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From the views presented in the preceding portions of this volume, *it will be perceived—and on this point the writer would most strongly insist—that creation was a gradual and progressive work; that it resulted, not from the direct interposition and instantaneous operation of Almighty power, but rather from those natural, established processes wliich were developed from the inherent laws and tendencies of original matter. The supposition that all the majestic worlds of the universe were brought into being, as it were, in a moment, by one imperative command of the Almighty, it would seem can scarcely be entertained by the reasoning mind. This, let it be observed, is not the method in which God works. While it is freely acknowledged that Deity is omnipotent in the performance of his will, it is evidently impossible that He should act inconsistently with his own nature, or that he should pursue any course different from that method which is the natural and eternal expression of his own mind. Now all the evidence which can be obtained from the present order of Nature as to the peculiar mode of His operation, clearly shows that every result is accomplished—every effect produced, by the progressive action of established, invariable laws. Since, then, there is no proof that the Divine Being, who is immutable in his uature, has ever changed his mode of action in relation to the universe, it is clear that the obvious method by which ail spheres and existences are now governed, represent also the beautiful process by which they were first brought forth from the womb of Chaos.
The same important principle of progressive development which was manifested in the original formation of worlds, is exhibited also in the creation of other and higher forms of matter which appear upon their surfaces. While the worlds themselves may be regarded as primary productions, the various bodies which are developed on their superficies may be classed as secondary and ultimate productions. But it is an interest- , ing truth that, throughout the entire range of natural developments, the same general laws and processes are instituted in all cases, and made subservient to the end required; and so the same universal principles are made to apply to the secondary as well as to the primary creations, and the same manifestations of progressive growth are witnessed in the vegetable and animal productions of the planets, as in their own formation, evo- s lution, and harmonious unfoldings. It would be doing injustice to the general subject of this volume, if the writer neglected to refer particularly to the progressive developments which are carried forward on the-surfaces of worlds, subsequently to their separation from the parent-sun. This indeed is a theme which has superior claims on the attention of the human mind, and is capable of being investigated and understood in the light of reason, though it should lead the thoughts back
even through the clouds of flame that enveloped the chaotic
To illustrate this part of the .subject, it will be proper to confine our atteution wholly to this planet, since this may be considered as an appropriate index to, and example of, the various corresponding developments, which are taking place on other planets that exist in similar conditions. When first derived from its parent-source, the earth necessarily partook of a liquid and igneous nature, and was consequently~in a condition entirely unsuited to the production df any of the objects that now adorn the expanse of Nature. For ages the globe remained a barren and uninhabited waste, on whose surface life, beauty, and intelligence had as yet no birth. Propelled by the projectile force which it received from the sun, it rolled through space as an immense ball of fire, over which Death and Chaos seemed to reign supreme. And yet even in this crude and undeveloped mass were contained the germinal elements of all higher forms, which needed oidy appropriate conditions to be brought forth to a glorious perfection. In the lapse of time, therefore, which embraced a period of many centuries, the earth having thrown off in dense emanations a portion of its internal heat, and its surface being thus subjected to a cooling process, it began to assume a more dense and compact form ; so that ultimately, the principles of motion, association, and progression being in constant operation, all the present superior developments.of the primitive substance were caused to be unfolded, resulting in the existence of minerals, vegetables, animals, and man.
The reader should understand that these several developments were not all produced at the same time, but at different successive periods. Even the grossest mineral could not have been formed in a sea of liquid fire; plants could not have been born without an appropriate soil to nourish them; animals could not have existed without the previous growth of plants, and man never could have appeared on the earth's surface without the former creation of all these lower forms; so that the several kingdoms or departments of Nature as they are now viewed, represent so many successive gradations, or series, which must have occupied at least several centuries. Here may be observed the introduction of that sublime order which now forms a marked and beautiful characteristic of the works of creation. Instead of a confused, irregular, or convulsive gathering of the elements essential to form the higher organizations of matter, we behold only a steady and gradual unfolding of the several kingdoms of Nature, in accordance with the same established principle by which the oak is developed from the acorn, or the rose from its tiny bud. Every thing was created in its own appropriate time and place. It was necessary that the lowest, rudimental forms should undergo a preparatory process of refinement, before the higher order of animate creation could be developed ; and this, also, in obedience to the same unvarying law, was made to pass through the ascending stages of advancement, until at last Man, who is the king and priest of Nature, was brought forth to worship in this mighty temple.
I am aware that the presentation of these views will necessarily oppose the mythological revelations of antiquity; especially the doctrine which teaches that this earth, and all the myriad worlds that light the realms of space, including the varied animate and inanimate objects that exist upon the globe, wore created in precisely six natural days, composed of twentyfour hours each, and that God, having labored for this space of time, became weary, and rested on the seventh jday. But this doctrine, though it has been incorporated with the popular teachings on Jhe subject of Cosmogony, is in itself unsupported by any principle of reason, and is wholly unwarranted by the revealments ot geological science. The fact should not be overlooked that several of the most eminent and candid geologists in this country and in Europe, have given it as the result of their investigations, that the work of creation must have occupied a much longer space of time than is usually allotted to this process. Among these may be mentioned Mr. Faber, a learned English writer, who expresses the opinion, that, from various circumstances, including the discoveries of modern physiologists, it is clearly proved, "that the six demiurgic days, instead of being nothing more than six natural days, were each a period of very considerable length," embracing at least six thousand years. Another author, whose opin-' ion on this subject is entitled to consideration, is Professor Silliman, of this country, who " sees a necessity in the mechanism of the earth, for extending the days of creation to periods of time of indefinite length." "It is granted," says this author, "that Moses might have understood the word (day) according to the popular signification, and that this sense would be the most obvious one to every mind not informed as to the structure of the globe." At the same time he clearly expresses the opinion that, in the light of geological researches, the usual interpretation of this term as applied to the process of creation, is wholly inconsistent; and he remarks, "According to the popular understanding, the transition and secondary mountains, with their coal beds, plants, and animals, were formed in two or