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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/455

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NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

ford, chaplain in ordinary to his Majesty George II, in the preface to his work on The Creation and Fall of Man, pronounced the whole theory "romantic and irrational." He goes on to say: "The original of our speaking was from God; not that God put into Adam's mouth the very sounds which he designed he should use as the names of things; but God made Adam with the powers of a man; he had the use of an understanding to form notions in his mind of the things about him, and he had the power to utter sounds which should be to himself the names of things according as he might think fit to call them."

This echo of Gregory of Nyssa was for many years of little avail. Historians of philosophy still began with Adam, because only a philosopher could have named all created things. There was, indeed, one difficulty which had much troubled some theologians; this was, that fishes were not specially mentioned among the animals brought by Jehovah before Adam for naming. To meet this difficulty there was much argument, and some theologians laid stress on the difficulty of bringing fishes from the sea to the garden of Eden to receive their names; but naturally other theologians replied to this that the almighty power which created the fishes could have easily brought them into the garden, one by one, even from the uttermost parts of the sea. This point, therefore, seems to have been left in abeyance.[1]

It had continued, then, the universal belief in the Church that the names of all created things, except possibly fishes, were given by Adam and in Hebrew; but all this theory was whelmed in ruin when it was found that there were other and, indeed, earlier names for the same animals than those in the Hebrew language; and especially was this enforced on sincere and thinking men when the Egyptian discoveries began to reveal the pictures of animals with their names in hieroglyphics at a period earlier than that agreed on by all the sacred chronologists as the date of the creation.

Still another part of the sacred theory now received its deathblow. Closely allied with the question of the origin of language was the origin of letters. The earlier writers had held that let-


  1. For the danger of "the little system of the history of the world," see Sayce, as above. On Dugald Stewart's contention, see Max Müller, Lectures on Language, pp. 167, 168. For Sir William Jones, see his Works, London, 1807, Part III, p. 199. For Schlegel, see Max Müller, as above. For an enormous list of great theologians from the fathers down, who dwelt on the divine inspiration and wonderful gifts of Adam on this subject, see Canon Farrar, Language and Languages. The citation from Clement of Alexandria is Strom, i, p. 335. See also Chrysostom, Hom. XIV in Genesin. Also, Eusebius, Præp. Evang. XI, p. 6. For the two quotations above given from Shuckford, see The Creation and Fall of Man, London, 1763, preface, p. lxxxiii; also his Sacred and Profane History of the World, 1753; revised edition by Wheeler, London, 1858. For the argument regarding the difficulty of bringing the fishes to be named into the garden of Eden, 6ee Massey, Origin and Progress of Letters, London, 1763, pp. 14-19.