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lesser circumstances in what remain, since a time may come, when, compared with our present accession of knowledge, the luminous triumphs of the mind may
the light of seven days” —"and that day fully declare it.”
No one can read the record of creation without being impressed with the conviction, that matter and motion were instantaneous acts of Almighty Power. The correct solution of the descriptive phenomena resolves itself into the opinion of Sir Isaac Newton, as its true interpretation : “God, in the beginning, formed all material things in moveable particles; variously associating and composing them, in the first creation, by his intelligent counsels; and setting them in the order most conducive to the end for which he formed them, with respect to size, figure, space, and all other properties.” From this postulate there can be no warrantable philosophical dissent. Matter was instantaneously created by the fiat of the Supreme Being; and, we presume that Mr. Granville Penn's masterly argument cannot be successfully assailed on legitimate grounds. The circumfusion of a chaotic fluid for unnumbered ages, with a gradual deposition of rocks from its bosom, is a fiction as wild as the manwantaras of Menù, from which fabulous source it may have originally sprung. It equally inconsistent and absurd to endeavour to give a new version to the periods of the demiurgic days. We may torture time, but Iom, by all the rules of criticism, can never be made to signify aught else than a natural day; and though “a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years,” in the sight of God, as has been stated, were we to grant that they are to be understood as undefined and indefinite periods, “the sequel of error would be endless :" there must be a pause somewhere, and this must not be left to be deciphered by mere imagination. Geologists are generally a sceptical race ; but whether such scepticism rests on a philosophical basis, we may well question. These chronologists of the world's age are constantly petitioning their idol CHRONOS for immense measures of time;
their eras may be called definite infinitudes : affecting to distinguish periods, they will, however, condescend to no specific measurement. Time is stretched on the rack of invention to supply their pre-conceived notions and fanciful conjectures with a measuring reed; and after all, it is “ the line of confusion stretched over the stones of emptiness.” It has been very properly asked, “Who is to grant it (Time); or what would be the value of the grant, if it were conceded? Would it make the thing true ?” Unquestionably not; and the sceptical geologist, when the concession is made, is just as near his object as before. Language is the symbol of thought, and should be that of truth; after making every allowance for metaphorical phrase, we cannot legitimately permit its introduction where tru propounds an historical event. concession as to an indefinite extension of time, the infidel geologist will still remain an infidel. Those who grant the question to this personage, only tamper with infidelity, while the geologist chuckles, in the meanwhile, over his neophyte. An infidel geology is anxious to carry us back to a state of being anterior to that described in the Sacred History; and, with unauthorized effrontery, presents us with a series of revolutions which have no foundation, whatever, in truth: the cycles of these revolutions, in the estimation of its votaries, demand the arithmetic of infinites, and an endless series of cataclysma and renovation, as we find in the fabulous annals of India. The six demiurgic days must, by the touch of this necromantic talisman, immediately expand into myriads of ages. Now all this is more than we dare grant, and much more than a sober and right-minded philosophy will require. After these requirements are conceded, we shall find the conclusions of some writers on geology to be little else than a modification of the monstrous idea of Demailet, who would gravely persuade us, that the human being began his career as a fish,-it may be, for aught he defines to the contrary, an oyster or a cockle: certainly an amusing whim, though no very flattering type in the physiology of man's creation. Indeed, we could refer to the early edition of an introductory work on geology,
which advocates dogmas of a somewhat similar complexion ; as if man had passed through a series of avatars, the last of which was reserved for the genius of Lord Monboddo to discover. Some have fancied, that in the stratification of the globe, and in imbedded organic remains, there was all the evidence of history for the progressive developement of organic life, in the eccentric views we have already glanced at; and, that from the wreck of an antecedent formation, swept away by an overwhelming cataclysm, a new race, of a more perfect organization, arose, like a phenix, as their substitute. How the destruction of a race of zoophytes should give rise to fishes, birds, and other animals of a more perfect and complex organization, it is not quite so easy to discover. That the imperfect should become the prototypes of beings more perfect and better organized, and that the latter should be the necessary sequence of the ruin of the former, is novel enough, but is not the less nonsense. In this odd dogma it was altogether forgotten, that these types of primeval time remained hermetically sealed up in the solid rock; and that all the varied forms of animal organization, from the polype up to man, co-exist, and have ever been contemporaneous.
It has been supposed that the order of the Mosaic account of creation was stamped in the living rock, and might be read in the fossils which are found there, from the lower red sandstone to the tertiary series ; and, in the formations which are deemed the most ancient, no organic remains, rounded pebbles, or carbonaceous matter being found, some accept as a proof that they were prior in existence to those that contain them; and if this is found an invariable rule, followed by no exception; if there be superadded a crystalline structure, to which the agents now in operation are unequal, the position may be reasonably granted : but it is by no means so evident, that any class of organic remains should determine the comparative age of the stratification of the globe. Dr. Fleming and Mr. Lyell have, accordingly, found organic remains of fish in the old red sandstone, in Perthshire, which is pronounced to be decidedly older than the coal and mountain limestone of Fifeshire.” The vertebra also of a saurian, or an animal belonging to the class of lizards, has been discovered in the mountain limestone of Northumberland. These facts, with many others, render altogether nugatory the hypothesis of the precedence of the simpler forms of animal organization. Exceptions like these are fatal to the dreams of those theorists who would find the record of creation transcribed in the rock ; on which assumptions they have, however, raised the plea of their petition for time.
Insects are rarely found in a fossil state, and their discovery is comparatively recent. This was the case with birds ; but the organic remains of birds have been found in Kirkdale Cave, Gibraltar, and elsewhere. Prior to these discoveries it had been believed that birds came into existence at a later period in the order of creation, and were altogether subsequent to the epocha at which other animals were swept away, the impress of whose anterior living existence their organic remains attest. The researches of modern geology have proved the assumption altogether premature, and future discoveries, in all probability, will sweep away much of the dogmatism that has interwoven itself among the speculations of geologists. The fossil world has revealed no organic remains of quadrumanous animals; but it by no means follows, that they may not yet be found ; and precisely the same process of reasoning applied by Mr. Lyell to this question, applies, in full
force, to that of It is really extraordinary to reflect on what a slender basis
many a geological theory rests. In looking into the communications of Dr. Hutton, we feel almost persuaded that the structure of graphic granite contributed not a little to his geogony. Dr. Knight seems, in our opinion, to have been mainly indebted for his " Theory of the Earth,” to the diffusion of a portion of powdered granite in water, and its subsequent subsidence, forming a mechanical deposit, as might have been expected, of particles, agreeable to the ratio of their relative densities. One of
these world builders, and whose work on the subject is before the public, shewed us a flint, having, as its nucleus, a univalve shell; and this, in his view, was a sufficient datum for his theory of the formation of a world. Such are some of the flimsy materials of a few modern geological theorists; and these are even moderate compared with the wild speculations of their predecessors. For myself, I am free to confess my obligations to the masterly disquisitions of Mr. Granville Penn, whose sound deductions and philosophical reasoning appear to me to be altogether unanswerable, and of a character satisfactory and complete. I am, by no means, prepared to say, that he is infallible throughout; but the opinion may be safely hazarded, that he has brought geology to the requisite test, and prescribed the proper rules by which it may be legitimately tried. The interminable reign of a chaotic ocean, circumfusing the globe, he has fully proved, in my mind, to be as unreasonable in its assumptions as it is repugnant to the principles of Revealed Truth and genuine science. Creation implies, in its very nature, an instant act; and it is surely most compatible with the dictates of sound reason, to believe that the first creation was not a slow process, carried on through a succession of
obedience of nature to the mandate of an omnipotent fiat. The succession of periods, in the order of creation, in organized being, implies acts in which the process of time seems to enter; but this refers to the veil being gradually withdrawn from the scene of creation, and the introduction of determinate eras, as sequence and succession,” to measure the evolutions of natural phenomena. Time is only a relative term, and is altogether inapplicable to the Supreme Being. That the primitive rocks, which form the solid skeleton of the globe, were deposited by degrees, after a long and dreary night of chaotic darkness, it would be absurd to believe. The phenomena presented on the respective “days” of creation were creative acts, with which time could not co-operate, and therefore must be altogether independent of the succession implied in the term. The most