thus well refutes the folly of such an imagination: "The imperfectibility of all empirical science, and the boundlessness of the sphere of observation, render the task of explaining the forces of matter by that which is variable in matter, an impracticable one. What has been already perceived, by no means exhausts that which is perceptible. If, simply referring to the progress of science in our own times, we compare the imperfect physical knowledge of Robert Boyle, Gilbert, and Hales, with that of the present day, and remember that every few years are characterized by an increasing rapidity of advance, we shall be better able to imagine the periodical and endless changes which all physical sciences are destined to undergo. New substances and new forces will be discovered."[217]

Thus, all true science, conscious of its ignorance, ever leads the mind to the region of faith. Its first lesson, and its last lesson, is humility. It tells us that every cosmogony, which the children of theory so laboriously scratch in the sand, must be swept away by the rising tide of science. When we seek information on the great questions of our origin and destiny, and cry, "Where shall wisdom be found, and what is the place of understanding?" The high priests of science answer, in her name, "It is not in me; the measure thereof is longer than the earth, and broader than the sea."

We receive this honest acknowledgment as an inestimable boon. We are saved thereby the wearying labor of a vain and useless search after knowledge which lies not in her domain. We come down to the Bible with the profound conviction that science can give us no definite information of our origin, no certainty of our destiny, and but an imperfect acquaintance with the laws which govern this present world. If the Bible can not inform us on these all-important questions, we must remain ignorant. Science declares she can not teach us. The Word of God remains, not merely the best, but absolutely the only, the last resource of the anxious soul.

The Bible gives us no theory of creation. It simply asserts the fact, that "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth," but does not tell us how he did so. The knowledge could be of no use to us, for he never means to employ us as his assistants in the work of creation. Nor could we understand the matter. The force by which he called the worlds into being, and upholds them in it, exists in no creature. "He stretcheth forth the heavens alone. He spreadeth abroad the earth by himself." "He upholdeth all things by the word of his power."

But it presents anxious, careworn, humbled souls with something infinitely more precious than cosmogonies; even an explicit declaration of the love toward them of him who made these worlds.

"Thus saith the Lord, THY REDEEMER, And he who formed thee from the womb: I am the Lord, who maketh all things; Who stretcheth forth the heavens alone, And spreadeth abroad the earth, by myself."

"He healeth the broken in heart, And bindeth up their wounds. He telleth the number of the stars, And calleth them all by their names. Great is our Lord, and of great power; His wisdom is infinite!"

Yes, the Creator of heaven and earth, who upholds all things by the word of his power, became a man like you, and dwelt on earth, and suffered the sorrow, the shame, the pain, the death, that sinful man deserved; and when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high. From that heavenly throne his voice now sounds, reader, in your ear, "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest."

FOOTNOTES:

[186] Cosmos III. 138.

[187] Herschel's Outlines, chap. xvii. sec. 887.

[188] Cosmos III. 197.

[189] Nichol's Architecture of the Heavens, 9th ed. p. 180.

[190] Cosmos IV. 292.

[191] Nichol's Contemplations on the Solar System, xxx.

[192] Cosmos III. 253.

[193] Herschel's Outlines of Astronomy, chap. xvi.

[194] New York Evangelist, May 5, 1870.

[195] Nichol's Architecture of the Heavens, 9th edition, 272.

[196] Pontecoulant in System of the World, p. 70.

[197] Progress of Astronomy, 70.

[198] Memoirs of the French Academy, by M. Le Verrier; from The Annual of Scientific Discovery, for 1855, p. 376.

[199] Herschel's Outlines of Astronomy, p. 558, ed. of 1853.

[200] Illustrations of Universal Progress, page 298.

[201] Fragments of Science and Scientific Thought, p. 163.

[202] Illustrations of Progress, page 292.

[203] Illustrations of Progress, page 34.

[204] The Earth, page 256.

[205] Taylor's Scientific Memoirs, Vol. V., cited in McCosh's Typical Forms and Special Ends in Creation, p. 403.

[206] Opening Address to the British Association, 1845.

[207] Taking water as the unit of density, Mercury is 6.71; Venus, 5.11; Earth, 5.44; Mars, 5.21; Saturn, 0.76; Uranus, 0.97; Neptune, 1.25; the Sun, 1.37.—Cosmos IV. p. 447.

[208] Newton's Optics, IV. p. 438.

[209] Cosmos, IV. p. 425.

[210] Cosmos, III. p. 28.

[211] More Worlds Than One, p. 45.

[212] Herschel's Outlines, VI. Sect. 400.

[213] Dr. George Wilson, F. R. S. E., in Edinburgh Phil. Journal, V. p. 53.

[214] Somerville's Connection of the Physical Sciences, p. 360.

[215] Dick's Sidereal Heavens, chap. xx.

[216] Nichol's Solar System, p. 76.

[217] Cosmos, III. p. 27.



CHAPTER XI.

DAYLIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE.

In the last chapter we saw astronomy demonstrating our need of a revelation from God. In this we shall see how it illustrates and confirms that revelation. Seen through the telescope, the Bible glows with celestial splendor. Even its cloudy mysteries are displayed as clouds of light, and its long misunderstood phrases are resolved, by a scientific investigation, into galaxies of brilliant truths, proclaiming to the philosopher that the Book which describes them is as truly the Word of God as the heavens which it describes are his handiwork.

If, once in a century, a profound practical astronomer is found denying the inspiration of the Bible, he will either acknowledge, or discover himself, not familiar with its contents. For the most part, the charges brought against the Bible, of contradicting the facts of astronomy, are based upon misstatements and mistakes of its teachings, and so do not fall within the range of the telescope, or the department of the observatory. The Sabbath-school teacher, and not the astronomer, is the proper person to correct such errors. A few months' instruction in the Bible class of any well-conducted Sabbath-school would save some of our popular anti-Bible lecturers from the sin of misrepresenting the Word of God, and the shame of hearing children laugh at their blunders.

A favorite field for the display of their knowledge of science, and ignorance of the art of reading, by our modern Infidels, is the Bible account of creation, in the first chapter of Genesis, which is alleged to be utterly irreconcilable with the known facts of astronomy and geology. Leaving the latter out of view, for the present, the astronomical objections may all be arranged under four heads. First: that the Bible account of the creation of man, only some six or seven thousand years ago, must be false; because the records of astronomical observations, taken more than seventeen thousand years ago, by the Hindoos and Egyptians, are still in existence, and have been verified. Second: that the light of some of the stars, now shining upon us, and especially of some of the distant nebulae, must have left them millions of years ago, to have traveled over the vast space which separates them from us, and be visible on our globe now; whereas, the Bible teaches that the universe was created only some six or seven thousand years ago. Third: that the Bible represents God as creating the sky a solid crystal, or metallic sphere, or hemisphere (they are not agreed which), to which the stars are fastened, and with which they revolve around the earth; which every school-boy knows to be absurd. Fourth: that the Bible represents God as creating the sun and moon only two days before Adam, and as creating light before the sun, which is also held to be absurd.

1. The first of these objections—that the Hindoos and Egyptians made astronomical observations thousands of years before Adam, and that the accuracy of these observations has been verified by modern calculations—is simply untrue. No such observations were ever made. The pretended records of such have been proved, in the case of the Hindoo astronomy, to be forgeries, and in the case of the Egyptian records, blunders of the discoverers. There is not an authentic uninspired astronomical observation extant for two thousand years after Adam.

The objection, however, is worth noticing, and its history worth remembering, as a specimen of the way in which ignorant men swallow impudent falsehoods, if they only seem to contradict the Word of Truth. When the labors of oriental scholars had made the Vedas and Shasters—the sacred books of the Hindoos—accessible to European philosophers, a wonderful shout was raised among Infidels. "Here," it was said, "is the true chronology. We always knew that man was not a degenerate creature, fallen from a higher estate, some few thousand years ago, but that he has existed from eternity, in a constant progress toward his present lofty position; and now we have the most authentic records of the most ancient and civilized people in the world—the people of India—reaching back for millions of years before the Mosaic cosmogony, and allowing ample time for the development of the noble savage into the cultivated philosopher. These records have every mark of truth, giving minute details of events, and histories of successive lines of princes; and, moreover, record the principal astronomical facts of the successive periods—eclipses, comets, positions of stars, etc.—which attest their veracity. Henceforth, the Hebrew records must hide their heads. Neither as poetry nor history can they pretend to compare with the Vedas."

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