declared, that such researches led to infidelity and atheism, and are "nothing less than to depose the Almighty Creator of the universe from his office." The poet Cowper, one of the mildest of men, was also roused by these dangers, and in his most elaborate poem wrote;
"Some drill and bore
The solid earth, and from the strata there
Extract a register, by which we learn
That he who made it, and revealed its date
To Moses, was mistaken in its age!"
Howard summoned England to oppose "those scientific systems which are calculated to tear up in the public mind every remaining attachment to Christianity."
While this great attack upon geological science by means of the dogma of Adam's fall was kept up, the more general attack by the literal interpretation of the text was continued. The legendary husks and rinds of our sacred books were insisted upon as equally precious and nutritious with the great moral and religious truths which they envelop. Especially precious were the six days—each "the evening and the morning"—and the exact statements as to the time when each part of creation came into being. To save these the struggle became more and more desperate.
Difficult as it is to realize it now, within the memory of many now living the battle was still raging most fiercely in England, and both kinds of artillery usually brought against a new science were in full play, and filling the civilized world with their roar.
About forty years ago, the Rev. J. Mellor Brown, the Rev. Henry Cole, and others, were hurling at all geologists alike, and especially at such Christian divines as Dr. Buckland and Dean Conybeare and Pye Smith, and such religious scholars as Professor Sedgwick, the epithets of "infidel," "impugner of the sacred record," and "assailant of the volume of God."
The favorite weapon of the orthodox party was the charge that the geologists were "attacking the truth of God." They declared geology "not a subject of lawful inquiry," denouncing it as "a dark art," as "dangerous and disreputable," as "a forbidden province," as "infernal artillery," and as "an awful evasion of the testimony of revelation."
This attempt to scare men from the science having failed, various other means were taken. To say nothing about England, it is humiliating to human nature to remember the annoyances, and even trials, to which the pettiest and narrowest of men subjected such Christian scholars in our own country as Benjamin Silliman and Edward Hitchcock and Louis Agassiz.
But it is a duty and a pleasure to state here that one great Chris-
- See Lyell, "Introduction."
- For these citations, see Lyell, "Principles of Geology," introduction.
- See Pye Smith, D. D., "Geology and Scripture," pp. 156, 157, 168, 169.