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“ Astronomy," he says *, “unfolds the causes of natural things; it professedly (er professo) investigates optical illusions. The Bible, which teaches higher things (sublimiora tradentes) makes use of the common modes of speech in order to be understood,-speaks only in passing of natural things, according to their appearance, since it is upon their appearance, that human language is built. And the Bible would speak in the same way, even if all men had insight into these optical illusions. For even we astronomers do not pursue this science with the design of altering common language ; but we wish to open the gates of truth, without at all affecting the vulgar modes of speech. We say, with the common people, the planets stood still, or go down,—the sun rises and sets, it comes forth from one end of heaven, like a bridegroom from his chamber, and hides itself at the other end ;-it mounts into the midst of the heavens,—these forms of speech we use with the common people ; meaning only, that so the thing appears to us, although it is not truly so, as all astronomers are agreed. How much less should we require that the Scriptures of divine inspiration, setting aside the common modes of speech, should shape their words according to the model of the natural sciences, and by employing a dark and inappropriate phraseology about things which surpass the comprehension of those whom it designs to instruct, perplex the simple people of God, and thus obstruct its own way towards the attainment of the far more exalted end at which it aims.'
• Thus plainly and excellently does this great Astronomer answer the objections which were made at his time, from the apparent inconsistencies between the Copernican system and the Bible. Still more readily does Copernicus himself dispose of those who attempted to prove such inconsistencies. He had so good a theological conscience in the construction of his system, that he dedicated his celebrated work, de revolutionibus orbium celestium, to Pope Paul III. In this dedication he says, “ Should there, perchance, be any foolish prater (uataióroyol), who, while they know nothing of mathematical matters, yet assume to pronounce judgment concerning them, and on account of some texts of Scripture which they wickedly pervert to their own purposes, venture to blame and denounce my work ;—for such persons I concern myself not at all, and despise their opinion, as stupidly impudent” t.
* Epitome Astronomiæ Copernicanæ, p. 138.
+ “The passage is thus in the original: « Si fortasse erunt ματαιόRoyou qui cum omnium mathematum ignari sint, tamen de illis judicium sibi sumunt, propter aliquem locum scripturæ, male ad suum propositum detorsum, ausi fuerint meum hoc institutum reprehendere ac insectari, illos mihi moror, adeo at etiam illorum judicium tamquam temerarium contemnam.'
Copernicus, like Keppler, and afterwards Newton, were therefore firmly persuaded, that the new system of the world was not opposed to the Bible. But the monks who condemned Galileo thought differently, and agreed with Dr. Bretschneider. He and the monks place the matter in this position, either the doctrines of the Bible, or the doctrines of Copernicus are true, -one or the other must give place. The monks, and with them the Pope, decided for the Bible; Bretschneider for Copernicus, and against the Bible; “ since it is obvious," as he says, “ that the sciences, which rest upon experience, cannot be refuted.” “ And even the Pope,” he says, (p. 77,) saw himself compelled, after a number of years, to allow the condemned Copernican system in Rome." Does Bretschneider then really think, that in allowing the Copernican system, the Pope at the same time pronounced, as carelessly as he himself does, many of the doctrines of the Bible erroneous, and that he assailed the book of Joshua ? On the contrary, science rather appeals de papa male informato, ad papam melius informandum-from the Pope ill-informed, to the Pope better informed, and the Pope is now convinced, that those who find such contradictions between the Bible and Copernicus, are foolish praters (uatatónyol), and it is on this account that he now allows of the Copernican system.
III. ANTHROPOLOGY AND THE BIBLE.
The third alleged enemy of the Bible, is, according to Bretschneider, the Natural History of the human race, founded upon the more recent information we possess respecting the different people of the earth. “ Natural philosophers and writers of travels,” says Bretschneider, (p. 68,) “communicated unsuspectingly the results of their inquiries respecting the human race, and the nations in all parts and corners of the earth. They described the difference of the races in form, colour, and intellectual powers, and the varieties arising from the mixture of the racesi They pointed out the great and permanent distinctions between them, showing that these differences cannot be laid to the account of climate or mode of support, but depend upon an original difference of origin. Blumenbach collected skulls from all parts of the world, and brought the results of his observations into a system. Into what perplexity was the theologician now thrown! If it is made to appear, that instead of one Adam for the whole human race, there is an Adam for the Caucasians, another for the negroes, a third for the American tribes, a fourth for the Malays, a fifth for the Mongoli, etc. ; what can theology do with the one Adam of the Bible, with the doctrine of the Fall, and the guilt imputed to all men through Adam, with the whole doctrine of original sin as a consequence of the Fall, and an infirmity
derived to all men, by ordinary generation from Adam ? And if these doctrines were set aside, where was the necessity of the vicarious satisfaction of Christ,-the second Adam, in order to remove the guilt of the first? Where was now the ground of the condemnation of the heathen, if they did not descend from Adam?" And--since we are put on so good a course of questions by Bretschneider,-- I would proceed to ask, where, if it is true that the theologian cannot refute the sciences which depend on experience, -where could he find any ground left, on which to construct a system of Christian Theology ? This must be as difficult an undertaking, as for a cutler to make a knife, in which nothing but the handle and blade should be wanting.
“ That the human race is divided into many species, is not derived from one Adam, but from as many Adams as there are species, was said long ago by another man, with whom more lately some German and French writers have agreed. This man was Voltaire, of whose contempt for religion Bretschneider elsewhere speaks. But how can he dare to cast a stone against Voltaire ? Indeed, where is there so great a difference between them? Has not Bretschneider, as well as Voltaire, attacked the fundamentals of the Christian doctrine,-the truth of the divine word, our only consolation in life and death? I see no difference but this, that Voltaire attacks religion with wit, and Bretschneider without wit.
* But Voltaire has been corrected in this matter by the great Haller, who thus writes * : “ Voltaire attempted to throw suspicion upon the narrative of Moses, and to make the derivation of all nations from a single man ridiculous. The pretext for his notion is derived from the fundamental error, that the different people, the whites and the negroes,--are distinguished from each other by as essential characteristics in their organization, as a palm-tree is from a pear-tree. This principle is plainly false. All men with whom we are acquainted, in the South and in the North, or who are every way discovered in the great sea which extends from Patagonia to the Cape of Good Hope, and so around the Patagonia, encircling the known world, have countenances, teeth, fingers, toes, breasts, their whole inward structure, and all the entrails, invariably alike, without the least distinction. We are acquainted with many sorts of animals, between which there are vastly greater differences than are ever found between two men, and which are yet unquestionably of the same origin.” Thus the great physiologist Haller.
* Briefe uber einige, &c. Letters on some objections of freethinkers of the present day. Pt. III. p. 70.
• In this respect Cuvier, the great zoologist of our times, perfectly agrees with him. "Man,” he says *, consists of but one genus. In another place he says,
Although there is only one genus of men, since all nations of the earth can fruitfully intermingle, yet we observe that different nations have a peculiar organization, which is propagated in a hereditary way, and that these differences of organization constitute the different races.
‘Dr. Bretschneider refers us, however, on this subject to Blumenbach. After saying, as quoted above, that the differences among men must not be laid to the account of climate or of food, but must be traced to a fundamental difference in their origin, he proceeds to say : “ Blumenbach collected skulls from all parts of the world, and brought the results of his observations into a system. Into what perplexity was the theologian now thrown? If it was made to appear, that instead of one Adam, etc.” I ask my unprejudiced reader not familiarly acquainted with this subject, whether, after reading this passage, he would not certainly have supposed, that Blumenbach affirmed in his system, that there is a difference among men, which cannot be laid to the account of climate, etc., but which depends upon a difference in their origin,-in short, that there were many Adams?
What then will the reader think, when he is assured, that he may find the very opposite of all this in Blumenbach's work, De generis humani varietate f. This work
This work concludes with the following words: “It cannot be doubted that each and all the varieties of men, as far as they are now known, belong in all probability (verisimillime) to one and the same species.”. To prove this is the object of the whole book,—to prove that the varieties among men do not result from a difference of origin, but from climate, food, etc. And not only in the work already named, but also in his contributions to natural history, has Blumenbach carried through this his characteristic doctrine. He says here, (p. 56,) “ There have been persons who have protested vehemently against seeing their own noble selves placed by the side of negroes and Hottentots, in one common genus in the system of nature. An idle dreamer,--the celebrated philosophus per ignem Theophrastus Paracelsus Bombastus, could not understand how all the children of men should belong to one
* The Animal Kingdom, by Cuvier, Pt. I. pp. 72, 87.
+ De generis humani varietate nativa, auctore Blumenbach, 1795. Compare Blumenbach's “ Handbuch der Naturgeschichte," p. 55, 1825.
and the same genus, and therefore, to solve his doubts, made on paper his two Adams. It may conduce to quiet the minds
many in this matter, which is an universal family concern, for me to name three philosophers of quite a different sort, who, however they may have differed on other points, still perfectly agreed in this; doubtless because it is an object in natural history, and they all were the greatest natural philosophers which the world has recently lost, viz. HALLER, LINNEUS, and Bur
All three of these held, that all true men, Europeans, negroes, etc. are mere varieties of one and the same genus. * Blumenbach
says farther (p. 80), “I see not the least reason, why, considering this subject physiologically, and as a subject in natural history, I should have the least doubt, that all the people, in all the known parts of the world, belong to one and the same common family. Since all the differences in the human race, however striking they may at first appear, on nearer examination run into each other by the most unobservable transitions and shades, no other than very arbitrary lines can be drawn between these varieties."
"These quotations, I think, will suffice. And now I ask the reader, (for I know not myself what I ought to say,) what he thinks, when a Protestant divine proceeds as Bretschneider here does: in the first place, setting aside the authority of the creeds of our Church (p. 43), and pretending that “the divine doctrine of the Holy Scriptures” ought to take precedence with every one over the Augsburg Confession, which is merely the word of man; and then turning himself about, and representing this same word of God, as full of falsehoods, and for proof of this representation, resorting frivolously to futile and baseless arguments, from sciences to which he has never seriously attended!
IV. NATURAL RELIGION.
,** we r..st be ready to say, when we consider the various efforts which are made to disturb the faith of Christians in the Bible, and point them only to the revelation of God in nature, i. to lead them back to heathenism, and even further (Heb. vi. 4, 6). Pascal, who was a man equally great as a natural philosopher and a theologian, clearly shews, with thorough know, ledge of himself and of nature, where this will end. When I sée," he says, “ the blindness and misery of men, and the striking contradictions which we observe in our own nature, when I see the whole creation silent, and man without light, left to himself,
* The Translator appears to have missed the sense of this allusion : It is near midnight, the Bridegroom must be at hand.