Let the atheists and the materialists produce a better Bible than ours, if they can. Let them collect the best of their school to be found among the graduates of universities—as many as they please and from every land. Let the members of this selected group travel where they will, consult such libraries as they like, and employ every modern means of swift communication. Let them glean in the fields of geology, botany, astronomy, biology, and zoology, and then roam at will wherever science has opened a way; let them take advantage of all the progress in art and in literature, in oratory and in history—let them use to the full every instrumentality that is employed in modern civilization; and when they have exhausted every source, let them embody the results of their best intelligence in a book and offer it to the world as a substitute for this Bible of ours. Have they the confidence that the prophets of Baal had in their god? Will they try? If not, what excuse will they give? Has man so fallen from his high estate, that we cannot rightfully expect as much of him now as nineteen centuries ago? Or does the Bible come to us from a source that is higher than man?
But the case is even stronger. The opponents of the Bible cannot take refuge in the plea that man is retrograding. They loudly proclaim that man has grown and that he is growing still. They boast of a world-wide advance and their claim is founded upon fact. In all matters except in the “science of how to live,” man has made wonderful progress. The mastery of the mind over the forces of nature seems almost complete, so far do we surpass the ancients in harnessing the water, the wind and the lightning.
For ages, the rivers plunged down the mountainsides and exhausted their energies without any appreciable contribution to man’s service; now they are estimated as so many units of horse-power, and we find that their fretting and foaming was merely a language which they employed to tell us of their strength and of their willingness to work for us. And, while falling water is becoming each a day a larger factor in burden-bearing, water, rising in the form of steam, is revolutionizing the transportation methods of the world.
The wind, that first whispered its secret of strength to the flapping sail, is now turning the wheel at the well, and our flying machines have taken possession of the air.
Lightning, the red demon that, from the dawn of Creation, has been rushing down its zigzag path through the clouds, as if intent only upon spreading death, metamorphosed into an errand-boy, brings us illumination from the sun and carries our messages around the globe.