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We only affirm a million-fold intensity of argument in the indefinitely greater number of beneficial, and at the same time distinct and independent number of collocations whereinto matter has been arranged. In this respect the human body may be said to present a more close and crowded and multifarious inscription of the divinity, than any single object within the compass of visible nature. It is instinct throughout with the evidence of a builder's hand; and thus the appropriate men of science who can expound those dispositions of matter which constitute the anatomy of its framework, and which embrace the physiology of its various
processes, are on secure and firm vantageground for an impressive demonstration. shall attempt to show more fully in our next chapter.
Natural and Geological Proofs for a Commencement of our
present Terrestrial Economy,
1. The historical argument which we have already attempted to unfold for the non-eternity of our present world, has been exposed to a certain collision with the speculations of those naturalists, who have founded their theories on the vestiges of certain revolutions which may have taken place in the state of our globe. It is not for the vindication of the Mosaic account that we now adveri to this, but for the exposition of what we should term the Geological argument in behalf of a Deity. On this subject there are many, and these perhaps an increasing number, who think that there might be conceded to the geologists an indefinite antiquity for the matter of our globe_and that, without violation even to the strict literalities of the book of Genesis—not one of which, save when allowance is evidently to be made for the use of popular language, they would feel disposed to give up for any imaginations or reasonings which philosophy has yet set forth upon the subject. All, according to them, which can positively be gathered from the first chapter of that book is a great primary act of creation, at how remote a period is uncertain— after which our world may have been the theatre of many changes and successive economies, the traces or memorials of which might be observable at the present day. It leaves on the one hand abundant scope to those who are employed in the investigation of these memorials, if it be granted that the Mosaic narrative fixes, only the antiquity of our present races, and not the antiquity of the earth that is peopled by them. But on the other hand we should not tamper with the record by allegorizing any of its passages or phrases. We should not for example protract the six days into so many geological periods as if by means of a lengthened natural process to veil over the fiat of a God, that phenomenon, if we may so term its which of all others seems the most offensive to the taste of some philosophers, and which they are most anxious to get rid of. We hold the week of the first chapter of Genesis to have been literally a week of miracles
the period of a great creative interposition, during which by so many successive evolutions, the present economy was raised out of the wreck and materials of the one which had gone before it. But on this we need not speak decisively -for in whatever way the controversy is adjusted, there remains argument for a God. Should, in the first place, the Mosaic account be held to supersede all those speculations in Geology which would stretch the antiquity even of our earth beyond the period at which man was created this were deferring to the historical evidence of the Old Testament that book which of all others speaks most directly for a God, and which in fact may be regarded as the formal and express document in which the authoritative register of Creation is found. Or should it be allowed, in the second place, that the sacred penman does not fix the antiquity of our globe but only of our species—this leaves the historical argument entire, and enables us to superadd any geological argument which may be founded on certain characters of vicissitude in the history of our globe, that are alike recognised by all the systems of geology. Or, thirdly, should, instead of scripture superseding or harmonizing with geology, geology be held as superseding scripture, an imagination which of course we disown—still the argument for a creative interposition would not in consequence be banished from our world. It is the establishment of this last position to which at present we address ourselves. There are certain alleged processes in geology which if true show unequivocally, we have long thought, the marks and footsteps of a Divinity. . There are some we are aware who have founded thereupon a melancholy Deism-our business now is to demonstrate, that even in this walk of inquiry, abused as it has been thus far, to the purposes of licentious speculation, there are to be met the strongest of Nature's evidences against the system of a still dismal and wretched Atheism.
2. But let us here premise that our argument does not rest on the truth of any one of the geological theories. It is enough, if causes of decay and destruction are at work which are now undermining the present harmony of things; and which must therefore have brought to an end any economy that may have gone before it.
before it. All those who conceive of our globe that it had an existence, and was the theatre of physical changes anterior to the commencement of the scriptural era, agree in this. We are not called upon to intermeddle with the controversies of geological science, when it is by means of a universal article of belief that we attempt to establish the necessity of a Creative Interposition. We do not make ourselves responsible for any of the theories, although we select one for the purpose of illustration—seeing, in fact, that our argument rests not on the specialty of any of the Ante-Mosaical creeds, but on assumption which is nearly common to them all. For generally speaking they proceed on the rise and disappearance of certain distinct and successive economies of nature on the face of our globe—the decay or destruction of each implying the extinction
of at least so many of the animal and vegetable races proper to its era. It is on this and this alone that our argument is based'; and we do not need therefore, for the purpose of upholding it, to advocate any one geological system in preference to others—seeing that it rests, not on the peculiarities of one creed, but on one article very generally if not universally to be found in them.
3. Our object in adverting to the speculations of geology is to direct the eye to a point in the physical history which it assigns to our globe, when, on every principle of our commonly received philosophy, there would be required a special interposition on the part of a God. It is to exhibit what we have long regarded as the nearest to a direct and experimental manifestation of a Creative Process. It is to make demonstration of a time when the goodliest specimens of organization that now abound in our world did not exist—and are therefore a consequent, from which we are fully warranted to reason of the antecedent that went before it. We know not from what quarter to borrow a more effectual weapon, for putting to flight the atheistical imagination of the anima) and vegetable kingdoms, being upheld by a chain that is lost in a posterior direction among the obscurities of the distant future, and lost in an anterior direction among the still more formidable recesses of the eternity that is past. It is enough, if, amid the loose and unsettled speculations of geology, they generally point to this, that the chain is not endless but has had a definite commencement