Page images

many perils before he reaches the field | dwelling far from the home of his youth, of his arduous and self-denying labours. and among men who have but few symHe becomes the inhabitant of a land, pathies in common with him, and little in many instances, where his moral ability or disposition to supply his feelings and his social affections are simple, but constantly recurring necesnot less shocked than his physical sities. Nor, indeed, were the ignorant strength is exhausted. He oftentimes and superstitious tribes among whom lays his aching head on the pillow of the Christian Missionary casts his lot, disease, when no friendly hand is pre- competent and willing to supply his sent to smoothe it, and no gentle voice necessities, would it be expedient, at is heard to cheer his sinking heart. He first, to accept their aid, as in that case is an exile from his home, his kindred, they might be disposed to associate the and the tender associations of his youth. preaching of the gospel with the guilty He is emphatically a stranger in a and oppressive exactions which have strange land. Let these things be pon- too frequently been resorted to by the dered, in connexion with the great and white man, to accumulate wealth, and sacred enterprise in which he is em extend his territory and influence. In barked, and it cannot fail to be admit-order, then, to meet the claims of the ted that the Christian Missionary is Christian Missionary, and to aid effiinvested with the highest claims on the ciently the great cause with which he sympathy of all the professed disciples is identified, there must be the exercise of Christ.

of that sympathy which yields the pracBut whilst the Christian Missionary tical fruits of prayer and pecuniary ustly claims the sympathy of all his contribution. And let it be remembrethren, it is not, let it be remem- bered, there is no one, who lays claim bered, that romantic or sentimental to the character of a Christian, and has

eeling which is dissolved in tears and enrolled himself among the disciples of breathed in sighs, without dictating one Christ-however limited his means effort to assist or encourage, that will that is not expected, up to the extent of meet his demand. Such sympathy may his ability, to give positive and substansuffice for the pictures of self-sacrifice tial proof of his sympathy with the and suffering which are found in the sacred cause of missions. All are expages of fiction ; but that to which the pected by Him who is the Master and Christian Missionary lays claim must Lord of Christian missionaries, and be animated and sustained by the holy the rightful Proprietor of all the treaprinciple of brotherhood in Christ, and sures of men, to aid, in proportion to must prompt to practical effort and the means committed to their hands, prayerful zeal for the ultimate triumph in sustaining the devoted men who of the sacred cause in which he is en have gone “ far hence unto the Gengaged. It is not idle admiration, or tiles” to preach the gospel. Those the tears and sighs of sentimentalism, who refuse, however specious the prebut active exertion, and positive, sub-tence or plea under which they do so, stantial doing, that will meet his case. expose themselves to the withering He has relinquished all the means of blight of the curse that smote Meroz, personal advancement, and all the pro- and to the terrible doom that overtook spects of earthly gains, in order to dif- the unprofitable servant. fuse knowledge among the ignorant, But, in conclusion, although those and to preach Jesus Christ and him who possess the amplest riches devoted crucified among men who are deluded them all to the hallowed cause of mis. and ruined by the errors and lying sions, and although others, like the wonders of idolatry. He has fixed his widow who cast her two mites into the

treasury, should consecrate their little of the Gentiles, he appeals to churches all to the same great object, the sym- and individual Christians, saying,pathy demanded by the Christian Mis “ Brethren, pray for us.” sionary would yet be incomplete. He, Praying for his success and contributwith special and solemn emphasis, de ing to promote that success, constitute the mands what is of still higher import- sympathy demanded by the Christian ance to him in the self-sacrificing and Missionary. arduous work in which he is engaged.

C. Like his great predecessor, the apostle

THE HARMONY OF GEOLOGY WITH THE BIBLE. GEOLOGY, like some of its kindred during periods of time indefinitely sciences, has had to run the gauntlet of long, successively passed away to make misunderstanding and prejudice. When room for others; that our earth, in its peculiar doctrines were first broached, short, had been the theatre of several timid Christians dreaded it as a foe to successive creations, which had been the Bible. They feared that geological suca

uccessively destroyed, before it bediscoveries would be found at variance came the residence of man, and that with Scripture statements. It did there had probably been a time when, not occur to them, that as the God of its elements “melted by fervent heat,” nature and the God of the Bible are it existed as a molten liquid mass, one, the voice in which he speaks from covered with the densest vapours;-as the one volume could not fail to be in these pages of the ancient history of harmony with that in which he ad- | this teluric orb were one after another dresses us from the other; and that, unrolled, and made to pour their therefore, seeming discrepancies between wondrous tale into the startled ear of them would be found, as our knowledge the Christian church, the whole thing advanced, to result from our own mis- was so new, and so unheard of, and so interpretations. Hence, as the students opposed to the received interpretations of this science unrolled page after page of the sacred text, that the novel of the geological history of our earth, science which originated these ideas and found that it had existed for was hastily concluded by many to be a myriads of ages prior to the creation of deadly foe to the Bible. man; that it had been tenanted by These fears were groundless, and other races of creatures before it be- farther research and reflection have encame tenanted by its present occupants; tirely dissipated them.

In the judgthat the larger portion, at least of its ment of the most eminent expositors of superior surface, had actually passed Scripture, the correct interpretation of through the alembic either of animal the Biblical record of creation is quite or of vegetable life; that many of its in harmony with the supposition that rocks, thousands of feet in thickness, our globe may have existed for untold and hundreds of square miles in ages, and have undergone numerous breadth, had either been built up, changes, ere it became tenanted by man. during the lapse of ages, and at the Why should the phrase, “ In the beginbottom of the ocean, by the labours of ing "—in Gen. i. 1-necessarily signify microscopic animalculæ, or were com six thousand years ago? When John, posed of their remains; that these races in the opening of bis Gospel, tells us, of sentient creatures had, after existing that “In the beginning was the Word,”

does he merely mean that six thousand than the fact which it endeavours to years ago the Word existed? Does not establish.” He says again, that “the the expression rather carry our minds evidence of testimony, when applied back to a period in the past indefinitely to a miracle, carries falsehood on the remote? The pbrase seems to have very face of it, and is more properly a been equivalent, among the ancient subject of derision than of argument." Hebrews, to—“In a past eternity;" and The unfairness and inconclusiveness that this explanation of it has not been of this reasoning may be easily shown, devised to meet the exigencies of geo- as may be seen from the writings of logical theories, is proved by the fact of Drs. Campbell, Beattie, Chalmers, and its having been so explained by several others. But an appeal to Geology at of the early fathers of the church. once upsets it. The reasoning of Hume

We do not intend, however, to argue rests entirely on the assumption that à point which, in these days, scarcely God has never come out from the proany one disputes. We take for granted, found secrecy in which he dwells, and that the record in Genesis, after intro- visibly interfered in the arrangements ducing God as the Creator of all things, of our world, that no event which can goes on to describe the fitting up of the be called a miracle has ever occurred, residence of man. We take for granted, that, in short, as things are now, so also, that there is nothing in the record they have always been. Geology, howinconsistent with the supposition, that ever, proves that this is wider from the the material out of which this residence truth, than pole is from pole. Our was constructed may have existed pre- world has been the theatre of several viously during a lapse of time, in com successive creations. Time after time parison with which, that through which has God come forth on it in the exerciso man has lived dwindles down into a of creating power. One series of races point insignificantly minute. Our ob- after another, both of plants and ject at present is rather to show, that animals, has been called into existence this science, once thought so hostile to by him. This is incontestable. Any revelation, is now beginning to yield one may read with his own eyes the the richest contributions to the evi-proofs of it in the rocky strata beneath dences of its truth, and is rearing a him. In the Wealden formation, for noble pillar for its support.

example,-to go no farther back,—the We have one of the main evidences remains of enormous reptiles have been of the Divine origin of Christianity in found of the lizard kind, but varying the miracles wrought by its founders. from sixty to one hundred feet in The language of Nicodemus to our length.* These creatures, and others Saviour at once commends itself to the contemporary with them, seem to have soundest judgment,—“We know that existed on our earth during a long sucthou art a teacher come from God, be- cession of ages, and then to have been cause no man can do the miracles that swept away. Afterwards came the thou doest except God be with him." Mammoth, the Mastodon, the DinotheBut, in the face of the most satisfactory rium, &c., the skeleton remains of historical evidence for the reality of which may be seen in many of our these miracles, the well-known argument museums. These colossal quadrupeds of Hume has been regarded by many

held dominion on the earth, as suflicient to set them aside. Mr. roamed its forests, devoured its vegetaHume affirms, that “no testimony is tion, swam in its rivers or sported on sufficient to establish a miracle, unless their banks. But as there was a time the testimony be of such a kind, that when these races began to exist, so its falsehood would be more miraculous

* The Iguanodon.




there was a time when they ceased to primeval timesthat croaked in the exist. One series of them passed away marshes, and swam in the pools of a to make room for another, till the last former world !!! That we may do of them gave place to and this writer no injustice, we give the his contemporaries. And was not the following passage from the sixth edition bringing into existence of these suc- of his work:cessive races of sentient creatures mi- “ We cannot but regard with proraculous ? Had Mr. Hume himself,—if found interest the question respecting we may make the supposition,-stood our own immediate ancestry. The by when the Iguanodon first sprang mind immediately refers to the simial into being, or when the Mastodon first family, whose form, size of brain, and appeared browsing in the forest, or general characters, make so manifest when man first stood forth the lord of an approach to our own. Yet it may be this lower world, would he not have doubted if the particular species whence been constrained to cry out—"A mira- the human family was derived, has cle!" These successive creations were ever come under the attention of naturmiracles,-miracles far more strange alists. It seems, judging from anaand stupendous, some would think, logy, as if a larger species than any yet than any that were wrought in con- described were required for this place nection with Christianity. Geology in the tree of being. It may here be thus proves, by scientific evidence, what observed, that of all the reptilian some are unwilling to admit on historical orders, the batrachian is that which has eridence, that miracles have actually oc- the best pretensions to a place in the curred. And if the Divine power was origin of the Primates. 'It is singular,' thus at work in our world at the com- says Dr. Roget,' that the frog, though mencement of the human era to create so low in the scale of vertebrated animan, why should it be thought a thing mals, should bear a striking resemincredible that it should have been again blance to the human conformation in at work, at the commencement of the its organs of progressive motion.' It is Christian era, to redeem man?

the only animal besides man with a We might be reminded here of the calf to its leg. It evidently is making,' development hypothesis. The advocates says Dr. Roget, ' an approximation to of this fancy imagine that, by some law the higher orders of mammalia.' The of nature, which comes into operation frog, however, is but a humble offshoot only at remote intervals, one order of of the main line terminating in the creatures has been produced by some Primates. There is something more other which preceded it. Thus, fishes like a lineal predecessor of the order in are supposed to have produced reptiles, the labyrinthodon of Owen, that massive reptiles to have produced birds, and batrachian, which leaves its hand-like perbaps mammalia, and some creature footsteps in the new red sandstone, and of the mammalian order to have pro- then is seen no more. Not for nothing duced man! Where, it will be asked, is it that we start at the picture of that on this hypothesis, is man's ancestor? strange impression,-ghost of anticiSome have assigned this honour to the pated humanity,- for apparently it baboon, or orang-outang. Let not our really is so." p. 342. readers be startled when we tell them, Admirable philosopher! How prothat the anonymous author of the found bis reasoning! The diminutive " Vestiges” actually derives man from frog of the present era is “the only the frog! Not, indeed, from the dimi- animal besides man with a calf to its nutive frog of the present day, but from

* In previous editions he had assigned this a giant race of them that lived in honourable position to the baboon !

[ocr errors]


leg;" therefore the gigantic frog of a regarding the origin of man can be former era is man's ancestor! Oh! satisfactory which does not trace his that we could see this ancestor! But existence to a being superior to himself. it never has been seen! We have That being must be God. In fine, while merely traces of " its hand-like footsteps Geology furnishes us with innumerable in the new red sandstone.” We are vestiges of creation, it does not supply not in ssession, it seems, of a fossil us with a solitary vestige of DEVELOPtooth, or even a fossil bone, of this our ancestor! But we forget. This writer Geology confirms the testimony of means to represent this giant frog, not the Bible as to the recent origin of man. as the immediate, but as the remote According to the usually received chroancestor of man,-not as the father, nology, about six thousand years have but, perhaps, the great-grandfather of elapsed since man was created.* The the human race! He evidently means infidels of former days imagined they that this massive batrachian developed had, in this date, a powerful aritself into something else, which some- gument against the inspiration of thing else developed itself into another Moses. According to the Egyptian, something else, which other something Chinese, and Hindoo chronologies, man else developed itself into man! But must have been in existence for thouthe misery is, that these something sands of years previously. Infidels elses cannot be found. There are no used to boast, that when the key to the traces of them,--no proof that they Egyptian hieroglyphics was discovered, ever existed. The author of the “ Ves- the Old Testament would be found to tiges” has not directed us to any vestiges be historically false. This key has been of evidence that they are not pure discovered; but these anticipations have fictions of his own imagination. As not been realized. On every point on for the “ approximation to the higher which these ancient records touch the orders of mammalia” which the frog is Scripture history, they throw light upon said to be making, Dr. Roget must it, and confirm it. Not in one solitary surely have discovered it by the micro- instance do they disprove it. It has scope. We are certain it cannot be been found, moreover, that the Egypdetected by the naked eye.

tian chronology, where it can be relied We cannot help thus ridiculing what on, is in perfect harmony with that of is ridiculous. This hypothesis is utterly Moses. As for the Chinese and Hindoo destitute of proof. Not a solitary in chronologies, and that portion of the stance can be produced in which one Egyptian, which carry us so far back order of animal existence has originated into the depths of the past, they are now another. Besides, it is contrary to all rejected by all scholars as unworthy of analogy, as well as all experience, that credit. any cause should produce an effect But it has been reserved for Geology greater than itself. If a giant frog, or to give the most remarkable confirmaan orang-outang, produced man, it pro- tion in this respect to the word of God. duced a creature possessing qualities of Every one acquainted with this science which it was itself utterly destitute. | is well aware, that had the remains of Man has reason: they were without man, or any of the works of man, been

How, then, could that come out found in the inferior strata of the of them which was never in them? Is it not evident that He who produced

* The chronology of the Septuagint adds man must himself be greater than man,

about one thousand five hundred years to

that of the Hebrew Bible. It is of no con-must have in himself all that man

sequence, however, to the argument which of has, and vastly more? No conclusion these chronologies is preferred.


« PreviousContinue »