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Patterson, Robert / Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity
Produced by Marilynda Fraser-Cunliffe, Lisa Reigel, Michael
Zeug, and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at
(This file was made using scans of
public domain works from the University of Michigan Digital

[Illustration: Robert Patterson]









Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1875, by


In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, Washington, D. C.

Stereotyped by
176 Elm St., Cincinnati.


Did the World Make Itself? 7

Eternity of Matter.
Disproved by its Composite Nature.
Disproved by its Motion.
Evolution only a big Perpetual Motion Humbug.
Work of a Designer in the structure of the Eye.
The Eye-Maker sees over a wide Field and far.
The Eye-Maker sees Perfectly.


Was Your Mother a Monkey? 34

The Divine Fact of Evolution Quite Different from the Atheistic Theory.
State the Question Sharply--Why?
Darwin's Answer.
The Ancestral Monkey, Fish, Squirt.
Natural Selection.
Intended to Exclude God.

1. _The History of the Theory._

Indian; Phoenician; Greek; Popish; La Place's Theory; The Vestiges of
Herbert Spencer's Contradictory Theory.
The Evolutionists' Hell.
Spontaneous Generation--two Theories; the Conflicting Theories of
Progress; Tremaux; Lamarck; the Climatal; Darwin's; Huxley's;
Parson's; Mivart's; Hyatt's; Cope's; Wallace's; the Gods; Denounced
by the Princes of Science.
Agassiz's Deliverance Against it.
Imperfection of the Theory Eked out.
Huxley's Protoplasm.
Tyndall's Potency of Life in Matter.
Buchner's Matter and Force.
Lubbock's Origin of Civilization.
Consequences of the Brutal Origin of Man.
Propagandism of Atheism.

2. _The Theory Illogical and Incoherent._

Darwin Admits Insufficiency of Proof.
Useless as an Explanation of Nature.
Self-Contradictory; _e. g._, Protoplasm.
Wallace's Self-Contradictions.
Incoherency of the Denial of Design with the Assertion of Progress.
Failure of Alleged Facts to Sustain the Theory.
Does not Account for the Origin of Anything.
Wild Assumptions Made by Darwin.
Erroneous Assumption of the Tendency of Natural Selection to Improve
Assumption of Infinite Possibility of Progress in Finite Creatures.

3. _An Unfounded Theory._

No Evidence of the Facts Possible.
None Ever Alleged, save Gulliver's.
Domestication Disproves Transmutation--Horses; Pigeons; Dogs.
The Egyptian Monuments.
The Mummied Animals.
The Geological Record.
The Limits of Geological Time.

4. _Embryology._

Testimony of Scientists:
1. Embryology Only Analogical.
2. Embryos _not_ all Alike.
3. Four Distinct Plans of Structure.
4. Germs Always True to the Breed.

5. _Gradations of Species._

Lamarck's Statement.
Birth Descent not Inferable from Gradation.
No such Imperceptible Blending in Nature.
The Fact of the Present Existence of Distinct Species.
Sterility of Hybrids.
Geological Species Distinct.
The Intermediate Forms not Found.
The Gradation Does not Begin with the Lowest Forms.
Four Kingdoms from the Beginning.
The New Species Began with the Giants.
The Gaps Fatal to the Theory.
The Abyss Between Death and Life.
The Gulf Between the Plant and the Animal.
The Gaps Between Species Which will not Breed Together.
The Gaps Between Air Breathers and Water Breathers, &c.
The Great Gulf Between the Brute and the Man.
Natural Selection Could not Have Deprived a Monkey of Hair.
Nor Have Given a Human Brain.
The Brain-Worker Contravenes Natural Selection at Every Step.
Civilization the Contradiction of Natural Selection.
Morality and Religion the Direct Contraries of Natural Selection.
Tendency Immoral, Degrading, and Atheistic.


Is God Everybody, and Everybody God? 91

Pantheism Described.
An Antiquated Hindooism.
A Jesuitical Atheism.
Grossly Immoral.
A Practical Atheism.


Have We Any Need of the Bible? 112

Civilization and the Bible.
Revelation Not Impossible.
The Mythical Theory.
The Inner Light.
Many Ignorant of God.
Heathen Morality--Plato's.
Infidel Morality--Paine's.


Who Wrote the New Testament? 147

The Bible Not Just Like Any Other Book.
Two Modes of Investigation.
Did the Council of Nice Make the Bible?
The Mythical Theory.
The Evidence of Celsus.
The Fragment Hypothesis.
The Bank Signature Book.
Could the New Testament be Corrupted?


Is the Gospel Fact or Fable? 169

The Nature of Historical Evidence; Letters; Monuments.
Contemporary Letters of Peter, Pliny and John.
Prove the Existence of Churches.
And Their Worship, Holiness, and Sufferings.


Can We Believe Christ and His Apostles? 190

The Gospel a Unit; Must Take or Refuse it All.
Apostles' Testimony Circumstantial.
Witnesses Numerous and Independent.
Confirm Their Testimony with Their Blood.


Prophecy, 210

Presidential Candidates.
Draper's Dogma of Youth and Decrepitude of Nations.
Statesmen Prophets.
General Claim for All Genius.
Instances of Secular Prediction:
Cayotte's of the French Revolution.
The Oracles of Apollo.
Vettius Valens' Twelve Vultures.
Spencer's of the Disruption of the American Union.
Saint Malachi's Prophecies.
Mohammed's Prophecies.
Seneca's of the Discovery of America.
Dante's of the Reformation.
Plato's of Shakespeare.
Symbolical Language of Prophecy.
Anybody may Predict Downfall of Nations.
An Awful Truth if it be True.
But Bible Predictions Circumstantial--Egypt; Babylon; Nineveh; Judea.
Predict Life and Resurrection.
The Arabs; Jews; Seven Churches; Messiah.


Moses and the Prophets, 266

God the Author of the Bible.
Every Other Book Inspired?
Connection of Bible History and Morality.
Hume's Sophism. Miracles Being Violations of Laws of Nature, Contrary to
an Unalterable Experience.
No Testimony can Reach to the Supernatural.
Records of Facts Not Judged by Your Notions.
Rationalistic Explanation of the Miracles.
Bible Account of Creation Unscientific.
Antiquity of Man.
The Anachronisms of the Pentateuch.
Bishop Colenso's Blunders:
The Universality of the Deluge.
Joshua Causing the Sun to Stand Still.
Cain's Wife.
Increase of Jacob's Family in Egypt.
The Number of the First-Born.
The Fourth Generation.
The Bishop's Blunders in Camp Life.
Sterility of the Wilderness.
Population of the Promised Land.
Modern Discoveries in Bible Lands.
Egyptian Monuments of Joseph.
Assyrian Ethnology and Genesis, Chaps. x. and xi.
Sennacherib's Conquest of Palestine.
Belshazzar's Kingship.
The Moabitic Inscriptions, and Omri and Ahab.
The Samaritan Pentateuch.
The Character of the Books--Austere.
Variety of Writers and Unity of Plan.
Contained the Surveys, and the Laws of the Nation.
Introduced New and Republican Usages.
Moses' Law in Advance of Modern Social Science.
Testimony of the Jewish Nation.
Testimony of Christ.
The Lost Books.
The Law Abolished by the Gospel.
The Imperfect Morality of Old Testament.
Polygamy, Slavery, and Divorce.
The Education of the World a Gradual Process.
The Imprecations of Scripture.


Infidelity Among the Stars, 335

Scientific Objections to the Bible.
The Infinity and Self-Existence of the Universe.
Disproved by
Its Evident Limits.
Its Composite Materials.
Its Steady Loss of Heat.
Buffon's Explosion of Planets.
The Nebular Theories.
The Fiction of Homogeneous Matter.
The Contradictory Theories.
The Perpetual Motion Machine.
Contrary to Facts of Astronomy.
Contradicted by Astronomers.
Impossibility of any Cosmogony.


Daylight Before Sunrise, 378

Infidel Objections to Genesis.
The Hindoo Chronology.
The Egyptian Chronology.
The Bible Age of the Earth.
The Solid Firmament.
Light Before the Sun.


Telescopic Views of Scripture, 423

The Source of the Water of the Deluge.
The Stars Fighting Against Sisera.
The Astronomers of the Great Pyramid.
The Grand Motion of the Sun.
The Formation of Dew.
The Multitude of the Stars.
The Descent of the Heavenly City.


Science or Faith? 466

Must Faith Fade Before Science?
Scientists as Partial as Other People.
Have no Such Certainty as is Claimed.

1. _Mathematical Errors._

The Infinite Half Inch, Etc.
The Doctrine of Chances.
No Mathematical Figures in Nature.
The French Metric System.
The Lowell Turbine Wheel.

2. _Errors of Astronomy._

Kant's Predictions; Le Verrier's.
Herschel's Enumeration of Errors.
Sun's Distance; Other Measurements.
The Moon's Structure and Influence.
La Place's Proposed Improvement.
The Sun's Structure, Heat, Etc.
The Sizes, Distances, and Densities of the Planets.
Errors About the Nebulę.
Errors About Comets.
The Cosmical Ether.
The Cold of Infinite Space.
From This Chaos Springs the Theory of Development.

3. _Errors of Geology._

No _Fact_ of Geology Anti-Biblical.
All Anti-Biblical Theories Based on an _If_.
No Geological Measure of _Time_.
All Calculations of Time by Geologists, which Have Been Tested, Have
Proved Erroneous--the Danish Bogs; the Swiss Lake Villager; Horner's
Nile Pottery; the Raised Beaches of Scotland; Lyell's Blunder in the
Delta of the Mississippi; Sir Wm. Thompson's Exposure of the
Absurdity of the Evolutionists' Demands for Time.
Conflicting Geological Theories--the Wernerian, Huttonian, and Diluvian
Theories; the Catastrophists and Progressionists; Eleven Theories of
Earthquakes; Nine Theories of Mountains; False Geology of America;
Scotland Kicked About Too.

4. _Errors of Zoology._

Lamarck's Vestiges; Tremaux; Darwin's Contradictions; Huxley; Mivart,
and Wallace.
Blunders of the French Academy, Denouncing Quinine, Vaccination,
Lightning Rods, and Steam Engines.
Uncertainty of Science Increases in Human Concerns.
Second-hand Science Founded on Somebody's Say So.

5. _All Science Founded on Faith._

Reason Also Based on Faith.
This Life Depends on Faith.
We Demand Truths of which Science is Ignorant.
All Our Chief Concerns in the Domain of Faith.
Religion the Most Experimental of the Sciences.
The Only Science which can Make You Happy.
Try for Yourself.


This is not so much a volume upon the Evidences of Christianity, as an
examination of the Evidences of Infidelity. When the Infidel tells us
that Christianity is false, and asks us to reject it, he is bound of
course to provide us with something better and truer instead; under
penalty of being considered a knave trying to swindle us out of our
birthright, and laughed at as a fool, for imagining that he could
persuade mankind to live and die without religion. Suppose he had proved
to the world's satisfaction that all religion is a hoax, and all men
professing it are liars, how does that comfort me in my hour of sorrow?
Scoffing will not sustain a man in his solitude, when he has nobody to
scoff at; and disbelief is only a bottomless tub, which will not float
me across the dark river. If Infidels intend to convert the world, they
must give us some positive system of truth which we can believe, and
venerate, and trust.

A glimmering idea of this necessity seems lately to have dawned upon
some of them. It is quite possible that they have also felt the want of
something for their own souls to believe; for an Infidel has a soul, a
poor, hungry, starved soul, just like other men. At any rate, having
grown tired of pelting the Church with the dirtballs of Voltaire and
Paine, they begin to acknowledge that it is, after all, an institution;
and that the Bible is an influential book, both popular and useful in
its way. Mankind, it seems, will have a Church and a Bible of some sort;
why not go to work and make a Church and a Bible of their own?
Accordingly they have gone to work, and in a very short time have
prepared a variety of ungodly religions, so various that the
worldly-minded man who can not be suited with one to his taste must be
very hard to please. Discordant and contradictory in their positive
statements, they are agreed only in negatives; denying the God of the
Bible, the resurrection of the dead, and judgment to come. Nevertheless
each discoverer or constructor presents his system to the world with
great confidence, large claims to superior benevolence, vast pretensions
to learning and science, and no little cant about duty and piety.
Wonderful to tell, some of them are very fond of clothing their
ungodliness in the language of Scripture.

No pains are spared to secure the wide spread of these notions.
Prominent Infidels are invited to deliver courses of scientific
lectures, in which the science is made the medium of conveying the
Infidelity. Scientific books, novels, magazines, daily newspapers, and
common school books, are all enlisted in the work. The disciples of
Infidelity are numerous and zealous. It would be hard to find a factory,
boarding-house, steamboat or hotel where twelve persons are employed,
without an Infidel; and harder still to find an Infidel who will not use
his influence to poison his associates.

These systems are well adapted to the depraved tastes of the age. The
business man, whose whole soul is set on money-making and spending, is
right glad to meet the Secularist, who will prove to him on scientific
principles, that a man is much profited by gaining the whole world, even
at the risk of his soul, if he has such a thing. The young and
ill-instructed professor of Christianity, whose longings for forbidden
joys are strong, has a natural kindliness toward nationalism, which
befogs the serene light of God's holy law, and gives the directing power
to his own inner liking. The sentimental young lady, who would recoil
from the grossness of the Deist, is attracted by the poetry of
Pantheism. Infidelity has had, in consequence, a degree of success very
little suspected by simple-minded pastors and parents, and which is
often discovered too late for remedy.

This book is written to expose the _folly_ of some of these novel
systems of Infidelity--leaving others to show their wickedness. It may
surprise some who would glory in being esteemed fiends, to learn that
they are only fools. If they should be awakened now to a sense of the
absurdities which they cherish as philosophy, it might save them from
awaking another day to the shame and everlasting contempt of the

I have not taken up all the cavils of Infidelity. Their name is Legion.
Nor have I troubled my readers with any which they are not likely to
hear. Leaving the sleeping dogs to lie, I have noticed only such as I
have known to bark and bite in my own neighborhood, and know to be rife
here in the West. They are stated, as nearly as possible, in the words
in which I have heard them in public debate, or in private conversation
with gentlemen of Infidel principles. I have made no references to
books or writers on that side, save to such as I am assured were the
sources of their sentiments. In such cases I have named and quoted the
authors. Where no such quotations are noticed it will be understood that
I am responsible for the fairness with which I have represented the
opinions which are examined. It is not my design to fight men of straw.

Every historical or scientific fact adduced in support of the arguments
here used is confirmed by reference to the proper authority. But it has
not been deemed needful to crowd the pages with references to the works
of Christian apologists. The Christian scholar does not need such
references; while to those for whose benefit I write, their names carry
no authority, and their arguments are generally quite unknown. One great
object of my labor will be gained if I shall succeed in awaking the
spirit of inquiry among my readers, to such an extent as to load them to
a prayerful and patient perusal of several of the works named on the
next page. They have heard only one side of the question, and will be
surprised at their own ignorance of matters which they ought to have

Books on the Evidences are not generally circulated. Ministers perhaps
have some volumes in their libraries; but in a hundred houses, it would
be hard to find half a dozen containing as many as would give an
inquiring youth a fair view of the historical evidences of the truth of
the gospel. Nor, where they are to be found, are they generally read.
Being deemed heavy reading, the magazine, or the newspaper is preferred.
Ministers do not in general devote enough of their time to such sound
teaching as will stop the mouths of gainsayers. I have been assured by
skeptical gentlemen, who in the early part of their lives had attended
church regularly for twenty-two years, that during all that time they
had never heard a single discourse on the Evidences. Moreover, the
protean forms of Infidelity are so various, and many of its present
positions so novel, that books or discourses prepared only twenty years
ago miss the mark; and rather expose to the charge of misrepresentation,
than produce conviction. New books on Infidelity are needed for every

The lectures expanded into this volume were delivered in Cincinnati, in
1858. Replying to different, and discordant systems of error, whose only
bond is opposition to the gospel, they are necessarily somewhat
disconnected. No attempt was made to mold them into a suit of royal
armor, but merely to select a few smooth pebbles from the brook of
truth, which any Christian lad might sling at the giant defiers of the
armies of the living God. Having proved acceptable for this purpose, and
a steadily increasing demand for repeated editions wearing out the
original plates, the author has been requested by British and American
publishers to revise the work in the light of the recent discoveries of
science. This he has attempted; with what success the reader will judge.
Conscious of its many defects, yet grateful to God for the good which he
has done to many souls by its instrumentality, the author again commends
the book to the Father of Lights, praying him to use it as a mirror to
flash such a ray of light into many dark souls as may lead them into the
light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

SAN FRANCISCO, March 30, 1875.

* * * * *

The author having been repeatedly asked by inquirers for the names of
books on the Evidences of Christianity, subjoins a list of those easily
accessible in the West. It is not supposed that any one inquirer will
read all these; but it is well to read more than one, since the evidence
is cumulative, and it is impossible for any writer to present the whole.
Having a list of several works, the inquirer who can not obtain one may
be able to procure another. There are many other works on the Evidences
on the shelves of all our principal booksellers.

_Modern Atheism_, by James Buchanan, LL. D.

_Typical Forms and Special Ends in Creation_, by James McCosh, LL. D.,
and George Dickie, M. D.

_Religion and Geology_, Edward Hitchcock, LL. D.

_The Architecture of the Heavens_, J. P. Nichol, LL. D.

_The Christian Philosopher_, Thomas Dick, LL. D.

_Natural Theology_, William Paley, D. D.

_The Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and
Course of Nature_, Joseph Butler, D. C. L.

_The Bridgewater Treatises_, Whewell, Chalmers, Kidd, &c.

_The Comprehensive Commentary_, William Jenks, D. D.

_The Cause and Cure of Infidelity_, Rev. David Nelson.

_A View of the Evidences of Christianity_, William Paley, D. D.

_The Eclipse of Faith_, ascribed to Henry Rogers.

_The Restoration of Belief_, ascribed to Isaac Taylor.

_Lectures on the Evidences of Christianity_, University of Virginia.

_The Divine Authority of the Old and New Testaments Asserted_, J.
Leland, D. D.

_The Bible Commentary._

_An Apology for the Bible, in a Series of Letters to Thomas Paine_, R.

_A View of the Internal Evidence of the Christian Religion_, S. Jenyns.

_A Letter to G. West, Esq., on the Conversion of St. Paul_, Lord

_Observations on the History and Evidence of the Resurrection of
Jesus Christ_, Gilbert West, Esq.

_Difficulties of Infidelity_, Faber.

_Dissertations on the Prophecies_, Thos. Newton, D. D.

_An Introduction to the Critical Study of the Scriptures_, T. H. Horne,
Vol. I.

_The Evidences of Christianity_, Charles Petit McIlvaine, D. D.

_Rawlinson's Historical Evidences._

_Modern Skepticism_, by Joseph Barker.

_Haley's Discrepancies of the Bible_, W. G. Holmes, Chicago.

_The Superhuman Origin of the Bible_, Rogers.

_Christianity and Positivism_, McCosh.

_The Supernatural in Relation to the Natural_, McCosh.

_Aids to Faith_, Appleton & Co.

_Modern Skepticism_, Randolph & Son.

_Modern Doubt_, Christlieb.

_Alexander's Evidences of Christianity._



_Understand, ye brutish among the people;
And, ye fools, when will ye be wise?
He that planted the ear, shall he not hear?
He that formed the eye, shall he not see?
He that chastiseth the heathen, shall he be not correct?
He that teacheth man knowledge, shall he not know?_--PSALM xciv. 8, 9.

Has the Creator of the world common sense? Did he know what he was about
in making it? Had he any object in view in forming it? Does he know what
is going on in it? Does he care whether it answers any purpose or not?
Strange questions you will say; yet we need to ask a stranger
question: Had the world a Creator, or did it make itself? There are
persons who say it did, and who declare that the Bible sets out with a
lie when it says, that "In the beginning God created the heavens and the
earth." Whereas, say they, "We know that matter is eternal, and the
world is wholly composed of matter; therefore, the heavens and the earth
are eternal, never had a beginning nor a Creator."

But, however fully the atheist may know that matter is eternal, we do
not know any such thing, and must be allowed to ask, How do _you_ know?
As you are not eternal, we can not take it on your word.

The only reason which anybody ever ventured for this amazing assertion
is this, that "all philosophers agree that matter is naturally
indestructible by any human power. You may boil water into steam, but it
is all there in the steam; or burn coal into gas, ashes, and tar, but it
is all in the gas, ashes, and tar; you may change the outward form as
much as you please, but you can not destroy the substance of anything.
Wherefore, as matter is indestructible, it must be eternal."

Profound reasoning! Here is a brick fresh from the kiln. It will last
for a thousand years to come; therefore, it has existed for a thousand
years past!

The foundation of the argument is as rotten as the superstructure. It is
not agreed among all philosophers that matter is naturally
indestructible, for the very satisfactory reason that none of them can
tell what matter in its own nature is. All that they can undertake to
say is, that they have observed certain properties of matter, and, among
these, that "it is indestructible by any operation to which it can be
subjected in the ordinary course of circumstances observed at the
surface of the globe."[1] The very utmost which any man can assert in
this matter is a negative, a want of knowledge, or a want of power. He
can say, "Human power can not destroy matter;" and, if he pleases, he
may reason thence that human power did not create it. But to assert that
matter is eternal because man can not destroy it, is as if a child
should try to beat the cylinder of a steam engine to pieces, and,
failing in the attempt, should say, "I am sure this cylinder existed
from eternity, because I am unable to destroy it."

But not only is the assertion of the eternity of matter unproven, and
impossible to be proved, it is capable of the most demonstrable
refutation, by one of the recent discoveries of science. The principle
of the argument is so plain that a child of four years old can
understand it. It is simply this, that all substances in heaven and
earth are compounded of several elements; but no compound can be

We say to our would-be philosophers, When you tell us that matter is
eternal, how does that account for the formation of this world? What is
this matter you speak of? This world consists not of a philosophical
abstraction called matter, nor yet of one substance known by that name,
but of a great variety of material substances, oxygen, hydrogen, carbon,
sulphur, iron, aluminum, and some fifty others already discovered.[2]
Now, which of these is the eterna-matter you speak of? Is it iron, or
sulphur, or clay, or oxygen? If it is any one of them, where did the
others come from? Did a mass of iron, becoming discontented with its
gravity, suddenly metamorphose itself into a cloud of gas, or into a
pail of water? Or are they all eternal? Have we fifty-seven eternal
beings? Are they all eternal in their present combinations? or is it
only the single elements that are eternal? You see that your
hypothesis--that matter is eternal--gives me no light on the formation
of this world, which is not a shapeless mass of a philosophical
abstraction called matter, but a regular and beautiful building,
composed of a great variety of matters. Was it so from eternity? No man
who was ever in a quarry, or a gravel pit, will say so, much less one
who has the least smattering of chemistry or geology. Do you assert the
eternity of the fifty-seven single substances, either separate or
combined in some other way than we now find them in the rocks, and
rivers, and atmosphere of the earth? Then how came they to get together
at all, and particularly how did they put themselves in their present

Each of them is a piece of matter of which _inertia_ is a primary and
inseparable property. Matter _of itself_ can not begin to move, or
assume a quiescent state after being put in motion.

Will you tell us that the fifty-seven primary elements danced about till
the air, and sea, and earth, somehow jumbled themselves together into
the present shape of this glorious and beautiful world, with all its
regularity of day and night, and summer and winter, with all its
beautiful flowers and lofty trees, with all its variety of birds, and
beasts, and fishes? To bring the matter down to the level of the
intellect of the most stupid pantheist, tell us in plain English, _Did
the paving stones make themselves?_ For the paving stones are _made_ out
of a dozen different chemical constituents, and each one is built up
more ingeniously than the house you live in. _Now, did the paving stones
make themselves?_

No conviction of the human mind is more certain than the belief that
every combination of matter proves the existence of a combiner, that
every house has had a builder, and that every machine has had a maker.
No matter how simple the combination, if it be only two laths fastened
together by a nail, or two bricks cemented with mortar, or the sole of
an old pegged boot, all the atheists in the world could not convince you
that those two laths, or those two bricks, or those two bits of leather
existed in such a combination from all eternity. If any wise philosopher
tried to persuade you that for anything you could tell they might have
been always so, you would reply, "No, sir! You can't cram such stuff
down my throat. Even a child's common sense shows him that those two
laths were not always so nailed together; that those two bricks were not
always so placed, one on the top of the other; and that those two pieces
of old sole leather were not always pegged together in the sole of a
boot." There is no conviction more irresistible than our belief that
_no compound can possibly be eternal_.

But the universe is the greatest of all compounds. Everything in it is
compound. Chemists speak of simple substances, or elements of matter,
and it is well enough to separate the elements of things in our
thoughts, for the sake of distinct consideration, and to speak of the
properties of pure oxygen, or of pure hydrogen, or of pure carbon, or of
pure gold, or of pure iron, or of pure silver. But then we should always
remember that there is nothing pure in the world, that there is no such
thing in nature as any substance consisting only of a single element,
pure and uncombined with others. Just as your gold eagle is not pure
gold, but alloyed with copper, everything in nature is alloyed.
Everything in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, and in the
waters under the earth, is compound. The air you breathe, simple as it
seems, is composed of three gases, and is besides full of what Huxley
calls "a stirabout" of millions of seeds of animalculę and motes of dust
visible in the sunbeam. That hydrant water you are about to swallow is a
rich aquarium full of all manner of monsters, which the oxy-hydrogen
microscope will exhibit to your terrified gaze, devouring each other
alive. Should you get rid of them by evaporating your water, your
chemist will tell you that still your pure water must be a compound of
oxygen and hydrogen. There is no help for it.

Many years ago some astronomers fancied they had found clouds, or
nebulę, of gas, quite simple and uncompounded with anything else, a
great many millions of miles away in the sky. They were so very far away
that they thought nobody would ever be able to fly so far to bottle up a
specimen of that gas and bring it back here to earth and analyze it, to
find out whether it was pure and simple, or compound. So they felt quite
safe in affirming that there was the genuine, simple, homogeneous gas,
in the nebulę, with which Almighty God had nothing whatever to do, but
which had first made itself and then had condensed into our present
world. But unfortunately for this brilliant discovery the spectroscope
opened windows into the nebulę, and showed very plainly that they were
on fire; and fire is a compound; it can not burn without fuel and
something to support the combustion; so that settled the alleged
simplicity of the nebulę. It is now demonstrated, therefore, that every
known substance existing in nature is a compound, and therefore can not
be eternal. And the whole is not greater than the sum of its parts. No
number of finite existences can be eternal. The universe, then, can not
be eternal.

Suppose, however, that, for the sake of argument, we should grant our
atheistic world-builder his materials, away off beyond the rings of
Saturn, or the orbit of Uranus (since he seems to like to have his
quarries a good way off from his building), would he be any nearer the
completion of his world-making? As Cornwallis declared that the conquest
of India resolved itself ultimately into a question of bullocks, the
prime consideration in the construction of the world, after you have got
your materials, is that of transportation. When one beholds the three
great stones in the temple of Baalbec, each weighing eleven hundred
tons, built into the wall twenty feet high, and a fourth in the quarry,
a mile away, nearly ready for removal, he asks, "How did the builders
move those immense stones, and raise them to their places?" And when we
behold the quarry out of which these stones were taken, and all the
other quarries of the world, and all the everlasting mountains, and the
whole of this solid earth, and boundless sea, brought, as our theorists
affirm, from far beyond the orbit of the most distant planet, we raise
the question of transportation, and demand some account of the wagon and
team which hauled them to their places. We can not get rid of the
necessity for transportation by evaporating the building stones into
gas, for a world of gas weighs just as many tons as the world made out
of it. Before we can make a world we must have _power_; but we can never
get power out of the world to build itself. The atheists' world is only
a great machine. The first law of mechanics is that action and reaction
are equal; consequently machinery can never create power. You will never
lift yourself by pulling at your boot-straps; much less can a machine
lift and carry itself.

It is no matter how big you make the wheels of your machine, as big as
the orbits of the planets if you like, still it is only a machine,
unless it has a mind in it; and your big machine can no more create
power than a little machine as small as a lady's watch. Nor does it make
the least difference in respect to making power, of what materials your
perpetual motion peddler makes his machine--whether of a skein of silk
on a reel in a bottle, or of steel and zinc electro magnets running upon
diamond points, or whether he melts up his steel, and zinc, and diamonds
into red hot fire mist; it is still only a machine, made of these
materials, as destitute of power as the smaller machines made out of it.
The atheists' universe is only a big machine, and no machine can create
power, no more than a paving stone.

It has been, however, proposed to manufacture power by the law of
gravitation, according to which all bodies attract each other, directly
in proportion to their mass, and inversely as the square of their
distances. This law appears to prevail as far as our observation extends
through space; and our world builders affirm that it must have operated
eternally, and that not only were the separate parts of our earth thus
drawn together, but that all the orbs of heaven were caused to revolve
under its influence.

Suppose, however, we grant that matter was eternal, and the force of
gravitation eternally operating upon it, would that sufficiently account
for the building up of even our own little planetary system? By no

The unresisted force of gravitation would, in far less than an eternity,
draw all things together toward the center of gravity of the universe.
We should not have separate stars, and suns, and planets, and moons,
revolving in orderly orbits, but one vast mass of matter, in which all
motion had long since ceased. There must be some power of resistance to
gravitation, and nicely balanced against it, a centrifugal force--no
matter whether you call it heat, light, or electricity, or by any other
name--from which balance of power the movements of the universe are
regulated. But here again we arrive at the same conclusion from the
balance of power to which we were before driven by the combination of
matter--regulated power proclaims a regulator, a governor. Power
belongeth unto God.

In world-building we need not only a quarry of materials, and power for
transportation, but a head to plan their arrangement. For, as ten
thousand loads of brick and stone dumped down higgledy piggledy will not
build a house, neither will ten thousand millions of materials poured
into a chaos make a world like this earth, arranged in order and beauty.
It is grossly absurd to imagine that the inanimate materials of the
earth arranged themselves in their present orderly structure.

Absurd as it seems to every man of common sense, there are persons
claiming to be philosophers who not only assert that they did, but will
tell you how they did it. One class of them think they have found it out
by supposing every thing in the universe reduced to very fine powder,
consisting of very small grains, which they call atoms; or, if that is
not fine enough, into gas, of which it is supposed the particles are too
fine to be perceived; and then by different arrangements of these atoms,
according to the laws of attraction and electricity, the various
elements of the world were made, and arranged in its present form.

Suppose we grant this gassy supposition, that the world millions of ages
ago existed as a cloud of atoms, does that bring us any nearer the
object of getting rid of a Creator than before? The atoms must be
material, if a material world is to be made from them; and so they must
be extended; each one of them must have length, breadth and thickness.
The atheist, then, has only multiplied his difficulties a million times,
by pounding up the world into atoms, which are only little bits of the
paving stones he intends to make out of them. Each bit of the paving
stone, no matter how small you break it, remains just as incapable of
making itself, or moving itself, as was the whole stone composed of all
these bits. So we are landed back again at the sublime question, _Did
the paving stones make themselves, and move themselves?_

Others will tell you that millions of years ago the world existed as a
vast cloud of fire mist, which, after a long time, cooled down into
granite, and the granite, by dint of earthquakes, got broken up on the
surface, and washed with rain into clay and soil, whence plants sprang
up of their own accord, and the plants gradually grew into animals of
various kinds, and some of the animals grew into monkeys, and finally
the monkeys into men. The fire mist they stoutly affirm to have existed
from eternity. They do not allege that they remember that (and yet as
they themselves are, as they say, composed body and soul of this eternal
fire mist, they ought to remember), but only that there are certain
comets which occasionally come within fifty or sixty millions of miles
of this earth, which they suppose may be composed of the fire mist which
they _suppose_ this world is made of. A solid basis, truly, on which to
build a world! A cloud in the sky, fifty million of miles away, may
possibly be fire mist, may possibly cool down and condense into a solid
globe; therefore, this fire mist is eternal, and had no need of a
Creator; and our world, and all other worlds, may possibly have been
like it; therefore, they also were never created by Almighty God. Such
is the atheist's ground of faith. The thinnest vapor or the merest
supposition will suffice to risk his eternal salvation upon; provided
only it contradicts the Bible and gets rid of God. We can not avoid
asking with as much gravity as we can command, Where did the mist come
from? Did the mist make itself? Where did the fire come from? Did it
kindle of its own accord? Who put the fire and mist together? Was it red
hot enough from all eternity to melt granite? Then why is it any cooler
now? How could an eternal red heat cool down? If it existed as a red hot
fire mist from eternity, until our atheist began to observe it beginning
to cool, why should it ever begin to cool at all, and why begin to cool
just then? Fill it as full of electricity, magnetism and odyle as you
please; do these afford any _reason_ for its very extraordinary conduct?
The utmost they do is to show you _how_ such a change took place, but
they neither tell you _where the original matter came from_, nor _why
its form was changed_. Change is an effect, and every effect requires a
cause. There could be no cause outside of the fire mist; for they say
there was nothing else in the universe. Then the cause must be in the
mist itself. Had it a mind, and a will, and a perception of propriety?
Did the mist become sensible of the lightness of its behavior, and the
fire resolve to cool off a little, and both consult together on the
propriety of dropping their erratic blazing through infinite space, and
resolve to settle down into orderly, well-behaved suns and planets? In
the division of the property, _what became of the mind_? Did it go to
the sun, or to the moon, or to the pole star, or to this earth? Or, was
it clipped up into little pieces and divided among the stars in
proportion to their respective magnitudes; so that the sun may have,
say the hundredth part of an idea, and the moon a faint perception of
it? Did the fire mist's mind die under this cruel clipping and
dissecting process; or is it of the nature of a polypus, each piece
alive and growing up to perfection in its own way?

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Main -> Patterson, Robert -> Fables of Infidelity and Facts of Faith Being an Examination of the Evidences of Infidelity