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priests, who were the pioneers, not only of religion and civilization, but also of science. In one hand they bore the torch of science, and in the other the torch of religion. They not only carried the Gospel to the aboriginal tribes of North America, but they explored our rivers, lakes, and mountains; and the charts that they sent to Europe over two hundred years ago are still admired as models of topographical accuracy.
With these facts before us it is difficult to suppress a feeling of indignation when we are told that Christianity is a bar to' scientific investigation. These maligners of Christianity owe it to the Christian religion that they are able to revile her. Separate them from the universities and schools founded by Christian patronage, withdraw them from Christian traditions and literature, and they would die of intellectual stagnation.
There is no branch of art in which the disciples of Christianity have not excelled. Was not Michel Angelo a devout son of the Church? And who surpassed him in sculpture and architecture? To him we are indebted for St. Peter's basilica, the grandest church ever erected to God by the hand of man. Byron found that
"Power, glory, strength, and beauty,-all are aisled
And were not Raphael and Domenichino, Fra Angelico and Leonardo da Vinci, members of the Church? And are they not the recognized masters
in the exquisite art of painting? Mozart and Haydn, Beethoven and Palestrina were Christian men, and were patronized by Popes and bishops. And are they not acknowledged leaders in the rich and harmonious strains of music? Their masses are as unrivalled in musical composition as our cathedrals are in architecture.
The apparent conflict between the deductions of science and the doctrines of Christian faith is clearly accounted for in the following Decree of the Vatican Council: "There never can be any real discrepancy between reason and faith, since the same God who reveals mysteries, has bestowed the light of reason on the human mind; and God cannot deny Himself, nor can truth ever contradict truth. pearance of such a contradiction is mainly due either to the dogmas of faith not having been understood and expounded according to the mind of the Church, or to the inventions of opinion having been taken for the verdict of reason."
If these explanations are kept in view, they will serve to demonstrate that the apparent conflict between science and revelation has no foundation upon which to rest.
1. It is often erroneously assumed that the Scriptures propound doctrines which they never professed to teach. The Sacred Volume was not intended by its Divine Author to give us a scientific treatise on astronomy, or cosmogony, or geology, or even a complete series of chronology or genealogy. These matters are incidentally introduced to illus
trate a higher subject. The purpose of the Scriptures is to recount God's supernatural relations with mankind, His providential government of the world, and man's moral obligations to his Creator.
When, for instance, the Sacred Text declares that the sun stood still in the heavens,' it simply gives expression to the miraculous prolongation of the day and this in popular language such as even now with our improved knowledge of astronomy we employ, for we speak of the rising and setting of the sun as if, according to the Ptolemaic system, we still believed that he revolves around the earth. The Church has no mission to teach astronomy. One may be a bad astronomer and yet be a good Christian.
Again, the results of geological investigation, by which it is claimed that ages must have elapsed between the formation of matter and the creation of man, would seem to conflict with the book of Genesis, which states that all vegetable and animal life was created within the space of six days. But the Church, as is well known, has never defined the meaning to be attached to these days of Genesis. We are at liberty, as far as the Church is concerned, and if the deductions of science are incontrovertible, we are compelled to ascribe an indefinite period of years to each day. The context itself insinuates that the day cannot be restricted to twenty-four
1 Josue X., 15.
hours, since for the first three days there was no sun to measure their duration; and in the second chapter of Genesis the word day is manifestly used to express an indefinite period of time employed in the creation of the material universe.
The Mosaic narrative simply records the creation of matter out of nothing, and the order in which life, both animal and human, came into existence. The chronological order of Moses is borne out by the researches of geologists, who have discovered that vegetable fossils are anterior to animal remains and that those of the lower animals are more ancient than any human skeletons ever found. Our knowledge, moreover, of the laws governing the vegetable and animal kingdoms confirms this arrangement, since vegetable life derives its subsistence from inorganic matter, animal life is nourished by the vegetable kingdom and man himself is sustained by the nutriment he derives from both.
The discovery of human fossils, and of other geological and historical monuments, is sometimes boldly assumed to stamp the human family with a far greater antiquity than appears to be warranted by Scripture genealogies. To this I reply that the Scripture gives no precise data regarding the time intervening between Adam and our Lord. We have only conjectures resting on genealogies. The enumeration of Adam's lineal descendants is not claimed to be consecutive and complete. It is not denied that links may be missing in the chain of generation. There is also a marked discrepancy between
the different versions of the Bible in computing the age of man. The Vulgate reckons four thousand years; the Septuagint, five thousand; and the Hebrew six thousand years from Adam to our Saviour. Some Catholic writers, without any reproof from the Church, are disposed to extend the period to over eight thousand years.
On the other hand, some of the ablest scientists have refuted the fabulous ages ascribed by certain writers to the human family. The Egyptian hieroglyphics and the cuneiform inscriptions of western Asia, were triumphantly quoted as demanding for man an antiquity immeasurably more remote than is warranted by Scripture history.
But the patient investigations of Champollion, Rawlinson, and others, prove that Egypt furnishes no authentic record of human government and human life as ancient as is claimed for it by the adversaries of the Bible. The studies of Layard in Assyrian Archæology and the researches of Legge in Ancient Chinese history, concur in dissipating the cloud of legendary fable surrounding the dynasties of these nations.
The presumptive evidence furnished by human fossils is now ruled out of court by the best students of anthropology. When we consider the untiring industry of man and his indomitable tendency to leave a record of his deeds behind him, and since we fail to find any authentic traces of him in preAdamite times, we are supplied with an indirect