WE are frequently reminded of the words of the apostles relative to the insidious attacks of Satan that would come upon believers in the last days of this age, as we witness his attacks not only upon every servant of the truth, but also upon the truth itself—the Word of God. What a comfort we have in the assurance that all the true "sheep" will hear and know the Shepherd's voice, and that none shall pluck them out of his hand,—that the "very elect" shall not be deceived. How this should and does stimulate us to press for the mark of character development which will make our calling and election sure.
Satan seems to know that these attacks will be all the more forceful if they are apparently scientific discoveries, etc., and so he operates along that line. Thank God,—"We are not ignorant of his devices." For instance, Spiritism and Christian Science, having captured their thousands and gotten well established are continued, while other signs and wonders are introduced under the name of Theosophy (already described in these columns); and now later Hypnotism is introduced, not as a religious but as an occult power which will inferentially corroborate and endorse Satan's pseudo religions and discredit the teachings of the Scriptures. Thus, for instance, the visions and revelations granted of the Lord to some of the apostles and prophets (Dan. 7; 2 Cor. 12:1; Eph. 3:3; Rev. 1:1,10) are, by the powers of Hypnotism, made to appear very ordinary, such as may be had by any one who will be put by himself or by a professional into a cataleptic sleep or trance. This, because professing to be non-religious, scientific, will catch some who instinctively fear the trance-mediums and clairvoyants of Spiritism; and yet it will surely pave the way to the latter, and away from God's Word which condemns it and everything akin to it—witchcraft, etc.
One of the latest feats of Hypnotism was the simulation of our Lord's death and resurrection. This was performed both in Europe and in the United States. Hindu Theosophists by the power of Hypnotism put one of their number asleep in London in a coffin, with the understanding that he would be awakened after three days in Vienna, whither, with guards, etc., the coffin was conveyed. On the third day at Vienna the coffin was opened and the fakir found apparently dead. The rigid form was taken from the coffin and placed upon a table, where, to demonstrate that the subject was wholly unconscious, needles were thrust through his flesh, but brought no sign of consciousness. Finally, at the command of the chief Hindu fakir, the hypnotic spell was broken, the man's consciousness returned, and, with manifestations of pain from his long cramped position, he got up and ate and went about his business.
Thus, without directly attacking the Bible account of the awakening from the sleep of death of Lazarus, and Jairus' daughter, and the son of the widow of Nain, their influence is offset by these modern "strong delusions" to "believe a lie." (2 Thes. 2:11.) Nay, more; it goes farther and would even discredit or cast into the shade the resurrection of our Lord Jesus.
Similar was the demonstration which took place in the United States, only still more realistic; for the subject was not only put into a death-like sleep, but was actually buried under three feet of earth through which [R2033 : page 216] a wooden pipe permitted air to reach the subject, and down which the public looked upon the buried man's face. The New York Journal (Aug. 30, '96) publishes an illustration of the grave, its occupant, and the public gazing down upon him, together with the subject's own account of the matter, and of his feelings, etc.; and the Editor introduces it in the following words:—
"John D. Wyatt has just been resurrected at Indianapolis, Ind., after being buried alive at his own request for three days. No fancied grave was his, for though in hypnotic sleep, he was actually buried under four feet of earth. It was a marvelous experience. No man ever endured one like it."
It is claimed that ere long the public will become accustomed to hypnotic phenomena by their introduction through dentistry, where it will be used in a manner calculated to support the claims of "Christian Scientists," that there is no such thing as pain, but merely an imagination thereof.
Truly, the great Adversary is being permitted to prepare "strong delusions" for those who, having been brought in contact with the truth, either resist it or, by failure to follow the true light loyally, show that they are unworthy of it, "that all might be condemned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness."—2 Thes. 2:11,12.
Another illustration of Satan's subtle workings is found in the claimed "latest discoveries of science." For two centuries science has been making discoveries which it has claimed completely overthrow the reliability of the Bible narrative; but as often have these scientists been compelled to admit that they have erred. The fact is that scientists are usually infidels, if not openly, then of the "higher criticism" type, who have little respect for the Bible, and who are on the lookout to secure world-wide fame by finding and promulgating something which would do what other scientists had tried to do but failed; viz., to cast discredit on the Bible. It is not remarkable that being thus prejudiced against the Bible, these worldly-wise scientists, going about to disestablish God's Word, and seeking honor one of another, and not submitting themselves to the guidance of faith in their researches, will, in the future as in the past, frequently "believe a lie" and publish it for the truth, until disproved and repudiated later by some other scientists. Our prejudices should be in favor of the Bible, and only positive, unimpeachable evidence against it should be even considered.
The modern field for scientific research is Assyria, where the ancient buried ruins of Babylon, Nippur, etc., being dug into, furnish relics and records of an early day—antedating all history except that of the Bible. [R2034 : page 216] So, then, let it be understood that the scientific research, for which our day is noted, is frequently only an effort on the part of those engaged in it to immortalize themselves by impeaching the record of God's Word, if they can possibly do so.
The latest news of this kind is from a party of Armenians, representing the University of Pennsylvania, who have for some time been excavating the ruins of the ancient city of Nippur in the Valley of Babylon. This news is that these scientists, having dug down below the level of the known Nippur, found about thirty feet below it a still older Nippur with valuable relics, tablets, etc.
Immediately Prof. S. A. Binion (who, so far as we are aware, has never seen the excavations at Nippur) hastens to tell the public through the daily press what he don't know about Nippur, and to most dogmatically assert respecting tablets, broken vases, etc., bearing inscriptions, and their supposed decipherment,—"These tablets show that a high state of civilization existed 7,000 years before the birth of Christ, and 3,000 years before the creation of the world as set down in the marginal chronology of the Bible." "Many cuneiform records upon tablets, of Babylonian history, have been unearthed, in an excellent state of preservation. Some of these are 9,000 years old, and are almost as clear today as when the writing was done." Professor Binion very accommodatingly furnished also a "sectional drawing" showing the temples, streets and houses of ancient Nippur, from which thirty-six feet of covering, debris, is supposed to have been removed; and also showing the still more ancient Nippur, from which thirty feet additional debris had been removed.
THE REMAINS OF THE ASSYRIAN CITY, NIPPUR, BUILT
3,000 YEARS BEFORE ADAM AND EVE
(FROM A SECTIONAL DRAWING AND RESTORATION
OF THE EXCAVATION BY PROFESSOR S. A. BINION,
Every scientist, every editor, every business man, every mechanic and every day-laborer can, if he will but think, see through the fraud thus practiced upon a confiding public by a Professor and an editor. Why, if the University of Pennsylvania had a thousand times as much money as it now possesses, and if it spent every cent of that sum in excavating at Nippur and [R2034 : page 217] had laborers at work night and day, none of its professors would live long enough to see such a job of work accomplished as Prof. Binion and the New York Journal represent—thirty-six feet of debris removed from off a city of miles in extent, and thirty feet more from off a lower city of similar size.
What are the facts? Simply these: A few years ago the management of the University of Pennsylvania, desirous of fame for their institution, concluded that foot-ball and boat-rowing are not the only outside enterprises in which a modern college may engage, and with commendable enterprise undertook scientific digging into the ruins of Nippur. At the outset Rev. Dr. Peters was placed in charge of the work. Under his direction a shaft or pit was sunk on the principal mound, and some underground passages excavated thirty-six feet from the surface. But to be a successful "scientist" in such a work, a man needs to have a lively imagination and to give it full play, else he will fail to "astound" the world with his "archaeologic" ability in deciphering real and imaginary hieroglyphics on pieces of pottery, etc.; and so Dr. Peters was superseded by a man pretty sure to find something that would cover himself and the University of Pennsylvania with glory and renown—Prof. Hilprecht.
The latter gentleman has not uncovered the entire city of Nippur, but merely removed a few more cubic yards of debris from what is believed to have been a temple; and sinking a shaft or pit thirty feet still lower, through the debris, he found at that level "virgin soil" and some relics of an ancient civilization which it would in every way be to his interest to believe and seek to prove existed 7,000 or 8,000 years before A.D. 1.
Whether or not there are two cities of Nippur, one built upon the other with thirty feet of debris between, nobody can yet say truthfully. It will require vastly more money and labor than has already been expended, to demonstrate the truth or fallacy of the suggestion. The Valley of Babylonia is supposed to have been the cradle of the race; and it is possible that Nippur was a city built before the deluge of Noah's day. If its temple were but sixty feet high, thirty feet of silt and debris would still leave a temple thirty feet high, whose upper levels may have been used after the flood. Or it may be that the level first recognized, thirty-six feet below the surface, was never a city level but merely one level of the temple.
Prof. Binion describes the written tablets as "in an excellent state of preservation," "almost as clear today as when the writing was done;" but Prof. Hilprecht, now at Constantinople, told quite a different story to the representative of the London Daily News who interviewed him, and who says: "The labor of piecing together the thousands of fragments of vases and other objects, and of deciphering the inscriptions upon them, has during the past winter nearly cost him his eyesight." Prof. Binion is probably mistaken also in saying that these broken fragments are in Philadelphia. According to the "firman" or permit issued to the University by the Turkish government, all findings were to belong to the Turkish museum.
These "scientific" gentlemen who endeavor to discredit the Bible by fraudulent pictorial misrepresentations and descriptions, ask us to take their word for it, that the Bible account, which has time and again come off victorious in contests with "scientists," so-called, and which alone of all histories carries an unbroken line from creation to our day, and is represented by a living race—the Jews—is now utterly overthrown and proved unreliable, by the finding of some broken pottery bearing peculiar letters and symbols which one scientist fondly hopes will raise him and the college employing him to world-wide renown.
As for us, we will hold on to the Bible and wait a few years until another "scientist" equally anxious for renown will refute the present conclusions and show wherein the deductions are false. It has ever been thus. Not long ago Chinese histories were paraded similarly, to prove that China had a civilization and history one or two thousand years older than that of the Bible; but to-day archaeologists concede that the very ancient history of China is mythical, a fabrication.
We have gone into this matter at some length because we have had many inquiries concerning it, and because it serves as a sample of the many ways the Adversary is attacking the Bible, and overthrowing the faith of those who have not put on the whole armor of God, that they may be able to stand in this evil day. (Eph. 6:13.) What a defense against doubt and every attack of the devil is the knowledge of the divine plan of the ages! Praise God from whom our blessings flow!
Professor Sayce, one of the best informed as well as one of the most candid of modern archaeologists, writing upon the reliability of the Babylonian records and their probably faulty interpretation says, under date of June 30, '96:—
"I pointed out some years ago that the length of reign assigned to several of the kings in the first two dynasties is suspiciously, if not impossibly, long, and that the same high number recurs with too great a frequency. Since then the American excavators in Babylonia have discovered tablets which show that in the early period of Babylonian history records were kept of the events which marked the several years of each king's reign, and it was by these events that the legal documents of the time were dated. I believe that it will turn out that the compiler of the dynastic list supposed in some cases that where two or three events characterized the same year they were to be reckoned as representing separate years, while in other cases the co-regencies of a father and son have been neglected, as they have been in Egyptian and Jewish history."