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tory of the Primary rocks, which composed the first solid materials of the Globe, to a probable condition of universal Fusion, incompatible with the existence of any forms of organic life, and saw reason to conclude that as the crust of the Globe became gradually reduced in temperature, the unstratified crystalline rocks, and stratified rocks produced by their destruction, were disposed and modified, during long periods of time, by physical forces, the same in kind with those which actually subsist, but more intense in their degree of operation; and that the result has been to adapt our planet to become the receptacle of divers races of vegetable and animal beings, and finally to render it a fit and convenient habitation for Mankind.
We have seen still farther that the surface of the Land, and the Waters of the Sea have during long periods, and at distant intervals of time, preceding the Creation of our species, been peopled with many different races of Vegetables and Animals, supplying the place of other races that had gone before them; and in all these phenomena, considered singly, we have found evidence of Method and Design. We have moreover seen such a systematic recurrence of analogous Designs, producing various ends by various combinations of Mechanism, multiplied almost to infinity in their details of application, yet all constructed on the same few common fundamental principles which pervade the living forms of organized Beings, that we reasonably conclude all these past and present contrivances to be parts of a comprehensive and connected whole, originating in the Will and Power of one and the same Creator.
Had the number or nature of the material Elements appeared to have been different under former conditions of the Earth, or had the Laws which have regulated the phenomena of inorganic matter, been subjected to change at various Epochs, during the progress of the many formations of which Geology takes cognizance, there might indeed have been proofs of Wisdom and Power in such unconnected
phenomena, but they would have been insufficient to demonstrate the Unity and Universal Agency of the same eternal and supreme First Cause of all things.
Again, had Geology gone no farther than to prove the existence of multifarious examples of Design, its evidences would indeed have been decisive against the Atheist; but if such Design had been manifested only by distinct and dissimilar systems of Organization, and independent Mechanisms, connected together by no analogies, and bearing no relations to one another, or to any existing types in the Animal or Vegetable kingdoms, these demonstrations of Design, although affording evidence of Intelligence and Power, would not have proved a common origin in the Will of one and the same Creator; and the Polytheist might have appealed to such non-accordant and inharmonious systems, as affording indications of the agency of many independent Intelligences, and as corroborating his theory of a plurality of Gods.
But the argument which would infer a Unity of cause, from unity of effects, repeated through various and complex systems of organization widely remote from each other in time and place and circumstances, applies with accumulative force, when we not only can expand the details of facts on which it is founded, over the entire surface of the present world, but are enabled to comprehend in the same catagory all the various extinct forms of many preceding systems of organization, which we find entombed within the bowels of the Earth. It was well observed by Paley, respecting the variations we find in living species of Plants and Animals, in distant regions and under various climates, that "We never get amongst such original or totally different modes of Existence, as to indicate that we are come into the province of a different Creator, or under the direction of a different WilL"* And the very extensive subterranean researches that have more recently been made, have greatly enlarged the range of Facts in accordance with those on which Paley grounded this assertion.
* Paley Nat. Theol. p. 450. Chap, on the Unity of the Deity.
In all the numerous examples of Design which we have selected from the various animal and vegetable remains, that occur in a fossil state, there is such a never-failing Identity in the fundamental principles of their construction, and such uniform adoption of analogous means, to produce various ends, with so much only of departure from one common type of mechanism, as was requisite to adapt each instrument to its own especial function, and to fit each Species to its peculiar place and office in the scale of created Beings, that we can scarcely fail to acknowledge in all these facts, a Demonstration of the Unity, of the Intelligence, in which such transcendent Harmony originated; and we may almost dare to assert that neither Atheism nor Polytheism would ever have found acceptance in the World, had the evidences of high Intelligence and of Unity of Design, which are disclosed by modern discoveries in physical science, been fully known to the Authors, or the Abettors of Systems to which they are so diametrically opposed. "It is the same handwriting that we read, the same system and contrivance that we trace, the same unity of object, and relation to final causes, which we see maintained throughout, and constantly proclaiming the Unity of the great divine Original.*
It has been stated in our Sixth Chapter, on primary stratified rocks, that Geology has rendered an important service to Natural Theology, in demonstrating by evidences peculiar to itself, that there was a time when none of the existing forms of organic beings had appeared upon our Planet, and that the doctrines of the derivation of living species either by Development and Transmutation] from other species, or by an Eternal Succession from preceding individuals of the same species, without any evidence of a Beginning or prospect of an End, has no where been met by so full an answer, as that afforded by the phenomena, of fossil Organic Remains.
* Btickland's Inaug. Lect. 1819, p. 13.
t As a misunderstanding may arise in the minds of persons not familiar with the language of physiology, respecting the import of the word De. velopment, it may be proper here to state, that in its primary sense, it is applied to express the organic changes which take place in the bodies of every animal and vegetable Being, from their embryo state, until they arrive at full maturity. In a more extended sense, the term is also applied to those progressive changes in fossil genera and species, which have followed one another during the deposition of the strata of the earth, in the course of the gradual advancement of the grand system of Creation. The same term has been adopted by Lamarck, to express his hypothetical views of the derivation of existing species from preceding species, by successive Transmutations of one form of organization into another form, independent of the influence of any creative Agent. It is important that these distinctions should be rightly understood, lest the frequent application of the word Development, which occurs in the writings of modern physiologists, should lead to a 'Use inference, that the use of this term implies an admission of the theory of Transmutation with which Lamarck has associated it. » British Critic, No, XVII. Jan. 1831, p. 194,
In the course of our inquiry, we have found abundant proofs, both of the Beginning and the End of several successive systems of animal and vegetable life; each compelling us to refer its origin to the direct agency of Creative Interference; "We conceive it undeniable, that we see, in the transition from an Earth peopled by one set of animals to the same Earth swarming with entirely new forms of organic life, a distinct manifestation of creative power transcending the operation of known laws of nature: and it appears to us, that Geology has thus lighted a new lamp along the path cf Natural Theology."*
Whatever alarm therefore may have been excited in the earlier stages of their development, the time is now arrived when Geological discoveries appear to be so far from disclosing any phenomena, that are not in harmony with the arguments supplied by other branches of physical Science, in proof of the existence and agency of One and the same all-wise and all-powerful Creator, that they add to the evidences of Natural Religion links of high importance that have confessedly been wanting, and are now filled up by facts which the investigation of the structure of the Earth has brought to light.
"If I understand Geology aright, (says Professor Hitchcock,) so far from touching the eternity of the world, it proves more directly than any other science can, that its revolutions and races of inhabitants had a commencement, and that it contains within itself the chemical energies, which need only to be set at liberty, by the will of their Creator, to accomplish its destruction. Because this science teaches that the revolutions of nature have occupied immense periods of time, it does not therefore teach that they form an eternal series. It only enlarges our conceptions of the Deity; and when men shall cease to regard Geology with jealousy and narrow-minded prejudices, they will find that it opens fields of research and contemplation as wide and as grand as astronomy itself."* f
"There is in truth, (says Bishop Blomfield) no opposition nor inconsistency between Religion and Science, commonly so called, except that which has been conjured up by injudicious zeal or false philosophy, mistaking the ends of a divine revelation." And again in another passage of the same powerful discourse, after defining the proper objects for the exercise of the human understanding, his Lordship most justly observes, " Under these limitations and corrections we may join in the praises which are lavished upon philosophy and science, and fearlessly go forth with their votaries into all the various paths of research, by which the mind of man pierces into the hidden treasures of nature;
* Hitchcock's Geology of Massachusetts, p. 395.
t "Why should wo hesitate to admit the existenee of our Globe through periods as long as geological researches require; since the sacred word does not declare the time of its original creation; and since such a view of its antiquity enlarges our ideas of the operations of the Deity in respect to duration, as much as astronomy does in regard to space? Instead of bringing us into collision with Moses, it seems to me that Geology furnishes us with some of the grandest conceptions of the Divine Attributes and Plans to be found in the whole circle of human knowledge." Hitchcock's Geology of Massachusetts, 1835, p. 225.