Sivut kuvina
[ocr errors]

“ It is the soul of a friend of mine, with many things which are wrong. whom I recognise by its voice.” Let us now turn from speculation Socrates and Plato both believed in to reveļation. the existence of a supreme intelli- The Bible opens with a brief but gence, and the doctrines of these two authoritative statement on the oriphilosophers approach nearest of any gin and creation of the world. to the precepts and the doctrines of the beginning God created the the Word of God.*

heaven and the earth.” There is Such is a brief and rapid sketch remarkable simplicity and majesty of some of the curious speculations in this opening statement of the of the heathen mind with regard to

word of God. There is no hesitathe origin of the world, which may tion, no dubitation; the words are be summed up in a few lines.

the utterance of authoritative cerThe Chinese and Egyptians re- tainty. They cut at the root of garded water as the original element nearly all the ancient cosmogonies from which all things have pro- of the world. They give the deathceeded. The Mexicans and Peru- blow to pantheism. They assert vians held the same doctrine. The that matter is not eternal. They Indian Cosmogonies assume the declare that it was created by the wildest and most extravagant form. Supreme Being. They are de

Among the European philoso- signed to set at rest all the perphers were those who held that water plexities of the human mind with is the original source of all things. respect to the origin of matter. Thales and Anaximander were the They must be taken as final with most renowned of this school. While respect to the origin of the universe Anaximines maintained that air is in which we live. the primal element.

The remaining portion of the Later on arose a school which Book of Genesis is occupied in givconceived the existence of a Supreme ing a detailed account of the proIntelligence distinct from matter, gress or the successive stages of the by whose agency the original ele- creation of the world. We gather ments were animated, reduced to from the statements of Scripture order, harmony, and beauty. The that the world as it now exists, with most illustrious names belonging to

all its wonderful arrangements--its this school were Anaxagoras, Soc- lofty mountains, its rolling oceans, rates, and Plato.

its glassy lakes, its variegated Distinct from all these was Xeno- islands, its waving forests, its bloomphanes, who was an avowed pan- ing flowers, its roaming animals, its theist, and maintained that the swarming insects, and its singing universe was God.

birds—was not the result of one Gathering up all these cosmogo

instantaneous creative act. Believnies or theories of creation, we can see ing in the omnipotence of God, of that there are in them small particles course we believe that such an inof truth mingled with a great deal of stantaneous act of creation

There are a few rays of light within the range of possibility. But struggling through clouds of dense the Bible assures us that six succesdarkness. The intuitions of the sive days or periods of time were human mind and the floating frag- taken up in forming and finishing ments of ancient tradi

the world, and thus fitting it to be united in forming systems of phi- the abode of man. losophical speculation in which are On the first day. Light was creblended a few things which are right ated. The primal light was divided * See Smith's History of Greece.

from the primal darkness—the light



was called day, and the darkness About the beginning of the prenight.

sent century geology began to be On the second day. The firma- cultivated as a science.

Up to this ment was made. The original word time all geological inquiries had been rendered firmament means Expanse, informal and unsystematic. In the and most probably this expanse

earlier annals of geologic science are refers to the atmosphere. By two great names, one an Englishmeans of the atmosphere a division man, the other a Frenchmanwas made in the waters.

Smith and Cuvier. William Smith On the third day. The waters was the father of English geology. were separated from the land. The He was a man of shrewd common dry land appeared. Grass, herb, sense and indefatigatible industry. fruit, each yielding seed after its He was employed as a surveyor in kind, were produced on this day. connection with the cutting of canals;

The fourth day was signalised by and with his daily avocation he the making of two great lights or blended geological research. He was luminaries--the greater designed to always talking about stratum and rule the day, and the lesser to rule strata, until he went by the name of the night. The stars also.

Stratum Smith. He was the first On the fifth day. God caused to construct a geological map of the the waters to bring forth abun- British Isles. Smith was one day dantly; the moving creature or walking near Dunstable downs, when creeping thing having life; fowls he observed to a friend, “ If any

of that fly in the firmament of heaven. the ground were broken up about The great sea monsters also were the foot of these bills, we might find created on this day.

sharks' teeth.” They had not gone On the sixth day were made the far before they picked up six on the cattle, creeping things, and beasts of white bank of a new ditch in the the earth; and finally Man, who

course of formation. was the termination in the series of

Contemporary with William Smith creative acts. A cloud of divine was the great French naturalist, glory gathered about the form of Baron Cuvier. While Smith was

“ So God created man in his engaged in observing the order of own image, in the image of God the strata of the earth, Cuvier was created he him; male and female employed in examining, comparing, created he them."

and classifying the bones of animals Such is a brief outline of the found in the crust of the globe. He biblical record of creation. For brought bone to bone, and limb to many centuries this record was read

limb, unt he built up some of those and its statements accepted in their wonderful skeletons of the remains literal form. Our forefathers saw of ancient life which adorn the muno difficulty in the way of interpre- seums of Europe. Cuvier died in tation. Matthew Henry goes clean 1832—Smith, 1839. through the chapter without the Since the days of these eminent slightest throe or struggle of intel- and indefatigable men, the science lect. It should be stated, however, of geology has made rapid advancethat Josephus, Philo, and Augustine, ment. Some of the highest and without any knowledge of the facts noblest intellects have been attracted of geology, maintained that the word to its fascinating investigations. It Day in the first chapter of Genesis takes its appropriate place now in the was not to be interpreted literally, circle of the sciences. “Geology," but meant an extended period of says Sir John F. W. Herschel, “ in duration.

the magnitude and sublimity of the


Mesozoic, S Cretaceous

objects which it treats, undoubtedly Each volume has its own peculiar ranks in the scale of the sciences pictures to exhibit, and its own next to astronomy.

special story to tell. We may arGeology is the science which in

range our imaginary library in the vestigates, compares, and classifies following orderthe various rock-formations com

Pleistocene posing the crust of the globe. It

Caenozoic, Pleiocene aspires to tell the story of the earth's

or Primary Meiocene history. All rocks are divided into

Eocene two great classes-stratified and unstratified. They are also called aqueous and igneous. Igneous rocks are sup- or Secondary posed to have been formed by the

Triassic action of fire, aqueous rocks by the

Permian action of water.

Carboniferous In their normal position the

Devonian (Old igneous rocks are the lowest in the Palaeozoic

Red Sandstone) strata of the earth with which man

Silurian is acquainted. The igneous rocks

Cambrian have been classified under three heads, viz., granitic, trappean, and

Metamorphic and granitic undervolcanic.

neath. The granitic rocks may be looked All these systems of rocks are upon as forming the “foundations stratified, or composed of layers, and of the earth.” They support the according to geology have all been superincumbent mass of rocks which formed by the action of water. rise above them. In certain parts of Fossils, or the petrified remains of the earth these granitic rocks have

ancient organic life, have been found been thrown up to the surface by

in all these systems of rocks. There volcanic agency or internal convul- is a regular gradation in the scale of sion. Some of the most remarkable animal life, from the zoophyte up to mountain ranges are of granitic

the mammoth and mastodon. These origin.

rocks, with their marvellous formaThe systems of rocks overlying tions and their wonderful fossils, are the primordial granite have been facts, and open to the investigation arranged into three great divisions. of all inquiring minds. Formerly they were designated Now when these geological phePrimary, Secondary, and Tertiary. nomena were first brought to the These names have given way to light, the question at once arose as others. Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, and to how they harmonized with the Caenozoic are the terms generally first chapter of Genesis. Geologists used now to

the great geo-

asserted that the earth bore within logic classifications of the crust of her own bosom incontrovertible evithe globe.

dence that the creation had been in These three comprehensive divi- existence many thousands of years. sions of the sedimentary or stratified These assertions of science created a rocks may be figuratively regarded great clamour in theology. The as three great compartments of theologian said, Six thousand

years, nature's stone library. In these pri- and I bring infallible inspiration to mary divisions each system of rocks prove it. Science said, Not six, but may be considered as a volume. sixty thousand years, and I bring Some of these volumes are very incontrovertible evidence to supthick, and have a great many leaves. port it.

with me.

The most bitter controversies en- as the abode of man. The word sued. The geologist was looked beginning," he says, is indefinite. upon as an infidel. The science of It allows room for the lapse of innurocks and fossils was called an in- merable ages. It gives the geologist fernal science. Preachers denounced full scope and swing for all his stony the rock-breakers in their sermons, calculations. For a time the theory and wrote bitter things against them of the young ingenious Scotch theoin their books. The theologian said, logian was accepted as a plausible I am sure I am right, and you are settlement of the difficult question. wrong, for I have inspiration and As geological discoveries were the whole church with me. The pushed forward, the great stonegeologist retorted, I am sure I am breakers, however, were not satisfied . right, and you are wrong, for I have with the explanation of the powerful all the rocks and myriads of fossils preacher. They could not fit the

facts of science into the theory proIn the year 1814 a remarkable pounded. This theory demanded a young man was producing con- break in the course of creation. It siderable excitement in Scotland. called for a universal chaotic period He was a great mathematician, and when the whole earth was submerged, a considerable chemist. He studied (under water, and enveloped in darkfor the church, and found a pulpit. ness,) just previous to the creation He was high-spirited, bold, fearless, of man. All the facts of geology, and speculative. He looked all said the men of science, go dead things full in the face. He manfully against this theory, and we can't confronted the geological and theo- admit it. logical controversy. He firmly be- Twenty years passed, and all were lieved the Bible, but he could not again out at sea on the mystery deny the facts of science.

He of creation. In the year 1838 an arrived at what he thought to be the eminent man was invited to give a solution of the vexed problem. He course of public lectures on the adopted a theory of creation which alleged difficulties between Scripture he considered would settle the angry and Geology. This remarkable man controversy. In lecturing at St. was a native of Sheffield. Sheffield Andrew's, Dr. Chalmers (for to him I has reason to be proud of his name. refer) made this statement—" There Dr. Pye Smith was a man of broad is a prejudice against the specula- scholarship and scientific genius. tions of the geologist which I am His industry knew no bounds. He anxious to remove. It has been said took a wide and comprehensive view that they nurture infidel propensi- both of the facts of science and the It has been alleged that geology, statements of revelation.

He was by referring the origin of the globe thoroughly acquainted with the origito a higher antiquity than is as- nal languages in which the Scriptures signed to it by the writings of Moses, were written.

He had a masterly undermines our faith in the inspira- acquaintaritee with the theories and tion of the Bible, and in all the phenomena of geology. He enanimating prospects of immortality deavoured to harmonise science and which it unfolds. This is a false revelation. To meet the requirealarm. The writings of Moses do ments of geology he propounded not fix the antiquity of the globe.the theory that the chaos spoken

Dr. Chalmers regarded the first of in the second verse of the first verse of the first chapter of Genesis chapter of Genesis was not unias forming an introduction to the versal, but local, and limited to that account of the creation of the world part of the earth where man


several years.

first placed.

He agreed with Dr. he held the literal day theory, said Chalmers as to the interpretation of that there was no critical objection the first verse, and his local and to the lengthened period interpretalimited chaotic period was put forth tion. Hugh Miller's theory accounts to remove the stumbling-block which for only three days of the creationbeset the theory of Dr. Chalmers. the third, fifth, and sixth days--the Dr. Pye Smith's theory of creation creation of vegetables, the creation was never favourably accepted. His of reptiles, the creation of mammals. book is a model of candour, philo- He looks upon the Mosaic record as sophical research, and learned criti- an inverted prophecy-prophecy read cism, but it fails to establish the backwards. He argues his theory special point he had in view. The with great acuteness, enthusiasm, word “earth” in the second verse was and a matchless eloquence. Hugh held to be co-extensive in its mean- Miller was the Shakespeare of his ing with the word “ earth” in the own darling science. first verse, and therefore would be Some nine years ago the theory of fatal to this theory of conciliation. Hugh Miller was taken up by another Matters remained in this state for acute and eloquent writer. Dr.

Controversies went McCausland published a little book, on on both sides. In the year 1855, entitled, “ Sermons in Stones.” It one of the greatest geologists of the has passed through eleven editions. day was invited to give a lecture Like Hugh Miller he takes the days before the Young Men's Christian not as literal days of twenty-four Association in Exeter Hall. This hours each, but as extended periods of eminent practical geolgist was also a duration. He finds in the geological profound student of the Bible as well record not only the three days of the as an indefatigable explorer of his eloquent Scotchmen, but the whole own native rocks. He had risen from six days accounted for. This writer being a working stonemason to be seems to have no doubt about the regarded as the first descriptive correctness of his theory: . A capiscientific writer of his day. Hugh tal summary of his book is to be Miller is the man I mean. He took found in the article “ Creation,” in for the subject of his lecture, “The the new edition of Kitto's Cyclopetwo Records—the Mosaic and the dia of Biblical Literature, edited by Geological.” He propounded a Dr. Alexander. theory of creation differing from that These, then, are the principal of Dr. Chalmers on the one hand, theories propounded by learned and and that of Dr. Smith on the other. scientific men with the view to reThe speciality and peculiarity of his concile and harmonise the statements theory is derived from the fact that of the Bible with the facts of geologic he interprets the word “day” not as a science— literal day of twenty-four hours dura- 1. Dr. Chalmer's Theory, which tion, but as an extended and indefi- severs the first verse of the first nite period of time. Josephus,

Josephus, chapter of Genesis, and regards it as Philo, and Augustine had held the merely an introduction to the rest of same view, without being at all ac- the narrative. quainted with the science of geology. 2. Dr. Pye Smith's Theory, which Cuvier had also observed that the follows Dr. Chalmer's with reference succ ssive stages of creation, as re- to the first verse, but which assigns corded in the first chapter of Gene- a limited and local area to the chaotic sis, were exactly the same as those state of the earth described in the developed in the rock-formations of

second verse. the earth. Dr. Buckland, though 3. Hugh Miller's Theory, which

« EdellinenJatka »