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or that for which he wishes. But he certainly has not reflected upon the working out of this notion. The debility and decay of age require the nursing and soothing attentions of other individuals of the same species. But, except very imperfectly in a few instances of quadrumana and some domesticated animals, nothing appears in the brute creation analogous to the care and tenderness of man for man, in nursing and tending the sick or feeble. Even in the human species, unless where RELIGIon breathes its vital influence, that class of duties is miserably attended to. Let your worthy correspondent ask the aid of some judicious physiologist, to assist him in weighing the opposite amounts of suffering, the one by natural and untended decay, the other by an almost instantaneous act of violence by another creature, in the full health and vigour of the devoured animal. He will find the very reverse of the estimation which he appears to have made. Besides, there is some reason to think that the first surprise produces a paralysis, by which the sense of pain is diminished, or wholly extinguished. I am not writing ludicrously; but seriously, as the subject requires.
But geology furnishes cases of animal life extinguished upon a scale immensely large, by other processes than being devoted to furnish nutriment for other living creatures. The polishing stone called tripoli was till lately thought to be a silico-argillaceous rock; but it is now ascertained to be a congeries of microscopic manychambered shells: and there are rocks of nummulitic limestone, and vast heaps of the shell miliola compressed into solid masses. The able and indefatigable Curator to the Geological Society, Mr. Lonsdale, has discovered microscopic shells in chalk, unutterably numerous. In all these cases, the densely associated and countless millions of once living beings, which inhabited those shells, must have died by the upheaving, out of the sea, of the compact masses consisting of them, and being thus left dry. Was not that as painful a death as if they had supplied food to larger cephalopods? It was probably much slower, and consequently involving more protracted distress. Some approach may be made to an idea of the number of animals thus become the prey of death, by considering the fact that, in a cube of tripoli rock of but one tenth of an inch, 500 millions of those shells are contained, each one an exquisitely formed dwelling, comprising several cells, most beautiful in material, and in general structure resembling the existing genus nautilus. We might in like manner argue from the mountain limestone, in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, on the banks of the Wye, and in innumerable other places, many miles in extent and hundreds of feet in thickness; and which, without a microscope, any man may see to consist of scarcely any thing besides the skeletons of the many-fingered crinoideal families, and the occasional beds of bivalve and some univalve shells, evidently not brought together by any moving body of water, which would have broken their tender carved-work and have left them a huddled mass; but, on the contrary, lying together, orderly, and in all ages and degrees of growth.
It is a common supposition that, in the interval between their creation and the fall of man, all animals were gentle, and fed solely
upon vegetable productions. Some have proposed the hypothesis that the carnivorous tribes were not created till after the fall, or even after the deluge. This hypothesis seems to lessen the difficulty, but it overlooks the fact that the grasses, leaves, seeds, and fruits, which are the food of the herbivorous races, swarm with insect life. The supposition that the carnivorous animals could at any time have fed upon vegetables, cannot be entertained for a moment, except it were by a person quite ignorant of the anatomical structure of those animals. Their bones and muscles, their teeth, claws, stomachs, and intestines, demonstrate that they were created to be nourished solely by animal food. Let it also be considered, that the tribes of fish, great and small, with very inconsiderable exceptions, so immensely filling rivers, lakes, and the ocean, are formed by the all-wise Creator, to be carnivorous. I have formerly thought that our first parents had never witnessed death, till they beheld with agony the first sacrifice, offered up by divine prescription. But I do not now see the necessity or the probability of such a state of things. Rather, the denunciation in Gen. ii. 17, would seem to imply that they understood what the penalty was, in consequence of their having witnessed the pangs of death, in the inferior animals.
5. What, then, is the meaning of Rom. viii. 20. “ The creation (ver. 22, all the creation) has been made subject to vanity," &c.? I reply, that here the word (which is used in different senses and under great limitations, as in Col. i. 23; 1 Pet. ii. 13;) denotes the part of the created universe which is immediately related to man, or comes under his influence; and that " vanity” denotes the frustration of high and holy purposes to which that part of the universe is subjected by the wickedness of mankind, ungratefully towards God and cruelly towards sentient animals; abusing the gifts of providence.
6. Still, the question will be proposed, Are we compelled to acquiesce in these conclusions? Might not the deposition of all the strata, their superposition, the imbedding in them of vegetable and animal remains, and their elevation so as to form our present continents and islands, all have taken place in the 2400 years from the fall to the deluge, completed by the powerful action of the diluvial waters?
This is the question of questions in relation to geology. To discuss it fully would require a volume: yet, long as this paper has become, I must offer a few words. There are two classes of men, each of which gives ita reply.
The first class consists of those who have heard the word geology, have been told (often by truly excellent men) that it is a dangerous study, that it impugns the truth of the Scripture records, and that it seeks to betray the unwary into infidelity. Of this class, some have read a little about geological subjects, have heard say a little more, and have eked out the rest by their own conjecture and imagination: and they answer this question in the affirmative.
The second class of persons comprises those who have spent thirty, forty, even fifty years in laborious investigation; many of them having set ont with the opinion of the former class; who have personally explored all the most important districts in the British isles,
in France, in the Alpine countries, in Germany, and in Eastern and Northern Europe; also, in Asia, North and South America, and many parts of Africa and Australasia; who have endured herculean toils in the field of personal labour; expending large sums of money in their travels for this very object; who have come to geological investigations well prepared by mathematical and chemical science; who have pursued those investigations with untiring perseverance, and with the severest jealousy against precipitate conclusions: and what answer do they give? With one mouth they say, No; it is IMPOSSIBLE.
There are thirty, or rather more, well defined beds, layers, or strata, of different* mineral masses, lying upon each other so as to form the surface of the globe on which we dwell. These combine themselves, by natural characters, into three or four grand groups. Compare them to a set of books, say a Cyclopædia, in 30 or 40 volumes, piled up on their flat sides. No where, indeed, can the whole set of the earth's strata be displayed, lying each upon the other, for reasons which will presently appear; and, if it were so at any spot, all the power and art of men could never penetrate through more than one, two, or three of the layers. They are placed one over the other, in a sure and known order of succession; that is, though in no locality are all to be found, or (which is saying the same thing conversely) in every locality some are wanting, the order of position is never violated. Let the letters of the alphabet represent the strata, thus; the TERTIARY, a, b, c, d, e; the SECONDARY, i. e. all from the chalk to the old red sand-stone inclusive, f to z; the PRIMARY, aa, bb, &c. to jj : then observe that any member or several members of the series may be absent, for example, d or f, or l or p; but b is never above a, nor m above k, nor s above q. When this fact is rightly conceived of, let it be further observed, that the strata do not lie over each other in continuous concentric spheroids, like the coats of a bulbous root; but may rather be compared to a vast number of wafers, of irregular forms, laid on a globe, and patched upon each other in different sets as to thickness, and variously under-passing, out-cropping, and over-lapping. Now, let the mind imagine mighty forces from below, acting upon certain points and along certain lines : then the wafer-patches will be raised to all angles, bent, broken, their edges often turned up, so that the edges of lower strata stand in some places over the higher ones which had been thus shattered. Further, let the mind conceive, of a mass of melted matter, suppose pitch, having lain for some time quietly underneath the lowest of the wafer-patches; then boiling up, bursting forth, and in many places raising the wafers, piercing them, passing through them, and finally hardening in fantastic shapes, and towering over the upheaved and fractured outside. This little play of imagination will present a pretty fair idea of the real stratification of the earth's surface, the eruption of the non-stratified (granitic and
* Different in mineral composition: for it must be observed, that many a homogeneous stratum of great thickness is itself laminated or stratified, like the leaves of a book or a number of pasteboards closely pressed together.
similar) rocks which have boiled up, elevating linear ridges (mountain-ranges,) when they could not pierce through, but actually piercing through where their force could overcome the resistance, and, when cooled, remaining the magnificent crags and summits of the loftiest mountains. It must also be understood, as a matter of the clearest sensible demonstration, that these processes have occurred several times, at various and distant intervals; producing among the strata many varieties of direction, inclination, contortion, cleavage, conformity, and nonconformity in reference to each other. If all the strata could be placed, or, for illustration's sake we may say replaced, upon each other, to what thickness or depth would they amount? It is commonly said five miles : Dr. Buckland, who is so eminently qualified to make an estimate, gives his authority to the supposition of ten miles. With respect to the actual surface of the earth, the greatest height from the lowest valley-bottom to the top of the highest mountain, may be taken at five miles. This height, compared to the diameter of the earth, may be fairly represented by the thickness of a fine thread laid upon the surface of a twelve-inch globe.
All these things being considered, the inquirer may be able to conceive the appearance of the accessible end, or denuded crosscut, of a stratum or several strata. The observer sees that the whole has been deposited from water, either as a mere precipitate from a mixture, or as separated from chemical solution. Hence, the variety of rocks, siliceous, clayey, limestone, marly, and all these in various compounds. The eye also perceives, in may cases, the lower portion of a stratum to contain pebbles, the water-worn fragments of the older rocks to which they can be traced; higher up, the coarser sandstone; and towards the top, the finer sediment. Moreover, the separations of the distinct strata are often presented to view; the bounding surfaces of the formations.
Now we want a measure for the rate of deposition. A perfect rule for this is beyond the present reach of science; but there is an ample sufficiency of ascertained facts, to prove that the whole series of deposits has occupied untold ages. This letter has grown to so alarming a length, that I can only hint at the phænomena which furnish the grounds for this approximative estimate. They are observations upon the rates of deposit, in all kinds and in all circumstances, as it is continually going on in ponds, lakes, river-beds, estuaries, deltas, flat shores, siliceons and limestone springs of water, and conclusions analogical but most powerfully supported, concerning the deposits in the depths of the ocean.
This may give some idea of the processes of observation and reasoning by which we are brought to the conclusion which I have mentioned ; that the whole series of stratifications, which lie upon the non-stratificd masses of rock, must have taken a period of time immeasurable by mortals, but which is but a point in comparison with the ETERNITY of the CREATOR.*It may be
* Upon this subject, may I be allowed to refer to some former communications to the Congregational Magazine ? New Series Vol. I. p. 232, 253; Vol. XI. p. 470 : to the Eclectic Review, Vol. VIII. Part I. 1812, p. 300-2; and
proper also to observe that it is only in the newest and latest kinds of formation that any remains of man and his contemporary animals are to be found.
6. By this long, but necessary circuit, we are brought to the question of your correspondent. We cannot resist the evidence of facts perceived by ocular demonstration, and every other kind of sensible evidence: and that evidence tells us that the system of organized life which the Creator has established, is a cycle of production, growth, decay, and death.
It is easy to show that this plan of vegetable and animal existence provides for an amount of creatures and their enjoyment, unutterably greater than any scheme imaginable by us, and which should exclude death by carnivorous violence. We ought not to smile at this; nor to affect horror at it: let us examine thoroughly and judge fairly.
7. But, if even we decline to press this reasonable argument, we have a last resort: “ Who art thou, Oman, that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus?"
8. We may now ask, what is the just interpretation of Rom. y. 12. “ By one man sin entered into the world, and DEATH BY sin.” We reply that it refers to the access and dominion of death over
to the Journal of Popular Science, Jan. 1837. Also, to the series of Essays, by an author unknown to me, which have appeared in several recent numbers of this Magazine, especially at pp. 499-502, of the present volume. The writer of these Essays will not take it amiss to be apprized that there is some oversight in his statement at p. 501. The passage seems to attach the terms Eocene, Miocene, and Pliocene, to the whole series of stratifications; whereas they were intended by their inventor, Mr. Lyell, to denote only a distribution of the Tertiary strata: and thus I have no doubt that the author intended it, I must also confess myself sorry that he rejects (page 570,) the interpretation, which appears to me well supported, of Genesis i. 1, &c., namely, that the passage first expresses the grand universal truth, that there was a moment in the flow of infinite duration, when the Creator first, by his almighty will, gave existence to a dependent world; but it does not inform us when that “ beginning" was : and that, in the next sentence, the inspired narrator takes up his more immediate subject, the earth in a state of dissolution, upon its next previous state having terminated, and shows that, by a series of operations, partly the effects of GOD'S physical laws of gravitation and chemical affinity, and partly (wherever it was necessary) by a direct intervention of his sovereign power, in six natural days, designated in the ancient manner as each consisting of an evening and a morning, lle brought our globe into a condition suitable for the new kinds of inhabitants which, in those six days, he created. The metaphorical use of the word day does not appear admissible in a plain narrative, but to be appropriated to poetry, elevated style, and prophecy. Even the examples adduced, Gen. ii. 17; iii. 5; xxxv. 3; fall under that general kind; and chap. ii. 4. may not unaptly mark the finishing proper day?-_Query, at p. 499, line 4, from the bottom, ought it not to be, not merely? And at p. 500, line 10, we read “ several thousands ;" forty or fifty would be the utmost fair amount, unless the author included the lamination of homogeneous rocks, which the connexion does not permit us to suppose. At p. 625, line 8 from the bottom,“ produced” is evidently an error of the press for producing. VOL. I. N.S.