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One of the most remarkable of these fossil Mollusca is the Ammonite. It is an undoubted fact of Natural history, that there was a time when the Ammonite and the Nautilus lived together, when in the poetic language of the geologist,
“ Hand in hand, from strand to strand,
They sailed in mirth and glee;
Twin sisters of the sea !"*
But the Ammonite has long since czased to exist. The entire genus has become extinct. The Nautilus, and the Ammonite occur in the earliest formations, and are found side by side up to the chalk, which becomes the last resting place of the Ammonite. Not a single specimen of that genus has ever been found in deposits that overlie the chalk, whereas the Nautilus survives at the present day. These twin-sisters were then and there parted for ever.
“ They came at last to a sea long past,
But as they reached its shore, The Almighty's breath, spoke out in death,
And the Ammonite lived no more !
As over the deep it strays,
Its companion of early days."
* See Appendix.
There stands the truth stamped on the medals of Creation. Can any person explain it? The difficulty may be stated in the words of Scripture, where we perceive a corresponding principle of “election,” and with equal perplexity, as regards the reason. One has been taken, and the other left. Why should the Nautilus be spared ? There is no essential difference as regards their “order.” They are both “shell fish,” yet, one still survives, the other is ages ago extinct.
In like manner, when we read in the Bible, that God sets up one and puts down another," or, when it is said, “ Then shall two be in the field ; the one shall be taken and the other left.” [Matt. xxiv. 40.] We can assign no earthly reason for this, beyond the simple fact, that the Almighty Sovereign “ doeth according to His will, in the armies of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth, and none can stay His hand, or, say, what doest Thou.” [Daniel iv. 35.]
There are certain facts in the “two Theologies," as Hugh Miller calls them, which never have been, and perhaps never, this side the grave, will be explained. “ The secret things belong unto the Lord,” and it is surely no mark of the disciple of true science to "rush
upon forbidden ground, and presume to dogmatise on the mysteries, either of Creation, or, of Redemption. The ephemeral notoriety which may be gained by the
suggestions of eccentric genius, is but a feeble recompense compared with the unhallowed distinction which such men attain for their daring enterprise, in venturing “to intrude into those things which they have not seen, vainly puffed by their fleshly mind.” Whenever we encounter such facts as “the testimony of the rocks " displays, it should make us feel how small man is, how limited his powers of observation, and how impossible it is to form a connected chain of events from the remote and mysterious past, to the actual and tangible present.
It has been well observed by Owen Felltham that, “ God has left three books to the world, in each of which He may easily be found—the Book of the Creatures [Creation], the Book of Conscience, and His Written Word. The first shews His omnipotence—the second His justice--and the third His mercy and goodness. So, though there be none of them so barren of the rudiments of knowledge, but is sufficient to leave all without excuse; yet in them all I find all the good, that ever the Heathen, or, the Christian hath published abroad. In the first is all Natural Philosophy—in the second all Moral Philosophy -in the third, all true Divinity. To those admirable pillars of all human learning, (the Philosophers), God shewed Himself in His omnipotence and justice, but seemed, as it were, to conceal His mercy. To us Christians, He shines in that which out-shines all His works
His mercy. Oh! how should we re-gratulate His favours for so immense a benefit, wherein secluding Himself from others, He hath wholly imparted Himself to us? In the first of these (The Book of Creation) I will admire His works, by a serious meditation of the wonders in the creatures. In the second (the Book of Conscience) I will reverence His justice, by the secret and inmost checks of the conscience. In the third (the Bible), embrace His love, by laying hold on these promises, wherein He hath not only left me means to know Him, but to love Him, rest in Him, and enjoy Him for ever.”
With three Bibles open before us we can have no valid excuse, either for ignorance, or, unbelief, except that which attaches to philosophers falsely so called--"professing themselves to be wise, they became fools. They became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.” (Rom. i. 21, 22.] With a man suffering from colour-blindness, it is only waste of time and words to hold any argument.
“Perver sa confirmat Audacia." The fool of old, said only in his heart, there is no God, but, the modern fool says it openly, and boldly claims the reputation of wit, and good sense, while he does not like to retain God in his knowledge, but disputes His Being, Attributes, and Providence,
“Learn each small people's genius, policies,
The ant's republic, and the realm of bees;
Pope (Essay on Man.)
THESE lines from Pope express, to some extent, the idea of Unity in Variety, in the sense in which it is regarded in the foregoing pages, viz., separate administrations, governed by the One Lord, illustrating the same faith, baptised into the same Spirit, and all bearing their united testimony to the same loving kindness. so apt to exalt unduly our own system, whatever it be, that we find it difficult to look very kindly upon any other. We imagine when we hear of “so many sects," that there can be nothing but inextricable confusion among them all. Yet, possibly, a careful examination might teach us that the case is not so bad as we suppose,