“To give a true and unprejudiced account of any religious system, a man must once have believed in it, or he will give an superficial view of it; and he must have ceased to believe in it, or he will be prejudiced.”
In quoting the above from M. Renan, I can use the words of H. M. Prior, who was 20 years a minister of one of the seven Catholic Apostolic Churches in London, on opening the account of his experience there. He said, “I am in this position,..with respect to orthodox astronomy, I formerly believed in theoretical astronomy, but now I renounce it as being contrary both to facts and reason and the Holy Scriptures.
“The Earth is the Lord’s, and the fullness thereof; For he hath founded it upon the Seas, and Established it upon the floods.” Psa. 24.2
These words give strength to the argument of the sceptics, against the authority of the Bible, so long as the popular teaching is upheld, both by themselves and Christians.
I remember a conversation I had some years ago with a man who I judged to be an atheist; or a deist. He had been listening with others to a Mr. Walter Skinnner of Brighton who was preaching on the obtaining of the future life alone through Jesus Christ. We were on the Level at Brighton, and the sceptic told me that his principal of sole reason for doubting Mr. Skinner’s statements, “was grounded upon the fact that the Book from which he took them was in direct opposition to Science.” He further said that he was a student of science, and the opinions and discoveries of great and learned me, and therefore the gospel would not do for him, as the two: science and the Bible did not fit agreeably together. This shews how lamentable it is for a Christian to blindly yield to the claims of “science.”
In regard to Christianity, the Sceptic said that the masses believed in it, for the reason that they either had no power of thinking themselves, or they did not exercise this power; for they accept as truth without enquiry just whatever any preacher tells them who is under the impression that the he is above his fellows in knowledge, or who desires some little notoriety. But, I replied, is not this the case to a large extent in science as well as in religion? Sceptics profess to believe in science, and astronomy, although they possess no practical knowledge thereon, just because some great man teaches these things, and the masses about them are brought up to believe them.
So that “science” in all its branches, has its unthinking votaries as well as religion. I soon perceived that this man’s faith was blindly fixed in the accepted or orthodox doctrines of what is termed “science,” especially astronomy; and that everything in his mind was made to succumb to his prejudice and unreasoning faith in his astronomical speculations. I asked him if God had not created the stars? He said, “No!” However, according to Laplace, the sun had formed itself out of primitive nebula and that this was the case with myriads of other starry globes, including the earth, all of which being huge sparks had been shot off the great fire-wheel of the Sun, like sparks from a grinding stone in rapid rotation” The Sun’s immense distance account for for its apparently small size, and its apparently small size being due to its supposed great distance ! This is called “circular reasoning,” and infidels as well as unthinking Christians believe them.
This sceptic said that he “believed” that the Sun was 1,409,725 times the size of the earth; and that both these bodies in common with 100s of millions of “other globes” were formed by condensation from vapours as rain drops are formed in the clouds. He supposed they had done this of themselves, for by some mysterious process described as “the laws of Nature!”
The difference being that these rain drops required only a few seconds, whereas these supposed solid bodies and worlds required millions and millions of years for their formation. Men talk glibly of these immense periods in the formation of the so-called “crust” of our earth, and they say that is must have taken millions of years for the crust of the “globe” to form and to cool. But what reason have the masses for believing this so-called scientific theory rather than the grand and simple account of Creation as given in the Bible? None! Christ by his miracles proved himself to be from God, and Christ endorsed the Mosaic account of the Universe. But sceptics are as blindly prejudiced in their unthinking scientific beliefs as the masses were in the dark ages in their unscriptural and theological faiths. Let us turn from all these teachings of me, whether they be of Newton, Herschal, Laplace or Arminius, and let us turn afresh to Nature and the Word of God for our own information and instruction. Let us have facts, not fancies, and let us read facts even in the light of a little common sense and criticism. Like others I once accepted these theories without exercising any thought and inquiry. But now I see it is impossible for one who really thinks to accept both the speculations of astronomy and the Scriptures. I for one, therefore, prefer to stand by the bible account of the Universe as it harmonises with all I have now learned on the real facts and appearances of Nature. As for all human fancies and astronomical speculations let them be discarded before we give up our trust in the Word of Him who made the World, and who promises eternal life to all who believe in His Son.