The Christian Foundation,
Scientific and Religious Journal
Vol. 1. No 2.
The Influence Of The Bible Upon Civil And Religious Liberty. Liberty Of Conscience. The Orthodoxy Of Atheism And Ingersolism, By Rev. S. L. Tyrrell. The Shasters And Vedas, And The Chinese, Government, Religion, Etc. Ancient Cosmogonies. Some Of The Beauties (?) Of Harmony Among Unbelievers. Is God The Author Of Deception And Falsehood? Darwinism Weighed In The Balances. Was It Possible?
THE INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE UPON CIVIL AND RELIGIOUS LIBERTY.
Civil government is a state of society in which men are reduced to order; it is a government in which every citizen has full power over his own rights, but is not at liberty to infringe upon the rights of others. The deepest thought in the word civil is the idea of being hedged around by restraints, so as to be shut in from all privilege, or right, of meddling with the rights of others. The Welsh use the word "cau," to shut, inclose, fence, hedge.
Civil liberty is liberty modified by the rights of others. No man has a right, by any Divine warrant, to infringe upon the rights of another; and cannot do it without forfeiting more or less of his own. This thought, that a man may forfeit his rights, is as essential to proper conceptions of civil government, and civil liberty, as the thought that a man has rights; for if there be no forfeiture of rights through crime, then all legal punishments are without foundation in justice; even the right of self-defense, individually and nationally, ceases to exist. And if this be taken away, all support and strength in civil government is gone; anarchy and ruin only may remain. In all civilized nations a man is regarded as forfeiting his right, even to life, by trampling upon the life-right of another, and, while the danger lasts, the assailed may defend his life, in the absence of any other defense, even at the expense of the life of the assailant. To deny this doctrine of the right of self-defense, it is only necessary that we deny that a man can forfeit the right of life. To do this is equal to the affirmation that God is the author of coexisting and conflicting rights. Such rights can exist only at the expense of the destruction of all governments, both human and Divine, as well as all healthy influences of social institutions. It is essential to civil liberty to restrain men from all interference with the rights of others. The greatest degree of civil liberty is enjoyed where men are successfully restrained from such officious interposition. A people may enjoy civil liberty without extending the right of suffrage to all ages and to both sexes; without making all eligible to office; without abolishing paternal authority over minors; without abolishing the punishment of criminals, or the right of the State to the service of its citizens when the public good requires it.
The word civil also signifies courteous, complaisant, gentle and obliging, well-bred, affable, kind. From this it will be seen that civil government depends upon the intelligence and righteousness of the people. The absence of all legal demands and all legal restraints would be the absence of all government. It would be libertinism or lawlessness. The great majority of men, from the earliest ages of the world to the present time, have been under the control of tyrants, and have known little exemption from despotic rule. There is not a single Pagan, Mahomedan, or anti-Christian country to-day in which the spirit of liberty has an abiding place. She may have brooded over them at intervals, but, like Noah's bird, found no resting place.
The influence of the Bible preventing the young, the mature, and the aged from crime, causing men and women to love and respect our humanity, is of necessity to the same extent the very life of civil government, and consequently the life of civil liberty. It has been said the Bible is the great protector and guardian of the liberties of men. It was an axiom in an apostate church, that ignorance is the mother of devotion; but the true origin of this axiom is that ignorance which fastens the chains of civil and ecclesiastic despotism.
It is not possible for a people thoroughly under the influence of the teachings of the religion of Christ to be ignorant of their own rights and the responsibility of their rulers. Where the teachings of Christ and the Bible form public opinion the people must be free. No such tyrant as Caligula or Nero would be tolerated in Protestant Christendom. The necessary effect of Christianity upon an abused people is to make them restless under a tyrant's yoke. The author of Travels in England, France, Spain and the Barbary States, although an enemy to the Bible, said, after leaving the Barbary States and arriving in France, I could breathe more freely. I no longer looked upon my fellow men with distrust, and I thanked God that I was once more in a Christian land. When we survey the history of past events and kingdoms we, too, find good reasons to thank the Lord for a Christian land. The only authoritative history of remote events and kingdoms is in the writings of Moses and the Prophets. In the times of Moses there were no historical records in Greece, Chaldea, Phoenicia, Egypt or Assyria. No other historian lived so remote as Moses. He was five hundred years before Sanconiathan, and more than a thousand years before Manetho. He has been called the father of history. Men have claimed that astronomical calculations carry us farther back, but this claim has been successfully refuted by the calculations of Bedford. There is a fact upon record in Gillie's history of Greece that confirms Bedford's calculations. This man says: After Alexander conquered Babylon he eagerly demanded the astronomical calculations that had been preserved in that ancient capital about nineteen centuries, and ordered them faithfully transcribed and handed to Aristotle, who was the preceptor of this prince. They extended back twenty two hundred and thirty-four years behind the Christian era. There is no reliable history so ancient as the writings of Moses. All the efforts between Moses and David are without regular form—a mass of rearranged tradition, both fabulous and corrupt; long after the times of David the pages of writers regarded authentic, are loaded with absurd and disgusting fictions.
Nimrod's kingdom was Babel, and he was a tyrant, instigating war and bloodshed everywhere, laying the nations under tribute and transmitting his tyrannical spirit and powers from son to son, until the Egyptians drove his descendants into Canaan and Joshua drove them into Greece. Ninus inherited the spirit of his father, and the history of his empire, until it was overthrown by the Babylonians and Medes, is a history of absolute Assyrian despotism.
The Babylonian Empire was no better from the revolt of Nebopolassar to its destruction by Cyrus. Egypt and Persia were also equally deprived of the blessings of civil liberty. Greece and Rome were in no better condition with the exceptions of a few restrictions consequent upon Greece being controlled by established customs and Rome by the Senate. These nations were comparatively free, but their freedom did not grow out of a comprehension of the rights of their citizens.
The Jewish Republic is the first ancient government where the people exerted any proper influence in state affairs. It is worthy of special consideration that the Jewish laws were adapted to civil liberty in an age when human rights were so little understood. There is no one work so full of the great principles of civil wisdom as the Pentateuch and the history of Judah and Israel. They were free in choosing their form of government; free in the establishment of their laws; free in the fact that their laws governed and not men. Their form of government was republican, with healthy limitations. Twelve tribes were united in one great republic like so many confederated states bound together for purposes of defence. At first God was their king. After awhile they desired another king, and their form of government was changed to a limited monarchy upon their own request. Their kings did not enter upon their duties until they were accepted and crowned by the people, and then they were restricted in their power by sworn stipulations.
Bad men do not make good citizens. There never was a nation of infidels or idolaters, existing as such, in the enjoyment of freedom. Holland was free as long as she was virtuous. She flourished as a republic, produced great and learned statesmen; she became corrupt, and infidelity banished her glory.
When Perrier, of France, the successor of Lafayette in the office of Prime Minister to Louis Phillipe, was on his death bed he exclaimed, with much emphasis and zeal, "France must have religion"—man must be governed by moral truth or by despotic power. Liberty does not flourish without morality, nor morality without the religion of the Bible. The love of law, the love of wisdom, the love of benevolent institutions, and the love of virtue makes a people free. When these are absent tyrants are present. When a nation becomes corrupt, liberty degenerates into parties and factions until the stubborn necessity of the strong arm of despotism makes its appearance to control the passions of men. If pride, selfishness, love of gold, thirst for power and licentiousness, are not controlled liberty will die. It may be truthfully said that the high-toned principles of Bible morality are necessary to the good of all classes. These, and only these, will unite a people in one grand national brotherhood, wiping out its factions and hatred, extinguishing party spirit and bringing all the parts into one great whole. Many minds are so opposed to the Bible that they are inclined to oppose any government based upon its contents. This is a fearful current, and we should always watch against being carried away upon its turbid waters. Ours is a Christian land, and we shall be a free people as long as we remain a Christian people. While the Bible is loved and honored our freedom will continue; beyond this there is nothing to hinder us from degenerating into slavery. All great struggles in Christian lands have been great moral and political struggles.
LIBERTY OF CONSCIENCE.
This phase of the question rises very high in our estimation; for we have been taught to regard the rights of conscience and to esteem them above all other rights in a free country. There can be no civil liberty where the rights of conscience are ignored. The teachings of the Bible are opposed to all interference by law with man's religious faith and worship. Religious liberty asks for no laws meddling with the rights of conscience. Such laws, whether of tolerance or of intolerance, are always in conflict with the spirit of the religion of Christ; for it asks for the soul's free, voluntary service. As American citizens we ask, at the hands of our Government, to be protected, in common with all other citizens, in the free exercise of the rights of conscience. We ask no interference with religion by law, and we apprehend none in our country. If our religion cannot take care of itself, by the force of its own merits, it must perish.
Rivers of blood have been offered upon the altar of a blind intolerance. Look at Antiochus sacking the city of Jerusalem and laying the country waste. Look at the slaughter of the infants of Bethlehem under Herod's jurisdiction. In many ages of the world religious intolerance has been the fruitful source of misery and bloodshed.
The religion of the Bible does not rest itself upon the authority of man; much less is it responsible for the cruel results of wicked efforts to establish or overthrow it by law. Causes outside of Christianity in the hands of wicked men are responsible for every drop of blood that has been shed in the name of our holy religion. Christianity has nothing to fear in our country as long as our law-makers remember that their whole duty consists, not in making or unmaking rights or religion, but in making laws protecting all in the enjoyment of their rights. The principles of religious liberty set forth in the Bible are the following: First, the word of God is the only source of authority in religious matters. Neither tradition, nor remote antiquity, nor ecclesiastical decisions, nor statutes, but the Bible is supreme in our religion. Second, the Bible allows, and demands, the right of private judgment in all matters of faith and duty. This is based upon the well-defined principles of individual and personal responsibility. "Let every man prove his own work."
The true and intelligent Christian has always been opposed to ecclesiastical establishments by law, and the authority of the state to produce unity of faith and worship. In all such matters we are responsible to God alone. His authority is all that is needed in order to the soul's own free service; and this is the only acceptable worship. The third great principle of religious liberty is this: the Bible contains the only infallible standard of faith and worship, and its author is the only infallible judge. The Bible gives to no man, or set of men, dominion over the human conscience, but on the contrary lays the solemn injunction upon each individual: "Prove all things and hold fast that which is good." The direction of Christ is in these living lines: "Call no man master, for one is your master, even Christ." Every man's own works are the only true expositor of his character, because they are the fruits of the affections which point him out as an enemy, or as a friend, of righteousness.
The man who abuses the right of private judgment has a fearful account to render—let him see to that. If he receives not the truth in the love of it that he may be saved, it is at his own peril. The field of investigation is the place where Christianity has won her most splendid victories. She has always lost when wicked men have called in the aid of the secular arm; for it is a very great error to suppose that you can deal successfully with a man's spiritual nature by such forces; it was not made for such government. By the secular arm you may force a wicked man to be a hypocrite, but you cannot make him a Christian in that way; for you cannot reach his understanding, nor give life to his conscience by any such means.
There are two extremes, however, which we must carefully avoid: First, that it is a matter of total indifference what religious principles a man adopts and what form of worship he prefers. The Bible contains essential principles—principles which constitute the essence of the gospel of Christ which must be received, loved and obeyed, in order to the enjoyment of the promises of salvation. The sentiment that it matters not what a man believes, is no part of the religious liberty which the Bible inculcates. Such a sentiment is everywhere discouraged and denounced. A forcible writer said: Keep clear of uncommon pretensions to charity. Believe the love of God, and be satisfied with his charity, and never dream of making an improvement upon his character.
The other extreme is to have no charity at all. There are many things about which men may safely differ, but they are neither precepts to be obeyed, nor facts to be believed. Differences may exist in opinions, but not in facts to be believed, nor in commands to be obeyed. Christians are such in virtue of faith in Christ and obedience to his commandments. Wherever the minds of men have been brought under the power of the Christian religion, there they have been the devoted friends of such liberty. Such were the adherents of Luther in Germany, the Lollards in England, and the adherents of Knox in Scotland. Such was the case with Holland when her republican virtues, learning and piety, moral and literary institutions made her famous throughout the earth. "Where the spirit of the Lord is there is liberty." One of the most erroneous objections to Christianity is that it is calculated to subject the many to the few, but its spirit and tendency is to bring all, both the rich and poor, on one common level. It pronounces temporal circumstances matters of no consequence, all men creatures of God, made of one blood, having a common nature, subject to common sufferings, common dependence and responsibilities. It teaches us to "defraud no man," to "corrupt no man," to "love our enemies," to "pray for those who despitefully use us," to "disregard external distinctions." In Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, bond nor free, male nor female, but all are one. The poor are exalted and the rich are humbled. Tholuck says: "The cultivated heathen were offended at Christianity because the higher classes could no longer have precedence of the common people." A religion which teaches that all are upon one grand level under its influences will certainly teach us that all are equal in the presence of the law. Christianity is not only a stranger to despotism, but denounces it in the plainest terms. Its great founder said: "Whosoever will be great among you let him be your servant, and whosoever will be chief let him be your minister." What greater calamity could we experience than the loss of the last copy of the New Testament? Who would bring over the world once more the darkness of Paganism? Who would have our Government put on Roman character? Who would have us foster the basest passions of men? Who would throw the human intellect back into a state of uncertainty respecting a future existence and the manner of securing its blessedness? Who would dry up the living fountains of joy which have been opened to us in the gospel? Who would destroy the motive power of our religion and wither its fruits of righteousness? Who would rob the bereaved heart of its consolations and provoke anew the tears of the mourner which have been wiped away? Who would go to the widow and say: Go and visit the grave of your loved one and weep without hope! Yes, weep with the terrible thought that this parting is to last forever! Weep with trembling, and at last step into the grave with awful uncertainty, to learn all there, and never bring back the secret. Who are they who would restore to death its sting and to the grave its victory? What victories have they ever achieved for our humanity? No calculations could measure the sacrifice it would cost to part with the Bible forever. Wicked men would toll its funeral, while the innocent ones of earth would bathe in tears and turn away in sorrow. Let us never persecute those unfortunate men who are opposing the truth of our religion on account of the errors of the creeds of our fathers. Let us always avoid a spirit of despotism and persecution, because it is dishonorable. If there must be persecution, let truth be the victim. Error is not worthy of the honor that martyrs bear.
It is better that we "suffer for well-doing than for ill-doing," therefore let us criticise ourselves severely, but deal with others in love. The Bible is our authority in religion, and the civil arm is our protection in the state. Religious freedom is ours—may it long remain the glory of our country. In comparison with this freedom all else is mere illusion. You may enjoy all the freedom that this world can give, and if you are slaves to sin you are miserable slaves to a cruel master. The intellectual and moral condition of the soul, constituting its highest glory, is a liberty worthy of the name. Such an one, in a very important sense, is free indeed, free in solitude, free in poverty, free in abundance, free in life, free in death, free everywhere, and forever free.
THE ORTHODOXY OF ATHEISM AND INGERSOLISM, BY REV. S. L. TYRRELL.
"Hail human liberty; there is no God!" Such is the exulting song of many a human heart when bewildering metaphysics or superficial science has crowded from its convictions faith in the Deity and his moral government. Few men have reached the pure, unclouded heights of religion and morality, where the unselfish love of the holy and the right, for their own inherent excellence, forms the controlling motive of their conduct, regardless of penalty or reward. Humanity is yet on the low moral plane, where penal laws, human or divine, are the most potent forces in regulating human life. Hence the sad fact appears that when theism seems most successfully assailed we hear from many quarters ill-concealed rustlings of exultation at the welcome loosening of the bonds of morality and religion. It seems to be overlooked that a very stern theological system may be quite rationally evolved from atheistic premises; and there is now a new and very tempting field inviting some bold Calvin or Luther in the ranks of positivism to write an immortal book, with the original and attractive title, Ethics of Atheism. The great offense of the scientific (sciolistic) atheist is his lofty arrogance. He complacently assumes the name of Infallible Wisdom. He "understands all mysteries;" his mental telescope sweeps eternity "from everlasting to everlasting;" his microscopic vision pierces the secrets of creation,—sees the beauty and order of all celestial worlds emerge from fiery chaotic dust,—by the fortunate contact of cooling cinders of the right chemical properties and temperature, he secretes and hatches into life an egg, or cell of throbbing protoplasm; to this pulsating mass of jelly there comes from the unconscious abyss at length a vague instinct, a drowsy awakening of desire; next a feeble gleam of definite thought; reason then faintly dawns, and lo! at last this fair universe burst into glorious light, clothed in surpassing loveliness, throbbing with love, tender sympathy and sublime aspiration, and all through the magic potency of blind matter and unconscious force, without an architect or guide. O, wondrous matter, could a God do more?
O, divine science (sciolist), we bless thy name; thou hast delivered us from the terrors of dogmatic fear! Man is but dust, and unto dust shall he return; "let us eat and drink, for to-morrow we die." But ere we run riot in the intoxication of our new-born freedom from divine law, does not the skeptical, cautious, scientific spirit admonish us to pause a moment and look logically at another class of possible achievements of this wonder-working, material power. In philosophical researches, analogy is a recognized and legitimate guide to truth. Admitting, then, that pure matter has done all that materialism claims it has done in the past, let us look by the light of analogy at other and graver possibilities it may have wrought in its reckless, unrestrained creations. Time is a mighty attribute of evolutionary divinities; its power seems next to infinite. In a few millions of years Alexanders, Bonapartes, Bismarks, Miltons, Edisons and Ingersols have been evolved from thoughtless chaos; now, if in limited time (for what are millions of years to eternity) such majestic mental forces have been developed from the inexhaustible store-house of intellectual nothingness, why should bold mathematical science deem it a "thing incredible" that in an eternity of time, with an unlimited amount of matter for capital and infinite space for a theater of action, this mind-evolving force may not have generated beings of almost infinite capacities—even a monarch who sways a scepter over more worlds than one—EVEN A GOD. Why should material philosophy cavil at the creeds which teach a righteous judgment to come? Have not the judicial elements of oxygen, carbon and hydrogen combined to organize on one planet at least courts of equity and judgment seats, and crystalized into prison walls and hand-cuffs the gallows and the hangman? Upon the established scientific principle that nature's laws are uniform, undeviating and universal in their action, does not the analogy of earthly tribunals logically necessitate the belief that our globe is but a province of the infinite empire governed by righteous laws, of which enlightened human laws are a partial revelation.
Modern science teaches the oneness of the universe and the identity and sameness of the matter composing it. What then can be more strictly scientific and demonstrable from materialistic premises than the vast conclusion that uniform passive matter, operated upon by the same undeviating laws, must in all worlds produce the same results and evolve, as it has on our planet, intelligence in which a sense of right and justice shall predominate, and everywhere and in all time, enact and execute laws discriminating between right and wrong? What astronomical prediction, then, can be more certain of fulfillment than this moral prophecy of the final eclipse of evil and ultimate triumph of the right? With no existing power to arrest or mitigate the sentence of this relentless, carboniferous judge, how fearful may be the possible fate of those who disregard the moral laws of protoplasm. Matter has evolved a Franklin and a Morse, who learned to wield the lightning's power. Why may there not have been evolved in the infinite past a more profound electrician, who, with his battery and etherial wires can shiver a planet with his touch? A marvelous power—the human spirit—has gained a vast control over the blind, stubborn substances and forces that created it, and by its immaterial, invisible will, can in a limited degree overrule the most imperious law of nature by throwing a stone into the air. Is it unscientific, then, or derogatory to the vaunted potency of matter to affirm that the eternal ages may have developed an intelligent will that can project a planet or sun, as the human will and muscle project the pebble? Scoff not, exalted sages, at the weak terrors of those who tremble at the dogma of a malignant devil; consider that pity and compassion are not the known chemical constituents of this soulless creator. Where, then, can we fix the limit of that unconscious, fiendish force that evolved a Nero, and incarnated in human bodies the myriads of demoniac spirits that walk the earth to-day? Egotistical scientist (sciolist) calm the cyclone, quiet the engulphing earthquake, blot from human history the records of war, pestilence, famine, the tales of St. Bartholomew and the Inquisition, and then deny by material philosophy the possibility of even a Calvinistic hell; deny the personality of man because your microscope and scalpel can not find a soul by dissecting the brain of the mathematician, and then deny a personal God because his spirit eludes the grasp of sealed crucibles and can not be detected by digging in the earth with the spade. Deny the existence of conscious life, and then in the light of reason and science deny that the forces that generate life must from necessary law work for its continuance and immortality. Extreme materialism confidently teaches the birth, death and resurrection of planetary universes; why should such grand faith stagger at the theory of the resurrection of a soul? Where is the scientific absurdity of Renan's distant hope, that this mighty resurrection of dead worlds will embrace in its infinite scope the awakening to consciousness; the universal past consciousness of the universe. May not both theist and atheist find in this line of thought a partial answer to the oft recurring modern prayer, "Help thou mine unbelief."—From the Religio-Philosophic Journal.
Can you believe that all things are the result of blind, unintelligent forces, operating under mechanical laws?
THE SHASTERS AND VEDAS, AND THE CHINESE, GOVERNMENT, RELIGION, ETC.
Men who wish to be known as scientific skeptics and unbelievers often boast that the above-mentioned books are more worthy of respect than the books of the Bible. For the benefit of all who may not have access to those books, the following, from Duff's India, credited to the Shasters, may be of service in the search after truth:
"Brahm produced an egg. All the primary atoms, qualities, and principles, the seeds of future worlds, that had been evolved from the substance of Brahm, were now collected together and deposited in the newly produced egg. And into it, along with them, entered the self-existent himself, under the assumed form of Brahma; and then he sat vivifying, expanding, and combining the elements, during four thousand three hundred millions of solar years. During this amazing period the wondrous egg floated like a bubble on the water, increasing constantly in size. At length the supreme, who dwelt therein, burst the shell of the stupendous egg and issued forth under a new form with a thousand heads, a thousand eyes, and a thousand arms. Along with him issued another form, huge and measureless, which speedily matured into the present glorious universe."—Shasters.
In Hindostan we may see on one hand the trident of Neptune, the eagle of Jupiter, the satyrs of Bacchus, the bow of Cupid and the chariot of the Sun; on the other, we hear the cymbals of Rhea, the songs of the Muses, and the pastoral tales of Apollo Nomius. The Hindoos enumerate four grand periods in the world's history called yugs. The first comprehends one million seven hundred and twenty-eight thousand years. The second, one million two hundred and ninety-six thousand; the third, eight hundred and sixty-four thousand years, and the fourth four hundred and twenty-three thousand years. Four thousand nine hundred and thirty-seven of the last yug expired in eighteen hundred and forty-three. The incredibility of their chronology will be seen at a glance, if you recollect that it is claimed that one of their sovereigns lived through the whole of the first yug. Veda is a generic name for their four oldest and most sacred books, containing simply a revelation directly from Brahma.
Many unbelievers in this, and the old world, who have set themselves against our Bible, have indorsed the Vedas as scientific, without so much as having read or known one line in them. These Vedas profess to go back through maha yugs of 4,320,000 years of men. A thousand of these maha yugs, or 4,320,000,000 of years make a kalpa, or one day of the life of Brahma, and his night is of equal length; a hundred such days and nights measure the time of his life.
These books give, as facts, seven great continents, separated by that many rivers and seven mountain-chains four hundred thousand miles high. They record a hundred sons to one king, ten thousand to another, and sixty thousand to another. These kings were in no danger from violating the command to "multiply and replenish the earth;" but there is one difficulty, at least, about the records concerning the seventy thousand and one hundred sons born to these three kings, and that is this, the records say: They were all born in a pumpkin and nourished in pans of milk, reduced to ashes by the curse of a sage, and restored to life by the waters of the Ganges. Those same sacred books say: The moon is fifty thousand leagues higher than the sun, and that it shines by its own light and animates our body; they say, the sun goes behind the Someyra Mountains and this makes the night; they say, these mountains are many thousand miles high, and are situated in the middle of our earth; they say, our earth is flat and triangular, having seven stories, each one of peculiar beauty, having its own inhabitants, and each one having a sea. The first story of earth, they say, is composed of honey, the second is composed of sugar, the third of butter, the fourth of wine; and the whole thing is carried upon the heads of elephants, and when these shake themselves earthquakes are produced. Among the astronomical calculations which confirm all this there are accounts of floods of waters rising to the Polar star. How is that for a flood?
Infidel, if you read this, and remember that you have been guilty of foisting the Vedas against the Hebrew Scriptures, hide your face and do it no more. The Hindoos worship cats and monkeys and holy bulls and sticks and stones. They are yet sacrificing their infants in that sacred river, Ganges. The car of Juggernaut, 'tis said, is yet rolling on its bloody wheels, and women are yet burned upon the dead bodies of their husbands. What is the trouble with those unfortunates? Well, they enjoy freedom from the Bible, freedom from the Bible God, and freedom from the Protestant and Catholic clergy—the freedom that the infidels of the United States concern themselves so much about. Give them what they plead for and it will not be long until they will have more hell than they will love or worship. Infidels boast of the worth of the writings of Confucius and the religion of the Chinese. Let us look after their condition. Here it is, as given in the Universal Vocabulary. As they are esteemed by unbelievers so ancient as to put to shame all others pretending to antiquity, we must be allowed to make the test of their religious and scientific tree by its fruits. First. "If a person be suspected of treason he is put to death in a slow and painful manner, all his relations in the first degree are beheaded, his female relations sold into slavery, and all his connections residing in his house are put to death. If a physician treat the case of a patient in any way different from established rules, and the patient dies, he is treated as guilty of homicide, though, if on his trial it be shown that it was a mere error, he is redeemed from death, but must quit his practice forever. When a debtor is unable to meet the demand of his creditor he receives thirty blows, and the same number may be repeated from time to time till the debt is paid. In case the creditor violently seize the debtor's goods he is liable to eighty blows. In order to the collection of debts, it is customary for creditors to enter the houses of their debtors on the first day of the year and pronounce their claims with a loud voice, and continue there until they are reimbursed. It is said that this teazing proves a successful method of collecting debts; inasmuch as the debtor, fearing that something may befall the creditor while in his house, and, therefore, suspicion fall on him, he is moved to use all possible endeavors to answer the demand. Women are sold in marriage and the highest bidder takes them. Their government is patriarchial and despotic. The emperor is styled Holy Son of Heaven, Sole Governor of the Earth. Their religion is paganism."
Zell's Encyclopedia gives the following items as true to-day: "Their husbandry is, to a great extent, nullified by the rude and ill-adapted implements employed therefor, and also by the smallness of the farms. Hence, agriculture, as scientifically considered, is but little advanced." The form of government is strictly patriarchial. The emperor, who bears the various euphuistic titles of the "Brother of the Sun and Moon." Teen-tsye, or the "Sun of Heaven;" Ta-hwang-li, or the "Great Emperor;" and Wansuy-yay, or the "Lord of a Myriad Years," is regarded as the father of his people, and has unlimited power over all his subjects. The emperor is spiritual as well as temporal sovereign, and as high priest of the empire, can alone, with his immediate representatives and ministers, perform the great religious ceremonies. The bamboo, as the chief instrument of government, is applied without distinction, to the highest and lowest Chinese.
The imperial palaces are of great extent, consisting of a series of courts, with galleries and halls of audience beautifully painted. The temples differ greatly in form and size. The ordinary temples or joss-houses, consist each of one chamber containing an idol. This, gentle reader, is the store-house of pagan idolatry to which some unbelievers in Indiana and elsewhere resort for names or titles by which to designate the houses of Christian worship in our own country. How would those men like to emigrate to China, where they could have a language that suits their taste, and a literature and religion about which they have boasted so much? If Chinese government, religion, and literature and science be so old as is claimed by Chinamen, and by infidels in our country, and its age be the cause of its great superiority in religion and science, may we not thank the Lord that we are young?
The Mosaic method found in the first chapter of the book of Genesis is not the method of physical science; this seeks, by induction, after laws, principles and causes, stepping backwards step by step, seeking, by the light of physical science, the character of that unit which lies at the base of the whole series of all created things. "The world by wisdom knew not God." The truth of this statement is monumented by the literature of the unbelievers of the nineteenth century. To-day, men who refuse Bible instruction talk of the unknown and the unknowable, thus conceding that their efforts as naturalists, or "natural men," are not sufficient in their results to disclose the character of the great first cause. The same great failure has been, and ever will be, made by all mere naturalists. In view of this fact it is well that Moses gives us at once the great first cause in the phrase, "In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth." There is in this sentence no limitation of time, so there is room here for astronomical ages, cycle upon cycle. There was time enough in that beginning for the present system of planets to be arranged from a single nebulous mass. In it we have a picture of matter in a crude condition, without fixedness of form, surrounded with darkness. Then comes the commencement of the great work of preparing our planet for the home of man, by the spirit of God moving over the chaos. There is nothing in this statement that should perplex any man, unless he is that fool who "says in his heart there is no God." If the chaos here described was matter in a rare, gaseous condition, floating in space, molecular motion produced by the spirit of God brooding over it, and a chemical change producing electricity may have given the light called the first day.
Here is that troublesome word day. Why should it give trouble to any scientist? It is a part of his duty to know that neither this word nor the context in the first chapter of Genesis, nor biblical usage, requires us to limit the term to a period of twenty-four hours. But the context does limit it, in its first occurrence, to an indefinite period of light. "GOD CALLED THE LIGHT DAY!" In the fourth verse of the second chapter the word is used to cover the whole period of time past, both the beginning and the subsequent six work-days of the Almighty, thus: "These are the generations of the heavens and the earth when they were created, IN THE DAY when the Lord God made the earth and the heavens." This is no modern invention, gotten up to serve a purpose; for Augustine so understood this matter in the fourth century. He called them "ineffable days," describing them as alternate pauses in the work of God. Such was the interpretation given by the first Christians. Why should we try to measure this term day, in its first occurrences, by a chronometer which did not come into use until the fourth day? The notion that these days were twenty-four hours, sprang up in the middle ages, and is the child of the literalism and realism of those times. Moses gives seven great constructive periods of light, which beautifully harmonize with the seven great geological ages lying this side of his beginning. How he came to do this has perplexed the incredulous scholar and historian beyond measure; it is, indeed, a remarkable fact in literature, but it gives strength to the faith of the intelligent Christian. God was with Moses; his cosmogony bears evidence of inspiration. Compare his narrative with the cosmogonies of the ancient nations. There is but little similitude; if there was much it would not prove identity. It would be strange if the ancient nations should have no truth in their cosmogonies. And if they had, would it not be more strange for Moses to leave it out on that account? It would be well to remind you just here that the Almighty, and doubtless his man Moses also, knew that men possessed at least common sense. In the New Testament we have the word tartarus in its verb form. Where did it come from? The Apostle Peter, guided by the divine spirit, found it in Grecian mythology. Is it to be thrown out on that account? Nay, verily. A man of God, that is, a prophet, in any of the ancient ages as far back as Moses, is not to be regarded as under obligations to shun a truth because it was already in use among men. The man who would claim such a silly thing ought to be discarded from scientific and literary circles as a blockhead. The cosmogony of the Babylonians represents the beginning of things in darkness and water; in which great non-descript animals, hideous monsters, half-beasts and half-men, made their appearance; then a woman, who personates the creative spirit or principle, was split into two parts, and the heaven and the earth produced by the division. Next Belus, the supreme divinity, cut off his own head, and his blood, trickling down and mingling with the dust of the earth, produced human creatures having intelligence and spiritual life. The Phoenician cosmogony presents, first, an ether or a mist diffused in space. Next, a wind arose, and from this motion proceeded a Spiritual God, from whom proceeded an egg, which, being divided, produced the heavens and the earth. Next, the noise of thunder awakened beings into spiritual life. The Egyptian cosmogony presents a principal divinity, whose name was Ptah, the world-creating power, who shaped the cosmic egg, which again appears here, as in the Phoenician. Next, there followed from Ptah a long succession of gods, with many offices and powers—solar, telluric and spiritual—from whom, after a time, proceeded demigods, and then from these proceeded heroes, until the link of our humanity was reached. According to Grote, Grecian mythology opens with the gods prior, as well as superior, to man; it then descends gradually to heroes and then to the human race. Along with their gods are presented many monsters, ultra-human and extra-human, who can't consistently be styled gods, but who partake with gods and man in the attributes of free-will, conscious agency and susceptibility of pleasure and pain—such as the Harpies, the Gorgons, the Sirens, the Sphinx, the Cyclops, the Centaurs, etc. After a great struggle, or contest, among these wonderful creatures, there arises a stable government of Zeus, the chief among the gods. Then appears chaos, then the broad, firm, flat earth, with deep and dark tartarus below, and from these proceed different divinities and creatures, some grand and terrible, some simply monsters; their relations to each other violate all notions of decency and morality; their wars and slaughters, their gross and abominable crimes issue in successive creative products upon earth, which terminate at last in the appearance of man.
Next we will give you the cosmogony of the Vedas, as it is presented in what is known as the mystic hymn of the Vedas. It is Pantheistic to the core. "It is one of the earliest relics of Hindu thought and devotion:"
"Nor Aught nor Naught existed; yon bright sky Was not, nor heaven's broad woof outstretched above. What covered all? What sheltered? What concealed? Was it the water's fathomless abyss? There was not death—yet was there naught immortal; There was no confine betwixt day and night; The only One breathed breathless by itself; OTHER than It NOTHING since has been. Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled In gloom profound—an ocean without light. The germ that still lay covered in the husk Burst forth, one nature, from the fervent heat. Then first came love upon it, the new spring Of mind—yea, poets in their hearts discerned, Pondering, this bond between created things And uncreated. Comes this spark from earth Piercing and all-pervading, or from heaven? Then seeds were sown, and mighty powers arose— Nature below, and power and will above. Who knows the secret? Who proclaimed it here? Whence, whence this manifold creation sprang? The gods themselves came later into being? Who knows from whence this great creation sprang? He from whom all this creation came, Whether his will created or was mute, The Most High Seer that is in highest heaven, He knows it—or perchance even He knows it not."
—The Rig-Veda, book 10, hymn 129. Translated from Max Mullers' "Chips from a German Workshop."
This is Pantheistic throughout, and although it presents no absurd combinations of matter and spirit, yet it puts the material creation before the creation of the spiritual, and scarcely allows consciousness to "the One," "the It," from which, somehow, the creation proceeded. The Book of Menu, which is of equal value with the Veda among the Hindoos, gives the following account of the creation:
"Menu sat reclined, with his attention fixed on one object, the supreme God, when the divine sages approached him, and, after mutual salutations in due form, delivered the following address: Deign, sovereign ruler, to apprise us of the sacred laws in their order, as they must be followed by all the four classes, and by each of them, in their several degrees, together with the duties of every mixed class; for thou, Lord, and thou only among mortals, knowest the true sense, the first principle, and the prescribed ceremonies of this universal, supernatural Veda, unlimited in extent and unequalled in authority.
"He whose powers were measureless, being thus requested by the great sages, whose thoughts were profound, saluted them all with reverence and gave them a comprehensive answer, saying: Be it heard! This universe existed only in the first divine idea yet unexpanded, as if involved in darkness, imperceptible, undefinable, undiscoverable by reason, and undiscovered by revelation, as if it were wholly immersed in sleep; then the sole, self-existing power, himself undiscovered, but making this world discernible, with five elements and other principles of nature, appeared with undiminished glory, expanding his idea or dispelling the gloom. He, whom the mind alone can perceive, whose essence eludes the external organs, who has not visible parts, who exists from eternity, even he, the soul of all beings, whom no being can comprehend, shone forth in person. He, having willed to produce various beings from his own divine substance, first, with a thought, created the waters and placed in them a productive seed; that seed became an egg bright as gold, blazing like the luminary with a thousand beams; AND IN THAT EGG HE WAS BORN HIMSELF IN THE FORM OF BRAHMA THE GREAT FOREFATHER OF ALL SPIRITS. The waters were called nara, because they were the production of Nara, or the spirit of God; and, since they were his first ayana, or place of motion, he thence is named Nayrayana, or moving on the waters. From that which is, the first cause, not the object of sense, existing everywhere in substance, not existing to our perception, without beginning or end, was produced the divine male, famed in all worlds under the appellation of Brahma. In that egg the great power sat inactive a whole year of the Creator, at the close of which, by his thought alone, he caused the egg to divide itself; and from its two divisions he framed the heaven above and the earth beneath; in the midst he placed the subtile ether, the eight regions, and the permanent receptacle of waters.
"From the supreme soul he drew forth mind, existing substantially, though unperceived by sense, immaterial; and before mind, or the reasoning power, he produced consciousness, the internal monitor, the ruler; and before them both he produced the great principle of the soul, or first expansion of the divine idea; and all vital forms endued with the three qualities of goodness, passion and darkness; and the five perceptions of sense, and the five organs of sensation. Thus, having at once pervaded, with emanations from the Supreme Spirit, the minutest portions of six principles immensely operative, consciousness and the five perceptions, he framed all creatures; and since the minutest particles of visible nature have a dependence on those six emanations from God, the wise have accordingly given the name of S'arira, or depending on six, that is, the ten organs on consciousness, and the five elements on as many perceptions, to his image or appearance in visible nature; thence proceed the great elements, endued with peculiar powers, the mind with operations infinitely subtile, the unperishable cause of all apparent forms.
"This universe, therefore, is compacted from the minute portions of these seven divine and active principles, the great soul, or first emanation, consciousness, and five perceptions; a mutable universe from immutable ideas. Among them each succeeding element acquires the quality of the preceding; and in as many degrees as each of them is advanced, with so many properties is it said to be endued. He, too, first assigned to all creatures distinct names, distinct acts, and distinct occupations, as they had been revealed in the pre-existing Veda. He, the supreme ruler, created an assemblage of inferior Deities, with divine attributes and pure souls, and a number of Genii exquisitely delicate; and he prescribed the sacrifice from the beginning. From fire, from air, and from the sun he milked out, as it were, three primordial Vedas, named Rich, Yajush and Saman, for the due performance of the sacrifice.
"He gave being to time and the divisions of time, to the stars also, and to the planets, to rivers, oceans and mountains, to level plains and uneven valleys, to devotion, speech, complacency, desire and wrath, and to the creation, which shall presently be mentioned; for he willed the existence of all those created things. For the sake of distinguishing actions, he made a total difference between right and wrong, and enured these sentient creatures to pleasure and pain, cold and heat, and other opposite pairs. With very minute transformable portions called matras, of the five elements, all this perceptible world was composed in fit order; and in whatever occupation the Supreme Lord first employed any vital soul, to that occupation the same soul attaches itself spontaneously when it receives a new body again and again. Whatever quality, noxious or innocent, harsh or mild, unjust or just, false or true, he conferred on any being at its creation, the same quality enters it, of course, on its future births; as the six seasons of the year attain respectively their peculiar marks in due time and of their own accord, even so the several acts of each embodied spirit attend it naturally.
"That the human race might be multiplied, he caused the Brahmen, the Cshatriya, the Vaisya and the Sudra to proceed from his mouth, his arm, his thigh and his foot.
"Having divided his own substance, the mighty power became half male, half female, or nature active and passive, and from that female he produced Viraz. Know me, O most excellent of Brahmens, to be that person whom the male power, Viraz, having performed austere devotion, produced by myself; me, the secondary framer of all this visible world. It was I who, desirous of giving birth to a race of men, performed very difficult religious duties, and first produced ten Lords of created beings, animated in holiness, Marichi, Atri, Angiras, Pulastya, Pulaha, Cratu, Prachetas, or Dacsha, Vasishtha, Bhrigu and Narada; they, abundant in glory, produced seven other Menu, together with deities and the mansions of deities, and Maharshis, or great sages, unlimited in power; benevolent genii, and fierce giants, blood-thirsty savages, heavenly quiristers, nymphs and demons, huge serpents and snakes of smaller size, birds of mighty wing, and separate companies of Pitirs, or progenitors of mankind; lightnings and thunder-bolts, clouds and colored bows of Indra, falling meteors, earth-rending vapors, comets and luminaries of various degrees; horse-faced sylvans, apes, fish, and a variety of birds, tame cattle, deer, men, and ravenous beasts with two rows of teeth; small and large reptiles, moths, lice, fleas, and common flies, with every biting knat and immovable substances of distinct sorts."
Reader, I have given you this chapter of ancient cosmogonies under the conviction that a bare statement of them must convince any one of either the ignorance or dishonesty of infidels who claim that Moses learned all that he gave in his cosmogony from the ancient cosmogonies. How was it that Moses avoided all their errors and extravagance? How was it that he gave such a severely simple description of creation, which no rhetoric can improve, and no scientist successfully refute?
Can you believe that energy, or force, lies behind all things, operating them, without believing there is something lying behind it, to which it belongs?
Can you believe that a concourse of dead atoms held a solemn convention, went into harmonious action and produced life?
SOME OF THE BEAUTIES (?) OF HARMONY AMONG UNBELIEVERS.
The author of "The System of Nature" says of the English Jesuit's creation of eels by spontaneous generation from rye meal: "After moistening meal with water, and shutting up the mixture, it is found after a little time, with the aid of the microscope, that it has produced organized beings, of whose production the water and meal were believed to be incapable. Thus inanimate nature can pass into life, which is itself but an assemblage of motions."—Part 1, p. 23. For Needham's Eels, see the Volume of Physics.
Voltaire says: "Were this unparalleled blunder true, yet, in rigorous reasoning I do not see how it would prove there is no God."
He says, it is really strange that men, while denying a creator should have attributed to themselves the power of creating eels. But it is yet more deplorable that natural philosophers, of better information, adopted the Jesuit Needham's ridiculous system, and joined it to that of Maillet, who asserted that the ocean had formed the Alps and the Pyrenees, and that men were originally porpoises, whose forked tails changed in the course of time into thighs and legs. Such fancies are worthy to be placed with the eels formed by meal.
Voltaire says the ridiculous story of the spontaneous production of eels by rye meal is the foundation of D'Holbach's "System of Nature." He says: "We were assured, not long ago, that at Brussels a hen had brought forth half a dozen rabbits." He then adds, "Needham's eels soon followed the Brussels hen." D'Holbach says: "Experience proves to us that the matter which we regard as inert and dead, assumes action, intelligence, and life, when it is combined in a certain way." Voltaire responds: "This is precisely the difficulty. How does a germ come to life?"
The author of the "System of Nature" says: "Matter is eternal and necessary; but its forms and its combinations are transitory and contingent." Upon the supposition that _all is _ matter_, Voltaire answers, it is hard to comprehend, matter being, according to our author, _necessary_, and without freedom, how there can be anything contingent.
Again, the atheistic author of the "System of Nature" asserts that order and disorder do not exist. This is strongly refuted by Voltaire, who says the author is to be distrusted very often, both in physics and in morals.
Spinosa was a pantheist. He, like many modern sciolists, repudiated design in nature. Voltaire, treating upon Spinosism, says: "I am aware that various philosophers, and especially Lucretius, have denied final causes. I am also aware that Lucretius, though not very chaste, is a very great poet in his descriptions and in his morals; but in philosophy I own he appears to me to be very far behind a college porter or a parish beadle. To affirm that the eye is not made to see, nor the ear to hear, nor the stomach to digest, is not this the most revolting folly that ever entered the human mind? Doubter as I am, this insanity seems to me evident, and I say so. For my part, I see in nature, as in the arts, only final causes; and I believe that an apple tree is made to bear apples, as I believe that a watch is made to tell the hour." Voltaire charges Warburton with calumniating Cicero, by saying that Cicero said, "It is unworthy of the majesty of the empire to adore one only God." Voltaire's words are these: "Warburton, like his contemporaries, has calumniated Cicero and ancient Rome." He then gives the above quotation, along with a short comment in Cicero's defense, and closes with the following words: "It is then quite false that Cicero, or any other Roman, ever said that it did not become the majesty of the empire to acknowledge a Supreme God. Their Jupiter, the Zeus of the Greeks, the Jehovah of the Phoenicians, was always considered as the master of the secondary gods. This great truth can not be too forcibly inculcated." Voltaire was a Deist.
Lucretius, according to Voltaire, denied design in nature. Voltaire said, in philosophy, he was very far behind a college porter or a parish beadle.
Spinosa was a Pantheist. Voltaire says, "He frequently contradicted himself; that he had not always clear ideas; that he sometimes clung to one plank, sometimes to another."
Voltaire says: "A natural philosopher of some reputation had no doubt that this 'Needham,' who made the eels, 'was a profound Atheist,' who concluded that since eels could be made of rye meal, men might be made of wheat flour; that nature and chemistry produce all; and that it was demonstrated we may very well dispense with an all forming God." Voltaire calls this an unparalleled blunder. D'Holbach, the author of the "System de la Nature," was an Atheist, so were his assistants in the production of that work.
Voltaire addresses the author of that work in the following words: "In the state of doubt in which we both are, I do not say to you, with Pascal, 'choose the safest.' There is no safety in uncertainty. We are here not to talk, but to examine; we must judge, and our judgment is not determined by our will. I do not propose to you to believe extravagant things in order to escape embarassment. I do not say to you, 'Go to Mecca, and instruct yourself by kissing the black stone, take hold of a cow's tail, muffle yourself in a scapulary, or be imbecile and fanatical to acquire the favor of the Being of beings.' I say to you, 'Continue to cultivate virtue, to be beneficent, to regard all superstition with horror, or with pity; but adore, with me, the design which is manifested in all nature, and consequently the author of that design—the primordial and final cause of all; hope with me that our monade, which reasons on the great eternal Being, may be happy through that same great Being. There is no contradiction in this. You can no more demonstrate its impossibility than I can demonstrate mathematically that it is so. In metaphysics we scarcely reason on anything but probabilities. We are all swimming in a sea of which we have never seen the shore. Woe be to those who fight while they swim! Land who can; but he that cries out to me, "You swim in vain, there is no land," disheartens me, and deprives me of all my strength. What is the object of our dispute? To console our unhappy existence. Who consoles it—you or I? You yourself own, in some passages of your work, that the belief in a God has withheld some men on the brink of crime; for me this acknowledgment is enough. If this opinion had prevented but ten assassinations, but ten calumnies, but ten iniquitous judgments on the earth, I hold that the whole earth ought to embrace it.' "—Voltaire's Philosophical Dictionary.
This Voltaire says: "The laws punished public crimes; it was necessary to establish a check upon secret crimes; this check was to be found only in religion." In the same article we find the following: "We are obliged to hold intercourse and transact business and mix up in life with knaves possessing little or no reflection; with vast numbers of persons addicted to brutality, intoxication and rapine. You may, if you please, preach to them that there is no hell, and that the soul of man is mortal. As for myself, I will be sure to thunder in their ears that if they rob me they will inevitably be damned." His true position upon the hell question is, that it is necessary to preach hell to the blind and brutal populace, that there is a real necessity for such teaching, whether it be true or false. He seems to regard it untrue, but necessary. What an idea! The harmony and consistency of unbelievers is (?) grand. It is no wonder that Voltaire's name should stand, along with the names of Atheists and Pantheists and Deists, above the head line upon the first page of the Boston Investigator.
IS GOD THE AUTHOR OF DECEPTION AND FALSEHOOD?
There is a want of fair dealing with Bible language manifested by all the enemies of our religion. The unbelievers of our time will find it very difficult for them to sustain the reputation of moral honesty and, at the same time, retain many of the old, worn out objections which they have urged against the Bible. They should remember that while the light of scientific investigation is exposing the old, unscientific and unscriptural tenets of the creeds of our forefathers, and making it hard for candid, sensible men to defend them, it is also shedding light upon Bible truth to such an extent that unbelievers are finding it equally difficult to retain their silly objections to the Bible. They have asserted from 1st Kings 32, that God kept false as well as true prophets. This charge is not only without foundation in fact, but also false and contemptible. The four hundred prophets mentioned in the sixth verse of that chapter are emphatically denominated "Ahab's prophets," notwithstanding they professed to be the Lord's prophets. This wicked King of Israel had those wicked, false prophets in his service. The address of Micaiah to the two kings in verses 19-23 is a mere parable showing what, in the providence of God, would shortly take place, and the divine permission for the agents, spoken of, to act. Micaiah did not tell the mad and impious Ahab that his prophets were all liars; but he represents the whole by a parable, and, in language equally strong and inoffensive, he says that which amounts to the same thing. Unbelievers of the schools of modern spiritualism and Bostonian infidelity, both say that God inspired prophets with false messages, and violated his own word.
The charge of inspiring prophets with false messages is founded, pretendingly, upon 1st Kings 22: 22, 23, Jeremiah 4: 10, and Ezekiel 14: 9. To answer this, it is only necessary to know that it is an idiom of the original languages to express, in the imperative active, that which is simply permitted. Thus, when the devils begged permission to enter into the herd of swine, Jesus said, "Go"—Mat. 8: 31.
And so we are to understand, John 13: 27, where Jesus says to Judas Iscariot, "What thou dost, do quickly." No man is thoroughly posted as a Bible scholar who is honest in making the above charge. It is either ignorance or dishonesty that causes men to thus oppose the record. As we are not justifiable in saying that Jesus commanded his own betrayal, so we are not justifiable in saying God commanded lying. Correct principles of interpretation do not justify the unbeliever in any such blasphemy. When an evil spirit offered himself to be a lying spirit in the mouth of a wicked prophet—false prophet—God said, "Go forth and do so," which only signifies permission, not command. In Jeremiah 4: 10, where the prophet complains that God had deceived them, saying, "They should have peace, when the sword reached to the soul," we are to understand that God permitted the false prophets to deceive him, prophesying peace to the people, as appears from the history (Ezekiel 14: 9). I, the Lord, have deceived that prophet, that is, permitted him to be deceived, and permitted him to deceive the people, as the legitimate result of their own wickedness, and a just judgment upon them for their rejection of the testimony of his true prophets. There is nothing strange about all this; for as sure as there is a God, so sure it is that he permits wicked lying men to be deceived in our own day. He has done this in all ages of the world. In fact, it belongs to his ordained plan to permit, or suffer, men, individually or collectively, to fall in their own deceptions and wickedness. This he threatened in the above case, as you may see in the fifth verse of Ezekiel 14, in these words, "I will take the house of Israel in their own heart, because they are all estranged from me through their idols; because they have chosen to themselves false Gods, I will suffer them to be deceived with false prophets; and I will stretch out my hand upon him, and I will destroy him from the midst of my people." Destroy whom? Ans.—The false prophet.
When the prophet of God mistook the promise of God, who told him, when he commissioned him, that he would be with him, by which he understood that he would be saved from all evils, he said, "Thou hast deceived me, and I was deceived." This prophet was now a derision, the people mocking him, and in his passion and weakness he breaks forth in the above language. It was simply his own mistake, or misunderstanding of God's promise. God had not promised him that he should not meet with scorn and opposition and persecution, but simply that they should not prevail against him, as we may learn from the latter part of the first chapter. The second objection, that the Lord violated his promise, is also founded in ignorance or dishonesty; it is based upon the statements found in Joshua 13: 1, and Judges 2: 20, 21, compared with Genesis 15: 18 and 18: 19, 20. In Joshua 13, it is said that there remained very much land yet unconquered, which they had not taken possession of, notwithstanding the Lord had promised to be with them, and to give them all the land remaining yet in the possession of their enemies.
In Judges 2: 20, it is said that the people did not perform their part of the covenant, and this is given as the reason why the Lord had not driven out any more of the nations before them.
The covenant with Abraham was in consideration of his past faith and obedience; yet it was suspended upon the future obedience of his posterity. See Deut. 7: 12, 13 and 11: 22 to 24; and Judges 2 to 20. The Lord gives the following as the reason why he had not given them a complete fulfillment of the covenant upon his part, "Because that this people hath transgressed my covenant which I commanded their fathers, and have not harkened to my voice, I also will not henceforth drive out any of the nations which Joshua left when he died." There are none so blind as those who will not see. When we find a promise from the Lord, and it is in the positive form, that is, when its terms are not rested upon an expressed condition, we are authorized to supply the condition which involves the moral element in the divine government, viz: obedience upon the part of man, or men, as the case may be. See Ezekiel 33: 13.
DARWINISM WEIGHED IN THE BALANCES.
Scientists who claim to be followers of Darwin in scientific investigation are known as evolutionists. The majority of them seem to enjoy themselves very much in opposing the statements of Moses respecting the creation. It might be well for them to remember that Darwin himself was compelled by his better sense to declare that science demands a miracle in order to the existence of the living unit lying at the base of the series of evolution. So after all it remains a fact that Darwinism is chained to miracle. If Strauss had remembered this he need not have said, Darwin deserves to be praised as one of the benefactors of the race because of having learned us how to get rid of miracles. If there is any value in evolution against the Bible it lies in the use that men make of it to destroy the idea that God created man out of the dust of the earth and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life. Where does Darwinism take you to to study the origin of man? To the dust of the earth? Not exactly! It takes you to the slime of the sea, or the mud of the Nile, just one step behind the pulpy mass of protoplasm, or the moneron. God is there working a miracle; such is Darwinism. According to Moses, He was doing just as well yonder in Eden working a miracle with the dust of the earth. Now, in all candor, tell us which statement is most worthy of God, the one that finds the origin of man in the Eden earth with a miracle wrought upon the dust of the ground, or the one that finds his origin in a miracle wrought upon the mud of the Nile or the slime of the sea? The one that stands him up erect, a man, with Godlike attributes, or the one that lays him down in the slimy mass to pass through ages upon ages in order to get out of his low, slimy paternity and beastly traits of mere instinct, with groveling habits of life? Darwin, conscious of the axiomatic truth that no more can be evolved than there is involved, teaches the doctrine that variation or change of species is brought about by causes which already existed in the common progenitor. Such being true, we ask: In what link below man, in the great evolutionary chain, is intellect and moral nature to be found? Sensible men are turning, however, away from the old, threadbare, worn-out guess-work. The time is not far distant when it will retire once more from scientific thought. It is very old. Pliny, eighteen centuries ago, said: "The various kinds of apes offer an almost perfect resemblance to man in their physical nature." This is just equal to Huxley's statement made in our own nineteenth century, that, "So far as structure is concerned, man differs to no greater extent from the animals which are immediately below him, than these do from other members of the same order." Hence his conclusion: "Man has proceeded from a modification or an improvement of some lower animal, some simpler stock." This idea was fully expressed in the early Pagan mythologies. Their satyrs or forest divinities were creatures blending the animal with the human. So Anaximander, although an advocate of the old hypothesis of evolution, was not the originator of the thought. The old guess-up had its origin in Pagan mythology. The Fauns of the Roman legend were supposed to be the transition species, or bridge across the chasm between the brute creation and man—a notion found in Hawthorne's "Marble Faun." So it is plain that evolution, in Darwin's sense of the term, does not lie between new discoveries in science and old dogmas in religion, but it does lie between speculation in science and old dogmas in paganism—poor science, she carries much that does not belong to her! Evolution of species from other species is an idea found in heathen mythology; it is also found in the ancient heathen cosmogonies. The God of flocks and shepherds among the Greeks was a compound creature having the horns and feet of a goat and the face of a man. He was, doubtless, as near an approach to man as Darwin's imaginary link at some imaginary point in his imaginary evolution.
This question is not one of progressive order in the same species, but a question relative to one species rising out of another of lower grade, and especially the development of man from the lower animals. Agassiz says, "Some have mistaken the action and reaction which exists everywhere in one and the same species for a causal connection," that is to say, these influences produced the species, whereas the species must exist before any such action and reaction can take place. The action of physical influences, or external surrounding, or environments upon species could not take place unless the species first existed. Action and reaction in one and the same species already existing, furnishes no evidence upon the manner in which the species was first brought into existence. Darwin says: "The creation of organic matter having already taken place, my object is to show in consequence of what laws, or what demonstrable properties of organic matter, and of its environments, such states of organic nature as those with which we are acquainted must have come about." Well, Mr. Darwin will never get nearer the truth upon this great question than he was when he marched boldly up to miraculous intervention in order to get his first unit, or living organism to place at the beginning of his evolutionary series, unless he comes back to Moses and takes Christian ground. Geology does not teach that species have been evolved from lower species. Geology declares that new forms are new expressions of creative power. All the physical forces that were operating upon our earth in the inorganic period, are in operation now. Why, O why, has it been that the experience and observation of the ages, as well as the record in the rocks, have failed to give, in all the earth, one sensible demonstration in support of the proposition that man, or any other species, was evolved from an inferior species? The answer is easy—blind physical forces were, and are, insufficient to bring into existence living being. Throughout every department of creation there are evidences of invisible or spiritual powers that lie behind the events that come under observation in science. Chemical affinity lies behind, and produces important changes that take place in organic matter. But chemical affinities do not explain living, organic, being; for we have our existence at the expense of chemical affinities. The living force, whatever it may be, lies behind chemical affinities, and controls them. Instinct influences many of the manifestations in animal life, and intelligence controls the sober conduct of men. Yet above all these there is that wonderful builder and overseer of the organism called life. As nature was perfect in all her elementary principles during the inorganic period, and as inertia was, and is, a property of matter, it follows, necessarily, that life was a new principle, from an immaterial source, otherwise inertia is not a property of matter; for a thing can not be—exist and not be at the same time.
Vogt reasons in favor of evolution of species from a few abnormal—that is deteriorated—human beings, which is the mistake spoken of by Agassiz, that action and reaction in one and the same species produce species. Action and reaction does not produce the species, nor yet another species. Men and apes have lived side by side for thousands of years. Why is it that apes have made no advance towards the human form? Poor fellows! An ape is always an ape, and a man is always a man. The geological record upon the rocks is in favor of man's existence as man by creative interposition. The evolution hypothesis rests its conclusions upon effects that well-known causes have never been known to produce, for the evolution of species from lower species was never known anywhere in history or fact. In reference to Darwin's ideas upon the origin of species, Mr. Huxley said: "That, notwithstanding the clearness of the style, those who attempt fairly to digest the book find much of it a sort of intellectual pemmican—a mass of facts crushed and pounded into shape, rather than held together by the ordinary medium of a logical bond." The impossibility of a scientific test is admitted, for vast periods of time in the infinite past are claimed for the work of natural selection. Countless ages form the basis of the system, without which it could not have brought about the present order of things. But an infinite series of life forms upon our earth could not be possible, for it has been shown, allowing that the heat has passed out of our earth uniformly, as it does at present, that inside of a comparatively limited period in the past, it must have been so intensely hot as to have been capable of melting a mass of rock equal to the bulk of the whole earth. Yet Darwin has his half developed—imaginary animals strewn along there in the infinite ages of the past. Men may get around this difficulty by disregarding the facts of science and of common sense, or by doing as Tyndall did; that is, by taking up the mechanism of the human body, the mind itself, emotion, intellect, will and all their phenomena, and latentizing them in a fire cloud. Tyndall says: "They were once latent in a fiery cloud." Farewell to common sense or Darwinism—which shall it be? Darwin's idea that all the causes of evolution were placed in a common progenitor, by a miraculous creation of that common progenitor is in very poor harmony with his denial of design in nature, and also in poor harmony with the idea of environments contributing so extensively to the change of species; for if all the causes were placed in a common progenitor, of course, they are not to be found in the least degree in environment. If all was placed in a common progenitor, brought into existence by a miracle, as Darwin teaches, how is design to be excluded from nature? Imperfections in nature are urged against design in nature by all the school of evolutionists. But what kind of imperfection is that which is involved in the idea of God creating a common progenitor, lying at the base of Darwin's series of evolution, possessing all the causes of all effects in nature, without designing those effects? What wonderful undesigned results!
There are those, among unbelievers, who profess to see no evidences of a designing intelligence in all the harmonies of nature, and yet profess to see the far off man behind the old stone ax. What wonderful intelligence they have! There is no want of intelligence; it is want of something else, which Christianity requires. I think so much of your common sense that I will leave you to say what that is. Socrates said: "When I was young it was surprising how earnestly I desired that species of science which they call physical, for it appeared to me pre-eminently excellent in bringing us to know the causes of each, through what each is produced and destroyed. But happening to hear some one read in a book, that it is intelligence which is the parent of order and cause of all things, I considered that, if it were so, the ordering intelligence placed each thing where it was best."
Is mind a development upward from the instinct of the brute creation, or is it an offspring from God? Man's reasoning intelligence separates him from the brute by a chasm that no man can carry the reasoning powers of mind across. All on that side is brutish. The science of the Bible, dealing with intelligence as its subject, is the highest order of science known to man. To limit the term science to physical phenomena is unjustifiable, unless matter is the only substance in the universe, and unless it be true, also, that some things resulting from matter lie outside of science; for if matter is the one, and only, substance, and if science deals with all there is, or may be, connected with that substance, then, according to materialists themselves, its province is to deal with life, mind and religion. But matter is not the only substance, unless a thing can be, exist, and not be at the same time; for if life is a property of matter inertia is not, and if mind is a property of matter it must be with all matter everywhere, or the thing is and is not at one and the same time.
The mind, in all its faculties, lies outside of the domain of the physical sciences. Each man gets his knowledge of his own mental and moral self-hood, not through the senses, but by his consciousness. So there is a mental science that looks inward, and a physical science that looks outward. Break down consciousness and philosophy is ruined. But some ignoramus is ready to say: What care I for philosophy? Poor fellow! He does not know what philosophy is; his ignorance is his trouble. Philosophy simply tells us how things are; it answers the question, how is it? There is nothing in which we are more interested than we are in the how is it? Let us not ruin philosophy; consciousness is her foundation with us; for in order to knowledge there must be primary and intuitive beliefs; the man who has no faith in his own ability to see truth, when it is presented through the medium of the senses, will never come to any definite conclusions about any thing. So mind is innate, and lies in consciousness, or self-hood, and is at the bottom of all our knowledge; otherwise we would not, and could not, be men.
Mind is above matter, and virtue and morals are above both in their results. The certainties are not all confined to physical nature, and hence science should not be. Personality and the freedom of the will, possessed in consciousness, are as certain as any facts in the physical world. Truth, justice, right and wrong are equally certain.
WAS IT POSSIBLE?
The miracle of the sun and the moon standing still in the days of Joshua is urged as contrary to the philosophy of nature, and therefore untrue. That which is simply above the ordinary is not necessarily contrary to the ordinary. The objection is without value until it be proven that there is no God; for it is in his power to control the planets. Otherwise he is not omnipotent. On this very account, it is true, that there is no consistent ground between Christianity and atheism; for the moment we admit the existence of God, that moment we concede the existence of the power adequate to the accomplishment of all the miracles of the Bible. Joshua went to the aid of the Gibeonites against the confederate kings; went up to Gilgal all night, and came instantaneously upon the enemy; having thrown them into confusion with great slaughter, and chased them from Gibeon to Beth-horon, in a westerly direction, the Lord co-operating in their destruction by a great hail-storm, which slew more than the swords of the Israelites, but touched not the Israelites. In this situation of things the sun appears over Gibeon eastward and the moon over Ajalon westward. When Joshua saw it, moved by a grand impulse, he said: "Sun, stand thou still over Gibeon; and thou, moon, over the valley of Ajalon." See Joshua 10: 1 to 28.
The entire machinery of nature is no more in the hands of an Omnipotent God than a clock or watch in the hands of a man. How absurd it is for a man, who believes in God's existence, to be emptying out his wicked ridicule, the result of his ignorance or otherwise, of his dishonesty, upon this miracle? Is not God above his laws? Can not he manipulate, take hold of and handle the laws of nature?
It is claimed that the miracle was contrary to the philosophy of nature. God out, it would be true, but God in, it is not. It is conceded by the best of minds that the Bible is in perfect accord with the Newtonian system; that the sun is the center of the solar system; and the earth, and all other planets, move round the sun in certain periodical times; that the sun revolves around his own axis, and round the common center of gravity included in his own surface; that the solar influence is the cause of the annual and diurnal motions of the earth, and that the motions of the earth must continue while the solar influence continues to act upon it; that no power but that of Jehovah can change this solar influence; that he can suspend the operation of this influence; that he can and does manipulate—handle the laws which he has established—whenever his wisdom sees proper. It would be degrading to allow that the Almighty One threw this universe of his under laws over which he has no controlling power.
The miracle wrought upon this occasion was altogether worthy of God. Joshua spoke as if he knew all about the effect of the solar influence upon our planet; it is this influence that gives to our earth its diurnal motion, and the arresting of this influence would arrest the motion of the earth and the day would be lengthened out.
It is objected that if the sun should stand still one moment everything upon the earth would be swept from existence. It is the objection that is at fault, for there is no evidence that it was an instantaneous miracle. A few seconds is all that is necessary when a carriage is in rapid motion to enable its occupants to light out with perfect safety when an instantaneous pause would hurl them over the dash. At the equator the rotation of the earth is at the rate of fourteen hundred and twenty-six feet per second; twelve hundred and twelve feet at Jerusalem. It is the speed of a ball at the moment of leaving a cannon's mouth, discharged by one-fifth of its own weight of powder. This power is allowed to be sufficient to elevate its ball to the height of twenty-four thousand feet, deducting the effect of atmospheric resistance. Yet a child of six summers could destroy all this force by the elastic and continued action of its fingers inside of two-thirds of a minute. This last objection is entirely worthless until it be shown that the miracle under consideration was instantaneous, for eighteen minutes is time enough to stop, gradually, our planet in its motion, so effectually that you would not feel that anything had happened. "The fool hath said in his heart there is no God."