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which became to them merely the stage upon which virtuous actions should be performed. The scenery was entirely subservient to the play. The consideration of the way in which the Semitic genius showed itself, where it was strong and valuable, and where weak and of less importance, will give us on the one hand the power to resist an unreasoning surrender of our judgment, and, on the other, the ability to detect the weakness of that criticism which would persuade us to throw aside the Scriptures as entirely worthless.
That the literal teaching of the story of creation as
The teaching found in Genesis, and which we meet preëminently in of the Literal Sunday School catechisms, is injurious in its effect on sis injurious. the mind, we contend. It is an impediment to intellectual advancement, because much time and thought has to be expended to correct the false notion of the origin of things to which it gives rise. It has been claimed * that the Bible nowhere opposes demonstrated science, and also that the Bible is in advance of the attainments of science. As to the first, we find in this story of creation, both in its temper or idea and its details of the manner in which things appeared, that it contradicts our discoveries, As to the latter, it is said that the Bible asserted from the first that there was chaos, and that science agrees with this statement as being true. But chaos, in fact, we now plainly see, never existed. Chaos is a poetical term for disorder, but there never has been disorder, much more has there always existed an orderly unfolding under the operation of immutable laws which act without visible regard as to result; while there is, perhaps, no longer room for intelligent doubt that the laws which govern the Universe are themselves the properties of matter. To produce
* The Bible and the Sunday School. Toronto, 1876.