posted by Phil Johnson
The PyroManiacs devote some space each weekend to highlights from The Spurgeon Archive. The following excerpt is from "How To Meet the Evils of the Age," chapter 4 in An All-Round Ministry.
e are invited, brethren, most earnestly to go away from the old-fashioned belief of our forefathers because of the supposed discoveries of science. What is science? The method by which man tries to conceal his ignorance. It should not be so, but so it is. You are not to be dogmatical in theology, my brethren, it is wicked; but for scientific men, it is the correct thing. You are never to assert anything very strongly; but scientists may boldly assert what they cannot prove, and may demand a faith far more credulous than any we possess.
Forsooth, you and I are to take our Bibles, and shape and mould our belief according to the ever-shifting teachings of so-called scientific men. What folly is this! Why, the march of science, falsely so-called, through the world, may be traced by exploded fallacies and abandoned theories. Former explorers, once adored, are now ridiculed; the continual exposure of false hypotheses is a matter of universal notoriety. You may tell where the learned have encamped by the debris left behind of suppositions and theories as plentiful as broken bottles. As the quacks, who ruled the world of medicine in one age, are the scorn of the next, so has it been, and so will it be, with your atheistical savants and pretenders to science.
But they remind us of facts. Are they not yet ashamed to use the word? Wonderful facts, made to order, and twisted to their will to overthrow the actual facts which the pen of God Himself has recorded! Let me quote from "Is the Book Wrong?" by Mr. Hely Smith, a pamphlet worthy of an extensive reading:
"For example, deep down in the alluvial deposits in the delta of the Nile were found certain fragments of pottery. Pottery, of course, implies potters; but these deposits of mud, Sir Charles Lyell decreed, must have taken 18,000 years to accumulate, therefore there must have been men carrying on the occupations of civilized life at least 7,000 years before the creation of man as recorded in Scripture. What clearer proof could be wanted that the Book was wrong? For who would presume to suspect Sir C. Lyell of making a mistake in his work? A mistake, however, he had made, for, in the same deposits of mud, at the same depth in which this 'pre-Adamite pottery' was discovered, there also turned up a brick bearing the stamp of Mahomet Ali! [Yet we were bound to shift the Bible to suit that 'fact 'muddy fact!] Again, some curiously-shaped pieces of flint were discovered in 1858 in what has been called 'the famous cavern at Brixham.' It was at once decided that the flints showed signs of human workmanship, and as they were found in company with the bones of extinct animals, it was also at once considered proved that man must have existed in immensely remote ages, and the evidence was said to have 'revolutionized the whole of Western Europe on the question of man's antiquity.' The history of these flints is remarkable. For fourteen years, they were kept under lock and key in the rooms of the Geological Society; but public curiosity was gratified by plaster casts shown at the cavern, and by illustrated descriptions published in an imposing volume. According to the evidence thus afforded to the public, there seemed no doubt left but that these flints bore the marks of the mind and hand of man, thus associating man with a pre-Adamite race of animals. The cause of truth owes a debt of gratitude to Mr. Nicholas Whitley, Honorary Secretary of the Royal Institution of Cornwall, for the acuteness which led him to suspect that there was something wrong, the perseverance with which he followed up his suspicions, and the boldness with which he made public the result, which was simple, but suggestive. The plaster casts the drawings and descriptions, were not the casts, drawings, or descriptions of the real flints found in the cavern! The originals were, with one or two exceptions, evidently purely natural specimens of flints; and persons who have seen the landscape stones, and the marvellous likeness of human faces on inaccessible rocks, will not be disposed to overthrow the whole of Revelation because of one or two curiously-shaped stones found in company with the remains of extinct animals. If the cause had not been so weak, what was the necessity for trying to strengthen and supplement it by presenting the public with false statements? With regard to all these supposed flint implements and spears and arrow-heads, found in various places, it may be as well to mention here the frank confession of Dr. Carpenter. He has told us from the presidential chair of the Royal Academy that no 'logical proof can be adduced that the peculiar shapes of these flints were given them by human hands.'"
So the bubbles go on bursting, and meanwhile more are being blown, and we are expected to believe in whatever comes, and wait with open mouth to see what comes next. But we shall not just yet fall down and worship the image of human wisdom, notwithstanding all the flutes, harps, sackbuts, psalteries, dulcimers, weekly papers, quarterly reviews, and boastful professors. Show us a man of science worthy of the name, and then we will not follow him if he dares to oppose revealed truth; but show us one in whom the next generation will believe; at present, there is not one alive worthy to be compared with Newton and other master-minds reverent to the Scriptures, compared with whom these men are mere pretenders. See, my brethren, we have unbelief, scientific and otherwise, to contend with, and we must meet it in the Name of the Lord.