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Whatever this may be, it has no connection with the first chapter of Genesis.
Mr. Smith styles this account “The Story of Creation in Days,” and others have adopted the name. It is difficult to see the propriety of so doing. There is no allusion in it to days in connection with creative periods. There is nothing like the Hebrew order, first day, second day, third day, and so on. Indeed, the word does not occur in any sense, except once in the first tablet, where it says, when giving the origin of the gods, “Sar and Kisar were made next. The days were long, a long (time passed), and then the gods Anu, Bel, and Hea were born of Sar and Kisar.” Rev. Mr. Cheyne says, in his article in the Encyclopedia Britannica, that the day clauses in Genesis are interpolations, but of this he offers no proof. It seems only a random assertion to get rid of a difficulty in the way of a favorite theory.
To sum up the whole matter. The story in Genesis and that on the tablets have the following points in common: 1. The subjects treated of, namely, sun, moon, stars, earth, and animals of the land. 2. Cattle and beasts came into being by the act of a god. These points of agreement are so few and of such a character that it would be impossible to write a cosmogony without them. Hence they prove nothing. The differences between the two accounts are many and vital. The Chaldean is almost wholly occupied with the genealogy and mythical deeds of the gods; indeed, it seems intended for a theogony rather than a cosmogony. In the Hebrew this is all absent. It opens with God in existence, and the heavens and earth not in existence. The Chaldean is just the opposite. It opens with the heavens and earth in existence, and the gods are not yet made. The Hebrew represents God as the creator of the universe. The Chaldean represents the sea, a part of the universe, as producing the gods, and the gods not as creators, but merely as givers of order and law to a universe in which “ order did not exist." The Hebrew represents God as announcing his purposes in a series of fiats. The Chaldean gods announce nothing. The Hebrew represents God as himself seeing the things done and prononncing them “good.” In the Chaldean the gods utter no verdict of approval ; where it does occur, it is the writer, and not the deities, who pronounces the mansions “suitable.” The Chaldean tells of a time when order did not exist; the Hebrew tells of no such time, but every-where represents matter, like a disciplined cohort, moving to the word of its commander. The Hebrew tells of a first day and night. The Chaldean regards the series of day and night as eternal. The Hebrew is divided into stages of progress separated by numbered days. The Chaldean knows nothing of numbered days. Genesis makes the year to depend on the two great lights. The Chaldean makes it depend wholly on the stars. In Genesis the stars are barely mentioned. In the Chaldean account they occupy the most prominent position. In Genesis, chapters one and two, the month is not so much as named. In the myth the month is the chief measure of time.
These differences, I submit, are not only profoundly important, but are of such a character as to forbid the belief that they are the result of the editing, by some skillful monotheistic rédacteur, of the story of the tablets. There is, in the story which we have, nothing from the first tablet. The second fragment, which tells the reader that the foundation of the caverns is made of rock, has left no trace of itself in the Hebrew account. The third recovered tablet tells of a god who made stairs and bolted gates, or made a boiling from which the moon arose. That ancient rédacteur has not incorporated any of this, nor, indeed, any part of what is on the tablet, into the story which we have in our Bible.
In the next recovered fragment there seems to be a statement that the gods made cattle, beasts, and creeping things. A similar statement is found in our Genesis.
And this is all.
Of the three requirements to prove the Chaldean inscription the source of the Hebrew story of creation, the first, priority, is very doubtful; the second, identity of subject, although questionable--for the account on the tablets seems to be intended for a theogony instead of a cosmogony-may be admitted under protest ; while the third--identity of statement, order, and thought-is wholly lacking.
ART. II.—THE LITERATURE AND THE PRESS OF THE
METHODIST EPISCOPAL CHURCH.
METHODISM has always had a literary as well as a religious creed. While its primary work has been soul-saving, it has never believed that “ignorance is the mother of devotion.” Inspired dullness or mere intellectual receptivity has never been taught by it. Methodism has been an expression of faith especially marked by a religious life, a conscious experience, and by emotional power, yet it has always held that Christianity appeals to reason, stimulates thought, patronizes literature, and seeks as its ally practical intelligence. It has been its wont to challenge the most thorough investigations of science and philosophy; and has welcomed the inspirations of literature and invention, that the feebleness of their opposition or the value of their co-operation may be revealed. It has never been afraid of the discovery of truth, and has uniformly encouraged its members to read and study, as well as to pray and testify.
Methodism has always recognized the fact that the ideal Christian is symmetrically developed; that Christ, when upon the earth, exerted his curative power upon body, mind, and soul, and it believes that he provided for all these a redemption from the effects of the fall; that he came to save man as man, and that the development of the entire man-heart, head, and hand-makes up the ideal man and the ideal Christian. The student of Methodism well knows that it has guarded against the fanaticism of mere emotional excitement on the one hand, and a cold, formal, and merely theoretical expression on the other. We know the reputation of Methodisın among those not fully sympathizing with its polity or its expression of a religious life has not always been in accord with this view. Methodist literature, equally with American literature, has been the subject of unfriendly criticism. English critics have often tried to disparage American literature, claiming that after one hundred years of history we had none worthy of the name.
If the charge were true, it would not be strange. A great literature is the product of time and of leisure; England has had at least five centuries of effort, America but one, and in that short time our people have had enough to do aside from the development of a literature. They have had to redeem the land from barbarism, to fell extensive forests, to break the virgin soil, to build great cities, to open ports and rivers, to discover and work mines, to construct highways, and to originate and develop machinery for every form of industry. Surely it wonld not be strange if America had not been as successful as the mother country in the world of letters.
Methodism has given marked emphasis to evangelistic work. It has gladly carried the Gospel to the educated and the wealthy, but as gladly to all men; men the most impoverished and unlettered. It has followed the axman to the woods, the hunter to the camp, the miner into the bowels of the earth. It has preached the Gospel to the frontiersman before his cabin was erected, and brought the sunlight of divine truth to his heart before the sun rays could penetrate the forest in which he was trying to build a home.
Had tlie Church not produced a literature, it would be easy, because of the magnitude of other work done, to account for the omission. But it is a sound principle that scholarly criticisin, disposed to fairness, will always recognize growth of mind whether it be manifest in books or in affairs. Let the mind of both America and Methodism be judged by this principle-let their achievements speak for thein.
A writer in the Edinburgh Review said, recently: “There is a poetry of the past, of the mountains, of the seas, and of the stars, but a great city seen aright is tenfold more poetical than them all.” Professor Phelps says that the Pacific Railroad is a poem in act. We may say that our country, in the heroism of its pioneers, in the strides of its civilization, and the development of its resources, presents a growth and grasp of mind around which scholarship will yet gather with imaginative reverence. So the achievements in Methodism are poems in act. The intellectual activity and force they manifest challenge the respect of the most critically exacting. They reveal vast quantities of brain power as well as heart power. The organization and method of work, the adaptation of means to ends, the mastery of obstacles that lay in the path of success, the skillful execution of plans undertaken are so many illustrations of awakened strength; of quickened, stimulated, and applied intellectual activity.
But, to carry this parallelism one step further, it is but just to say that both America and Methodism have each a literature notwithstanding their attention to material affairs. The literature of each claims consideration because of its intrinsic merits, at least in most departments. Candor will compel us to admit that American poetry does not favorably compare with the radiant constellation of English poets. The American temperament is not yet poetical, our civilization has not yet reached the poetical stage of its development, our history is not old enough to create for itself poetical enthusiasın. The American Milton has not yet appeared to write our epic. American lyrics do not glow and burn with all the fire, passion, and human expression of those of Robert Burns. The American sonnet in philosophic thought and poetic fervor does not rival the sonnets of Wordsworth. Our attempts toward dramatic literature bear no comparison to the masterly touch of Shakespeare's hand, though we have material equal to that used by English bards. But in history, in essays, in prosefiction, in forensic and parliamentary eloquence, in the literature of the pulpit, America is the peer of the mother country.
Now, if the term literature be used, as it often has been used, in a very restricted sense, either to denote the pursuit of writing or to include simply what is called belles-lettres, or polite literature, we cannot claim for our Church great prominence, and we do not make the concession regretfully. But when the term is used to include writings that bring practical intelligence, and healthful molding influences to character and conduct, then we are authorized to say that Methodism has a literature which, in magnitude and variety, in vigor and compass of thought, in ability to satisfy intellectual hunger, in adaptation to the proper wants of a people, in its awakening influence and inspiring force, must commend itself to all who are candid as well as critical.
Our Church from the first sympathized with, and sought for its people, literary advantages. Not only religious knowledge but intellectual culture has been and is the aim of Methodism in fulfilling its world-wide mission of good to man. Its literary creed has been founded and maintained on the best of underlying principles, whereby the religions development and happiness of each member is the more certainly and completely