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25. We regret that Penn, or Gisborne, or any other of our Scriptural geologists, should have entered upon this controversy without a sufficient preparation of natural science; and laid as much stress too on the argument which they employed, as if the whole truth and authority of revelation depended on it. It is thus that the cause of truth has often suffered from the misguided zeal of its advocates, anxiously struggling for every one position about which a question may have been raised; and so landing themselves at times in a situation of most humiliating exposure to the argument or ridicule of their adversaries. They
to be in construction with the prefix 5. for,' is generally employed to express the direction or determination of a thing to an end, and not the production of the thing-for example, Numbers x. 31; Zechariah viii. 19, and in many other places.”
He further argues thus" But the difference between the singular '' and the plural 101 in the 14th verse, demands a corresponding difference in the interpretation; and, therefore, if we would make that difference literally apparent we must thus literally interpret Fiat, luminaria' in firmamento cæli ad dividendum inter diem et noctem, ut sint, in signa, et tempora, et in dies, et in annos, et sint ad illuminandum super terram.! That is · Fiat ut luminaria sint in signa &c. et ad illuminandum. &c.' The particle 1 signifies 'ut' in three hundred passages, and 1979 signifies 'ut sint' in several of them. This interpretation therefore yields this literal sense in our language--Let it be, that the lights in the firmament of heaven, for dividing between the day and the night, be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and years.'--that is finally— Let the lights in the firmament of heaven, for dividing between the day and night, be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years; and let them be for lights in the firmament of the heaven to give light upon the earth: and it was so :' so that Rosenmuller's induction from the construction of this passage is de determinatione astrorum ad certos quosdam usus orbi terrarum præstandis, esse sermonem-non de productione' or that the narrative in these verses respects the determination of the heavenly bodies to the performance of some certain uses to the earth-not to the production of these bodies."
weaken the line of defence by extending it. They multiply their vulnerable points by spreading their detachments and their outworks over 'too great a surface, when they might have concentrated their strength within the limits of an impregnable fortress. They raise too loud an outcry of alarm, and lift too high a note of preparation, on the assault by their enemies of some insignificant outpost which might with all safety be conceded to them—so that when it does come to be occupied by assailants, there is just as tremendous a shout of victory on the one side, as there was of misplaced dread and violence upon the other. Meanwhile the citadel abideth in its ancient security, as commanding in its site and as strong in all its essential battlements as ever-and, in the consciousness of this strength, might they who look abroad from its turrets, eye with perfect tolerance, if not with complacency, the petty warfare that is occasionally breaking out at their remoter outskirts. It is right to be vigilant—but it is not right to waste the strength or the credit of a good cause upon the defence of an untenable position-and more especially, if that position be wholly insignificant. It is thus that in the management of what may be called intellectual tactics, it is good to keep by the strong points of an argument, and to abstain by all means from laying any more of weight on the minor or collateral reasonings than these reasonings will bear.
26. We have long regarded the contest between the cause of revelation on the one hand, and the infidelity of the geological schools upon the other,
as merely an affair of outposts, which, however terminating, will leave the main strength of the Christian argument unimpaired. We have already endeavoured to show, how without any invasion even on the literalities of the Mosaic record, the indefinite antiquity of the globe might safely be given up to naturalists, as an arena whether for their sportive fancies or their interminable gladiatorship. On this supposition the details of that operation narrated by Moses, which lasted for six days on the earth's surface, will be regarded as the steps, by which the present economy of terrestrial things was raised, about six thousand years ago, on the basis of an earth then without form and void. While, for aught of information we have in the Bible, the earth itself may, before this time, have been the theatre of many lengthened processes--the dwelling place of older economies that have now gone by; but whereof the vestiges subsist even to the present day, both to the needless alarm of those who befriend the cause of Christianity, and to the unwarrantable triumph of those who have assailed it.
27. Let us never quit the strongholds of the Christian argument in hazarding a mere affair of outposts, unless we are quite sure of the ground we stand upon.
There are certain zealous defenders of Christianity who in this way have done an injury to the cause. And it does give rise to a most unnecessary waste of credit and confidence, it does give the enemies of religion a most unnecessary triumph, when its defenders expose their ignorance in the maintenance of a position, which
even though given up leaves Christianity as firmly based as ever, on those miraculous and prophetic and experimental evidences which substantiate the Bible as the authentic record of an authentic communication from Heaven to Earth, as a Book indited by holy men of God, who stood charged, not with the matters of physical science, but with those transcendently higher matters which relate to the moral guidance and the moral destiny of our species.
28. Yet whatever room there might be for wise and sound policy in managing the Christian argument, there is no reason at all for the pusillanimous feeling of dismay. Our cause may suffer a partial and temporary discredit from the mismanagement of its friends—but not all the strength and subtlety of its most powerful adversaries can achieve its permanent overthrow. Those days have gone by of triumphant anticipation to the enemies of the cross, when the wit of Voltaire, and the eloquence of Rousseau, and the sophistry of Hume, entered into menacing combination on the side of infidelity. These have all been withstood—and on the arena, too, of literary and intellectual debate—where many a feat of championship has been performed, in repelling those successive attacks, which under the semblance of philosophy have been made upon the Faith. For after all it is but a semblance and nothing more. That demi-infidel spirit, which for a generation or two has kept such hold of the seats of philosophy, did not find its ascendancy there till we had sunk down to an age of little men. Those great master-spirits of a former age, after whom
there appeared the pigmies of what may be called a second-rate philosophy, were wholly exempted from it. In the days of proudest achievement and most colossal minds it was comparatively unknown -and so far from feeling a disgrace or a descent in Christianity, the illustrious names of Newton and Locke and Bacon and Boyle stand all associated with the defence and illustration of it.
On the Strength of the Evidences for a God in the
Phenomena of Visible and External Nature.
1. We include among the phenomena of external nature whatever can be exposed to the observation of human eyes—and therefore, the organization and mechanism of our own bodies. There is distinct and additional evidence for a God—and that too, we think, the strongest and most influential of any, grounded on a phenomenon purely mental, and so coming under the dominion of consciousness alone. This we shall advert to afterwards—but meanwhile, we should like to offer a brief recapitulation of what we deem to be the strong points of the Theistical argument, as far as it has yet been proceeded in ; that by means of a condensed view we may perceive distinctly wherein it is that the main force of the reasoning lies.
2. The first strong point of this argument is grounded on the distinction which we have already