Quotable Quotes archive › Quotable Quotes

James Mellor Brown warned of dangers of long-age compromises in 1838!

Unfortunately he has been proven right repeatedly

James Mellor Brown (c. 1796–1867), Anglican Minister in England, reasonably foreshadowed the present condition and direction of much of the church today, in warning of the baneful nature of compromise with the then novel uniformitarian geology with its vast ages.

“I am prepared to show that in this sense religion has much to fear from philosophy [i.e., natural philosophy or science], not its facts, but its theories. Whenever those theories invalidate the historical or the physical statements of Scripture; or even when they interfere with our sober and commonly received views of it, they are pernicious. They tend to unsettle men’s minds as to the veracity of the Sacred Writings. They shake the confidence with which the simple and unlearned repose upon them. Simple minds feel unable to untwine those threads of error which they are told run throughout the book; and they cannot distinguish that inspired portion which they ought to hold fast from those uninspired statements of science and history which they are assured they may safely let go. Thus doubt and distrust enter their minds, and never again can they rest with that unquestioning reliance upon the Word of God which they once felt.

“The sacred volume is no longer to them a rock which cannot be shaken. To this it may be added, that these theories, where they are admitted disturb the learned and acute mind still more powefully than the illiterate; for the thinking, reasoning man naturally argues, that if any statement of Scripture has been questioned, so may another, and another; and that if historical or physical facts can be disproved, whatever doctrines or precepts rest upon them must give way likewise. Thus scepticism takes gradual possession of the soul. If natural facts cannot be admitted on the mere warrant of inspiration, by what law of evidence, it may be asked, can we be compelled to believe, on the same authority, those which are supernatural? When science has once begun to tamper with Scripture, it is vain to say that it will restrict itself to physical statements, and abstain from the consideration of miracles. Men will no more stop half-way in an argument because you wish them, than a rolling stone will check itself at your bidding when half way down the hill.”


  1. James Mellor Brown, pamphlet entitled Reflections on Geology, 1838.