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the changes in the state of the earth, from that which the Scriptures inculcate. They teach us that it was the object of those changes to improve the condition of the earth, and render it more perfect than it was originally. They suppose the earth to have been at first in an exceedingly imperfect state, a state wholly unsuited to the existence of animal or vegetable life, a state of igneous fluidity; and that the changes, which occupied myriads of ages, had it for their object to prepare the surface step by step, for the tribes of plants and animals, which at successive periods were created to occupy it.
Some of them suppose, that after this prolonged course of operations, the whole was thrown into a state of chaos and ruin, as if all that had been effected was futile and nugatory as to rendering the surface fit to be occupied by organic beings; and that out of the ruins it was reconstructed for the residence of man, but subject, nevertheless, after the reconstruction to the same processes of change as before.
Others are of opinion, that after being so long in a course of preparation for organic life, it was not universally whelmed in ruin, but only a portion of it; and that the reconstruction was confined to that portion, which Moses, though writing for future generations, represented, conformably to the puerile notions of his predecessors, as the whole earth.
Now if the changes which are alleged to have occupied such vast tracts of time, were designed to improve the condition of the surface and render it fit for the purposes of organic life, why were they rendered nugatory by a miraculous interposition, throwing the whole back into a state of chaos ? Were they designed and controlled by infinite wis. dom, and yet failed of their object? If the geological theory of antiquity is true, the process of wreck and ruin must have taken place, or else there was no reconstruction, no new creation, fitting up, adjustment, or making of anything, and the Mosaic account must be rejected altogether.
This the geologists clearly perceive, and some of them neither suppress nor disguise the unavoidable infer.
They find in the volumes of stratification no evidence that the strata have ever been thrown into a state of chaotic disorder, but quite the contrary. The strata are found just as they should be, just as they were when originally deposited, excepting the changes which have depressed or elevated, and given them an inclined position: and the geologists believe that the same processes by which the ancient deposits were formed are still going on with as much activity as ever, and with the like tendency and object. They need no book claiming to be inspired, to inform them that man and certain animals adapted to his use, were brought into existence at the proper period, or that the period was recent. This was but a matter of course ; and had they lived when the first pages of the petrified volume were completed, or when the first trilobite was inhumed, they could have foretold it, and shown froin analogy, that man would live, make war on his own and other species, and die much after the manner of other animals. His creation was but one of a series of creations, which took place from time to liine, as occasions arose, and it would be, in their view, highly presumptuous to conclude that it was the last of the series.
Those whose regard for the Bible will not permit them to go all these lengths, nevertheless hold to the wreck and ruin miraculously superinduced, to give occasion to the remodelling and fitting up which they believe to have taken place on the “ six days;" leaving it to others to imagine what purpose worthy of infinite wisdom and goodness had been accomplished during the preceding myriads of ages, and to conceive how the whole could have been thrown into chaotic disorder, and yet be found at present as it was before.
The Scriptures, on the other hand, plainly teach us, that the world as it was created was in a perfect state; not a fluid, igneous mass, but earth and water ; a state adapted to the immediate and most exuberant production of plants and animals. At the close of the sixth day, all the works of that and the preceding days are pronounced good. “ Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all the host of them. And God blessed the sev
enth day, and sanctificd it; because that in it he had rested from all his works which God created and made."
The design of the creation, and its connection with moral purposes and results, elsewhere disclosed in the sacred writings, abundanıly imply, that it was originally perfect, and that, instead of its having been afterwards improved in its condition, the changes it has undergone have taken place in consequence of the apostacy and depravity of man. Aco cordingly the catastrophes recorded in the Bible, are announced as penal inflictions. Man sinned, and the earth was cursed for bis sake. The extreme wickedness of his early descendants, gave occasion to the deluge, “ to destroy them with the earth.” The guilt of Sodom and Gomorrah, brought destruction
upon those cities; they were condemned with an overthrow, burned, and made "an example unto those that afterwards should live ungodly."
The Scriptures teach us that the carth was cursed on account of man s apostacy, and that