Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/667

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive (1 Corinthians, xv, 21, 22).

If Adam may be held to be no more real a personage than Prometheus, and if the story of the fall is merely an instructive "type," comparable to the profound Promethean mythus, what value has Paul's dialectic?

While, therefore, every right-minded man must sympathize with the efforts of those theologians who have not been able altogether to close their ears to the still, small voice of reason, to escape from the fetters which ecclesiasticism. has forged, the melancholy fact remains, that the position they have taken up is hopelessly untenable. It is raked alike by the old-fashioned artillery of the churches and by the fatal weapons of precision with which the enfants perdus of the advancing forces of science are armed. They must surrender, or fall back into a more sheltered position. And it is possible that they may long find safety in such retreat.

It is, indeed, probable that the proportional number of those who will distinctly profess their belief in the transubstantiation of Lot's wife, and the anticipatory experience of submarine navigation by Jonah; in water standing fathoms deep on the side of a declivity without anything to hold it up; and in devils who enter swine, will not increase. But neither is there ground for much hope that the proportion of those who cast aside these fictions and adopt the consequence of that repudiation, are, for some generations, likely to constitute a majority. Our age is a day of compromises. The present and the near future seem given over to those happily, if curiously, constituted people who see as little difficulty in throwing aside any amount of post-Abrahamic scriptural narrative, as the authors of Lux Mundi see in sacrificing the pre-Abrahamic stories; and, having distilled away every inconvenient matter of fact in Christian history, continue to pay divine honors to the residue. There really seems to be no reason why the next generation should not listen to a Bampton lecture modeled upon that addressed to the last:

Time was—and that not very long ago—when ail the relations of biblical authors concerning the old world were received with a ready belief; and an unreasoning and uncritical faith accepted with equal satisfaction the narrative of the captivity and the doings of Moses at the court of Pharaoh, the account of the apostolic meeting in the Epistle to the Galatians, and of the fabrication of Eve. We can most of us remember when, in this country, the whole story of the Exodus, and even the legend of Jonah, were seriously placed before boys as history, and discoursed of in as dogmatic a tone as the tale of Agincourt or the history of the Norman Conquest. But all this is now changed. The last century has seen the growth of scientific criticism to its full length. The whole world of history has been revolution-