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prevails upon the surface, that many of our hot baths in Europe, and elsewhere, are heated from this source alone. On these fire-formed rocks repose a series of strata deposited in water, but at a time when the central heat was still so great as to bake them into intense hardness, and destroy all organized forms of life. Proceeding still upwards, we find strata, like those below, which have been evidently thrown up, disturbed, and dislocated, but containing animal and vegetable remains, seriously damaged as to form, but sufficiently perfect to be arranged by the skilled paleontologist. Mountains have been literally, and many times, overturned by the roots through the antagonistic or combined forces of fire and water, and everything indicates that the entire globe, as now constituted, is built up of the ruins of former worlds, tenanted in succession by different classes of existence.
Above this debris of rock, earth, shells, sand, clay, gravel, and rolled pebbles, lie the superficial strata -the alluvial and diluvial deposits, bearing evident traces of subsidence from a watery chaos, such as is brought before us by Moses. What is, therefore, popularly regarded as the creation" of the world, must date from the era of these later deposits, none of the previous conditions of the earth indicating, in any way, its emergence from the great, dark, deep of the inspired writer, . whilst this, its most recent phasis, is in exact accordance with such an idea. Our argument, therefore, stands briefly thus-our earth was originally an intensely heated mass of matter. When God determined to place man upon it, it had cooled down, and lay swaddled in the waters of a pristine
The Bible tells us nothing of what happened during the long interval, between these ages of fire and water; but geology does. It has interleaved its wonderful story between these pristine fire-rocks and the post-tertiary shoals of the Mosaic chaos. Fish, reptiles, zoophytes, land animals, and birds, all strangely different from any that now exist, vegetated in its seas, darted through their wide waters, crawled or wallowed in its murky morasses, shot through its heavy and unwholesome atmosphere, thick with exhalations from its huge reeds, ferns, and twilight forests; and life and death, destruction and renovation, characterized, as now, many and protracted cycles. But the same God who gives its lustre to an insect's wing, watched over it, and has written on the forms and adaptations of his minutest creations—the beetle, the dragon-fly, the eye of the trilobite, or the frond of a fern,
such beautiful proofs of a Father's love and care, that the undevout geologist must be still more mad than the sceptical astronomer.
In whatever way we set about reconciling the Mosaic cosmogony with the facts of Geology, the difficulties seem insurmountable. If we accept the "days” of creation as periods of uncertain and protracted duration, we are only darkening counsel, for the geological sequence of existences on our earth, is altogether at variance with the order observed in the Bible. Poor Hugh Miller, who ought to have known better, tried very hard to give the fossil grasses, herbs and trees priority in point of time over the living creatures of the waters, though every tyro in geology must know that the earliest organized remains are those of fish, zoophytes, and crustaceans, and that all the curious ichthyology of his own peculiar old red sandstone, lived and died ages before the beautiful vegation of the carboniferous system had any existence. But the difficulty would be but half surmounted, could it be shown that the geological order of events was exactly coincident with the work of the seven days of creation. Supposing that as these days—each many thousands, or possibly millions of years in duration-rose in succession upon the earth, God had peopled it with the various existences brought to light by geology, when did He so utterly destroy them that no living specimens have come down to our own day ? For, if any fact may be received as proved, it is surely this—that very few indeed of these creatures are exactly similar to their living congeners, whilst the majority are so vastly unlike, that no comparison whatever can be instituted between them. It seems, therefore, utterly preposterous to suppose that the sacred writer would introduce into his narrative a compendium of extinct palæontology, or give an account of worlds long dead, buried, and extinguished, Does it not strike any reflective mind as a thing utterly irreconcilable with the Divine wisdom, to employ the pen of inspiration in recording the history of a creation, five-sixths of which had been entirely and irretrievably obliterated, and of challenging for it our admiration and study, by the assertion, “ and God saw that it was good,” if so large a proportion of its marvels were never, or only in broken and most imperfect parentheses, to be cognizable by the human intellect?
Yet we see no alternative but this, if we admit the six
days of creation, as they are popularly called, to have embraced the entire period recorded by the discoveries of geology. Little do the advocates of hereditary and educational prejudices, and the old-fashioned interpretations of Holy Writ, think that they are actually proving its falsity, and showing that God's expressed purpose with regard to the preservation and perpetuation of his inferior creatures had been entirely frustrated. According to the creed of our babyhood, all the extinct races of animals rank under the general description of "antediluvian," If we pester our grandinothers with curious questions about the enormous lizards, the gigantic toads, the winged fishes, the flying dragons, the “gorgons, hydras, and chimeras dire, ” the muscular megatheria and dinotheria of past ages, they have but one answer—they lived before Noah's flood; they were all destroyed at the Deluge. But how few reflect on the startling inndelity of the reply, which really originates in the fond and foolish notion that the sacred narrative needs to be thus bolstered and buttressed up against those contemptible assailants, who think there is such a thing as confirmation stronger than Holy Writ."
An unbiassed perusal of the narrative of the Flood must satisfy any intelligent mind that the animals before the Flood were exactly similar to those after the Flood, and not in the least like the strange and composite forms that peopled our earth during the geological era. Noah was directed to take of every living thing of all flesh, two of every sort, into the ark, “ to keep them alive" “ to keep seed alive upon the face of all the earth.” Yet the fearful commentator, shutting his eyes to the plainest facts, foists upon us whole races of extinct creatures, utterly unlike any that are now living, as the types and representative-progenitors of those so tenderly cared for by Noah! But he makes no attempt whatever to clear
up the mystery of their entire extinction, in the very face of the divine fiat that they were to be kept alive, or to show how it happens that they have utterly failed to increase and multiply, and replenish the earth, when God in his infinite wisdom had decreed that they should do so !
Of all infidelities, may we be kept from the overweening anxiety of Uzzah! Better that the ark of truth be shaken, than stayed up by the coward hands of imbecility. STET.
By Rev. CHARLES WILLS, M.A. ACTS OF THE APOSTLES. EMENDATIVE RENDERINGS. Chapter xxiii. 1.–And Paul, steadfastly looking at the council, said, Men (avèpes], brethren, I (emphatic] in all good conscience have conducted myself before God until this day, 2. But the high priest Ananias ordered them that stood by him to strike his mouth. 3. Then Paul said to him, God shall strike thee, O whitewashed wall: What, dost thou [ou] sit judging me according to the law, and transgressing law commandest me to be struck ? 4. And they that stood by said, Railest thou at the high priest of God? 5. And Paul said, I knew not, brethren, that it was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the chief of thy people. 6. But Paul, Inowing that the one part were of the Sadducees, and the other of the Pharisees, cried in the council, Men (avøpes], brethren, I (emphatic] am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees : concerning hope and resurrection of the dead I (emphatic] am judged. 7. And when he had said this, there arose a discord of the Pharisees and Sadducees, and the multitude was divided. 8. For while Sadducees say there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit, Pharisees confess the both. 9. And there arose a great cry: and Scribes of the part of the Pharisees, rising up, strove greatly, saying, No evil find we in this man; what if a spirit or an angel spoke to him? 10. And great discord arising, the præfect, fearing lest Paul would be torn asunder by them, commanded the soldiery to go down and snatch him from the midst of then, and bring [him] into the fort. 11. And in the following night, the Lord standing by him, said, Be of good cheer; for as thou fully barest witness of the things concerning me at Jerusalem, so thou must bear witness at Rome also. 12. And when the day was come, the Jews having made a covenant, cursed themselves, saying they would neither eat nor drink
until that they had killed Paul. 13. And there were more than forty who had made this conjuration. 14. Who coming to the chief priests and the elders, said, With a curse we cursed ourselves, to taste nothing until we kill Paul. 15. Now therefore do ye (emphatic] with the council, show to the profect that he bring him down to you, as if ye were going to examine more exactly the things concerning him: and we (emphatic] before he has come near, are ready to slay him. 16. And the son of Paul's sister having heard of the lying in wait, approaching and coming into the fort, he announced [it] to Paul. 17. And Paul having called to [him] one of the centurions, said, Bring this youth to the prefect, for he has something to announce to him. 18. He then taking him with [him] brought [him] to the prefect, and says, The prisoner Paul having called me to himasked (me] to bring this young man to thee, having something to speak to thee. 19. And the præefect taking hold of his hand, and withdrawing by thenselves inquired, What is it that thou hast to announce to me? 20. And he said, The Jews agreed together to ask thee, that to-morrow thou wouldest bring Paul down to the council, as if thou wert going to inquire something more exactly concern ing him. 21. Thou (emphatic] then be not persuaded by them; for there lie in wait for him of them men (avèpes] more than forty, who cursed themselves neither to eat nor drink until they slay him ; and now they are ready, waiting for the promise from thee. 22. The prefect then dismissed the young man, having charged him to speak out to no one, that thou showedst these things to me. 23. And having called to him] certain two of the centurions he said, Make ready two hundred soldiers, that they may go as far as Cæsarea, and horsemen seventy, and lancers two hundred, from the third hour of the night. 24. And furnish beasts, that having set Paul on, they may bring him safe to Felix the governor :* 25. Having written an epistle containing this form: 26. Claudius Lysias
* Some manuscripts interpolate the following between verses 24 and 25:-For he feared lest the Jews should snatch and kill him, and he himself be slandered, as about to receive a bribe.