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day was used to express millions of ages, during which life was slowly evolved from monad up to man, then the account becomes infinitely absurd, puerile and foolish. There is not a scientist of high standing who will say that in his judgment the earth was covered with fruit bearing trees before the moners, the ancestors it may be of the human race, felt in Laurentian seas the first faint throb of life. Nor is there one who will declare that there was a single spire of grass before the sun had poured upon the world his flood of gold.

Why should men in the name of religion try to harmonize the contradictions that exist between Nature and a book? Why should philosophers be denounced for placing more reliance upon what they know than upon what they have been told? If there is a God, it is reasonably certain that he made the world, but it is by no means certain that he is the author of the bible. Why then should we not place greater confidence in Nature than in a book? And even if this God made not only the world but the book besides, it does not follow that the book is the best part of Creation, and the only part that we will be eternally punished for denying. It seems to me that it is quite as important to know something

of the solar system, something of the physical history
of this globe, as it is to know the adventures of
Jonah or the diet of Ezekiel. For my part, I would
infinitely prefer to know all the results of scientific
investigation, than to be inspired as Moses was.
Supposing the bible to be true; why is it any worse
or more wicked for free-thinkers to deny it, than for
priests to deny the doctrine of Evolution, or the
dynamic theory of heat? Why should we be damned
for laughing at Samson and his foxes, while others,
holding the Nebular Hypothesis in utter contempt,
go straight to heaven? It seems to me that a belief
in the great truths of science are fully as essential to
salvation, as the creed of any church.
We are
taught that a man may be perfectly acceptable to
God even if he denies the rotundity of the earth, the
Copernican system, the three laws of Kepler, the
indestructibility of matter and the attraction of
gravitation. And we are also taught that a man
may be right upon all these questions, and yet, for
failing to believe in the "scheme of salvation," be
eternally lost.

1

XII.

SATURDAY.

N this, the last day of creation, God said:—

ON

"Let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and creeping thing and beast of the earth after his kind; and it was so. And God made the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and every thing that creepeth upon the earth after his kind; and God saw that it was good."

Now, is it true that the seas were filled with fish, the sky with fowls, and the earth covered with grass, and herbs, and fruit bearing trees, millions of ages before there was a creeping thing in existence? Must we admit that plants and animals were the result of the fiat of some incomprehensible intelligence independent of the operation of what are known as natural causes? Why is a miracle any more necessary to account for yesterday than for to-day or for to-morrow?

If there is an infinite Power, nothing can be more certain than that this Power works in accordance with what we call law, that is, by and through natural causes. If anything can be found without a pedigree of natural antecedents, it will then be time enough to talk about the fiat of creation. There must have been a time when plants and animals did not exist upon this globe. The question, and the only question is, whether they were naturally produced. If the account given by Moses is true, then the vegetable and animal existences are the result of certain special fiats of creation entirely independent of the operation of natural causes. This is so grossly improbable, so at variance with the experience and observation of mankind, that it cannot be adopted without abandoning forever the basis of scientific thought and action.

It may be urged that we do not understand the sacred record correctly. To this it may be replied that for thousands of years the account of the creation has, by the Jewish and Christian world, been regarded as literally true. If it was inspired, of course God must have known just how it would be understood, and consequently must have intended that it should be understood just as he knew it would be. One man writing to another, may mean one thing, and

yet be understood as meaning something else. Now, if the writer knew that he would be misunderstood, and also knew that he could use other words that would convey his real meaning, but did not, we would say that he used words on purpose to mislead, and was not an honest man.

If a being of infinite wisdom wrote the bible, or caused it to be written, he must have known exactly how his words would be interpreted by all the world, and he must have intended to convey the very meaning that was conveyed. He must have known that by reading that book, man would form erroneous views as to the shape, antiquity, and size of this world; that he would be misled as to the time and order of creation; that he would have the most childish and contemptible views of the creator; that the "sacred word" would be used to support slavery and polygamy; that it would build dungeons for the good, and light fagots to consume the brave, and therefore he must have intended that these results should follow. He also must have known that thousands and millions of men and women never could believe his bible, and that the number of unbelievers would increase in the exact ratio of civilization, and therefore, he must have intended that result.

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