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The gathering together of the Waters.-The Sublimity of
this Fiat of the Creator not sufficiently understood.— The Transition Rocks.
We now come to the consideration of the events which took place on the third day of the creation, viz. “ the gathering together of the
waters unto one place," and the consequent appearance of the “ dry land.”
“ And God said, let the waters under the “ heaven be gathered together unto one place, “ and let the dry land appear; and it was so.”
As this great fiat of the Almighty was to produce the first great geological secondary formations which we find upon the earth's surface; and as the laws which were, in the course of time, to give rise to all the other secondary formations, were from this time forth to come into action; it will be necessary for us to give our utmost attention to the consideration of this great change upon the surface of the earth.
We have before remarked, that, during the first and second days of the creation, the earth must have presented to the view, (had any human eye existed to look upon it,) a solid globe of spheroidal form, covered with a thin coat of aqueous fluid, and already revolving on its axis as a member of the solar system. We are fully authorized in coming to this latter conclusion, from the distinct mention made in the record, of the days, comprising, like our present days, the evening and the morning, with the darkness and the light following each other in regular succession. The sun, it is true, had not yet been made visibly to appear, or to shine through the, as yet, cloudy atmosphere; nor had the moon yet become visible, from an additional, and yet more interesting and remarkable reason, which, of itself, ought to be looked upon as confirmative of this view; and that is, that supposing her to have been placed on the first day of the creation, (when we are to conclude that the whole solar system started into being,) in the relative situation as to the sun and the earth, which she has ever since held at that period of her course when we give her the title of a new moon, it was not possible she could have been seen from the earth “ until the third
evening of her revolution, according to our
computation, which exactly answers to the * fourth evening of the Mosaical days; our computation connecting the evening with the preceding day-light, but the Mosaical compu“ tation with the succeeding day-light :*** and on this very day, accordingly, and not till then, she was made to appear at sunset, to rule, or lead on the night, as the sun was ordained to rule and conduct the day.
It was now the will of the Creator that the earth should no longer be “ invisible” under its watery covering; and, accordingly, the command was given, that “the waters should be “ gathered together unto one place,” that the
dry land” might appear. In considering this great event, it becomes a natural and fair
question, as it has been left open to us by the record, as to the mode, or means, by which it must have taken place. The well-poised earth had already begun to revolve upon its axis; and the laws of gravitation, and of fluids, had consequently began to act in our system. By these laws, it was impossible that the waters could have been gathered together by accumulation, or above the general level, as the solids of the earth might have been. We can, therefore, come to no other conclusion than that to which we are also led by various parts of the inspired writings, viz. that God did “rend the depths by his in
telligence," and formed a depression, or
hollow, on a part of the solid Globe, within which, by the appointed laws of fluids, the
depths” were “gathered together.”
And here we should naturally feel disposed, if the enquiry could be expected to lead to any satisfactory result, to enquire how a hollow could be formed in so solid a mass as we must conceive the primitive earth to have been. But, in this enquiry, we should be adopting that very hypothetical reasoning which has so often led to error, and which we have already found such reason to condemn. The record is distinct ; the fact of water requiring a hollow bed is undeniable. The means of forming that bed, we may safely refer to the hands of Him who could create the ocean itself which it was to contain. * equally vain and futile to enter here
the disputed points respecting the solidity, or the hollow nature of the Globe; because, when we apply to this bed of the ocean the true, and proper scale, by which we have already examined other parts of the earth's surface, we shall find the depression necessary for containing the whole waters of the earth, so very trifling
*“ He spake the word, and they were made; He commanded, and they were created.
" He hath made them fast for ever and ever : He “ hath given them a law which shall not be broken.”. Psalm cxlviii.
compared with the Globe itself, as not in any way to be affected by either side of such arguments ; for we have found reason to conclude,* that the very deepest abysses of the ocean are not more than from four to five miles below the level of its surface; and that the mean depth, over the whole sea, cannot be considered more than from a few hundred feet to half a mile.
In considering, then, such comparatively diminutive depressions upon the earth's surface, it is by no means necessary either to imagine the “ vast disruption and depression of “ the solid frame-work of the Globe;" or to enter upon the question as to the solid or cavous state of the 7990 miles of its diameter, which must for ever remain concealed from our view.
The following beautiful reflections on this part of our subject, are from the enlightened mind of Mr. Granville Penn, who may, indeed, be called the first great advocate for the Mosaic Geology, amongst the men of science of our day. “ The briefness of this clause (Genesis i. 9,) " and the nature of the subject, have caused “ it to be little contemplated in proportion to “ its importance, and to the fullness of the in
struction which it conveys; and, therefore, it
* See chap. i. p. 37.