The Claims Of The Natural Sciences On The Christian Ministry -- By: John Jay Dana

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 006:23 (Aug 1849)
Article: The Claims Of The Natural Sciences On The Christian Ministry
Author: John Jay Dana


The Claims Of The Natural Sciences On The Christian
Ministry

Rev. John Jay Dana

The dissatisfaction with existing forms of government is only one of the indications that the human mind is awaking. There is an extraordinary zeal in investigating nature. The little island of knowledge is an island still, but every year makes additions to its territory.

From the centre of this island to the region of uncertainty and doubt, the distance was formerly but a few paces; but in our days we have bold navigators, who go out into the sea of truth and find soundings where, but a few years since, none could be discovered. A half century has wrought wonderful changes in the domain of truth; for where, formerly, nought was found but quicksands, the investigator stands on a firm foundation; and the day is not far distant when this little island shall become a continent. Who can contemplate, without strong emotions, the changes which have taken place in the knowledge of the sciences within a few years. Chemistry, fifty years ago, was scarcely known; and, at that period, few individuals knew one rock from another. Even astronomy has been able to number new planets and stars among its discoveries. Electro-magnetism has had its laws declared, and the lightnings have been tamed so that they do the bidding of man.

There has never been a period of scientific investigation of nature so ample and thorough. Some fear, indeed, for the result; lest infidelity should seize hold of these investigations and make them a powerful enginery for evil, and with them demolish Christianity. With these fears we have no sympathy, because we are confident that the works and word of God are but counterparts of each other and are designed to constitute one great revelation by which the glory of God shall be most conspicuously displayed. We do not tremble when we see skeptics investigating nature, because we have a firm belief that in all the works of God, they can find nothing which shall conflict with his word. We are willing that they should come with their telescopes and their microscopes, their hammers and their retorts; nay, they may come with poetry and music, and with wit and learning and oratory. They may summon all their forces from the earth, and they may make an united assault against the truth, and their efforts will be attended by no results over which they will have any reason to rejoice. The past defeats of infidelity make us the more confident of her ultimate overthrow. She may gain perhaps, now and then, a temporary triumph; but all those discoveries which, from time to time, she shall claim as impugning religion, will ultimately be torn from her grasp and turned against her.

Since there is this disposition to inves...

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