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revival of the controversial methods of Elijah, I should be asked how it was that the explorer who opened up this gulf of despair, far from being stoned or crucified as the destroyer of the honor of the race and the purpose of the world, was hailed as Deliverer, Savior, Prophet, Redeemer, Enlightener, Rescuer, Hope Giver, and Epoch Maker; whilst poor Lamarck was swept aside as a crude and exploded guesser hardly worthy to be named as his erroneous forerunner.  In the light of my anecdote, the explanation is obvious.  The first thing the gulf did was to swallow up Paley, and the Disorderly Designer, and Shelley’s Almighty Fiend, and all the rest of the pseudo-religious rubbish that had blocked every upward and onward path since the hopes of men had turned to Science as their true Savior.  It seemed such a convenient grave that nobody at first noticed that it was nothing less than the bottomless pit, now become a very real terror.  For though Darwin left a path round it for his soul, his followers presently dug it right across the whole width of the way.  Yet for the moment, there was nothing but wild rejoicing:  a sort of scientific mafficking.  We had been so oppressed by the notion that everything that happened in the world was the arbitrary personal act of an arbitrary personal god of dangerously jealous and cruel personal character, so that even the relief of the pains of childbed and the operating table by chloroform was objected to as an interference with his arrangements which he would probably resent, that we just jumped at Darwin.  When Napoleon was asked what would happen when he died, he said that Europe would express its intense relief with a great ‘Ouf!’:  Well, when Darwin killed the god who objected to chloroform, everybody who had ever thought about it said ‘Ouf!’ Paley was buried fathoms deep with his watch, now fully accounted for without any divine artificer at all.  We were so glad to be rid of both that we never gave a thought to the consequences.  When a prisoner sees the door of his dungeon open, he dashes for it without stopping to think where he shall get his dinner outside.  The moment we found that we could do without Shelley’s almighty fiend intellectually, he went into the gulf that seemed only a dustbin with a suddenness that made our own lives one of the most astonishing periods in history.  If I had told that uncle of mine that within thirty years from the date of our conversation I should be exposing myself to suspicions of the grossest superstition by questioning the sufficiency of Darwin; maintaining the reality of the Holy Ghost; declaring that the phenomenon of the Word becoming Flesh was occurring daily, he would have regarded me as the most extravagant madman our family had ever produced.  Yet it was so.  In 1906 I might have vituperated Jehovah more heartily than ever Shelley did without eliciting a protest in any circle of thinkers, or shocking any public audience accustomed to modern discussion; but when I described Darwin as ‘an intelligent and industrious
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