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ject which they could not have had in view, since it was one of which they were altogether necessarily ignorant. Nor again am I able distinctly to understand in what manner the latter clause of the paragraph bears upon the question. I entirely agree with the author in his remarks on our ideas of ultimate causes, space, and time; but I know not to what dogmatizing he alludes on these points, in any geological speculations. Even the Bible-geologists in their theory of the “ days” understood as ages, surely do not dogmatize on any notions of time or space. Still less do rational geologists refer to any metaphysical distinctions of the kind. They merely affirm the succession in order of time, of deposits which are arranged one on another; and of the respective races of animals entombed in them. The quotation adduced at the end seems to me to refer rather to theological than to physical subjects, and to put a check on inquiries directed not to the structure of the earth, but to the mysteries of heaven.
NOTE Q. P. 254.
Among the numerous publications on the question of the history of the creation, I have seen one of a nature in some respects so different from most of the other speculations on the subject, as to demand a brief notice here. It is entitled Remarks on Dr. Buckland's View of the Mosaic Creation, &c., by Eretzsepher. London, 1837. The author (unlike most of his contemporaries,) is evidently qualified for his undertaking by some knowledge of the subject; or at least refers to the conclusions of distinguished geologists with a fair appreciation of the weight to be attached to them, and without the smallest disposition to cavil at them
on religious grounds. He has, in fact, in the first instance, taken the very same general tenour of observation as that of the present discussion ; referring, in particular, to the strong and unanswerable argument of the absence of all indications which must have been left of any universal chaos in a comparatively recent period, followed by a simultaneous creation. He has adduced the unquestionable facts of the co-existence of recent with extinct species in the later tertiary formations; and has put in the most pointed manner, the irresistible conclusion that the supposed “ last great change, neither preceded nor was coeval with the formation of the newer pliocene; nor could it possibly have succeeded that formation.” (p. 15.) He avowedly passes by the question “ how any universal ingurgitation of the land could be brought to pass," and hints at the utter impossibilities which are involved in any hypothesis of this kind.
In supporting these plain inferences from facts, he has given the valuable testimony of a professed and strenuous advocate of religion to the necessity of honestly rejecting all those temporizing expedients and unworthy suppressions or disguisings of the truth, which have been so commonly practised.
In attempting to supply the deficiencies, as he thus considers them, of the theory of a recent universal change corresponding to the Mosaic creation, he is not equally happy, nor very consistent with the spirit of his previous remarks. He adopts, in general, the notion of the “ days” meaning indefinite periods; but in the particular details seems to me not more felicitous nor satisfactory than any of his predecessors, in the vain and revolting attempt to lower and destroy the majestic imagery of the sublimest composition in the world ; and by the introduction of a literalizing interpretation, to torture the whole representation into a sense which it never could have been intended to bear.
NOTE R. p. 264.
On the question of geology and Scripture, the reader will find some interesting remarks in an article on the “ Recent Progress of Geology,” &c., by Dr. T. Thomson, inserted in Dr. R. Thomson's British Annual for 1838.
Observations on such a subject, coming from a writer so pre-eminently distinguished in chemistry and the kindred sciences, will be duly valued. And of the general excellence of their scope and tenour, I willingly express my conviction. Did they come from a less eminent authority, I would not stop to notice what strikes me as defective in some parts of the reasoning. But in the present instance, my desire to see such a subject treated solely on the unassailable grounds of truth, must be my excuse for alluding to one or two points which seem to me open to objection.
At the commencement of the concluding portion of his article (p. 259,) the author says :
66 It has been affirmed by some wrong-headed or fanatical individuals, that the facts disclosed by geology are inconsistent with the Mosaic account of the creation ; and on that account attempts have been made to discourage the cultivation of geology,” &c.
Here I must confess either I do not apprehend the meaning, or else the author must be including himself under his own censure, since the views he has just before been broaching evince most indisputably those very contradictions which he here describes as affirmed by “ some wrong-headed or fanatical individuals.”
However, he next makes some excellent observations on the objects of revelation as totally distinct from those of science; in which I most fully concur. But in a subsequent paragraph, he affirms “the cosmogony of Moses is nothing more than this, ' In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth,' a proposition which no man of science can refuse to admit,” &c.
Now, doubtless if “ the cosmogony of Moses” were really “ nothing more than this,” there would exist no difficulty, no question on the subject. The difficulty arises entirely from the circumstance that “ the cosmogony of Moses” is something more than this, viz., the literal description of the six days' work. And moreover, that this is not merely “ the cosmogony of Moses,” but is recorded as the Divine declaration from Mount Sinai.
The remainder of the author's observations consist in acutely turning the fact of successive creations of species into an argument in favour of Christianity; since revelation rests on the admission of special intervention, and these, he argues, are cases of special intervention. On this point I can only refer to the considerations adverted to in the third section. We do not yet know what secondary means may have been employed to bring about those successive creations of species, or modifications of the forms of organized life. The author also employs, for the same purpose, the doctrine of equivocal generation. The recent researches of Ehrenberg * have, at least, thrown great doubt on that doctrine.
NOTE S. p. 266.
I HAVE before referred to one writer as a specimen of that school who consider the cause of religion as unable to stand
* See his memoir in Poggendorf's Annal. XXIV., and translated in Taylor's Foreign Scientific Memoirs, Part IV., p. 555.
investigation ; and regard science in general, and geology in particular, as subversive of religion; viz., Mr. Cole, in a tract addressed as a letter to Professor Sedgwick, but in which he devotes two pages to myself and my fearful heterodoxies. Of all the writers of this school with whose works I have happened to meet, this author appears by far the most rational and consistent. He follows out his principles to their logical extent; insisting rigidly on the very letter of every part of Scripture as applying universally, he contends not only for the historical nature of the description of the creation, but for the obligation of the Sabbath, and for absolute predestination. The very title, implying that geology, if true, is destructive to the whole truth of revelation, is a startling assertion. And the whole volume is full of such doctrines; that to maintain geology is, in fact, infidelity. That scientific and inspired truth are essentially hostile to each other; and so incompatible, that one or the other must be rejected, &c., concessions which can but give a palpable triumph to scepticism.
NOTE T. p. 269.
In the able article in the Edinburgh Review, (No. cxxxi.) on Dr. Buckland's Bridgewater Treatise, some remarks are made on the geological discrepancies with Scripture, and the prevailing views respecting them, which appear to me to suggest matter for more consideration than the reviewer seems disposed to bestow on the subject,—to those who desire to see it treated on the basis of truth.
The article throughout exhibits the most luminous and philosophical views of the scientific part of the inquiry ; the writer, however, seems anxiously to avoid any precise