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quote the conclusion of Sir William Jones, as a safe sequel. “ There is no shadow, then, of a foundation for an opinion, that Moses borrowed the first nine or ten chapters of Genesis from the literature of Egypt; still less can the adamantine pillars of our Christian faith be moved by the result of any debates on the comparative antiquity of the Hindūs and Egyptians, or of any inquiries into the Indian theology.”
THE DELUGE-HISTORICAL AND TRADITIONARY PROOFS
-GEOLOGICAL EVIDENCE OF THE CIRCUMFUSION OF THE DILUVIAL WATERS, AND COMPARATIVELY RECENT EPOCHA OF THE EVENT.
THERE is no event which has left such terrible physical monuments behind it as the DELUGE. tiges of the circumfusion of the mighty deep are thickly scattered over the surface of the globe ; are seen in the ruin of rocks, and in their embodied organic remains. The
quarry reveals “the secrets of their prison-house ;" and the sea, while it washes away some projecting cliff, and transports the wreck to fill up the bed of the ocean, thus becomes the means of discovering to us some organic form that may have lived in an antediluvian
age : or, some volcanic shock, in its messenger the earthquake, has upheaved, from the depths of the ocean, a monument where we may read the story of the past : the same terrific agency rends the mountain, and thus, in its fracture, exposes its history to the scrutiny of the geologist. No fact can be better substantiated than a universal deluge, which has rolled its impetuous waters over the globe, and inundated both hemispheres. “Y-at-il eu un temps ou le globe a été entièrement inondé ? Cela est physiquement impossible ?"* So wrote the flippant Voltaire; but if there is one truth in physical science better established than another, it is the fact
this petulant and flimsy spirit thus presumes to impugn.
* Dictionnaire Philosophique. --Art. “ Inundation.”
In our geological inquiries we must ever carefully distinguish the great cataclysm to which we refer, from such local catastrophes as have, both in antediluvian ages, and the periods of time that have rolled away since that eventful epocha, left sufficient impressions of their power. We may not be able to weigh the evidence in the balance of a rigorous induction, in such a manner as to be able to apportion the amount due to each of these ; but until this can be done, no geologist whatever has a right to adjudicate the terms of formation to any of the rocky features of the globe. Mr. Lyell stoutly contends that the same causes which are now in operation, have operated in times that are past ; and we may safely grant the point for which he argues. Within the
precincts of the Christian era, considerable districts on the surface of the earth, have undergone an entire change ; and desolation has spread far and wide. Only a few weeks ago, a new island emerged from the waves of the Mediterranean, on the coast of Sicily, from a depth of upwards of 70 fathoms. Its circumference is a mile and a half, and its elevation from 200 to 250 feet. We are indeed too apt to underrate the power of an oceanic wave, or the action of subterranean fire. Let us not moreover forget, that there may have been heretofore, agents that no longer exist, and though they have left enough to attest their terrible power, supply no key to a solution of the precise species of agency concerned ; and it is also very possible that even the same causes that operate now, may have operated with tenfold vigour, and in greater frequency in primeval times, than in our age, and within the limits of the Christian era. That organic remains were observed, and recognized as such, in earlier times than we are aware, seem to us probable. Let us take, for instance, the following remark from the book of Job, as a proof of the kind to which we refer ; “ Dead things are formed from under the waters, with the inhabitants thereof :'
"* and unless this refers to organic remains, we know not its meaning. Should it
* Job xxvi. 5.
prove to be the case, it may well put to shame the foolish fancies of some of the dreams of even the sixteenth century ; when a Professor of Anatomy considered some elephant's tusks, found near Puglia, as mere lusus naturæ.—That the vases of Monte Testaceo were accidental earthy concretions, was a very natural inference and sequel to such an antecedent.
Before we proceed to adduce evidence, from geological discoveries, in proof of the universality of the Noachian deluge, and its comparatively modern date, (compared with the speculations of the votaries of a science yet crude and unformed, and as yet in its infancy,) we wish it distinctly to be understood, that with hypotheses and opinions we have nothing to do; and still less are we careful to attend to rash and presumptuous conclusions which have not the slightest tangible evidence in their support. We contend that the facts of geology are insufficient to constitute the structure of a system. We read the organic emblems of the rock, and find them confirmatory of the great catastrophe which overwhelmed a ruined world, but we nowhere find that they give countenance to those repeated revolutions, and as repeated renovations, which some suppose necessary.
These rash assumptions have been the bane of true philosophy, and have impeded the advance of truth. Geologists are not agreed among themselves; and, so long as this is the case, they cannot expect to gain implicit credit with others. We have lived to see numerous changes rung on geological theories; and, if we compare some authors with themselves, in their first and last editions, we can scarcely credit the identity of the persons. Even Cuvier has abandoned former notions in consequence of recent discoveries ; and both M. Cuvier and Mr. Lyell are sometimes found to withhold their assent to the announcement of facts because they seem to threaten their preconceived views :—the former, in reference to the quarries of Kosritz ; and the latter, with respect to the existence of pachydermata in determinate strata. Professor Sedgewick, the present President of the Geological
Society, has said of the author of “ A New System of Geology," that he is neither able to be the expositor of the opinions of others, nor to propound a system of his
Not only has the same geological phenomena undergone different revisions, as to exposition in the hands of others, but have actually suffered various changes in the hands of the same individual. Opinions propounded with all the solemnities of truth, and proclaimed to the world with the authority of an oracle, have vanished before the progress of discovery; and, no pursuit, in which man has engaged, has suffered greater changes, or undergone greater revolutions, than geology-even by the testimony of eminent geologists : we allude particularly to Mr. Greenough and Professor Sedgwick. The dicta of no branch of research is to be received with greater suspicion, or merit severer scrutiny, than those set forth by many geologists. A brighter day, however, seems to dawn over a most interesting and fascinating pursuit. Fact is now supplanting fancy, and theories are scattered to the winds. Under this new aspect, its progress may be slow, but its advance will be sure
The general belief which has prevailed among all nations, respecting the great event of the deluge, so clearly and fully described in the Archives of Truth, is very remarkable.—It mingles with the legends of every nation under heaven; in countries the most remote; and whose striking diversity of language seems to impose a decided interdict on any interchange of communication. The Hindoo and the Mexican, the Greek and the Roman, all attest and acknowledge a penal flood, which has swept their forefathers away, and consigned them to destruction. Such a memorable fact as this, proves beyond a doubt, that this traditionary legend must have been originally obtained from one and the same source of information: we thus trace these rays of tradition to a common centre, though its date has been lost sight of Tradition is always troubling the stream of truth, and interfering with its simplicity, by adventitious additions ; but the uniformity of the main