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What, then, are the results arrived at in the foregoing pages ? They may be summed up under the
? following heads :
1. That, through ignorance and hasty zeal, Holy Scripture has undergone many severe tests during the progress of Science, and has come through the trial in every case with triumph. The experience of the past has worked out this result, that through the whole course of philosophical discovery, Scripture and Science have never been found at variance, though they have often been charged with being so.
2. That Scripture speaks in human language, and according to its usages; but in no case adopts the errors and prejudices of men, even in things natural. It speaks to us on such matters according to the appearances of things, that is, as things ARE SEEN, which is a way intelligible in all ages of the world. It speaks as man would speak to man in every-day life, even on such topics, and in times of the greatest scientific light. It speaks not scientifically, and therefore does not adopt scientific terms, or give scientific views of things : but there is, nevertheless, no sacrifice even of scientific truth to human ignorance and prejudice.
3. That this harmony between Scripture and Science appears, not only from the abundant illustration it receives from the history of past conflicts through which this Sacred Volume has passed intact, but preeminently from the character of Scripture itself as the Inspired Word of God, and therefore infallible in every respect.
4. That the Earlier Chapters of the Sacred Volume, in which the seeds of variance have been supposed to lie, are of inestimable value to us; and the fact of their Inspiration must not be set aside on the pretence that Christianity would remain the same if they were blotted out; for they form a most important portion of the Divine Revelation, and convey inspired truths of the highest moment.
The Conclusion, then, which I would draw in these days of advancing knowledge is this, THAT NO NEW DISCOVERIES, HOWEVER STARTLING, NEED DISTURB OUR BELIEF IN THE PLENARY INSPIRATION OF SCRIPTURE, OR DAMP OUR ZEAL IN THE PURSUIT OF SCIENCE. That difficulties should have existed, and should still occasionally appear, is not to be wondered at when we consider the things which are brought into comparison. On the other hand, here is an ancient record handed down to us, first by the careful guardianship of the Jewish nation, and now in addition by that of the Christian Church, referring to events which occurred 6000 years ago_intended for the instruction of every successive age, from the period when it was written down to the end of time. The authority of this record is attested by our Lord and His Apostles, inasmuch as in nearly seventy passages they quote or refer to it as authorita
tive. The great truths taught in it, are such as the acutest philosophers of Greece and Rome and the East failed to discover—such as the origin of the world; the
1 origin of man ; how evil came into the world ; the 2 ;
promise of a Saviour ;-and with these revealed truths are mixed up statements regarding the aspect and condition of the earth and of the heavenly bodies around. The language of this record was fixed thousands of
years ago, and is brief and terse, and not designed to communicate to us scientific information, but only those
great realities which reason could never have found out. On the other hand, Science has been opening the book of Nature, and turning over its countless leaves with unwonted rapidity. Theories have been built up, imperfect in their parts, and too often with hasty generalizations. And a harsh and crude comparison is made with this venerable document, which speaks not the language of a varying and growing Science, but is couched in terms to be intelligible in all ages. Is it to be wondered at, that as new and ill-digested physical facts rise upon our view with such rapidity, frequently combined by gratuitous hypotheses, contradictions between Scripture and Science should be perpetually appearing? It is clear to what cause this is to be attributed not to Scripture, but to a restless and imperfect Science. The experience of the past teaches us this. The hasty and immature deductions of Science may sometimes stand in opposition to Scripture : but those settled results in which the body of philosophers agree, often confirm and illustrate the statements of the Inspired Volume.
Let us, then, hold firm our grasp upon this truth, that the Scriptures are the infallible Word of God, true
in every statement they contain, although the interpretation sometimes demands more knowledge than we at present possess; but let us at the same time remember, that there is no ground whatever for ceasing to pursue Science, in all its branches, with an ardent and fearless mind. God's Word and Works never have contradicted each other, and never can do so. Some would decry the pursuit of Science as endangering revelation; they tremble for the result, as new discoveries are announced and reason publishes its triumphs. But these are short-sighted and ill-placed apprehensions : nor would such a course remedy the evils feared. The progress of Science is inevitable. As well might we desire to hold back the wheels of time, or attempt to enchain the thoughts of men, as to arrest its course. The
of Science is indeed the glory of man's intellectual endowments; and to live in ignorance of the history and material laws of the universe, of which he forms a part, is a libel on that commanding gift with which God had endowed him, rendering him pre-eminent above the rest of His creatures. The progress of Science is the setting forth of the greatness and wisdom of the Creator in His works: and to desire to check it, or to fear its results, is to betray our narrow prejudices, and to refuse to recognise the hand of GOD in His own world. Let us, therefore, push our investigations to the utmost with untiring energy
Let us not shrink, moreover, from stating our difficulties in their broadest features, and laying open without hesitation all that appears contradictory. We have nothing to fear. The greatest perplexities may
time surround us ; but both reason and experience have armed us with arguments, which assure us that all will be right. Whatever happens, let our
. persuasion always be avowed, that Scripture cannot
Let us be content rather to remain puzzled, than to abandon, or even question, a truth which stands
upon so immovable a basis.
It is the doubts and surmises of those who are looked to as authorities in these matters, which shake men's minds. It is the hazardous assertions* of some
* Take, for example, such statements as the following: 'In a former Essay I have adverted to the question of discrepancies between Science and the language of Scripture generally, and have referred more especially to that notable instance of it—the irreconcilable contradiction between the whole view opened to us by Geology and the narrative of the Creation in the Hebrew Scriptures, whether as briefly delivered from Sinai, or as expanded in Genesis. In the minds of all competently informed persons at the present day, after a long struggle for existence, the literal belief in the Judaical cosmogony, it
may now be said, has died a natural death' [!]—And after some remarks on a theory of evolution or progressive development of animal life, he adds :• Those who accept geological truths at all, and admit their palpable contradiction to the Old Testament, without prejudice to their faith, cannot with consistency make it a ground of objection to any hypothesis of the nature of the changes indicated, that they are contrary to Scripture. They are in no way more so than all geology is '[!]—Essay on the Philosophy of Creation. By the Rev. Baden Powell, Savilian Professor of Geometry in the University of Oxford.
My answer to all this is :— There is in the sense intended, no • narrative of the creation in the Hebrew Scriptures,' no • Judaical Cosmogony,' no contradiction of geological truths to the Old Testament,' according to the principles of the foregoing Treatise.
In a subsequent publication, The Order of Nature, Professor Powell made some remarks upon the present Treatise (second edition); regarding which I will here state that, through some unaccountable misconception, he has made me say the reverse of what I do say. His words are :— The whole view of the subject presented in the work referred to is this :- As the Scripture in former times seemed opposed to the