In 1856 Father Debreyne congratulated the theologians of France on their admirable attitude: "instinctively," he says, they still insist upon deriving the fossils from Noah's Flood. In 1875 the Abbe Choyer published at Paris and Angers a text-book widely approved by church authorities, in which he took similar ground; and in 1877 the Jesuit father, Bosizio, published at Mayence a treatise on geology and the Deluge, endeavoring to hold the world to the old solution of the problem, allowing, indeed, that the "days" of creation were long periods, but making atonement for this concession by sneers at Darwin,
In the Russo-Greek Church, in 1869, Archbishop Macarius, of Lithuania, urged the necessity of believing that Creation in six days of ordinary time and the Deluge of Noah are the only causes of all that geology seeks to explain; and, as late as 1876, another eminent theologian of the same church went even farther, and refused to allow the faithful to believe that any change had taken place since "the beginning" mentioned in Genesis, when the strata of the earth were laid, tilted, and twisted, and the fossils scattered among them by the hand of the Almighty during six ordinary days.
In the Lutheran branch of the Protestant Church we also find some echoes of the old belief. Keil, eminent in scriptural interpretation at the University of Dorpat, gave forth in 1860 a treatise insisting that geology is rendered futile and its explanations vain by two great facts—the Curse which drove Adam and Eve out of Eden, and the Flood that destroyed all living things save Noah, his family, and the animals in the ark. In 1867, Phillippi, and in 1869, Diedrich, both theologians of eminence, took virtually the same ground in Germany, the latter attempting to beat back the scientific hosts with a phrase apparently pithy, but really hollow—the declaration that "modern geology observes what is, but has no right to judge concerning the beginning of things." As late as 1876, Zugler took a similar view, and a multitude of lesser lights, through pulpit and press, brought these anti-scientific doctrines to bear upon the people at large—the only effect being to deaden the intellects of the peasantry in general and to arouse grave doubts regarding Christianity among the more thoughtful young men, who naturally distrusted a cause using such weapons.
The results of this policy, both in Roman Catholic and in Protestant countries, are not far to seek. What the condition of thought is among the middle classes of France and Italy needs not to be stated here. In Germany, as a typical fact, it may be mentioned that there was in the year 1881 church accommodation in the city of Berlin for
- See Zöckler, vol. ii, p. 472.
- See Zöckler, vol. ii, p. 478, and Bosizio, "Geologie und die Sündfluth," Mayence, 1877, preface, p. xiv.
- See Zöckler, vol. ii, pp. 472, 571.
- See citations in Zöckler, Reusch, and Shields.