« PreviousContinue »
since been remarked, especially by the late Sir James Hall, whose active and intelligent mind has suggested so many original and acute remarks on the phenomena of nature, as well as in the wide field of scientific research.. As we have already found that the action of currents is at all times most powerful in the ocean, and must have occasioned many wonderful effects at the period now in question, we cannot be surprised, on the discovery of such self-evident proofs; nor can we avoid being struck with admiration at the consistent and remarkable manner in which all these evidences concur towards the same points, exhibited in the Inspired History. It is to this eventful period, and to it alone, that we must also look for a solution of the great question with respect to the valleys of the earth's surface, about which so many remarkable theories have been, from time to time, brought forth. We can now plainly perceive what, in these philosophical theories, has never been made clear to the intelligence, that the rounded forms of our hills, and the easy rotundity of our secondary slopes, must all have been occasioned by the action of the retiring waters upon the soft and recent deposits. We now plainly perceive, why our mountain lowland valleys, are much longer and more extensive than the action of their running streams could possibly bave occasioned, even in MILLIONS of years.
We now also find a natural and consistent reason for many deep sections of sandy and calcareous rocks, by rapid streams, on every part of the earth's surface. We find the strata of one side so exactly corresponding with those of the other, that no doubt can exist as to their once having formed one united deposit, through which we have, hitherto, supposed the rivers must have taken unlimited periods, to work their deepened beds. We cannot now wonder if we found a difficulty in makįng these phenomena correspond with the existing laws of nature; for they differ in a manner so material from every thing now observed in action in the world, that no human ingenuity could possibly clear
the difficulty. Nothing short of that Divine Inspiration in the Sacred Scripture History, which has been vouchsafed to us, for the most beneficent ends, could ever have enlightened our benighted minds, which, in rejecting this powerful evidence, have hitherto wandered in a maze of inextricable obscurity. Let it not be urged for the future, as has hitherto so often been done in our philosophical schools, that Scripture was graciously bestowed upon us only for moral, and not for scientific purposes. If we make a humble and proper use of the indications on many philosophical enquiries, which are presented to us in the Inspired Writings, however slight they may appear, we cannot but confess, that every word of Scripture " has been written for our learn
ing,” and that no part of it has, consequently, been given us in vain.
From the indications derived from this Inspired source alone, could we have attained the conclusions to which the above phenomena consistently
lead us :
First, that coal is an undoubted vegetable production.
Secondly, That it became embedded at a much more recent period, and in a much more rapid manner, than we have hitherto thought.
Thirdly, That it was an aqueous deposit.
Fourthly, That that aqueous medium was MARINE, and not LACUSTRINE; and,
Fifthly, That one or more beds, in many secondary strata, were formed with intervening ebb tides on the decline of the diluvial waters; and, consequently, that the theories of Geology, which advocate unlimited periods for the age of the earth, are not only contrary to our reason, but entirely opposed to those leading beacons which Scripture holds out for our guidance and instruction.
Elephants clothed with Hair and Wool.-Existing Instances
of this Variety, even within the Tropics.—Probable Identity between the Mammoth and the Asiatic Elephant. -Cuvier's Theory on this Subject inconsistent with Facts. -More Natural Conclusions.- Erroneous Theories respecting Fossils.— The Mastodon not confined to the Continents of America, as commonly supposed.- Instance of the great Mastodon in England.- Form of the Tusks of the Mastodon.—Erroneous Ideas on this Subject.
HAVING now tried upon its own merits this interesting and important question, respecting the former history of the earth, by the presumptive evidence derived from the northern fossil remains; and having, by conclusive, though indirect proofs, shown that the elephants, found in the ice of the Arctic regions, never could have been inhabitants of such high latitudes, but must, on the contrary, have all been drifted to their present beds by the natural currents, which have, at all times, prevailed in the ocean; and that these natives of tropical climates never could have existed but in the latitudes in which we now find them naturalized, notwithstanding the startling fact of some individuals having been found entire, and covered with a warm coat of hair and wool; I now proceed to bring forward, what may truly be considered a positive and direct evidence of the correctness of those conclusions to which we have been led. For, as many of the theories of Geology may be distinctly traced to the remarkable fossil animals, covered with a shaggy coat, which have already been so fully described, it is a point of the very highest interest and importance to Geology, to find that the arguments, grounded on this hairy covering, can no longer be of the smallest service in the support of such false and contradictory opinions. For it has, within a few years, been indisputably proved, that though neither the common Asiatic, nor the African elephant, requires, in general, such natural protection, owing to the heat of the climates which they most delight in; yet that a variety of the species actually exists in one district of Hindostan, in the immediate neighbourhood of the Hymalaya range, having a thick and shaggy coat of hair; and being thus suited, by the common laws of nature, to become the inhabitants of a region comparatively cold.