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Essays on Creation and Geology.

66 we find things appearing under a dif- ture by the operation of which every ferent aspect.

vestige connecting them with their forWe discover on the one hand, no mer state of existence will soon be abunnecessary lapse of time between the sorbed and swallowed up in the latcreation of vegetables and that of the ter. solar powers, to render them pro- Life is therefore evidently a principle ductive; and on the other, no unne- to which we can give nothing but an cessary period between this arrange- arbitrary name; a principle communiment,—the effect of which is the pro- cated from one living animal to another duction of food for living creatures, throughout successive ages, which and the creation of living creatures to must be traced back to a First Cause ; subsist on them. Immediately after which first cause must have this namethe production of the vegetable king- less principle essentially residing in dom, were the celestial lights ordained, bimself-entering his very nature and and immediately after the celestial constitution, with a power to commulights,—which are the cause of the nicate it to whomsoever or whatsoever growth of vegetables,--were animals he will. produced to subsist on them. Thus This is the best definition we can from the very beginning, was there a give of this subtile subject. What harmony established in the world of signifies it to consider life merely in nature, between the heavens and the the creature, who holds it not necessaearth, and the beings which inhabit rily, but entirely at the will and pleathe earth. Nor must the divine wis sure of the Creator? dom and goodness manifested by such Since then it proceeds from God an arrangement escape our notice. alone, he must be viewed in this part Animals are not ushered into existence of the creation as imparting a printill there is provision made for their ciple, even the principle we call life, subsistence; which, with the tran- / to some particles of dead matter which sitions already noticed, shews the ar- they did not possess before. And from rangement to be infinitely wise, and this first emanation of the principle of exactly what we should expect. life from the Creator himself, we see it

The operation of the fifth and sixth continued down to the present moment days of Creation, consisting of the pro- by means of parent and offspring, duction of living creatures, is calcu- through the successive generations lated in its nature to lead to wonderful through which the world has passed. speculations. Of all the divine opera- Thus reckoning either backward or tions hitherto examined, this is the forward, we are necessarily brought to most astonishing. Life! What is life? the same conclusion; namely, that Who can define what it is? Observe mere matter has no life in itself, at its effects. See it in the horse, the least not that kind of life of which we dog, the fly,–in the largest and strong. are speaking; and that all the life est animal, or in the most diminutive which exists in the world at the preand weakest insect. How they exer- sent moment, and in the present genecise their functions, put forth their ration, was, by a concatenation which strength, distin uish themselves every Almighty God from the beginning one after its kind,-in walking, flying, established, derived, first, from the eating, and in every thing else; having last moment,—(for it is to the last moevidently the gross matter of their ment of my existence that I owe, bodies so united to some principle under God, the present ;) and secondwithin, as to convert the whole into ly, from the former generation,-for it another sort of substance from that is to my parents, in like manner under which it possessed in the chemical or God, that I am indebted for my existvegetable state; and which principle ence at first. And so on we must proseems to have the entire control of ceed in our calculation backward, from the matter thus constituting their re- moment to moment, and from generaspective bodies. See these same bo- tion to generation, till we come to the dies when they are deprived of this fifth and sixth days of the Creation, principle; the exercise of all their and arrive at the precise and deterfunctions is at an end. Their body is minate point when the principle we now a carcase running to putrefaction; call life began to emanate from the they have undergone a transition from Eternal himself, and to be diffused the animal to the chemical laws of na-among so many short-lived creatures

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6& which have in successive moments and from the fact, that alligators and other generations existed since.

amphibious animals, and fishes, have And as God at first imparted life to been found in the undermost of the creatures, and by a constitution he has strata containing fossil bones ; yet it formed still sustains it, so life may be appears that the Mosaic system is considered, when the creature dies, as founded upon principles very different retiring to its original source again. from theirs. If Moses, for instance, Thus computing backward, all the liv- says that fishes were created to-day, he ing creatures which have ever existed assures us that land animals were not may be considered as resembling a long in following, for that they were vast army on their march, when viewed created to-morrow. The Mosiac acthrough that wonderful optical instru-count affords not the smallest ground for ment, the Kaleidoscope of Dr. Brewster; | the romantic theory of the geologists; by which we observe, as they suc- and it is but like a drowning man cessively advance, they first come into catching at a straw after all other hope notice at the circumference, thence is gone, for them to fix upon this incipass along the angles, till at last they dent of Moses to support a dying are absorbed in the centre, which may cause. Nor, let it be observed, of the be considered as the object whence aquatic tribe of animals, were they proceeded their life and motion; which alligators and other amphibiæ only, life and motion in a manner lead them and the particular kinds of fish which back to their original point, where have been found in these strata, which they are all again swallowed up in are said by Moses to have been created Him, and are seen no more.

first; but they were fishes of all descripThus we observe, that ever since tions, “great whales, and every living this memorable epoch.“ One genera- creature that moveth, which the waters tion passcth away, and another genera- brought forth abundantly,” together tion cometh, but the earth abideth for with the winged tribes which were to erer ;'* still affording the same sus- “fly in the open firmament of heaven." tenance for the creatures, which not All, all the fish of the sea, and the fowls only preserves them in existence from of the air, were created on the selfmoment to moment, but inspires them same day. Nor were these long alone, with powers to propagate their species, but were followed by the creation of by which they shall continue, though all the other tribes of animals, on the not as individuals, yet as genera and following day. species, as long as the earth endures. The creation, I say, of all the inferior

Having thus arrived at the origin or tribes of terrestrial animals constituted source of life, and demonstrated the the first part of the operations of the fact, that the life of the creature must sixth day. And therefore, if fishes were be derived from a Being who possesses created only on the preceding day, life essentially in himself, and who where was the time for the formation has power to communicate or with of the strata which contain the fishes, hold it as he chooses; we are now previous to the creation of the land prepared to attend briefly to the Crea- animals, provided the strata were tor's operations at the present period, formed in the manner which geologists when the universe for the first time suppose? This shews that it is a teemed with life and animated motion, mere dclusion to quote the Mosaic and with every demonstration of hap- order of the creation of fishes before piness and enjoyment, which in a va- the land animals, in support of their riety of ways shewed forth the Creator's theory. praise.

In regard to the creation of the terSome Geologists seem to think they restrial animals, it is said, Gen. i. 24, pay Moses a compliment, by remark- 25. “ And God said, Let the eartk ing that the formation of fishes before bring forth the living creature after its land animals, is an interesting coinci- kind, cattle, and creeping thing, and beast dence between modern discovery and of the earth, after their kind; and it was the ancient sacred account. But I And God made the beast of the ask, How is it so ? Though they may earth after its kind, and cattle after their imagine that Moses, in this particular, kind, and every thing that creepeth upon coincides with their inferences drawn the earth after its kind: and God saw

that it was good.* Eccl. i. 4.

Here the original of all kinds of

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Essays on Creation and Geology. ... 70 terrestrial animals is declared : and opposite principles, clearly established though in regard to the individual it by Moses, cannot be correct. The be true, that “one generation passeth consideration of this subject, however, away, and another generation cometh;" we must reserve to the sequel. yet in regard to the species it is equal- To demonstrate at every step that the ly true, that they with the earth abide aions of Mr. Macnab are erroneous and for ever,* or endure as long as it shall absurd; and that no part of the Crearemain.

tion was ever designed to be indepenThe original formation of the dif- dent of another for the immense period ferent tribes of animals ; the placing which he has assigned to his aions ; them on the earth after it was furnish- are we not in effect expressly told, ed with inexhaustible means of sub-Gen. i. 29, 30, that, in regard to vesistence; and the subsequent preser- getables and animals, the one was vation of a due proportion between the formed purposely for the other ?—that sexes; seem clear indications, that vegetables never existed for any length the preservation of the different ge- of time without animals to subsist upnera and species of animals as long as on them ? and that animals were not the earth was to endure, entered as a created till there was provision made principal design with the original con- for their sustenance by the formation stitution of the globe. But the re- of vegetables ? When, therefore, first searches of learned men, it would ap- the one was formed and then the other, pear, have demonstrated this not to be we behold God himself uniting them the case. They contend that they have together, by saying to the latter, “ Bediscovered remains of animals of alto- kold, I have given you every herb beargether different species, and even ge- ing seed, which is upon the face of all nera, from any which now exist. On the earth, and every tree, in the which which account they conceive them is the fruit of a tree yielding seed ; to selves justified in concluding that the you it shall be for meat.Which earth must have had some other origin words were addressed to Adam. But than that assigned to it by Moses ; or the passage proceeds, “ And to every if his account is to be admitted, it beast of the earth, and to every fowl of must be explained in a way to tally the air, and to every thing that creepeth with their conjectures respecting the upon the earth, wherein there is life, I said discoveries.

have given every green herb for meat ; But how plausible soever their and it was so. theories may appear, may not geolo- In all this, there is something ragists after all be mistaken in the con- tional and God-like, something to be clusion, that the bones and other relics admired by intelligent creatures; there of the animals in question, are really is an object worthy of Infinite Intellidifferent from any thing which now gence to pursue. But upon the prinexists? There are at any rate the ciple of these pretended wise men, rastrongest grounds to suspect the actionality and wisdom seem to be out curacy of their conclusion; for it ap- of the question; all their reasoning pears from Buffon and other writers, seems to be entirely in behalf of somethat at times they admit them to be thi they know not what. distinctly of the same species--de- But here comes a knotty question monstrating them to be like the bones to them. To assert, as Moses does, of this and the other animal, only of that all animals were once herbaceous, gigantic size. And even Cuvier ac- or subsisted on vegetable productions, knowledges, by three distinct and as God is said expressly to have given powerful reasons,* afterwards to be them “ every green herb for meat;" is considered, the difficulties under which a position which will by no means suit be laboured in determining this point. thc naturalists; whose very systems Which difficulty, is a circumstance and arrangements in Zoology are quite sufficient to create the strongest founded very much on the different suspicions, that a theory founded upon kinds of food on which animals are such doubtful principles, especially now observed to subsist. The Chris when it has to contend with a set oftian system, however, so far from op

posing this idea of Moses' primitive

state of the earth, opens a prospect of a * Eccl. i. 4.

more perfect state of things yet to take * Cuvier's Theory of the Earth. pp. 111-113. I place, when even the “lion shall eat

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72 straw like the or."* Then will be mani- | as that which is done in the present fested the imperfection of all our pre- times respecting brutes. sent systems, which are founded upon Man may be defined, according to such arbitrary distinctions; though the present mode of his instruction, now they are not without their use, but as a being that acquires his knowserve as stepping-stones by which we ledge by the circuitous method of are enabled to cross and recross rivers, written alphabetical language, and the swamps, and marshes, which would be tedious process of experiment and impassible without them. Then, doubt- induction. And as matters now go, less, will men be again restored to such we could as easily conceive “ the lion a perfection of knowledge as Adam to graze with the ox,” as that man possessed, when, like him, they shall no should ever have been capable of longer require systems founded upon being instructed into the minutiæ of the results of reasoning and induction, things by any other method. Yet the and which, through the perversion of fact of the contrary is certain in reour nature, as often lead to error as to gard to the first man; and it prevailed truth; but shall perceive objects by in the antediluvian world, and even intuition, and call things by names ex- later ; till men began to abuse it by pressive of their nature.

multiplying images and representaMuch of this seems to have been tions for the purposes of superstition the case in primitive times. On which and idolatry, when they seem to have account I conceive it to be owing, that been deprived of such powers. those times do not furnish us with such In like manner, the fact is equally satisfactory details of things as the certain in regard to animals, that they present age requires. For in fact, the were once all herbaceous ; though from ancients acquired their knowledge of present appearances we are unable nature, not by studying the systems of to perceive how this could be. But man upon it; but nature herself was our inability to comprehend the suba book open to them all, and read by ject does not destroy a fact which each according to his capacity; and secms to have existed during the whole they appear in general to have been of the antediluvian period; nor ought too much masters of the systems with it to render the prediction incredible, which they were conversant, to require that such shall be again the state of the committing of them to writing :- things with regard both to man and a slow, laborious, and circuitous me- brutes, in the glory of the latter days. thod of instruction, which always im- Violence or oppression of every kind, plies imperfection! A more figurative whether exercised by man or brates, and hieroglyphical representation of seems to be a perversion of nature's things, conveyed to them by the glance laws; which God now“ winks at,” or of the eye more instruction in a single tolerates, as he did ihe ignorance of the moment, than men in the present day ancient heathen;* but there is a period are able to carry away from a course of which he has given us to expect, when the most luminous lectures of the most matters shall be again reduced to celebrated professor. Hence, we are their primitive simplicity, innocence, not to look to them for an historical ac- and order; when ibere shall be nocount of things; perhaps they had no thing to hurt or destroy in all his holy idea that future generations would mountain ; when the ferocious nature ever need to be instructed in a dif- of beasts shall be changed, and the ferent manner from themselves. And leopard shall lie down with the kid; and hence, they seem to have considered a lastly, when men shall again be enmere genealogical and chronological dowed with instinctive powers of actable of some few events, and the line quiring knowledge; and shall not reof succession of their ancestors, all quire, as they now do, “the teaching that was necessary in this way.t of every one his neighbour and his

Now, from all this, as false an in- brother; but when all shall know the ference may be drawn respecting man, Lord, and his wonderful works, from

the least even to the greatest." Isa. xi. 7. It is admitted this passage is

• Thus, by connecting the middle, figurative ; but it seeins to be a figure founded

or present state both of animals and upon a fact, and pointing to the literal as well men, with the two ends of the existas figurative restoration of the fact again. + Gen, chap. v.

* Acts xvii. 30.

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74 ence of their own species, have we tain, that it either was, or always will removed in a clear and satisfactory | be, the same in these respects. Hence manner, it is presumed, the objection we can draw no correct conclusion which might be brought against the respecting cither the past or the fuMosaic account of all animals being ture, from the present state of things. once herbuceous. And as things in na- The present is only one part of a ture seem in general to be arranged whole, as are also the past and future in concentric circles, constantly bring- separate parts; but each part, strictly ing us back to the point whence they speaking, answers for itself alone, and began; so this method here, as well as not each for the other. in almost every other thing, seems to A mistake of this nature, of conbid the fairest for the most glorious founding the past and future with the results : and not that, which has been present state of things, was foreseen almost constantly pursued hitherto, by the Spirit of prophecy. The apostle which proceeds upon the straight line, Peter speaks of some scoffers who were and which, so far from leading to right to arise in the last days, speaking conclusions, seems rather to be the great swelling words of vanity. And grand source of all our darkness, the principal objection respecting any stumblings, and errors, in all our future change (particularly of the nasystems of the present day.

ture of the change there described) in Taking present appearances as the the mundane system, was to be groundcriterion by which to illustrate things ed upon its present apparent unchangethat are past or future, is a fallacious able and unalterable condition. That is principle. Every age is distinguished to say, Though it may be demonstrated for something peculiar to itself; and by these scoffers, that the earth has this remark extends not merely to undergone revolutions, yet they are man, but to the earth itself, and every not such revolutions as the apostle thing on it? yea, in some respects to describes ; but mere visionary alfairs, the whole visible universe. Hence, according to a system of their own though there be a general uniformity framing, which have occupied milin the whole, yet no part will serve lions of ages to effect; and may conexactly by which to represent another tinue performing similar revolutions part. To perceive the whole, we must for so long a period to come; yea, for take in the whole ; and not from the ever, as their systems seem to admit consideration of any one part, whether neither of bounds nor limits. And it regards time, or space, or any other thus, in effect, they ward of the judgindividual object, class, or classes of ment of the great day, as long as they objects, make a criterion by which please ; and sap the foundation of the to explain the whole ; for this will in- Scripture account equally of the origin evitably lead to error.*

and end of the world. And “if the For example, though the present, is foundations be thus destroyed, what the didactic age in reference to man, can the righteous do?” Psa. X1. 3. and the carnivorous in reference to some But the apostle answers these scofanimals, and the age of rest or absence fers expressly in the same way which of all great or material revolutions in we have done ; by referring them to reference to the earth itself; yet it the facts of changes and revolutions would be very incorrect to main- which the globe had undergone in past

ages. Not such revolutions, however, This seems to be the superlatively wise

as they would, by their deep researches, method of M. Cavier!!! deavour." says he, “ to estimate the quantity and pretended learning, palm upon an of effects produced in a given time by any ignorant sottish world. But revolucauses still acting, by comparing them with the tions which are recorded in history, effects which these causes have produced since even in the volume of inspiration itthey began to operate, we may determine self; of which he declares they were nearly the period at which their action commenced.” Cavier's Theory, 133. Thus, in the

' willingly ignorant.” The revolufirst place, he evidently takes for granted the tions too, of which he speaks, were existence of matter in a certain undefined con- not vague and indeterminate as to the dition when the "action commenced.” And period when they happened, like those secondly, the equal uniformity of the action of our visionary theorists; but they from that period to the present times. Both which positions, as they have no foundation in were those which happened at the defact, so they can never be assumed as first prin- luge ; at a determinate epoch fixed in ciples on which to build a system of truth. the true, recorded, and carefully pre

No. 23.-VOL. III.

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