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fact in proof of the theory. For until the geologists shall have examined every part and parcel of those formations, they cannot be entitled to assert that they nowhere contain such remains. Their hitherto very limited inspection beneath the surface, has not discovered them; but it does not by any means follow that they do not exist in a fossil state. And if they do not exist any where in that state, it will not conclusively follow that the fossil remains of plants and animals were deposited long prior to the creation of man. For who will venture to say that the remains of all the animals which existed during the period of the sedimentary formations, or the thousandth or ten thousandth part of them, if that period comprised millions of millions of years, are to be found in a fossil state? In the transition and secondary groups, the remains of the highest class of vertebrated animals are rarely found ; yet the remains of terrestrial plants in those groups, show that there was at the period of their formation no want of dry land, and of means for the subsistence of such animals. “ The vast diluvial
beds of gravel and clay, the upper strata in Asia, the cradle of the human race, have not yet been scientifically explored.”—Bakewell.
It is alleged in evidence of a gradual process of deposit, that 'the lower portion of a stratum often contains pebbles, the water-worn fragments of the older rocks to which they can be traced ; higher up the coarser sandstone; and towards the top the finer sediment.'Smith. The argument is that the rounding of the pebbles must have required a great length of time. But on the assumption that they were drifted great distances, and by currents rapid enough to keep them in motion, wear off their ragged surfaces, give them their rounded form, and spread them over the whole area of a stratum, how came they to occupy the lower portion of it, and leave the worn off and finely comminuted particles to occupy the upper portion? It is plain that on this theory of currents the pebbles must have floated in the water over the bed of the stratum, and been precipitated, and of course they must have previously acquired their rounded form. If therefore the process was slow, and the currents powerful enough first to abrade and form the pebbles, and then to convey them to their points of destination, which may be supposed to have been in most cases many miles, why should not those currents have carried, at the same time, quantities of the finer materials to be precipitated in the leisure of the gradual process? How can it be conceived that in such a process, continued through long periods, the finer materials should be reserved for the upper surface? If, as the theory supposes, those finer materials were comminuted by the action of water in forming the pebbles, why should not they and the pebbles have been diffused throughout the whole mass ? On the other hand, it is easy
that if the
process was sudden and rapid, the subsidence of the pebbles at the bottom, of coarse sand over them, and fine sediment at the top, would be all natural enough.
Again, the vast accumulation of minute shells, of animalculæ, infusoriæ, &c., which constitute the substance of entire formations of great extent and thickness, is referred to
as requiring the supposition of a lapse of immense periods of duration. But, surely, if their alleged fecundity be admitted, if individuals multiply at the rate of many millions, and even billions, per hour, it is easier to conceive that in a state of the waters perfectly adapted to their increase, they should, within a few centuries, accumulate to the extent indicated by their fossil remains, than that they should not, in the supposed incalculable periods of duration, have so multiplied as to fill all the spaces occupied by lakes and oceans. Moreover, the state of preservation in which these masses of shells appear to have existed at the time when they were buried by strata of different materials, appears inconsistent with the supposition of their having been very gradually accumulated. That masses of shells many feet, and even hundreds of feet, in depth, should be formed or collected by any process occupying millions of ages, with little if
any intermixture of foreign materials, and with no apparent injury or decay of their most fragile parts, is far less likely than that their production and inhumation should have
occupied a period of no great extent. If the waters, prior to the Deluge, were as prolific as they may well be conceived to have been, and as the Scripture narrative would justify us in supposing, there is no more difficulty in believing that all the shells imbedded in the sedimentary formations were produced in 1500 years, than in any more extended period; and if the Deluge was the means of their inhumation, their existence and preservation in masses is far more satisfactorily accounted for than by the supposition of a gradual and prolonged process of accumulation and sepulture.
A further brief illustration of the preposterous conditions required by the theory of an immeasurable antiquity and gradual formation of the stratified rocks may be allowed. That theory teaches us that the solid surface of the globe, prior to the commence