Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/458

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
444
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

and insects, he says that, before sin entered the world by Adam's fall, "none of these attempted to devour or in any -vvay hurt one another"; that "the spider was then as harmless as the fly and did not then lie in wait for blood." * Here, again, "Wesley arrayed his early followers against geology, which reveals, in the fossil remains of car- nivorous animals, pain and death countless ages before the appearance of man. The half-digested fragments of weaker animals within the fossilized bodies of the stronger have destroyed all Wesley's argu- ments in behalf of his great theory.

Dr. Adam Clarke held similar views. He insisted that thorns and thistles were given as a curse to human labor, on account of Adam's sin, and appeared upon the earth for the first time after Adam's fall. So, too, Richard Watson, the most prolific writer of the great evangelical reform period, and the author of the " Institutes," the standard theo- logical treatise in the evangelical array, says, in a chapter treating of the Fall, and especially of the serpent which tempted Eve: "We have no reason at all to believe that the animal had a serpentine form in any mode or degree until his transformation. That he was then degraded to a reptile, to go u2')on his belly, im2:)orts, on the contrary, an entire alteration and loss of the original form." All that admi- rable adjustment of the serpent to its environment which delights naturalists, was to Adam Clarke simply an evil result of the sin of Adam and Eve. Yet here again geology was obliged to confront theology in revealing the x>yOion in the Eocene—ages before man ap- peared, f

The immediate results of such teaching by such men was to throw many who woidd otherwise have resorted to observation and investi- gation back upon scholastic methods. Again reappears the old sys- tem of solving the riddle by phrases. In 1733, Dr. Theodore Ai-nold urged the theory of "models," and insisted that fossils result from "infinitesimal particles brought together in the creation to form the outline of all the creatures and objects upon and within the earth "; and Arnold's work translated into German gained wide acceptance. J

Such was the influence of this succession of great men that toward the close of the last century the English opponents of geology on biblical grounds seemed likely to sweep all before them. Cramping our whole inheritance of sacred literature within the rules of an historical com- pend, they showed the terrible dangers arising from the revelations of geology, which make the earth older than the six thousand years required by Archbishop Usher's interpretation of the Old Testament. Nor was this feeling confined to ecclesiastics. Williams, a thoughtful layman,

  • See Wesley's sermon on "God's Approbation of His Works," 11th and 12th

parts.

f See "Westminster Review," October, 1870, article on "John Wesley's Cosmog- ony," with citations from Wesley's "Sermons," Watson's "Institutes of Theology," Adam Clarke's "Commentary on the Holy Scriptures," etc.

X See citation in Mr. Ward's article, as above, p. 390.