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power were able to create the universe in a perfect state, why should the work have occupied a period of six days? Why should not all things have started into being, as light is described to have done, instantaneously? The only answer that can be made to such objections, is simply, that it was the will of God, who, in his wisdom, appears to have had, in this, an ulterior moral view for the good of mankind, and for the commemoration of his own power and glory by his creatures. Time has accordingly been, by his express command, subdivided into six days of labour, and one of rest : and so much of the Divine wisdom may be traced in this arrangement, that it has been generally admitted by the wisest men who have considered the subject, that no human ingenuity could improve upon it.
There is also a strong argument to be found in the Divine command which establishes the hebdomadal division of time, against the theories which demand an extension for the days of the creation :-“ Six days shalt thou labour, and do “ all that thou hast to do; but in the seventh
day thou shall do no work; for in six days " the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and " all that therein is, and rested the seventh
day; therefore remember this seventh day,
to keep it holy.” In this commandment the days of creation, and working days of twenty
four hours, are so completely identified in the sense and construction, that nothing but that species of force, so often resorted to by philosophy, in support of a weak, but favourite theory, can separate them.
Now, a creation by an Almighty power may as easily be the work of one moment, as of a thousand years; and though the laws of chemistry are now found to produce crystals, under the hands of the chemist, the great mind, even of a Davy, has never yet produced either a vegetable, or an animal formation ; and there is, consequently, no ground for this demand for time, with respect to any of the Mosaic days on which these creations were first called into being. But we have no reason to suppose that there was any variation in the length of the Mosaical days, which are each defined in a manner so similar and distinct. We can, therefore, come to no other conclusion, than that the Mosaical days were such periods of 24 hours, as have ever since continued in succession, and will continue till “ time shall be no more.”
The Second Day of the Creation. The Firmament, or Atmosphere.- Atmospheric Phenomena.-Magnetism, and Electricity.
WE now come to the consideration of the second day of the Creation, in which it pleased the Almighty to create, and set in order, the firmament, or atmosphere, by which the whole Globe was to be surrounded.
“ And God said, let there be a firmament in “ the midst of the waters; and let it divide the
waters from the waters : and God made the “ firmament, and divided the waters which “ were under the firmament,” (or upon the earth,) from the waters which were above the “ firmament,” (or in the clouds,) " and it was so.”
It were as vain to enquire into the mode of the creation of the atmospheric firmament, or firm support, by which the whole Globe is embraced, and, in a manner, hermetically sealed, as into that of granite, or of water. We have, therefore, nothing left us, but to receive the fact as recorded, as this is a part of our earth to which the principles of crystallization will not apply, and which the chaotic philosophy has not yet accounted for by secondary causes. It may be
permitted to us, however, to form some idea of the state of the new earth at the termination of the “ first day,” and of the effects produced by the fiat of the second. We have already arrived at the conclusion, that as the “ evening and the morning” had formed the “ first day," loete... the sun was already created, although nothing
hitas more than its effects of light had yet appeared. The power of the sun must now, however, have begun to act by those laws, by which it has ever since been regulated ; and this power, acting upon the earth, with its watery envelope, must have produced the effect of a thick fog, which was now to be evaporated, and raised high into the new atmosphere, thus dividing “ the “ waters which were under the firmament" from the aqueous vapours which were, from hence forward, to be suspended “ above,” (or in the higher parts of) 66 the firmament.”
Although the consideration of the atmosphere does not, strictly speaking, come within the scope of a geological enquiry, yet it may not be altogether irrelevant to our subject to make a few observations, in this place, upon this highly important portion of creation, by the action of which the decomposition of a portion of the earth is continually proceeding, and, consequently, the materials for secondary formations are as constantly being produced.
The atmosphere, or firmament, is that elastic fluid which surrounds the earth, and encloses it on all sides. This fluid, so little understood by the ancients, has occupied much of the attention of modern philosophers, and has given birth to some of the most remarkable discoveries of modern science. Its weight was first ascertained by Galileo, and applied by Torricelli to explain the rise of water in pumps, and of mercury in the barometer. Its elasticity was accurately determined by Boyle; and the effects produced upon it, by heat and moisture, have been explained by Halley and Newton. That atmospheric air is a heavy, compressible, and elastic substance, has been proved by many simple and direct experiments; and, in consequence of its weight, the portion of it nearest the earth is compressed by the whole of the superincumbent mass, and it is thus much more dense in the lower, than in the upper regions.
The air, in the higher regions, therefore, must be extremely rare, from its elastic nature not being opposed by any pressure from above; and, in this state, it becomes gradually unfitted for the support of animal life, as has been painfully experienced by those adventurous travellers who have ascended the highest mountains. Some attempts have been made to