Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/518

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Third. These deformations are all beautiful to those who practice them. Is it not evident that in all of them the idea and the ideal of beauty are subsequent—not antecedent and original?



THE controversy, in which this paper has to take its place, arose out of a statement, indeed a boast, as I understood it, by Prof. Huxley,[1] that the adepts in natural science were assailing the churches with weapons of precision, and that their opponents had only antiquated and worthless implements to employ in the business of defense. I took upon me to impeach at certain points the precision of the Professor's own weapons.[2] Upon one of those points, the miracle of the swine, as recorded in the Gospels, he had given us assumption instead of proof upon what he thinks the vital question, whether the keeping of the swine was an innocent and lawful occupation. He has now offered an elaborate attempt at proof that such was its character. The smallest indication of such an attempt in the original article would have sufficed entirely to alter the form of my observation, which would then have been what it will now be; not that he offers no argument, but that his argument is unsound from the beginning to the end.

Of that considerable portion of his article which is devoted to sneers, imputations, and lectures against myself, I shall take no notice whatever. The question of my guilt or innocence is too insignificant, and even the question whether Mr. Huxley does or does not always use weapons of precision might hardly warrant a prolongation of the warfare. But the personal action of our Lord is the basis of the Christian revelation, and to impugn it successfully in any point is to pierce the innermost heart of every Christian. No inquiry, therefore, can be too painstaking which helps to carry such a question to a conclusive issue.

I must, however, in passing, make the confession that I did not state with accuracy, as I ought to have done, the precise form of the accusation. I treated it as an imputation on the action of our Lord: he replies that it is an imputation on the narrative of three Evangelists respecting Him. The difference from his point of view is probably material, and I therefore regret that I overlooked it. From the standing ground of those who receive the

  1. Nineteenth Century, July, 1890, p. 22. [Popular Science Monthly, September, 1890, p. 649.]
  2. Impregnable Rock of Holy Scripture, p. 260.