Courtesy of Walter B. Martin, Jr., the Library of Virginia and
the Virginia Historical Society.


The Study of Natural Science Considered as a Means of Intellectual Culture - 1841
Two Discourses on Infant Baptism - 1852
The Lesson of the Pestilence
- 12-2-1855
The Victory of Manassas - 7-21-1861
What Hath God Wrought - 6-25-1876
The Higher Criticism - 1884
A Defence of the "Deliverance" on Evolution 5-26-1886
A Centennial Discourse Delivered Before the Presbytery of Lexington - 9-25-1886
Jesus Christ and Him Crucified - 9-16-1888
A Half-Hour with Robert Elsmere - 1889
Reminiscences of the War
Politics and the Pulpit
Darwin and Darwinism
The Deluge
Creation as a Doctrine of Science
The Word of God vs the Bible of Modern Scientific Theology
A Scientific Study of the Doctrine of Prayer
Providence as a Doctrine of Science

* * * * * *

Darwin & Darwinism
The Deluge

* * * * * *

By Rev. Geo. D. Armstrong, D. D.
Published in The Presbyterian Quarterly

No writer has exerted a greater influence on the current of scientific thought in the last half of this nineteenth century than Charles Darwin. No one can read his writings, and they are somewhat voluminous, and not award him a chief place among the naturalists of our day. For careful observation of facts in the several departments of natural history to which he devoted his attention, for an explicit and honest statement of the facts observed, and for acuteness of judgment in devising methods of investigation and indefatigable industry in following out these methods, he deserves, as he has received on all hands, the highest commendation. This on the one hand.

On the other hand. When he has turned from the record of facts to reasoning upon those facts, from what is distinctively called science to philosophy, as in his "Origin of Species," and "Descent of Man," no writer has provoked more controversy, no hypothesis has awakened more discussion than the one now popularly known as Darwinism, advanced and defended in these books. His "Origin of Species" was published in 1859, and his "Descent of Man" in 1871, scarce thirty years ago, yet the literature of Darwinism will to-day form a library of very respectable dimensions.

In such circumstances, thoughtful men naturally desire to know something more of Charles Darwin than can be learned from the study of his works alone. To all such the publication of his "Life and Letters," by his son, Francis Darwin—the American edition which is before me is from the press of Appleton & Co.—is a very welcome event. The work is made up largely of Mr. Charles Darwin's own letters, written at various times during the course of his public life as an author; letters received by him in reply to these; and of an autobiography, begun in 1876, when he was sixty-five years of age, and completed in 1881, the year before his death. Respecting the last-mentioned of these, the autobiography, "written originally for his children without any thought of its publication," the author says: "I have attempted [335] to write the following account of myself, as if I were a dead man in another world, looking back at my own life. Nor have I found this difficult, for life is nearly over with me." (Vol. I., p. 25.) A marked characteristic of this autobiography is the evident candor with which it is written; indeed, candor is characteristic of all Mr. Charles Darwin's writings, even those somewhat controversial in their character. The selection of letters contained in these volumes, both those written by Mr. Darwin himself and those received by him from his friends, has been made with excellent judgment, and so as to supplement the autobiography. After reading the two volumes of "Life and Letters" through, one feels as if Mr. Darwin had been a personal acquaintance, and that of long standing.

I. Darwin's Work in the Light of his Personal Character.

I have already referred to the fact that Mr. Darwin's work as a naturalist has met with universal acceptance. His statements of fact are received as of the highest authority, and I do not think I exaggerate when I say that his contributions to science in this department are not equalled by those of any other naturalist of our day. But when we turn to his writings in the department of the philosophy of science, more especially to his advocacy of the hypothesis of the origin of species by natural selection—what is distinctively called Darwinism—all this is changed. No hypothesis of modern science has provoked more controversy than this, and if we may accept the judgment of a writer in the Edinburgh Review for April, 1888, "this theory, about which, before he passed away, he sometimes spoke in vacillating tones, is already on its way to the lumber-room of discarded theories."

When we turn to his biography, we find, I think, an explanation of this. In his autobiography he tells us that when eight years old he was sent to a day-school at Shrewsbury, and adds:

"By the time I went to this day-school, my taste for natural history, and more especially for collecting, was well developed. I tried to make out the names of plants, and collected all sorts of things, shells, seals, franks, coins, and minerals. The passion for collecting which leads a man to be a systematic naturalist, a virtuoso, or a miser, was very strong in me, and was clearly innate, as none of my sisters or brothers had this taste." (Vol. I., p. 26.)

[336] An amusing illustration of the strength of this passion he gives as in writing of his life at Cambridge:

''One day, on tearing off some old bark, I saw two rare beetles, and seized one in each hand; then I saw a third and new kind, which I could not bear to lose, so that I popped the one which I held in my right hand into my mouth. Alas! it ejected some intensely acrid fluid, which burnt my tongue so that I was forced to spit the beetle out, which was lost, as was the third one." (Vol. I., p. 43.)

Towards the close of his autobiography he gives this estimate of himself:

''I think that I am superior to the common run of men in noticing things which easily escape attention, and in observing them carefully. My industry has been nearly as great as it could have been in the collection and observation of facts. What is far more important, my love for natural science has been steady and ardent." (Vol. I., p. 83.)

Mr. Darwin was evidently a "born naturalist;" and naturalists, like poets, are "born, not made." When we take into account the fact, in connexion with all this, that five years of the prime of his life—from his twenty-second to his twenty-seventh year—were spent in a voyage around the world, in H. B. M. ship Beagle, as naturalist of a scientific expedition, the great excellence of his writings on Natural History are fairly accounted for.

On the other point under consideration, the author of the article in the Edinburgh Review, already referred to, writes:

''Mr. Francis Darwin's careful work does not allow us to remain in any doubt as to the quality of his father's mind with respect to philosophy. Indeed, Charles Darwin himself tells us: 'I read a good deal during the two years (1837 and 1838) on various subjects, including some metaphysical books; but I was not well-fitted for such studies.' And again: 'My power to follow a long and purely abstract train of thought is very limited; and therefore I could never have succeeded with metaphysics or mathematics.' In writing to Mr. Graham at nearly the end of his life, he observes: 'I have had no practice in abstract reasoning.' Just after publishing his 'Origin of Species,' and when occupied in preparing his argument that man is as the beasts which perish, he writes to Sir C. Lyell: 'I have thought (only vaguely) on man; . . . psychologically I have done scarcely anything.' In writing to Huxley respecting some philosophical objections to his views about man, he says: 'Having only common observation and sense to trust to, I did not know what to say in my second edition of my ''Descent."' To Mr. Virtue he observes: 'I find that my mind is so fixed by the inductive method that I cannot appreciate deductive reasoning.". . . A constitutional, inherited, congenital inaptitude in Charles Darwin for the highest branch of science, or rather for the foundation of all science, was a bad preparation for constructing a permanently enduring and really philosophical theory of organic nature." (Edinburgh Review, 1888, pp. 429, 430.)

As further illustrating this character of Mr. Darwin's mind let the reader take the following extract from a letter of his, addressed to Prof. Asa Gray, under date of November 22, 1860:

''I grieve to say I cannot honestly go as far as you do about Design. I am conscious that I am in an utterly hopeless muddle. I cannot think that the world, as we see it, is the result of chance, and yet I cannot look at each separate thing as the result of design. To take a crucial example, you lead me to infer that you believe 'that variation has been led along certain beneficial lines.' I cannot believe this; and I think yon would have to believe that the tail of the fantail was led to vary in the number and direction of its feathers in order to gratify the caprice of a few men. Yet if the fantail had been a wild bird, and had used its abnormal tail for some special end, as to sail before the wind, unlike other birds, every one would have said, 'What a beautiful and designed adaptation.' Again, I say I am, and shall ever remain, in a hopeless muddle." (Vol. II., p. 146.)

In the mental peculiarities, illustrated above, we have a satisfactory explanation of the fact that Charles Darwin, the first naturalist of the day, was, at the same time, "a bitter bad philosopher;" and Darwin, the naturalist, I believe, will be remembered and honored long after Darwinism has been consigned to "the lumber-room of discarded theories."

II. The Character and History of Darwin's Religious Views.

Darwinism, as is acknowledged on all hands, stands intimately related to the Christian religion; and it is in the religious history of Mr. Darwin the readers of the Quarterly Review will feel especial interest. Fortunately, his biography enables us to get a clear idea of that history, from the beginning of his life to the very end. Chapter VIII. of his "Life and Letters" is devoted to this particular matter; and the subject is not unfrequently referred to in his letters to his friends given us in other parts of the work.

In his early youth his mind seems to have had a decidedly religious turn. While a school-boy at Shrewsbury he used to go home in the long intervals between "callings-over" and locking up at night, and he tells us:

"I remember in the early part of my school life I often had to run very quickly to be in time, and from being a fleet runner was generally successful; but when in doubt I prayed earnestly to God to help me, and I well remember that I attributed my success to the prayers and not to my quick running, and marvelled how generally I was aided." (Vol. I., p. 29.)

[338] His religious views in early manhood may be learned from his statement:

''After having spent two sessions in Edinburgh, my father perceived, or he heard from my sisters, that I did not like the thought of being a physician, so he proposed that I should become a clergyman. He was, very properly, vehement against my turning into an idle sporting man, which then seemed my probable destination. I asked for some time to consider, as from what little I had heard or thought on the subject I had scruples about declaring my belief in all the dogmas of the Church of England; though otherwise I liked the thought of being a country clergyman. Accordingly, I read with care 'Pearson on the Creed,' and a few other books on divinity; and as I did not then in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible, I soon persuaded myself that our creed must be fully accepted. Considering how fiercely I have been attacked by the orthodox, it seems ludicrous that I once intended to be a clergyman. Nor was this intention and my father's wish ever formally given up, but died a natural death when, on leaving Cambridge, I joined the Beagle as naturalist." (Vol. I., p. 39.)

Of the change in his religions views he tells us:

"While on board the Beagle I was quite orthodox, and I remember being heartily laughed at by several of the officers (though themselves orthodox) for quoting the Bible as an unanswerable authority on some point of morality. I suppose it was the novelty of the argument that amused them. But I had gradually come by this time, i.e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos. The question then continually rose before my mind, and would not be banished, Is it credible that if God were now to make a revelation to the Hindoos, he would permit it to be connected with the belief in Vishnu, Siva, etc., as Christianity is connected with the Old Testament? This appeared to me utterly incredible."

''By further reflecting that the clearest evidence would be requisite to make any sane man believe in the miracles by which Christianity is supported—and the more we know of the fixed laws of nature, the more incredible do miracles become—that the men at that time were ignorant and credulous to a degree almost incomprehensible by us; that the gospel cannot be proved to have been written simultaneously with the events; that they differ in many important details, far too important, as it seemed to me, to be admitted as the usual inaccuracies of eye-witnesses; by such reflections as these, which I give, not as having the least novelty or value, but as they influenced me, I gradually came to disbelieve in Christianity as a divine revelation. The fact that many false religions have spread over large portions of the earth like wild-fire, had some weight with me."

''But I was very unwilling to give up my belief; I feel sure of this, for I can well remember often and often inventing day-dreams of old letters between distinguished Romans, and manuscripts being discovered at Pompeii, or elsewhere, which confirmed in the most striking manner all that was written in the gospels. But I found it more and more difficult, with free scope given to my imagination, to invent evidence which would suffice to convince me. Thus disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress." (Vol. I., pp. 278, 279.)

[339] Subsequently he writes:

"At the present day the most usual argument for the existence of an intelligent God is drawn from the deep inward conviction and feelings which are experienced by most persons. Formerly I was led by feelings such as those just referred to (although I do not think the religious sentiment was ever very strongly developed in me), to the firm conviction of the existence of God and of the immortality of the soul. In my journal I wrote that while standing in the midst of a Brazilian forest, it is not possible to give an adequate idea of the higher feelings of wonder, admiration and devotion which fill and elevate the mind. I well remember my conviction that there is more in man than the mere breath of his body. But now the grandest scenes would not cause any such convictions and feelings to rise in my mind. It may be truly said that I am like a man who has become color-blind, and the universal belief by men of the existence of redness makes my present loss of perception of not the least value as evidence." (.Vol. I., p. 281.)

How complete Mr. Darwin's "disbelief" became we may learn from his letter to a German student, written in 1879, in which he says:

"I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and I cannot spare time to answer your questions fully; nor, indeed, can they be answered. Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence. For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting vague probabilities." (Vol. I., p. 277.)

As throwing light upon the way in which this great change in Mr. Darwin's religious views was brought about, I would ask the reader's attention to the following statements. Mr. Darwin, in his autobiography, writes:

''I have said that in one respect my mind has changed during the last twenty or thirty years. Up to the age of thirty, or beyond it, poetry of many kinds, such as the works of Milton, Gray, Byron, Wordsworth, Coleridge and Shelley, gave me great pleasure, and even as a school-boy I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in the historical plays. I have also said that formerly pictures gave me considerable, and music very great delight. But now for many years I cannot endure to read a line of poetry; I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me. I have also lost my taste for pictures and music. Music generally sets me to thinking too energetically on what I have been at work on, instead of giving me pleasure. I retain some taste for fine scenery, but it does not cause me the exquisite delight which it formerly did. On the other hand, novels which are works of the imagination, though not of a very high order, have been for years a wonderful relief and pleasure to me, and I often bless all novelists. A surprising number have been read aloud to me. . . . My mind seems to have become a kind of machine for grinding general laws out of large collections of facts; but why this should have caused the atrophy of that part of the brain [340] alone on which the higher tastes depend, I cannot conceive. A man with a mind more highly organized or better constituted than mine, would not, I suppose, have thus suffered; and if I had to live my life again, I would have made a rule to read some poetry and listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the parts of my brain now atrophied would thus have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness, and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character, by enfeebling the emotional part of our nature." (Vol. I., pp. 81, 82.)

In a letter to his intimate friend, Sir J. D. Hooker, he writes:

"I am glad that you were at the 'Messiah;' it is the one thing I should like to hear again, but I dare say I should find my soul too dried up to appreciate it as in old days; and then I should feel very flat, for it is a horrid bore to feel as I constantly do, that I am a withered leaf for every subject except science." (Vol. II., p. 273.)

His son, in the work before us, tells us:

"It was a sure sign that he was not well when he was idle at any time other than his regular resting hours; for as long as he remained moderately well, there was no break in the regularity of his life. Weekdays and Sundays passed by alike, each with their stated intervals of work and rest. It is almost impossible, except for those who watched his daily life, to realise how essential to his well being was the regular routine that I have sketched, and with what pain and difficulty anything beyond it was attempted. Any public appearance, even of the most modest kind, was an effort to him. In 1871 he went to the little village church for the wedding of his eldest daughter, but he could hardly bear the fatigue of being present through the short service." (Vol. I., p. 104.)

In giving an account of his father's religious views, Francis Darwin makes the following quotation from a manuscript of his father:

"Another source of conviction in the existence of God, connected with the reason and not with the feelings, impresses me as having much more weight. This follows from the extreme difficulty, or rather impossibility, of conceiving this immense and wonderful universe, including man with his capacity of looking far backwards and far into futurity, as the result of blind chance or necessity, When thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a first cause having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the 'Origin of Species'; and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt, can the mind of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low as that possessed by the lowest animal, be trusted when it draws such grand conclusions ?" (Vol. I., p. 282.)

Of similar import with the above, in a letter to W. Graham, written in 1881, the year before his death, he writes:

[341] "I have no practice in abstract reasoning, and I may be all astray. Nevertheless, you have expressed my inward conviction, though far more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the universe is not the result of chance. But then with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there are any convictions in such a mind?" (Vol. I., p. 285.)

Such is the account which Mr. Darwin himself gives us of the great change in his views on questions of religion of which he was the subject; and I have quoted from his "Life and Letters" at much greater length than I otherwise would, that those of my readers who may not have access to the work itself may yet be able to judge for themselves of the extent of that change and of the way in which it was brought about. Attempting a brief summary of the truth in this case, I remark:

1. From a person of a decidedly religious turn of mind in childhood, and one who in early manhood "did not in the least doubt the strict and literal truth of every word in the Bible," he came in his later years utterly to reject the claim of the Bible to be the "word of God," so as to declare, "I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation," and to lose all faith in the existence of a personal God and all confidence in man's immortality. From a thoroughly Christian man, in the wide sense of the word Christian, he became an atheist, a man "without God in the world." He preferred, as his son tells us, "the unaggressive attitude of an agnostic." (Vol. I., p. 286.) And certain it is Mr. Darwin never became a blatant atheist, seeking to propagate his atheism among his fellow-men. But such is the relation which man sustains to God that an agnostic, i. e., one who does not know whether there is a God or not, is, for all practical purposes, an atheist, i. e., "without God in the world."

2. This great change in Mr. Darwin's religious views did not occur as the result of a vicious life, as in very many cases such a change does. As to his course of life, he writes, in a note added to the manuscript of his autobiography in 1879:

"As for myself, I believe that I have acted rightly in steadily following and devoting my life to science. I feel no remorse from having committed any great sin, but have often and often regretted that I have not done more direct good to my fellow-creatures." (Vol. II., p. 530.)

[342] His case was not unlike that of the young nobleman of whom we read in the gospel, who, when our Lord said to him, "Thou knowest the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor thy father and mother," answered and said, "Master, all these have I observed from my youth up." (Matt. x. 19, 20.) It has been truly said: "Integer vitce scelerisque purus might emphatically be the epitaph of this simple and kind-hearted naturalist."

3. Nor can the change in Mr. Darwin's religious views be attributed to the logical force of objections to Christianity carefully examined. In reply to Dr. Abbott, requesting him to become a contributor to The Index, he wrote:

''I have never systematically thought much on religion in relation to science, or on morals in relation to society; and without steadily keeping my mind on such subjects for a long period, I am really incapable of writing anything worth sending to The Index." (Vol. I., p. 276.)

In his own account of this change, already quoted at large, the objections to Christianity which he tells us influenced him, are, as he admits, "without the least novelty," are all objections which have been answered time and again in a way to satisfy the ablest and most careful thinkers of our times. Had Mr. Darwin studied the claims of Christianity with half the care with which he studied questions of science, his conclusions would have been, I believe, very different from those which cast their dark shadows upon the later years of his life.

4. The change in Mr. Darwin's religious views was a very gradual one, and began with the rejection of the Bible as the word of God—first of all, of the Old Testament Scriptures. In his words, "Disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but was at last complete. The rate was so slow that I felt no distress," and "I had gradually come by this time, i. e., 1836 to 1839, to see that the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos," and because of the intimate connexion in which the New Testament stands to the Old, in rejecting the one he felt bound to reject the other also. Just in what way he came to see that " the Old Testament was no more to be trusted than the sacred books of the Hindoos," he does not tell us ; but I think [343] it fair to infer from what he does say, it was because of what seemed to him to be irreconcilable discrepancies between certain of its statements and what he considered established truths of science. Many scientists have in this way reached the same conclusion with Mr. Darwin. On the other hand:

"At the time of the meeting of the British Association, in 1865, some six hundred and seventeen scientific men signed a paper containing the following declaration, viz.: 'We conceive that it is impossible for the Word of God, as written in the book of nature, and God's word, written in holy Scripture, to contradict one another, however much they may appear to differ. We are not forgetful that physical science is not complete, but is only in a condition of progress, and that at present our finite reason enables us to see as through a glass, darkly; and we confidently believe that a time will come when the two records will be seen to agree in every particular.'"—Current Discussions in Theology for 1883, pp. 7, 8.

5. This slow and gradual, yet ultimately complete change in Mr. Darwin's religious faith and feelings is to be attributed, in large measure, to the fact that for years together, beginning with his preparation of the scientific reports of the voyage of the Beagle, he occupied his thoughts and attention with scientific matters, to the practical exclusion of all others. His early religious beliefs seem quietly to have dropped out of his mind, rather than to have been distinctly rejected; and hence his atheism assumed the form of agnosticism rather than that of a positive denial of the existence of a God.

It was not in the department of religious faith and sentiment alone that the effect of such a course of life was manifested. In his taste for poetry and music it was equally apparent. "As a school-boy," he tells us, "I took intense delight in Shakespeare, especially in his historic plays. . . . But now, for many years, I cannot endure to read a line of poetry. I have tried lately to read Shakespeare, and found it so intolerably dull that it nauseated me." And there is something pathetic in the tone in which he speaks of his loss of taste for music when, writing to an intimate friend, he says: "I am glad that you were at the Messiah. It is the one thing I should like to hear again; but I dare say I should find my soul too dried up to appreciate it as in old days; and then I should feel very flat; for it is a horrid bore to feel, as I constantly do, that I am a withered leaf for every subject except science."

[344] The effect of such a course in the case of his religious faith and emotions was doubtless aggravated by the fact that, as his son tells us, "there was no break in the regularity of his life. Weekdays and Sundays passed alike, each with their stated intervals of work and rest." He who made us and best understands our nature, at the very beginning "blessed the seventh day and sanctified it." In the copy of the moral law, written on tables of stone by God himself, the commandment, "Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy; six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God," stands side by side with, "Honor thy father and thy mother"; and no man can persistently disregard either the one or the other without his religious nature suffering deterioration thereby. Writing of the effect of his exclusive attention to science upon his taste for poetry and music, Mr. Darwin writes: "If I had to live my life over again, I would have made it a rule to read some poetry or listen to some music at least once every week; for perhaps the part of my brain now atrophied would then have been kept active through use. The loss of these tastes is a loss of happiness; and may possibly be injurious to the intellect, and more probably to the moral character." Would that he had early in life adopted some such rule; and in the same spirit and for the same, if not for higher reasons, made it a rule to suspend all scientific work on the Sabbath, and to devote its sacred hours to the all-important subject of religion. Then would he not have found himself in his old age "without God in the world." Eminent scientists have pursued such a course as this, and as a consequence their early piety has ripened with a blessed fruitage. Sir Isaac Newton was an eminently pious man; or to mention cases nearer our own time, Sir Humphrey Davy, in England, and Prof. Joseph Henry, in our own country, lived as distinguished for their Christian faith as for their eminent attainments in science and their great discoveries.

6. The finishing touch to Mr. Darwin's atheism was given, according to his own statement, by the doctrine of evolution, in the form in which he adopted it. According to his view, man is as truly and as naturally the product of evolution from the ape, as the ape is from some animal occupying a still lower position in [345] the scale of being. As M. Mivart has well said: "The essential bestiality of man is an integral part of the system." In view of this fact, it should cause us no surprise to find him writing to Mr. Graham, the year before his death: "You have expressed my inward conviction, though more vividly and clearly than I could have done, that the universe is not the result of chance"—or, as he expresses the same idea on another occasion, "I feel compelled to look to a First Cause, having an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to man. But, then, with me the horrid doubt always arises whether the convictions of a man's mind, which has been developed from the mind of the lower animals, are of any value, or at all trustworthy. Would any one trust in the convictions of a monkey's mind, if there be any convictions in such a mind?" Granted the premises, and this conclusion does not seem an unreasonable one. But does it not seem strange that Mr. Darwin should see so clearly this consequence of his doctrine of evolution when applied in the department of religious thought, and not see that it must, of necessity, apply with equally destructive effect in every other department of human thought? If the human mind, because of its "essential bestiality," cannot be trusted in the matter of the existence of a God, for the same reason it cannot be trusted in the matter of "the origin of species."

Such is, in brief, the history of Mr. Darwin's change in religious belief and sentiment, as gathered from a careful study of his "Life and Letters." Turn we now to an examination of the hypothesis of genetic evolution as held and taught by him—what is popularly termed


On first reading "The Origin of Species," shortly after it was published, the impression made upon my mind was that Mr. Darwin did not hold the hypothesis of evolution in its atheistic form. This opinion was based upon the fact that he speaks of evolution as "a mode of creation"; and postulates the existence of certain "primordial forms," as the starting point for the evolution of all higher forms for which he contends. A careful examination of his letters satisfies me that on this point I was mistaken. In a letter to Sir C. Lyell, bearing date October 11, 1859, he writes:

''We must under present knowledge assume the creation of one or of a few forms in the same manner as philosophers assume the power of attraction without any explanation."

And again:

"I would give absolutely nothing for the theory of natural selection if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent. I think that embryology, homology, classification, etc., etc., show us that all vertebrates have descended from one parent; how that parent appeared we know not." (Vol. II., pp. 6, 7.)

And writing to the same person under date of October 20, 1859, he says:

"I have reflected a good deal on what you say on the necessity of continued intervention of creative power. I cannot see this necessity; and its admission, I think, would make the theory of natural selection valueless. Grant a simple archetypal creature, like the mud-fish or lepidonsiren, with the five senses and some vestige of mind, and I believe natural selection will account for the production of every vertebrate animal." (Vol. I., p. 528.)

Prof. Sedgwick, a personal friend of Darwin, and the one under whom he studied geology at Cambridge, in a review of "The Origin of Species," published in 1860, certainly takes this view of the matter, for he writes:

''I cannot conclude without expressing my detestation of the theory, because of its unflinching materialism; because it has deserted the inductive track, the only track that leads to physical truth; because it utterly repudiates final cause, and thereby indicates a demoralized understanding on the part of its advocates. Not that I believe that Darwin is an atheist, though I cannot but regard his materialism as atheistical. I think it untrue, because opposed to the obvious course of nature and the very opposite of inductive truth. And I think it intensely mischievous. Each series of facts is laced together by a series of assumptions and repetitions of the one false principle. You cannot make a good rope out of a string of air-bubbles." (Vol. II., pp. 91, 92.)

Such is Darwinism, by which is meant evolution as held and taught by Darwin himself. Burdened as it is with all the objections to atheistic materialism, to refer to no other objections, it has never had many advocates in Great Britain or America. Prof. Asa Gray, under whose supervision the first edition of "The Origin of Species" was republished in this country, though adopting evolution in a distinctly theistic form, never did adopt it in the form in which Darwin proposed it, as is abundantly evident from his letters contained in the volumes before us; and later ad- [347] vocates of evolution, almost without exception, distinctly repudiate it in its atheistic form. Darwinism, having lived out the brief life usually enjoyed by such speculations, is now, beyond all question, "on its way to the lumber-room of discarded theories."

That a theory of evolution, accounting for the origin of species—and it is such evolution alone which has ever been in controversy—distinctly theistic in its character, can be constructed, will not admit of question. The conception of evolution as but "a mode of creation," in the proper sense of the word creation, is perfectly intelligible. Evolution is not necessarily atheistic.

The question whether or not a Christian theory of evolution can be constructed, i. e., a theory of evolution which will be in harmony with the teachings of Scripture considered as the "Word of God," is an entirely different question. The attempt to construct such a theory, has been made by men of high standing in science and philosophy, but as yet—to say the least of it—with very indifferent success.

Professor Drummond has made the attempt, but finds such discrepancies between evolution and the plain statements of Scripture—especially statements contained in the earlier chapters of Genesis—that he feels constrained to substitute what he calls "the Bible of modern scientific theology," for "the Bible accepted by our fathers;" of which two books he tells us: "The chapters, the verses, and the words are the same in each, yet in the meaning, the interpretation, and the way they are looked at, they are two entirely distinct Bibles." (Popular Science Monthly, 1886, p. 107.)

Professor LeConte, in his lately published ''Evolution in its Relation to Religious Thought," seems to have encountered the same difficulty, and disposes of it in a very similar way:

''There is, and in the nature of things there can be, no test of truth but reason. We must fearlessly, but honestly and reverently, try all things, even revelations, by this test. We must not regard, as so many do, the spirit of man as the passive amanuensis of the Spirit of God. Revelations to man must of necessity partake of the imperfections of the medium through which it comes. As pure water from heaven, falling upon and filtering through earth, must gather impurities in its course differing in amount and in kind according to the earth, even so the pure divine truth, filtering through man's mind, must take imperfections characteristic of the man and the age. Such filtrate must be redistilled in the alembic of reason to separate the divine truth from the earthy impurities." (Pp. 310, 311.)

[348] What all this means is abundantly evident from the writings of the "advanced thinkers" of the present day. From the fact that adopting the theory of an unbroken evolution from the lowest to the highest forms in nature has led such men as Mr. Darwin, Prof. Drummond and Prof. LeConte, either explicitly or impliedly to reject the claim of the Bible to be received as the "Word of God," it seems fair to infer that the construction of a Christian theory of evolution is exceedingly difficult, if not impossible.

Dr. McCosh in his "Religious Aspect of Evolution," seeks to give the theory a Christian character in an entirely different way. Reverently accepting the Scriptures of the Old and New Testament as the Word of God, and "the only rule of faith and obedience," he modifies the theory of evolution as held by Darwin and Drummond and LeConte, by introducing divine agency, in the form of creation, at different points in the course of progress by which our world has reached the position it now occupies. The points which he specifies are: (1), The origination of matter, and (2), The introduction of light, (3), Life, (4), Sensation, (5), Instinct, (6), Intelligence, and (7), The moral sense. Of these he says: "No mundane power can produce them at first, and it is reasonable that we should refer their production to God, to whom all power belongs, even the power of evolution. As evolution by physical causes cannot do it, we infer that God does it by immediate fiat, even as he created matter, and the forces that are in matter. We certainly know of no other power capable of doing it. This seems a legitimate conclusion. It calls in a power known otherwise to work, and to be competent to produce the effect. . . . God may be a continuous creator as he is a continuous preserver." (Religious Aspect of Evolution, p. 54.)

The philosophical ground on which Dr. McCosh breaks up the continuity of evolution, and introduces the creative agency of God at the seven points mentioned above, he states in the words: "It is a law of causation anticipated, as can be shown, from an old date, that a cause—I am speaking only of physical causes—can give only what it possesses. Causation cannot create anything new; it cannot give what it has not within itself. There is nothing in the effect which was not potentially in the cause, that is, in the agent [349] which constituted the cause." (Religious Aspect of Evolution, p. 52.) This is certainly sound philosophy; and when on this ground he demands the introduction of the creative agency of God, at the introduction of life, for example, the demand is a reasonable one. Dead matter does not possess life, even potentially. This is proved by universal observation, and by elaborate experiments which have been made more than once to test the matter.

Let us apply this sound philosophical principle to the question of "the origin of species." Has any lower species of plant or animal within itself, even potentially, the next higher species? e. g., Has the ape within itself even potentially, the man? I know of but one way to answer this question in accordance with the settled laws of scientific research; and that is, either by observation of what is actually going on in the world around us, or by direct experiment. True science deals with facts, not fancies. It seeks to ascertain, not what might be, but what is. I ask, therefore: Has any one ever seen a new species produced from an old in the ordinary course of nature? Has any one, by experiment, succeeded in producing a new species from an older one? Both of these questions must be answered in the negative. The two well-established laws of "the infertility of hybrids," and "reversion to type," have preserved, in so far as we know, all natural species of plants and animals such as they were at the beginning. In the words of the Duke of Argyll: "That any organism, therefore, can ever produce another which varies from itself in any truly specific character, is an assumption not justified by any known fact." (Primeval Man, p. 46.) New varieties of plants and animals often spring out of the old naturally; and, by way of experiment, man has produced many new varieties in our day. But varieties differ essentially from natural species; and, the fact that the needful changes are so often and easily produced in the one case, only makes their entire absence in the other the more noteworthy and significant.

The question respecting the permanence of species, by which naturalists mean, not the continued existence of species throughout all time, for many species of both plants and animals which once existed have disappeared, but the permanent retention by natural species of their specific characters, so that one species is never [350] transformed into another, is not a new question which has first arisen in connexion with the controversy about genetic evolution, but one which, in connexion with other questions, has engaged the attention of naturalists for more than a hundred years. And there are few questions in the whole range of natural science which have been more carefully and thoroughly examined than this. The result of this protracted examination Prof. L. Agassiz, the highest authority in such matters as this, gives us in his words: "Breeds (i. e., varieties) among animals are the work of men; species were created by God." (Study of Natural History, p. 147.) Knowing all this, Mr. Darwin writes: "The belief in natural selection must at present be grounded entirely on general considerations. . . When we descend to details, we can prove that no one species has changed (i. e., we cannot prove that any single species has changed)." (Vol. II., p. 210.) From time to time particular instances of the change of one species into another have been reported, like that which Dr. McCosh mentions as having been observed by a Russian naturalist bearing the unpronounceable name of Schmankewitsch, (see Religious Aspects of Evolution, p. 26,) but in every instance, when scientific men have thoroughly sifted these cases, the changes have been found to be varietal, and not specific; so that it remains true to-day, after an examination protracted through a hundred years, that "we cannot prove that any single species has changed."

In view of all this, the permanence of species ought, in the present state of our knowledge of nature, to be considered a settled matter, and the conclusion a sound one, that a higher species does not exist, even potentially, in a lower. On Dr. McCosh's own principle, then, we must break the continuity of the progress by which our world has reached its present condition, and introduce the agency of creative power, not at the seven points alone which he mentions, but wherever a new natural species has come into being. And so we are brought back to just the old theory of creation—nothing more, nothing less. All the evolution there is about the case is simply the evolution (in the literal sense of that word, an unfolding) of a plan of creation by God; like all other plans of God, a wise plan, its wisdom appearing conspicuously in [351] this, that each particular natural species of plant and animal has been brought into being as the environment which the earth presented became suited to its life.

Now, if in addition to this, we limit what Dr. McCosh calls "continuous creation" to the age—I know not how long that age lasted—which closed with the creation of man, and was immediately followed by a day (or age), in which "God rested from all his works which he created and made," we get a theory of evolution, but it is the evolution or unfolding of a divine plan only, which is in harmony with the ascertained facts of science, and with the plain teachings of the Word of God as well; in other words, a Christian theory of evolution, if any one chooses to call it so. For myself, I prefer the old name, creation; and this, I believe, is the only Christian theory of evolution which will ever be established.


* * * * * *

From The Presbyterian Quarterly

I. Testimony of Tradition.

"The one tradition which is really universal among those bearing on the history of primitive man is that of the deluge. It goes back to the earliest ages of the world, and can be nothing but an account of a real and well authenticated fact." (1) Of similar import with this testimony of Lenormant is that of Canon Rawlinson. "The evidence shows a consentient belief among members of all the great races into which ethnologists have divided mankind. Among the Semites, the Babylonians and Hebrews; among the Hamites, the Egyptians; among the Aryans, the Indians, Armenians, Phrygians, Lythunians, Goths, Celts and Greeks; among the Turanians, the Chinese, Mexicans, Red Indians and Polynesian Islanders, held the belief which has thus the character of a universal tradition, a tradition of which but one rational account can be given, namely, that it embodies the recollection of a fact in which all mankind was concerned." (2)

1 Ancient History of the East, p. 13.
2 Butler's Bible Work, Old Testament, Vol. I., p. 246.

"Of all the true traditions relative to the great deluge," writes Lenormant, "by far the most curious is that of the Chaldeans, made known to the Greeks by the historian Berosus," which is as follows:

"In the time of Xisuthrus happened a great deluge, the history of which is thus described. The deity Chronus (the Greeks thus translate the Chaldaeo-Assyrian name Ilu) appeared to him in a vision, and warned him that upon the fifteenth day of the month Doesius (Sivan) there would be a flood by which mankind would be destroyed. He therefore enjoined him to write a history of the beginning, procedure, and conclusion of all things, and to bury it in the City of the Sun at Sippara; and to build a vessel, and take with him into it his friends and relations, and to convey on board everything necessary to sustain life, together with all the different animals, both birds and quadrupeds, and to trust himself fearlessly to the deep. Having asked the deity whither he was to sail, he was answered, 'To the gods,' upon which he offered up a prayer for the good of mankind. He then obeyed the divine admonition, and built a vessel five stadia in length and two in breadth; into this he put everything which he had prepared, and last of all conveyed into it his wife, his children and his friends. After the flood had been upon

[210] the earth, and was in time abated, Xisuthrus sent out birds from the vessel, which, not finding any food, nor any place whereupon they might rest their feet, returned to him again. After an interval of some days he sent them forth a second time, and they now returned with their feet tinged with mud. He made trial a third time with these birds, but they returned no more, from whence he judged that the surface of the earth had appeared above the waters. He therefore made an opening in the vessel, and upon looking out found that it was stranded upon the side of some mountain, upon which he immediately quitted it, with his wife, his daughter and the pilot. Xisuthrus then paid his adoration to the earth; and having constructed an altar, offered sacrifices to the gods; and with those who had come out of the vessel with him disappeared. They who remained within finding that their companions did not return, quitted the vessel with many lamentations, and called continually on the name of Xisuthrus. Him they saw no more, but they could distinguish his voice in the air, and could hear him admonish them to pay due regard to religion, and likewise informed them that it was on account of this that he was translated to live with the gods; and that his wife and daughter and the pilot had obtained the same honor. To this he added that they should return to Babylonia, and, as it was ordained, search for the writings at Sippara, which they were to make known to all mankind; moreover, that the place where they then were was the land of Armenia. The rest having heard these words offered sacrifices to the gods, and taking a circuit journeyed towards Babylonia. The vessel being thus stranded, some part of it yet remains in the Gordyaean mountain of Armenia; and the people scrape off the bitumen with which it had been coated, and make use of it by way of an alexipharmic and amulet. And when they returned to Babylon, and had found the writings at Sippara, they built cities and erected temples; and Babylon was thus inhabited again." (1)

1 Ancient History of the East, Vol. I., pp. 503-'4.

If the reader will now carefully compare with this the account of the deluge given us by Moses in Gen. vi.—viii., considering it for the present simply as the Hebrew form of the universal tradition, he cannot but notice that, while they agree in many particulars, they differ in others, and some of these matters of prime importance; e. g., (1), The dimensions of the ark, as given by Moses, are three hundred cubits in length by fifty cubits in breadth. If we understand the cubit here mentioned to be the sacred cubit, and take the length of that cubit, as determined by Sir Isaac Newton, to be about twenty-five inches, the dimensions of the ark will not differ greatly from those of the Great Eastern; whilst Berosus' dimensions of five stadia in length by two in breadth, i. e., more than half a mile long by nearly a quarter of a mile broad, are simply incredible. A vessel of such size would break by its own weight. (2), The Chaldean tradition embodies no moral les- [211] son, while that of Moses does. In the Chaldean tradition this most terrible catastrophe which has ever befallen the human race appears simply as a "happening," a sort of fatal accident, whilst in Moses' account it stands forth distinctly as inflicted of God on mankind as a punishment for their sins; and it is not until "the earth becomes corrupt before God, and filled with violence," that it occurs (3), Both versions of the tradition are pervaded by a religious spirit, that of the Chaldean being distinctly polytheistic, whilst that of Moses is as distinctly monotheistic. M. Renouf, speaking of the religion of Egypt, writes: "The sublimest portions are demonstrably ancient; the last stage of the Egyptian religion was by far the grossest and most corrupt." And this which is true of the Egyptian religion, is, I believe, true of all religions. For these reasons the inference seems to be a fair one, that in the Mosaic account we have the tradition of the deluge in its oldest and purest form.

II. The Mosaic History of the Deluge.

The Mosaic account of the deluge, contained in Gen. vi.-viii., claims to be something more than the mere Hebrew form of a universal tradition. As a part of Scripture "given by inspiration of God," it must be considered veritable history, and as such our Lord and his apostles treat it. Our Lord, addressing his disciples shortly before his death, says: "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away; so also the coming of the Son of man shall be." (Matt. xxiv. 38, 39.) And the apostle Paul writes: "By faith Noah, being warned of God of things not seen as yet, moved with fear, prepared an ark to the saving of his house, by the which he condemned the world, and became heir of the righteousness which is by faith." (Heb. xi. 7.) And Peter: "God spared not the old world, but saved Noah, the eighth person, a preacher of righteousness, bringing in the flood upon the world of the ungodly." (2 Pet. ii. 5.) The Mosaic narrative itself has the characteristics of veritable history, especially in this, that the deluge does not appear as an un- [212] accountable accident, a strange catastrophe, as in the traditional accounts of the event, but as a solemn, deliberate judgment of God upon a world given over to wickedness. "And God looked upon the earth, and behold it was corrupt, for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh has come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them. And behold I, even I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven, and every thing that is in the earth shall die; but with thee will I establish my covenant; and thou shalt come into the ark, thou and thy sons, and thy wife, and thy sons' wives with thee." (Gen. vi. 12-18.) Such a narrative is worthy a place in a history of the world written to teach man the true religion, and to secure the truthfulness of the narrative is worthy "the inspiration of God."

In order to a correct understanding of the Mosaic narrative of the deluge, there are several questions which must be answered, and to an examination of these I will now ask the reader's attention.

1. When did the deluge occur? The Mosaic account of the deluge is part of a continuous history, which fixes the date at about 3155 B. C, according to Hale's chronology, or 2348 B. C., according to that of Ussher. The Masoretic Hebrew text, the Samaritan Pentateuch and the Septuagint, differ in the numbers they give in their genealogical tables, and hence the difference in the estimates made by modern scholars, such as that between the estimates of Hale and Ussher, quoted above. It would be altogether aside from my present purpose to discuss this question of chronology. Either of the dates given above is sufficiently near the truth to answer all the demands I shall make upon it in the present article. The Chaldean tradition tells us that the friends of Xisuthrus (the Chaldean Noah), who had been preserved in the ark, "journeyed to Babylonia, . . . built cities, erected temples, and Babylon was inhabited again,"—thus identifying the date of the deluge with the commencement of the Babylonian empire, known to us through history and the monuments.

Can we determine with any degree of certainty the date of the commencement of the Babylonian empire? On this subject [213] Canon Rawlinson, Professor of Ancient History at Oxford, writes: "Exaggerated chronologies are common to a large number of nations, but critical examination has (at any rate, in all cases but one), demonstrated their fallacy, and the many millions of years postulated for their past civilization and history by the Babylonians and Assyrians, the Hindoos and Chinese, and others, have been shown to be pure fiction, utterly unworthy of belief, and not even requiring any very elaborate refutation. Cuneiform scholars confidently place the beginning of Babylon about 2300 B. C., of Assyria about 1500 B. C. Aryan scholars place the dawn of Iranic civilization about 1500 B. C., of India about 1200 B. C. Chinese investigators can find nothing solid or substantial in the past of "the Celestials " earlier than 781 B. C., or, at the furthest, 1154 B. C. (1) Thus it will be seen that the date assigned the deluge by the Chaldean tradition is in substantial harmony with that assigned by the Mosaic history. The deluge occurred some four thousand or five thousand years ago.

1 Origin of Nations, page 148.
2. Was the flood universal; did it cover literally the whole earth? The older commentators understood Moses to assert its universality; yet not without exception, for Matthew Pool, who lived and wrote during the latter half of the seventeenth century, in his notes on Gen. vii. 9, writes: "Peradventure this flood might not be simply universal, over the whole earth, but only over the habitable world, where either men or beasts lived, which was as much as the meritorious cause of the flood, men's sins, or the end of it, the destruction of men and beasts, required." (2) On the other hand, most modern commentators understand him to assert that the flood extended so far, and only so far, as the human race extended; this being all, in their judgment, that his language, fairly interpreted, requires.

2 Pool's Annotations.

The universality of the tradition is satisfactorily accounted for by the fact, admitted on all hands, that in the flood the whole human race was destroyed, with the exception of the one family saved in the ark, and that all the peoples of the earth to-day are descended from that one family. On the Mosaic narrative itself, [214] Sir J. W. Dawson remarks: "I have long thought that the narrative in Gen. vi.—viii. can be understood only on the supposition that it is a contemporary journal, or log, of an eye-witness, incorporated by the author of Genesis into his work. The dates of the rising and falling of the waters, the note of soundings over the hill-tops when the maximum was attained, and many other details, as well as the whole tone of the narrative, seem to require this supposition." (1)

1 The Earth and Man, p. 290.
In Scripture, as in other writings, expressions general in form are often to be understood as limited in meaning, their true signification being determined by the context, or by a consideration of the style in which they are written. When Moses, giving an account of the famine which occurred in Joseph's day, writes: "And the famine was over all the face of the earth," (Gen. xli. 56,) and again, speaking of the dread of Israel which God caused the Canaanites to feel, writes: "This day will I (God) begin to put the dread of thee upon the nations that are under the whole heaven," (Deut. ii. 25,) no one understands the expressions "over all the face of the earth," and "under the whole heaven," as expressing literal universality; and yet they are the very expressions in Moses' account of the flood which the older commentators quote in support of the opinion which they maintained. The literal truth of the narrative requires us to believe that the flood was universal in so far as the then inhabited earth was concerned; that the whole human race, with the exception of Noah and his family, perished in its waters; but the language of Moses does not, I think, fairly require more than this.

In the Scripture narrative the deluge is presented as a terrible judgment of God, brought upon the earth by the exceeding sinfulness of man. "And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is tilled with violence through them; and behold I will destroy them with the earth." (Gen. vi. 13.) In this particular it belongs to the same category with the subsequent destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah in the days of Abraham; and these two events are cited together by our Lord as illustrations of the suddenness with which God's judgments shall [215] come upon the wicked at the end of the world. (Luke xvii. 26-30.) As in the case of Sodom and Gomorrah, what Pool calls "the meritorious cause," undoubtedly limited the extent of the judgment; so would we naturally suppose it to have been in the case of the deluge, and there is nothing in the language of Moses, as we have seen, at variance with such a supposition.

How far had the human race extended itself at the time the deluge occurred? This is a question difficult to answer, and it is not surprising that extreme opinions have been advocated by different writers. The fact stated by Moses, that man lived to a far greater age in antediluvial times than now, would point to a far more rapid multiplication and consequent spread of the race then than now. But, on the other hand, Moses tells us that the corruption and violence, which ultimately brought on the judgment of the deluge, began to prevail at an early date among the descendants of Cain, and, as all experience testifies, this would prove a serious check upon the rapid multiplication of the race. Because of the corruption and violence which have long prevailed in the rich valleys of the Euphrates and the Nile, their population to-day is less than it was eighteen hundred years ago. As probable a supposition as any other is that which assumes the rate of increase during the years which preceded the deluge to have been about the same with that of the years since the commencement of the Christian era; and if so, the human race when the deluge came would have peopled a large part of Asia, most of Europe, and possibly the Nile Valley in Africa.

3. Where did the ark rest when the deluge was past? What was the starting point of migration for the post-diluvial nations of the east? To this question the Chaldean tradition and Moses give us one and the same answer. According to Chaldean tradition, the companions of Xisuthrns "heard his voice in the air," informing them "that the place where they then were was the land of Armenia." Moses writes: "And the ark rested, in the seventh month and seventeenth day of the month, upon the mountains of Ararat." (Gen. viii. 4.) "Ararat occurs in the Bible only as the name of a country which, in the Assyrian inscriptions, is called [216] Urarti, in classic literature Armenia, and by the native inhabitants Haik."(1)

1 Schaff-Herzog's Encyclopedia.
Armenia, the high table-land on the southern slope of the Caucasus, stretching down towards Mesopotamia, by the universal consent of modern historians, is regarded as the post-diluvial cradle of the human race. This conclusion is based upon such facts as these, viz.: (1), The most ancient traditions all point to this as the starting point of the peoples of the earth; (2), It is the native country of most of the cereals which have furnished food for man the world over, and of many of the domesticated animals which have accompanied him in his migrations; and (3), It is here, and clustering around this as a centre, we find the oldest nations—the only ones that have a history reaching back into the long past—e. g., the Chinese, the Indians, the Persians, the Assyrians, the Jews, the Phenicians, and the Egyptians.

4. In what condition, as to religion and civilisation, was the human race at the time the deluge occurred? Noah and his immediate family still retained a knowledge of the one true God, and of the religion he had made known to man. Moses writes: "And the Lord said unto Noah, Come thou and all thy house into the ark; for thee have I seen righteous before me in this generation." (Gen. vii. 1.) And in the New Testament Scriptures Noah's name is enrolled in the list of ancient worthies who illustrated in their lives the nature of saving faith. (See Heb. xi. 7.) As to civilization, Noah, and the people among whom he lived, probably the descendants of Seth, must have possessed a knowledge of ship-building, at least, such as implies a knowledge of the mechanic arts in general, far in advance of that possessed by savages. Both Moses' history and the Chaldean tradition, in what they tell us of the building of cities shortly after the flood, clearly imply a state of advanced civilization as existing among the people of Armenia and the regions adjacent thereto at the time the deluge occurred.

If we suppose the upper part of the Tigro-Euphrates Valley to have been the original cradle of the human race, and that mankind had spread thence over a large part of Asia, all of Europe, and [217] the Nile Valley in Africa at the time the deluge occurred; and further, that the emigration implied in this had taken place in a natural way, after violence had begun to fill the earth, the condition of those then living at a distance from the centre of emigration was probably very different from that of Noah, and those who still occupied the original mother-country. The law which governs natural emigration is well stated by the Duke of Argyll, as follows: "It is in consequence of the law of increase that population is always pressing upon the limits of subsistence. Hence the necessity of migrations, and the force which has propelled successive generations of men farther and farther, in ever-widening circles round the original centre or centres of their birth. Then, as it would always be the weaker tribes who would be driven from the ground which had become overstocked, and as the lands to which they went forth were less and less hospitable in climate and productions, the struggle for life would be always harder. And so it always happens in the natural and necessary course of things, that the races which were driven farthest would be the rudest, the most engrossed in the pursuits of mere animal existence. And now, does not this key of principle fit into and explain all the facts? Is it not true that the lowest and rudest tribes in the population of the globe have been found in the farthest extremities of the great continents, and in the distant islands, which would be the last refuge of the victims of violence and misfortune?" (1) Whilst, then, Noah and the people who lived in the old centre of population were in a condition of advanced civilization, it is probably true that the tribes driven into Western Europe and Great Britain had sunk into the lowest savagery when the flood came.

1 Primeval Man, pp. 161-'3.
5. In what way was the deluge brought about? On this point the Chaldean tradition gives us no information. Moses' account is very remarkable, and worthy our careful study. "In the six hundredth year of Noah's life, in the seventh month, the seventeenth day of the month, the same day were all the fountains of the great deep broken up, and the windows (marginal, flood-gates) of heaven were opened, and the rain was upon the earth forty [218] days and forty nights." (Gen. vii. 11. 12.) In these words Moses traces the flood, not to the down-pour of rain alone, but to great seismic convulsions as well.

Hugh Miller gives us what, I think, is little more than a translation of the Mosaic record into the language of modern science when he writes: "Let us suppose that the human family, amounting to several millions, were congregated in that tract of country which, eastward from the modern Ararat to far beyond the sea of Aral, includes the original Caucasian centre of the race. Let us suppose that, the hour of judgment having arrived, the land began gradually to sink—as the tract in the Run of Cutch sank in 1819— equally, for forty days at the rate of four hundred feet per day—a rate not twice greater than that at which the tide rises in the Straits of Magellan—and which would have rendered itself apparent as but a persistent inward flowing of the sea. The depression, which, by extending to the Euxine Sea and the Persian Gulf, on the one hand, and the Gulf of Finland on the other, would open up, by three separate channels, 'the fountains of the great deep,' and which includes an area two thousand miles each way, would at the end of the fortieth day be sunk at its centre to the depth of sixteen thousand feet, sufficient to bury the loftiest mountains of the district, and yet have a gradient of declination of but sixteen feet per mile, the contour of its hills and plains would remain apparently what they had been before, and the doomed inhabitants would see but the water rising along the mountain side, and one refuge after another swept away." (1)

1 Quoted from Butler's Bible Work, Old Testament, Vol. I., p. 240.

Fifty years ago no geologist would have found any difficulty in admitting the occurrence of such a seismic convulsion as Moses, interpreted by Hugh Miller, describes in his account of the origin of the flood. Now, however, I will be told "catastrophic geology" is out of date, and the uniformitarianism of Lyell and his disciples has taken its place. To this I reply, if the older geologists made too great use of catastrophe in accounting for the present condition of our earth, Lyell and his school have erred just as far in the other direction, as is evident from the ridiculous conclusions to which uniformitarianism has in some instances led them; e. g., es- [219] timating the age of the Mississippi delta at one hundred thousand years. Beyond all question, in our day seismic convulsions are as much a reality as frost, and river-currents, and glaciers, and as really agents in effecting changes in the earth surface. In the earthquake at Cutch, referred to by Hugh Miller, the movement was felt over an area having a radius of one thousand miles from its centre. The fort and village of Sindree, on the eastern arm of the Indus, were submerged, the sea flowing in by the eastern mouth of the Indus, and in a few hours a tract of land two thousand square miles in area was converted into an inland sea or lagoon. Besides this, if our earth was once a molten mass, such as the sun is to-day—and such is the universal belief of geologists— gradually cooling through the radiation of its heat into space, seismic convulsions must have occurred from time to time, and must have occurred more frequently in early geological ages than now, and the terrible rendings and upheavings of which the older rock-strata give evidence strongly confirm this conclusion.

III. Testimony of Modern Science.

So great a catastrophe as the deluge is represented to have been, it is reasonable to suppose, would leave behind it traces of its occurrence other than the universality of its tradition, some traces upon the surface of the earth itself, such as modern science would take cognizance of. Are there any such traces discoverable in our day? I think there are; and to an examination of these I will now ask the reader's attention.

1. The present condition of the region over which the deluge extended, especially of the central portion of that region, seems to indicate its subjection to some such cataclysm as the flood, and that within what geologists would call recent times. "There is a remarkable portion of the globe," writes Hugh Miller, "chiefly on the Asiatic continent, though extending into Europe, and which is nearly equal to all Europe in extent, whose rivers, some of them, the Volga, Oural, Sihon, Kour, and the Amoo, of great size, do not fall into the ocean, but on the contrary, are all turned inward, losing themselves in the eastern part of the tract, in the lakes of a rainless district; in the western part, into such seas as the Caspian [220] and the Aral. In this region there are extensive districts still under the level of the ocean. Vast plains, white with salt, and charged with sea-shells, show that the Caspian Sea was, at no distant period, greatly more extensive than now." (1)

Quoted from Butler's Bible Work, Old Testament, Vol. I., p. 239.

2. A remarkable break interrupts the early history of the human race as read in the light of anthropological research. "Accurate examination of the stone implements and other relics of the 'stone men,' together with careful exploration of the deposits in which they are discovered, has led to a division of them into two well-defined classes, not contemporaneous in origin, but divided by a clearly-marked interval of time, which must have been of considerable duration. The discrimination of the implements carries with it a like discrimination of the races which fashioned and used them. The later, or neolithic, race of the stone men are proved by their remains to have differed greatly in habits, tastes, degree of cultivation, and manner of life in general from the palaeolithic race; differed, in fact, so radically as to render it highly improbable that the difference was merely due to development. The facts lead to the conclusion that the older race disappeared or became extinct without leaving posterity, and that after a while, long in actual years, although short in geological time, another race, less savage, if less artistic in perception, came in and occupied the vacant lands. There is perhaps no better authority on this point than Mr. J. Geikie, and he writes as follows: 'Between palaeolithic and neolithic man there is thus a wide gulf of separation. From a state of utter savagery we pass into one of comparative civilization. Was the neolithic phase of European archaeological history merely developed out of that which characterized palaeolithic times? Was the European neolithic man the lineal descendant of his palaeolithic predecessor? There is no proof, either direct or indirect, that this was the case. On the contrary, all the evidence points in quite an opposite direction. When neolithic man entered Europe, he came as an agriculturist and a herdsman, and his relics and remains occur again and again immediately above pleistocene deposits, in which we meet with no trace of any higher or better state of human existence than that which is repre- [221] sented by the savages who contended with the extinct mammalia.' —Prehistoric Europe, p. 379." (1)

1 The Quarterly Review for January, 1888.

In the appendix to the last edition of his Earth and Man, Sir J. W. Dawson writes: "A point on which Dawkins insists, and which he has admirably illustrated, is the marked distinction between the old paleoeosmic men of the gravels and caves and the smaller race, with somewhat differently formed skulls, which succeeded them, after the great subsidence which terminated the second continental period and inaugurated the modern epoch . . . This race, scattered and overthrown before the dawn of authentic history in Europe by the Celts and other intrusive peoples, was unquestionably that which succeeded the now extinct paleocosmic race, and constituted the men of the so-called neolithic period, which thus connects itself with the modern history of Europe, from which it is not separated by any physical catastrophe like that which divides the older men of the mammoth age, and the widely spread continents of the post-glacial period from our modern days."

"A most important speculation, arising from the facts recently developed as to prehistoric men, is the possible equivalency with the historic deluge of the great subsidence which closed the residence of paleoeosmic men in Europe, as well as that of several of the large mammalia. Lenorment and others have shown that the wide and ancient acceptance of the tradition of the deluge among all the great branches of the human family necessitates the belief that, independently of the Bible history, this great event must be accepted as a historical fact, which very deeply impressed itself upon the minds of all the early nations. Now, if the deluge is to be accepted as historical, and if a similar break interrupts the geological history, separating extinct races from those which still survive, why may we not correlate the two? The misuse of the deluge in the early history of geology, in employing it to account for changes that took place long before the advent of man, certainly should not cause us to neglect its legitimate uses when these arise in the progress of investigation. It is evident, if this correlation be accepted as probable, it must modify many views now held [222] as to the antiquity of man. In that case, the modern gravel and loess on plateaus and in river valleys, far above the reach of the present floods, may be accounted for, not by the ordinary action of the existing streams, but by the abnormal action of currents of water, diluvial in their character. Further, since the historical deluge cannot have been of very long duration, the physical changes separating the deposits containing the remains of paleocosmic men from those of later date, would be in like manner accounted for, not by the slow process of subsidence, elevation and erosion, but by causes of a more abrupt and cataclysmic character. This subject the writer has referred to in previous publications, and he is glad to see that prominence has recently been given it by so good a geologist as the Duke of Argyll in a late number of the Contemporary Review." (1)

1 The Earth and Man, pp. 144-'6.
In his Fossil Men, Sir J. W. Dawson writes: "Huxley adds, "The comparatively large cranial capacity of the Neanderthal skull, overlaid though it may be by pithecoid bony walls, and the completely human proportions of the accompanying limb-bones, together with the very fair development of the Engis skull, clearly indicate that the first traces of the primordial stock, whence man has been derived, need no longer be sought by those who entertain any form of the doctrine of development in the newest tertiaries, but that they may be looked for in an epoch more distant from that of the Elephas primogenius than that is from us.' Another point which strikes us in reading the descriptions, and which deserves the attention of those who have access to the skeletons, is the indication which they present of an extreme longevity. The massive proportions of the body, the great development of the muscular processes, the extreme wearing of the teeth, among a people who predominantly lived on flesh, and not grain, the obliteration of the sutures of the skull, along with indications of the slow ossification of the ends of the long bones, point in this direction, and seem to indicate a slow maturity and great length of life in this most primitive race." (2)
2 Fossil Men, pp. 194-'8.

3. The occurrence of a great flood, extending over a large part of Asia and Entropies, and this at a comparatively recent date, is [223] now contended for by some of our ablest geologists, in order to account for the destruction of the mammoth and his cotemporaries, and the condition in which his remains are found.

These remains, though most abundant in Siberia, are met with throughout a large part of Europe, as well as on this western continent of ours. "If from Europe, the northwestern corner, including North Britain and Wales, be cut off, and also a southern and central portion of which the Alpine chains are the focus, it may be broadly said that, throughout all the rest of the continent, the remains of the mammoth are more or less plentiful. In some parts the frequency of them is astonishing. Beneath the shallow sea, for instance, between Norfolk and the opposite coast, they are so abundant that, in sailors' talk, the locality goes by the name of the 'burial-ground.' In Lower Suabia, we are told, scarcely a railway cutting, a cellar or a well can be dug without some bone or tooth being unearthed. Belgium is particularly rich in this fossil wealth, and almost equally so are the broad plains of Russia from the White Sea to the Black. Passing eastward from northern Europe we meet the remains of the mammoth profusely scattered over the vast range of Asiatic Siberia. From this region its tusks have long been, and still continue to be, exported in large quantities as fossil ivory; and of some spots, which happen to have been better explored than others, we are told that the soil seems to be almost entirely composed of the bones of the great mammals. What is still more curious, is the fact that, from time to time, as the frozen cliffs, which in many places hem in the rivers, are undermined and break away, there starts out from its icy grave the gigantic beast itself, still clothed in its hairy hide as it roamed the wilds untold millenniums ago, and with its flesh so well preserved in nature's own refrigerator as to furnish a succulent banquet to the prowling carnivora of this degenerate age."

"In so far as Asiatic Siberia is concerned, it is indubitable that, broadly speaking, where the bones and carcasses lie, there the animal died. No theory of subsequent water-carriage can adequately account for the presence of the relics where they are found. Their site, their condition, their enormous quantity, alike repudiate such a solution of the problem. The bones and tusks bear no marks of [224] detrition, such as would necessarily have been produced had they been swept and rolled along by rivers or floods from more southern lands. They abound in localities to which no streams could have floated them, and are even more plentiful in the elevated clays than along the coast, or in the plains bordering on the rivers. Besides, in not a few cases both the skeletons and carcasses have been found standing upright in their clayey or gravelly sepulchres, showing that the animals had either sunk in the soft sediment, or been engulfed as they stood by the turbid waters, and been frozen in before they could fall over. Some of the remains even exhibit marks of death by suffocation; and what is perhaps still more remarkable, the upright carcasses have been observed to face in a particular direction, as if the animals were overtaken while fleeing from the pursuing flood." (1)

1 The Quarterly Review for January, 1888, pp. 117, 118.
"In New Siberia lie hills two hundred and fifty or three hundred feet high, formed of drift wood. . . Other hills on the same island, and on Kotilnoi, which lies further to the west, are heaped up to an equal height with skeletons of pachyderms, bisons, etc., which are cemented together by frozen sand as well as by strata of ice. . . On the summit of these hills the trunks of trees lie flung upon one another in the wildest confusion, forced upright in spite of gravitation, and with their tops broken off or crushed, as if they had been thrown with great violence from the south on a bank, and then heaped up. . . . It is clear that at the time when these elephants and trunks of trees were heaped up together, one flood extended from the centre of the continent to the farthest barriers existing in the sea as it now is." (2)
2 Recent Origin of Man, p. 514.
In view of such facts as these, Mr. Henry H. Howorth, one of the leading scientists of Great Britain at the present day, in his work on The Mammoth and the Flood, published in London in 1887, writes: "I believe that the same potent cause which swept away the mammoth and the rhinoceros, the cave-bear and the hyaena from Europe, also swept away palaeolithic man, and that this cause was as sudden as it was widespread. . . I submit with every confidence that I have proved the position that the extinction of the [225] mammoth in the old world was sudden, and operated over a wide continental area, involving a widespread hecatomb, in which man, as well as other creatures, perished; that this destruction was caused by a flood of waters which passed over the land, drowning the animals, and then burying their remains; and that this catastrophe forms a great break in human continuity, no less than in the biological records of animal life, and is the great divide when history really begins." (1)
1 The Mammoth and the Flood, pp. 252-256.

With respect to the time of man's advent upon the earth, a great change has taken place in the opinion of scientists in the last ten or fifteen years. Instead of the hundreds of thousands of years demanded by Lyell and scientists of his school, it is now very generally conceded that a very few thousand will cover the whole period of man's inhabitation of the earth, in so far as science can throw any light on the subject. Prof. A. Winchell, in his Walks and Talks in the Geological Field, published in 1887, writes: "Man's advent is geologically recent. No report of a human relic has been made by any geologist from any formation below the miocene. No report of miocene or pliocene man has been corroborated by such evidence as to command the sanction of conservative geologists. European man is first a quartenary phenomenon; he dates from the epoch of flooded streams and glacial decline." (P. 304.) And "the epoch of glacial decline he fixes at from five thousand to eight thousand years ago." (See pp. 292, 293.) Sir J. W. Dawson, in the last edition of his Earth and Man, published in 1887, tells us: "The more recent discoveries, both in Europe and America, tend more and more to limit the absolute antiquity of man, and to place his appearance in the post-glacial age. The recent measurements of the topographical survey of New York have shown that the recession of the Falls of Niagara is so much more rapid than has hitherto been supposed, that the time since the glacial submergence at that place cannot exceed ten thousand years, and was probably much less." (P. 297.) Some centuries must have elapsed after man's advent before the deluge, of which science now finds abundant proof, occurred; as is evident from the fact that the remains of antediluvial man are spread over [226] all Europe and a large part of Asia; and thus the date of the 'Flood of the Loess,' or 'the Great Siberian Deluge,' as the flood demanded by modern science has been called, does not differ very materially from that we have seen occasion to assign to the flood of tradition, and that of which Moses gives us the history in the Pentateuch."


In the Central Presbyterian of March 7, 1888, Dr. Southall writes: "We suppose there is nothing recorded in the Pentateuch that has given occasion to so much genuine incredulity among students of science as the narrative of the flood; and fifteen years ago in England, in the day of Lyell, and the uniformitarian school of geology which he built up around him, there was a stolid non-recognition on their part of that great geological cataclysm which some American and French geologists already detected in connection with the loess and gravel deposits of the glacial epoch." The correctness of this statement no one acquainted with the scientific literature of the last quarter of a century will call in question. In concluding this article, let us see how the matter stands to-day.

1. The Flood of the Pentateuch. The Pentateuch contains the history of a flood, of which it tells us, (1), That it occurred after man had been an inhabitant of the earth for many centuries—1656 A. M., according to Ussher; 2256 A. M., according to Hale; (2), That this flood extended as far as the human race had then extended itself, over a large part of Asia, and probably all of Europe, and so was universal in so far as the then inhabited world was concerned; (3), That at the time of its occurrence man in Central Asia was in a condition of advanced civilization, whilst in Western Europe, to which the "violence which filled the earth" had driven some tribes, he was probably in a savage condition; (4), That this flood occurred some four or five thousand years ago—4226 according to Ussher, 5043 according to Hale—and that at its close God gave assurance that "the waters should no more become a flood to destroy all flesh;" (5), That the immediate physical cause of the flood was "the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, and the opening the flood-gates of heaven," i. e., great seismic convulsions, accompanied by tremendous rains; (6), [227] That ''the meritorious cause" of the flood was the universal corruption of the human race, Noah and his family alone retaining their integrity; and further, that because of this his character, Noah was forewarned of the approaching flood, and prepared an ark for the saving of himself and family, thus becoming the second head of the race; (7), That at the close of the flood the ark landed Noah in Armenia, which thus became the post-diluvial centre of emigration for mankind; and (8), That after the flood the duration of human life was greatly shortened.

2. The Flood according to Tradition. A universal tradition, found among all the different races of men, in all parts of the world, tells us of a great flood which once overspread the then in habited portion of the earth. Taking this tradition in its most complete form, the form in which it has been handed down by the Chaldeans, it tells us, (1), That this flood occurred long after the creation of man; (2), That it was universal in so far as the world inhabited by man was concerned; (3), That at the time it occurred the inhabitants of Central Asia were a civilized people; (4), That this flood occurred some four or five thousand years ago; (5), That one man, his family and a few friends, alone escaped destruction, and that by means of an ark which they had been forewarned by the gods to build; (6), That at the close of the flood, the ark landed in Armenia, which thus became the post-diluvial centre of emigration for mankind. Of the immediate physical cause of the flood, and of its meritorious cause, tradition says no thing distinctly, and of the promise that this should be the last universal flood it says nothing whatever. This difference in the
two accounts is just that which ordinarily distinguishes tradition from authentic history.

3. "The Flood of the Loess" or "the Great Siberian Deluge." Geology tells us of many cataclysms which have occurred in the past, some of them continental in extent, as proved by the sedimentary rock-strata they have deposited. Lyell and his school of geologists taught, that either all these cataclysms occurred before man's advent on earth, or that his advent occurred hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of years ago. This conclusion recent investigation compels us to give up. One flood, at least, has oc- [228] curred since man was created, as proved by the fact that human remains are found in its sediment; and this flood must have occurred in comparatively recent times, as proved in many ways, especially by the condition in which the remains of animals destroyed are found. This flood is known to geologists as "the Flood of the Loess," or "the Great Siberian Deluge," not meaning by the latter name to limit its extent to Siberia, but because it is in Siberia many of the characteristic evidences of its occurrence are met with.

Respecting this flood it is now ascertained, (1), That, as stated above, it occurred long after man had become an inhabitant of the earth; (2), That it extended over a large part of Asia, and almost all of Europe, as the remains of palaeolithic man and the great mammalia which were his cotemporaries prove; (3), That at the time of its occurrence man in Western Europe was in a savage condition, whilst in Central Asia, as indicated by certain bronzes recently found in Southern Siberia, there is some reason to believe that his condition was far in advance of that of the cave-man of France and Great Britain; (4). That this flood occurred some five or six thousand years ago; (5), That the immediate physical cause of the flood was a great seismic convulsion, not a gradual sinking and rising again of a part of the earth's crust, requiring ages for its accomplishment, but a great convulsion, seismic in character; (6), Of the ''meritorious cause" of the flood it gives no intimation, unless the debased, savage condition of the cave-men destroyed by it throws some light upon this point; (7), Of the prophecy that "the waters should no more become a flood to destroy all flesh," science tells us nothing as a prophecy; it simply records its fulfillment; for since the flood of the loess, no other general flood has swept the earth. Of the ark and its history it tells us absolutely nothing; but (8), Science does furnish evidence that the life of the antediluvians was much longer than that of man at the present day.

Such are the more important facts in this case, as the matter stands to-day. In this, as in other instances which might be cited, science, after having antagonized the Mosaic history for a time, has quietly drifted around into an almost perfect harmony with it.

Geo. D. Armstrong. Norfolk, Va.

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