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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/622

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

strictly maintained. The editor committed the article 'Deluge' to a man of very considerable ability, but, when the article came to him, he found that it was so excessively heretical that he could not venture to put it in. There was not time for a second article under that head, and, if you look in that dictionary, you will find under the word 'Deluge' a reference to 'Flood.' Before 'Flood' came, a second article had been commissioned from a source that was believed safely conservative. But, when the article came in, it was found to be worse than the first. A third article was then commissioned, and care was taken to secure its 'safety.' If you look for the word 'Flood' in the dictionary, you will find a reference to 'Noah.' Under that name you will find an article written by a distinguished professor of Cambridge, of which I remember that Bishop Colenso said to me at the time, 'In a very guarded way the writer concedes the whole thing,' You will see by this under what trammels scientific thought has labored in this department of inquiry."[1]

A similar surrender was seen when from a new edition of Bishop Home's "Introduction to the Scriptures," the standard text-book of orthodoxy, its accustomed use of fossils to prove the universality of the Deluge was quietly dropped.[2]

The date of a similar capitulation in the United States was fixed, when somewhat later two divines, among the most eminent for piety and scholarship, inserted in the "Biblical Cyclopædia" published under their supervision, a candid summary of the proofs from geology, astronomy, and zoology that the Deluge of Noah was not universal, or even widely extended, and this without protest from any man of note in any branch of the American Church.[3]

The time when the struggle was relinquished by enlightened theologians of the Roman Catholic Church may be fixed at about 1862, when Reusch, professor of theology at Bonn, in his work on "The Bible and Nature," cast off the old diluvial theory and all its supporters, accepting the conclusions of science.[4]

But, though the sacred theory with the Deluge of Noah as a universal solvent for geological difficulties was dead, there still remained in various quarters a touching fidelity to its memory. In Roman Catholic countries the old theory has been widely though quietly cherished and taught from the religious press, the pulpit, and the theological professor's chair: Pope Pius IX was doubtless in sympathy with this feeling when, about 1850, he forbade the scientific congress of Italy to meet at Bologna.[5]

  1. See "Official Report of the National Conference of Unitarian and other Christian Churches, held at Saratoga, 1882," p. 97.
  2. This was about 1856; see Tyler, "Early History of Mankind," p 328.
  3. McClintock and Strong, "Cyclopædia of Biblical Knowledge," etc., article "Deluge."
  4. See Reusch, "Bibel und Natur," chap. xxi.
  5. See Whiteside, "Italy in the Nineteenth Century," vol. iii, chap. xiv.