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in the narrative he has given of the creation, is thus in every relation wholly improbable.
These considerations, then,—which are hereafter to be confirmed by others equally decisive and emphatic,-sufficiently show that the expedients by which it has been supposed that the narrative in Genesis is brought into harmony with the doctrines of geology, so far from answering that end, only serve to demonstrate that their reconciliation is impossible.
The theory of the existence of the earth and its races through innumerable ages, is thus in direct antagonism with that part of the Mosaic record which defines the period of the creation, and if held to be true, renders the conclusion natural and unavoidable, that that record is not. And such, it is well known, is the result to which it carries great numbers of those to whom it is taught. Wherever advanced by a popular lecturer, and exhibited as a truth that is demonstrated by the strata of the earth, there it will be found it has left the impression very generally on the hearers that the Mosaic account of the creation is convicted of error; and thence cannot be regarded as having been written by inspiration. It has, indeed, been so boldly and speciously taught for many years in books, in laboratories, in lyceums, in popular lectures and sermons, that it has become a very common impression with the young that the first
But that inference, if adopted, cannot be restricted
* “ The circulation of systems of natural history contrary to the Mosaic revelation has been greatly extended, by representing them," as the theory held by Dr. Buckland, Professor Sedgwick, and others does, “as wholly unconnected with Christianity, the certainty of which, it is said, is independent of that of the Jewish religion, or at least of the first chapters of Genesis: an assertion which even a number of Christian ministers have been made to believe. It is thus that a great number of individuals have allowed themselves to be carried away by pretended natural science, without being aware of its tendency; that it has become a kind of fashion ; that its general results, exhibited as demonstrated propositions, have been circulated through all classes of society; and that, at length, the greater part of those who pretend to any information, are fearful of incurring the charge of ignorance, if they do not side with those who consider the first of our sacred books as a fiction. ... The consequence is that men of letters who are not naturalists, putting implicit faith in what is so positively asserted to be the evidence of nature, have reproduced some arguments against revelation, which otherwise would not have had any influence.”—De Luc's Letters to Blumenbach, pp. 46, 47.
A writer in the Christian Observer, for May, 1834, says of the difficulties of the question : “We are come to where four cross-roads meet; for, first, we must deny the geological facts and inferences ; or, secondly, we must give up the popular interpretation of the first chapter of Genesis, and reconcile the facts to the sacred text by a new one; or, thirdly, we must deny that the Bible touches at all upon the question ; or, fourthly, we must give up the inspiration of the Bible as to its physical statemenis."
“If some plan of reconciliation be not devised, we are at the mercy of the infidel, who, in spite of all our protests and reasonings, will not fail to prejudice the cause of revelation, by appeals to persons of education and influence, setting before them the physical facts and conclusions, and telling them that their religious instructors refuse to listen to them, and instead of showing them that the inspired narrative is not opposed to actual plienomena, would at once stop investigation as heretical and blasphemous.”-Pp. 313, 314. to that chapter. To pronounce the history there given a fiction, because of its representation that the heavens, the earth, and the sea and all that in them is, were created in six days, is to make it logically necessary to deny the inspiration of every other part of the book, and of the law that is associated with it; as that representation was expressly reaffirmed by the Most High himself at Sinai, incorporated in the law of the sabbath, and presented as the reason of the consecration of that day to rest; and was renewed again to Moses, on delivering to him the tables on which it was written. “Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God : in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor the stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day, and hallowed it.” Exodus xx. 11. “Wherefore the children of Israel shall keep the sabbath to observe the sabbath throughout their generations, a perpetual covenant, a sign between me and the children of Israel for ever; for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and on the seventh day he rested and was refreshed.” Exodus xxxi. 16, 17. It is incredible that God should have thus with his own voice repeated that declaration on his revealing himself in glory to the Israelitish people at Sinai, and institution of the law, and graven it with his own finger on the tables of stone, if it was not true; if it were such a sheer and enormous error as modern geology represents. It is impossible from his rectitude. There would then have been no conceivable motive for founding the institution of the sabbath on such a reason. As he had a perfect right to establish it, independently of the consideration whether he created the world and its vegetable and animal races in six days, or any other period, why should he offer his having accomplished it in six days, and rested the seventh, as the reason of his consecrating the seventh as a day of rest, unless he had actually wrought it in those six days ? It is infinitely impossible that he should have renewed and ratified that declaration in so solemn a manner, and made it an element of his legislation that was for ever to be kept before the eyes of mankind, if, as geology teaches, it is confuted by his natural works, that are equally open to their inspection ; if the strata of the earth which they were soon to explore and read, contain a record which shows that the date of the creation was innumerable ages earlier. It would have been to overthrow his authority, instead of establishing it. If, then, as geology contends, the record on the table of the law is convicted of falsehood by another record which he has graven in ineffaceable characters on the strata of the earth, it is impossible that the law can have proceeded from him, and the whole system of legislation associated with it must, like the first chapter of Genesis, be rejected as a fiction. To suppose it can be otherwise, is to suppose that he has, in the most momentous act of his administration, proclaimed a falsehood which was soon to be detected by his creatures, and place them under an inevitable necessity of distrusting his truth, his uprightness, and his wisdom.
Nor does that conclusion terminate at this point. If that announcement from Sinai, and ratification of the history of the creation given in Genesis, is held to be a fiction, it must of necessity lead to the rejection of the whole Pentateuch as a fabrication. If, without any conceivable motive, and against every consideration that would govern a wise and holy being, a misrepresentation so stupendous, and so sure to be detected and exposed, is incorporated in the decalogue itself, both as it is represented to have been pronounced by the Almighty Lawgiver, and written by him on the tables of stone, what certainty can be felt that any of the other recitals or declarations are not equally false? If no trust is to be placed in the awful attestations which God is represented to have given to that part of the law, no other attestations which he is said to have given the other enactments and institutions can be entitled to reliance. Neither visible theophanies, audible voices, miracles, nor pro