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tion of the sun and moon, and their display in the sky or firmament, it gives us, as I have just observed, no information whatever. We only know that the flow of luminous matter which measured them advanced or was kindled up by regular tides ; so that it alternately appeared and disappeared, commencing with a dawn and terminating with a dusk or darkness; for at the close of each it is said, “and the evening and the morning were the first day :" or, more literally, as indeed suggested in the marginal reading of our national version," and there was evening and there was morning the first day;" that is, there was dusk and dawn, and by no means such an evening and morning as we have at present. And hence, Origen observes, that “no one of a sound mind can imagine there was an evening and a morning during the first three days without a sun."* So that the passage should, perhaps, be rendered, as most strictly it might be," and there was dusk as there was dawn, the first
ויהי ערב ויהי בקר יום אחר-".day
It has, indeed, been contended, that each of these periods constituted a solar day, or a revolution of the earth round its own axis, and consequently answered to the measure of twenty-four hours, as at present. But to maintain this opinion it is necessary to suppose that the sun and the moon were set in the sky “to rule over the day and over the night,”—“to divide the light from the darkness,”—and to “be for signs, and for seasons, and for days, and for years," on or before the very first day or generation ; for otherwise there could be no solar day, or such as we have at present, produced by a revolution of the earth round her own axis. And there have not been wanting cosmologists and critics, as Whiston and Rosenmüller, who have maintained that the sun and the moon were created antecedently to the earth; that they had their stations allotted them in the heavens, and actually produced solar days and diurnal revolutions of the earth from the first. But though their own hypothesis require this, the idea is directly opposed to the spirit and the letter of the Mosaic narrative, and hence can in no respect be acceded to by any one who is anxious to preserve this narrative in its integrity and simplicity.
How much more explanatory and pertinent is the remark of our own excellent Bishop Hall, when speaking of the primeval light, that during the first three days illuminated the face of nature: “ Not,” says he, “ of the sun or stars, WHICH WERE NOT YET CREATED ; but a common brightness only, to distinguish THE TIME, and to remedy the former confused darkness.” And how admirably to the same effect does Bishop Beveridge thus express himself: " When he said, let there be light, by that word the light, WHICH WAS NOT BEFORE, BEGAN TO BE. But when he said (that is, three days or generations afterward), let there be lights in the firmament, to divide the day from the night, he thereby GAVE LAWS TO THE LIGHT he had before made, where he would have it be, and what he would have it do. This is what we call the law of nature: that law which God hath put into the nature of every thing; whereby it always keeps itself within such bounds, and acts according to such rules, as God hath set it, and by that means shows forth the glory of his wisdom and power.”
Nothing, indeed, can be clearer, than that, according to Moses, the sun and the moon were only set in the heavens during the fourth day or generation in the work of creation ; and that, whatever may be the relative proportion of the times and the seasons, the light and the darkness, the day and the night, that have occurred subsequently, we have no reason to suppose they occurred in the same proportion antecedently; since we are expressly told by the same inspired writer, that their immediate office, on being set in the sky, was to RULE these divisions of time, as they have ruled them, with a single miraculous exception or two, ever since, and to divide the light from the darkness, as it has since been divided.
We have no knowledge whatever, therefore, of the length of the first three or four days or GENERATIONS that marked the great work of creation, antecedently to the completion of the sun and moon, and their appointment to their respective posts. “And hence, for all that appears to the contrary, they may
* NIEpl 'Apxdu: in loc.
have been as long as the Wernerian system, and the book of nature, and i may add the term GENERATIONS, employed by Moses himself, seem to indicate.
Nor let it be supposed for a moment, that the term day in the Hebrew tongue seems to demand a limitation to the period of four-and-twenty hours, as it ordinarily imports; for there is no term in any language that is used with a wider latitude of construction than the Hebrew or (jom), or its Arabic form, which is the word for day in the original. We are constantly, indeed, employing this very word, as Englishmen, with no small degree of freedom, in our own age; for you will all allow me to drop the phrase "in our own age,” and to adopt “in our own day” in its stead; thus making age and day terms of similar import. But in Hebrew the same term is employed, if possible, in a still wider range of interpretation : for it not only denotes, as with ourselves, half a diurnal revolution of the earth, or a whole diurnal revoz lution, but in many instances an entire year, or revolution of the earth round the sun; and this not only in the prophetic writings, which are often apo pealed to in support of this remark, but in plain historical narrative as well. Thus in Exod. xiii. 10, the verse, " thou shalt keep this ordinance in its season from year to year," if literally rendered, would be “through days of days,” or,
through days upon days,”-D'O'p. And in like manner; Judges, xvii. 16, “I will give thee ten shekels of silver by the year,” if strictly interpreted, would be “per dies for the days,"—that is, “ for the ANNUAL CIRCLE of days,”-opil.
Sometimes, again, the Hebrew Dr, or day, comprises the whole term of life, as in 1 Chron. xxix. 15—
Our days (12'0') on earth are a shadow,
So again, Job, xiv. 6
Turn from him that he may rest,
But the clearest and most pertinent proof of the latitude with which the term Ol', or day, is employed in the Hebrew Scriptures, is in the very narra. tive of the creation before us: for after having stated in the first chapter of Genesis that the work of creation occupied a period of six days, the same inspired writer, in recapitulating his statement, chap. ii. 4, proceeds to tell us, “these are”-or rather, “such were the GENERATIONS of the heavens and of the earth when they were created; IN THE DAY (13) that the Lord God made the earth and the heavens.” In which passage Moses distinctly tells us that, in the preceding chapter, he has used the term O1', day, in the sense of generation, succession, or epoch; while we find him here extending the same terin day to the whole hexaemeron, the entire term of time, whatever it may be, that these six days or generations filled up. So that the sense given to the word by Moses, instead of limiting us to the idea of twenty-four hours duration, naturally leads us to ascribe, not only a different; but a much enlarged extent of time to the divisions he has marked by the word Øl, or DAY: or at least to those terms which occurred before the government of the sun and the moon was established, and the heavenly orrery commenced its harmonious action.
Whether, indeed, the days from this fast period, constituting the fifth and sixth, were of a different length from any of the preceding, which may also have differed from each other, and were strictly diurnal revolutions of twenty-four hours, it is impossible exactly to determine. But it is a ques: tion which by no means affects the actual face of nature or the geological system before us: for as the third or horizontal series of rocks in which petrisactions of KNOWN animal and vegetable substances begin to make their appearance must have continued to augment for ages after the completion of the hexaemeron, or six epochs of creation, whatever be the duration assigned to them; and as the two loftiest, the fourth and fifth sets of rocks,
or the alluvial and volcanic, are still forming, and have been, ever since the great work of creation was completed, the precise duration of the last two days of creative labour can have no influence upon this question. But to a plain yet attentive reader of the Mosaic account even these two days must, I think, appear to have been of a far more protracted length than that of twenty-four hours each, and especially the sixth day; for it is difficult to conceive how the first parent of mankind could have got through the vast extent of work assigned to him within the short term of twelve or fourteen hours of daylight, without a miracle, which is by no means intimated to us, and as diffi. cult to suppose that he was employed through the night. On this last day were created, as we learn from Gen. i. 24-28, all the land-animals after their kind, cattle, and wild beasts, and reptiles; then Adam himself, but alone; who was next, as we learn from ch. ii. 15—22, taken and put into the garden of Eden, to dress it and to keep it ; where he had explained to him the trees he might eat of, and the tree he might not; after which were brought to him, that he might make himself acquainted with their respective natures, every beast of the field and every fowl of the air; to all of whom he gave names as soon as their respective characters became known to him. Subsequently to which (for at this time, v. 20, there was not found a help-meet for him), he was plunged into a deep sleep, when the woman was formed out of a part of himself, which completed the creative labour of this last day alone.
That the same Almighty Power who created light by a word, saying 718 177") 798 77“ be light! and light was,
,99* could have ruled the whole of this, or even formed the universe, by a word, as well, is not to be doubted; but as both the book of revelation and the book of nature concur in telling us that such was not the fact, and that the work of creation went on progressively, and under the influence of a code of natural laws, we are called upon to examine into the march of this marvellous progress by the laws of nature referred to, and to understand it by their operations. Nor is it more derogatory to Him with whom a thousand years are as one day, and one day as a thousand years, to suppose that He allotted six hundred or six thousand years to the completion of his design, than that He took six solar days for the purpose; and surely there is something far more magnificent in conceiv. ing the world to have gradually attained form, order, and vitality, by the mere operation of powers communicated to it in a state of chaos, through a single command, which instantly took effect and commenced, and persevered and perfected the design proposed, than in conceiving the Almighty engaged in personal and continuous exertions, though for a more limited period of time.
Thus, in progressive order, uprose the stupendous system of the world : the bright host of morning stars shouted together on its birth-day; and the eternal Creator looked down with complacency on the finished fabric, and saw that it was good.”
ON ORGANIZED BODIES, AND THE STRUCTURE OF PLANTS COMPARED WITH THAT
From the unorganized world, which has formed the main subject of our last two lectures, let us now rise a step higher in the scale of creation; and ascend from insentient matter to life, under the various modifications it assumes, and the means by which it is upheld and transmitted.
If I dig up a stone, and remove it from one place to another, the stone will suffer no alteration by the change of place; but if I dig up a plant and remove it, the plant will instantly sicken, and perhaps die. What is the cause of this
Gen, i. 3.
difference? Both have proceeded from a minute molecule, a nucleus or a germ; both have a tendency to preserve their derivative or family configuration, and both have been augmented and perfected from one common soit. If I break the stone to pieces, every individual fragment will be found pos sessed of the characteristic powers of the aggregate mass; it is only altered in its shape and magnitude : but if I tear off a branch from the plant, the branch will instantly wither, and lose the specific properties of the parent stock.
No external examination, or reasoning à priori will explain this difference of effect. It is only by a minute attention to the relative histories, interior structures, and modes of growth of the two substances, that we are enabled to offer any thing like a satisfactory answer; and by such examination we find that the stone has been produced fortuitously, has grown by external accretion, and can only be destroyed by mechanical or chemical force; while the plant has been produced by generation, has grown by nutrition, and been destroyed by death : that it has been actuated by an internal power, and possessed of parts mutually dependent and contributory to each other's functions.
In what this internal power consists we know not. Differently modified, we meet with it in both plants and animals; and wherever we find it we denominate it the principle of life, and distinguish the individual substance it actuates by the name of an organized being. And hence, all the various bodies in nature arrange themselves under the two divisions of organized and unorganized : the former possessing an origin hy generation, growth by nutrition, and a termination by death; and the latter a fortuitous origin, external growth, and a termination by chemical or mechanical force.
This distinction is clear, and it forms a boundary that does not seem to be broken in upon by a single exception. In what, indeed, that wonderful power of crystallization consists, or by what means it operates, which gives a definite and geometrical figure to the nucleus or primary molecule of every distinct species of crystal; and which, with an accuracy that laughs at all human precision, continues to impress the same figure upon the growing crystal through every stage of its enlargement, thus naturally separating one species from another, and enabling us to discriminate each by its geometrical shape alone--we know not: but even here, where we meet with an approach towards that formative effort, that internal action and consent of parts which peculiarly characterize the living substance, there is not the smallest trace of an organized arrangement; while the origin is clearly fortuitous, and the growth altogether external, from the mere apposition of surrounding matter.
So, on the other hand, in corals, sponges, and fuci, which form the lowest natural orders among arimals and vegetables, and the first of which seems to constitute the link that connects the animal and vegetable with the mineral world,—for it has in different periods been ascribed to each,-simple as is their structure, and obtuse as is the living principle that actuates them, we have still sufficient marks of an organized make; of an origin by generation, the generation of buds or bulbs, of growth by nutrition, and of termination by death.
But the animal world differs from the vegetable as widely as both these differ from the mineral. How are we to distinguish the organization of animals from that of plants ?-In what does their difference consist ? and here I am obliged to confess, that the boundary is by no means so clearly marked out; and that we are for the most part compelled to characterize the difference rather by description than by definition. Nothing, indeed, is easier than to distinguish animals and vegetables in their more perfect states: we can make no mistake between a horse and a horse-chestnut tree, a butterfly and a blade of grass. We behold the plant confined to a particular spot, deriving the whole of its nutriment from such spot, and affording no mark either of consciousness or sensation; we behold the animal, on the contrary, capable of moving at pleasure from one place to another, and exhibiting not only marks of consciousness and sensation, but often of a very high degree of intelligence as well. Yet, if we hence lay down consciousness or sensation, and locomotion, as the two characteristic features of animal life, we
shall soon find our definition untenable; for while the Linnæan class of worms affords instances, in perhaps every one of its orders, of animals destitute of locomotion, and evincing no mark of consciousness or sensation, there are various species of plants that are strictly locomotive, and that discover a niuch nearer approach to a sensitive faculty.
However striking, therefore, the distinctions between animal and vegetable life, in their more perfect and elaborate forms, as we approach the contiguous extremities of the two kingdoms we find these distinctions fading away so gradually,
Shade, unperceived, so softening into shade; and the mutual advances so close and intimate, that it becomes a task of no common difficulty to draw a line of distinction between them, or to determine to which of them an individual may belong. And it is probable, that that extraordinary order of beings called zoophytes, or animated plants, as the term imports, and which by Woodward and Beaumont were arranged as minerals, and by Ray and Lister as vegetables, have at last obtained an introduction into the animal kingdom,t less on account of any other property they possess, than of their affording, on being burnt, an ammoniacal smell like that which issues from burnt bones, or any other animal organs, and which is seldom or never observed from burnt vegetable substances of a decided and unquestionable character. Ammonia, however, upon destructive distillation, is met with in small quantities in particular parts of most if not of all vegetables, though never perhaps in the whole plant. Thus it occurs slightly in the wood or vegetable fibre; in extract, gum-mucilage, camphor, resin, and balsam; gumresin, gluten, and caoutchouc : besides those substances that are common to both animals and vegetables, as sugar, fixed oil, albumen, fibrine, and gelatine. There are some plants, however, that even in their open exposure to a burning heat give forth an ammoniacal smell closely approaching to that of animal substance. The clavarias or club-tops, and many other funguses, do this. But a distinction in the degree of odour may even here be observed, is accurately attended to. Yet the clavarias were once regarded as zoophytes, and are arranged by Millar in the same division as the corals and corallines. I
M. de Mirbel, in his very excellent treatise “ On the Anatomy and Physiology of Plants," has endeavoured to lay down a distinction betwcen the animal and the vegetable world in the following terms, and it is a distinction which seems to be approved by Sir Edward Smith ; “ Plants alone have a power of drawing nourishment from inorganic matter, mere earths, salts, or airs; substances incapable of nourishing animals, which only feed on what is or has been organized matter, either of a vegetable or animal nature. So that it should seem to be the office of vegetable life alone to transform dead matter into organized living bodies." Whence another learned French physiologist, M. Richerand, has observed that the aliments by which animals are nourished are selected from vegetable or animal substances alone; the elements of the mineral kingdom being too heterogeneous to the nature of animals to be converted into their own substance without being first elaborated by vegetable life ; whence plants, says M. Richerand, may be considered as the laboratory in which nature prepares aliment for animals.||
• Phil. Trans. xiii. 277.
† Parkinson's Organic Remains, i. 23, ii. 157, 158. $ Several species of this genus of fungi have very singular properties: thus the c. hæmatodes has so near a resernblance to tanned leather, though somewhat thinner and softer, as to be named oak-leather club-top, from its being chiefly found in the clefts and hollows of oak-trees. In Ireland, it is employed as leather to dress wounds with ; and, in Virginia, to spread plasters upon.
There are some cryptogamic plants, and especially among the mosses, that can be hardly made to burn by any means. Such is the fontinella antipyretica, so called on this very account; and which is hence in common use among the Scandinavians, as a lining for their chimney sides, and the inside of their chim. neys, by way of preservation. So that here we have an approach o mineral instead of to animal subslances, and especi:lly to he asbestos and other species of talcose earths. There is one species of byssus, another curious genus of mosses, that t kes the specific name of asbestos from this very property. It is found in the Swedish copper mins of Westmann-land in large quantities, and when exposed to a red heat. instead of being consumed, is vitrified.
Traité d'Anatomie et de Physiologie Végétale, i. 19. 1 Elemens de Physiologie, &c. cap. de la Digestion.