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THE ANTIQUITY OF MAN. To the Editor of THE JOURNAL. S- Sia,-In TJlE JOURNAL of last week appears a short article on "The Antiquity of Man," which so misrepresents the present state of knowledge on this subject that I trust you will allow me a little I ot your valuable space to make some reply thereto. At the outset the writer says It is no new thing to the Christian world that infidels and sceptical philosophers have dug deep into the earth to make the rocks speak against the truth of revelation, and to show that He who made the world, and declared its date to Moses, was mistaken in its age." It is, of course, a mistake to say that God declared the date of making the world to Moses. The only Scriptural means of ascertaining the date of the Creation is by calculation of the genealogies given in the Bible. And even when computed in this way authorities diner very considerably in the result obtained. Dr. Hales gives the date as 5411 B.C., while Archbishop Usher gives it as 4004 B.C.—a difference of over 1400 years. Yet both dates are founded on the Bible record-the first on the Septuagint, which increases the ages of Eeveral of he Patriarchs by 100 years, &c., and the other on the Hebrew version. The Rev Dr. Green says, "Of the two computations that adopted by Dr. Hales seems the more consistent with the facts of the history. It is, however, the shorter one that is more generally accepted by Christians." The writer of the article may, therefore, learn that not among "infidels," but in the Bible itself the dis- pute about the date of creation begins. When, therefore, the Bible is so undecided on the point, it need not seem so irreverend for men to try and solve the question by such means as God has placed within their reach, and by iuch faculties as He has endowed them with for their guidance. I think it hardly fair, to at least a few, to say that "the thinking minds of the world now acquiesce in the conclusion that an established government in the East can be traced back no further than 2000 years before the Christian Era." According to Mariette Bey, Brugsch Bey, Lepsius, Bunsen, PeBsl, and other scholars, Egypt existed as a kingdom some 4000 years B.C., and these con- clusions are supported by papyri inscriptions, &c., discovered amid the ruined temples and cities of the East. Manetho. the Egyptian historian, who lived in the third century B.C., enumerates thirty dynasties who reigned in Egypt before his time, and extending back for over 4000 years. Accord- ing to the cuneiform inscription on the tablets found in the ruin-mounds of Assyria, Sargon t. reigned over that country in 37SQ B.C., and sabse- quent discoveries and history tend to confirm the truth of this statement. That China and India likewise existed as governed countries several thousands of years B.C., is proved by the existence of records of astronomical observations, which have dince been verified, among their annals of those remote ages. Then if we turn to America we shall find pyramids, monuments, and ruins which are probably as old, if not older, than thos6 of Egypt and Assyria. But even granting that these gigantic pyramids and ruins of great cities only point back 2000 years B.C., how are they so widely distributed over the earth, and hjw did the peoples producing and inhabiting them reach such great- ness so very soon after the Flood ? Where is the time for the development of rude pictorial com- munication into the immensely superior phonetic characters of books ? How is it that so very soon after the Flood we find the same racial distinctions existing much as they do now ? Two thousand years B.C. there were Negroes, Semites, and Aryans very little different from what they are at the present day. If these races have remained comparatively unchanged for thousands of years, how did they come to develop such pronounced dissimilarities in a couple of centuries, being all descended from Noah and his wife P It is very surprising to be told that The fact of tools A instruments of labour being disinterred from the interior of the earth proves nothing on the question of man's antiquity." Consider the follow- ing from Tylor's Anthropology." 11 In Denmark the forests are mainly of beeches, but in the peat mosses lie innumerable trunks of oaks, which show that at an earlier period oak forests prevailed, and deeper still there lie trunks of pine trees, which show that there were pine forests still older than the oak forests. Thus there have been three suc- cessive forest periods—the boech, the oak, and the pine; and the depths of the peat mosses, which in places is as much as thirty feet, shows that the period of the pine trees wis thousands of years ago? How long did the pine forests last? What duration of climatic change was necessary before they gave place to the oak, and what before the oak gave place to the beech ? The beech forests have existed for thousands of years within the historic period, notwithstanding the destructive tendencies of civilised requirements. How much longer must the others have continued when man wandered through them only as a naked or half- clothed savage? Amid the pines are found stone arrow-heads and hatchets; amid the oaks bronze implements, and amid the beeches the iron tools of the modern period." Is evidence of this nature no proof of man's antiquity ? The writer of the article quotes the apothegm of La Place to the effect that a little philosophy inclineth a man to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men's minds about to religion." It may be interesting to note, in passing, that this apothegm occurs in one of Bucon's essays, and it is therefore somewhat difficult to understand how La Place, who was not born for over 100 years after Bacon's death, can be its author. But Bacon held that the sun goes round the earth, and his apothegms are not all logical. There are so many religious that one must be at a loss to know to which of them will "depth in philosophy" bring a man round. If the man is brought round to Buddhism those brought up to other religions will proclaim him an infidel or an atheist. Every Christian to a Mohammodan is an infidel, polytheist and idolater. And so of the others. But the question of The Antiquity of Man has nothing to do with atheism or theism. It is solely a question of evidence, and must be determined without regard to inherited beliefs and prejudices. Yours truly, J. H. BEATTT. Whitland, July 27th, 1889. [Of course, Mr. B. is aware that the view taken in the article is the one still hold by scores of men of very respectable ability in this country and else- where. In giving publioity to it we did not mean to vouch for the correctness of its teaching. It was an article on a question not yet settled. Per- haps, however, we may be allowed to say that we are not quite unacquainted with the present state of knowledge on the subject," and think it somewhat strange Mr. B. should not refer to the discoveries made some years ago in the now famous caves of Devonshire. The stalagmite formations and the deDosits found in thnsA ahvm together with the inferences they suggest, would seem to afford stronger support to his theory than anything advanced in his letter. We thank him much for his communication, and hope it will not be the last.-THE EDITOR.]



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