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made, constituted, or appointed to be luminaries," apparently forgetting that on the theory of their previous creation, they had been luminaries during untold ages.
It requires but small genius to invent an hypothesis like this, or one every way as good, the liberty of. calling in the aid of miracles being granted; but the publication can scarcely be accounted for unless we suppose the author to have been completely infatuated by a theory which had been his hobby for many years.
The favoured portion of the earth above referred to, serves the author as the basis of another hypothesis, namely, that of its having been the scene of the Noachic deluge; which, instead of being universal, was, he thinks, confined to this same region. Of necessity he has, however, recourse again to miracles, though, when controverting others, he says with much gravity : “I humbly think, that for the honour of God and the interests of
genuine religion, it is our duty to protest against the practice of bringing in miraculous inter
positions, to help out the exigencies of arbitrary and fancisul theories.”
Concerning the deluge he writes as follows: “If in addition to the tremendous rain, we suppose an elevation of the bed of the Persian and Indian seas, or a subsidence of the inhabited land towards the south, we shall have sufficient causes, in the hand of Almighty justice, for submerging the district, covering its hills, &c. Thedraining off of the waters would be effected, by a return of the bed of the sea to a level, or by the elevation of some tracts of land, which would leave channels and slopes for the larger part of the water to flow back into the Indian ocean, while the lower part remained a great lake, or an inland sea, – the Caspian.”
This hypothesis requires that the ark should not have rested on Mount Arrarat; and accordingly he is satisfied that it did not rest there. The top of that mountain is, now at least, in the region of perpetual frost. There was not, he argues, water enough to cover it; and if there had been, Noah and the animals with him could not have descended its steep and slippery sides, without the aid of a miracle.- The reader is left to conclude that a miracle would have been out of place, on that occasion, though convenient and proper enough to sink the selected “region" or raise the Indian ocean at the required point of time.
It is to the authors of such hypotheses that we are expected to look for the true construction of geological facts. As a specimen of them Doct. Smith is doubtless one of the best. He is borne down by what appears to him to be irresistible evidence of the truth of the geological conclusions which he adopts ; is distressed by their contrariety to the inspired records, labours hard to effect a reconciliation, and in the end thinks he has succeeded, and feels convinced, “that the Scriptures, fairly interpreted, are not adverse to a belief in an immeasurably high antiquity of the earth ; in the reference of the six days' work,' to a part only of the earth's surface; in the position of several centuries of creation distinct from each other on the surface of the globe ; in the reign of death over the inferior animals
prior to the fall of man; and in a limited extent of the deluge.'
Of Mr. Lyell's “ Principles of Geology," something requires to be said. which controls or modifies all his observations, inferences and opinions, is, that all the changes which have taken place in the "crust” of the globe, the formation and upheaval of the primary rocks, their decomposition, the deposit of the sedimentary rocks, and their fossil contents, their change of position, local changes of land and sea, earthquakes, deluges, and in short all the phenomena which the earth exhibits, are due to the ordinary operation of those natural causes which are still effecting like re sults. He excludes all extraordinary interpositions, and supposes that these natural causes never operated with any more energy
than they have done during the last 3000 years. He allows of no greater violence or frequeno cy of volcanoes, earthquakes, or other disturbing forces, by which mountain ranges were elevated, or continents made to occupy the places of former seas, in the earlier than in recent periods. Our experience, for the last 3000 years, he deems a sufficient argument against the probability of any crises, any extraordinary violence of the subterranean action, having occurred previously. It is contrary to the analogy of this experience,' he argues, 'to suppose that nature has, at any former epoch, been parsimonious of time and prodigal of violence; to imagine that one district was not at rest while another was convulsed. If it could be shown that a certain combination of circumstances would at some future period produce a crisis in the subterranean action, we should have no right to oppose this experience of 3000 years, to the probability of such occurrences in past ages ; but such a combination cannot be foreseen.'-As much as to say, there can be no objection to granting periods long enough to account for all the changes by the gradual operation of ordinary second causes; and granting such indefinite periods, there is no necessity of supposing that there has ever been any reason or occasion, for more violent or rapid progress of change; and unless we can clearly foresee such a reason or occasion