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that you know who have been persecuted by bigoted religionists solely for their discoveries you can probably count on the fingers of one hand.
No doubt good men have been timid enough to dread investigation of sacred things ; but if they were also wise and strong, it was not done in their wisdom and strength. Perhaps they sometimes have had this excuse, that their sacred things were handled with superfluous roughness and insolence. But he who is well grounded in his faith will say, these two records are from the same hand. The God of nature is the God of the Word. I fear no conflict. The warfare cannot be between science and the Bible, but may be between sciolists and bigots. Explore as you please, the nearest mote and the farthest star. Search the sources of life or read the records of the past. Delve in the bowels of the earth. Ransack its caverns and its lakes. Upturn its ruins. Cross-question its dialects. Unlock its hieroglyphics. Grapple, if you can, with the infinite and the infinitesimal. Come on with telescope and microscope and spectroscope, with rock hammer and deep-sea dredge, with probe and scalpel, with battery, reagent, and crucible; and whatsoever you shall fairly show in heaven, earth, or sea, that will we cheerfully accept. Show, if you can, that the human race has lived millions of years on this globe; that man is a child of the pithecanthropos at the first remove and of a monera at the twenty-first; that the whole animal world sprang from Bathybius, your primeval sea-slime; that dead matter is endowed with accept it.
the power of life and thought, so that the genius of Raphael and of Shakespeare lay “latent and potential in the primitive “cosmic gas " and "fiery cloud”; that there is but one ultimate element of matter, and but one ultimate kind of force, and indefinite dimensions of space; only prove it all, and we stand ready to
So also with the Scriptures and their several contents. Ithuriel's spear is in your hand, and the range of paradise lies before you. Walk where you please, touch what you will, and spear if you must. But assuredly no right-hearted man will treat with flippancy or insolence those grand forces that have prompted and guided the great company of the world's benefactors, or the spiritual nutriment that has fed and rejoiced the goodly throng with their faces manifestly set toward heaven; and no right-minded man will fail to see that these things carry with them a vast moral presumption. Yet these are all open to be interrogated anew by each successive generation and each individual soul. Only let it be wisely and fairly and thoroughly — yes, thoroughly — done.
For with right comes responsibility, with liberty obligation. And we not only have the permission, but there is laid on us
II. The duty to put all things to the proof; to probe them to the bottom, to test them thoroughly. No shallow pretensions, no hasty presumptions or precipitate conclusions; no capricious reversals of time-honored and world-tested principles in deference to some bold and baseless speculation, some flashy fashion of thought.
Here we take our stand. We mount guard by the old citadel where are stored the world's historic treasures of goodness, purity, and truth, and demand the countersign. Make good your claims, say we, before you ask admittance. And this is what many a modern philosopher least desires. He forestalls complete investigation. He carries the unskillful by storm. He asks men to take his hypothesis for proved fact. He demands permission to walk through our fair hereditary domain, our Holy Land, saying, "I take away the old stone landmarks and you can be guided by my beautiful will-o'-the-wisp."
The realm of thought, especially moral and theological thought, is overrun with speculations and foregone conclusions.
A daring theory is a more showy thing than a sober fact. Your balloon that floats up in the air draws all eyes away from the solid earth; the one a pellicle of gas, the other the home of all living things. Equally prevalent is bold assertion and denial. Men tell what must be and what cannot be ; what God never has done and never will do, and what he must do and will do.
And as to the nature of valid and invalid evidence, what confusions are abroad! We seem drifting in some quarters toward the notion that not much is known except what has been seen through a lens, dissected by a surgeon's knife, or tested by a reagent or a blowpipe, or by some criterion as narrow; as though the interior, the spiritual facts of my being were not the most ultimate and peremptory of all my knowledges !
It is also true that a multitude of facts to which socalled scientific tests cannot be applied are quite as certain as those to which they can. That there is such a city as Peking, though I never saw it or conversed with any one who has seen it, and that there was such a man as Alexander the Great, though he died twenty-two hundred years ago, I am as well assured as of the geological history of the earth. I could stake anything on those facts. And of the great facts
my inner experience am I not quite as certain, to say the least, as of the existence of the man who denies them ?
Observe too how tenuous often is the line of separation between what men call knowledge and faith— that knowledge being so largely but faith, while our Christian faith so easily and constantly becomes experienced fact, immediate knowledge. Consider for a moment how much of our knowledge and our science is to each man but simple and unverifiable testimony; how much that perhaps could be, never is, verified ; how much is but inference and hypothesis ; and how in the last analysis the basis of it all is faith, confidence in our faculties, that they do not deceive us. There must be faith, almost boundless, in other men's senses and testimony. How little that the most learned man thinks he knows has he verified for himself! He takes it on trust, and that not always especially select. I observe, for example, that a very famous writer in a famous scientific book rests his case on the statements of at least four hundred and forty different writers
testifying not to the same, but mostly to separate, facts. It certainly is a robust faith that boldly relies on all these various known and unknown persons. What do most of us who are called educated men know directly about such things as the photosphere of the sun or about the planet Neptune? I know immeasurably better what Christ's gospel has done for myself and my fellow men. I believe in Neptune; I know the gospel.
When I look forth and see what theories of nature have been demolished within a century and what radical questions are still looming up on the horizon, one is almost ready to ask with the old philosophers, “ Do all things flow?” In strong contrast stands the firm and quiet hope, the foundation of which is in the humblest breast and cannot be shaken while God is there. I remember how an able skeptic harangued a crowd from the steps of a city courthouse and how, when he had finished, they shouted to a humble evangelist who was present, then an almost unknown man: "Up and answer him!'
“I have not time to go into all that matter if I could,” was his quiet reply, “but I will do this, my friends: I will tell you what the Lord has done for my soul.” And when he had told the simple story he needed no other argument. Let us never forget that the fundamental verities of religion are verifiable by any and every man, while even the great facts of science are not all verifiable by any one man whatever. Put it to the proof.
A similar error that needs continually to be probed is when men speak of laws of nature as accounting for