Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 47.djvu/609

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

593

Its words and phrases have a grammatical and philological accuracy, such as is possessed by no human composition." In 1861 Dean Burgon preached in Christ Church Cathedral, Oxford, as follows: "No, sirs, the Bible is the very utterance of the Eternal; as much God's own word as if high heaven were open and we heard God speaking to us with human voice. Every book is inspired alike, and is inspired entirely. Inspiration is not a difference of degree, but of kind. The Bible is filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit of God; the books of it and the words of it and the very letters of it."

In 1805 Canon MacNeile declared in Exeter Hall that "we must either receive the verbal inspiration of the Old Testament or deny the veracity, the insight, the integrity of our Lord Jesus Christ as a teacher of divine truth."

As late as 1889 one of the two most gifted pulpit orators in the Church of England, Canon Liddon, preaching at St. Paul's Cathedral, used in his fervor the same dangerous argument: that the authority of Christ himself, and therefore of Christianity, must rest on the old view of the Old Testament; that, since the founder of Christianity, in divinely recorded utterances, alluded to the transformation of Lot's wife into a pillar of salt, and to Noah's ark and the-flood, the biblical account of these must be accepted as historical.

In the light of what was rapidly becoming known regarding the Chaldæan and other sources of the accounts given in Genesis, no argument could be more fraught with peril to the interest which the gifted preacher sought to serve.

In France and Germany many similar utterances in opposition to the newer biblical studies were heard, and from America, especially from the college at Princeton, came resounding echoes. As an example of many may be quoted the statement by the eminent Dr. Hodge that the books of Scripture "are, one and all, in thought and verbal expression, in substance, and in form, wholly the work of God, conveying with absolute accuracy and divine authority all that God meant to convey without human additions and admixtures"; and that "infallibility and authority attach as much to the verbal expression in which the revelation is made as to the matter of the revelation itself."

But the newer movement of thought went steadily on. As already in Protestant Europe, so now in the Protestant churches of America, it took strong hold on the foremost minds in many of the churches known as orthodox: Toy, Briggs, Francis Brown, Evans, Preserved Smith, Moore, Bacon, developed it, and, though opposed, bitterly by synods and councils of their respective churches, they were manfully supported by the more intellectual clergy and laity. The greater universities of the country ranged