Somnambulist Sages

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Genesis 1:1).

“Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity” (1 Timothy 4:12).

“I understand more than the ancients, because I keep thy precepts” (Psalm 119:100).

“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, [even] his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: Because that, when they knew God, they glorified [him] not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:20-23).

“Thou wast altogether born in sins, and dost thou teach us?” (John 9:34)

My quoting Louis Gaussen’s Lessons to the Young on the Six Days of Creation, is not a promotion or an endorsement of Gaussen as a true Christian.

The first portion is of historical interest (from the translator’s Preface):

“[Lessons to the Young on the Six Days of Creation is] part of a series of lessons or lectures delivered by Dr. Gaussen to the children of the church of the Oratoire in Geneva. The form in which they were given, combined the features of Sabbath-school instruction and of sermons to the young — a form now very common in Switzerland. The children met, first of all, in classes, where they were examined on the lesson of the previous Lord’s day, repeated the verses that been given out, and received some preliminary explanations from the teachers. When Dr. Gaussen entered, the various classes assembled in the centre of the church, while the sides and galleries were generally crowded with adults, who found the instruction imparted to the young profitable for them also. After praise and prayer, Dr. Gaussen began to explain the passage which the children had committed to memory, ofter varying his discourse by addressing questions to his young auditors, or entering into a short conversation with one of them. In this way, sometimes a whole book of Scripture was, in the course of the year, learned by the children, and expounded by Dr. Gaussen.”

And here is Gaussen:

“The earth was marching towards eternity like a somnambulist; it had lost all knowledge of the creation. Its wise men, ‘professing themselves to be wise, became fools,’ says Paul; for that which may be known of God had been made manifest to them; God had shown it unto them. The invisible things of God, His eternal power and Godhead, were clearly seen by the creation of the world, being beheld in His works; but having become vain in their imaginations, their heart had (for centuries) been void of wisdom and filled with darkness, so that they were without excuse…Now, dear children, among all those ‘wise persons calling themselves wise,’ the most illustrious, of whom you will often hear in your studies, Plato, Aristotle, Pliny, Plutarch, and many others, believed matter to be eternal, and many made a God of it. Did not the great Plato teach, eleven hundred years after Moses, that all the stars of heaven are so many deities; and Pliny, in the very days of St. John, ‘that the world is a great eternal God, that has never been made and that will never be destroyed?’ But notwithstanding all this, these poor wise men remained after all in the most lamentable doubt on these great questions…

It was thus that all the disciples of Socrates and Plato, for example, spoke, and you will soon get to read in Latin, when you are a little bigger…a celebrated dialogue on the ‘Nature of the Gods,’ which the greatest of Roman orators, the celebrated Cicero, related fifty years before Christ. You will see in it their sorrowful uncertainties. Each of the learned talkers is there heard exposing in his turn the silly thoughts of the philosophies of his time. O what frightful confusion! But when they have finished, poor Cicero declares that he remains in doubt, after having heard them all. Well, my children, suppose a little boy of the tribe of Judah, with Genesis in his hand, had been at Rome, in the midst of that meeting of philosophers assembled at the house of Cotta, the friend of Cicero, what would he have said to these Roman sages? ‘Sirs, you deceive yourselves, and you continue in doubt; but as for us, in our infant-schools we know with perfect certainty, for God has said to us, that ‘in the beginning God created the heaven and the earth‘” (Louis Gaussen, Lessons to the Young on the Six Days of Creation; underlining emphasis mine).