« PreviousContinue »
the next volume, I take up a subject, which during seve. ral years past, has occupied a large share of attention in both the religious and literary worlds. It will be entitled
THE BIBLE AND GEOLOGY WITH ITS RESULTS;
in which, I hope not only to show the entire harmony of the Bible with the settled principles of Geological Science, but also to point out various portions of Scripture which are signally illustrated by Geological discoveries, and which must otherwise have remained obscure and perplexing
Men of Learning who have fallen into Infidelity.
I Cor. i. 20.
"Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of
this world ?"
The two great enemies of Divine Revelation are Superstition on the one hand, and Infidelity on the other. The former professes to believe in Christianity, but obscures and often buries it beneath the inventions and traditions of men. The latter rejects it, either in whole or in part, as untrue and irrational. But in nothing is the difference between the two more decided and marked, than in their mode of assailing the truth. Superstition generally makes its assaults openly and without disguise, "going about as a roaring lion, seeking whom it may devour.” Infidelity, at least in its beginnings, is usually both timid and treacherous. It masks its earliest attacks, and approaches like the tiger, crouching; but when it makes its spring, the bound is the more dangerous and fatal.
This mask is not always the same. It is changed according to times and circumstances, or according to the attainments and taste of the men who wear it. Some have objected to the Bible on the plea that it teaches a loose morality, and declare their better feelings to be shocked at practices which it tolerates and seems to commend. Others hesitate to avow their faith in the Holy Book, because it teaches doctrines which, if not irrational, in their view are mysterious and unintelligible, and therefore not entitled to our belief. A still different class are found catching at every seeming inconsistency between one part of Scripture and another; and instead of inquiring as candid judges, how the discrepancy may be explained and removed, they strive, by every art of special pleading, to render it glaring and repulsive.
But often as Infidelity has fled to these and similar subterfuges, there is no covering under which it has assailed Christianity more injuriously, than when it hides itself under the show of Learning;
nor is there a branch of Letters or Science which
has not sooner or later been pressed into the unholy service. The stores of antiquarian lore have been ransacked, and weapons of attack brought forth, the weakness of which it was hoped, might be hidden under the rust of ages which covered them. In generations which have but lately passed by, the war was maintained in the abstruse and bewildering region of metaphysics; and when such assaults have been repelled, and all that is certain and fixed in metaphysical science was proved to be on the side of Revelation, the enemy has made new demonstrations. He has torn open the bowels of the earth to discover fossil remains that might say something against the Bible; he has carried his unwearied observations into the heavens, in hopes that he could persuade “the stars in their courses” to contradict the word of their Creator; he has even dissected and analyzed the human frame, in hopes to find something in the complexion or figure of the diversified tribes of our race which might contradict the inspired account of the original creation of man.
It is generally known that in this noble and
ennobling department of knowledge— Physical Science—the Infidelity of the present day is most ambitious to display itself. It has here a field which is not only wide, but which is constantly and rapidly widening. The impulse that has lately been given to discoveries in the material world, is without a parallel. They are pervading "the heavens above and the earth beneath, and the waters under the earth;” and in this wide range which Science is now taking, contributing at every step to enlarge the boundaries of human knowledge and human happiness, Infidelity still aspires to follow, and views nothing too high or too sacred for its profane purposes. It would lay its hand on both the telescope and the microscope, and reaching from the stars and suns that are the centres of other worlds, down to the tiny insect which is invisible to the naked eye, it seems to hope that its career may be prolonged by the amplitude of the field before it; and that, if detected and exposed in one fallacy, it may fly to another, and hide itself under some new subterfuge of deceit.
In these profligate flights too, it has derived advantages not only from the excitement always