Zetetic Astronomy, by 'Parallax' (pseud. Samuel Birley Rowbotham), , at sacred-texts.com
IN the preceding chapters it has been shown that the Copernican or Newtonian theory of astronomy is an "absurd composition of truth and error;" and, as admitted by its founder, "not necessarily true nor even probable;" that instead of its being a general conclusion derived from known and admitted facts, it is a heterogeneous compound of assumed premises, isolated truths, and variable appearances in nature. Its advocates are challenged to show a single instance wherein a phenomenon is explained, a. calculation made, or a conclusion advanced without the aid of an avowed or implied assumption! The very construction of a theory at all, but especially such as the. Copernican, is a complete violation of that natural and legitimate mode of investigation to which the term "Zetetic" has been applied. The doctrine of the universality of gravitation is a pure assumption, made only in accordance with that "pride and ambition which has led philosophers to think it beneath them to offer anything less to the world than a complete and finished system of nature." It was said, in effect, by Newton, and has ever since been insisted
upon by his disciples: "Allow us, without proof, which is impossible, the existence of two universal forces--centrifugal and centripetal, or attraction and repulsion, and we will construct a theory which shall explain all the leading phenomena and mysteries of nature." An apple falling from a tree, or a stone rolling downwards, and a pail of water tied to a string and set in motion were assumed to be types of the relations existing among all the bodies in the universe. The moon was assumed to have a tendency to fall towards the earth, and the earth and moon together towards the sun. The same relation was assumed to exist between all the smaller and larger luminaries in the firmament; and it soon became necessary to extend these assumptions to affinity.
The universe was parcelled out into systems--co-existent and illimitable. Suns, planets, satellites, and comets, were assumed to exist infinite in number and boundless in extent; and to enable the theorists to explain alternating and constantly recurring phenomena, which were everywhere observable, these numberless and for-ever-extending objects were assumed to be spheres. The earth we inhabit was called a planet, and because it was thought to be reasonable that the luminous objects in the firmament, which were called planets, were spherical and had motion, so it was only reasonable to suppose that, as the earth was a planet, it must also be spherical and have motion--ergo, the earth is a globe and moves upon axes, and in an orbit round the sun! And as the earth is a globe and is inhabited, so again it is only reasonable to conclude that the planets are worlds like the earth, and are inhabited by sentient beings.
What reasoning! what shameful perversion of intellectual gifts! The very foundation of this complicated theory is false, incapable of proof, and contrary to known possibilities. The human mind cannot possibly conceive of its truth and application. To assume the existence of two opposite equal universal forces is to seek to make true things or ideas which are necessarily contradictory; to make black and white, hot and cold, up and down, life and death, and truth and falsehood, one and the same. Can any one by any known possibility conceive of two opposite equal powers acting simultaneously, producing change of position or motion in that which is thus acted upon? Do not two opposite forces, when equal in intensity and operating at the same moment, neutralise each other? There is nothing in practical science to gainsay this conclusion; and in the earliest days of the Newtonian astronomy this contradiction was quickly perceived, but as the assumption was an essential part of the system it was not rejected. An attempt was made to overcome the fatal objection that from two opposite equal forces, acting simultaneously on the earth, no motion whatever could arise, by the further assumption that, when the earth was first made, the Creator threw it out into space, at right angles to the two forces which had been assumed to exist universally, and that then the conjoint action of attraction and repulsion, with the "primitive impulse," resulted in a parabolic orbit round the sun.
"It will scarcely be believed that La Place (La Place le Grand) actually entered into an elaborate calculation, with a view to determine at what particular point the Creator held the earth at the time of giving the grand push; and that after a
most profound investigation he arrived at the sublime and never to-be-forgotten conclusion, that when the 'primitive impulse was imparted, the earth was held exactly twenty-five miles from the centre, 'and hence,' quoth La Place, 'the earth revolved upon her axis in twenty-four hours.' If she had been held a little nearer to the centre, our days would have been longer, and if a little further off, she would have revolved with greater velocity, and our days would have been shorter." 1
All efforts to reconcile the various inconsistencies with which the system abounds have necessarily failed. In the above instance it cannot be denied that the two assumed forces of necessity destroy each other; and that therefore the assumed "Primitive Impulse" given at right angles to them must operate alone. There might as well be no other forces operating, for out of the three two are suspended by mutual opposition, and the "Primitive Impulse" alone is left to produce a parabolic circuit. Let geometry and practical mechanics be questioned as to the possibility of such a thing. Can a parabola be described by a moving body if acted on by one force only? If so, then the assumption of the existence of the two other forces was unnecessary.
To assume that attraction and repulsion exist universally is also illogical and inconsistent. In the sense in which the word universal is used in astronomy we cannot separate it from the idea of boundless existence--existence without limit--eternity and infinity. But infinity, or infinite ex-tent, necessarily implies unity or oneness of existence. There cannot be anything--not an atom, nor a hair's-breadth
in addition to whatever is infinite--hence both practically and in the abstract there can only be one infinity, one eternity, one universe. To say then that two equal universal powers exist, is to say that there exist two infinities, two eternals, two everythings! But that which is infinite and eternal, or universal, is alone and is itself all and every-thing, to. which no addition can be made or imagined.
Thus we see that this Newtonian philosophy is devoid of consistency; its details are the result of an entire violation of the laws of legitimate reasoning, and all its premises are assumed. It is, in fact, nothing more than assumption upon assumption, and the conclusions derived therefrom are wilfully considered as things proved, and to be employed as truths to substantiate the first and fundamental assumptions. Such a "juggle and jumble" of fancies and falsehoods extended and intensified as in theoretical astronomy is calculated to make the unprejudiced inquirer revolt with horror from the terrible conjuration which has been practised upon him; to sternly resolve to resist its further progress; to endeavour to over-throw the entire edifice, and to bury in its ruins the false honours which have been associated with its fabricators, and which still attach to its devotees. For the learning, the patience, the perseverance and devotion for which they have ever been examples, honour and applause need not be withheld; but their false reasoning, the advantages they have taken of the general ignorance of mankind in respect to astronomical subjects, and the unfounded theories they have advanced and defended, cannot be otherwise than regretted, and ought to be by every possible means uprooted.
[paragraph continues] It has become a duty, paramount and imperative, to meet them in open, avowed, and unyielding rebellion; to declare that their reign of error and confusion is over; and that henceforth, like a falling dynasty, they must shrink and disappear, leaving the throne and the kingdom of science and philosophy to those awakening intellects whose numbers are constantly increasing, and whose march is rapid and irresistible. The soldiers of truth and reason have drawn the sword, and ere another generation has been educated and grown to maturity, will have forced the usurpers to abdicate. Like the decayed and crumbling trees of an ancient forest, rent and shattered by wind and storm, the hypothetical philosophies, which have hitherto cumbered the civilised world, are unable to resist the elements of experimental and logical criticism; and sooner or later must succumb to their assaults. The axe is uplifted for a final stroke--it is about to fall, and the blow will surely "cut the cumberer down."
The earth a globe, and it is necessarily demanded that it has diurnal, annual, and various other motions; for a globular world without motion of rotation and progression would be useless--day and night, winter and summer, the half-year's light and darkness at the pole, and other phenomena could not be explained by the supposition of rotundity without the assumption also of rapid and constant motion. Hence it is assumed that the earth and moon, and all the planets and their satellites, move in relation to each other; and also in different planes round the sun. The sun, and its system of revolving bodies, are now assumed to have a general and all-inclusive motion in
common with an endless series of other suns and systems round a point which has been assumed to be a "central sun," the true axis and centre of the universe. These assumed general motions, with the particular and peculiar motions which are assigned to the various bodies in detail, together constitute a system so confused and complicated that it is almost impossible, and always difficult to comprehend by the most active and devoted minds. The most simple and direct experiments, however, prove that the earth has no progressive or circular motion whatever; and here, again, the advocates of this interminable and entangling arrangement of the universe are challenged to produce a single instance of so-called proof of these motions which does not involve an assumption--often a glaring falsehood--but always a point which is not, and cannot be, demonstrated.
The magnitudes, distances, velocities, and periodic times which these assumed motions eliminate are all glaringly fictitious, because they are only such as a false theory requires and creates a necessity for. It is geometrically demonstrable that all the visible luminaries in the firmament are within a distance of a few thousand miles from the earth, not more than the space which stretches between the North Pole and the Cape of Good Hope; and the principle of measurement--that of plane triangulation with, invariably, an accurately measured base line--which demonstrates this important fact is one which no mathematician claiming to be a master in the science will for, a moment deny. All these luminaries, then, and the sun itself, being so near to us, cannot be other than very small
as compared with the earth we inhabit. They are all in motion over the earth, which is alone immovable; and, therefore, they cannot be anything more than secondary and subservient structures continually ministering to this fixed world and its inhabitants. This is a plain, simple, and in every respect demonstrable philosophy, agreeing with the evidence of our senses, borne out by every fairly instituted experiment, and never requiring a violation of those principles of investigation which the human mind has ever recognised and depended upon in its every-day life. The modern or Newtonian astronomy has none of these characteristics. The whole system taken together constitutes a most monstrous absurdity. It is false in its foundation; irregular, unfair, and illogical, in its details; and, in its conclusions, inconsistent and contradictory. Worse than all, it is a prolific source of irreligion and of atheism, of which its advocates are practically supporters. By defending a system which is directly opposed to that which is taught in connection with the Jewish and Christian religion they lead the more critical and daring intellects to question and deride the cosmogony and general philosophy contained in the sacred books. Because the Newtonian theory is held to be true they are led to reject the Scriptures altogether, to ignore the worship, and doubt and deny the existence of a Creator and Supreme Ruler of the world. Many of the primest minds are thus irreparably injured, robbed of those present pleasures, and that cheering hope of the future which the earnest Christian devotee holds as of far greater value than ail earthly wealth and grandeur; or than the mastery of
all the philosophical complications which the human mind ever invented. To the religious mind this matter is most important--it is, indeed, no less than a sacred question, but to the dogged atheist, whose "mind is made up" not to enter into any further investigation, and not to admit of possible error in his past conclusions, it is of little more account than it is to the lowest animal in. creation. He may see nothing higher, more noble, more intelligent, or beautiful than himself; and in this his pride, conceit, and vanity, find an incarnation. To such a creature there is no God; for he is himself, in his own estimation, an equal with, and equal to, the highest being he has ever recognised, or the evidence of which he has seen the possibility. Such atheism exists to an alarming extent among the philosophers and deep thinkers of Europe and America; and it has been mainly created and fostered by the astronomical and geological theories of the day. Besides which, in consequence of the differences between the language of Scripture and the teachings of modern astronomy, there is to be found in the very hearts of Christian and Jewish congregations a sort of "smouldering scepticism," a kind of "faint suspicion," which causes great numbers to manifest a cold and morbid indifference to religious requirements. They frigidly believe, and are not wanting in formalities and outward signs arid professions, but in their deepest thoughts a speculative, hypercritical, doubting, and chilling irreverence prevails. It .is this confusion and want of certainty as to the absolute truths of religious teachings which creates a love of display and outward manifestation of religion, instead of that "cheerful solemnity" and quiet,
unobtrusive good-will and devotion which solid convictions of the truthfulness of Christianity never fail to produce. It is this, too, which has led thousands to openly desert the cause of earnest, practical, active devotion, to seek consistency and satisfaction in scepticism, which has led many of them gradually onwards to utter hopelessness and atheism; and great numbers of those who still remain in the ranks of religion try to console themselves with the declaration "that the Scriptures were not intended to teach correctly other than moral and spiritual doctrines; that the references so often made to the physical world, and to natural phenomena generally, are given in language not pretending to be true, but to suit the prevailing notions and the ignorance of the people."
A Christian philosopher, who wrote almost a century ago, in reference to remarks similar to the above, says:
"Why should we suspect that Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, and the later prophets and inspired writers, have counterfeited their sentiments concerning the order of the universe from pure complaisance, or being in any way obliged to dissemble with a view to gratify the prepossessions of the populace? These eminent men being kings, law-givers, and generals themselves, or always privileged with access to the Courts of sovereign princes, besides the reverence and awful dignity which the power of divination and working of miracles procured to them, had great worldly and spiritual authority. . . They had often in charge to command, suspend, revert, and otherwise interfere with the course and laws of Nature, and were never daunted to speak out the truth before the most
mighty potentates on earth, much less would they be overawed by the vox populi."
To say that the Scriptures were not intended to teach science truthfully is, in substance, to declare that God Himself has stated, and commissioned His prophets to teach things which are utterly false! Those Newtonian philosophers who still hold that the Sacred Volume is the word of God are thus placed in a fearful dilemma. How can the two systems, so directly opposite in character, be reconciled? Oil and water alone will not combine--mix them by violence as we may, they will again separate when allowed to rest. Call oil oil, and water water, and acknowledge them to be distinct in nature and value, but let no "hodge-podge" be attempted, and passed off as a genuine compound of oil and water. Call Scripture the Word of God, the Creator and Ruler of all things, and the Fountain of all truth; and call the Newtonian or Copernican system of astronomy the word and work of man--of man, too, in his vainest mood--so vain and conceited as not to be content with the direct and simple teachings of his Maker, but must rise up in rebellion, and conjure into existence a fanciful complicated fabric, which, being insisted upon as true, creates and necessitates the dark and horrible interrogatives--Is God a deceiver? Has He spoken direct and unequivocal falsehood? Can we no longer indulge in the beautiful and consoling thought that God's justice, and love, and truth, are unchanging and reliable for ever? Let Christians at least--for sceptics and atheists may be left out of the question--to whatever division of the Church they belong, look to this matter calmly and earnestly.
[paragraph continues] Let them determine to uproot the deception which has led them to think that they can altogether ignore the plainest astronomical teachings of Scripture, and yet indorse a system to which it is in every sense opposed.
The following language is quoted as an instance of the manner in which the doctrine of the earth's rotundity and the plurality of worlds interferes with Scriptural teachings:--
"The theory of original sin is confuted (by our astronomical and geological knowledge), and I cannot permit the belief, when I know that our world is but a mere speck, a perishable atom in the vast space of creation, that God should just select this little spot to descend upon and assume our form, and clothe Himself in our flesh, to become visible to human eyes, to the tiny beings of this comparatively insignificant world. . . . Thus millions of distant worlds, with the beings allotted to them, were to be extirpated and destroyed in consequence of the original sin of Adam. No sentiment of the human mind can surely be more derogatory to the divine attributes of the Creator, nor more repugnant to the known economy of the celestial bodies. For, in the first place, who is to say, among the infinity of worlds, whether Adam was the only creature who was tempted by Satan and fell, and by his fall involved all the other worlds in his guilt?" 1
The difficulty experienced by the author of the above remarks is clearly one which can no longer exist when it is seen that the doctrine of a plurality of worlds is an impossibility. That it is an impossibility is shown by the fact that the sun, moon, and stars, are very small bodies,
and very near to the earth; this fact is proved by actual non-theoretical measurement; this measurement is made on the principle of plane trigonometry; this principle of plane trigonometry is adopted because the earth is experimentally demonstrated to be a plane, and all the base lines employed in the triangulation are horizontal. By the same practical method of reasoning, all the difficulties which, upon geological and astronomical grounds, have been raised to the literal teachings of the Scriptures may be completely destroyed. The doctrine that the earth is a globe has been proved, by the most potent evidence which it is possible for the human mind to recognise, that of direct experiment and observation, to be unconditionally false. It is not a question of degree, of more or less truth, but of absolute falsehood. That of its diurnal and annual motion, and of its being one of an infinite number of revolving spheres, is equally false; and, therefore, the Scriptures, which negative these notions, and teach expressly the reverse, must in their astronomical philosophy at least be literally true. In practical science, therefore, atheism and denial of Scriptural teaching and authority have no foundation. If human theories are cast aside, rejected as entirely worthless, and the facts of nature and legitimate reasoning alone relied on, it will be seen that religion and true science are not antagonistic, but are strictly parts of one and the same great system of sacred philosophy.
To the religious mind this matter is most important--it is indeed no less than a sacred question; for it renders complete the evidence that the Jewish and Christian Scriptures are absolutely true, and must have been
communicated to mankind by an anterior and supernal Being. If after so many ages of mental struggling, of speculation and trial, of change and counterchange, we have at length discovered that all astronomical theories are false; that the earth is a plane, and motionless, and that the various luminaries above it are lights only and not worlds; and that these very facts have been declared and recorded in a work which has been handed down to us from the earliest times--from a time, in fact, when mankind had lived so short a period upon the earth that they could not have had sufficient experience to enable them to criticise and doubt, much less to invent and speculate--it follows that whoever dictated and caused such doctrines to be recorded and preserved to all generations must have been superhuman, omniscient, and to the earth and its inhabitants pre-existent. That Being could only be the Creator of the world, and His truth is recorded in the Sacred Writings. The Scriptures--the Bible, therefore, cannot be other than the word and teaching of God. Let it once be seen that such a conclusion is a logical necessity; that the sum of the purely practical evidence which has been collected compels us to acknowledge this, and we find ourselves in possession of a solid and certain foundation for all our future investigations.
That everything which the Scriptures teach respecting the material world is literally true will readily be seen. It is a very popular notion among modern astronomers that the stellar universe is an endless congeries of systems, of suns and attendant worlds, peopled with sentient beings analogous in the purpose and destiny of their existence to
the inhabitants of this earth. This doctrine of a plurality .of worlds, although it may be admitted to convey most magnificent ideas of the universe, is purely fanciful, and may be compared to some of the "dreams of the alchemists," who laboured with unheard of patience and enthusiasm to discover a "philosopher's stone," to change .all common metals into gold and silver; an elixir vitæ to prevent and to cure all the disorders of the human frame; and the "universal solvent" which was deemed necessary to enable them to make all things homogeneous, as preliminary to precipitation, or concretion into any form desired by the operator. However grand the first two projects might have been in their realisation, it is known that they were never developed in a useful and practical sense. They depended upon the third--the discovery of a solvent which would dissolve everything. The idea was suddenly and most unexpectedly destroyed by the few remarks of a simple but critical observer, who demanded to know what service a substance could be to them which would dissolve all things; seeing that it would dissolve every thing, what would they keep it in? It would dissolve every vessel wherein they sought to preserve it! The alchemists had never "given a thought" to such a thing. They were entirely absorbed with the supposed magnitude and grandeur of their purposes. The idea never struck them that their objects involved inconsistency and impossibility; but when it did strike, the blow was so heavy that the whole fraternity of alchemists reeled almost to destruction, and alchemy, as a science, rapidly expired. The idea of a "plurality of worlds" is as grand and romantic
as that of the "universal solvent," and is a natural and reasonable conclusion drawn from the doctrine of the earth's rotundity. It never occurred to the advocates of sphericity and infinity of systems that there was one great and overwhelming necessity at the root of their speculations. The idea never struck them that the convexity of the surface of the earth's standing water required demonstration. The explanation its assumption enabled them to give of natural phenomena was deemed sufficient. At length, however, another "critical observer"--one almost born with doubts and criticisms in his heart, determined to examine practically, experimentally, this fundamental necessity.
The great and theory-destroying fact was quickly discovered that the surface of standing water was perfectly horizontal! Here was another death-blow to the unnatural ideas and speculations of pseudo-philosophers. Just as the "universal solvent" could not be preserved or manipulated, and therefore the whole system of alchemy died away, so the necessary proof of convexity in the waters of the earth could not be found, and therefore the doctrine of rotundity and of the plurality of worlds must also die. Its death is now merely a question of time.
Just as in bygone times a voice was heard to say that "a universal solvent cannot be held," so now an unostentatious, but terribly dangerous and destructive, cry has been raised that water is not convex but horizontal, which will work a revolution in science greater than the world has yet seen. It will do what has never yet been done, destroy the vain and flimsy structures of human ingenuity, and
turn the hearts of philosophers and all grades of men of learning to the wisdom and consistency and demonstrable truths contained in the "Word of God," the Scriptures of the all-wise, long-patient, and, by philosophers, almost forgotten Creator of the world. A reverence for, and solemn attention to, the teachings of His dictated Word will rapidly grow and spread in all directions, and our men of science and learning will become the servants of their Creator, and the true friends of their fellow-men. Vain systems of science and false honours and applause will be swallowed up in an ever-spreading, all-influencing, all-inclusive, and reverential philosophy--which will become to all progressive minds the long-hoped-for true and universal religion.
Let us now inquire earnestly, and in all respects fairly, whether the philosophical teachings of the Scriptures are consistent with those of Zetetic Astronomy; or, in other words, are descriptive of that which is, both in nature and in principle, demonstrably true.
In the Newtonian astronomy, continents, oceans, seas, and islands, are considered as together forming one vast globe of 25,000 English statute miles in circumference. This assertion has been shown to be entirely fallacious, and that it is contrary to the plain literal teaching of Scripture will be clearly seen from the following quotations.
"And God said, Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear. And God called the dry land earth; and the gathering together of the waters called He seas."--Genesis i., 9-10.
Instead of the word "earth" meaning both land and water, only the dry land is called earth, and the seas the gathering or collection of the waters in vast bodies. Earth and seas--earth and the great body of waters, are described as two distinct and independent regions, and not as together forming one great globe which modern astronomers call "the earth." This description is confirmed by several other passages of Scripture:
"The earth is the Lord's and the fulness thereof; the world and they that dwell therein; for He hath founded it upon the seas, and established it upon the floods."--Psalm xxiv., 1-2.
"O give thanks to the Lord of lords, that by wisdom made the heavens, and that stretched out the earth above the waters."--Psalm cxxxvi., 6.
"By the word of God the heavens were of old, and the earth standing out of the water and in the water."--2nd Peter iii., 5.
"Who with the word of His strength fixed the heavens; and founded the earth upon the waters."--Hermes, N. T. Apocrypha.
That the surface of water is horizontal is a matter of absolute truth, and as the earth is founded upon the seas, and stretched out above the waters, it is of necessity a plane; and being a concrete mass of variable elements and compounds, with different specific gravities, it must be a floating structure, standing in and out of the waters, just as we see a ship or an iceberg.
Many have argued that the Scriptures favoured the idea that the earth is a globe suspended in space, from the following language of Job (xxvi., 7):--
"He stretched out the north over the empty place, and hangeth the earth upon nothing."
Dr. Adam Clark, although himself a Newtonian philosopher, says, in his commentary on this passage, the literal translation is, "on the hollow or empty waste;" and he quotes a Chaldee version of the passage, which runs as follows:--
"He layeth the earth upon the waters, nothing sustaining it."
It is not that he "hangeth the earth upon nothing," an obviously meaningless expression, but "layeth it upon the waters," which were previously empty or waste or unoccupied by the earth--in fact, on and in which there was nothing visible before the dry land appeared.
This is in strict accordance with the other expressions of Scripture that the earth was stretched out above the waters, and founded upon the seas--where nothing had before existed.
If the earth is a globe, it is evident that everywhere the water of its surface--the seas, lakes, oceans, and rivers--must be sustained or upheld by the land, which must be underneath the water; but being a plane "founded upon the seas," and the land and waters distinct and independent of each other, then the waters of the "great deep" must sustain the land as it does a ship, an ice-island, or any other flowing mass, and there must, of necessity, be waters below the earth. In this particular, as in all others, the Scriptures are beautifully sequential and consistent.
"The Almighty shall bless thee with the blessing of Heaven above, and blessings of the deep that lieth under."--Genesis xliv., 25.
"Thou shalt not make unto thee any likeness of anything in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, or in the waters under the earth."--Exodus xx., 4.
"Take ye, therefore, good heed unto yourselves, and make no similitude of anything on the earth, or the likeness of anything that is in the waters beneath the earth."--Deuteronomy iv., 18.
"Blessed be his land, for the precious things of heaven, for the dew, and for the deep which croucheth beneath."--Deuteronomy xxxiii., 13.
The same fact was acknowledged by the ancient philosophers. In "Ovid's Metamorphoses" Jupiter, in an "assembly of the gods," is made to say:--
"I swear by the infernal waves which glide under the earth."
As the earth is a distinct structure, standing in and upheld by the waters of the "great deep," it follows, unless it can be proved that something solid and substantial sustains the waters, that "the depths" are fathomless. As there is no evidence whatever of anything existing except the fire consequent upon the rapid combination and decomposition of numerous well-known elements, we are compelled to admit that the depth is boundless--that beneath the waters which glide under the lowest parts of the earth there is nothing of a resisting nature. This is again confirmed by the Scriptures:--
"Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and stars for a light by
night, which divideth the sea when the waves thereof roar, the Lord of Hosts is His name. If these ordinances depart from before me, saith the Lord, then the seed of Israel also shall cease from being a nation before me for ever. Thus saith the Lord: if heaven above can be measured and the foundations of the earth searched out beneath, I will also cast off all the seed of Israel."--Jeremiah xxxi., 37.
From the above it is certain that God's promises to His people can no more be broken than can the height of heaven be measured, or the depths of the mighty waters--the earth's foundations--searched out or determined. The fathomless character of the deep beneath, upon which the earth is founded, and the infinitude of heaven above, are here given as emblems of the boundlessness of God's power, and of the certainty that all His ordinances will be fulfilled. When God's power can be limited, heaven above will be no longer infinite; and the "mighty waters," the "great deep," the "foundations of the earth," may be fathomed. But the Scriptures plainly teach us that the power and wisdom of God, the heights of heaven, and the depth of the "waters under the earth," are alike boundless and unfathomable.
That the earth is stationary, except the fluctuating motion referred to in the chapter on the cause of tides, has been more than sufficiently demonstrated; and the Scriptures in no instance affirm the contrary
The progressive and concentric motion of the sun over the earth is in every sense practically demonstrable; yet the Newtonian astronomers insist upon it that the sun only appears to move, and that this appearance arises from the
motion of the earth; that when, as the Scriptures affirm, the "sun stood still in the midst of heaven," it was the earth which stood still and not the sun; that the Scriptures therefore speak falsely, and the experiments of science, and the observations and applications of our senses are never to be relied upon! 1 Whence comes this bold and arrogant denial of the value of our senses and judgment and authority of Scripture? A theory which is absolutely false in its groundwork, and ridiculously illogical in its details, demands that the earth is round and moves upon axes, and in several other various directions; and that these motions are sufficient to account for certain phenomena without requiring the sun to move--therefore, the sun does not move but is a fixed body--his motion is only apparent! Such "reasoning" is a disgrace to philosophy, and fearfully dangerous to the best--the religious interests of humanity.
The direct evidence of our senses, actual and special observations, as well as the most practical scientific experiments, all combine to make the motion of the sun over the non-moving earth unquestionable. All the expressions of Scripture are consistent with the fact of the sun's motion. They never declare anything to the contrary, but whenever the subject is required to be named, it is expressly in the affirmative:--
"In the heavens hath He set a tabernacle for the sun, which
is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. His going forth is from the end of the heaven, and his circuit unto the end of it."--Psalms xix., 4-6.
"The sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down, and hasteth to his place where he arose."--Ecclesiastes i., 5.
"Let them that love the Lord be as the sun when he goeth forth in his might."--Judges v., 31.
"The sun stood still in the midst of heaven, and Basted not to go down about a whole day."--Joshua x., 13.
"Great is the earth, high is the heaven, swift is the sun in his course."--1 Esdras iv., 34.
In the religious and mythological poems of all ages and nations the fact of the sun's motion is recognised and declared. Christians especially of every denomination are familiar with, and often read and sing with delight, such poetry as the following:--
"When from the chambers of the East,
His morning race begins,
He never tires, nor stops to rest,
But round the world he shines.
"God of the morning, at whose voice
The cheerful sun makes haste to rise,
And, like a giant, doth rejoice
To run his journey through the skies;
He sends the sun his circuit round,
To cheer the fruits and warm the ground." p. 370
"How fine has the day been!
How bright was the sun!
How lovely and joyful
The course that he run!"
The above simple verses are merely examples of what may be found in every hymn-book and collection of sacred poetry throughout the world. The sacred books of all nations, and the perceptions and instincts of the whole human race, completely accord in respect to the motion of the sun and the fixity of the earth; and theoretical astronomy fails to present a single fact or experiment to support the contrary conclusion.
Christian and Jewish ministers, teachers, and. commentators, find it a most unwelcome task to reconcile the plain and simple philosophy of the Scriptures with the monstrous and contradictory teachings of modern theoretical astronomy. Dr. Adam Clark, in a letter to his friend, the Rev. Thomas Roberts, of Bath, in replying. to questions as to the progress of the commentary he was then writing, and of his endeavours to reconcile the statements of Scripture with the Newtonian astronomy, says:--
"Joshua's sun and moon standing still have kept me going for nearly three weeks! That one chapter has afforded me more vexation than anything I have ever met with; and even now I am but about half-satisfied with my own solution of all the difficulties, though I am confident that I have removed mountains that were never touched before. Shall I say that I am heartily weary of my work--so weary that I have a
thousand times wished I had never written one page of it, and am repeatedly purposing to give it up? 1
The Rev. John Wesley, in his journal, writes as follows:--
"The more I consider them the more I doubt of all systems of astronomy. I doubt whether we can with certainty know either the distance or magnitude of any star in the firmament; else why do astronomers so immensely differ, even with regard to the distance of the sun from the earth? some affirming it to be only three, and others ninety millions of miles." 2
In vol. 3 of the same work, p. 203, the following entry occurs:--
"January 1st, 1765.
"This week I wrote an answer to a warm letter published in the 'London Magazine,' the author whereof is much displeased that I presume to doubt of the modern astronomy. I cannot help it; nay, the more I consider the more my doubts increase, so that at present I doubt whether any man on earth knows either the distance or magnitude, I will not say of a fixed star, but of Saturn or Jupiter--yea, of the sun or moon."
In vol. 13, p. 359, referring again to the subject of theoretical astronomy, he says:--
"And so the whole hypothesis of innumerable suns and worlds moving round them vanishes into air."
Again, at p. 430 of the same volume, the following words occur:--
"The planets' revolutions we are acquainted with, but who is able to this day regularly to demonstrate either their magnitude or their distance, unless he will prove, as is the. usual way, the magnitude from the distance, and the distance from the magnitude?"
In the same paragraph, speaking of the earth's motion, he says:--
"Dr. Rogers has evidently demonstrated that no conjunction of the centrifugal and centripetal forces can possibly account for this, or even cause any body to move in an ellipsis."
There are several other incidental remarks in his writings which show that the Rev. John Wesley was well acquainted with the then modern or Newtonian system of astronomy, and that he saw clearly its contradictory and anti-Scriptural character.
The supposition that the heavenly bodies are suns and systems of inhabited worlds is demonstrably false and impossible in nature, and certainly has no counterpart or foundation in Scripture.
"In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth."
One earth only was created; and, in the numerous references to this world contained in the entire Scriptures, no other physical world is ever mentioned. It is never even stated that the earth has companions like itself, or that it is one of an infinite number of worlds which co-exist, and were brought into being at the beginning of creation. It may be remarked also that all the favours and privileges, the promises and threats of God contained in
the Scriptures, have sole and entire reference to this on earth and its inhabitants.
The sun, moon, and stars, are described as lights only to give light upon the earth.
"And God made two great lights; the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also, and set them in the firmament of heaven to give light upon the earth."--Genesis i., 16-17.
The creation of the world, the origin of evil, and the fall of man; the plan of redemption .by the death of Christ, the Day of Judgment, and the final consummation of all things, are, in the Scriptures, invariably associated with this earth alone. A great number of passages might be quoted which prove that no other material world is ever, in the slightest manner, referred to by the inspired writers. The expressions in Hebrews (i., 2) "By whom also He made the worlds;" and (xi., 3) "Through faith we understand that the worlds were framed," are known to be a comparatively recent rendering from the Greek documents. The word in the original which has been translated "worlds" permits of being rendered in the singular quite as well as the plural number, and, previous to the introduction of the Copernican system of astronomy, was always translated "the world." The Roman Catholic and also the French Protestant Bibles still contain the singular number; and in a copy of the English Protestant Bible, printed in the year 1608, the following translation is given:--
"Through faith we understand that the world was ordained."
In the later translations either the plural expression "worlds" was used in order to accord with the astronomical theory then recently introduced, or it was meant to include the earth--the material world and the spiritual world, as referred to in the following passages
"For unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world to come?"--Hebrews ii., 5.
"Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."--Ephesians i., 21.
"There is no man that hath left house, or parents, or brethren, or wife, or children, for the Kingdom of God's sake, who shall not receive manifold more in this present time, and in the world to come life everlasting."--Luke xviii., 29-30.
"Whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come."--Matthew xii., 32.
If by the plural expression "worlds" is not meant the spiritual and the natural world, then the Scriptures have been tampered with; presumptuous men, more in love with their own conceits than with everything else, have perverted them, disputed their original consistency, dared to deny their inspired truthfulness, and challenged the omniscience of their Author.
The Scriptures teach that "the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat;" and the "stars of heaven fall unto the earth even as a fig-tree casteth her untimely figs when shaken of a mighty wind." As the stars have been shown to be comparatively minute objects, and very near to the earth,
the above language is perfectly consistent with known possibilities; and very expressive of what, from practical observations, is found to be not only probable but inevitable. The Newtonian system of astronomy declares that the stars and planets are mighty worlds--nearly all of them larger than the earth we inhabit. The fixed stars are considered to be suns, equal if not greater than our own sun, which is affirmed to be more than 800,000 miles in diameter, and nearly 360,000 times the mass of the earth. All this is simply and provably false; but- to those who have been led to believe it otherwise, and yet believe the Scriptures, the difficult question presents itself--How can thousands of stars fall upon this earth, which is hundreds of times less than any one of them? How can the earth, with a supposed diameter of 8000 miles, receive the numerous suns of the firmament, many of which are said to be a million miles in diameter? Can a whale rush down the throat of a herring? or an elephant ride on the back of a mouse? or the great mountain range which runs between France and Italy spring up from the plains and fall down the crater of Vesuvius? How then can the earth receive a downfall of stars and planets--suns and satellites and worlds, the united mass of which is said to be innumerable millions of times greater than itself? Is there anything in the brain of the maddest inmate of Bedlam which is half so contradictory and ridiculous as this and others of the dilemmas into which religious or Scripture-believing Newtonians are brought?
Again, these stars are assumed to have positions so far from the earth that the distance is almost in expressible;
figures, indeed, may be arranged on paper, but in reading them no practical idea is conveyed to the mind. Many are said to be so distant that should they fall with the velocity of light, or above 160,000 miles in a second of time, 600,000,000 of miles per hour, they would require nearly 2,000,000 of years to reach the earth! Sir William Herschel, in a paper on "The power of telescopes to penetrate into space," 1 affirms that with his powerful instruments he discovered brilliant luminaries so far from the earth that the light which they emitted "could not have been less than one million nine hundred thousand years in its progress!" Here again a difficulty presents itself, viz., if the stars begin to fall to-day, and with the greatest imaginable velocity, that of light, 160,000 miles in a second, millions of years must elapse before many of them will reach the earth! But the Scriptures declare that these changes will occur suddenly; shall come, indeed, "as a thief in the night."
The same stultifying theory of astronomy, with its false and inconceivable distances and magnitudes, operates to destroy the ordinary common sense and Scripturally authorised chronology. Christian and Jewish commentators--except the astronomically educated--hold and teach, on Scriptural authority, that the earth as well as the sun, moon, and stars, were created about 4000 years before the birth of Christ, or less than 6000 years before the present time. But if many of these luminaries are so distant that their light requires nearly two millions of years to reach the earth; and if; as it is affirmed, bodies are visible to us
because of the light which they reflect or radiate then, because we now see them the light from them has already reached us, or they would not be visible, and therefore they must have been shining, and must have been created at least nearly two millions of years ago! But the chronology of the Bible, unless by unwarrantable interpretation, indicates that a period of six thousand years has not yet elapsed since "the heavens and the earth were finished and all the host of them."
This modern theoretical astronomy also affirms that the moon is a solid, opaque, non-luminous body; that it is, in fact, nothing less than a material world. It has even been mapped out into continents, islands, seas, lakes, volcanoes, and volcanic regions; and the nature of its atmosphere (or its surface, supposing, as many do, that an atmosphere cannot exist) and the character of its productions and possible inhabitants have been as freely discussed and described as though our philosophers were as familiar with it as they are with the different objects and localities on the earth. The light, too, with which the moon beautifully illuminates the firmament is declared to be only borrowed--to be only the light of the sun intercepted and reflected upon the earth. These notions are not only opposed by a formidable array of well-ascertained facts (as shown in previous chapters), but they are totally denied by the Scriptures. The sun, moon, and stars, are never referred to as worlds but simply as lights, to rule alternately the day and the night, and to be "for signs and for seasons, and for days and years."
"And God said let there be lights in the firmament of the
heaven to divide the day from the night. . . . And God made two great lights, the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night."--Genesis i., 14-16.
"O give thanks to Him that made great lights: . . . the sun to rule by day, . . . the moon and stars to rule by night."--Psalm cxxxvi., 7-9.
"The sun is given for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night."--Jeremiah xxxi., 35.
"I will cover the sun with a cloud, and the moon shall not give her light. All the bright lights of heaven will I make dark over thee."--Ezekiel xxxii., 7-8.
"Praise Him, sun and moon; praise Him all ye stars of light."--Psalm cxlviii., 3.
"The sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine."--Isaiah xiii., 10.
"Immediately after the tribulation of those days shall the sun be darkened, and the moon shall not give her light."--Matthew xxiv., 29.
"The sun shall be no more thy light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light unto thee. . . . Thy sun shall no more go down, neither shall thy moon withdraw itself."--Isaiah lx., 19-20.
"Behold even to the moon, and it shineth not."--Job xxv., 5. "While the sun, or the light, or the moon, or the stars be not darkened."--Ecclesiastes xii., 2.
"The light of the, moon shall be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun shall be sevenfold."--Isaiah xxx., 26.
"And for the precious fruits brought forth by the sun, and for the precious things put forth by the moon."--Deuteronomy xxxiii., 14.
In the very first of the passages above quoted, the fact is announced that various distinct and independent lights were created; but that two great lights were specially called into existence for the purpose of ruling the day and the night. The sun and the moon are declared to be these great and alternately ruling lights. Nothing is here said, nor is it said in any other part of Scripture, that the sun only is a great light, and that the moon only shines by reflection. The sun is called the "greater light to rule the day," and the moon the "lesser light to rule the night." Although of these two "great lights" one is less than the other, each is declared to shine with its own independent light. Hence, in Deuteronomy xxxiii., 14, it is consistently affirmed that certain fruits are specially developed by the influence of the sun's light; and certain other productions are "put forth by the moon."
That the light of the sun is influential in encouraging the growth of certain natural products, and that the light of the moon has a distinct influence in promoting the increase of certain other natural substances, is a matter well known to those who are familiar with horticultural and agricultural phenomena; and it is abundantly proved by chemical evidence that the two lights are distinct in character and in their action upon various compounds. This distinction is beautifully preserved throughout the Sacred Writings. In no single instance are the two lights confounded or regarded as of the same character. On the contrary, positive statements are made as to their difference in nature and influence. St. Paul affirms emphatically that "there is one glory of the sun and another glory of
the moon, and another glory of the stars, for one star differeth from another star in glory."
"The sun became black as sackcloth of hair, and the moon became as blood."--Revelations vi., 12.
If the moon has a light of her own, the above language is consistent; but if she is only a reflector the moment the sun becomes black her surface will be darkened also. She could not remain as blood while the sun is dark and "black as sackcloth of hair."
The same theoretical astronomy teaches that, as the stars are so far away, hundreds of millions of statute miles, they cannot possibly give light upon the earth; that the fixed stars are burning spheres, or suns each to its own system only of planets and satellites; and that millions of miles from the earth their light terminates, or no longer produces an active and visible luminosity. This is an essentially false conclusion, because the proposition is false upon which it depends--that the stars are vast suns and worlds at almost infinite distances. The contrary has been demonstrated by trigonometrical observation; and is again confirmed by the Scriptures.
"He made the stars also, and set them in the firmament to give light upon the earth."--Genesis i., 16-17.
"For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light."--Isaiah xiii., 10.
"I will cover the heaven, and make the stars thereof dark."--Ezekiel xxxii., 7.
"The sun and the moon shall be dark, and the stars shall withdraw their shining."--Joel ii., 10.
"Praise Him sun and moon; praise Him all ye stars of light."--Psalm cxlviii., 3.
"Thus saith the Lord, which giveth the sun for a light by day, and the ordinances of the moon and of the stars for a light by night."--Jeremiah xxxi., 35.
"They that turn many to righteousness shall shine as the star for ever and ever."--Daniel xii., 3.
These quotations place it beyond doubt to those who believe the Scriptures, that the stars were made expressly to shine and influence the firmament, and "to give light upon the earth." We have also the evidence of our own eyes and judgment that the stars give abundant light; at least, sufficient light to prevent the earth, when the sun and moon are absent, from being utterly dark and injurious, or dangerous to its inhabitants. "What beautiful star-light!" is a common expression; and we all remember the difference between a comparatively dark and starless night, or a night when the atmosphere is thick with heavy clouds, and one when the firmament is, as it were, studded with brilliant luminaries. Travellers inform us that in many parts of the world, where the sky is clear and free from clouds and vapours for weeks together, the stars appear both larger and brighter than they do in England, and that their light is often sufficiently intense to enable them to read and write, and to travel with safety through the most dangerous places.
"Such is the general blaze of starlight near the Southern Cross from that part of the sky, that a person is immediately made aware of its having risen above the horizon, though he should not be at the time looking at the heavens, by the increase
of general illumination of the atmosphere, resembling the effect of the young moon." 1
If it be true that the stars and planets are magnificent worlds, for the most part larger than the earth, it is a very proper question to ask "Are they inhabited?" If the answer be in the affirmative, it is equally proper to inquire "Have the first parents in each world been tempted as were Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden?" If so, "Did they yield to the temptation and fall as they did?" If so, "Have they required redemption?" And "Have they been redeemed?" "Has each different world required the same kind of redemption, and had a separate Redeemer; or has Christ, by His suffering on earth and crucifixion on Calvary, been the Redeemer for all the innumerable myriads of worlds in the universe; or had He to suffer and die in each world successively?" "Did the fall of Adam in this world involve in his guilt the inhabitants of all the other worlds?" "Or was the baneful influence of the tempter confined to the first parents of this earth?" If so, "Why so?" and, if not, "Why not?" But, and if, and why, and, again, if but it is useless thus to ponder. The Christian philosopher must be confounded. If his religion be to him a living reality, he will turn with loathing from, or spurn with indignation and disgust as he would a poisonous reptile, a system of astronomy which creates in his mind so much confusion and uncertainty. But as the system which necessitates such doubts and difficulties has been shown to be purely theoretical, and not to have the slightest foundation in fact, the religious mind has really
no cause for apprehension. Not a shadow of doubt remains that this earth is the only material world created; that the Sacred Scriptures contain, in addition to religious and moral doctrines, a true and consistent philosophy; that they were written for the good of mankind by the direct dictation of God Himself; and that all their teachings and promises may be relied on as truthful, beneficent, and conducive to the greatest enjoyment here and to perfect happiness hereafter. Whoever holds the contrary conclusion is the victim of an arrogant and false astronomy; of an equally false and presumptuous geology; and a suicidal method of reasoning--a logic which never demands a proof of its premises, and which, therefore, leads to deductions and opinions which are contrary to nature, to fact, and human experience, and to the direct teachings of God's Word; and, therefore, contrary to the deepest and most lasting interests of humanity.
"God has spoken to man in two voices--the voice of Inspiration and the voice of Nature. By man's ignorance they have been made to disagree; but the time will come, and cannot be far distant, when these two languages will strictly accord; when the science of Nature will no longer contradict the science of Scripture." 1
In all the religions of the earth the words up and above are associated with a region of peace and happiness. Not only is this idea taught by the priests and sacred books of all nations, but human nature itself, even when least intelligent, or unbiassed by education, in its deepest sorrows and sufferings, in great bodily pain, and trouble and
anguish of mind, seems instinctively to look upwards, as though relief and comfort might, or could only, come from above. No matter of what creed or country, man, in his deepest wretchedness and despair, involuntarily turns his face and eyes in an upward direction, as though it is only from above that help and sympathy can be looked for. In the final struggle for life, if the sufferer has strength to grapple with death, his last convulsive effort is to die with his countenance hopefully and anxiously upwards. This is the case in private life, in hospitals, in shipwrecks, and in the carnage and uproar of the battle-field; in the midst of the clash of arms, the trample and shouting of furious warriors, the roar of cannon, and the hoarse groans of wounded men and horses, the sufferers who have received their death-blows, and are struggling for life, heedless of all else around them, seek to gain a position where the face and eyes may gaze into the space above the earth, that their last thoughts and feelings may be directed upwards.
"Immediately after the battle of Inkerman many faces of the dead still seemed to smile; . . . some had a funeral posé, as though laid out by friendly hands; . . . many had their hands raised, as if desiring to offer a last prayer."
"After the battle of the Alma some seemed still writhing in the agonies of despair and death, but the most wore a look of calm and pious resignation. Some appeared to have words floating on their lips, and a smile, as if in a sort of high beatitude. One was particularly so, his knees bent, his hands raised and joined, his head thrown back, murmuring his supreme prayer."
"At Magenta an Austrian died from hæmorrhage; his face
and eyes were turned to Heaven, his hands joined and fingers interlaced, evidently in the attitude of prayer."
The same idea is cultivated and sought to be conveyed by the tapering monuments and the pointed railings of all our graveyards and cemeteries, and by the Gothic windows and doorways, and all the towering spires of our churches and cathedrals. Architects in all ages, when raising religious edifices, have had this idea prominently before them; every modification of the cone and the pyramid has been made subservient to the purpose of leading the beholder to direct his thoughts and looks upwards and heavenwards.
In 1841 the author was on board a steamer sailing along the western shores of Scotland, when suddenly the vessel struck upon an unseen rock; all hands were called to aid in working the pumps, but the water gradually gained upon them. After a few hours the captain announced that all hope of safety had passed away, and, being evidently a religious man, he exhorted all on board to shape their thoughts and feelings for a future life. Immediately every knee was bent, and every eye and face upcast towards Heaven. Among the--over one hundred--passengers, male and female, young and old, were several apostles of atheism, who for a time bravely bore the prospect of death, but, as the ship sank deeper and deeper, a calm reflective aspect came over them, and shortly afterwards no eye or face could be seen higher and more imploringly gazing upwards than those who for years had treated with contempt all ideas of Heaven or God or anything other
than a boundless universe filled with material globular worlds, and their godless, soulless, hopeless inhabitants.
All that is lofty, noble, loving, soul-expanding, and expressive of purity, wisdom, and every other form of goodness, is invariably associated in the human mind with upwardness and heavenward progression.
All who believe in and speak of Heaven and hell, do so of the former as above and of the latter as below the earth; and we have good reason, nay, positive evidence, that regions answering to such places exist over and under the physical world (the subject, however, in its moral and spiritual aspect cannot be entered upon in a scientific work like this; the reader who may feel an interest will find sufficient to satisfy him in the work entitled the "Life of Christ Zetetically Considered"). And the language of the Scriptures invariably conveys the same idea
"Look down from Thy holy habitation, from Heaven, and bless Thy people Israel."--Deuteronomy xxvi., 15.
"And the Lord God came down upon Mount Sinai."--Exodus xix., 20.
For He hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from Heaven did the Lord behold the earth."--Psalm cii., 19.
"Look down from Heaven, and behold from the habitation of Thy holiness and of Thy glory."--Isaiah lxiii., 15.
"For as the Heaven is high above the earth."--Psalm ciii., 2.
"And Elijah went up by a whirlwind into Heaven."--2 Kings ii., 11.
"So then after the Lord had spoken unto them He was received up into Heaven."--Mark xvi., 10.
"How art thou fallen from Heaven, O Lucifer, son of the
morning! . . . Thou halt said in thine heart I will ascend into Heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. . . . I will ascend above the heights of the clouds. "--Isaiah xiv., 13-14.
"And when He had spoken these things He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight; and while they looked steadfastly toward Heaven, as He went up, two men said unto them, Ye men of Galilee why stand ye gazing up into Heaven? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into Heaven shall so come in like manner as ye have seen Him go into Heaven."--Acts i., 9-11.
"But he, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into Heaven."--Acts vii., 55.
And it came to pass while He blessed them He was parted from them, and carried up into Heaven."--Luke xxiv., 51.
"For a fire is kindled in Mine anger, and shall burn unto the lowest hell."--Deuteronomy xxxii., 22.
"It is as high as Heaven, deeper than hell."--Job xi., 8.
"Let death seize upon them, and let them go down quick into hell."--Psalm lv., 15.
"If I ascend up into Heaven, Thou art there; if I make my bed in hell, behold, Thou art there."--Psalm cxxxix., 8.
"Her house is the way to hell, going down to the chambers of death."--Proverbs vii., 27:
"Thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit."--Isaiah xiv., 15.
"Her guests are in the depths of hell."--Proverbs ix., 18.
"The way of life is above to the wise, that he may depart from hell beneath."--Proverbs xv., 24.
"Hell from beneath is moved for thee."--Isaiah xiv., 9.
"I cast him down to hell. . . . They also went down into hell with him."--Ezekiel xxxi., 16-17.
"The mighty which are gone down to hell with their weapons of war."--Ezekiel xxxii., 27.
"And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto Heaven, shall be brought down to hell."--Matthew xi., 23.
"God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell."--2 Peter ii., 4.
"And the angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation, He hath reserved in everlasting chains under darkness, unto the Judgment of the Great Day, even as Sodom and Gomorrah are set forth for an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire."--Jude i., 6-7.
"Wandering stars, to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness for ever."--Jude i., 13.
"And the devil that deceived them was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone. . . . The sea gave up the dead which were in it; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them. . . . And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire."--Revelations xx., 10-13-14.
"As for the earth, out of it cometh bread; and under it is turned up as it were fire."--Job xxviii., 5.
If the earth is a globe, revolving at the rate of a thousand miles an hour, all this language of Scripture is necessarily fallacious. The terms "up" and "down" and "above" and "below" are words without meaning--at best, are merely relative, indicative of no absolute direction. That which is "up" at noon-day is directly "down" at midnight. Whatever point, and at whatever moment we fix upon as that from which we are looking upwards, in a second we are moving rapidly downwards. Heaven, then, can only be spoken of as "above," and the Scriptures read correctly for a single moment out of the twenty-four hours.
[paragraph continues] Before the sentence "Heaven is high above the earth" can be uttered the speaker is descending from the meridian where Heaven is above him, and in a few seconds his eye will be looking upon a succession of points millions of miles away from his first position. Hence, in all the ceremonials of religion, when the hands and eyes are raised upward, to Heaven, nay, when Christ Himself "lifted up His eyes to Heaven, and said "Father, the hour is come," his gaze would be sweeping along the firmament at rapidly varying angles, and with such incomprehensible velocity that a fixed point of observation, and a definite position as indicating the seat or throne of "Him that sitteth in the Heavens" would be an impossibility.
Again: the religious world have always believed and meditated upon the word "heaven" as representing an infinite region of joy and safety, of rest and happiness unspeakable; as, indeed, "the place of God's residence, the dwelling-place of angels and the blessed; the true Palace of God, entirely separated from the impurities and imperfections, the alterations and changes of the lower world; where He reigns in eternal peace. . . . The sacred mansion of light and joy and glory." But if there is an endless plurality of worlds, millions upon millions in never-ending succession; if the universe is filled with innumerable systems of burning suns and rapidly revolving planets, intermingled with rushing comets and whirling satellites, all dashing and sweeping through space in directions and with velocities surpassing all human comprehension, and terrible even to contemplate, where is the place of rest and safety? Where is the true and
unchangeable "Palace of God?" In what direction is Heaven to be found? Where is the liberated human soul to find its home and resting-place--its refuge from change and motion, from uncertainty and danger? Is it to wander for ever in a labyrinth of rolling worlds?--to struggle for ever in a never-ending maze of revolving suns and systems?--to be never at rest, but for ever seeking to protect itself--to guard against and to avoid some vortex of attraction--some whirlpool of gravitation? Truly the fact of, as well as the belief in, the existence of Heaven as a region of peace and harmony, "extending above the earth through all extent," and beyond the influence of natural laws and restless elements, is jeopardised, if not destroyed, by a false and usurping astronomy, which has no better foundation than human conceit and presumption. If this ill-founded philosophy, unsupported as it is by fact or Scripture, or any evidence of the senses, is admitted, the religious mind can no longer rejoice in singing:--
A system of philosophy which makes such havoc with the human soul; which destroys its hope of future rest and happiness, and renders the existence of Heaven impossible, and of a beneficent, ever-ruling God and Father of creation useless and uncertain, cannot be less than a curse---a dark and dangerous dragon, hell-born and tartarean in its character and influence.
If all who forget God, who deride and repudiate all ideas
of creation, and find a sufficiency of ruling power in the self-operating forces of modern astronomy--in its centrifugal and centripetal universalities--are of necessity rejected of Heaven, then indeed have the blinding philosophies of the day done wondrous service in peopling hell, and adding to the horrors of infernal existence.
Great numbers of religious people, keenly recognising the discrepancies between the direct teachings of Scripture and those of modern astronomy, and failing to see the possibility of the existence of a region of perpetual peace and happiness when worlds and systems of worlds extend unlimited in all directions, have concluded that such a region cannot possibly exist as a locality, but must be a state of mind--a condition only; hence the words "heaven" and "hell" are used, not as expressing actual parts of, or places in, the universe, but simply states of the heart. There cannot be a doubt that the human conscience may be calm and heavenly, or disturbed and demoniacal; and that these conditions may be called heaven or hell to the individual. But is this all? In addition to this is it as the Scriptures teach? Is not Heaven spoken of as an abode--a blissful residence of the accepted with their satisfied Creator; and hell a place, an actual locality, appointed for the evil-minded and the rejected? Let the distracted believer in Scripture be careful how he parleys with his judgment, and endangers himself by a too exclusive and one-sided conception. That heaven and hell are only conditions and not places no man is justified in asserting; but that they are both is perfectly demonstrable. To adopt one and reject or deny the possibility of the
other is utter folly. To admit that both are realities is simply the dictate of reason, and the conclusion which the evidence compels us to acknowledge.
We have seen, from the evidence furnished by practical observation, that the earth is on fire, and that it will ultimately be burnt up and destroyed. Here again the language of Scripture is clear and definite:--
"All the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll."--Isaiah xxxiv., 4.
"For behold the Lord will come with fire, and with His chariots like a whirlwind, to render His anger with fury, and His rebuke with flames of fire. . . . The new heavens and the new earth, which I will make, shall remain before Me."--Isaiah lxvi., 15-22.
"When the Lord Jesus shall be revealed from Heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire, taking vengeance on them that know not God, and that obey not the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ."--2 Thessalonians i., 7-8.
"From whose face the earth and the heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them."--Revelation xx., 11.
"The heavens and the earth which are now are kept in store, reserved unto fire against the Day of Judgment and perdition of ungodly men. . . . The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat; the earth also and the works therein shall be burnt up. . . . All these things shall be dissolved, . . . the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved. Nevertheless we look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness."--2 Peter iii., 10-13.
"A fire is kindled in Mine anger, and shall burn unto the
lowest hell, and shall consume the earth with her increase, and set on fire the foundations of the mountains."--Deuteronomy xxxii., 22.
"I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth were passed away."--Revelations xxi., 1.
The literal teaching of the Old and New Testaments on the subject of the earth's destruction is plain and unmistakeable. Numbers, however, have been led to deny that the Scriptures have any literal signification. But such a denial is unquestionably contrary to fact, and inconsistent with the genius and purpose of all inspiration. It may not be denied that this language will bear a spiritual application; but its primary and essential meaning is literal and practical. It may have both a spiritual, a moral, and a political aspect, but only as a superstructure upon the material and philosophical. Let men beware how they jeopardise their lasting welfare by taking liberties with a book written as the expressed will of Heaven for the guidance of mankind. If they are determined to read with fanciful bearings, let them do so for what pleasure it will afford; but if it is done to the exclusion of practical good and literal application, it is not less than dangerous presumption.
In addition to the numerous quotations from the Scriptures which have here been found to be true and consistent, it may be useful briefly to refer to the following so-called difficulties which have been raised by the scientific objectors to Scriptural authority:--
"As the earth is a globe, and as all its vast collections of water--its oceans, seas, lakes, and rivers--are sustained by the
earthy crust beneath them, and as beneath this "crust of the earth" everything is in a red-hot and molten condition, to what place could the excess of waters retire which are said, in the Scriptures, to have once overwhelmed or deluged the whole earth? It could not sink into the centre of the earth, for the fire there is so intense that the water would be rapidly volatilised, and driven back and away as vapour. It could not evaporate. and remain in a state of fluid, for when the atmosphere is charged with watery vapour beyond a certain degree, condensation begins, and the whole would be thrown back in the form of rain. Hence, as the waters could not sink from the earth's surface, and could not remain in the atmosphere, it follows that if the earth had ever been deluged at all it would have remained so to this day. But as it is not now universally flooded, a. deluge of the earth, such as the Scriptures describe, never could have occurred, and therefore the account is false."
All this specious reasoning is founded upon the assumption that the earth is a globe, but, as this has been proved to be false, the "difficulties" at once disappear. The earth being a plane "founded on the seas," would be as readily cleared of its superfluous waters as would the deck of a. ship on emerging from a storm; or as a rock in the ocean after the waves, which for a time had overwhelmed it, had subsided. The earth being a plane, and its surface standing above the level of the surrounding seas, the waters of the flood would simply and naturally run down by the valleys and rivers into the "great deep" into which "the waters returned from off the earth continually." Here, again, the Scriptures are perfect in their description of what necessarily occurred:--
"Thou coveredst the earth with the deep as with a garment; the waters stood above the mountains. At Thy rebuke they fled; and at the voice of Thy thunder they hasted away . . down by the valleys unto the place which Thou hast founded for them."--Psalm civ., 6-8.
Again, it is urged:
"As the earth is a globe and in continual motion, how could Jesus, on being 'taken up into an exceedingly high mountain, see all the kingdoms of the world in a moment of time? Or when 'He cometh with clouds and every eye shall see Him,' how was it possible, seeing that twenty-four hours would have to elapse before every part of the earth would be turned to the same point?"
It has been demonstrated that the earth is a plane and motionless; and, therefore, it was consistent with geodetic and optical principles to declare that from a great eminence every part of the surface could be seen at the same moment, and that simultaneously every eye should behold Him when "coming in a cloud, with power and great glory."
"Of all terrors to the generous soul, that Cui bono is the one. to be the most zealously avoided. Whether it be proposed to find the magnetic point, or a passage impossible to be utilised, if discovered, or a race of men of no good to any human institution extant, and of no good to themselves; or to seek the unicorn in Madagascar, and when we had found him not to be able to make use of him; or the great central plateau of Australia, where no one could live for centuries to come; or the great African Lake, which, for all the good it would do us
[paragraph continues] English folk, might as well be in the moon; or the source of the Nile, the triumphant discovery of which would neither lower the rents, nor take off the taxes anywhere--whatever it is, the Cui bono is always a weak and cowardly argument; essentially short-sighted, too, seeing that, according to the law of the past, by which we may always safely predicate the future, so much falls into the hands of the seeker for which he was not looking, and of which he never even knew the existence. The area of the possible is very wide still, and very insignificant and minute the angle we have staked out and marked impossible. What do we know of the powers which Nature has yet in reserve, of the secrets she has still untold, the wealth still concealed? Quixotism is a folly when the energy which might have achieved conquests over misery and wrong, if rightly applied, is wasted in fighting windmills; but to forego any great enterprise for fear of the dangers attending, or to check a grand endeavour by the Cui bono of ignorance and moral scepticism, is worse than a folly--it is baseness, and a cowardice." 1
The above quotation is an excellent general answer to all those who may, in reference to the subject of this work, or to anything which is not of immediate worldly interest, obtrude the Cui bono. But as a special reply it may be claimed for the subject of these pages:--
FIRST.--It is more edifying, more satisfactory, and in every sense far better, that we should know the true and detect the false. Thereby the mind becomes fixed--established on an eternal foundation, and no longer subject to those waverings and changes, those oscillations and fluctuations which are ever the result and concomitant of
falsehood. To know the truth and to embody it in our lives and purposes, is to render our progress to a higher and nobler existence both safe and rapid and unlimited in ex-tent. None can say to what it may lead, or how or where it may culminate. Who shall dare to set bounds to the capabilities of the mind, or to fix a limit to human progression? Whatever may be the destiny of the human race, truth alone will help to secure its realisation.
SECOND.--Having detected the fundamental falsehoods of modern astronomy, and discovered that the earth is a plane, and motionless, and the only known material world, we are able to demonstrate the actual character of the universe. In doing this, we are enabled to prove that all the so-called arguments with which so many scientific but irreligious men have assailed the Sacred Scriptures are absolutely false--not doubtful or less plausible, but unconditionally false; that they have no foundation except in fallacious astronomical and geological theories; and, therefore, must fall to the ground as valueless. They can no longer be wielded by irreverent smatterers as weapons against religion. If used at all, it can only be that their weakness and utter worthlessness will be exposed. Atheism and every other form of infidelity are thus rendered helpless. Their sting is cut away and their poison dissipated. The irreligious philosopher can no longer obtrude his theories as things proved wherewith to test the teachings of Scripture. He must now himself be tested. He must be forced to demonstrate his premises, a thing which he has never yet attempted, and if he fails in this respect, his impious vanity, self-conceit, and utter disregard of truth and justice, will
become so clearly apparent that his presence in the ranks of science will no longer be tolerated. All theories must be put aside, and the question at issue decided by independent practical evidence. This has now been done. The process--the modus operandi and the conclusions derived therefrom have been given in the early sections of this work; and, as these conclusions are found to be entirely consistent with the teachings of Scripture, we are compelled, by the sheer weight of evidence, by the force of practical demonstration and logical requirement, to declare emphatically that the Old and New Testaments of the Jewish and Christian Church are, in everything which appertains to the visible and material world, strictly and literally true. If, after the severest criticism, and comparison with known causes of phenomena, the Scriptures are thus found to be absolutely truthful in their literal expressions, it is simply just and wise that we take them as standards by which to test the truth or falsehood of all systems or teachings which may hereafter be presented to the world. Philosophy is no longer to be employed as a test of Scriptural truth, but the Scriptures ought and may with safety and satisfaction be applied as the test of all philosophy. They are not, however, to be used as a test of science and philosophy simply because they are thought or believed to be written or dictated by inspiration, but because their literal teachings in regard to natural phenomena are demonstrably true.
It is quite as faulty and unjust for the religious devotee to urge the teaching of Scripture against the theories of the philosopher simply because he believes them to be true,
as it is for the philosopher to defend his theories against Scripture for no other reason than that he disbelieves them. The whole matter must be taken out of the region of belief and disbelief. In regard to elements and phenomena belief and disbelief should never be named. Men differ in their powers of conception and concatenation; and, therefore, what may readily be believed by some, others may find impossible to believe. Belief is a state of mind which should be exerted only in relation to matters confessedly beyond the direct reach of our senses, and in regard to which it is meritorious to believe. But in reference to matter, and material combinations and phenomena, we should be content with nothing less than conviction, the result of special practical experimental investigation. The Christian will be greatly strengthened, and his mind more completely satisfied, by having it in his power to demonstrate that the Scriptures are philosophically true, than he could possibly be by the simple belief in their truthfulness unsupported by practical evidence. On the other hand, the atheist or the disbeliever in the Scriptures, who is met by the Christian on purely scientific grounds, will be led to listen with more respect, and to pay more regard to the reasons advanced than he would concede to the purely religious belief or to any argument founded upon faith alone. If it can be shown to the atheistical or unbelieving philosopher that his astronomical and geological theories have no practical foundation, but are fallacious both in their premises and conclusions, and that all the literal expressions in the Scriptures which have reference to natural phenomena are demonstrably true, he will, of necessity, as a truth-seeker, if he
should have so avowed himself, and for very shame as a man, be led to admit that, apart from all other considerations, if the truth of the philosophy of the Scriptures can be demonstrated, then, possibly, their spiritual and moral teachings may also be true; and if so, they may, and indeed must, have had a Divine origin; and, therefore, there must exist a Divine Being, a Creator and Ruler of the physical and spiritual worlds; and that, after all, the Christian religion is a grand reality, and that he himself, through all his days of forgetfulness and denial of God, has been guarded and cared for as a merely mistaken creature, undeserving the fate of an obstinate, self-willed opponent of everything sacred and superhuman. He may be led to see that the very discussion of his theories with a Zetetic opponent was a loving and mysterious leading into a purer and clearer philosophy for his own eternal benefit.
He cannot fail to see, and will not be slow to admit, that all the theories which speculative adventurous philosophers have advanced are nothing better than treacherous quick-sands, into which many of the deepest thinkers have been engulphed and possibly lost. By this process of mental concatenation many highly intelligent minds have been led to renounce and desert the ranks of atheism and speculative philosophy, and to rejoin or enlist in the army of Christian soldiers and devotees. Many have rejoiced, almost beyond expression, that the question of the earth's true form and position in the universe had ever been brought before them; and, doubtless, great numbers will yet be induced to return to that allegiance which plain demonstrable truth demands and deserves.
To truthfully instruct the ingenuous Christian mind, to protect it from the meshes of false philosophy, and the snares of specious but hollow illogical reasoning; to save it from falling into the frigid arms of atheistic science; to convince it that all unscriptural teaching is false and deadly, and to induce great numbers of earnest deep-thinking human beings to desert the rebellious cause of atheism; to return to a full recognition of the beauty and truthfulness of the Scriptures, and to a participation in the joy and satisfaction which the Christian religion alone can supply, is a grand and cheering result, and one which furnishes the noblest possible answer to the ever ready Cui bono.
350:1 "Electrical Theory of the Universe," by T. S. Mackintosh.
358:1 "Encyclopædia Londinensis," p. 457, vol. 2.
368:1 The Chinese have said: "We have better philosophers, and men of higher intelligence than any you have ever been able to produce. You tell us that the earth goes round the sun, when we know by our senses that it does not. If you won't use your eyes, and believe what you see, you must be deaf to all teaching and instruction, and we will have nothing to do with you."--"Times" Newspaper, August 20, 1872.
371:1 "Life of Dr. Adam Clark," 8vo. edition.
371:2 Extracts from the Works of Rev. J. Wesley, 3rd edition, 1849, published by Mason, London; p. 392, vol. 2.
376:1 Philosophical Transactions for 1800.
382:1 "Description of the Heavens," by A. V. Humboldt, notes p. 45.
383:1 Professor Hunt.
396:1 "Daily News," April 5th, 1865.