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a train of facts which tend to throw discredit not only upon the usually received chronology; but even upon the enlargement of the six days into so many thousands of years. The greater the concessions which have been made, the greater the demands of the geologist. Without attempting to define it by any fixed or certain limits, his system stretches far beyond the most distant period which the faith of the rest of the world will suffer them to allow him. The thousands of years which the early advocates of the science sought for their views, grew with its progress into cycles of a more enlarged character; and these, as it became more fully developed, yielded successively to ideas of antiquity and duration, which reduced the original requirements to an utter insignificance.
The question really at issue, at the present time, is not whether the days of Genesis shall be drawn out into ages; but whether any interval at all is to be granted to the geologist. Whether we are to receive the account of Moses as a direct and chronological history from "the beginning;" or whether the mind may be suffered to expatiate over times long antecedent to the formation of man and the present order. The extension of the days, as an expedient for reconciling the difficulty, has satisfied no party. It is disliked, on the one hand, as being a forced construction of the sense of Moses, which seems unauthorised by the plainness and simplicity of his narrative; and it is met with this insuperable objection at the hands of the geologist, that the remains imbedded in the lower strata of the earth do not correspond, in any degree, with the succes
sive acts of creation, supposed to have been exhibited in the six cycles of years of Moses. If the earth had been given up for long periods, following each other in a known order, first, to the action of water, covering and depositing matter over its entire surface; next, to the continuous decay and reproduction of vegetation; again, to the universal dominion of aquatic and feathered races; and, lastly, to the beasts and cattle, and creeping things of the earth-the whole held in subjection by man ;if these data could be established, it were next to impossible, that the early remains should not, in some tracts of the earth, be discovered in the same series; or, at least, bear strong marks of analogy to the Mosaic narrative. The assumed fact is disproved by experience, and is gradually losing ground even with its former supporters.
The question, therefore, resolves itself into the simple point of concession or hostility to the geologist. Are we to yield unnumbered ages for the free operation of his system? or, tracing up our way through the genealogies of Moses to Adam and the six natural days of creation, to oppose his views as fallacious and unscriptural? Few points of theological controversy have been debated, in modern times, with more heat and acrimony, than by the great body of adherents to the latter position. The more moderate have endeavoured to unite the con
flicting statements, and have failed signally; but the extreme party have denounced and anathematized every friend of the science in terms, which, to the mind of the unprejudiced, must tend to injure their cause by the grossness of its advocates. If
they prevail eventually, this, at least, is not the means for obtaining the victory. Truth, under any form, must be reached by cool reasoning, and adduced facts to support the reasoning; and not by rhetoric. The most eloquent effusions, unsupported by substantial proofs, however they may gain a passing assent from the prepossessed or the unwary, must of necessity fall in the end from their own weakness. A section of the world may delight in language which is so much in unison with their own feelings; but the reflective part of the community, whose opinions will stand long after the fitful impressions of the day shall have been forgotten, will look into the grounds of the discussion, and form their judgment upon their innate soundness and strength.
I conceive that no set of men, bringing forward opinions, which involve great results, have ever less deserved these sweeping censures, than the advocates of geology. With the first dawn of the science, as was natural, men, struck with the novelty and importance of their discoveries, endeavoured hastily to reduce them into practical operation. They generalized their data; and from crude and partial gatherings broke out into Systems and Theories of Creation and the Earth. They had their use, even in the simple fact alone of demonstrating the folly of the attempt with means so inadequate for success. And men have profited from their error. They have seen not only the inutility of such efforts, in the present infancy of the science,-but the positive evil which they have inflicted on it, by retarding its advancement. The press teems incessantly with
works and treatises on geology.
Attention is rivetted on it, and researches made in various nations of the world; facts, both novel, and confirmatory of former opinions, are continually coming forth to light; and yet, amid all the felt enthusiasm of its supporters, not a single definite Theory is either sought or desired to be established. Indeed, the only theories which arise at present out of the subject, are framed by the opponents of the science, in order to adapt the convulsions and anomalies of nature to the six thousand years of the historic æra of Moses. The present object of the geologist is a mere accumulation of facts-the results of close and personal investigation into the phenomena of the earth;-a treasure-house of knowledge, in which every acquisition of value is carefully stored, not for his own use, but for the distant advantage of his inheritors and descendants. It is this forbearance, which gives him his chief title to the world's consideration and esteem. We should deal far differently with a hot-brained enthusiast, whose wild imagination would scatter to the winds the most sacred solemnities of truth which interfered with his own system; and with men, who patiently devote their whole energies to the development of known and tangible points of science; and whose every discovery is subjected to the test of a host of experimentalists, of equal ability with themselves, in every quarter of Europe. The acquisition of a novel fact the least deviation from recognized principles -becomes a signal for investigation to every member of the science. It is probed again and again. It is subjected to a variety of forms of comparative
analysis. Nothing is left untried which the wisdom of man can devise for its comprehension; but, successfully or not, it is either conjoined with the truths which have previously been acquired; or recorded faithfully as an anomaly, in the hope that it will be reconciled by future discoveries.
A body of men, who profess to be guided in their system solely by the results of obtained facts, however their views may jar with our own judgment, are at the least entitled to our courtesy and favour, until their statements shall be disproved. We may contend with their facts, and strive to prove them fallacies; but it is not the part of wisdom to denounce them as wrong, merely because they militate with what we have long received as right. We care not what the subject may be ;-let it be apparently the most outrageous to our preconceptions,-a man has still no right to oppose, unless he possesses at the same time some grounds to disprove. We take this as our principle.
We have been accustomed to fix the creation of the earth at a period of 6000 years since. The Geologist, from a train of inductive reasoning, denies the truth of this belief. Under his system it may have been in existence, even millions of years. How then shall we act? Faith is opposed to the facts of science. A great and fearful error is included in one of these statements. The interests of Religion are at stake. By what means shall we reconcile the discrepancy? Not by shutting our eyes and ears to the real and sound progress of science; but by bringing it up to Religion; and taking that as the basis, by the endeavour to make it square with the truths