Part 2 out of 4
This may seem like a harsh doctrine and yet it is merely an application
to morals of a salutary principle that all understand when applied by
the surgeon. A finger is often removed in order to save the hand; a hand
is removed to save the arm; and an arm is removed to save the body. An
eye, too, is often removed to save the sight of the remaining eye. Is
eye or arm or body more important than the soul?
Christ understood relative values in the spiritual world. He used the
material things in life to illustrate values in the realm of the ideal;
He used the things that are seen to make understandable the eternal
things that the senses cannot comprehend.
And what called forth this powerful illustration--the sacrificing of
the right eye and the right hand to save the body? He was laying the
foundation for a great moral reform, namely, the single standard of
morality. He was attacking a great sin and, as usual, He laid the axe at
the root of the tree. He was dealing with adultery and He traced the sin
to its source. He would purge the heart of the unclean thought; He would
put a ban on the desire before it found vent in accomplishment. He
turned the thought from the body to the heart and to the soul.
And He not only warned men against harbouring the seeds of this sin but
He rebuked them for injustice in dealing more harshly with woman than
they did with themselves. He did not condone sin; He forgave it, and
accompanied forgiveness with the injunction, "Sin no more."
Christ dignified childhood next to womanhood. One of His most beautiful
lessons was woven about a child which He summoned from the crowd. The
child's faith was made the test--"Except ye be converted and become as
little children ye shall not enter into the kingdom." And again, "Suffer
the little children to come unto me and forbid them not: for of such is
the kingdom of heaven."
His depth of affection--His longing for souls--is beautifully set forth
in Matthew 23: 37 when He uses the most familiar object in the animal
kingdom to express His solicitude: "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that
killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how
often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen
gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!"
And yet this gentle spirit who would not break a bruised reed--who went
about doing good--was wont to blaze forth with hot indignation against
sordidness and systematized injustice. Hear His fierce denunciation of
the "scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites" who devoured widows' houses
and for a pretense made long prayers; and behold Him casting the
money-changers out of the temple because they had turned the house of
prayer into a den of thieves.
In a startling paradox He sets forth a great truth: "Whosoever shall
save his life shall lose it; but whosoever shall lose his life for my
sake, the same shall save it." When, before or since, has the littleness
of the self-centered been so exposed and the nobility of self-surrender
been so glorified? Wendell Phillips has given a splendid paraphrase of
this wonderful utterance. He says, "How prudently most men sink into
nameless graves, while now and then a few forget themselves into
But the one doctrine which more than any other distinguished His
teachings from those of uninspired instructors, is forgiveness. Time
and again He brings it forward and lays emphasis upon it. In the very
beginning of His ministry He drew a contrast between the perverted
morals of that day and the spiritual life into which He would lead them
Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour,
and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless
them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for
them which despitefully use you and persecute you; That ye may be
the children of your Father which is in heaven, for he maketh his
sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the
just and on the unjust. For if ye love them which love you, what
reward have ye? Do not even the publicans the same? And if ye salute
your brethren only, what do ye more than others? Do not even the
publicans so? Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is
in heaven is perfect.
A little later, He embodies the thought in the Lord's Prayer--"Forgive
us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." He
follows that with a scathing arraignment of the cruel servant, who,
having been forgiven a debt almost incalculable in amount, refused to
forgive a small debt due to him. Even when in agony upon the cross the
thought of forgiveness was uppermost in the Saviour's heart and He
prayed: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!"
He was not thinking of relief to wrong-doers when He made forgiveness a
cardinal principle in the moral code that He promulgated. It was not,
I am persuaded, to shield from just punishment one who does injury to
another, but to save the injured from the paralyzing influence of the
thirst for revenge. It is only rarely that one has an opportunity to
retaliate, but the desire for retaliation is a soul-destroying disease.
Christ would purge the heart of hatred and make love the law of life.
Christianity has been called "The Gospel of the Second Chance"; it is
more than that. There is no limit to the chances that it offers to the
repentant. When Christ was asked whether one should forgive a brother
seven times He answered, "Seventy times seven." Christianity is the only
hope of the discouraged and the despondent. Walter Malone has put into a
poem entitled "Opportunity" the exhaustless mercy that Christ holds out
to men. I quote the concluding stanzas:
Though deep in mire, wring not your hands and weep:
I lend my arm to all who say "I can";
No shamefaced outcast ever sank so deep
But he might rise and be again a man!
Dost thou behold thy lost youth all aghast?
Dost reel from righteous retribution's blow?
Then turn from blotted archives of the past,
And find the future's pages white as snow.
Art thou a mourner? Rouse thee from thy spell;
Art thou a sinner? Sins may be forgiven.
Each morning gives thee wings to flee from hell,
Each night a star to guide thy feet to heaven.
When the Heavenly Father reserved to Himself the right to avenge
injuries He conferred an incalculable benefit upon mankind, just as He
did when He imposed upon the organs of the body the task of keeping
us alive. Not a heart could beat, nor could the lungs expand if their
movement had been left to the voluntary act of man. But God has relieved
His creatures of concern about blood and breath that man, freed from a
labour beyond his strength, may employ his time in the service of his
Maker. And so man is relieved from the impossible task of avenging
wrongs done him that he may devote himself to the public weal.
I shall at another time speak of some of the present-day fruits of this
doctrine taught nineteen centuries ago; I present it now as one of the
most difficult of the Christian virtues to cultivate, but one of the
most prolific in the blessings that it bestows. It contributes largely
to the securing of peace, and Christ is the Prince of Peace.
All the world is in search of peace; every heart that ever beat has
sought for peace and many have been the methods employed to secure it.
Some have thought to purchase it with riches and they have laboured to
secure wealth, hoping to find peace when they were able to go where
they pleased and buy what they liked. Of those who have endeavoured to
purchase peace with money, the large majority have failed to secure
the money. But what has been the experience of those who have been
successful in accumulating money? They all tell the same story, viz.,
that they spent the first half of their lives trying to get money from
others and the last half trying to keep others from getting their money
and that they found peace in neither half. Some have even reached the
point where they find difficulty in getting worthy institutions to
accept their money; and I know of no better indication of the ethical
awakening in this country than the increasing tendency to scrutinize the
methods of money-making. A long step in advance will have been taken
when religious, educational and charitable institutions refuse to
condone immoral methods in business and leave the possessor of
ill-gotten gains to learn the loneliness of life when one prefers money
Some have sought peace in social distinctions, but whether they have
been within the charmed circle and fearful lest they might fall out, or
outside and hopeful that they might get in, they have not found peace.
Some have thought, vain thought! to find peace in political prominence;
but whether office comes by birth, as in monarchies, or by election, as
in republics, it does not bring peace. An office is conspicuous only
when few can occupy it. Only when few in a generation can hope to enjoy
an honour do we call it a _great_ honour. I am glad that our Heavenly
Father did not make the peace of the human heart to depend upon the
accumulation of wealth, or upon the securing of social or political
distinction, for in either case but few could have enjoyed it. When He
made peace the reward of a conscience void of offense toward God and
man, He put it within the reach of all. The poor can secure it as easily
as the rich, the social outcast as freely as the leader in society, and
the humblest citizen equally with those who wield political power.
"Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give
you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and
lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is
easy, and my burden is light" (Matt. 11:28-30).
Here is a call to _all_--to every human being. No one is beyond the
reach of Jesus' love. The yoke is the emblem of service and service
is the price of happiness. We wear many yokes in common--the yoke of
society, the yoke of government, and the yoke of custom, not to speak of
a multitude of yokes that are individual. Wherever the Gospel has been
carried there are two yokes between which a choice must be made--the
devil's yoke and the yoke of the Master.
Let no one be deceived--if the devil would tempt the Saviour Himself,
will he not tempt you? Satan's service is alluring--it begins in
pleasure and ends in sorrow--"the dead are there!" Christ's service
begins in duty and ends in delight--"Blessed is the man who endureth
temptation." The devil's path is like a forest road at eventide; it
grows darker and darker until all is lost in the blackness of the night.
Christ's path leads from darkness into light.
"He is risen!" What inspiration in these words! Nature proclaims a life
beyond the grave, but Christ proves it by His resurrection. Nature gives
circumstantial evidence that would seem conclusive; but Christ is the
living witness whose testimony establishes beyond controversy that the
mortal can put on immortality. He comforts those who mourn; He dispels
the gloom by making death but a narrow, star-lit strip between the
companionship of yesterday and the reunion of to-morrow. Christ not only
gives us assurance of immortality but He adds the promise of His return.
As He ascended in like manner will He come again.
"And, lo, he goeth before you into Galilee." Yes, He is still going on
before--still leading, and His leadership will continue until time shall
be no more.
The growth of Christianity from its beginning on the banks of the
Jordan, until to-day, when its converts are baptized in every part of
the world, is so graphically described by Dr. Charles Edward Jefferson,
in his book entitled "Things Fundamental," that I take the liberty of
giving the following extracts:
"Christ in history! There is a fact--face it. According to the New
Testament, Jesus walked along the shores of a little sea known as
the Sea of Galilee. And there He called Peter and Andrew and James
and John and several others to be His followers, and they left all
and followed Him. After they had followed Him they revered Him, and
later on adored and worshipped Him. He left them on their faces,
each man saying, 'My Lord and my God!' All that is in the New
"But put the New Testament away. Time passes; history widens; an
unseen Presence walks up and down the shores of a larger sea, the
sea called the Mediterranean--and this unseen Presence calls men to
follow Him ...--another twelve--and these all followed Him and cast
themselves at His feet, saying, in the words of the earlier twelve,
'My Lord and my God!'
"Time passes; history advances; humanity lives its life around the
circle of a larger sea--the Atlantic Ocean. An unseen Presence walks
up and down the shores calling men to follow Him .... --another
twelve--and these leave all and follow Him. We find them on their
faces, each one saying, '_My_ Lord and my God!'
"Time passes; history is widening; humanity is building its
civilization around a still wider sea--we call it the Pacific Ocean.
An unknown Presence moves up and down the shores calling men to
follow Him, and they are doing it. Another company of twelve is
forming. And what took place in Palestine nineteen centuries ago is
taking place again in our own day and under our own eyes."
I conclude by calling attention to the comprehensiveness of Christ's
authority. After His crucifixion and resurrection--in His last
conference with His followers--He announces His boldest claim to
power universal and perpetual (Matt. 28):
... _All_ power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye
therefore, and teach _all_ nations, baptizing them in the name of
the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; Teaching them to
observe _all_ things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am
with you _alway_, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
Here is a Gospel intended for _every_ human being; here is a code of
morals that is to endure for _all time;_ here is a solution for _every_
problem that can vex a heart or perplex a world, and back of these is
_all power in Heaven and in Earth_.
The word _all_ is used four times in a few sentences. There is nothing
in reserve. We have the final word in religion--Jesus Christ for all,
and for all time--"The same yesterday, and to-day and forever."
THE ORIGIN OF MAN
When the mainspring is broken a watch ceases to be useful as a
timekeeper. A handsome case may make it still an ornament and the parts
may have a market value, but it cannot serve the purpose of a watch.
There is that in each human life that corresponds to the mainspring of a
watch--that which is absolutely necessary if the life is to be what it
should be, a real life and not a mere existence. That necessary thing is
_a belief in God_. Religion is defined as the relation between God and
man, and Tolstoy has described morality as the outward expression of
this inward relationship.
If it be true, as I believe it is, that morality is dependent upon
religion, then religion is not only the most practical thing in the
world, but the first essential. Without religion, viz., a sense of
dependence upon God and reverence for Him, one can play a part in both
the physical and the intellectual world, but he cannot live up to the
possibilities which God has placed within the reach of each human being.
A belief in God is fundamental; upon it rest the influences that control
First, the consciousness of God's presence in the life gives one a sense
of responsibility to the Creator for every thought and word and deed.
Second, prayer rests upon a belief in God; communion with the Creator
in the expression of gratitude and in pleas for guidance powerfully
Third, belief in a personal immortality rests upon faith in God; the
inward restraint that one finds in a faith that looks forward to a
future life with its rewards and punishments, makes outward restraint
less necessary. Man is weak enough in hours of temptation, even when he
is fortified by the conviction that this life is but a small arc of
an infinite circle; his power of resistance is greatly impaired if he
accepts the doctrine that conscious existence terminates with death.
Fourth, the spirit of brotherhood rests on a belief in God. We trace our
relationship to our fellowmen through the Creator, the Common Parent of
Fifth, belief in the Bible depends upon a belief in God. Jehovah comes
first; His word comes afterward. There can be no inspiration without a
Heavenly Father to inspire.
Sixth, belief in God is also necessary to a belief in Christ; the Son
could not have revealed the Father to man according to any atheistic
theory. And so with all other Christian doctrines: they rest upon a
belief in God.
If belief in God is necessary to the beliefs enumerated, then it follows
logically that anything that weakens belief in God weakens man, and, to
the extent that it impairs belief in God, reduces his power to measure
up to his opportunities and responsibilities. If there is at work in the
world to-day anything that tends to break this mainspring, it is the
duty of the moral, as well as the Christian, world to combat this
influence in every possible way.
I believe there is such a menace to fundamental morality. The hypothesis
to which the name of Darwin has been given--the hypothesis that links
man to the lower forms of life and makes him a lineal descendant of the
brute--is obscuring God and weakening all the virtues that rest upon the
religious tie between God and man. Passing over, for the present, all
other phases of evolution and considering only that part of the system
which robs man of the dignity conferred upon him by separate creation,
when God breathed into him the breath of life and he became the first
man, I venture to call attention to the demoralizing influence exerted
by this doctrine.
If we accept the Bible as true we have no difficulty in determining the
origin of man. In the first chapter of Genesis we read that God, after
creating all other things, said, "Let us make man in our image, after
our likeness; and let him have dominion over the fish of the sea, and
over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth,
and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God
created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male
and female created he them."
The materialist has always rejected the Bible account of Creation and,
during the last half century, the Darwinian doctrine has been the means
of shaking the faith of millions. It is important that man should have
a correct understanding of his line of descent. Huxley calls it the
"question of questions" for mankind. He says: "The problem which
underlies all others, and is more interesting than any other--is the
ascertainment of the place which man occupies in nature and of his
relation to the universe of things. Whence our race has come, what are
the limits of our power over nature, and of nature's power over us, to
what goal are we tending, are the problems which present themselves anew
with undiminished interest to every man born in the world."
The materialists deny the existence of God and seek to explain man's
presence upon the earth without a creative act. They go back from man to
the animals, and from one form of life to another until they come to the
first germ of life; there they divide into two schools, some believing
that the first germ of life came from another planet, others holding
that it was the result of spontaneous generation. One school answers
the arguments advanced by the other and, as they cannot agree with each
other, I am not compelled to agree with either.
If it were necessary to accept one of these theories I would prefer the
first; for, if we can chase the germ of life off of this planet and out
into space, we can guess the rest of the way and no one can contradict
us. But, if we accept the doctrine of spontaneous generation we will
have to spend our time explaining why spontaneous generation ceased to
act after the first germ of life was created. It is not necessary to pay
much attention to any theory that boldly eliminates God; it does not
deceive many. The mind revolts at the idea of spontaneous generation; in
all the researches of the ages no scientist has found a single instance
of life that was not begotten by life. The materialist has nothing but
imagination to build upon; he cannot hope for company or encouragement.
But the Darwinian doctrine is more dangerous because more deceptive. It
_permits_ one to believe in a God, but puts the creative act so far away
that reverence for the Creator--even belief in Him--is likely to be
Before commenting on the Darwinian hypothesis let me refer you to the
language of its author as it applies to man. On page 180 of "Descent of
Man" (Hurst & Company, Edition 1874), Darwin says: "Our most ancient
progenitors in the kingdom of the Vertebrata, at which we are able to
obtain an obscure glance, apparently consisted of a group of marine
animals, resembling the larvae of the existing Ascidians." Then he
suggests a line of descent leading to the monkey. And he does not even
permit us to indulge in a patriotic pride of ancestry; instead of
letting us descend from American monkeys, he connects us with the
European branch of the monkey family.
It will be noted, first, that he begins the summary with the word
"apparently," which the Standard Dictionary defines: "as judged by
appearances, without passing upon its reality." His second sentence
(following the sentence quoted) turns upon the word "probably," which is
defined: "as far as the evidence shows, presumably, likely." His works
are full of words indicating uncertainty. The phrase "we may; well
suppose," occurs over eight hundred times in his two principal works.
(See _Herald & Presbyter_, November 22, 1914.) The eminent scientist is
After locating our gorilla and chimpanzee ancestors in Africa, he
concludes that "it is useless to speculate on this subject." If the
uselessness of speculation had occurred to him at the beginning of his
investigation he might have escaped responsibility for shaking the faith
of two generations by his guessing on the whole subject of biology.
If we could divide the human race into two distinct groups we might
allow evolutionists to worship brutes as ancestors but they insist on
connecting all mankind with the jungle. We have a right to protect our
Having given Darwin's conclusions as to man's ancestry, I shall quote
him to prove that his hypothesis is not only groundless, but absurd and
harmful to society. It is groundless because there is not a single fact
in the universe that can be cited to prove that man is descended from
the lower animals. Darwin does not use facts; he uses conclusions drawn
from similarities. He builds upon presumptions, probabilities and
inferences, and asks the acceptance of his hypothesis "notwithstanding
the fact that connecting links have not hitherto been discovered" (page
162). He advances an hypothesis which, if true, would find support on
every foot of the earth's surface, but which, as a matter of fact, finds
support nowhere. There are myriads of living creatures about us, from
insects too small to be seen with the naked eye to the largest mammals,
and, yet, not one is in transition from one species to another; every
one is perfect. It is strange that slight similarities could make him
ignore gigantic differences. The remains of nearly one hundred species
of vertebrate life have been found in the rocks, of which more than
one-half are found living to-day, and none of the survivors show
material change. The word hypothesis is a synonym used by scientists for
the word guess; it is more dignified in sound and more imposing to the
sight, but it has the same meaning as the old-fashioned, every-day
word, guess. If Darwin had described his doctrine as a guess instead of
calling it an hypothesis, it would not have lived a year.
[Footnote 1: Dr. Etheridge, Fossiologist of the British Museum, says:
"Nine-tenths of the talk of Evolutionists is sheer nonsense, not founded
on observation and wholly unsupported by facts. This museum is full of
proofs of the utter falsity of their views."
Prof. Beale, of King's College, London, says: "In support of all
naturalistic conjectures concerning man's origin, there is not at this
time a shadow of scientific evidence."
Prof. Fleischmann, of Erlangen, says: "The Darwinian theory has in the
realms of Nature not a single fact to confirm it. It is not the result
of scientific research, but purely the product of the imagination."
The January issue of "Science," 1922, contains a speech delivered at
Toronto last December by Prof. William Bateson of London before the
American Association for the Advancement of Science. He says that
science has faith in evolution but doubts as to the origin of species.]
Probably nothing impresses Darwin more than the fact that at an early
stage the foetus of a child cannot be distinguished from the foetus of
an ape, but why should such a similarity in the beginning impress him
more than the difference at birth and the immeasurable gulf between the
two at forty? If science cannot detect a difference, _known to exist_,
between the foetus of an ape and the foetus of a child, it should
not ask us to substitute the inferences, the presumptions and the
probabilities of science for the word of God.
Science has rendered invaluable service to society; her achievements are
innumerable--and the hypotheses of scientists should be considered with
an open mind. Their theories should be carefully examined and their
arguments fairly weighed, but the scientist cannot compel acceptance
of any argument he advances, except as, judged upon its merits, it is
convincing. Man is infinitely more than science; science, as well as
the Sabbath, was made for man. It must be remembered, also, that all
sciences are not of equal importance. Tolstoy insists that the science
of "How to Live" is more important than any other science, and is this
not true? It is better to trust in the Rock of Ages, than to know the
age of the rocks; it is better for one to know that he is close to the
Heavenly Father, than to know how far the stars in the heavens are
apart. And is it not just as important that the scientists who deal with
matter should respect the scientists who deal with spiritual things,
as that the latter should respect the former? If it be true, as Paul
declares, that "the things that are seen are temporal" while "the things
that are unseen are eternal," why should those who deal with temporal
things think themselves superior to those who deal with the things that
are eternal? Why should the Bible, which the centuries have not been
able to shake, be discarded for scientific works that have to be revised
and corrected every few years? The preference should be given to the
The two lines of work are parallel. There should be no conflict between
the discoverers of _real_ truths, because real truths do not conflict.
Every truth harmonizes with every other truth, but why should an
hypothesis, suggested by a scientist, be accepted as true until its
truth is established? Science should be the last to make such a demand
because science to be truly science is classified knowledge; it is
the explanation of facts. Tested by this definition, Darwinism is not
science at all; it is guesses strung together. There is more science in
the twenty-fourth verse of the first chapter of Genesis (And God said,
let the earth bring forth the living creature after his kind, cattle and
creeping things, and beast of the earth after his kind; and it was so.)
than in all that Darwin wrote.
It is no light matter to impeach the veracity of the Scriptures in
order to accept, not a truth--not even a theory--but a mere hypothesis.
Professor Huxley says, "There is no fault to be found with Darwin's
method, but it is another thing whether he has fulfilled all the
conditions imposed by that method. Is it satisfactorily proved that
species may be originated by selection? That none of the phenomena
exhibited by the species are inconsistent with the origin of the species
in this way? If these questions can be answered in the affirmative,
Mr. Darwin's view steps out of the ranks of hypothesis into that of
theories; but so long as the evidence adduced falls short of enforcing
that affirmative, so long, to our minds, the new doctrine must be
content to remain among the former--an extremely valuable, and in the
highest degree probable, doctrine; indeed the only extant hypothesis
which is worth anything in a scientific point of view; but still a
hypothesis, and not a theory of species." "After much consideration,"
he adds, "and assuredly with no bias against Darwin's views, it is our
clear conviction that, as the evidence now stands, it is not absolutely
proven that a group of animals, having all the characters exhibited
by species in nature, has ever been originated by selection, whether
artificial or natural."
But Darwin is absurd as well as groundless. He announces two laws,
which, in his judgment, explain the development of man from the lowest
form of animal life, viz., natural selection and sexual selection. The
latter has been abandoned by the modern believers in evolution, but
two illustrations, taken from Darwin's "Descent of Man," will show his
unreliability as a guide to the young. On page 587 of the 1874 edition,
he tries to explain man's superior mental strength (a proposition more
difficult to defend to-day than in Darwin's time). His theory is that,
"the struggle between the males for the possession of the females"
helped to develop the male mind and that this superior strength was
transmitted by males to their male offspring.
After having shown, to his own satisfaction, how sexual selection would
account for the (supposed) greater strength of the male mind, he turns
his attention to another question, namely, how did man become a hairless
animal? This he accounts for also by sexual selection--the females
preferred the males with the least hair (page 624). In a footnote on
page 625 he says that this view has been harshly criticized. "Hardly any
view advanced in this work," he says, "has met with so much disfavour."
A comment and a question: First, Unless the brute females were very
different from the females as we know them, they would not have agreed
in taste. Some would "probably" have preferred males with less hair,
others, "we may well suppose," would have preferred males with more
hair. Those with more hair would naturally be the stronger because
better able to resist the weather. But, second, how could the males have
strengthened their minds by fighting for the females if, at the same
time, the females were breeding the hair off by selecting the males? Or,
did the males select for three years and then allow the females to do
the selecting during leap year?
But, worse yet, in a later edition published by L.A. Burt Company, a
"supplemental note" is added to discuss two letters which he thought
supported the idea that sexual selection transformed the hairy animal
into the hairless man. Darwin's correspondent (page 710) reports that
a mandril seemed to be proud of a bare spot. Can anything be less
scientific than trying to guess what an animal is thinking about? It
would seem that this also was a subject about which it was "useless to
While on this subject it may be worth while to call your attention to
other fantastic imaginings of which those are guilty who reject the
Bible and enter the field of speculation--fiction surpassing anything to
be found in the Arabian Nights. If one accepts the Scriptural account of
the creation, he can credit God with the working of miracles and with
the doing of many things that man cannot understand. The evolutionist,
however, having substituted what he imagines to be a universal law for
separate acts of creation must explain everything. The evolutionist,
not to go back farther than life just now, begins with one or a few
invisible germs of life on the planet and imagines that these invisible
germs have, by the operation of what they call "resident forces,"
unaided from without, developed into all that we see to-day. They cannot
in a lifetime explain the things that have to be explained, if their
hypothesis is accepted--a useless waste of time even if explanation were
Take the eye, for instance; believing in the Mosaic account, I believe
that God made the eyes when He made man--not only made the eyes but
carved out the caverns in the skull in which they hang. It is easy for
the believer in the Bible to explain the eyes, because he believes in a
God who can do all things and, according to the Bible, did create man as
a part of a divine plan.
But how does the evolutionist explain the eye when he leaves God out?
Here is the only guess that I have seen--if you find any others I
shall be glad to know of them, as I am collecting the guesses of the
evolutionists. The evolutionist guesses that there was a time when eyes
were unknown--that is a necessary part of the hypothesis. And since
the eye is a universal possession among living things the evolutionist
guesses that it came into being--not by design or by act of God--but
just happened, and how did it happen? I will give you the guess--a piece
of pigment, or, as some say, a freckle appeared upon the skin of an
animal that had no eyes. This piece of pigment or freckle converged the
rays of the sun upon that spot and when the little animal felt the
heat on that spot it turned the spot to the sun to get more heat. The
increased heat irritated the skin--so the evolutionists guess, and a
nerve came there and out of the nerve came the eye! Can you beat it? But
this only accounts for one eye; there must have been another piece of
pigment or freckle soon afterward and just in the right place in order
to give the animal two eyes.
And, according to the evolutionist, there was a time when animals had no
legs, and so the leg came by accident. How? Well, the guess is that a
little animal without legs was wiggling along on its belly one day when
it discovered a wart--it just happened so--and it was in the right place
to be used to aid it in locomotion; so, it came to depend upon the wart,
and use finally developed it into a leg. And then another wart and
another leg, at the proper time--by accident--and accidentally in the
proper place. Is it not astonishing that any person intelligent enough
to teach school would talk such tommyrot to students and look serious
while doing so?
And yet I read only a few weeks ago, on page 124 of a little book
recently issued by a prominent New York minister, the following:
"Man has grown up in this universe gradually developing his powers and
functions as responses to his environment. If he has _eyes_, so the
_biologists_ assure us, it is because _light waves played upon the skin_
and eyes came out in answer; if he has _ears_ it is because the _air
waves_ were there first and the ears came out to hear. Man never yet,
_according to the evolutionist_, has developed any power save as a
reality called it into being. There would be no fins if there were no
water, no wings if there were no air, no legs if there were no land."
You see I only called your attention to forty per cent. of the
absurdities; he speaks of eyes, ears, fins, wings and legs--five. I only
called attention to eyes and legs--two. The evolutionist guesses himself
away from God, but he only makes matters worse. How long did the
"light waves" have to play on the skin before the eyes came out? The
evolutionist is very deliberate; he is long on time. He would certainly
give the eye thousands of years, if not millions, in which to develop;
but how could he be sure that the light waves played all the time in one
place or played in the same place generation after generation until the
development was complete? And why did the light waves quit playing when
two eyes were perfected? Why did they not keep on playing until there
were eyes all over the body? Why do they not play to-day, so that we may
see eyes in process of development? And if the light waves created the
eyes, why did they not create them strong enough to bear the light? Why
did the light waves make eyes and then make eyelids to keep the light
out of the eyes?
And so with the ears. They must have gone _in_ "to hear" instead of
_out_, and wasn't it lucky that they happened to go in on opposite sides
of the head instead of cater-cornered or at random? Is it not easier to
believe in a God who can make the eye, the ear, the fin, the wing, and
the leg, as well as the light, the sound, the air, the water and the
There is such an abundance of ludicrous material that it is hard to
resist the temptation to continue illustrations indefinitely, but a few
more will be sufficient. In order that you may be prepared to ridicule
these pseudo-scientists who come to you with guesses instead of facts,
let me give you three recent bits of evolutionary lore.
Last November I was passing through Philadelphia and read in an
afternoon paper a report of an address delivered in that city by a
college professor employed in extension work. Here is an extract from
the paper's account of the speech: "Evidence that early men climbed
trees with their feet lies in the way we wear the heels of our
shoes--more at the outside. A baby can wiggle its big toe without
wiggling its other toes--an indication that it once used its big toe in
climbing trees." What a consolation it must be to mothers to know that
the baby is not to be blamed for wiggling the big toe without wiggling
the other toes. It cannot help it, poor little thing; it is an
inheritance from "the tree man," so the evolutionists tell us.
And here is another extract: "We often dream of falling. Those who fell
out of the trees some fifty thousand years ago and were killed, of
course, had no descendants. So those who fell and were _not_ hurt, of
course, lived, and so we are never hurt in our dreams of falling." Of
course, if we were actually descended from the inhabitants of trees, it
would seem quite likely that we descended from those that were _not_
killed in falling. But they must have been badly frightened if the
impression made upon their feeble minds could have lasted for fifty
thousand years and still be vivid enough to scare us.
If the Bible said anything so idiotic as these guessers put forth in
the name of science, scientists would have a great time ridiculing the
sacred pages, but men who scoff at the recorded interpretation of
dreams by Joseph and Daniel seem to be able to swallow the amusing
interpretations offered by the Pennsylvania professor.
A few months ago the _Sunday School Times_ quoted a professor in an
Illinois University as saying that the great day in history was the day
when a water puppy crawled up on the land and, deciding to be a land
animal, became man's progenitor. If these scientific speculators
can agree upon the day they will probably insist on our abandoning
Washington's birthday, the Fourth of July, and even Christmas, in order
to join with the whole world in celebrating "Water Puppy Day."
Within the last few weeks the papers published a dispatch from Paris
to the effect that an "eminent scientist" announced that he had
communicated with the spirit of a dog and learned from the dog that it
was happy. Must we believe this, too?
But is the law of "natural selection" a sufficient explanation, or a
more satisfactory explanation, than sexual selection? It is based on the
theory that where there is an advantage in any characteristic, animals
that possess this characteristic survive and propagate their kind. This,
according to Darwin's argument, leads to progress through the "survival
of the fittest." This law or principle (natural selection), so carefully
worked out by Darwin, is being given less and less weight by scientists.
Darwin himself admits that he "perhaps attributed too much to the action
of natural selection and the survival of the fittest" (page 76). John
Burroughs, the naturalist, rejects it in a recent magazine article. The
followers of Darwin are trying to retain evolution while rejecting the
arguments that led Darwin to accept it as an explanation of the varied
life on the planet. Some evolutionists reject Darwin's line of descent
and believe that man, instead of coming from the ape, branched off from
a common ancestor farther back, but "cousin" ape is as objectionable as
While "survival of the fittest" may seem plausible when applied to
individuals of the same species, it affords no explanation whatever,
of the almost infinite number of creatures that have come under man's
observation. To believe that natural selection, sexual selection or any
other kind of selection can account for the countless differences we see
about us requires more faith in _chance_ than a Christian is required to
have in God.
Is it conceivable that the hawk and the hummingbird, the spider and the
honey bee, the turkey gobbler and the mocking-bird, the butterfly and
the eagle, the ostrich and the wren, the tree toad and the elephant,
the giraffe and the kangaroo, the wolf and the lamb should all be the
descendants of a common ancestor? Yet these and all other creatures must
be blood relatives if man is next of kin to the monkey.
If the evolutionists are correct; if it is true that all that we see is
the result of development from one or a few invisible germs of life,
then, in plants as well as in animals there must be a line of descent
connecting all the trees and vegetables and flowers with a common
ancestry. Does it not strain the imagination to the breaking point to
believe that the oak, the cedar, the pine and the palm are all the
progeny of one ancient seed and that this seed was also the ancestor
of wheat and corn, potato and tomato, onion and sugar beet, rose and
violet, orchid and daisy, mountain flower and magnolia? Is it not more
rational to believe in _God_ and explain the varieties of life in terms
of divine power than to waste our lives in ridiculous attempts to
explain the unexplainable? There is no mortification in admitting that
there are insoluble mysteries; but it is shameful to spend the time that
God has given for nobler use in vain attempts to exclude God from His
own universe and to find in chance a substitute for God's power and
wisdom and love.
While evolution in plant life and in animal life _up to the highest form
of animal_ might, if there were proof of it, be admitted without raising
a presumption that would compel us to give a brute origin to man, why
should we admit a thing of which there is no proof? Why should we
encourage the guesses of these speculators and thus weaken our power
to protest when they attempt the leap from the monkey to man? Let the
evolutionist furnish his proof.
Although our chief concern is in protecting man from the demoralization
involved in accepting a brute ancestry, it is better to put the
advocates of evolution upon the defensive and challenge them to produce
proof in support of their hypothesis in plant life and in the animal
world. They will be kept so busy trying to find support for their
hypothesis in the kingdoms below man that they will have little time
left to combat the Word of God in respect to man's origin. Evolution
joins issue with the Mosaic account of creation. God's law, as stated
in Genesis, is _reproduction according to kind_; evolution implies
reproduction _not_ according to kind. While the process of change
implied in evolution is covered up in endless eons of time it is
_change_ nevertheless. The Bible does not say that reproduction shall
be _nearly_ according to kind or _seemingly_ according to kind. The
statement is positive that it is _according to kind_, and that does not
leave any room for the _changes_ however gradual or imperceptible that
are necessary to support the evolutionary hypothesis.
We see about us everywhere and always proof of the Bible law, viz.,
reproduction according to kind; we find nothing in the universe to
support Darwin's doctrine of reproduction other than of kind.
If you question the possibility of such changes as the Darwinian
doctrine supposes you are reminded that the scientific speculators have
raised the time limit. "If ten million years are not sufficient, take
twenty," they say: "If fifty million years are not enough take one or
two hundred millions." That accuracy is not essential in such guessing
may be inferred from the fact that the estimates of the time that has
elapsed since life began on the earth, vary from less than twenty-five
million years to more than three hundred million. Darwin estimated this
period at two hundred million years while Darwin's son estimated it at
It requires more than millions of years to account for the varieties of
life that inhabit the earth; it requires a Creator, unlimited in power,
unlimited intelligence, and unlimited love.
But the doctrine of evolution is sometimes carried farther than that.
A short while ago Canon Barnes, of Westminster Abbey, startled his
congregation by an interpretation of evolution that ran like this: "It
now seems highly probable (probability again) that from some fundamental
stuff in the universe the electrons arose. From them came matter.
From matter, life emerged. From life came mind. From mind, spiritual
consciousness was developing. There was a time when matter, life and
mind, and the soul of man were not, but now they are. Each has arisen as
a part of the vast scheme planned by God." (An American professor in a
Christian college has recently expressed himself along substantially the
But what has God been doing since the "stuff" began to develop? The
verbs used by Canon Barnes indicate an internal development unaided from
above. "Arose, came, emerged, etc.," all exclude the idea that God is
within reach or call in man's extremity.
When I was a boy in college the materialists began with matter separated
into infinitely small particles and every particle separated from every
other particle by distance infinitely great. But now they say that it
takes 1,740 electrons to make an atom of infinite fineness. God, they
insist, has not had anything to do with this universe since 1,740
electrons formed a chorus and sang, "We'll be an atom by and by."
It requires measureless credulity to enable one to believe that all that
we see about us came by chance, by a series of happy-go-lucky accidents.
If only an infinite God could have formed hydrogen and oxygen and united
them in just the right proportions to produce water--the daily need of
every living thing--scattered among the flowers all the colours of the
rainbow and every variety of perfume, adjusted the mocking-bird's throat
to its musical scale, and fashioned a soul for man, why should we want
to imprison such a God in an impenetrable past? This is a living world;
why not a _living_ God upon the throne? Why not allow Him to work _now_?
Darwin is so sure that his theory is correct that he is ready to accuse
the Creator of trying to deceive man if the theory is not sound. On page
41 he says: "To take any other view is to admit that our structure and
that of all animals about us, is a mere snare to entrap our judgment;"
as if the Almighty were in duty bound to make each species so
separate from every other that _no one_ could possibly be confused by
resemblances. There would seem to be differences enough. To put man in a
class with the chimpanzee because of any resemblances that may be found
is so unreasonable that the masses have never accepted it.
If we see houses of different size, from one room to one hundred, we
do not say that the large houses grew out of small ones, but that the
architect that could plan one could plan all.
But a groundless hypothesis--even an absurd one--would be unworthy of
notice if it did no harm. This hypothesis, however, does incalculable
harm. It teaches that Christianity impairs the race physically. That
was the first implication at which I revolted. It led me to review
the doctrine and reject it entirely. If hatred is the law of man's
development; that is, if man has reached his present perfection by a
cruel law under which the strong kill off the weak--then, if there is
any logic that can bind the human mind, we must turn backward toward the
brute if we dare to substitute the law of love for the law of hate. That
is the conclusion that I reached and it is the conclusion that Darwin
himself reached. On pages 149-50 he says: "With savages the weak in body
or mind are soon eliminated; and those that survive commonly exhibit a
vigorous state of health. We civilized men, on the other hand, do our
utmost to check the progress of elimination. We build asylums for the
imbecile, the maimed and the sick; we institute poor laws; our medical
experts exert their utmost skill to save the lives of every one to the
last moment. There is reason to believe that vaccination has preserved
thousands who from weak constitutions would have succumbed to smallpox.
Thus the weak members of civilized societies propagate their kind. No
one who has attended to the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that
this must be highly injurious to the race of man."
This confession deserves analysis. First, he commends, by implication,
the savage method of eliminating the weak, while, by implication, he
condemns "civilized men" for prolonging the life of the weak. He
even blames vaccination because it has preserved thousands who might
otherwise have succumbed (for the benefit of the race?). Can you imagine
anything more brutal? And then note the low level of the argument. "No
one who has attended the breeding of domestic animals will doubt that
this must be highly injurious to the race of man." All on a brute basis.
His hypothesis breaks down here. The minds which, according to Darwin,
are developed by natural selection and sexual selection, use their power
to suspend the law by which they have reached their high positions.
Medicine is one of the greatest of the sciences and its chief object is
to save life and strengthen the weak. That, Darwin complains, interferes
with "the survival of the fittest." If he complains of vaccination, what
would he say of the more recent discovery of remedies for typhoid fever,
yellow fever and the black plague? And what would he think of saving
weak babies by pasteurizing milk and of the efforts to find a specific
for tuberculosis and cancer? Can such a barbarous doctrine be sound?
But Darwin's doctrine is even more destructive. His heart rebels against
the "hard reason" upon which his heartless hypothesis is built. He says:
"The aid which we feel impelled to give to the helpless is mainly the
result of the instinct of sympathy, which was originally acquired as a
part of the social instincts, but subsequently rendered in the manner
indicated, more tender and more widely diffused. Nor could we check our
sympathy even at the urging of hard reason, without deterioration in
the noblest part of our nature. The surgeon may harden himself while
performing an operation, for he knows he is acting for the good of
his patient; but if we were to intentionally neglect the weak and the
helpless, it could be only for a contingent benefit, with overwhelming
present evil. We must therefore bear the undoubted bad effects of the
weak surviving and propagating their kind."
The moral nature which, according to Darwin, is also developed by
natural selection and sexual selection, repudiates the brutal law
to which, if his reasoning is correct, it owes its origin. Can that
doctrine be accepted as scientific when its author admits that we cannot
apply it "without deterioration in the noblest part of our nature"? On
the contrary, civilization is measured by the moral revolt against the
cruel doctrine developed by Darwin.
Darwin rightly decided to suspend his doctrine, even at the risk of
impairing the race. But some of his followers are more hardened. A few
years ago I read a book in which the author defended the use of alcohol
on the ground that it rendered a service to society by killing off the
degenerates. And this argument was advanced by a scientist in the fall
of 1920 at a congress against alcohol.
The language which I have quoted proves that Darwinism is directly
antagonistic to Christianity, which boasts of its eleemosynary
institutions and of the care it bestows on the weak and the helpless.
Darwin, by putting man on a brute basis and ignoring spiritual values,
attacks the very foundations of Christianity.
Those who accept Darwin's views are in the habit of saying that it need
not lessen their reverence for God to believe that the Creator fashioned
a germ of life and endowed it with power to develop into what we see
to-day. It is true that a God who could make man as he is, could have
made him by the long-drawn-out process suggested by Darwin. To do either
would require infinite power, beyond the ability of man to comprehend.
But what is the _natural tendency_ of Darwin's doctrine?
Will man's attitude toward Darwin's God be the same as it would be
toward the God of Moses? Will the believer in Darwin's God be as
conscious of God's presence in his daily life? Will he be as sensitive
to God's will and as anxious to find out what God wants him to do?
Will the believer in Darwin's God be as fervent in prayer and as open to
the reception of divine suggestions?
I shall later trace the influence of Darwinism on world peace when the
doctrine is espoused by one bold enough to carry it to its logical
conclusion, but I must now point out its natural and logical effect upon
A boy is born in a Christian family; as soon as he is able to join words
together into sentences his mother teaches him to lisp the child's
prayer: "Now I lay me down to sleep; I pray the Lord my soul to keep; if
I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take." A little
later the boy is taught the Lord's Prayer and each day he lays his
petition before the Heavenly Father: "Give us this day our daily bread";
"Lead us not into temptation"; "Deliver us from evil"; "Forgive our
He talks with God. He goes to Sunday school and learns that the Heavenly
Father is even more kind than earthly parents; he hears the preacher
tell how precious our lives are in the sight of God--how even a sparrow
cannot fall to the ground without His notice. All his faith is built
upon the Book that informs him that he is made in the image of God; that
Christ came to reveal God to man and to be man's Saviour.
Then he goes to college and a learned professor leads him through a book
600 pages thick, largely devoted to resemblances between man and the
beasts about him. His attention is called to a point in the ear that is
like a point in the ear of the ourang, to canine teeth, to muscles like
those by which a horse moves his ears.
He is then told that everything found in a human brain is found in
miniature in a brute brain.
And how about morals? He is assured that the development of the moral
sense can be explained on a brute basis without any act of, or aid from,
God. (See pages 113-114.)
No mention of religion, the only basis for morality; not a suggestion of
a sense of responsibility to God--nothing but cold, clammy materialism!
Darwinism transforms the Bible into a story book and reduces Christ to
man's level. It gives him an ape for an ancestor on His mother's side at
least and, as many evolutionists believe, on His Father's side also.
The instructor gives the student a new family tree millions of years
long, with its roots in the water (marine animals) and then sets him
adrift, with infinite capacity for good or evil but with no light to
guide him, no compass to direct him and no chart of the sea of life!
No wonder so large a percentage of the boys and girls who go from Sunday
schools and churches to colleges (sometimes as high as seventy-five per
cent.) never return to religious work. How can one feel God's presence
in his daily life if Darwin's reasoning is sound? This restraining
influence, more potent than any external force, is paralyzed when God
is put so far away. How can one believe in prayer if, for millions of
years, God has never touched a human life or laid His hand upon the
destiny of the human race? What mockery to petition or implore, if God
neither hears nor answers. Elijah taunted the prophets of Baal
when their god failed to answer with fire; "Cry aloud," he said,
"peradventure he sleepeth." Darwin mocks the Christians even more
cruelly; he tells us that our God has been asleep for millions of years.
Even worse, he does not affirm that Jehovah was ever awake. Nowhere does
he collect for the reader the evidences of a Creative Power and call
upon man to worship and obey God. The great scientist is, if I may
borrow a phrase, "too much absorbed in the things infinitely small to
consider the things infinitely great." Darwinism chills the spiritual
nature and quenches the fires of religious enthusiasm. If the proof in
support of Darwinism does not compel acceptance--and it does not--why
substitute it for an account of the Creation that links man directly
with the Creator and holds before him an example to be imitated? As the
eminent theologian, Charles Hodge, says: "The Scriptural doctrine (of
Creation) accounts for the spiritual nature of man, and meets all his
spiritual necessities. It gives him an object of adoration, love and
confidence. It reveals the Being on whom his indestructible sense of
responsibility terminates. The truth of this doctrine, therefore,
rests not only upon the authority of the Scriptures but on the very
constitution of our nature."
I have spoken of what would seem to be the natural and logical effect of
the Darwin hypothesis on the minds of the young. This view is confirmed
by its _actual_ effect on Darwin himself. In his "Life and Letters," he
says: "I am much engaged, an old man, and out of health, and I cannot
spare time to answer your questions fully--nor indeed can they be
answered. Science has nothing to do with Christ, except in so far as the
habit of scientific research makes a man cautious in admitting evidence.
For myself, I do not believe that there ever has been any revelation. As
for a future life, every man must judge for himself between conflicting
vague probabilities." It will be seen that science, according to Darwin,
has nothing to do with Christ (except to discredit _revelation_ which
makes Christ's mission known to men). Darwin himself does not believe
that there has ever been _any revelation_, which, of course, excludes
Christ. It will be seen also that he has no definite views on the
_future life_--"every man," he says, "must judge for himself between
_conflicting vague probabilities_."
It is fair to conclude that it was _his own doctrine_ that led him
astray, for in the same connection (in "Life and Letters") he says
that when aboard the _Beagle_ he was called "orthodox and was heartily
laughed at by several of the officers for quoting the Bible as an
unanswerable authority on some point of morality." In the same
connection he thus describes his change and his final attitude: "When
thus reflecting I feel compelled to look to a First Cause, having an
intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man; and I deserve
to be called a Theist. This conclusion was strong in my mind about the
time, as far as I can remember, when I wrote the 'Origin of Species';
and it is since that time that it has very gradually, with many
fluctuations, become weaker. But then arises the doubt: _Can_ the mind
of man, which has, as I fully believe, been developed from a mind as low
as that possessed by the lowest animals, be trusted when it draws such
"I cannot pretend to throw the least light on such abstruse problems.
The mystery of the beginning of all things is insoluble by us; and I for
one must be content to remain an Agnostic."
A careful reading of the above discloses the gradual transition wrought
in Darwin himself by the unsupported hypothesis which he launched upon
the world, or which he endorsed with such earnestness and industry as
to impress his name upon it He was regarded as "_orthodox_" when he was
young; he was even laughed at for quoting the Bible "_as an unanswerable
authority on some point of morality_." In the beginning he regarded
himself as a Theist and felt compelled "to look to a First Cause, having
an intelligent mind in some degree analogous to that of man."
This conclusion, he says, was strong in his mind when he wrote "The
Origin of Species," but he observes that since that time this conclusion
very gradually became _weaker_, and then he unconsciously brings a
telling indictment against his own hypothesis. He says, "_Can the mind
of man_ (which, according to his belief, has been _developed from a mind
as low as that possessed by the lowest animals) be trusted when it draws
such grand conclusions_?" He first links man with the animals, and then,
because of this _supposed_ connection, estimates man's mind by brute
standards. Agnosticism is the natural attitude of the evolutionist. How
can a brute mind comprehend spiritual things? It makes a tremendous
difference what a man thinks about his origin whether he looks up or
down. Who will say, after reading these words, that it is immaterial
what man thinks about his origin? Who will deny that the acceptance of
the Darwinian hypothesis shuts out the higher reasonings and the larger
conceptions of man?
On the very brink of the grave, after he had extracted from his
hypothesis all the good that there was in it and all the benefit that it
could confer, he is helplessly in the dark, and "cannot pretend to throw
the least light on such abstruse problems." When he believed in God, in
the Bible, in Christ and in a future life there were no mysteries that
disturbed him, but a _guess_ with nothing in the universe to support
it swept him away from his moorings and left him in his old age in the
midst of mysteries that he thought _insoluble_. He must content himself
with _Agnosticism_. What can Darwinism ever do to compensate any one for
the destruction of faith in God, in His Word, in His Son, and of hope of
It would seem sufficient to quote Darwin against himself and to cite the
confessed effect of the doctrine as a sufficient reason for rejecting
it, but the situation is a very serious one and there is other evidence
that should be presented.
James H. Leuba, a professor of Psychology in Bryn Mawr College,
Pennsylvania, wrote a book five years ago, entitled "Belief in God and
Immortality." It was published by Sherman French & Co., of Boston, and
republished by The Open Court Publishing Company of Chicago. Every
Christian preacher should procure a copy of this book and it should be
in the hands of every Christian layman who is anxious to aid in the
defense of the Bible against its enemies. Leuba has discarded belief in
a personal God and in personal immortality. He asserts that belief in a
personal God and personal immortality is declining in the United States,
and he furnishes proof, which, as long as it is unchallenged, seems
conclusive. He takes a book containing the names of fifty-five hundred
scientists--the names of practically all American scientists of
prominence, he affirms--and sends them questions. Upon the answers
received he asserts that _more than one-half_ of the prominent
scientists of the United States, those teaching Biology, Psychology,
Geology and History especially, have discarded belief in a personal God
and in personal immortality.
This is what the doctrine of evolution is doing for those who teach our
children. They first discard the Mosaic account of man's creation, and
they do it on the ground that there are no miracles. This in itself
constitutes a practical repudiation of the Bible; the miracles of the
Old and New Testament cannot be cut out without a mutilation that is
equivalent to rejection. They reject the supernatural along with the
miracle, and with the supernatural the inspiration of the Bible and the
authority that rests upon inspiration. If these believers in evolution
are consistent and have the courage to carry their doctrine to its
logical conclusion, they reject the virgin birth of Christ and the
resurrection. They may still regard Christ as an unusual man, but they
will not make much headway in converting people to Christianity, if they
declare Jesus to be nothing more than a man and either a deliberate
impostor or a deluded enthusiast.
The evil influence of these Materialistic, Atheistic or Agnostic
professors is disclosed by further investigation made by Leuba. He
questioned the students of nine representative colleges, and upon their
answers declares that, while only fifteen per cent. of the freshmen have
discarded the Christian religion, thirty per cent. of the juniors and
that forty to forty-five per cent, of the men _graduates_ have abandoned
the cardinal principles of the Christian faith. Can Christians be
indifferent to such statistics? Is it an immaterial thing that so
large a percentage of the young men who go from Christian homes into
institutions of learning should go out from these institutions with the
spiritual element eliminated from their lives? What shall it profit a
man if he shall gain all the learning of the schools and lose his faith
To show how these evolutionists undermine the faith of students let me
give you an illustration that recently came to my attention: A student
in one of the largest State universities of the nation recently gave me
a printed speech delivered by the president of the university, a year
ago this month, to 3,500 students, and printed and circulated by the
Student Christian Association of the institution. The student who gave
me the speech marked the following paragraph: "And, again, religion must
not be thought of as something that is inconsistent with reasonable,
scientific thinking in regard to the nature of the universe. I go so far
as to say that, if you cannot reconcile religion with the things taught
in biology, in psychology, or in the other fields of study in this
university, then you should throw your religion away. Scientific truth
is here to stay." What about the Bible, is it not here to stay? If he
had stopped with the first sentence, his language might not have
been construed to the injury of religion, because religion is not
"inconsistent with reasonable, scientific thinking in regard to
the nature of the universe." There is nothing _unreasonable_ about
Christianity, and there is nothing _unscientific_ about Christianity.
No scientific _fact_--no _fact_ of any other kind can disturb religion,
because _facts are not in conflict with each other_. It is _guessing_ by
scientists and so-called scientists that is doing the harm. And it is
_guessing_ that is endorsed by this distinguished college president (a
D.D., too, as well as an LL.D. and a Ph.D.) when he says, "I go so far
as to say that, if you cannot reconcile religion with the things taught
in biology, in psychology, or in the other fields of study in this
university, then you should throw your religion away." What does this
mean, except that the books on biology and on other scientific subjects
used in that university are to be preferred to the Bible in case of
conflict? The student is told, "throw your religion away," if he cannot
reconcile it (the Bible, of course,) with the things taught in biology,
psychology, etc. Books on biology change constantly, likewise books
on psychology, and yet they are held before the students as better
authority than the unchanging Word of God.
Is any other proof needed to show the irreligious influence exerted by
Darwinism applied to man? At the University of Wisconsin (so a Methodist
preacher told me) a teacher told his class that the Bible was a
collection of myths. When I brought the matter to the attention of the
President of the University, he criticized me but avoided all reference
to the professor. At Ann Arbor a professor argued with students against
religion and asserted that no thinking man could believe in God or the
Bible. At Columbia (I learned this from a Baptist preacher) a professor
began his course in geology by telling his class to throw away all that
they had learned in the Sunday school. There is a professor in Yale of
whom it is said that no one leaves his class a believer in God. (This
came from a young man who told me that his brother was being led away
from the Christian faith by this professor.) A father (a Congressman)
tells me that a daughter on her return from Wellesley told him that
nobody believed in the Bible stories now. Another father (a Congressman)
tells me of a son whose faith was undermined by this doctrine in a
Divinity School. Three preachers told me of having their interest in the
subject aroused by the return of their children from college with their
faith shaken. The Northern Baptists have recently, after a spirited
contest, secured the adoption of a Confession of Faith; it was opposed
by the evolutionists.
In Kentucky the fight is on among the Disciples, and it is becoming
more and more acute in the Northern branches of the Methodist and
Presbyterian Churches. A young preacher, just out of a theological
seminary, who did not believe in the virgin birth of Christ, was
recently ordained in Western New York. Last April I met a young man who
was made an atheist by two teachers in a Christian college.
These are only a few illustrations that have come under my own
observation--nearly all of them within a year. What is to be done? Are
the members of the various Christian churches willing to have the power
of the pulpit paralyzed by a false, absurd and ridiculous doctrine which
is without support in the written Word of God and without support also
in nature? Is "thus saith the Lord" to be supplanted by guesses and
speculations and assumptions? I submit three propositions for the
consideration of the Christians of the nation:
First, the preachers who are to break the bread of life to the lay
members should believe that man has in him the breath of the Almighty,
as the Bible declares, and not the blood of the brute, as the
evolutionists affirm. He should also believe in the virgin birth of the
Second, none but Christians in good standing and with a spiritual
conception of life should be allowed to teach in Christian schools.
Church schools are worse than useless if they bring students under the
influence of those who do not believe in the religion upon which the
Church and church schools are built. Atheism and Agnosticism are more
dangerous when hidden under the cloak of religion than when they are
exposed to view.
Third, in schools supported by taxation we should have a real neutrality
wherever neutrality in religion is desired. If the Bible cannot be
defended in these schools it should not be attacked, either directly or
under the guise of philosophy or science. The neutrality which we now
have is often but a sham; it carefully excludes the Christian religion
but permits the use of the schoolrooms for the destruction of faith and
for the teaching of materialistic doctrines.
It is not sufficient to say that _some_ believers in Darwinism retain
their belief in Christianity; some survive smallpox. As we avoid
smallpox because _many_ die of it, so we should avoid Darwinism because
it _leads many astray_.
If it is contended that an instructor has a right to teach anything
he likes, I reply that the parents who pay the salary have a right to
decide what shall be taught. To continue the illustration used above, a
person can expose himself to the smallpox if he desires to do so, but he
has no right to communicate it to others. So a man can believe anything
he pleases but he has no right to teach it against the protest of his
Acceptance of Darwin's doctrine tends to destroy one's belief in
immortality as taught by the Bible. If there has been no break in the
line between man and the beasts--no time when by the act of the Heavenly
Father man became "a living Soul," at what period in man's development
was he endowed with the hope of a future life? And, if the brute theory
leads to the abandonment of belief in a future life with its rewards and
punishments, what stimulus to righteous living is offered in its place?
Darwinism leads to a denial of God. Nietzsche carried Darwinism to its
logical conclusion and it made him the most extreme of anti-Christians.
I had read extracts from his writings--enough to acquaint me with his
sweeping denial of God and of the Saviour--but not enough to make me
familiar with his philosophy.
As the war progressed I became more and more impressed with the
conviction that the German propaganda rested upon a materialistic
foundation. I secured the writings of Nietzsche and found in them a
defense, made in advance, of all the cruelties and atrocities practiced
by the militarists of Germany. Nietzsche tried to substitute the worship
of the "Superman" for the worship of God. He not only rejected the
Creator, but he rejected all moral standards. He praised war and
eulogized hatred because it led to war. He denounced sympathy and pity
as attributes unworthy of man. He believed that the teachings of Christ
made degenerates and, logical to the end, he regarded Democracy as the
refuge of weaklings. He saw in man nothing but an animal and in that
animal the highest virtue he recognized was "The Will to Power"--a will
which should know no let or hindrance, no restraint or limitation.
Nietzsche's philosophy would convert the world into a ferocious conflict
between beasts, each brute trampling ruthlessly on everything in his
way. In his book entitled "Joyful Wisdom," Nietzsche ascribes to
Napoleon the very same dream of power--Europe under one sovereign and
that sovereign the master of the world--that lured the Kaiser into a sea
of blood from which he emerged an exile seeking security under a foreign
flag. Nietzsche names Darwin as one of the three great men of his
century, but tries to deprive him of credit (?) for the doctrine that
bears his name by saying that Hegel made an earlier announcement of it.
Nietzsche died hopelessly insane, but his philosophy has wrought the
moral ruin of a multitude, if it is not actually responsible for
bringing upon the world its greatest war.
His philosophy, if it is worthy the name of philosophy, is the ripened
fruit of Darwinism--and a tree is known by its fruit.
In 1900--over twenty years ago--while an International Peace Congress
was in session in Paris the following editorial appeared in _L'Univers_:
"The spirit of peace has fled the earth because evolution has taken
possession of it. The plea for peace in past years has been inspired by
faith in the divine nature and the divine origin of man; men were
then looked upon as children of one Father and war, therefore, was
fratricide. But now that men are looked upon as children of apes, what
matters it whether they are slaughtered or not?"
I have given you above the words of a French writer published twenty
years ago. I have just found in a book recently published by a prominent
English writer words along the same line, only more comprehensive. The
corroding influence of Darwinism has spread as the doctrine has been
increasingly accepted. In the American preface to "The Glass of
Fashion" these words are to be found: "Darwinism not only justifies
the sensualist at the trough and Fashion at her glass; it justifies
Prussianism at the cannon's mouth and Bolshevism at the prison-door.
If Darwinism be true, if Mind is to be driven out of the universe and
accident accepted as a sufficient cause for all the majesty and glory of
physical nature, then there is no crime or violence, however abominable
in its circumstances and however cruel in its execution, which cannot be
justified by success, and no triviality, no absurdity of Fashion which
deserves a censure: more--there is no act of disinterested love and
tenderness, no deed of self-sacrifice and mercy, no aspiration after
beauty and excellence, for which a single reason can be adduced in
To destroy the faith of Christians and lay the foundation for the
bloodiest war in history would seem enough to condemn Darwinism, but
there are still two other indictments to bring against it. First, that
it is the basis of the gigantic class struggle that is now shaking
society throughout the world. Both the capitalist and the labourer
are increasingly class conscious. Why? Because the doctrine of the
"Individual efficient for himself"--the brute doctrine of the "survival
of the fittest"--is driving men into a life-and-death struggle from
which sympathy and the spirit of brotherhood are eliminated. It is
transforming the industrial world into a slaughter-house.
Benjamin Kidd, in a masterful work, entitled, "The Science of Power,"
points out how Darwinism furnished Nietzsche with a scientific basis for
his godless system of philosophy and is demoralizing industry.
He also quotes eminent English scientists to support the last charge in
the indictment, namely, that Darwinism robs the reformer of hope. Its
plan of operation is to improve the race by "scientific breeding" on a
purely physical basis. A few hundred years may be required--possibly a
few thousand--but what is time to one who carries eons in his quiver and
envelopes his opponents in the "Mist of Ages"?
Kidd would substitute the "Emotion of the Ideal" for scientific breeding
and thus shorten the time necessary for the triumph of a social reform.
He counts one or two generations as sufficient. This is an enormous
advance over Darwin's doctrine, but Christ's plan is still more
encouraging. A man can be born again; the springs of life can be
cleansed instantly so that the heart loves the things that it formerly
hated and hates the things that it once loved. If this is true of _one_,
it can be true of _any number_. Thus, a nation can be born in a day if
the ideals of the people can be changed.
Many have tried to harmonize Darwinism with the Bible, but these
efforts, while honest and sometimes even agonizing, have not been
successful. How could they be when the natural and inevitable tendency
of Darwinism is to exalt the mind at the expense of the heart, to
overestimate the reliability of the reason as compared with faith and to
impair confidence in the Bible. The mind is a machine; it has no morals.
It obeys its owner as willingly when he plots to kill as when he plans
The Theistic evolutionist who tries to occupy a middle ground between
those who accept the Bible account of creation and those who reject God
entirely reminds one of a traveller in the mountains, who, having fallen
half-way down a steep slope, catches hold of a frail bush. It takes so
much of his strength to keep from going lower that he is useless as an
aid to others. Those who have accepted evolution in the belief that it
was not anti-Christian may well revise their conclusions in view of the
accumulating evidence of its baneful influence.
Darwinism discredits the things that are supernatural and encourages the
worship of the intellect--an idolatry as deadly to spiritual progress as
the worship of images made by human hands. The injury that it does would
be even greater than it is but for the moral momentum acquired by the
student before he comes under the blighting influence of the doctrine.
Many instances could be cited to show how the theory that man descended
from the brute has, when deliberately adopted, driven reverence from
the heart and made young Christians agnostics and sometimes
atheists--depriving them of the joy, and society of the service, that
come from altruistic effort inspired by religion.
I have recently read of a pathetic case in point. In the Encyclopaedia
Americana you will find a sketch of the life of George John Romanes,
from which the following extract is taken: "Romanes, George John,
English scientist. In 1879 he was elected fellow of the Royal Society
and in 1878 published, under the pseudonym 'Physicus,' a work entitled,
'A Candid Examination of Theism,' in which he took up a somewhat defiant
atheistic position. Subsequently his views underwent considerable
change; he revised the 'Candid Examination,' and, toward the close of
his life, was engaged on 'A Candid Examination of Religion,' in which
he returned to theistic beliefs. His notes for this work were published
after his death, under the title 'Thoughts on Religion,' edited by Canon
Gore. Romanes was an ardent supporter of Darwin and the evolutionists
and in various works sought to extend evolutionary principles to mind,
both in the lower animals and in the man. He wrote very extensively on
modern biological theories."
Let me use Romanes' own language to describe the disappointing
experiences of this intellectual "prodigal son." On page 180 of
"Thoughts on Religion" (written, as above stated, just before his death
but not published until after his demise) he says, "The views that I
entertained on this subject (Plan in Revelation) when an undergraduate
(_i.e._, the ordinary orthodox views) were abandoned in the presence of
the theory of Evolution."
It was the doctrine of Evolution that led him astray. He attempted to
employ reason to the exclusion of faith--with the usual result. He
abandoned prayer, as he explains on pages 142 and 143: "Even the
simplest act of will in regard to religion--that of prayer--has not been
performed by me for at least a quarter of a century, simply because it
has seemed impossible to pray, as it were, hypothetically, that, much as
I have always desired to be able to pray, I cannot will the attempt.
To justify myself for what my better judgment has often seemed to be
essentially irrational, I have ever made sundry excuses." "Others have
doubtless other difficulties, but mine is chiefly, I think, that of an
undue regard to reason as against heart and will--undue, I mean, if so
it be that Christianity is true, and the conditions to faith in it have
been of divine ordination."
In time he tired of the husks of materialism and started back to his
Father's house. It was a weary journey but as he plodded along, his
appreciation of the heart's part increased until, on pages 152 and 153,
he says, "It is a fact that we all feel the intellectual part of man to
be 'higher' than the animal, whatever our theory of his origin. It is
a fact that we all feel the moral part of man to be 'higher' than the
intellectual, whatever our theory of either may be. It is also a fact
that we all similarly feel the spiritual to be 'higher' than the moral,
whatever our theory of religion may be. It is what we understand
by man's moral, and still more his spiritual, qualities that go to
constitute character. And it is astonishing how in all walks of life it
is character that tells in the long run."
On page 150 he answered Huxley's attack on faith. He says, "Huxley,
in 'Lay Sermons,' says that faith has been proved a 'cardinal sin' by
science. Now this is true enough of credulity, superstition, etc., and
science has done no end of good in developing our ideas of method,
evidence, etc. But this is all on the side of intellect. 'Faith' is
not touched by such facts or considerations. And what a terrible hell
science would have made of the world, if she had abolished the 'spirit
of faith,' even in human relations."
In the days of his apostasy he "took it for granted," he says on page
164, "that Christianity was played out." When once his eyes were
reopened he vied with Paul himself in recognizing the superior quality
of love. On page 163 he quoted the eloquent lines of Bourdillon:
The night has a thousand eyes,
And the day but one;
Yet the light of a whole world dies
With the setting sun.
The mind has a thousand eyes,
And the heart but one;
Yet the light of a whole life dies
When love is done.
Having quoted this noble sentiment he adds: "Love is known to be all
this. How great then, is Christianity, as being the religion of love,
and causing men to believe both in the cause of love's supremacy and the
infinity of God's love to man."
But Romanes still clung to Evolution and, so far as his book discloses,
his mind would never allow his heart to commune with Darwin's far-away
God, whose creative power Romanes could not doubt but whose daily
presence he could not admit without abandoning his theory.
His is a typical case, but many of the wanderers never return to the
fold; they are lost sheep. If the doctrine were demonstrated to be true
its acceptance would, of course, be obligatory, but how can one bring
himself to assent to a series of assumptions when such a course is
accompanied by such a tremendous risk of spiritual loss?
If, as it does in so many instances, it causes the student to choose
Darwinism, with its intellectual delusions, and reject the Bible, with
the incalculable blessings that its heart-culture brings, what minister
of the Gospel or Christian professor can justify himself before the bar
of conscience if, by impairing confidence in the Word of God, he wrecks
human souls? All the intellectual satisfaction that Darwinism ever
brought to those who have accepted it will not offset the sorrow that
darkens a single life from which the brute theory of descent has shut
out the sunshine of God's presence and the companionship of Christ.
Here, too, we have the testimony of the distinguished scientist from
whom I have been quoting. In his first book--the attack on Theism--he
says: (page 29, "Thoughts on Religion") "I am not ashamed to confess
that with this virtual negation of God the universe to me has lost its
soul of loveliness; and, although from henceforth the precept to 'Work
while it is day' will doubtless gain an intensified force from the
terribly intensified meaning of the words that 'the night cometh when no
man can work,' yet when at times I think, as think at times I must, of
the appalling contrast between the hallowed glory of that creed which
once was mine, and the lonely mystery of existence as now I find it,--at
such times I shall ever feel it impossible to avoid the sharpest pang of
which my nature is susceptible."
Romanes, during his college days, came under the influence of those
who worshipped the reason and this worship led him out into a starless
night. Have we not a right to demand something more than _guesses,
surmises,_ and _hypotheses_ before we exchange the "hallowed glory" of
the Christian creed for "the lonely mystery of existence" as Romanes
found it? Shall we at the behest of those who put the intellect
above the heart endorse an unproved doctrine of descent and share
responsibility for the wreckage of all that is spiritual in the lives of
our young people? I refuse to have any part in such responsibility. For
nearly twenty years I have gone from college to college and talked to
students. Wherever I could do so I have pointed out the demoralizing
influence of Darwinism. I have received thanks from many students who
were perplexed by the materialistic teachings of their instructors and I
have been encouraged by the approval of parents who were distressed by
the visible effects of these teachings on their children.
As many believers in Darwinism are led to reject the Bible let me, by
way of recapitulation, contrast that doctrine with the Bible:
Darwinism deals with nothing but life; the Bible deals with the entire
universe--with its masses of inanimate matter and with its myriads of
living things, all obedient to the will of the great Law Giver.
Darwin concerns himself with only that part of man's existence which is
spent on earth--while the Bible's teachings cover all of life, both here
Darwin begins by assuming life upon the earth; the Bible reveals the
source of life and chronicles its creation.
Darwin devotes nearly all his time to man's body and to the points at
which the human frame approaches in structure--though vastly different
from--the brute; the Bible emphasizes man's godlike qualities and the
virtues which reflect the goodness of the Heavenly Father.
Darwinism ends in self-destruction. As heretofore shown, its progress is
suspended, and even defeated, by the very genius which it is supposed
to develop; the Bible invites us to enter fields of inexhaustible
opportunity wherein each achievement can be made a stepping-stone to
greater achievements still.
Darwin's doctrine is so brutal that it shocks the moral sense--the heart
recoils from it and refuses to apply the "hard reason" upon which it
rests; the Bible points us to the path that grows brighter with the
Darwin's doctrine leads logically to war and to the worship of
Nietzsche's "Superman"; the Bible tells us of the Prince of Peace and
heralds the coming of the glad day when swords shall be beaten into
ploughshares and when nations shall learn war no more.
Darwin's teachings drag industry down to the brute level and excite a
savage struggle for selfish advantage; the Bible presents the claims of
an universal brotherhood in which men will unite their efforts in the
spirit of friendship.
As hope deferred maketh the heart sick, so the doctrine of Darwin
benumbs altruistic effort by prolonging indefinitely the time needed for
reforms; the Bible assures us of the triumph of every righteous cause,
reveals to the eye of faith the invisible hosts that fight on the side
of Jehovah and proclaims the swift fulfillment of God's decrees.
Darwinism puts God far away; the Bible brings God near and establishes
the prayer-line of communication between the Heavenly Father and His
Darwinism enthrones selfishness; the Bible crowns love as the greatest
force in the world.
Darwinism offers no reason for existence and presents no philosophy of
life; the Bible explains why man is here and gives us a code of morals
that fits into every human need.
The great need of the world to-day is to get back to God--back to a real
belief in a living God--to a belief in God as Creator, Preserver
and loving Heavenly Father. When one believes in a personal God and
considers himself a part of God's plan he will be anxious to know God's
will and to do it, seeking direction through prayer and made obedient
Man was made in the Father's image; he enters upon the stage, the climax
of Jehovah's plan. He is superior to the beasts of the field, greater
than any other created thing--but a little lower than the angels. God
made him for a purpose, placed before him infinite possibilities and
revealed to him responsibilities commensurate with the possibilities.
God beckons man upward and the Bible points the way; man can obey and
travel toward perfection by the path that Christ revealed, or man can
disobey and fall to a level lower, in some respects, than that of the
brutes about him. Looking heavenward man can find inspiration in his
lineage; looking about him he is impelled to kindness by a sense of
kinship which binds him to his brothers. Mighty problems demand his
attention; a world's destiny is to be determined by him. What time
has he to waste in hunting for "missing links" or in searching for
resemblances between his forefathers and the ape? In His Image--in this
sign we conquer.
We are not progeny of the brute; we have not been forced upward by a
blind pushing-power; neither have we tumbled upward by chance. It is a
drawing-power--not a pushing-power--that rules the world--a power which
finds its highest expression in Christ who promised: "I, if I be lifted
up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
THE LARGER LIFE
I have chosen this subject because I have found some young men, and even
some young women, who seem to misunderstand the invitation extended
by the Master. The call of the Gospel falls, at times, upon deaf ears
because religion is regarded as a thing that is necessary only when one
comes to prepare himself for the life beyond. In earlier times many
Christians misinterpreted the Christian religion and, withdrawing
themselves from companionship with their fellows, devoted their time
wholly to preparation of themselves for heaven. _Christ went about doing
I present my appeal to the young to accept Christ and to enter upon the
life He prescribes, not because they may _die_ soon but because they may
_live_. They need Christ as their Saviour _now_ and they need Him
as their guide throughout life. Some complain of the Parable of the
Vineyard because the man who began work at the eleventh hour received
the same pay as those who toiled all day. Surely, those who complain
have not tasted the joys of a Christian life. No one who follows the
teachings of Christ will begrudge the reward promised to those who
repent at the last moment and are saved. The eleventh-hour Christians
are the ones to mourn because they have lost the happiness that they
would have found in service during the livelong day.
Young people sometimes postpone becoming Christians on the ground that
they want to have a good time for a while longer. Who can be happier
than the Christian? Our religion fits into the needs of all of every
age. If there are any amusements enjoyed by the world from which members
of the church feel it a duty to abstain it is because more wholesome
amusements crowd out the objectionable ones. It ought not to be
necessary to forbid a Christian to do harmful things; he ought to avoid
them because he has no taste for them--because he finds more real
pleasure and more enduring satisfaction in the things that are innocent
There is another class to which I desire to address myself to-day,
namely, those who call themselves more liberal than Christians--who look
upon our religion as narrowing in its influence. Christianity is the
broadest of creeds because it takes in everything that touches human
life, here and hereafter. The Christian life is the most comprehensive
life known; it is as deep as the heart; it is as wide as the world; and
it is as high as heaven.
Paul, the great Apostle, tells us that Christ came to "bring life and
immortality to light"--not immortality alone, but life also, and the
word Life comes before the word Immortality.
But we have higher authority even than Paul. Christ, in explaining His
mission, said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might
have it more abundantly." It is to the _more abundant_ life that Christ
calls us. He was the master of mathematics, yet He used only addition
and multiplication; subtraction has no place in His philosophy.
Let me illustrate, as I see it, the gift that Christ brings to man. Let
us suppose that the people living in an agricultural section had, by
intelligent cultivation, brought from the soil all that it could yield
in material wealth. If a stranger came into the community and announced
that the people, by sinking a shaft one hundred feet deep, could find
a vein of coal, they would, if they believed the statement true,
immediately sink a shaft; and, if they found the coal, they would add
it to the wealth that they derived from the surface of the ground. They
would be grateful to the person who told them of the additional riches
which they possessed but of which they were not aware. They might not
think to thank him immediately--they might be too busy acquiring money
to express their gratitude. But after the man was dead, if not before,
they would pause long enough to erect a monument to testify to their
appreciation of the service he had rendered.
And, to complete the illustration, suppose after the people had adjusted
themselves to the added income, another stranger appeared and assured
them that, if they would sink the shaft one hundred feet deeper, they
would find a vein of precious metals from which to draw money enough to
purchase everything everywhere that the heart could wish. They would,
if they gave credit to his statement, dig down and find gold and silver
and, with still greater joy, add this new possession to those that
they already had. Again they would be grateful. They might not express
themselves during the benefactor's life, but after a while visitors to
the community would see two monuments reared by grateful hands to those
who had brought blessings to the neighbourhood.
This illustration presents the idea that I would impress upon you,
namely, that Christ came to _add_ to all the good things man possessed
without requiring the surrender of any good thing in exchange. Long
before the coming of Christ man had taken possession of the body and had
gathered from it all the joys that the flesh can yield. Man had also
explored the farther reaches of the mind and possessed himself of the
delights of the intellect. Christ not only brought redemption but opened
to man the vision of a spiritual world and showed him what infinite
greatness the Father has placed within the reach of one made in His
image, if he will only use the powers that he has--powers unknown to him
until revealed by the Spirit.
Every human being is travelling every day in one direction or the
other--either upward toward the highest plane that man can reach, or
downward toward the lowest level to which man can fall; Christ gives us
a vision of our possibilities and the strength to realize them.
If Christ had demanded something in return for the great gifts that
He came to bestow man might be justified in asking for time for
investigation. He would want to weigh the value of that which is
offered against the value of that which must be given up. To do this
intelligently would require a long period of training and ample time for
comparison. The difficulty is even greater, for it would be impossible
for one to weigh or calculate in advance the value of those things which
are spiritually discerned. He could see the body; he could comprehend
the mind; but he could not know the inestimable value of the things
that Christ offers. But how can he hesitate when Christ demands not one
single sacrifice, but gives, as the spring gives, desiring nothing in
return except appreciation which it is pleasant to manifest?
The Saviour not only gives without reducing the other enjoyments, but
His gift increases the value of that which we have. The body without
control will exhaust itself--actually wear itself out in the very riot
of pleasure. It is only when the body is the servant of a spiritual
master that it can develop its greatest strength and prolong its vigour.
Two illustrations suggest themselves. The use of intoxicants has wrought
disaster since man came upon the earth. Drink is not only ruinous when
used continuously and in large quantities, but it is injurious even when
used moderately. The life insurance tables show that a young man who, at
the age of twenty-one, begins the regular use of intoxicating liquors,
reduces his expectancy by more than ten per cent., or more than four
years in forty. That is the average. In proportion as the body is left
to its own control the appetite becomes destructive of the body itself
as well as of the body's value to others. Just in proportion as the body
is under spiritual control is it in position to enjoy itself and to
extend the period of enjoyment.
Reference need hardly be made to the diseases that follow in the wake of
immorality. The wages of sin is death--death to the body, death to the
mind and death to the soul. Races have rotted and passed into oblivion
because the body was put in command of the life. Both drunkenness and
unchastity curse the generations that follow as well as the generations
that are guilty--the sins of the fathers and mothers being visited upon
the children and children's children.
And so, too, with the mind; it would run wild but for the sovereign
soul of man. There are temptations that come through the
intellect--temptations that are as destructive as those that come
through the body. Only when the mind is guided and directed by a
spiritual conception of life is it capable of its highest and noblest
The soul is greater than the mind as it is greater than the body. Would
you have proof? Recall the days of the martyrs. What is it in man that
can take the body and hold it in the fire until the flames consume the
quivering flesh? The soul of man that can coerce the body to its death
is greater than the body itself. And the soul is likewise greater than
the mind. It can take the imperial mind of man, purge it of vanity and
egotism and infuse into it the spirit of humility and a passion for
service. The soul that can thus harness the mind and make it bear the
burdens of the World is greater than the mind itself.
Remember, also, that the spiritual gifts which Jesus bestows are vastly
richer than all that man possessed before. Who can measure the value
of salvation--the peace that comes with sins forgiven and the joy of
constant communion with the Heavenly Father whom Christ reveals? And,
then, consider the moral code that is revolutionizing the world. I only
have time to mention a few of the fundamental teachings of Christ.
Christ gave the world a new definition of love. Husbands had loved their
wives and wives their husbands; parents had loved their children,
and children their parents; and friend had loved friend, but Christ
proclaimed a love as boundless as the sea.
Christ founded a religion and built a Church on love--on love, the
greatest force in the world. Love furnishes an armour which no weapon
can pierce. When physical warfare is forgotten, love will still call its
hosts to battle; the effort then will be, not to kill one another but to
excel in doing good.
Christ has been called "_visionary"_--that is a favourite word with
those who pride themselves upon being practical. But as a matter of
fact, one of the great virtues of Christ's teachings is that they are
_practical_. He deals with the every-day things of ordinary life and in
His quiet way irons out difficulties and makes rough paths smooth. His
philosophy is easily comprehended and readily applied. His words need no
interpretation; they are the words of the people, the language of the
masses. If He were a teacher of rhetoric He would surpass all other
teachers because the art of discourse reaches its maximum in His
sentences. The learned sometimes speak over the heads of their hearers,
using words that are unusual and long-drawn-out. Jesus talked to the
multitude and they not only understood Him but "_the common people heard
Let me recall to your minds just a few illustrations of the simplicity
of His thought and language. Take, for instance, the supreme virtue,
love, upon which He always places emphasis. Note how He weaves it into
"Therefore," He says (Matt. 5:23), "if thou bring thy gift to the
altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath aught against
thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar and go thy way; first be
reconciled to thy brother."
Reconciliation is preferred to sacrifice. The gift upon the altar can
wait; but enmity between brothers must have attention at once. What
infinite woe and heartache will be prevented when this lesson is learned
and applied throughout the world. What untold blessings will be realized
when even among those who profess the name of Christ it is always
employed. A word spoken in anger has often cost a life because neither
party to the quarrel was big enough to obey the best promptings of the
heart and beg pardon. Families have been rent asunder; communities have
been divided; nations have gone to war, just because some one lacked
the spirit of the Saviour and refused the plain and easy road to
reconciliation. Well may religious rites be suspended for the moment
while love removes offense and binds together hearts that were
estranged. We know that "To err is human," and we believe that "To
forgive is divine;" to _ask_ forgiveness requires as much grace as to
In his first epistle (chapter 4:2) John makes a striking application of
Christ's doctrine of love: "If a man say 'I love God' and hateth his
brother, he is a liar."
These are harsh words but the Apostle was dealing with a very serious
subject, viz., the glaring inconsistency between love of God and hatred
of a brother.
There are many ways in which one can manifest hatred of his brother, and
it must be remembered that hatred is a sin that is proven by acts rather
than admitted. First, there is indifference--a wide-spread sin--and
it is to be found inside the church as well as outside. As love is a
positive virtue, a failure to love is a violation of obligations. A
participation in the services of the church, even communion at the
Lord's Table--does not always awaken in Christians the interest they
should feel in each other.
If I may be permitted to illustrate my thought, allow me to call
attention to the fact that church members are sometimes compelled to pay
cut-throat rates for short-time loans when there are within the same
congregation members who are loaning at lawful rates to non-church
members. Does it not seem incredible that the money of Christians is
available for the outside world and yet not within reach of needy
brethren? It would be easy for each church to organize within its
membership a loan society and use the money supplied by the well-to-do
for the accommodation of those temporarily embarrassed. Sometimes the
chattel mortgage sharks collect one hundred per cent, or more and the
banks, which are established for the purpose of making small short-time
loans, usually collect twenty to thirty per cent. Why should a church
member be driven to these extremities when the loanable money in the
church is sufficient for all needs? Surely church membership ought to
be better security for a small amount than either a chattel or a real
Another illustration; the fraternities are splendid organizations and
are founded on high principles, but the church might be expected to do
for its members some of the work left to fraternities. They care for the
sick and bury the dead! Is it not a reflection on the church that its
members should ever be compelled to go outside for assistance in such
There are many other forms of indifference, but indifference is the
least harmful of the manifestations of the lack of brotherhood. We have
cases of positive and deliberate injury practiced against those who
stand in the relation of brothers. We have had a riot of exploitation in
this country; profiteering has been carried on on an appalling scale:
men have been thrusting their larcenous hands into the pockets of their
church brethren, as well as into the pockets of the public.
We have also the unequal combat between the tax-eater and the taxpayer,
and we have the perennial conflict between the different groups of
taxpayers, each trying to shift the burden onto the other, not to speak
of that very considerable company who, for profit, cultivate vice as the
farmer cultivates his crops. All conscious and deliberate injustice is
proof of hatred and to such as engage in such wrong-doing the language
of John ought to come as a stinging rebuke. It would work a revolution
in society as well as in the Church if all the members proved their love
of God by fair dealing with their fellowmen.
Christ confines Himself usually to the laying down of broad, fundamental
principles instead of supplying rules and formulae. He cleanses the
heart and then gives to life the law of love which should pervade all
human relationships, as the law of gravitation pervades the universe.
But the Master at times went from generalities into details, making the
path of duty so plain that no one can excuse himself if he strays there
An illustration is found in Matthew's Gospel, chapter 25:34-46.
Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye
blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the
foundation of the world:
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye
gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in
prison, and ye came unto me.
Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee
an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto
you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my
brethren, ye have done it unto me.
Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me,
ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his
For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye
gave me no drink:
I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me
not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee
an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in
prison, and did not minister unto thee?
Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch
as ye did it not to one of the least of these ye did it not to me.
And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the
righteous into life eternal.
No one should waste time in waiting for some great opportunity for
service; there are opportunities everywhere. It is impossible for man to
render any service to Jehovah Himself. There is nothing that we can do
for Him except to love Him with heart and mind and soul and strength. It
is _to the neighbour_ that we pay the debt that we owe to the Heavenly
Father; it is _through the neighbour_ that we publish to the world our
real selves. This is, like music, an universal language that all can
Nietzsche, the atheistic philosopher, gave to one of his books the title
"Joyful Wisdom"--an absurd misnomer. That which he mistook for joy was
the delirium of an unbalanced mind. The philosophy of _Christ_ might
with propriety be called Joyful Wisdom; it leads one into the path of
happiness that is real and permanent.
Carl Hilty, a Swiss writer, has published a book entitled "Happiness,"
in which he points out that, as those have the poorest health who spend
their time travelling from one health resort to another looking for
it, so those are least happy who do nothing but hunt for pleasure. He
insists that to be happy one must have employment for the hands, the
head and the heart. The hands must be busy, the mind must be occupied,
and the heart must be satisfied.
Christ leads His followers into happiness through this route. No one
who partakes of His spirit can be an idler. The world is full of work
awaiting labourers; the harvest is ripe. Those who try to imitate Christ
will be planning for the extension of His Kingdom and for the comfort
of God's creatures. The heart of the Christian--the center of life and
love--will find satisfaction in being in sympathetic touch with all that
is good and noble.
I have dwelt upon this point because the worldly are in the habit of
picturing the Christian life as gloomy and forbidding. It is a libel; a
long-faced Christian is a poor Christian, if a Christian at all. "Be of
good cheer," is a Christian salutation; Christ used it repeatedly. In
Matthew 9:2 He said to the man sick of the palsy, "Son, be of good
cheer; thy sins be forgiven thee."
In Matthew 14:27 He quieted the fears of His disciples, "Be of good
cheer; it is I; be not afraid." In John 16:33 He inspired the Apostles,
"Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."
Here we have three of the greatest sources of happiness--Forgiveness of
sins: the presence of the Saviour and triumph over the world.
In Acts we find Him using the same words in addressing Paul and later
Paul uses them in encouraging his companions.
Religion--real, heartfelt religion--transforms its possessor. It moulds
the disposition and disposition determines expression. No beauty doctor
can make a face as winsome as the face of one whose heart overflows with
loving kindness; just as no face specialist can impose from without such
lines of strength and intelligence as can be written upon it by the
thoughts that pass through the brain.
The Christian life is the simple life. Charles Wagner sounded a note
that echoed around the world when, some two decades ago, he issued his
eloquent protest against the burdensome complexities of modern life. He
made a plea for the natural life in which each individual will be his
own master instead of being the servant of his possessions. Wagner's
book, though first published in Paris, had a larger circulation in the
United States than in any other nation--not because our people have
wandered farther than others into artificial social forms, but because
they are sensitive to high ideals and free to reject harmful customs.
Social intercourse should be an expression of friendship, and friendship
is both embarrassed and obscured by vulgar display. The home should be a
place of rest, where congenial spirits can gather for communion. There
is nothing edifying or satisfying in the mere comparing of apparel.
The aim of entertainment should be to refresh the guest and stimulate
friendship; the end is defeated by a rivalry in extravagance that
awakens concern as to one's ability to return courtesies extended. The
increasing costliness of social functions not only robs entertainment
of the enjoyment that it is intended to bring, but it leads many
young couples to ruin themselves financially in an effort to keep up
appearances and pay their social debts. It is impossible to calculate
the benefit which would be brought to the social world if Christ's
spirit could pervade it and infuse into it a wholesome sincerity and
frankness. Christ put the accent on the things that are worthy and
banished the shallow pretenses upon which so much time is wasted and so
much money squandered.
Christ gave the world a balm for that worry that is more wearing than
work. He condemned the petty vanities and irritating anxieties. He
taught a perfect trust that leads one to do his best and then leave the
result with the Heavenly Father who is ever near and always ready to
give good gifts to His children.