Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/653

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relapse, he bids them remember "Lot's wife."[1] When he would point out how worldly engagements may blind the soul to a coming judgment, he reminds them how men ate, and drank, and married, and were given in marriage, until the day that Noah entered into the ark, and the flood came and destroy ed them all.[2] If he would put his finger on a fact in past Jewish history which, by its admitted reality, would warrant belief in his own coming resurrection, he points to Jonah's being three days and three nights in the whale's belly (p. 23).[3]

The preacher proceeds to brush aside the common—I had almost said vulgar—apologetic pretext that Jesus was using ad hominem arguments, or "accommodating" his better knowledge to popular ignorance, as well as to point out the inadmissibility of the other alternative, that he shared the popular ignorance. And to those who hold the latter view sarcasm is dealt out with no niggard hand:

But they will find it difficult to persuade mankind that, if he could be mistaken on a matter of such strictly religious importance as the value of the sacred literature of his countrymen, he can be safely trusted about anything else. The trustworthiness of the Old Testament is, in fact, inseparable from the trustworthiness of our Lord Jesus Christ; and if we believe that he is the true Light of the world, we shall close our ears against suggestions impairing the credit of those Jewish Scriptures which have received the stamp of his divine authority (p. 25).

Moreover, I learn from the public journals that a brilliant and sharply-cut view of orthodoxy, of like hue and pattern, was only the other day exhibited in that great theological kaleidoscope, the pulpit of St. Mary's, recalling the time so long passed by, when a Bampton lecturer, in the same place, performed the unusual feat of leaving the faith of old-fashioned Christians undisturbed.

Yet many things have happened in the intervening thirty-one years. The Bampton lecturer of 1859 had to grapple only with the infant Hercules of historical criticism; and he is now a full-grown athlete, bearing on his shoulders the spoils of all the lions that have stood in his path. Surely a martyr's courage, as well as a martyr's faith, is needed by any one who, at this time, is prepared to stand by the following plea for the veracity of the Pentateuch:

Adam, according to the Hebrew original, was for two hundred and forty-three years contemporary with Methuselah, who conversed for a hundred years with Shem. Shem was for fifty years contemporary with Jacob, who probably saw Jochebed, Moses's mother. Thus Moses might, by oral tradition, have obtained the history of Abraham, and even of the deluge, at third hand; and that of the temptation and the fall at fifth hand. . . . If it be granted—as it seems to be—that the great and stirring events in a nation's life will, under ordinary circumstances, be remembered (apart from all written memorials) for the space of one hundred and fifty years, being handed down through five generations, it must be allowed (even on mere human grounds)

  1. St. Luke, xvii, 32.
  2. Ibid., 27.
  3. St. Matt, xii, 40.