Provided by Walter, B. Martin, Jr.
Great grandson of Rev. George Armstrong

Sermon & Lecture Index

The Word of God vs the Bible of Modern Scientific Theology
A Scientific Study of the Doctrine of Prayer

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We are accustomed to speak of the Scriptures as the Word of God. The Larger Catechism declares: "The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament are the word of God, the only rule of faith and practice." Our Lord denounces the Pharisees for "making the word of God of none effect through their traditions" (Mark vii. 13). And David, long before our Lord's day, wrote, "Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path" (Psa. cxix. 105). Thus it will be seen that the application of the title "The Word of God" to the Scriptures is made on the highest authority, and is almost as old as the Scriptures themselves.


I. The grounds on which this application of the title "The Word of God" to the Scriptures is made, is set forth in such passages as the following, viz.: "All scripture is given by inspiration of God" (2 Tim iii. 16). "God who at sundry times, and in divers manners, spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son" (Heb. i. 1). "For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man, but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost" (2 Peter i. 21). "We speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth" (1 Cor. ii. 13).

[40] In such passages as these the Scriptures unquestionably claim a Divine-human authorship: that God and man wrought together in their production in such a way as to fully entitle them to the name of "the Word of God." This union of the Divine and the human in the written Word furnishes no more occasion for surprise than the union of the divine and human in the living Word, "The Word that was God," and yet "was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (John i. 1, 14). The one is no more mysterious or incredible than the other.

1. Dr. A. A. Hodge gives an admirable summary of the truth in this matter in these words:

''God's agency in bringing the Scriptures into existence was four-fold, viz.: (1,) By Providence. God from the first designed and adapted every human writer employed in the genesis of Scripture. Paul, John, Peter, David, Isaiah, have been made precisely what they were, and placed and conditioned precisely as they were, and then moved to write, and directed in writing precisely what they wrote. The revelation was in large measure through a historical series of events, led along by a providential guidance largely natural, but surcharged, as a cloud with electricity, with supernatural elements all along its line. . . . (2,) Spiritual Illumination. Spiritual illumination by the Holy Ghost, a personal religious experience, was as necessary in the case of such writers as David, John, and Paul, as aesthetic taste and genius are in the case of a poet or artist. The spiritual intuition of John, the spiritualized understanding of Paul, the personal religious experience of David, have, by the superadded gift of inspiration, been rendered permanently typical and normal in the church in all ages. . . . (3,) Revelation. Revelation gives additional light which nature does not supply. In every instance where supernatural knowledge of God, his attributes, his purposes, of the secrets of his grace, or of the future of the church in the world, of the life of body or soul after death, came to be needed by a sacred writer, God immediately gave it to him by revelation. . . (4,) Inspiration. This was the absolutely constant attribute of every portion and of every element of the Scriptures, and that attribute which renders them infallible in every utterance. . . . Inspiration is that influence of the immanent Holy Ghost which accompanies every thought and feeling and impulse and action of the sacred writer involved in the function of writing the Word, and which guided him in the selection and utterance of truth— i. e., in its conception and in its verbal expression—so that the very mind of God was expressed with infallible accuracy." (Popular Lectures on, Theological Themes, pp. 85-87.)

2. The inspiration which the Scriptures claim is plenary, i. e., full, complete. By this is meant, (1,) That "it is not confined to moral and religious truths, but extends to the statements of facts, whether scientific, historical, or geographical. It is not confined to those facts the importance of which is obvious, or which are in- [41] volved in matters of doctrine. It extends to everything which any sacred writer asserts to be true. . . . As the life of the body belongs as much to the feet as to the head, so the Spirit of God pervades the whole Scripture, and is not more in one part than in another. Some members of the body are more important than others; and some books of the Bible could be far better spared than others. There may be as great a difference between St. John's Gospel and the books of Chronicles as between a man's brain and hair; nevertheless, the life of the body is as truly in the hair as in the brain." (Hodge's Theology, Vol. I., pp. 163, 164.) This truth has been aptly expressed by saying that the Scriptures are the Word of God; not simply, contain the Word of God. (2,) That inspiration extends to the very words of Scripture; that the inspiration is verbal, not in any such sense as would make the sacred writers mere amanuenses, but verbal in such a sense as is fairly implied in Paul's words, "Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth" (1 Cor. ii. 13). Men think in words, and the more definitely they think, the more are their thoughts immediately associated with an exactly appropriate verbal expression. Infallibility of thought cannot be secured or preserved independently of an infallible verbal rendering.

II. To this doctrine of the plenary inspiration of Scripture several objections have been urged.

1. It has been thought to be irreconcilable with the marked differences in style of thought and expression which characterize the writings of different sacred writers. Inspiration, in the economy of grace, is the special work of the Holy Spirit. That he should by inspiration secure an errorless record of the truth, through the instrumentality of Moses, or Paul, or Isaiah, without interfering with their own proper spontaneity, so that in their style of thought and expression there should be as characteristic differences as in the writings of Thucydides and Homer and Aristotle, should cause us no surprise. The Spirit, in his regeneration and sanctification of a human soul, does not destroy man's spontaneity, nor obliterate his sinless peculiarities. Peter and John had peculiarities of disposition and temper before their regenera- [42] tion, and they retained those peculiarities as long as they lived on earth; and, I doubt not, will retain them evermore: that in heaven, after the resurrection of the body has made the work of redemption complete, Peter will be Peter still, and John will be John.

2. Inspiration, according to the teaching of Scripture (e. g., Luke i. 1-4), does not supersede the use of such means of information as, in God's providence, were within the writers' reach. In inspiration, as in regeneration and sanctification, the law obtains: "Work, for it is God that worketh in you." Throughout the greater part of the Pentateuch, Moses records what took place under his own eyes, and what he must have known from personal observation. In the book of Genesis, which records what occurred before his day, he may have made use of traditions current among his people, possibly of historical documents which had been handed down from former generations. All that is meant in affirming the plenary inspiration of the Pentateuch is, that Moses, in making use of such information, was guided by God the Spirit in the selection of the materials used, separating infallibly between the appropriate and the inappropriate, the true and the false. Nothing short of this would make his writings an infallible record of truth.

3. When inspiration is affirmed of the Scriptures, it is of the autographs of the sacred writers alone that it is affirmed, and not of the Septuagint, or the Vulgate, or the authorized English version, or any other version that ever has been or ever will be made. These original autographs, in so far as we know, have all been lost, and to-day we have nothing better than copies, some of them very ancient, and translations into languages other than those in which they were originally written, some of them also very ancient. That errors in transcription have been made is admitted by all. The "various readings," as they are called, are proof of this. That mistakes in translation have been made, in all the versions of the Bible in common use, no one acquainted with the facts in the case will deny. The recovery of the original text, i. e., an exact copy of the autograph of the sacred writers, furnishes abundant scope for the employment of the best critical talent of the church, and the correction of errors in translation a working [43] field for the best scholarship of the church in determining, exactly, what the Word of God is; but this once determined, there is for the Christian an end of controversy. God has spoken, it is for man to believe and obey.


The doctrine of the plenary inspiration of Scripture, especially as it applies to the earlier portions of the book of Genesis, is called in question in our day, on the ground that it is irreconcilable with the results of modern scientific discovery; and certain Christian writers, in view of these "oppositions of science falsely so called," as we regard them, seem ready so to modify the doctrine that the inspiration of Scripture is no longer plenary, in any proper sense of that term.

Professor Drummond, the author of "Natural Law in the Spiritual World," in the Popular Science Monthly for April, 1886, writes:

''If the student of science will now apply to theology for its Bible, two very different books will be laid before him. The one is the Bible accepted by our forefathers; the other is the Bible of modern theology. The books, 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. The distinction between them is one which science will appreciate the moment it is stated. In point of fact, the one is constructed, like the world, according to the old cosmogonies; the other is an evolution. The one represents revelation as having been produced on the creative hypothesis, the Divine-fiat hypothesis, the ready-made hypothesis; the other on the slow growth or evolution theory. This latter—the Bible of development—is the Bible of modern scientific theology. It is not less authoritative than the first, but it is differently authoritative; not less inspired, but differently inspired. . . . The Bible is not an oracle which has been erected; it has grown. Hence it is no longer a mere word-book, nor a compendium of doctrine, but a nursery of growing truth. . . . The Bible is absolutely free from natural science. There is there history, poetry, moral philosophy, theology, lives and letters, mystical, devotional, and didactic pieces, but science there is none. Natural objects are, of course, repeatedly referred to, and with unsurpassed sympathy and accuracy of observation; but neither in the intention of any of the innumerable authors, nor in the execution of their work, is there any trace of scientific teaching." (P. 107.)

In an article on "The Reformation Theology in the Light of Modern Knowledge," published in The Presbyterian Review for April, 1887, Professor J. S. Candlish gives expression to views respecting the inspiration of Scripture, not as pronounced as those [44] of Professor Drummond, quoted above, but yet having the same trend. He writes:

''Some of the earlier records of the Bible are not properly historical, nor meant to be taken as literally true, but analogous to the myths of other nations, though differing from them in their pure theistic and moral character in a way quite worthy of Divine guidance and inspiration. . . . What inspiration gave to the writers of the sacred books may not have been minute or literal exactness on points not essential for their main purpose, but perfect truth and soundness in the great religious lessons that they teach, and in the historical events in which God's revelation of himself is conveyed." (P. 230.)

"God's calls and commands to the patriarchs may possibly not have been single, instantaneous utterances, as the first reading of the narrative might suggest; it is enough to indicate their substantial truth that, in some way or other, God's will was unmistakably conveyed to the recipient of his revelation. Such theological notions as Divine legislation, covenants, judgments, and the like, may be not the less real and important, though they may not be regarded as denoting express and definite transactions, occurring at particular epochs, but rather certain relations or states brought about, or brought into consciousness, by slow and gradual processes." (P. 232.)

''The successive discoveries by which the present wonderful advance of science has been attained have seemed, when first made, in many cases, to conflict with the doctrines of theology or the teachings of Scripture; and have therefore been sometimes keenly and obstinately opposed, as is seen in the persecution of Galileo by the Inquisition, and in the alarm aroused, even among Protestant theologians, by the discoveries of geology, and by Darwin's theory of the origin of species. But clearly no such opposition could arrest the progress of science, or prevent the acceptance by all intelligent men of the facts and laws based on sufficient evidence. These must be accepted whatever may become of theological doctrines, and if any theology comes in collision with ascertained facts, so much the worse for the theology. In most of these cases, however, it came to be seen that what science controverted was some of these theories founded on a too literal interpretation of Scripture, or pressing its statements too far. The general principle on which we must ultimately fall back in all cases is, that the Bible contains a revelation of religious truth, and not of science at all, and in all its references to the physical world speaks according to the appearances of things and the current ideas of the times." (P. 231.)

"The idea of evolution has in modern thought come to supersede that of creation in many cases; but if the power at work in it is believed to be that of a supreme, wise, and beneficent Mind, evolution is, for all practical purposes, the same to the theologian as creation. We are taught in Scripture to recognize God as the Creator of our bodies, though his direct agency in giving us being is at least as far back as Adam; and if science shows that it must be put still further back, it makes no essential difference; it is still true that God is our maker, and we are the sheep of his pasture and the people of his hand. The notion of a gradual development instead of a sudden, abrupt act, gives a different form to some doctrines, but does not alter their essential meaning." (P. 232.)

[45] I have quoted these articles thus fully, that the reader may have, in the very words of its advocates, the doctrine of inspiration which some are seeking to substitute for that of the plenary inspiration of Scripture as hitherto held by the church. The two doctrines are certainly very unlike, and they have their outcome, as Professor Drummond has well said, "in two very different books," and he has appropriately designated these books as "the Bible accepted by our forefathers," and "the Bible of modern scientific theology." The demand for the substitution of this new doctrine of inspiration in the place of the old is made, mainly, on the ground that modern science requires it. Does science, indeed, make this demand?

I. Is it true that "the idea of evolution has in modern thought come to supersede that of creation, in many cases," and more especially the idea of evolution as embodied in Darwin's theory of the origin of species? Prof. Candlish takes it for granted that it has.

On the other hand, "At the late ter-centenary of the University of Edinburgh, in the presence of the assembled magnates of Europe, Prof. Virchow declared, with great emphasis, that evolution has no scientific basis," (Christian Thought, July, 1884, p. 74.) A year later, Principal Dawson, who was called to preside at the annual meeting of the British Scientific Association, in 1886, wrote: "The doctrine of evolution as held by a prominent school of German and English biologists, I regard as equally at variance with science, revelation and common sense, and destitute of any foundation in fact. It belongs, in truth, to the region of those illogical paradoxes and loose speculations which have ever haunted the progress of knowledge, and have been dispelled only by increasing light. For this reason, I have always refused to recognize the dreams of materialistic evolution as of any scientific significance, or indeed as belonging to science at all," (Philadelphia Presbyterian, July 11th, 1885.) And later still, I find the following testimony in Christian Thought, April, 1887: "That British thought, says the Christian Commonwealth, London, is arriving at a transition period has just been powerfully demonstrated by a high authority. Savants of different schools will acknowledge the weight attaching to the opinions of such a thinker, lecturer, teacher [46] and writer as Henry Calderwood. This learned Edinburgh professor has, in a most interesting essay in a late number of the New Princeton Review, proclaimed his conviction that the reign of the evolution idea is near its close. Prof. Calderwood remarks of the whole sensational or experiential philosophy, that it gained largely in popularity because it has connected itself with the evolution theory. He adds, in a very striking sentence, that he is unable to regard it otherwise than as a passing, though prominent feature of nineteenth century thought. Such a deliverance as this from one of the very highest authorities on modern metaphysics is a sure sign that a fresh era of scientific sentiment is very near, and that evolutionism will presently be seen receding on an ebbing tide. In view of such declarations as these, one may reasonably be pardoned for refusing to surrender the old doctrine of plenary inspiration at the demand of evolution, at least until it shall be known more surely whether its "oppositions" are those of science, or of "science ( knowledge) falsely so called."

II. Is it true, as Prof. Candlish affirms, that "if the power at work in it is believed to be that of a supreme, wise and beneficent mind, evolution is, for all practical purposes, the same to the theologian as creation"; that "though it gives a different form to some doctrines, it does not alter their essential meaning"?

1. This may be true, in so far as mere theism is concerned. But theology, the theology of Scripture, is something more than mere theism, and embraces other doctrines than those of the existence and nature of God the Creator. What is distinctively called Christian theology—and without this, mere theism is of little practical value to man—is derived immediately from the teachings of Scripture. Indeed, no class of writers insist more frequently than that to which Profs. Drummond and Candlish belong, that it was for the very purpose of teaching man Christian theology, teaching him religion and not science, that the Scriptures were written. Is evolution, as taught by Darwin in his "Origin of Species," for all practical purposes, the same with creation to the Christian theologian?

2. Can the account of the creation of man, "male and female," given us in Scripture be made to harmonize with Darwin's theory [47] without utterly destroying, not their historic character alone, but their veracity as well? In Gen. ii. 21, 22, we read: "And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept; and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh thereof. And the rib which the Lord God had taken from man made he a woman, and brought her unto the man." This is, confessedly, a literal translation of the record as it stands in the inspired text. In what Prof. Drummond calls "the Bible of development, the Bible of modern scientific theology," it will read: "And the Lord God, by a very gradual process, extending possibly over millions of years, evolved woman from 'an animal which seems to have been more like the larva of our existing ascidians' (sea-squirts) 'than any other known form.'" (See Darwin's Descent of Man, Vol. II., p. 372.) To justify this reading of the Bible of scientific theology, I will be told the Scriptures were not given us to teach science. How far, and in what sense this is true, we shall see hereafter, but in the present instance it has no relevancy. The statements are statements of facts, and Prof. Drummond admits that when the Scriptures refer to natural objects, they do so "with unsurpassed accuracy, of observation."

3. According to Darwin's "Theory of the Origin of Species"—and it is evolution as embodied in that theory that Prof. Candlish specifies—what was the character and condition of primeval man? In the words of one of its advocates, "If there be any truth in science at all, there was a time when our ancestor—whom, for want of a better term we call primitive man—was removed from the brute only insomuch as he had a more erect carriage, a little bigger brain, and more completely differentiated members. Of religion, morality, decency, pity, social law, patriotism, he understood no lore than the ape, his brother. He was as much outside the pale of the moral law as the spider or the vulture. In his murders, his cannibalism, his bestialities, was no sin, because there was no knowledge. He was simply a brute, inclosing in himself potentialities of future development. The product of the law of evolution, he had in himself the power of evolution." (1 Order of

1 The Order of Creation is a volume, recently published, containing the papers of the late Gladstone-Huxley controversy, together with others on the points in debate, by Max Müller, Reville, and Linton.

Creation, pp. 168-9.) Such is the latest full-length portrait of Adam Bar-Simia I have seen, drawn by the pencil of a friend who believed in him.

Will not this idea of the character of our first parent, if received as true, require a modification of certain doctrines we are accustomed to regard as fundamental, amounting to more than a mere "difference in form which does not alter their essential meaning"? Take the doctrine embodied in Ans. 12 of the Shorter Catechism, for example: "When God had created man, he entered into a covenant of life with him, upon condition of perfect obedience; forbidding him to eat of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, upon pain of death." Was it with this creature, who "of religion, morality, decency, pity, social law, patriotism, understood no more than the ape, his brother," that God "entered into a covenant of life on condition of perfect obedience," and this, "not only for himself, but for his posterity"? And, was this the creature that in his covenant relations to his posterity was " the figure (the type) of him that was to come?" (Rom. v. 14.) Or, take the doctrine embodied in Ans. 13 of the Shorter Catechism: "Our first parents, being left to the freedom of their own will, fell from the estate in which they were created, by sinning against God." "Sinning against God!" Why, to them, even in "their murders, their bestialities, their cannibalism, there was no sin, for there was no knowledge. They were as much outside the pale of the moral law as the spider or the vulture." "Fell from the estate wherein they were created!'' How could they fall? Already at the lowest point at which humanity can exist, "simply brutes, inclosing in themselves potentialities of future development," there is no lower point to which they can descend and yet retain their humanity. Surely, if this Adam Bar-Simia is the Adam of the "Bible of development—the Bible of modern scientific theology," that Bible must teach doctrines on these points very different from those which, by common consent, are taught in the " Bible accepted by our fathers."

III. Prof. Drummond writes: The Bible "contains history, poetry, moral philosophy, theology, lives and letters, mythical, devotional and didactic pieces, but science there is none. Natural [49] objects are, of course, repeatedly referred to, and with unsurpassed sympathy and accuracy of observation; but neither in the intention of any of the innumerable authors, nor in the execution of their work, is there any direct trace of scientific teaching." And Prof. Candlish: "The Bible contains a revelation of religious truth, and not of science at all." And this statement, in substance, has been repeated time and again by writers of the school to which they belong. There is a sense in which this statement is unquestionably true; but, in the sense in which it must be understood in order to serve the purpose for which it is made, if I mistake not, it is utterly devoid of truth. It belongs to the category of those equivocal statements in which error finds its safest lurking place. For this reason I will ask the reader's attention to a more careful examination of it than would otherwise be necessary.

1. God's great purpose in the Scriptures is to teach man the true religion. In the words of the Shorter Catechism: "The Scriptures principally teach what man is to believe concerning God, and what duty God requires of man." (Answer 3.) The true religion is practical in its nature. The lessons contained in the Bible are intended to direct and control man's life and conduct. Practical truths are always best taught by illustration and example. For this reason, the Bible consists largely of biographies of saints and sinners, and the history of the execution of God's scheme of redemption for sin-ruined man, and especially of the life and teaching of Christ Jesus, "God manifest in the flesh." Hence it comes that the Bible, on the one hand, and geography, history, chronology, and science, physical and metaphysical, on the other, must often cover the same ground and deal with the same facts.

As an instance in point, take the cosmogony contained in the first chapter of Genesis. The statements there made are statements fundamental in religion, and, in the light of the subsequent history of our race, we can see how all-important these statements are. From the very beginning of human history, practical atheism among philosophers and idolatry among the ignorant masses have been the two forms of error which have taken the place of the true religion most widely in the minds and hearts of men. The eternity of matter, that the heaven and the earth had no beginning, is a [50] necessary postulate of philosophical atheism, and the declaration, "In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth" (Gen. i. 1), effectually and for ever sets aside such atheism as a possible faith for one who receives the Bible as true. Idolatry, in its earliest and purest form, consisted in the worship of the heavenly bodies, the sun and the moon. In the declaration, "God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night; he made the stars also" (Gen. i. 16), the irrational character of such worship is clearly set forth. Why should man worship the sun and the moon, if they be but creatures of God like himself? Idolatry in its grosser forms has usually consisted in the worship of beasts of the earth, and even creeping things, or their images. When, in Gen. i. 25, 26, we are told that God created "the beast of the earth after his kind, and cattle after their kind, and everything that creepeth upon the earth after his kind"; and furthermore, that, having made man, "he gave him dominion over them " all, "the axe is laid at the root" of idolatry in its grosser forms. God made man to have dominion over the creatures of his hand, and not they over him. Thus it will be seen that this cosmogony is not simply a curious piece of information to satisfy the curiosity of the multitude, or please the fancy of the poet, like the cosmogonies of the Greeks and Egyptians, but a most important part of a revelation of the true religion. In the words of Matthew Henry, in Gen. i. 1 "we find, to our comfort, the first article of our creed, that God, the Father Almighty, is the maker of heaven and earth, and as such we believe in him."

That cosmogony is a proper subject of investigation to the scientific geologist no reasonable man will deny. It is impossible that he should pursue his science beyond the narrow limits of its practical application to agriculture and mining, without questions respecting the origin of the present order of things presenting themselves; and, in the careful study of the agencies now at work in effecting changes in that order, he has the means at command of pushing his investigations in a legitimate way back into the history of the long past. Here, then, is a field in which the Scriptures and science must cover the same ground, and the scientist and the divine must meet in the study of the same facts and phenomena.

[51] 2. The scientist and divine must often study the same facts and phenomena; but they differ in this study, both in the object they have in view and in the methods and instruments they employ. (1,) The scientist contemplates man simply as a rational being having a life to live in the world, and he seeks to ascertain general laws, and to classify facts, with a view of satisfying man's natural and laudable curiosity, or of subjecting nature to his service in providing for the daily recurring wants of the body. The divine contemplates man as an immortal creature, and he pursues his studies with the especial purpose of solving the great questions of religion, questions respecting man's duties to his fellow-man and his God, and his relations to the world to come. (2,) In the study of the scientist, observation and experiment are the means by which he seeks to ascertain the truth he is in quest of. In the case of the divine, his appeal is to the Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testament, which he receives as the word of God, "the only rule of faith and obedience," and literary criticism and exegesis are the means he depends on in prosecuting his research. To say of the divine, as has sometimes been done, when, by a careful and critical study of the original Hebrew of the first chapter of Genesis, he seeks to settle a true cosmogony so far as it is there revealed, he is trenching upon the territory which belongs to the scientist; and of his conclusions, when he has reached them, that they are scientific deliverances, betrays great confusion of thought on the part of him who brings such charges.

Is the question asked, Is there any scientific treatment of facts in the Bible; scientific in the purpose and means of treatment? We must answer, No. In this sense the statement "the Bible is absolutely free from natural science," is true. But is the question asked, Do the Bible and science often deal with the same facts, each for its own purpose and in its own way? The answer must be, Yes. Prof. Drummond himself writes: "In the Bible natural objects are repeatedly referred to, and with unsurpassed sympathy and accuracy of observation." Yet it is in this last sense the statement under consideration must be understood, a sense in which it is not true, if it is to serve the purpose for which it is made. Recurring to the case already partially examined, the case of the [52] creation of woman, as given us in Gen. ii. 21-25, I remark, the statement here given is plainly to be considered a statement of fact. Neither in form nor in substance has it any resemblance to a myth. The Apostle Paul evidently understood it as a statement of fact when he wrote: "The man is not of the woman, but the woman of the man; neither was the man created for the woman, but the woman for the man." (1 Cor. xi. 8, 9.) And so also does our Lord, when teaching that most important lesson of Christian morals, the sacredness of the marriage relation, and with the evident intention of throwing the sanction of Jehovah around the family, the corner-stone of Christian civilization, as all history testifies, he says: "Have ye not read that he which made them at the beginning made them male and female; and said, For this reason shall a man leave father and mother, and shall cleave unto his wife, and they twain shall be one flesh" (Matt. xix. 4, 5), thus quoting the very words of Gen. ii. 24. When Darwin tells me that woman is the evolute of a sea-squirt, he gives what purports to be a statement of fact. And these two statements of Moses and Darwin are irreconcilable the one with the other, and the proposition, "the Bible is absolutely free from natural science," "the Bible contains a revelation of religious truth and not of science at all," in the only sense in which it is true, does not touch the difficulty.

IV. Prof. Candlish writes: The Bible, "in all its references to the physical world, speaks according to the appearances of things and the current ideas of the times." Here, as in the statement just considered, there is a mixture of truth and error, and we must carefully distinguish the one from the other if we would not be led astray.

In the controversy between Galileo and his judges of the Index, often very unfairly represented as a controversy between science and revelation, in reality a controversy between the old Aristotelian philosophy and the new, Galileo defended himself on the ground that the Scriptures are written in the language of common life and not that of science, and, when interpreted as so written, they are not in conflict with the Copernican doctrine of the solar system which he advocated. This principle is of wider [53] application than at first sight appears; and the fact that it did not at once secure universal acceptance can be explained only by taking into account the influence of prejudice, prejudice of long standing, and having the countenance of great names. In the course of time, however, it has come to be universally accepted, and, fairly applied, it answers many of the objections which scientists, in our day, are accustomed to urge against the doctrine of the plenary inspiration of Scripture.

1. The language of common life, as contradistinguished from that of science, is marked by two particulars, viz.:

(1,) It is phenomenal; it speaks of things as they are made known to us through the senses. In the language of common life the sun is said to rise and set, although we know that its motion in the heavens is apparent, and not real; and the dew is said to fall, although we know that the dew-drop is formed by the condensation of the moisture of the air at the very point at which we find it. When the sacred writers tell us, "And as Jacob passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him " (Gen. xxxii. 31), and "when the dew fell upon the camp in the night the manna fell upon it" (Numb. xi. 9), they are simply using the language of common life.

(2.) It uses words and expressions in the current sense of the time at which it was written, without any reference to their etymology, and without any endorsement of erroneous beliefs in which their etymology shows them to have originated. We are accustomed to speak, and so are the sacred writers, of certain persons as lunatics without a thought of thereby endorsing the exploded error that madness in man must be traced to the disturbing influence of the moon. The kind of movement common to quadrupeds, as distinguished from that of man, we are accustomed to speak of as "going upon all fours," and Moses, using the language of common life, writes: "All fowls that creep, going upon all four, shall be an abomination unto you."' (Lev. xi. 20.) From verse 22, it is evident that among the "fowls that creep" locusts were included. From this language to infer that Moses was ignorant of the fact that locusts have six legs, or to impugn the verbal inspiration of Scripture, is to disregard the settled truth that the Scriptures are written in the language of common life. [54] The authorized English version reads: "All fowls that creep, going upon all four." From this it is evident that at the time our English version was made the word "fowl" (from the A. S. fleogan, to fly,) was used in a much wider sense than it is in our day, the wider sense of "flying creature." The New Version substitutes the "flying creature" for "fowl" in this passage. How ridiculous it would be for a critic, restricting the term fowl, as we now do, to the gallinae, to conclude, on the authority of their translation of Lev. xi. 20, that the venerable authors of our English version believed that hens had four legs.

2. Respecting the language of common life, I remark:

(1,) It is the language used by scholars of the highest standing in writing history, biography, poetry, and by learned statesmen in writing the laws of the land, where the greatest accuracy is demanded.

(2,) It is the only language intelligible to the great mass of the people. The language of science is intelligible to scientists alone, and often that peculiar to one department of science is unintelligible to the scientist devoted to the study of a different department, e. g., the language of chemistry to the mathematician.

(3,) The language of science almost always embodies more or less of current theories, and so will vary as current theories vary. The ferric oxide of the chemistry of to-day was called dephlogisticated iron eighty years ago. According to the chemistry of that day, ferric oxide was the simple substance, and iron the compound, the last-mentioned being transmuted into the first-mentioned by the loss of its phlogiston. So variable is the language of science, of chemistry for example, that could the once celebrated chemist Stahl rise from his grave and enter the lecture-room of some professor of chemistry of to-day, he would find himself "a barbarian to the speaker, and the speaker a barbarian to him."

(4,) The language of common life, for the purpose for which it is ordinarily used, and for the purpose for which it is used in Scripture, is as accurate as the language of science. What is desired is by means of language, to convey a truth respecting things as they present themselves to us in the ordinary business of life; this, and nothing more. And this is just what the language of [55] common life does. In view of such facts as these, it must be admitted by every thoughtful person that the Scriptures, intended as they are for the instruction of "the common people," ought to be written in the language of common life; and the fact that they are so written, instead of furnishing ground for questioning the divine element in their authorship, furnishes a strong argument in support of their inspiration of God, and that their inspiration extends to the very words in which they are written.

3. The Bible, "in all its references to the physical world, speaks according to . . . the current ideas of the times," writes Prof. Candlish. If by the current ideas of the times is meant the scientific ideas current at the times, I remark, this is just what the Scriptures do not do. Translators have sometimes done this: as where the Hebrew (expanse) Gen. i. 6, is in the Vulgate translated firmamentum, and unfortunately in our English version the Vulgate, and not the inspired Hebrew text, has been followed; and so the exploded idea of the ancient astronomers that the sun, moon, and stars were fixed in crystal spheres, has been foisted into the Scriptures. In the inspired Scripture this is never done. God has adapted his revelation to the necessities of the case in a manner far better than this, by "leading inspired men to use such language that, without revealing scientific facts in advance, it might accurately accommodate itself to them when discovered. The language of Scripture is so elastic and flexible as to contract itself to the narrowness of ignorance, and yet expand itself to the dimensions of knowledge, like the rubber bandages so invaluable in modern surgery, which stretch about an inflamed and swollen limb, yet shrink as the swelling abates. It uses terms and phrases which, without suggesting puzzling enigmas, contain in themselves ample space for all the demands of growing human knowledge; it selects from imperfect human language terms which may hold hidden truths till ages to come shall disclose their hidden meaning." (Pierson's Many Infallible Proofs, p. 116.) As instances in point, take Eccl. i. 7.: "All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea is not full; unto the place from whence the rivers come, thither they return again"; and Job, xxvi. 7, 8: "He stretcheth out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the [56] earth upon nothing. He bindeth up the waters in his thick clouds; and the cloud is not rent under them."

V. In considering the demands for a modification of the views of inspiration long entertained by Christian theologians, we must not forget that many of these demands made in the name of science, are not demands of science at all, but of mere hypotheses adopted by certain scientists. Prof. Huxley defines science in the words: "Every science must consist of precise knowledge, and that knowledge must be coordinated into general propositions, or it is not science." [Humboldt Library, No. 21, p. 472.) True science, science in the sense defined above, is fixed and certain, but hypotheses are ever changing; and hence, it is a matter of prime importance that the distinction between the two should be kept in mind, if we would reason safely on questions such as those we are considering. When Prof. Huxley writes in his late controversy with Gladstone, "I am not aware that any competent judge would hesitate to admit that the organization of these animals (whales and porpoises) show the most obvious signs of their descent from terrestrial quadrupeds," (Order of Creation, p. 54,) he evidently assumes the truth of the hypothesis of genetic evolution, and of that hypothesis in its most objectionable form, viz., that evolution is as often downward as upward—is a degeneracy as often as an advance. In this form the hypothesis is irreconcilably at variance with the plainest testimony of the fossiliferous rock-strata of the earth; and the objection to the Mosaic order of creation based upon it is not an objection of science, according to Huxley's own definition of that term. It is an objection founded upon a mere hypothesis, and an hypothesis, I will venture to predict, Huxley himself will reject before ten years have passed.

If the reader will take with him the two propositions, the truth of which no thoughtful man can question, (1,) That the Scriptures are written in the language of common life, and (2,) That hypothesis is not science, and should never be regarded as such, he will find in the study of Scripture no necessity to modify "the church doctrine," as Dr. Hodge calls it, of their plenary inspiration, and consequently no need of such modifications of "the Reformation theology," as Prof. Candlish proposes.

[57] VI. Prof. Candlish, in view of what he conceives to be a possible emergency, writes: "Facts and laws based upon sufficient evidence must be accepted whatever may become of theological doctrines; and if any theology comes in collision with ascertained facts, so much the worse for the theology." To this, it is sufficient to answer that true theology, the theology of the Bible, never can come in conflict with ascertained facts if the Bible be the word of God. But interpreting this declaration in the light of the context, and the conclusions reached in the argument in the course of which it is made—the sense in which such language is often used by "modern scientific theologians,"—it would seem to mean that in any case where there was a conflict between the doctrine of Scripture and the commonly accepted doctrine of science, the doctrine of Scripture must "go to the wall." From this conclusion I, for one, entirely dissent.

I receive the Scriptures as the word of God, and therefore, beyond all question, as true, on their own appropriate evidence. In the words of Gladstone, "I have an unshaken belief in divine revelation, not resting on assumption, but made obligatory upon me by reason." (Order of Creation, p. 9.) Our Lord says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God or whether I speak of myself." (John vii. 17.) Besides proof from other sources, nearly sixty years ago I took the Lord at his word as above recorded, and began the application of this text; and to-day, if there is anything I feel certain of, anything I know, it is that the Bible is the word of God, and therefore "the truth." About the same time I commenced the study of natural science, and have kept it up more or less diligently through all these years, and I know that, in more instances than one, what were regarded as settled truths of science, and taught as such in my youth, are now just as generally regarded as exploded errors, e. g., the infinite divisibility of matter, and that oxygen is the sole acidifier; indeed, oxygen took the name it still bears, as the etymology of the name declares, from this general belief.

Besides this, all the conclusions of the scientist are based upon observation and experiment. As already remarked, these are the instruments by which he prosecutes his researches. Now (1,) ob- [58] servation may mislead, the apparent being mistaken for the real, as in the Ptolemaic astronomy which dominated scientific thought for many centuries. Even to-day we have a colored minister in Richmond, Va., a man of no mean ability, too, who insists upon it, in public and in private, "that the sun do move." (2,) In the case of what are seemingly the most carefully conducted experiments, there may be some unknown or unnoticed element not taken into account, the neglect of which may vitiate all our conclusions. This has been illustrated, recently, in the elaborate experiments of Dr. Bastian, by which the spontaneous generation of life was, for a time, thought to be established. When Prof. Tyndall repeated these experiments, simply supplying an oversight of Dr. Bastian, the result was altogether different, and the conclusion he came to he states in these words: "No shred of trustworthy experimental testimony exists to prove that life, in our day, ever appears independently of antecedent life."

As the result of his experience extending through a long life devoted to the study of natural science, Professor Huxley writes: "I do not believe in the Ptolemaic astronomy, or the catastrophic geology of my youth, although these, in their day, claimed—and to my mind rightly claimed—the name of science. If nothing is to be called science but that which is exactly true from beginning to end, I am afraid there is very little science in the world outside mathematics. Among the physical sciences, I do not know that any could claim more than that each is true within certain limits so narrow that, for the present at any rate, they may be neglected." (Order of Creation, p. 159.) For these reasons, where there is a conflict between a truth or doctrine clearly taught in Scripture, and the generally accepted conclusions of science, sound logic requires that we accept the former, and reject the latter. God cannot err; science may err, in the present, as it often has in the past.

Geo. D. Armstrong.

from The Presbyterian Quarterly

I. Prayer instinctive.
"There was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken. Then the mariners were afraid, and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea, to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep. So the ship master came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper! Arise call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not."—Jonah i. 4-6. The scene, depicted so graphically in the words quoted above, is one which has been repeated many a time, on every sea, and in every age of the world.

''Wherever there is religion, true or false," writes Dr. Dabney, ''there is prayer. Even the speculative atheist, when pressed by danger, has been known to belie his pretended creed by calling in anguish upon the God he denied. This natural instinct of prayer reposes for its ground on God's perfections and man's dependence and wants. As long as these two facts remain what they are, man must be a praying creature. . . To tell him who believes in God not to pray is to command him to cease to be a man."—Theology, p. 715.

"Among all the moral instincts of man," writes M. Guizot, "there is no one more natural, more universal, more unconquerable than prayer. To prayer the child applies himself with eager teachableness. On prayer the aged man falls back as on a refuge against decay and solitariness. With joy or with fear, openly or in the secret of his heart, it is to prayer that man betakes himself in the last resort, to fill up the void of his soul, or to bear the burdens of his destiny. It is in prayer that he seeks, when all is failing him, support for his weakness, comfort in his affliction, encouragement for his virtue."—Boyle Lecture for 1873, pp. 66, 67.

If the statements quoted above are true,—and I think no observant, thoughtful man will call their truth in question,—then, (1), The legitimate effect of prayer is not exhausted in producing a certain subjective condition in the praying soul, as some would have us believe, but in the words of Dr. Chalmers:

"Prayer, and the answer to prayer, are the preferring of a request upon the [228] one side, and compliance with that request upon the other. Man applies, God complies. Man asks a favor, God bestows it. These are conceived to be the two terms of a real interchange that takes place between the parties,—the two terms of a sequence, in fact, whereof the antecedent is prayer lifted up from earth, and the consequent is the fulfillment of that prayer in virtue of a mandate from heaven."—Chalmers' Works, Vol. II. p. 321.

And (2), Prayer, on the part of man is instinctive—instinctive in the strict, scientific sense of that term.

What is the meaning of the word instinct as it is used by scientific writers? Paley defines it, "A propensity prior to experience, and independent of instruction." Whateley defines it, "A blind tendency to some mode of action, independent of any consideration on the part of the agent of the end to which the action leads." Sir William Hamilton says: "An instinct is an agent which performs blindly and ignorantly a work of intelligence and knowledge." A more elaborate definition than any of these, though in substance the same, is given in the Imperial Dictionary, in the words: "Instinct is a certain power by which, independently of all instruction or experience, and without deliberation, animals are directed to do spontaneously whatever is necessary for the preservation of the individual, or the continuation of the kind. Such, in the human species, is the instinct of sucking exerted immediately after birth, and that of insects depositing their eggs in circumstances most favorable for hatching. Instinct makes animals provide for themselves and young, and utter the voices, betake themselves to the course of life, and use the means of self-defence, which are most suitable to their circumstances and nature. The nest of the bird, the honey-comb of the bee, the web of the spider, the thread of the silk-worm, the holes or houses of the beaver, are all executed by instinct, and are not more perfect now, than they were long ages ago. In the beginning of life we do much by instinct, and little by understanding; and even when arrived at maturity, there are innumerable occasions on which, because reason cannot guide us, we must be guided by instinct. The complex machinery of nerves and muscles necessary to swallowing our food, walking, etc., is set agoing by instinct. The motion of our eyelids, and the sudden motions we make to avoid sudden danger, are also instinctive."

[229] In further exposition of the nature of instincts, I remark,

1. Instincts vary only slightly, if at all, from generation to generation. Instinctive methods are incapable of improvement, and experience teaches that they are not liable to deterioration. The honey-bee builds its cell to-day in the same fashion its progenitor did 6000 years ago in the garden of Eden; and the first born child of the human race drew its nourishment from its mother's breast just as the child of to-day does. The slight apparent variations in instinct, manifested by certain animals under cultivation, in the hunting-dog, for example, seem to be owing to variations in the organs made use of—the organs of smell, or hearing, or locomotion—rather than to any change in the instinct itself. Because the instincts of animals are thus invariable, scientists have always regarded them as among the best guides in classification, and the most trustworthy characteristics in defining natural species.

2. Whilst instincts are thus invariable from generation to generation, in the individual, they are capable of atrophy from disuse. The instinct which guides the new-born infant in securing nourishment from its mother's breast, is sometimes entirely wanting in mature years; to the half-grown child, sucking is a "lost art." This is true not of instincts alone, but of other powers or faculties of the soul, e. g., the conscience or moral sense. It would seem to be a general law, that proper exercise is necessary to the healthy condition of body and spirit alike.

Instincts in animals are congenital, although in some instances, they may not be called into active exercise until long after birth, e. g., the nest-building instinct of the bird. The child draws its nourishment from its mother's breast as perfectly immediately after birth as it does at any subsequent period of its life. The first cell that a honey-bee builds, is as perfect in form and structure as any it builds afterwards. The young duck, when first it plunges into the water, swims as deftly as the parent duck. Hence, as the Duke of Argyll has well said—

"To account for instinct by experience, as Darwin has done, is nothing but an Irish bull. It denies the existence of things which are nevertheless assumed in the very terms of the denial; it elevates into a cause that which must, in its very nature, be a consequence, and a consequence too of the very cause which it denies. Con- [230] genital instincts, and hereditary powers, and pre-established harmonies, are the origin of all experience, and without them, no one step in experience could ever be gained."—Unity of Mature, p. 94.

4. Sir. Wm. Hamilton's definition of instinct is: "An agent which performs blindly and ignorantly a work of intelligence and knowledge." In its nature and operation it is like a conclusion reached by a process of sound reasoning, and laid up in the memory for subsequent use. Sixty years ago, in my study of geometry, I had demonstrated to my entire satisfaction the truth that the three angles of a rectilinear triangle are equal to two right angles, and this conclusion was then laid up in my memory. Often since, I have made use of it, without a doubt as to its truth, though the demonstration which once satisfied me has been entirely forgotten. The simplest conception of an instinct, which experience enables me to form, is that which makes it of like nature with one of these conclusions. And, as instincts are congenital, if results of reasoning, it must be reasoning on the part of God the Creator, and not of the creature whose instincts they are.

5. Instinct, in its proper sphere, is the most perfect guide of conduct with which we are acquainted. The civil engineer, if he attempts an investigation of the matter on mechanical principles, will find himself shut up to the conclusion that the best possible method of drawing a liquid from a reservoir like the human breast is to give to the sucking mouth the exact conformation, and to the tongue the exact motion, which the infant, by instinct, gives its mouth and tongue when drawing its nourishment from its mother's breast. The cell of the honey-bee has long been the admiration of the mathematician, because of the economy of space and material it exhibits. If we conceive of instincts as results of the reasoning of God, the Creator, implanted in the mind of the creature at birth, all this is satisfactorily accounted for, and we can understand how it comes to be true that instinct, within its proper sphere, is a safer, more trustworthy guide than reason. Following our instincts, we are following the guidance of God; following human reason, we are following the guidance of man.

Such being the nature of instincts, if God has implanted in my soul the instinct of prayer, and I know through consciousness that such is the fact, then has he laid upon me an imperative obliga- [231] tion to pray, and to believe in the efficacy of prayer. It may be that difficulties are suggested and cavils uttered—difficulties which I cannot wholly remove, and cavils I cannot satisfactorily answer. What then? Shall I cease to pray, and give up my faith in the efficacy of prayer? By no means. There is no belief which man holds concerning which difficulties have not been suggested. There is no truth which has not been made the subject of cavil. Pyrrho doubted the reality of the external world. There are Sadducees in our day as well as eighteen hundred years ago, who "say there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit." Should some scientific engineer approach a mother with an infant at her breast, and suggest a doubt as to whether the method the infant was practicing in securing its nourishment was the best possible in the case, and give it as his opinion that, if the child would make more use of pressure and less of suction, there would be a greater economy of its strength; would not the mother, if a sensible woman, reply, "The child is following the instruction of a better engineer than you. If your conclusions differ from his, there must be some fault in your reasoning, though I may not be able to point it out. I am sure that God is wiser than man; and as the child is following God's instructions, I will let him suck in the future as in the past."

II. Prayer ordinarily answered through the operation of second causes.

In answering prayer, as in all other works of his providence, God ordinarily secures results through the agency of second causes. This the men sailing with Jonah believed, as is evident from the fact that at the same time "they cried unto their gods," they ''cast forth the wares that were in the ship to lighten it of them." So is it with the thoughtful Christian man in our day, who, as taught of our Lord, prays, "Give me this day my daily bread," and then, if a farmer, carefully cultivates his fields, expecting the answer to his prayer to come through the agency of a cultivated soil, and shower and sunshine multiplying his seed sown.

Our world is a law-governed world—not law-governed in the sense in which the materialist understands that expression; a sense in which the laws of nature are so many mechanical forces, [232] and the world itself an automatic machine driven by those forces; but law-governed in the sense implied in God's immanence in nature; and the laws of nature—in the words of Sir Isaac Newton —are but "the established modes of the Divine working."

"If means were not necessary to the attainment of ends; if God did not carefully confine his powers to the line of established laws; if we lived in a world in which miracle, instead of being the infinite exception, was the rule, and God was constantly breaking forth with the exercise of supernatural power in unexpected places, and like the wild lightning eluding the most rapid thought as it dashes zigzag across the sky,—we should find all thought and intelligent action impossible. We could not understand God, because we could not trace the relation of means to ends in his action. If we could not understand him, we could not appreciate his wisdom, his righteousness, or his benevolence. We could not work with him, for we could not depend upon the operation of any means; we could not hope to effect any result. The universe would be a chaos, and the community of men a bedlam."—Dr. A. A. Hodge's Lectures, p. 96.

The true doctrine on this point is well taught in the old Greek fable of "The Wagoner," who, when his loaded wagon stuck fast in the mud, and he, falling upon his knees, called upon Jupiter for help, received for answer—"put your shoulder to the wheel, and then call upon the gods."

It is a fatal objection to the doctrine of the advocates of "the faith-cure," as it is called, that they utterly ignore the truth, taught in Scripture and confirmed by experience, that, in all ordinary circumstances, God answers prayer through the intervention of second causes; that his answers come to man as his blessing upon the use of appropriate means. Intelligent Christians they claim to be, but the heathen sailors who were Jonah's companions in tribulation exhibited a better understanding of the Christian doctrine of prayer—and Æsop was a better expounder of Scripture—than they.

III. The nature of true prayer.
Prayer is, in the language of the Shorter Catechism, "an offering up of our desires unto God." (Ans. 98.) Though words are the ordinary, they are not the only means by which man may make known his desires unto God. Actions have as articulate a voice for the ear of God as words have. When the sailors, of whom Jonah tells us, cast forth their wares from the laboring ship to lighten her of her burden, they made known to God their desire [233] for rescue from impending danger as distinctly as when in words they called upon him to save them. When the woman that "was a sinner" came behind our Lord as he reclined at table in the Pharisee's house, and weeping, "washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with the hairs of her head," she gave a more eloquent expression to her desire for the pardon of sin than she could possibly have done in the use of words; and her prayer was heard and answered; for there came immediately from the lips of him, who as God, had power on earth to forgive sin, the assurance—"Thy sins be forgiven thee, go in peace." Luke vii. 47—50. In the words of Montgomery—

"Prayer is the soul's sincere desire,
Unuttered or expressed;
The motion of a hidden fire
That trembles in the breast.
Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear;
The upward glancing of an eye
When none but God is near."

This truth will enable us to understand the language of Paul, "Pray without ceasing" (1 Thess. v. 17); "praying always, with all prayer and supplication in the spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance" (Eph. vi. 18). Paul's exhortation to Christians is not, as his words are sometimes interpreted, to always maintain a spirit or prayer, so that if occasion offers, they may be ready to pray, but to "pray always," to "pray without ceasing." This the industrious farmer does, in so far as his daily bread is concerned, not only when in the morning, on bended knee, he utters the words, "give me this day my daily bread," but just as distinctly, and to God's ear just as intelligibly, by the turning of every furrow with which his fallow-ground is broken up, by every stroke of the hoe with which his crop is cultivated, by every thrust of the sickle with which the ripened grain is gathered at the harvest season; and we may go a step further, and say, the necessary nightly rest by which his body is refreshed, and fitted for labor in the field, has, for God, a voice repeating the same petition, and thus his whole life becomes a prayer; he "prays without ceasing." On a certain occasion, after preaching this doctrine on the Sabbath, [234] on Monday morning I had occasion to pass a field in which a farmer, who had been one of my hearers the day before, was engaged in cultivating his crop, when he said to me, pleasantly, "You see, Doctor, I am busy praying for my daily bread." "Yes," was my reply, "and you expect an answer to your prayer, do you not?" "Certainly," said he. "Now, my friend," said I, "if you will pray for the salvation of your soul in the same earnest, honest way, I doubt not you will secure an answer to that prayer also."

The repetition of a mere form of words, where the words are not the expression of a desire of the heart, though the form be one which God himself has taught man, is not a prayer. At best, it is but an incantation, the utterance of a charm. The ten thousand pater-nosters, counted off upon the beads of many a devotee, are but "vain repetitions," such as the heathen use. There is not a breath of prayer in them from beginning to end; and it is only in the maudlin theology of "Babylon, drunk with the blood of God's saints," that they are accounted prayers in this, our day of advanced civilization. And yet these "vain repetitions" are often counted as prayers by superficial thinkers, and as, of course, they secure no answer from God, they are counted as unanswered prayers, and brought forward as proof of the inefficacy of prayer. This, on the one hand;—on the other, the honest, intelligent labor of the diligent man, giving utterance to prayer which God hears and answers, is not thought of as prayer at all. In the sweat of the brow of the honest laborer there is a language which God understands as truly as in the tears of the penitent. And so it comes to pass that a man's life is full of prayer and the answer to prayer of which we take no account.

IV. The range of effective prayer.
"The natural instinct of prayer reposes for its ground on God's perfections and man's dependence and wants," and hence, it would seem fairly to be inferred, that the range of effective prayer, as testified to by instinct, is coextensive with man's necessities; that it is not confined, as some would have us believe, to securing relief for man's spiritual wants alone, but covers man's physical necessities as well. Certainly, the sailors who were Jonah's companions so believed, when they "cried every man unto his god" [235] for deliverance from the storm which threatened them with shipwreck. So the Scriptures plainly teach in the story of Hezekiah, king of Judah, who, when sick, "turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord "for bodily healing, and received an answer to his prayer; a prayer as instinctive as that of the sailors just referred to, as proved by the fact that it is a prayer which has been repeated in every land, and every age.

"Prayer and the answer to prayer, are the two terms of a sequence, whereof the antecedent is prayer lifted up from earth, and the consequent is the fulfillment of that prayer in virtue of a mandate from heaven." Prayer is an efficient power in the material universe, not directly, as light, heat, and gravity are; but indirectly, by calling into active exercise the will-power of God. The efficient putting forth of the will-power of God in the affairs of our world constitutes his providential government of the world, and this extends to "all his creatures and all their actions." In the words of Dr. C. Hodge—

"The theory of the universe which underlies the Bible, which is everywhere assumed and asserted in the sacred volume, which accords with our moral and religious nature, and which, therefore, is the foundation of all natural as well as revealed religion, is that God created all things by the word of his power; that he endowed his creatures with their properties and forces; that he is everywhere present in his universe, co-operating with and controlling the operation of second causes, on a scale commensurate with his omnipresence and omnipotence, as we, in our measure, co-operate with and control them within the narrower range of our efficiency."—Theology, Vol. III., p. 698.

No good reason can be given why the range of effective prayer should not be as wide as the range of God's providence; and the teachings of Scripture on the subject seem to imply that such is the fact.

As already remarked, our world is a law-governed world, and there is a necessity that it should be such if it is to furnish a suitable habitation for man. But this fact is in no way inconsistent with the efficient putting forth of the free will-power of man in such a way as to control and direct the operation of law-governed mechanical forces so as to bring about results such as man desires. The ocean steamer carries her freight from one seaport to another, whithersoever her commander may determine, not only without deranging the operation of natural laws, but in perfect harmony [236] with those laws. If the will-power of man can operate in this way, why may not the will-power of God also? And it is on this will-power of God that prayer lays hold. That "unwavering trust in the constancy of nature which the Creator has implanted in man," which has been urged as an objection to the efficacy of prayer for certain blessings, e. g., for rain, is not a trust in a constancy in any way inconsistent with the free operation of the willpower of either God or man. The sight of the ocean steamer moving whithersoever the will of her commander may determine does not disturb my "confidence in the constancy of nature." On the contrary, understanding as I do how this effect has been brought about, it confirms my confidence in that constancy.

Study the prayer our Lord taught his disciples to offer—"Give us this day our daily bread." (Matt. vi. 11.) How do thoughtful, Christian men expect this prayer to be answered? Not by miracle—God's raining down bread from heaven, as he did upon the Israelites in the wilderness—but by God and man cooperating, and by will-power controlling the operation of second causes fitted to secure that result. Man breaks up his fallow-ground, casts in his seed, and cultivates the growing crop. God sends from heaven his showers and sunshine, and so makes for man a fruitful season. In this law-governed world of ours the one agency is as indispensable, and in its proper sphere as efficient, as the other. If the man who prays to God for his daily bread does not believe that prayer is an efficient agency in securing the needed alternation of shower and sunshine, through the putting forth of the will-power of God, his prayer is a hypocrisy; if it be not effective, the teaching of instinct and Scripture alike is a delusion. The "constancy of nature," when rightly understood, furnishes no reason why the range of effective prayer should be less extensive than the range of God's providence.

In his lecture on Divine Providence, Dr. A. A. Hodge tells us—

"The great Dr. Witherspoon lived at a country seat called Tusculum, on Rocky Hill, two miles north of Princeton. One day a man rushed into his presence, crying: 'Dr. Witherspoon, help me to thank God for his wonderful providence. My horse ran away, my buggy was dashed to pieces on the rocks, and behold, I am unharmed.' The good Doctor laughed benevolently at the inconsistent, half-way character of the man's religion. 'Why,' he answered, 'I know a providence a thou- [237] sand times better than yours. I have driven down that rocky road to Princeton hundreds of times, and my horse never ran away, and my buggy was never dashed to pieces.' Undoubtedly the deliverance was providential, but just as much so also were the uneventful rides of the College President. God is in the atom just as really and effectually as in the planet. He is in the unobserved sighing of the wind in the wilderness as in the earthquake which overthrows a city, full of living men, and his infinite wisdom and power are as much concerned in the one event as the other."—Lectures on Theological Themes, p. 39.

As men, when thinking on the subject of God's providence, often err in recognizing that providence in events out of the ordinary course of things only; so, when thinking of the efficacy of prayer, do they err in recognizing as answers to prayer, remarkable occurrences alone. The quiet bestowment of daily bread as God's blessing upon the labors of the devout Christian is as truly an answer to prayer as deliverance from shipwreck, or recovery from sickness. For this reason, as well as for reasons already given, we often fail to see how full of prayer and prayer-answers the life of the Christian man on earth is.

V. Natural and Christian prayer.
By natural prayer, I mean such prayer as instinct alone would lead a man to offer, prayer which is simply the cry of a needy, dependent creature to a being, in whom he believes, superior to himself and therefore able to help him. By Christian prayer, I mean such prayer as instinct supplemented by revelation leads the Christian man to offer, prayer which is the cry a needy dependent sinner addresses to his reconciled Father in Heaven, in the name of Christ Jesus, through whom this reconciliation has been effected. Had man never sinned, made as he was "in the image of God," he had been a perfect law unto himself, and his natural instinct would have proved an unerring and sufficient guide in prayer, as his reason and conscience would have been in the duties of life. But man has sinned, and as a consequence thereof, his whole nature has become fatally marred, and all his relations to God fatally deranged. Looking at the matter in the light of history we learn, among other things, that man is subject to degradation under the operation of sin indulged in from generation to generation, and this to such an extent that his intellect, and conscience, and even his moral instincts almost disappear, and he himself becomes little [238] better than a brute, as illustrated in the case of the savage Patagonians described by Charles Darwin in his "Voyage of the Beagle." Yet as history testifies, in the case of these very Patagonians, man may be recovered from this degradation by Christianity, and reason and conscience, and the moral instincts resume their proper sway again.

One of the first effects of the degrading influence of sin—though by no means the only one—is to obscure, if not obliterate the idea of the fatherhood of God, and all filial feeling on the part of man. God becomes a stern tyrant and man a crouching slave. Christianity, which is a revelation from God, aims to restore the original relationship between God and man, in fact, and to the apprehension of man. It discloses to reason and conscience a way in which God "can be just and justify the sinner;" a way in which man may resume his original filial relationship to his Father in heaven, and so free scope be given to the operation of his instinct of prayer. Hence it comes to be true, that while all prayer is instinctive, man needs to be taught to pray a Christian prayer; there is need that revelation should supplement the work of instinct here.

When his disciples said to our Lord, "Lord, teach us to pray, as John also taught his disciples," he said, "When ye pray, say, Our Father which art in Heaven" (Luke xi. 1, 2); and, in his sermon on the mount, when giving the assurance of the efficacy of prayer so precious to the Christian heart, "Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you," he followed it up with the words, "What man is there of you, whom if his son ask bread, will he give him a stone? Or, if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If ye, then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father in heaven give good things to them that ask him?" (Matt. vii. 7-12.) Thus does our Lord teach us that the doctrine of the fatherhood of God is fundamental in the true conception of Christian prayer. The correlative doctrine of the Christian's sonship the Scriptures teach in such words as these: "For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear, but ye have received the spirit of adoption, whereby we cry [239] Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God." (Romans viii. 15, 16.) "And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (Galatians iv. 6.) Adoption among men is often a mere form; adoption into the family of God is always a blessed reality. In his regeneration the child of God always "receives the spirit of adoption;" and in his thoughts and feelings becomes indeed a child; and to him God is his father, not by creation alone, but his reconciled father, through redemption, and as such he approaches him in prayer! Hence it comes, that Christian prayer is as truly instinctive to the Christian man as what I have called natural prayer is to the man who is not a Christian; and revelation simply supplements without interfering with the operation of instinct.

The Christian conscious of his own ignorance and liability to err in judgment, and having thorough confidence in the unerring wisdom and perfect love of his Father in heaven, will naturally always pray with entire submission to the divine will. If he have a reverent, loving child's spirit, his most earnest prayers will always be followed, expressly or by implication, with a request that God would, after all, choose for him. An example of this feeling expressed we have in our Lord's prayer, when "being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground": "Father, if thou be willing [if it be possible, Matt.] remove this cup from me; nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done." (Luke xxii. 42—44.) An instance of this feeling implied we have in Paul's prayer, thrice repeated, for deliverance from what he terms "a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan buffeting him," as is evident from his declaration when an answer is given, not in the removal of the thorn, but in the assurance, "My grace is sufficient for thee; for my strength is made perfect in weakness." "Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me." (2 Cor. xii. 7—9.)

"There is nothing more contemptible than the presumptuous claim that God has subjected the universe to our dictation. Every really holy soul must prefer a million of times that God should reign absolutely, and do with him and his as seems good in his sight. What child of an earthly father can judge in any case what, [240] upon the whole and in the long run is best for itself? How much more should we insist upon leaving every decision at the disposal of our Heavenly Father."—A. A. Hodge's Lectures on Theological Themes, pp. 102, 103.

To the doctrine of the advocates of the "faith-cure," as it is called, I have already called the reader's attention to one fatal objection, viz., that in the rejection of appropriate means, it ignores the truth that—except in the case of miracles—God answers prayer through the agency of second causes. A second equally fatal objection to that doctrine is that it calls for faith without submission, a thing impossible in the case of a reverent, loving child of God. If in any particular case prayer is offered for the healing of disease, and the healing does not follow, the advocates of the "faith-cure" ascribe the failure to the lack of faith, and so of proper prayer, on the part of the petitioner. All such doctrine as this is based upon an entire misapprehension of the true nature of the faith characteristic of effectual prayer. Such faith is either the sincere belief of some definite, specific promise, or it is that faith described in the words, "He that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is the rewarder of them that diligently seek him." (Heb. xi. 6.) And such faith is perfectly consistent with entire submission to God's will, even in the case of things most earnestly desired and importunately prayed for; as is well illustrated in our Lord's prayer in Gethsemane. True faith in all things submits to God's will, and delights to do so. Christian prayer is the making known of a child's desires to his Father in heaven. "Confidence without submission," as Dr. A. A. Hodge has well said, "is the most offensive form of unbelief which disgraces man or offends God"; it is unbelief which strikes at, not the word, but the very nature of God.

VI. Tyndall's prayer-test.
A few years ago a proposition was made—originating with Sir Henry Thompson, but brought to public attention by Professor Tyndall, and so, generally spoken of as Tyndall's prayer-test—to determine the efficacy of prayer for the sick experimentally, in a way which, it was claimed, ought to be satisfactory alike to all. The proposition, as stated by its author, was—

''For the purpose of our inquiry I do not propose to ask that one single child of man should be deprived of his participation in all that belongs to him of this [241] vast influence;" i. e., the influence of the general prayers for the sick offered in Christian churches on every Sabbath day; "but, I ask that one single ward or hospital, under the care of first-rate physicians and surgeons, containing a certain number of patients, afflicted with those diseases which have been best studied, and of which the mortality rates are best known, whether the diseases are those which are treated by medical or surgical remedies, should be, during a period of not less, say, than three or five years, made the object of special prayer by the whole body of the faithful, and that, at the end of that time, the mortality rates should be compared with the past rates, and also with that of other leading hospitals, similarly well managed, during the same period. Granting that time is given, and numbers are sufficiently large, so as to secure a minimum of error from accidental disturbing causes, the experiment will be exhaustive and complete. I might have proposed to treat two sides of the same hospital, managed by the same men; one side to be the object of special prayer, the other to be exempt from all prayer. It would have been the most rigidly logical and philosophical method. But I shrank from depriving any of—I had almost said—his natural inheritance in the prayers of Christendom. Practically, too, it would have been impossible; the unprayed-for ward would have attracted the prayers of believers as surely as the lofty tower attracts the electric fluid. The experiment would be frustrated. But the opposite character of my proposal will commend it to those who are naturally most interested in its success; those, namely, who conscientiously and devoutly believe in the efficiency against death and disease of special prayer. I open a field for the exercise of their devotion. I offer an occasion of demonstrating to the faithless an imperishable record of the real power of prayer."—Tyndall's Advancement of Science, pp. 97, 98.

1. I cannot believe that Prof. Tyndall, when he proposed thus to test the efficacy of prayer in healing diseases, used the word prayer in its low, heathen sense, of the mere repetition of a form of words—an incantation—a charm. No Christian believes in the efficacy of incantations. No teacher has ever denounced the worthlessness of the mere repetition of a form of words more emphatically than our Lord. (See Matt. vi. 5-8.) As Prof. Tyndall, in conducting such an experiment as this, would insist that the medicines should be pure, the genuine articles, he surely will not question the Christian's right to demand that the prayer used should be genuine also. Christian prayer is the only kind of prayer in question; for while it is true that God, in the exercise of his sovereignty, may, and sometimes does answer such prayer as that of Jonah's heathen ship-mates, it is Christian prayer alone which God has bound himself by promise always to hear and answer. In the words of scripture it is "the effectual, fervent prayer of the righteous man"—righteous in the gospel sense of that word—" which availeth much." (James v. 16.)

[242] a. According to the teaching of Scripture, Christian prayer is the prayer of a reverent, trusting, loving child addressed to his Father in heaven. In this particular the teaching of science, as Prof. Tyndall himself admits, is in perfect accord with that of Scripture.

''The theory that the system of nature is under the control of a Being who changes phenomena in compliance with the prayers of men, is, in my opinion, a perfectly legitimate one. It may, of course, be rendered futile by being associated with conceptions which contradict it, but such conceptions form no necessary part of the theory. It is a matter of experience that an earthly father, who is at the same time both wise and tender, listens to the requests of his children, and if they do not ask amiss, takes pleasure in granting their requests. We know also that this compliance extends to the alteration, within certain limits, of the current of events on earth. With this suggestion offered by our experience, it is no departure from scientific methods to place behind natural phenomena a universal Father, who, in answer to the prayers of his children, alters the current of these phenomena. Thus far theology and science go hand in hand."—Advance of Science, p. 102.

b. Christian prayer is "an offering up of our desires unto God." Words must be the expression of a real desire on the part of the petitioner, or they are not prayer. " God is a spirit, and they that worship him, must worship him in spirit and in truth." (John iv. 24.) The most terrible denunciations our Lord ever uttered against any sin were against the sin of hypocrisy, stage-acting in matters of religion. (See Matt, xxiii.) It is to the heart of the worshipper God's eye is directed, and it is that which he sees there, and that only, which constitutes prayer. A man may impose upon his fellow-man, he may even impose upon himself as to the true nature of his desires; he cannot impose upon God. The Christian can pray honestly for the recovery of a sick friend, with an earnestness correspondent to his love for that friend. He can pray for the recovery of the sick in general, with a real, though feeble desire, through sympathy with all sufferers, and as the outcome of his love for his brethren according to the flesh. But the prayer Prof. Tyndall's experiment calls for, is altogether different from such prayers as these. The prime object of that prayer is, not the relief of a suffering friend, or fellow-creature, but the shutting of the mouths of certain caviling philosophers, who, rejecting God's plan of settling a question, would fain excuse that rejection by proposing an entirely different plan. Certain I am, that this is the form the prayer would have to assume, if I attempted to offer it.

c. It is a well-known, wise and just principle governing God's administration of his kingdom of grace, that he will give such proof of the truth of the Christian religion as a whole, and of its several doctrines in particular, as shall thoroughly satisfy the ingenuous inquirer, but not "signs from heaven" to shut the mouths of cavilers. Our Lord says, "If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine whether it be of God." (Jno. vii. 17.) That is, if any man will set about making all right between God and himself, and do this with the Scriptures in his hands, and making those Scriptures his guide, he shall know that Christianity—and, as a part of that Christianity, the most important, practical doctrine of the efficacy of prayer—is from God. Thousands in every age of the world, and in every country where Christianity has been preached, have put this matter to the test, and invariably with the result of coming to believe in Christianity with a faith which death itself could not disturb. This is God's plan for securing a certain result; and, in so far as I can see, it is the only plan which will preserve for man his free-agency in matters which concern his salvation and the life to come.

Now, what does Professor Tyndall propose that the Christian shall do? That he should come to God with the prayer that he would set aside his plan, pursued for long ages, and with abundant success, and give "a sign from heaven" instead;—that he should do the very thing he refused to do when proposed by the caviling Pharisees and Sadducees eighteen hundred years ago (see Matt. xvi. 1-4), and had the refusal recorded in Scripture for the instruction of his people in after times. That a reverent, trustful, loving child of God should honestly put up such a prayer as this is impossible.

2. Professor Tyndall, as already quoted, writes:

"It is no departure from scientific method to place behind natural phenomena a universal Father, who, in answer to the prayers of his children, alters the current of phenomena. Thus far theology and science go hand in hand."

In these words he distinctly recognizes a peculiarity in the sequence of prayer and the answer to prayer which places it in an [244] entirely different category from that to which physical causation belongs. The free will-power of our Father in heaven is interposed between prayer and its answer. Prayer acts directly upon our Father in heaven, disposing him to attend to our wants in the exercise of his infinite wisdom and love. For this reason, prayer is often spoken of as a moral, not a physical, cause, although the answer to prayer may be in the form of a strictly physical effect. The experimental test proposed by Professor Tyndall, as has been well said:

"Is applicable only to natural order, and authorizes conclusions only in cases of strictly physical causation. That he should propose to apply it under distinctly foreign conditions, to a case involving free-will, to the moral order, was, if not mere frivolous mockery, a gross logical blunder. In the natural order, in a case of physical causation, the method named would furnish a crucial test; but, in the case proposed, it was crucial only in that it was devised to crucify the Lord afresh, and put him to an open shame."—Professor N. K. Davis, in Christian Thought, Vol. III., page 17.

3. In establishing the truths of science, careful observation is as often resorted to as experiment, and its results are as thoroughly accepted. In the case of moral causation, this method is fully open to us, and, when properly pursued, is as thoroughly scientific as the other. In the most certain of all the natural sciences, astronomy, we are compelled to depend upon observation, and not experiment, for our knowledge of truth. Tested by observation, the efficacy of prayer has been satisfactorily established by the experience of Christians in every age. In the words of Dr. A. A. Hodge:

"Millions of spiritual children of God have been ceaselessly trusting him, praying to him, and proving him, from Adam to Moses, from Moses to Christ, from Christ to the present day. Our Father knows our hearts; we know and he knows the real meaning of our prayers. We know our Father's heart. We know that when we were 'in distress, we called upon him, and he answered us, and set us in a large place.' The Christian is satisfied with what he knows as to the confidential relations between his prayer-hearing Father and himself. He can well afford to smile with pity when the stranger to the household criticizes his Father's faithfulness, and tries to convince the child, against the witness of his own consciousness, that his father does not hear and answer his prayers."—Lectures on Theological Themes, page 107.

That the doctrine of the efficacy of Christian prayer, a doctrine profoundly practical in the Christian life, should have been cavil [245] led at, and assailed from many different quarters, should cause us no surprise. In this particular, its fate has been but that of Christian truth in general. To all these cavils and objections, in so far as they claim to be scientific, the sufficient scientific answer is: Prayer is instinctive—natural and Christian prayer alike. Your cavils and objections are, at best, but results of human reasoning. Now, if there is anything certain in science, it is that, within its own proper province, Instinct is a safer, more trustworthy guide than Reason.

Geo. D. Armstrong.

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