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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/454

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Latin. Others exercised their ingenuity in picking the new discovery to pieces, and still others attributed it all to the machinations of Satan.

On the other hand, the more thoughtful men in the Church endeavored to save something from the wreck of the old system by a compromise. They attempted to prove that Hebrew is at least a cognate tongue with the original speech of mankind, if not the original speech itself; but here they were confronted by the authority whom they dreaded most, the great Christian scholar, Sir William Jones himself. His words were: "I can only declare my belief that the language of Noah is irretrievably lost. After diligent search I can not find a single word used in common by the Arabian, Indian, and Tartar families, before the intermixture of dialects occasioned by the Mohammedan conquests."

So, too, in Germany came full acknowledgment of the new truth, and from a man won over to the Roman Catholic Church, Frederick Schlegel. He accepted the discoveries in the old language and literature of India as final: he saw the significance of these discoveries as regards philology, and grouped the languages of India, Persia, Greece, Italy, and Germany under the name afterward so universally accepted—Indo-Germanic.

It now began to be felt more and more, even among the most devoted churchmen, that the old theological dogmas regarding the origin of language, as held "always, everywhere, and by all," were wrong, and that Lucretius and sturdy old St. Gregory of Nyssa were right.

But this was not the only wreck. During ages the great men in the Church had been calling upon the world to wonder over the amazing exploit of Adam in naming the animals which Jehovah had brought before him, and to accept the history of language in the light of this exploit. The early fathers, the mediæval doctors, the great divines of the Reformation period, Catholic and Protestant, had united in this universal chorus. Clement of Alexandria declared Adam's naming of the animals proof of a prophetic gift. St. John Chrysostom insisted that it was an evidence of consummate intelligence. Eusebius held that the phrase "that was the name thereof" implied that each name embodied the real character and description of the animal concerned.

This view was echoed by a multitude of divines in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Typical among these was the great Dr. South, who, in his sermon on The State of Man before the Fall, declared that "Adam came into the world a philosopher, which sufficiently appears by his writing the nature of things upon their names."

In the chorus of modern English divines there appeared one of eminence who declared against this theory: sturdy old Dr. Shuck-