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vagaries by the scientific world that is altogether extraordinary ;. whilst the commonalty have looked on with amazement or terror, some hoping for a new exhibition of wonders, others fearing lest the ground of solid truth should eventually be shaken.

Reasons might be assigned for these very different kinds of feeling with which modern Geology has been regarded. A love of the marvellous seems natural to the human mind; whence it happens that any bold projector of a wonderful system will quickly obtain a multitude of adherents; and the more extravagant his doctrine, if it be only supported by a show of philosophy, the more likely is it to be admired. But there is also in the heart of man a proneness to infidelity, which makes it grasp at every thing that can throw any suspicion upon the truth of the Bible; and amongst the votaries of science, there has frequently been a lamentable effort to banish a superintending Creator and providential Governor from his own world, by trying to account for every thing without his interposition. They worship the laws of Nature instead of Nature's God; and seem to account it a triumph when they can perceive any imagined discrepancy between the facts of naturab history and the declared truths of revelation. We are aware that some cosmogonists affirm that there is no real opposition between the current geological systems and the scriptural record of ancient events; that the two accounts can be easily harmonized; and that Moses and modern philosophers may be made to agree on subjects of natural history, however widely they may differ on religious topics. But this doctrine of accommodation can only be maintained by adopting a mode of biblical interpretation, far from according with the beautiful simplicity that marks every other part of holy writ.

Perceiving this evil, and animated with a laudable zeal to defend the faith once delivered to the saints, several Christian writers have endeavoured to check the rising systems of cosmogony. They have, however, been borne down by the superior strength of the opposing current; and Geology still pursues her impetuous course, over precipices and under mountains, in the open plain and through fissures of the rocks, amidst central heat and polar cold,—now stagnating for a million of ages, (which are easily reckoned with a calculating-machine,) then boiling, bubbling, rushing headlong, and sweeping the world with a besom of destruction,-yet, marvellous to relate, leaving the germs of a new creation behind it, to become like a phenix from its ashes, more glorious by means of a temporary dissolution.

The antagonists of Geology have not had fair play, nor have they always acted prudently in their mode of conflict. The enemy with which they have had to grapple is a perfect Proteus, changing his dogmas almost as frequently as the chameleon alters its colour. A few years ago, the water system of Baron Cuvier seemed to have extinguished the central fire of Hutton: but the latter was only smothered for a season—not defunct; for it has now so much revived as to have taken possession of the interior of our globe, leaving the outside only to the water; whilst the unfortunate crust of the earth is sorely vexed in its perilous situation between these rival elements, each of which has made fearful inroads upon its strata. Which of the two will finally conquer, has not yet been determined; though Dr. Pye Smith seems certain, in contrariety to Moses and St. Peter, that water will cause the next grand catastrophe. Why, then, should geologists complain so vehemently, as this reverend gentleman does, if a simple man should refuse to believe in this vaunted science, until its own professors shall have come to an agreement upon its first principles? We always thought that a science was something of a determinate shape, the truth of which any one might verify for himself, by following certain prescribed rules or modes of examination. Yet here is a body which will only bear dissection in its surface; for the moment that we put the scalpel a little inwards, there bursts forth a stream of fire or water which effectually hinders any farther operations.

Nor have we sufficient time to determine the outer strata of our planet, before we are interrupted by a new discovery, which nullifies all our former experience. A short time ago, Baron Cuvier was the ne plus ultra of Geology. His splendid discoveries in comparative anatomy seemed eminently to qualify him for anatomizing the structure of our globe; and he was supposed to know as much about the dead world under our feet, as he did concerning the living races of men and beasts. He nobly asserted the divine creation of our species, and that it must have occurred about the time mentioned by Moses; and thus he quashed the sceptical notions of former geologists, who supposed man to have existed for a vast period of time, and to have been gradually formed out of inferior beings by a progressive march of intellect in the combinations of matter. Cuvier, on the most incontrovertible grounds, overthrew these hypotheses, and proved that the human species had not lost its monkey-tail, according to Lord Monboddo, but had been really made a man at the very

outset. To the utter confusion of French infidels, the Baron also showed Moses to have been right in his narration of a general deluge. It exactly corresponded with his Neptunian views; and he joyfully hailed so divine a testimony to his favourite system. However, he disagreed with the Jewish historian on one or two points of the narrative; and of course, believing himself to be in the right, he tried to adapt the meaning of the scriptural record to suit his own views. This was easily done by supposing Moses to speak figuratively respecting the “six days' work" of creation; and, by the ready transformation of a day into a thousand or myriad of years, since people lived so long in primitive times that their epochs should not be measured by our puny standard, he solved the apparent difficulty. Having thus found the sacred historian to speak indefinitely on one point, it was natural to judge of some of his other expressions in a similar way. For the Baron's grand discovery of the laws of genera and species showed, that there were three distinct species of the human family, besides all their peculiar varieties; and the creation of all animal genera in pairs would not suit his theory. Cuvier's views were warmly espoused by Jameson, Silliman, and others; and Moses's authority as an historian seemed to be restored-except in his figurative language of “the six days," and his ignorance of the determinate character of species. Accordingly, when some pious Christians began to raise their voice against so lax an interpretation of Scripture, they were greatly blamed for their illiberality, and were warned of the dreadful consequences which must ensue to religion should they continue to oppose the ascertained facts of Geology, as described by all the most eminent philosophers

of the age.

The fears of the faithful soon proved as groundless as their arguments were unsuccessful. The stroke which was aimed at their Proteus adversary fell powerlessly to the earth; for, by a sudden shift of position, he abandoned his former ground, and the whole controversy had to be taken up anew. How had the fame of the mighty fallen in ten short years.! Our celebrated Frenchman had founded his theory upon an intimate acquaintance with the brute creation ; but an Englishman was courting the aid of the finny tribe ; and the gigantic mammoths and feræ of the Paris basin were destined to succumb to the testacea of the Silurian system. So great were the triumphs of the latter, as quite to eclipse the achievements of the former. Cuvier's sixty thousand years were speedily transformed into

now

millions of ages; and the very arguments which he had employed with such success in supporting the empire of Neptune, were now turned against him, in defence of Pluto. This great naturalist was just about to deposit his own dust, to form part of the alluvium of a new world, when all his cherished diluvia were unceremoniously swept away: and whether the philosopher's bones shall be hereafter discovered in a bed of limestone, or be finally consumed by the central fire, is a problem that now remains to be solved.

In about ten years—so changing are the speculations of theorizing men-a complete revolution has been effected in the geological world. As it fared with the French Baron and his adherents, so has it with the supposed doctrines of the Jewish lawgiver. It is easy to trample upon a dead lion; and Cuvier no longer exists to maintain his interpretation of Moses. The length of the “six days' work” is not now a matter of dispute. The sentiment is either received in the common sense interpretation of the words, or is altogether repudiated as a mere idiom of the Hebrew tongue. Of course, Christian divines who have embraced cosmogony maintain the former position; philosophic worshippers of Nature and her laws surmise the latter. Cuvier had thought it necessary to allow the Creator a few myriads of years to bring this world out of chaos, and shape it into its present form ; but his successors hold a million of ages to be a trifling period for completing so intricate a work. They, therefore, make an unlimited demand upon time, leaving a blank for this purpose between the first and second verses of Genesis.

Nor need we wonder at this greater necessity for time, when we consider the altered materials out of which our system is said to have been formed. Old geologists took up the notions of Ovid and of ancient tradition, supposing the chaos of our globe to have been a crude mixture of earth and water: and, having such tangible substances to deal with, they went about their work in a mason-like manner-laying a solid foundation of heavy materials, and building the upper stories of lighter stuff. But more recent philosophers expect to prove by astronomical observations and mathematical calculations, that the earth which we inhabit was once a vaporous cloud, which has been condensed, hardened, softened, burnt from witliin, deluged from without, disintegrated, re-made, and now constituting a fiery liquid with a thin outer crust on which we live, which rises, falls, and undulates according to the pressure of a few sand-banks on

its surface. Really, Dr. Pye Smith must not find fault with us if we cannot retain our gravity; nor must he crossly designate our lucubrations as crude impertinence,”

,if we express our utter disbelief of his wild hypothesis.

It has also lately been discovered, that the drift gravel found upon alluvial soils, instead of being an irresistible argument for a general deluge, is a complete refutation of such a doctrine. Accordingly, Dr. Buckland and others who had “too hastily' followed the opinions of Cuvier on this subject, have recently favoured the public with a solemn recantation of their geological principles, as described in their former publications. Now, we hope that these gentlemen will not be angry, if some more unlettered genius, who is an ardent admirer of their quondam "uncontrovertible arguments," should hesitate to follow their “hasty change of sentiment, at least until another ten years shall have passed away ; lest he should then have to make a second recantation, by reason of some new facts soon to be discovered; and again require to shift his grounds, or fall back upon the old theory of Cuvier. Especially since many philosophers, who are now searching for “the root of the matter,” even under Marchison's Silurian mountains, are said to be on the qui vive for a brilliant denouément; perhaps, a prudent man may think it a mark of wisdom to withhold his decision until the present investigations shall have been happily completed.

Moses, too, has changed his position in the sight of modern geologists. A short time ago his description of the deluge was held to be admirably consistent and perfectly philosophical. So long as Neptune kept possession of the great caverns of the deep, he had plenty of water to cover a few primitive mountains : but when Pluto usurped the whole interior of the globe, a new shift had to be found for the flood of Moses. Declaiming against the infidelity of Cuvier's “six days," and shocked at so violent a perversion of scriptural language, cosmological divines now earnestly maintain the veracity of the sacred historian on this point; but they good-naturedly allow him a little latitude of expression in his account of Noah's ark and the subsequent desolation. Whilst the history of Moses is confined to terra firma, so long he is deemed to be perfectly correct; nor has his narrative any ambiguity of figure in its verbiage; but when he launches upon the flood and gets out to sea, it must not be expected that his observations should be noted with the same exactness. He had a most awkward vessel and an unruly crew

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