Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

and pouringd own rain for 40 days and nights ? He quite trembles at the idea that a miracle should be supposed to account for any of the facts of an universal Deluge ; and yet his own theory involves or needs ten miracles to one required by the Scripture narrative. But the whole of his views on this subject are utterly puerile, if there was any thing preternatural in the Deluge itself or in any of its effects, and if there was nothing preternatural in the case, the Scripture account may as well be given up first as last. If there was a miracle, it may just as well have been a large as a small one; and doubtless was as large and as comprehensive as the occasion required. The whole matter turns upon this: was there a reason, as the Scriptures clearly intimate, for an universal Deluge? If there was, and until it can be demonstrated that there was not, it is idle, not to say impious, in man to array his petty objections to the possibility of its occurrence.

The facts of Geology are not to be denied. That the stratified rocks with their fossil remains have been deposited since the creation,

is past all doubts. This is the leading fact. The details comprised in it may puzzle and confound human reason and science, and occasion every variety of construction and hypothesis, without resulting in any thing, conclusive or satisfactory. The great question is, What was the occasion or reason of these changes ? If there was a moral reason for them, then they must have taken place since the creation and fall of man. If the reason is founded in his apostacy, then so far as the Scriptures enlighten us upon the subject, it is safe to conclude that the Noachic Deluge was the means, or among the means, by which the changes were effected; and in that case there can be no more objection to our supposing a supernatural interposition to the extent required to account for the results, than there is to our believing in any miracle recorded in Scripture.

The Scriptures tell us once, and but once, of the fountains of the great deep being broken up. Geology indicates a change in the locality of the seas. The depth of the sedimentary deposits is to the diameter of the globe

as the thickness of a coat of varnish to an artificial globe. Now, with such a reason for it as the apostacy of man, it requires no great stretch of imagination to conceive that the breaking up of all the fountains of the great deep, with the other operations connected with the Deluge, the mechanical and chemical agencies, and electric and igneous forces, should have thrown all the materials of the sedimentary deposits into a state of solution and suspension in the waters, distributed those materials into homogeneous strata, diffused the fossil relics, changed the locality of the seas, and peradventure left the superficial area of ocean water several times as great as it was before. This reason, if it was a reason at all, was sufficient to occasion all the results which geology can point out.

If the apostacy of man furnishes the reason for the physical changes which have taken place in the condition of the earth ; if those changes fitted it for the abode of a fallen race; if, pursuant to the wondrous intervention for man's recovery, of Him by and for whom the earth was created, it is yet to be renovated and restored to its primitive state, and thence to be the abode only of holy and harmless beings, then is the subject cleared of all inherent and essential difficulties. Its moral requisites are satisfied, which is first and chiefly indispensable, in a matter involving the creation, character, condition and history of rational and accountable creatures, as well as the creation and condition of the earth itself, and of its irrational inhabitants. If there remain physical phenomena which science cannot explain, so there are upon the popular theory, and upon every theory. The complaint is, that science is not content to keep within its limited and appropriate province. Can science offer any explanation as to "the first introduction of a mural and intellectual being” on the earth ? or as to the introduction of moral evil, by which his character and condition are, by the concession of all, so much affected ? or as to the line, if there be one, which separates the purpose, province, and administration of moral government, from that which the Creator exercises over matter and irrational creatures ? Upon these and

66

innumerable other questions, connected more or less directly with the phenomena and physical condition of the earth, science is necessarily mute.

Let it be considered that if there was such a moral reason for the changes in the earth, it is no more incumbent on those, who believe that reason to be indicated in the Scriptures, to account for the mode in which the changes were effected, or to specify the instrumentalities employed, than it is to account for the creation, the fall of man, the resurrection, or any other extraordinary event or procedure in the Divine administration. We have an account of the Deluge and of the reason for that visitation, which will at least allow of the supposition of the changes in question having been produced by its instrumentality and in connection with it. It furnished the medium, water, which all allow to have been employed in those changes. If any of the phenomena attending it were supernatural, the shortness of the time of its duration, considered in relation to the magnitude of the results, can no more reasonably be urged as an

« AnteriorContinuar »