Paradise Found, by William F. Warren, , at sacred-texts.com
It would be a valuable contribution to the Study of Civilization to have the action of Decline and Fall investigated on a wider and more exact basis of evidence than has yet been attempted.E. B. Tylor.
Lor fut certainement le premier métal que lon connut. . . . Les trois ages des poètes, lage dor, lage dairain, et lage de fer sont une réalité, et non une fiction. 1A. de Rochas.
Besides their philosophies of religion, the apostles of universal primeval savagery have also their Philosophy of Human History and of Social Progress. First of all, they would have us believe that man has existed upon the Earth hundreds of thousands of years, 2 and that for at least the first hundred thousand years, possibly for twice or thrice this period,
he lived like a wild beast in thickets and dens and caverns of the earth. 1 His one occupation was the struggle for existence. The very cave in which his wretched young were sheltered from the storm was continually exposed to invasion by the cave-hyena and the cave-bear, fiercer and more powerful than the modern type. His multitudinous enemies were all provided with offensive and defensive armor,with tusk and fang, with claw and beak, with lances steeped in never-failing deadliest poisons. To every foe they could oppose an almost impenetrable hide, a mail of horny scales, a solid shell. He, by strangest anomaly, was destitute of all. He was a naked and defenseless babe in the Indian jungle of Earth's fierce and venomous carnivora. He had not a weapon, not an implement with which to shape one. Even had he had implements ever so good, he would not have known enough to fashion himself the rudest club from the branch of a tree. He had not yet "learned to look up" to where the tree branches grew. "Habit as
well as nature kept his eyes fixed upon the ground." As we saw in the preceding chapter, he supposed that "the branches of the trees extended quite to heaven, hiding themselves in infinitely remote ethereal regions." Indeed, according to some of these advocates, this precious "primitive man" could not distinguish a tree when he saw it. He was not at all certain that its outspreading roots and branches were not the legs and arms of a fellow-man who happened to grow in that particular way. So says a "generally-understandable-scientific lecturer" of Germany, Dr. Wilhelm Mannhardt. Let us note his exact statement: "However inconceivable it may be to us moderns, there truly was a time when people were unable to make any conceivable distinction between a plant and a man." 1
It is somewhat to be feared lest writers of this sort have been a little precipitate in rejecting so determinedly the traditional idea of extraordinary antediluvian longevity. For if the earliest generations of mankind were in truth such idiotic specimens as here represented, the great problems as to the possibility of their defending themselves against the bloodthirsty and powerful carnivora by which they were
surrounded, and as to the possibility of their learning sufficiently early how to wring a subsistence from the unfriendly soil, must give place to the still more perplexing and more fundamental problem as to the possibility and credibility of primitive procreation itself. To say nothing of the question as to the whence of the very first of these feeble and down-looking intelligences, it is plain that if ever they did have successors to take up and carry forward and upward their type of life, in some way and at some time within the natural life of the first individuals,incredible as it may be "to us moderns,"it must (happily for us) have dawned upon some man's mind, or on whatever then occupied the place of his mind, that between Daphne (or whoever was practically the first woman) and a tree some distinction was discernible. And as the friends who give us such witless ancestors are prodigal to a fault in their allowance of ages of time whenever any ordinary geological or zoölogical result is to be reached without troubling a Higher Power, it seems to a calm on-looker a very penurious and illogical, not to say cruel, procedure to require these embryotic representatives of incipient humanity to create, or rather to evolve and bring to practicable perfection, the high arts and sciences of intelligent perception, of human as distinguished from dendrological physiology, of gynecology and obstetrics,all within the few swift years of a modern human lifetime. With "two hundred and thirty thousand to two hundred and forty thousand years" at his command, or even "many hundred thousand," we really hope Dr. Mannhardt will see his way to reconsider this point, and to deal with the protistoi of the human
world in a more liberal and truly evolutionistic spirit. 1
Happily, the apostles of what De Maistre calls the banale hypothesis of primeval savagery have done their worst, and doing this have shattered their own party into an indefinite number of mutually antagonistic factions, each protesting against all who happen to be more thorough-going and radical than themselves. Thus Spencer is in array against McLennan, Caspari protests against Mannhardt, Vogt endeavors to outdo Darwin, and so on to the end of the chapter. The modern Babel is worse than the ancient. To one surveying at the present time the different departments of science which relate to Man, it would seem as though in each the breakdown of the theory of primitive human brutishness and imbecility were complete, though not yet publicly proclaimed and acknowledged. A review of the situation, with authentic citations of the dissentient
and often contradictory utterances of representative leaders, would be most timely, but the task must be left to other and more competent hands. Here, foregoing all exposures of such a kind, we will simply suggest to the reader a few obviously important memoranda:
1. Considered in the light of antecedent probabilities, there is no discoverable reason, or apology for a reason, why the first Homines should have been but half-witted, any more than those perfect Nautili which, ages earlier, with astounding skill navigated the old Silurian seas. 1
2. Given Human beings, normally endowed at the beginning, and we see experience everywhere showing how all the savagery of past and present history could easily and naturally have originated simply from disregard of natural and moral law.
3. Given at the beginning nothing but Animal powers, and we find nothing in the whole range of experience, from the first dawn of history until now, paralleling or in any wise rendering intelligible the hypothetical biological legerdemain of Nature by which these zoölogic powers were once, and once only, transmuted into Human. 2
4. If Paleontology presents to us certain types of life which indicate in their successions a certain progress, it must not be forgotten that the same science presents us other types, whose successions with equal clearness reveal a progressive degeneracy and an ultimate disappearance. The movement may be forward, but it may also be backward. "As to the class Reptilia," says Sir Charles Lyell, "some of the orders which prevailed when the Secondary rocks were formed are confessedly much higher in their organization than any of the same class now living. If the less perfect Ophidians, or snakes, which now abound on earth had taken the lead in those ancient days among the land reptiles, and the Deinosaurians had been contemporary with Man, there can be no doubt that the progressionist would have seized upon this fact with unfeigned satisfaction as confirmatory of his views. Now that the order of succession is precisely reversed, and that
the age of the Iguanodon was long anterior to that of the Eocene palæophis and the living boa, while the crocodile is in our own times the highest representative of its class, a retrograde movement in this important division of the vertebrata must be admitted." 1 With this agrees the emphatic declaration of Andrew Wilson: "A study of the facts of animal development is well calculated to show that life is not all progress, and that it includes retrogression as well as advance. Physiological history can readily be proved to tend in many cases towards backsliding instead of reaching forwards and upwards to higher levels. This tendency, beginning now to be better recognized in biology than in late years, can readily be shown to exercise no unimportant influence on the fortunes of animals and plants." 2 In view of these facts of retrogression, the latest writers on the history of life on our planet, even when professing, with the last-quoted author, to accept of Darwin's philosophy as true, are at the same time very generally saying, "It cannot be the whole truth." 3
5. Again, by the same testimony of the rocks, life need not, of necessity, either advance or retreat; it may stand as first originated from age to age. Says Professor Nicholson, "There are various groups, some of them highly organized, which make their appearance at an extremely ancient date, but which continue throughout geological time almost unchanged, and certainly unprogressive. Many of these 'Persistent Types' are known, and they indicate that under given conditions, at present unknown to us, it is possible for a life-form to subsist for an almost indefinite period without any important modification of its structure." 1
6. All arguments for the alleged self-evolution of the Human Race out of preceding animal races, based upon an alleged universal and uniformly progressive self-evolution of life-forms in the animal kingdom, are, in view of the above facts, arguments originating in ignorance or in fraud.
7. According to the teachers of the current agnostic anthropology and atheistic history, modern Man is the supreme product, the crowning glory, of the cosmic life-process, at least so far as our planet is concerned. Yet, by their own concessions, through all the unmeasured æons during which this being has been maturing and perfecting, the Earth has steadily been losing its life-giving warmth, its once delightful and almost equable climate has slowly
given place to Sahara heat and Arctic cold, its once luxuriant flora has yielded to types of marked inferiority, and its degenerating fauna ceased to come up to the measure of the stature of preceding forms. 1 This is saying that one and the same secular Deterioration of Environment has devitalized and degraded all forms of life save one, but that, unaided and alone, it has elevated that one to the physical, intellectual, and spiritual kingship of the world. 2
8. In proportion as the discussions and conclusions of this treatise have vindicated and illustrated the trustworthiness of the most ancient Traditions with reference to the location of the first abode of the race, in precisely the same degree have they authenticated and verified those same Traditions as trustworthy sources of information with respect to Man's primitive state, his intellectual powers, and his knowledge of the Divine.
Finally, the varying Power of Man over Nature, dwindling whensoever by vice he descends beast-ward, increasing whensoever by virtue he ascends
[paragraph continues] Godward, is to a truly scientific and philosophic eye full of significance. The slightest study of the manifestations of this power in history inwardly convicts us of unfaithfulness, as a race, to the true law of our being. We cannot help feeling that we ought to be lords of Nature. Our actual relation to the cosmic forces is not, and in historic time never has been, the ideal and true relation. It was no narrow-minded "bibliolater" who penned the following expression of this feeling; it was Ralph Waldo Emerson: "As we degenerate, the contrast between us and our house is more evident. We are as much strangers in Nature as we are aliens from God. We do not understand the notes of birds. The fox and the deer run away from us; the bear and the tiger rend us. . . . Man is a god in ruins. When men are innocent, life shall be longer, and shall pass into the immortal as gently as we awake from dreams. Man is the dwarf of himself. Once he was permeated and dissolved by spirit. At present he applies to Nature but half his force. . . . Meantime, in the thick darkness, there are not wanting gleams of a better light,occasional examples of the action of man upon Nature with his entire force. Such examples are the traditions of miracles in the antiquity of all nations, the history of Jesus Christ, the achievements of a principle in political revolutions, the miracles of enthusiasm, the wisdom of children. . . . The problem of restoring to the world original and eternal beauty is solved by the redemption of the soul."
The above is an utterance as true and deep as it is beautiful and poetic. And here in this ancient and Biblical conception of Man's relation to Nature
is given the sun-clear solution of the whole controversy between the advocates of universal racial and technological degeneration, on the one hand, and the advocates of universal racial and technological progression, on the other. Both parties are right and both are wrong. The one has vindicated and emphasized one vital class of facts; the other, another class equally vital. Christian thought interprets and harmonizes them both. It shows us through all human history racial and social and technological decadence wherever men have rejected or ignored God. It shows us, on the other hand, racial and social and technological progress wherever men have acknowledged and lovingly served that Divine One in whom we live and move and have our being. Here, then, is the law of true human progress. As Emerson in his more Christian moods would put it, The restoration of the lost harmony between Man and his House must begin with the Redemption of his Soul.
As to the primeval condition of our race, a truly scientific mind will wish to base its conception not on the air-hung speculations of mere theorists, but on an immovable foundation of fact, attested and confirmed by the widest, oldest, and most incontestable of all concurrences of divine and human testimony. According hereto, as in its beginning light was light, and water water, and the Spirit spirit, so in his beginning Man was Man. It says that the first men could not have been men without a human consciousness, and that they could not have had a human consciousness without rationality and freedom. It says that they could not have possessed conscious rationality and freedom without the perception of ethical qualities and the personal taste of
moral experiences. It boldly asserts that, according to every principle of just analogy, the notion that it took the earliest men one hundred thousand years to get an idea of the conditions of normal intellectual, and ethical, and social living is as incredible as that it took the first-born mammal one hundred thousand years to find its mother's milk. It calls attention to the fact that all the oldest historic peoples of every continent unite in the testimony that the first men had knowledge of superhuman personalities, good and evil. It dwells upon the equally universal tradition that primeval human life, while progressive in everything which accumulating human experience would of necessity improve, was yet from the first the life of decidedly super-bestial, almost god-like intelligences, as daring ultimately in evil as potent originally for good. It holds on the same authority that after centuries and possibly millenniums of such history as great natures undisciplined by virtue are ever reproducing, the social organism was incurably corrupted and the moral world-order itself defied. As Plato's Egyptian priests told Solon, "the divine portion in human nature faded out; "the purely human" gained the upper hand," and, spoiled by the very excellence of their fortune, "men became unseemly. To him who had an eye to see they appeared base, and had lost the fairest of their precious gifts. They still appeared glorious and blessed, at the very time when they were filled with unrighteous avarice and violence. Then the God of gods, who rules with law, and is able to see into such things, perceiving that an honorable race was in a most wretched state, and wanting to inflict punishment upon them that they might
be chastened and improved," made fresh announcements of divine penalty and promise, to the end that haply He might recall them to that earlier and better life, when they had "despised everything but virtue, neither were intoxicated by luxury;" when, being "possessed of true and great spirits, they practiced gentleness and wisdom in their intercourse with one another;" when they "were obedient to the laws and well affectioned toward the gods." 1 These gracious endeavors of Divine compassion proving fruitless, the integrity of the world's rational purpose and significance could be conserved only by penalty, and by a new moral and physical conditioning of the race. No change of moral administration could suffice, since every wise appliance of merely moral influence and instruction had been exhausted. A new physical environment and conditioning was essential to the new moral methods which, in this critical juncture, Humanity was needing. The inbringing of such a new physical environment would of itself carry to human consciences, individual and social, the profoundest and most effectual of moral meanings. Both the physical and the moral change came in that world-convulsion which Plato calls "the Great Deluge of all." In it perished what Hesiod and Ovid and so many others called the "Golden Race" of men,the first, the fairest, the strongest, the longest-lived of all that ever bore the human form divine. Under its waters were engulfed precious accumulations of science, the primordial creations of art, the incunabula of all literature. So sore was this loss of man's costliest possessions that either myth or truthful history has
filled the early Shemitic world with the pathetic story that the God of gods, while arranging for the righteous judgment upon the ungodly, Himself still so compassionated the successors and heirs of its unhappy victims as to command the patriarchal minister of His will to make an indestructible monumental record of all that the progenitors of a new Humanity would need to know. 1
The new physical conditions under which the race was placed were the conditions brought in by the Diluvian cataclysm. They involved (1) expatriation, the great Glacial Age compelling an entire abandonment of the mother-region of the human family; (2) dispersion, the frozen and sterilized condition of even what is now the North Temperate zone rendering the struggle for the means of subsistence a most arduous and difficult one; (3) deterioration of physical constitution corresponding to the biological conditions of the new and deteriorated environment; and (4), as a natural consequence of the whole, an abbreviation of the normal longevity previously enjoyed. Being at the same time reduced to the lowest social unit in the way of organization,the Family,and being, in consequence of the poverty of Nature's provision, compelled to spread in proportion as it multiplied, the new Humanity of "the world which now is" was signally guarded against the repetition of those insolent and God-defying forms of sin in consequence of which a nemesis of cosmical proportions had overtaken the antediluvian world. 2
Such is the conception of primeval human history which the oldest traditions of the oldest nations set over against this late-born dream of "primitive savagery." It is the conception of the whole Christian worldof the whole Jewish worldof the Mohammedan worldof the ancient Greek and Roman worldof the world of the eldest Asiatic and Egyptian antiquity. It is the irrefutable Selbstzeugniss of the Human Race respecting facts of which it has the knowledge of a living and most interested participating witness. 1
According to the results of this treatise the primitive seat of the world's first civilization was outside the boundaries of all lands known to recorded history. This being so, Mr. Tylor's confident challenge has for the present quite lost its force. "Where," he exclaims,"where now is the district of the Earth that can be pointed to as the primeval home of Man which does not show by rude stone implements buried in its soil the savage condition of its former inhabitants?" 2 The "cave-men" of Europe can as little illustrate man's antediluvian condition as Robinson Crusoe's cave could illustrate Westminster Cathedral. Postdiluvian civilization, or barbarism, whichever one may choose to call it,
may be studied in "Stone Age" implements and products wherever we may find them, but never should it be forgotten that, back of all dawnings of new knowledge and new arts here revealed, lay the fuller knowledge and the more perfect arts of a favored antediluvian world. 1
Let no one say that the profession of such an opinion betrays the prejudice of a Christian education; that it is ignoring the fruits of a century's study; that it is simply repristinating the doctrine
of a forgotten Goguet, and seeking to resurrect the long dead Banier. If any reader is tempted to such utterances, it is possible that an imaginary conversation may help him to juster conclusions.
Let us fancy ourselves at Cnossus, upon the shores of Crete, hundreds of years before the Christian era. A traveler has just landed,a Greek from Athens, intent upon visiting the celebrated temple and cave of Zeus. As he is walking to the temple he falls in with two companions, the one an intelligent Cretan, the other a traveler from Lacedæmon. After due salutations they naturally discourse of the laws and institutions of the country, of their origin, and of the origin of all states and laws and civilizations. And this we may imagine is a part of their conversation:
The Athenian: Do you believe that there is any truth in ancient traditions?
The Cretan: What traditions?
Ath. The traditions about the many destructions of mankind which have been occasioned by deluges and diseases, and in many other ways, and of the preservation of a remnant.
Cr. Every one is disposed to believe them.
Ath. Let us imagine one of them: I will take the famous one which was caused by a Deluge.
Cr. What is to be remarked thereon?
Ath. I should say that those who then escaped would only be hill shepherds,small sparks of the human race preserved on the tops of mountains. Such survivors would necessarily be unacquainted with the arts of those who live in cities, and with the various devices which are suggested to them by interest or ambition, and all the wrongs which they contrive against one another.
Cr. Very true.
Ath. Let us suppose, then, that the cities in the plains and on the sea-coast were utterly destroyed at that time. Would not all implements perish and every other excellent invention of political or any other sort of wisdom utterly fail at that time?
Cr. Why, yes; and if things had always continued as they are at present ordered, how could any discovery have ever been made even in the least particular? For it is evident that the arts were unknown during thousands and thousands of years. And no more than a thousand or two thousand years have elapsed since the discoveries of Dædalus, Orpheus and Palamedes,since Marsyas and Olympus invented music, and Amphion the lyre,not to speak of numberless other inventions which are but of yesterday.
Ath. Have you forgotten the name of a friend who is really of yesterday?
Cr. I suppose that you mean Epimenides.
Ath. The same, my friend; for his ingenuity does indeed far overleap the heads of all your great men; what Hesiod had preached of old, he carried out in practice, as you declare.
Cr. Yes, according to our tradition.
Ath. After the great destruction, may we not suppose that the state of man was something of this sort. In the beginning of things there was a fearful illimitable desert and a vast expanse of land; a herd or two of oxen would be the only survivors of the animal world; and there might be a few goats, hardly enough to support the life of those who tended them.
Ath. And of cities or governments or legislation, about which we are now talking, do you suppose that they could have any recollection at all?
Cr. They could not.
Ath. And out of this state of things has there not sprung all that we now are and have: cities and governments, and arts and laws, and a great deal of vice and a great deal of virtue?
Cr. What do you mean?
Ath. Why, my good friend, how can we possibly suppose that those who knew nothing of all the good and evil of cities could have attained their full development, whether of virtue or of vice?
Cr. I understand your meaning, and you are quite right.
Ath. But, as time advanced and the race multiplied, the world came to be what the world is.
Cr. Very true.
Ath. Doubtless the change was not made all in a moment, but little by little, during a very long period of time.
Cr. That is to be supposed.
Ath. At first they would have a natural fear ringing in their ears which would prevent their descending from the heights into the plain.
Cr. Of course.
Ath. The fewness of the survivors would make them desirous of intercourse with one another; but then the means of traveling either by land or by sea would have been almost entirely lost with the loss of the arts, and there would be great difficulty in getting at one another; for iron and brass and all metals would have become confused, and would have disappeared; nor would there be any possibility of extracting
them; and they would have no means of felling timber. Even if you suppose that some implements might have been preserved in the mountains, they would quickly have worn out and disappeared, and there would be no more of them until the art of metallurgy had again revived.
Cr. There could not have been.
Ath. In how many generations would this be attained?
Cr. Clearly not for many generations.
Ath. During this period, and for some time afterwards, all the arts which require iron and brass and the like would disappear.
Ath. Faction and war would also have died out in those days and for many reasons.
Cr. How would that be?
Ath. In the first place, the desolation of these primitive men would create in them a feeling of affection and friendship towards one another; and, in the second place, they would have no occasion to fight for their subsistence, for they would have pasture in abundance, except just at first, and in some particular cases; on this pasture-land they would mostly support life in a primitive age, having plenty of milk and flesh, and procuring other food by the chase, not to be despised either in quantity or quality. They would also have abundance of clothing, and bedding, and dwellings, and utensils either capable of standing on the fire or not; for the plastic and weaving arts do not require any use of iron: God has given these two arts to man in order to provide him with necessaries, that, when reduced to their last extremity, the human race may
still grow and increase. Hence in those days mankind were not very poor; nor was poverty a cause of difference among them; and rich they could not be, if they had no gold or silver, and such at that time was their condition. And the community which has neither poverty nor riches will always have the noblest principles, there is no insolence or injustice; nor, again, are there any contentions or envyings among them. And therefore they were good, and also because they were what is called simple-minded; and when they were told about good and evil, they in their simplicity believed what they heard to be very truth and practiced it. No one had the wit to suspect, another of a falsehood, as men do now; but what they heard about gods and men they believed to be true and lived accordingly; and therefore they were in all respects such as we have described them.
Cr. That quite accords with my views, and with those of my friend here.
Ath. Would not many generations living on in a simple manner, although ruder, perhaps, and more ignorant of the arts generally, and in particular of those of land or naval warfare, and likewise of other arts, termed in cities legal practices and party conflicts, and including all conceivable ways of hurting one another in word and deed; although inferior to those who lived before the Deluge, or to the men of our day in these respects, would they not, I say, be simpler and more manly, and also more temperate, and in general more just? The reason has been already explained.
Cr. Very true.
Ath. I should wish you to understand that what
has preceded and what is about to follow has been, and will be, said with the intention of explaining what need the men of that time had of laws, and who was their lawgiver.
Cr. And thus far what you have said has been very well said.
Ath. They could hardly have wanted lawgivers as yet; nothing of that sort was likely to have existed in their days, for they had no letters at this early stage; they lived by habit and the customs of their forefathers, as they are called.
Ath. But there was already existing a form of government which, if I am not mistaken, is generally termed a lordship, and this still remains in many places, both among Hellenes and barbarians, and is the government which is declared by Homer to have prevailed among the Cyclopes:
"They have neither councils nor judgments, but they dwell in hollow rocks on the tops of high mountains, and every one is the judge of his wife and children, and they do not trouble themselves about one another."
Cr. That must be a charming poet of yours; I have read some other verses of his, which are very clever; but I do not know much of him, for foreign poets are little read among the Cretans.
The Lacedæmonian. But they are in Lacedæmon, and he appears to be the prince of them all; the manner of life, however, which he describes is not Spartan, but rather Ionian, and he seems quite to confirm what you are saying, tracing up the ancient state of mankind by the help of tradition to barbarism.
Ath. Yes; and we may accept his witness to the fact that there was a time when primitive societies had this form.
Cr. Very true.
Ath. And did not such states spring out of single habitations and families who were scattered and thinned in the devastations; and the eldest of them was their ruler, because with them government originated in the authority of a father and a mother, whom, like a flock of birds, they followed, forming one troop under the patriarchal rule and sovereignty of their parents, which of all sovereignties is the most just?
Cr. Very true.
Ath. After this they came together in greater numbers, and increased the size of their cities, and betook themselves to husbandry, first of all at the foot of the mountains, and made inclosures of loose walls and works of defense, in order to keep off wild beasts; thus creating a single large and common habitation.
Cr. Yes; at least we may suppose it.
Ath. There is another thing which would probably happen.
Ath. When these larger habitations grew up out of the lesser original ones, each of the lesser ones would survive in the larger; every family would be under the rule of the eldest, and, owing to their separation from one another, would have peculiar customs in things divine and human, which they would have received from their several parents who had educated them, and these customs would incline them to order, when the parents had the element of
order in them; and to courage, when they had the element of courage in them. And they would naturally stamp upon their children, and upon their children's children, their own institutions; and, as we are saying, they would find their way into the larger society, having already their own peculiar laws.
Ath. And every man surely likes his own laws best, and the laws of others not so well.
Ath. Then how we seem to have stumbled upon the beginnings of legislation!
Ath. The next step will be that these persons who meet together must choose some arbiters, who will inspect the laws of all of them, and will publicly present such of them as they approve to the chiefs who lead the tribes, and are in a manner their kings, and will give them the choice of them. These will themselves be called legislators, and will appoint the magistrates, framing some sort of aristocracy, or perhaps monarchy, out of the dynasties or lordships, and in this altered state of the government they will live.
Cr. Yes, they would be appointed in the order which you mention. . . .
But we will not pursue the conversation farther. Is the reader indignant that he has been made to listen so long to Abbé Banier, clumsily disguised in the robes of a pretended Athenian philosopher and discoursing, all out of character, on matters which betray "the prejudices of a Christian education"? It may well be. To a reader of Lubbock and Tylor and Vogt, the sentiments of the Athenian traveler do seem singularly in accord with Holy Scripture.
[paragraph continues] But let not the innocent suffer for the guilty. It happens that our imaginary conversation is not of our imagining. It was written more than two thousand years before the birth of Abbé Banier, and by as good a pagan as the famed Athenian Plato.
On the whole, we are of the opinion that the great consentaneous Traditions of the Human Race will yet outlive a considerable number of Bachofens and Büchners and Buckles, and that if ever the burial-place of Moses shall be discovered, it will not be found to be in any of the ignominious graveyards periodically prepared for him by on-coming Professors of Hebrew eager for a stunning inaugural. Despite the ingenious "higher" criticism of to-day's ephemeral "authorities," the Biblical scholarship of the future is more likely to carry the age of the composition of the Eden story backward than forward. The documents embedded in the opening chapters of Genesis may yet prove to be, what reverent and orthodox scholars have already affirmedfragments of the Sacred Scriptures of the Antediluvian Patriarchal Church. 1 Whether so or no, one ancient word shall evermore be verified: "The grass withereth, the flower fadeth; but the word of our God shall stand forever."
Our treatise opened with a pathetic picture,it must close with another. Long-lost Eden is found; but its gates are barred against us. Now, as at the beginning of our exile, a sword turns every way to keep the Way of the Tree of Life.
Sadder yet, it is Eden no longer. Even could some new Columbus penetrate to the secret centre of this Wonderland of the Ages, he could but hurriedly kneel amid a frozen desolation and, dumb with a nameless awe, let fall a few hot tears above the buried and desolated hearthstone of Humanity's earliest and loveliest home.
Happily for us, O Menschengeschlecht, a trusty hand has added to the third of Genesis the closing chapters of the Patmos Apocalypse. The thought of the old forever evanished Eden is henceforth bearable, for from afar we have caught the vision of a Sinless Paradise, the frostless Gardens, the Tree, and the River of the Heavenly City of God.
407:1 Revue Scientifique, Paris, September 22, 1883.
407:2 With an impressive attempt at accuracy Professor Mortillet says, "at least 230,000 to 240,000 years." Le Préhistorique, p. 627. Haeckel says, "in any case more than 20,000 years," "probably more than 100,000 years," "perhaps many hundred thousand years." Natürliche Schöpfungsgeschichte, p. 595. Mr. John Fiske, building upon Croll, thinks that "the human race has covered both the eastern and the western hemispheres for thousands of centuries," and that the period during which man has possessed sufficient intelligence to leave a traditional record of himself is "only an infinitesimal fraction" of the time. In one passage he fixes on the period of "eight hundred thousand years," and at one time Lyell and others favored the same duration. Cosmic Philosophy, ii. 320, 295. Compare on the other side Southall, The Recent Origin of Man, Phila., 1875, and The Epoch of the Mammoth and the Apparition of Man upon the Earth, Phila., 1878.
408:1 "In the dim mist of bygone ages our ancestors lived the life of wild beasts in forests and caves." Élisée Reclus, Ocean, Atmosphere, and Life, vol. ii., p. 190. "We must assign to him the position of a savage, but of a savage as far below the buffalo-hunting Pawnee as the latter is removed from the cultivated representative of the Caucasian race." Rau, Early Man in Europe. N. Y., 1876: p. 162. "On such a view" as that "of the modern naturalist, savage life itself is a far advanced condition." Tylor, Primitive Culture, vol. i., p. 37. "All our recent investigations in Europe into the state of the arts in the earlier Stone Age lead clearly to the opinion that at a period many thousands of years anterior to the historical, man was in a state of great barbarism and ignorance, exceeding that of the most savage tribes of modern times." Lyell, Principles of Geology, vol. ii., P. 485. For a contrary view see the Duke of Argyll's chapter "On the Degradation of Man" in his Unity of Nature. London, 1884: pp. 374-447.
409:1 "Alle lebenden Wesen, vom Menschen bis zur Pflanze, haben Geborenwerden, Wachsthum und Tod miteinander gemein, und diese Gemeinschaft des Schicksals mag in einer fernen Kindheitsperiode unsers Geschlechts so überwältigend auf die noch ungeübte Beobachtung unserer Vorältern eingedrungen sein, dass sie darüber die Unterschiede übersahen, welche jene Schöpfungsstufen voneinander trennen. So unbegreiflich es uns Modernen klingen mag, hat es in Wahrheit eine Zeit gegeben, in der man keinen begreiflichen Unterschied zwischen einer Pflanze und einem Menschen zu machen wusste." Sammlung gemeinverständlicher wissenschaftlicher Vorträge, herausgegeben von Rudolf Virchow und Frans von Holtzendorff. Nro. 239. Berlin, 1876.
411:1 There is some evidence that the geologists are becoming increasingly skeptical as to the time-pieces relied upon by the ruling school of paleontological anthropologists. For example: "The present rates of the retrocession of Niagara, or of the deposit of Nile mud, or of stalagmite in caverns, or of the accumulations of the rocks themselves, or of the movement of glaciers, have been vainly used as natural chronometers, on the assumption that they have been going on at the same rate through all the past, and have been warranted never to stop, or to want winding up, or to go faster or slower than at the moment the observer was looking at them. Such attempts are so obviously futile that it is not a little strange to find them seriously made by men like Wallace and Mortillet." W. Boyd Dawkins, "Early Man in America." North American Review, Oct., 1883, p. 338. See also "The Niagara Gorge as a Chronometer," by G. Frederick Wright, in the Bibliotheca Sacra, and in the Am. Journal of Science for 1884. Still more significant is the alarmingly revolutionary "Opening Address" delivered last summer in Montreal before the Geological Section of the British Association by President W. T. Blanford, F. R. S., and printed in Nature, Sept. 4, 1884, pp. 440 ff.
412:1 Since these pages were placed in the printer's hands the following has appeared in the scientific journals: "A discovery by Dr. Lindström in the Silurian rocks of Gotland is worthy of special notice. In beds which are said to be the equivalent of our Niagara group he has discovered a remarkably well-preserved scorpion. Dr. Thorell, one of the foremost students of Arachnida in the world, and Dr. Lindström are preparing a paper upon it, and have given it the name of Paleophoneus nuncius. No scorpions, nor indeed any Arachnida, have before been found fossil in beds lower than the carboniferous deposits, in which some twenty-five species have been found in this country and Europe; yet this Silurian example is more perfect than any specimen of a fossil scorpion from any formation."
412:2 "That man, equally with the monad and the Conferva, owes his p. 413 origin to a protoplasmic germ, in which are contained all the possibilities of his after development, is no piece of scientific romance, but demonstrable truth. . . . All forms of protoplasm, however alike in appearance and composition science may and does declare them to be, are not identical in their potentialities. They do not, in other words, all possess similar powers of becoming similar organisms. The speck which remains an Amba has no power of evolving from its substance a higher form of life. The protoplasmic spore of a seaweed is a seaweed still, despite its similarity to other or higher forms of plant germs. The germ of the sponge, again, remains possessed of the powers which can convert it into a sponge alone. And the differences between such protoplasmic specks and the germ which is destined to evolve the human frame can only be declared as of immense extent, and as equaling in their nature the wide structural and functional distinctions which we draw betwixt the sponge and the man. Of such differences in the inherent nature of protoplasm under different conditions we are as yet in complete ignorance."Andrew Wilson, Ph. D., F. L. S., Chapters on Evolution. London, 1883: pp. 74, 75.
414:1 The Antiquity of Man, Philadelphia ed., p. 402.
414:2 Andrew Wilson, Ph. D., F. L. S., Chapters on Evolution, p. 343 (italics ours). See pp. 342-365. The progress of paleontological research is constantly bringing new illustrations to light. Revue Scientifique. Paris, 1884: p. 282. Even in our late age of the world "highly specialized forms of life are in fact numerically a minority of living beings." E. D. Cope, "On Archæsthetism," in the American Naturalist. Phila., 1882: vol. xvi., p. 468. Compare same writer on "Catagenesis," in vol. xviii. (1884), pp. 970-984.
414:3 What could be more striking and impressive than the following fresh testimony from this field: "The flora of the whole Paleozoic period . . . is very distinct from that of succeeding times. Still, the leading families of Rhizocarpeæ, Æquisetaceæ, Lycopodiaceæ, Filiceæ, and Coniferæ, established in Paleozoic times, still remain, and the changes which have occurred consist mainly in the degradation of the p. 415 three first families, and in the introduction of new types of Gymnosperms and Phænogams. These changes, delayed and scarcely perceptible in the Permian and Early Mesozoic, seem to have been greatly accelerated in the Later Mesozoic." Principal Dawson, "On the More Ancient Land Floras of the Old and New Worlds." Paper read before the British Association in Montreal, Aug. 1884. Nature, p. 527.
415:1 Life-History of the Earth, p. 371, 2.
416:1 "The Pliocene period is the declining age of the European flora, the time when the climatic conditions are definitively altered, when the vegetation gradually becomes poor and ceases to gain anything. The progress of the phenomenon is slow, but it moves along an inclined plane, on which it never stops. Those ornamental plants, those precious trees, those noble and elegant shrubs, which are now carefully trained by artificial culture in European conservatories were until then inhabitants of Europe, but they left it forever. One by one the ostracised plants take their departure, lingering here and there on the road to exile. It is this exodus that we should have to describe, if we could follow step by step the march of retrogression, and indicate species by species the progress and the result of this abandonment of our soil."G. de Saporta, Le Monde des Plantes avant lApparition de lHomme. Noticed in Am. Journal of Science, 1879, p. 270.
416:2 See above, page 100, note.
420:1 Critias, 120.
421:1 Josephus, Antiquities, i. 2, 3. Lenormant, Beginnings of History, p. 445. Polar "Sippara" and the "Siriad land" are one.
421:2 The events described in Gen. xi. 1-9 may have occurred "in the Front-country" (v. 2). See above, page 221, note 1.
422:1 "The men of old time . . . must surely have known the truth about their own ancestors. . . . How can we doubt the word . . . as they declare that they are speaking of what took place in the family?" Plato, Timæus, 40. It is satisfactory to note that that undervaluation of oral tradition which is inseparable from the theory that man is merely an improved beast, and which shows its natural fruit in such free-handed reconstructors of history as Professors Kuenen and Wellhausen, has proceeded so far that even rejecters of the traditional estimate of the Pentateuch and of the Old Testament are beginning to react restively against it. See Appendix, Sect. VII.
422:2 Primitive Culture, vol. i., p. 60.
423:1 In his late work, entitled India: What can it teach us? (London, 1883) Professor Max Müller well challenges the first principles of our dominant school of "Culture-students," as follows: "What do we know of savage tribes beyond the last chapter of their history? Do we ever get an insight into their antecedents? Can we understand what, after all, is everywhere the most important and the most instructive lesson to learn, how they have come to be what they are? There is, indeed, their language, and in it we see traces of growth that point to distant ages, quite as much as the Greek of Homer, or the Sanskrit of the Vedas. . . . Unless we admit a special creation for these savages they must be as old as the Hindus, the Greeks, and Romans; as old as we ourselves. We may assume, of course, if we like, that their life has been stationary, and that they are to-day what the Hindus were no longer than three thousand years ago. But that is a mere guess, and is contradicted by the facts of their language. They may have passed through ever so many vicissitudes, and what we consider as primitive may be, for all we know, a relapse into savagery, or a corruption of something that was more rational and intelligible in former stages. Think only of the rules that determine marriage among the lowest of savage tribes. Their complication passes all understanding. All seems a chaos of prejudice, superstition, pride, vanity, and stupidity. And yet we catch a glimpse here and there that there was some reason in most of that unreason; we see how sense dwindled away into nonsense, custom into ceremony, ceremony into force. Why, then, should this surface of savage life represent to us the lowest stratum of human life, the very beginnings of civilization, simply because we cannot dig beyond that surface?" A hundred years hence the story that the wise men of the nineteenth century sought to reconstruct the beginnings of human history by the study of the lowest contemporary savages will be one of the choicest of popular illustrations of the folly of "ante-scientific times."
432:1 Moffat: Comparative History of Religions. New York, 1871: vol. i., pp. 99 seq.