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by heat; but after all, how know we that the mass or its compounds was not the result of chemically combined gases, or that it did not originate in causes of which we can have no conception, because the combination has taken place, and the constituents in their primitive form are no longer in being?
We merely throw out these suggestions as shewing the real difficulty of the question. One fact is clear, that God made all things; but what were the elementary principles, what laws he impressed upon them, and through what combinations they may have passed, we know not; and, physically speaking, we never can know. If two gases, two Auids, or two substances of any kind which had a greater chemical affinity for each other than for any thing else in existence, should combine and form a new substance wholly unlike its component parts, and no portion of either of these elements now existed in an uncombined form, it would be impossible ever to gain an idea of them from the result. Chemical geology can therefore go but a certain way back; all beyond is darkness. Dr. Davy, when he discovered the metallic base of soda, which cannot exist in its uncombined state exposed to water or atmospheric air, thought he had discovered a principle by which he could account for some most important geological phenomena. He lived himself to renounce his ingenious hypothesis ; but the abstract possibility of such a solution by the combination of elements which might for ever have remained unknown, and in the last resort of affinities must have done so,) may suffice to shew the difficulty, and often impossibility, of tracing back the phenomena of geology to its causes. Some of those causes doubtless still exist : we know, for example, the process of the formation of alluvium, we understand how gravel is rounded, how organic remains became fossilized, how torrents act and rocks are disintegrated ; and from such facts a fair analogy will lead us to many large geological deductions ; but when we get further back, we soon become perplexed, and are probably in search of what we can never ascertain. God made it so, must be our answer ; but to point out, so long after, what he made originally in combination, if he made any thing so, and what he made elementally, and left to the affinities which he had given to it, is utterly impracticable. Whether he created a certain stratum in situ, or caused it to grow out of materials which he had already created and endowed with certain properties, is a speculation, the absolute decision of which is in certain cases beyond the range of human intelligence. Yet there are analogies and probabilities which may reasonably be weighed, and whether they lead, with Mr. Penn, to the conclusion, that certain rocks were created just where and how they now stand without the interference of secondary causes ; or whether, with the students of other schools, they be thought to have originated in causes now in existence, or that once were in existence, we see not that either of these hypotheses leads of necessity to any theological inference hostile to truth or Scripture.
But, to turn from a heavy discussion, we will enliven our readers with some passages on other topics from the work before us. A most important question in geology, as connected with the disclosures of Holy Writ, is the period of the world's creation. It is demonstrable from facts that it was not eternal; but facts equally plain speak to a very lengthened duration. Many Christians have felt alarmed at these facts, lest they should contradict the Mosaic, that is, the inspired, account of the creation. Let us first look at the facts, and then their compatibility with the Mosaic account. They are summed up as follows by our author.
“ The crust of the earth, as we have already stated, consists of a number of beds of various substances, irregularly alternating with each other. It has been proved by analogy, that these beds were formed by causes still in action, in a manner similar to those that are now being deposited in the beds of rivers and lakes, and that the
formation of each stratum requires a considerable portion of time. But, if it require a length of time to form a single deposit, how much greater time will be necessary to form a series, each differing from the other in mineralogical characters ? Circumstances which will produce a calcareous deposit, will not produce an argilla. ceous. An entire revolution of local circumstances is absolutely necessary, in order to change the character of the bed. Admitting, therefore, that the strata composing the crust of our globe were formed with a rapidity of which we have no conception, from a variety of circumstances, particularly the greater surface temperature of our earth, of which we shall presently speak, it is quite apparent that they required considerable time for their deposition.
“ But again, all these beds are crowded with organic remains, and each has those peculiar to itself. In certain beds we find the remains of animals which cannot else where be found through the whole series, but seem only to have existed at that par. ticular time when these beds were forming. Certain other beds contain, some in great abundance, the remains of oviparous animals; but neither above nor below them can an individual specimen be found. And there are other strata, and these among the highest in the series, which contain the bones of mammalia, but below them they have been sought for in vain. Every step, therefore, that we take in the investigation, impresses us the more deeply with the conviction that time must have long shaken its basty wing over this terrestrial globe, and that the earth often com. pleted its accustomed journey round the great orb of day after its creation, before the Eternal God of all placed man upon it, as the perfection of his work, and the object of his love.
" But, if we would look still further into this question, we must examine the relative position of rocks towards each other. The natural position of all sediments would, of course, be horizontal, or nearly so. But when we come to the investiga. tion of rocks as they are, we find that they have been subjected to the most violent disturbances. Here we find a series tilted by the action of subterranean fires, and upon it horizontal undisturbed strata. In another place we find the primitive rocks thrust through a number of those that contain organic remains, forming chains of snow-capt mountains ; and upon their flanks we trace a series of calcareous beds in their undisturbed position. What more sufficient proof that time was necessary for the formation of these beds can be required or given ? Geologists have been charged with presumption in their deductions, but what can be clearer than the deductions they form from such phenomena as the above? Here are a series of rocks upheaved by ancient volcanic action, and others resting upon them undisturbed ; surely it re. quires little argument to prove that the horizontal beds could not bave been formed when the others were upheaved, that an entirely new state of things must have been instituted before they could have been deposited, and, consequently, that a consi, derable time must have transpired between the elevation of the one series, and the formation of the other.
“ It is not requisite for the proof of our proposition to enumerate all the phenomena presented by rocks. Wherever we examine them, we observe the combined action of water and fire; and that the several localities have at one time been beneath. at another above, the waters. Sometimes we trace the action of subterranean fires without any visible proof, except the disturbance the rocks have suffered : and at other times we find the fissures through which the liquified rock has been cast, as well as the bed that was poured over the surface. Above these, we may observe the horizontal strata, and, perhaps, the entire series may have been afterwards exposed to diluvian action, and portions of it swept away by the force of an inconceivably violent flood.
“ Connect with these circumstances the fact that all the deposits have been formed under different circumstances, and the demonstration of our proposition will be to. lerably complete.
“ The circumstances under which a bed was formed must be determined by its mi. neralogical composition, and the organic remains it contains : if it consist of rounded pebbles and angular flints, we know that it must have been formed under far more violent circumstances than if it consisted of clay or sand. If the stratum contain remains of animals which are known to live in seas, we say that it is a marine deposit; if its remains are fresh water, we call the deposit lacustrine, or fresh water; and if they should be terrestrial, we must judge of its origin either from the mineralogical character of the bed, or the fossils which may be associated with it, for it is possible that terrestrial animals may be washed into the sea, although it is far more probable that they will find their graves in the bed of an inland lake or river.
“ But how are we to account for the alternation of terrestrial and marine beds unless we allow that a considerable portion of time was occupied in their deposition ? Let us suppose that in the beds of our rivers and lakes depositions are going on, and tbat the remains of fresh water animals are deposited in them; before it be possible that the entire deposition can be changed and marine animals entombed, it will be necessary that the sea should be let in upon the entire district, either by the depres
sion of the district itself or the elevation of the present bed of the ocean. These, however, are phenomena which are continually observed by geologists, and, consequently, the same circumstances must have interfered to produce them.
« The formation of strata, therefore, must have required a considerable time, and it is equally certain that they were deposited at a period antecedent to the universal deluge.
“ The person who has taken the slightest notice of geological phenomena, cannot have failed to observe that immediately beneath the vegetable soil, in almost all places, there are beds of gravel, sand, or clay, with rounded pebbles. These beds are composed of the detritus, or destroyed materials of older rocks, called by geologists diluvium ; and are, in all probability, the result of the universal deluge. No fact in geology, therefore, is more certain than that, after all the strata which compose the crust of our globe had been formed, the entire earth was overwhelmed with a universal flood. “Where the water necessary to deluge the world could be obtained by natural causes, is, perhaps, difficult to conceive; or what became of it when obtained ; - but it is less extraordinary,' says Mr. Greenough, that water should have stood in some former period at a height exceeding that of our highest mountains, than that strata should have been formed without a precipitate, that gravel should have been rounded without attrition,' or valleys excavated without a flood.
• There have, however, been some who have rejected the Scriptures on the ground that they will believe nothing that they cannot understand. Nature, say they, is our preceptress; but how often has she failed to answer their interrogations, and when She has spoken, how often has she given the lie to their principles. But this is not the only instance in which natural phenomena have corroborated the sacred records, and left the pretended admirers of nature as much in ignorance of causes as they were before they consulted her oracle. Such men, to be consistent with their own assertions, must have formed an enormous estimate of their mental powers, reject. ing, as unworthy their belief, one-half of those beautiful truths which the investigations of philosophy have disovered, but for which it cannot account.”
“ If, therefore, the beds of gravel which cover over all the strata were formed by the diluvian waters, and also the valleys which are cut out of the strata themselves; then the whole of the fossiliferous rocks were formed previous to the universal deluge. The period which intervened between the creation of man and the deluge is, evidently, insufficient to have accomplished their deposition; they must, therefore, have been formed previous to the creation of the human species.
• To complete our examination of the deduction that a considerable time was required for the deposition of the beds composing the crust of our globe, it will be necessary to consider that our earth experienced a greater surface temperature during the deposition of the beds, and that it has gradually decreased. This is a question of great importance, for it is evident that the higher the temperature, the greater the evaporation, and the power of meteoric agents, the more violent will be the storms, and the larger the quantity of detritus; consequently, deposits will be more rapidly formed in tropical than in temperate climes. And the same cause would powerfully influence the growth and increase of vegetable and animal life; hence, we find that both the land and waters are most crowded with organized creatures in the hottest portions of our globe.” * “ The great vigour of vegetation in tropical climes can hardly be imagined by the inhabitants of this portion of the globe. The idea of a forest from any thing that may be seen in Europe is very insufficient to paint the luxuriant vegetation of the tropics ; nor could our coal deposits have been supplied from such scanty sources. We would rather refer to the vast forests of Brazil or Guiana, almost too thickly en. twined to admit of human research, and to the luxuriant and extensive woods on the banks of the Missouri. If we can imagine the immense quantities of vegetable matter which is there produced all the year round, and year after year for ages, we may perhaps approach to the state of our northern climates when our coal beds were forined. Every thing connected with the coal deposits was tropical. Such was the climate that produced, the forests that bore, and the rivers that transported into their estuaries, the vegetables which were designed by the Creator to become, in future ages, the source of comfort and wealth to his creatures !"
« Another argument in favour of greater surface temperature may be drawn from the abundance and size of organic remains. The naturalist as well as the botanist seeks the tropics to study, in all their varieties, the objects of his attention. It is not in our chilly seas that we expect to find the coral reef and the swarming testacea, it is not by the banks of our lakes and rivers we study the habits of the saurians and crocodiles; we must pass into more congenial situations, and watch the banks of the Nile, or sail over the broad surface of the Pacific. Yet beneath our feet, we have enormous accumulations of animal remains in the limestones and other rocks, which could only have been produced in an equatorial temperature.
“ But a still greater proof that the temperature of our planet has diminished is found in the character of the vegetable remains that are imbedded in strata. In the
rocks associated with our coal beds we do not find the plants which now inhabit our shores, but arborescent ferns and other vegetables, which require a climate at least as warm as the tropics. But these plants increase in size in proportion to the height of the temperature; and as those which are found in the coal measures are larger than any that we find in the hottest regions of the present day, we may fairly conclude that there was a higher temperature, even in these northern latitudes, during the formation of the coal measures, than can now be found on the surface of the globe.
- If observation be extended to the organic remains, we shall be impressed with the same fact. In certain strata of our own country the remains of oviparous quadrupeds are found, the whole class being now confined to the higher temperatures. But the animals to whom these remains belonged were of a gigantic size, and were, perhaps, the lords of the creation. The fabled monsters of antiquity which have so often delighted and amazed our childhood, become sober truths when compared with the discoveries of geologists in this department of our science. Some of these reptiles are only found in marine deposits; some were terrestrial, and others inhabited the lakes and rivers. But they all required and enjoyed a temperature much higher than that which is now experienced in our northern latitudes.
“ In one deposit we meet with the remains of a monstrous terrestrial animal, at least thirty or forty feet in length, and from seven to eight in height. In another series of beds we find the bones of the iguanodon, a creature excelling in magnitude the megalosaurus himself. The ichthyosauri, crocodiles, and turtles, are also to be found enclosed in the solid strata of the globe.
" Wherever we turn we find the remains of organized creatures, not only in such abundance as to assure us that they existed under the most favourable circumstances, but of such characters as to convince us that they lived in a tropical climate. It would, therefore, appear that at the time when the solid strata of the globe were deposited, the temperature was much higher and more equable than it is now.” pp. 109_122
This long period of the earth’s duration is accounted for by Christian geologists, either by a supposed intervening time between its creation and its preparation to be the abode of man ; or by making the six days protracted periods, or by both of these solutions combined. Mr. Higgins follows the first of these methods, and views the days as literal days. We quote a portion of his general argument:*“ How valuable soever the deductions of science may be, they cannot be regarded by a truly Christian mind as of equal authority with the direct testimony of God.
There is a possibility, under all circumstances, that our opinions may be false, however improbable it may appear. The premises from which we argue may be erroneous, or, if true, may be the exceptions to a general rule, and not the law itself; or if the premises be perfect, the deductions may be illegitimate, either from an imperfect view of the facts, or the want of some other fact which is necessary for the argument. While imperfection thus necessarily attaches itself to all human speculations, the word of God is necessarily true. Nor can human intellect and veracity compare itself with the perfect knowledge, power, and purity of the Almighty.
“ If, therefore, we admit that the Bible is Divinely inspired, we cannot with propriety either doubt the expediency of comparing scientific opinions and the testimony of God, or prefer our deductions to the explicit statements of Scripture. But we must rather experience a pleasing satisfaction in having a common test by which to estimate the value of accumulating knowledge; for, when we examine the sacred word of God for a history of the creation of the world, we come to the Creator for information concerning his own work, and the process by which he exerted his infinite power.”
“ The history which Moses has given us of the creation of the world, and its state till the commencement of the days, is evidently a mere outline. The great object of the Divine Spirit, under whose guidance he wrote, was to detail the history of man, his character, condition, and prospects. He has, notwithstanding, furnished us with a few general facts, which are rather to direct our inquiries than to suspend them. Of those particular subjects on which he has not treated, we are at perfect liberty to form our own opinions. A theory of the formation of the earth ought therefore to be only a detailed description of the Mosaical history, a finished picture from the outline sketch which the Jewish legislator has given us.
« The first chapter of Genesis, which contains all that God has revealed concerning the creation, may be divided into three periods : first, there is a statement that the heavens and the earth were formed by God. There is then a description of the earth previous to the days of creation, and afterwards a somewhat detailed account of the order in wbich the Almighty furnished the world during the six days.
“ All the sacred writers insist upon the creation of the universe by God; he is the Christ. Observ, No. 371. 5 D
great universal cause from which all things proceeded. Philosophy has discovered that it was the work of an intelligent Being ; but it is revelation alone that can teach His character and attributes. 'I am the Lord, that maketh all things; that stretcheth forth the heavens alone; that spreadeth abroad the earth by myself: (Isaiah xliv. 24). · Let all the inhabitants of the world stand in awe of him; for he spake, and it was done: he commanded, and it stood fast' (Psalm xxxiii. 8, 9). The prophet Isaiah, when foretelling (xl. 12, 13) the future glory of Christ's kingdom, in a most beautiful manner refers to the creative power of God, who hath measured the waters in the hollow of his hand, and meted out heaven with the span, and comprehended the dust of the earth in a measure, and weighed the mountains in scales, and the bills in a balance ! wbo hath directed the Spirit of the Lord, or being his counsellor hath taught him ?' And Moses also commences his history of the creation by the statement, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth."
* This statement appears to be entirely distinct from all that follows. The object which Moses had in view seems to have been comparative; and the whole stress of the sentence rests upon the word God. The Israelites had seen idolatry in all its forms, and had frequently fallen into the practice; but it was not the idols they had seen or served. that created the heavens and the earth, but God." “ This was done before the six days; how long, we are not informed, and are, consequently, at liberty to attempt to determine it by the assistance of science.” pp. 131_137.
• There are two facts which we would deduce from the statement of the inspired historian: that the world was created at some indefinite period before the commencement of the six days; and that it was created at once, without the interference of any secondary causes.
6 That the beginning does not refer to the first day spoken of by Moses is certain, for it is not mentioned as a part of the creation in the enumeration of that day's work. But we are, on the contrary, informed that on the first day it was in existence, though unfurnished and covered with water. The term beginning, therefore, is indefinite, and it may refer to the preceding day, or to thousands of years. To guesses there would be no end, for one would be as authorised to assert the truth of his conjecture as another; and at last must leave the decision of the question to the results of an examination into the constitution of the globe.
This is the province of Geology, and from this source only can we hope to decide the question, and to determine the state of the earth during the period which intervened between its creation and the beginning of the six days.
“ We are pleased to find that Dr. Chalmers does not think this view of the Mosaical statement inconsistent with the manner in which it is expressed, though we cannot allow, with him, that the substance of the heavens and earth was created before the things themselves. Does Moses ever say that, when God created the heavens and the earth he did more at the time alluded to than transform them out of previously existing materials ? or does he ever say that there was not an interval of many ages betwixt the first act of creation described in the first verse of the Book of Genesis, and said to have been performed in the beginning; and those more detailed operations, the account of which commences at the second verse, and which are described to us as having been performed in so many days ? or, finally, does he ever make us to understand that the genealogies of man went any further than to fix the antiquity of the species, and of consequence that they left the antiquity of the globe a free subject for the speculation of philosophers ?' (Chalmers's Evid. Christ. Revela.)
“ Mr. Sharon Turner, also, well known and esteemed for his valuable historical works, entirely agrees with the principle we have advocated. • The Mosaic chronology,' he says, begins with the formation of Adam, and with the six preceding days or periods, which commenced with the production of light. What interval occurred between the first creation of the material substance of our globe, and the mandate for light to descend upon it; whether months, years, or ages, is not in the slightest degree noticed. Geology may shorten or extend its duration as it may find proper; there is no restriction on this part of the subject.' (Turner's Sacred Hist. p. 461.)” pp. 140-142. * " It has already been shown that a period of time intervened between the creation of the earth and the beginning of the six days. During this period the rocks which are the covering of the globe were, in all probability, formed. The primitive rocks may have constituted the surface of the earth as it came from the hand of the Creator : but if they did, they have since suffered considerable alterations. It has been proved in tbe observations upon Theoretical Geology, that all the beds between the primitive rocks and the superficial gravels were formed before the deluge, and that they all resulted from causes similar to those which are now in action. It is quite incredible that they could have been deposited in that period which intervened between the creation of man and the universal deluge. It is naturally impossible, we think, that so vast a series of deposits could have been formed in the time; but, if this objection should be considered insufficient, we must allow that the whole earth was a long time beneath the waters, for the secondary beds, with but few exceptions, were formed by