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on deposit 

Knox College 











BY J. W. DAWSON, LL.D., F.G.S., 


“ The two sciences (Theology and Geology) may conspire, 
not by haring any part in common, but because, though 
widely diverse in their lines, both point to a mysterious 
and invisible origin of the world."—W hewhsi. 






Entered, according to the Act of the Provincial Parliament, in 
the year one thousand eight hundred and fifty-nine, by 
B. Dawson & Son, in the office of the Registrar of the Pro¬ 
vince of Canada. 


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This work is not intended as a treatise on elementary 
Geology, with Theological applications, nor as an attempt 
to establish a scheme of reconciliation between Geology and 
the Bible. It is the result of a series of exegetical studies 
of the first chapter of Genesis, in connection with the 
numerous incidental references to nature and creation in 
other parts of the Holy Scriptures. These studies were 
undertaken primarily for the private information of the 
author; and are now published as affording the best 
answer which he can give to the numerous questions on this 
subject addressed to him in his capacity of a teacher of 
Geology. A farther use to be served by such a work, even 
after all the numerous treatises already published, is that 
of affording to geologists and the readers of geological 
works, a digest of the cosmical doctrines to be found in 
the Hebrew Scriptures, when treated strictly according to 
the methods of interpretation proper to such documents. 


but with the actual state of geological science full in view. 
On the other hand, biblical students and Christians gene¬ 
rally, may be interested in noting the aspects in which 
the scriptural cosmogony presents itself to a working 
naturalist, regarding it from the stand-point afforded by 
the mass of facts and principles accumulated by modern 

The author has availed himself of all the critical and 
expository helps within his reach; but has carefully avoided 
that parade of contradictory authorities, which, by an easy 
but useless show of erudition, often swells such works to 
unnecessary dimensions. He has trusted principally to a 
careful comparison, in the original, of all the scriptural 
references to every fact and term in question. This pro¬ 
cess, though tedious, has proved capable of yielding answers 
to many doubtful questions, more positive and satisfactory 
than those which could be obtained in any other way. 
He does not, however, pretend to have exhausted the sub¬ 
ject ; and is quite aware that, in an investigation connected 
with so many widely different branches of knowledge, he 
may have to crave the indulgence of the reader for many 
errors and omissions. 

The author must further express his conviction, that a 
fitting audience for such topics can be found only among 
those who are imbued with a knowledge of natural science, 


acquired by its own peculiar methods of investigation, and 
who also entertain, on its special and very different evi¬ 
dence, a firm faith in the inestimable spiritual revelations 
of the Word of God. However highly he may respect 
and love naturalists who have given no attention to the 
claims of scriptural Christianity, or theologians who know 
nothing of nature, he does not expect from either a full 
appreciation of his views. Still less can he hope for the 

approval of that shallow school which decries “ Bible phi- 


losophy ” as a thing of a by-gone time, and attempts to 
raise an insurmountable barrier between the domains of 
faith and reason, by excluding from nature the idea of 
creative power, or from religion the noble cosmogony of 
the Bible. His utmost hopes will be realized, if he can 
secure the approbation of those higher minds in which the 
love of God is united with the study of his works; and aid 
in some small degree in redeeming the subject from the 
narrow views which are, unhappily, too prevalent. 

The work is issued in Canada, because the writer desires 
to contribute his mite to the growing literature of British 
America, and has found in Montreal a house sufficiently 
enterprising to undertake the risk of publication. 

McGill College, 
Montreal, November, 1859. 

J. W. D. 



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CHAPTER I.—Introductory,. 9 

II. —Objects, Character and Authority of 

the Hebrew Cosmogony, ....: . It 

III. —General Views of Nature contained in 

the Hebrew Scriptures,. 49 

IV. —The Beginning,. 61 

V. —The Desolate Void,. 71 

VI. —Light,. 86 

VII. —Days of Creation,. 98 

VIII.— The Atmosphere, . 130 

IX .— The Dry Land, . 147 

X.—The First Vegetation,. 160 

XI. —Luminaries,. 175 

XII. —The Lower Animals,. 187 

XIII. —The Higher Animals,. 206 

XIV. —Man,. 214 

XV. —The Rest of the Creator,. 232 

XVI. —Unity and Antiquity of Man,. 246 

XVII. —Comparisons and Conclusions,. 316 


APPENDIX A.—Authenticity and Genuineness op the 

Mosaic Books,. 361 

B.—Relation op the Human and Tertiary 

Periods,. 363 

G.—Original Fluidity op the Earth,. 365 

D. —Azoic Rocks,. 36? 

E. —Ancient Floras,. 369 

F. —Development op Specific Forms by Natu¬ 

ral Law, . 3?0 

G. —The Tanninim,. 388 

H. —Recent Elevation op Western and Cen¬ 

tral Asia, and Specific Centres op 

Creation,. 390 

I.—Primitive Unity op Language,. 391 

K. — Ancient Mythologies, . 394 

L. —Supposed Tertiary Races op Men,. 39? 




More than thirty centuries ago, a numerous serf-popu¬ 
lation emancipated itself from Egyptian bondage, and, after 
forty years of wandering desert life, settled itself perma¬ 
nently on the hills and in the valleys of Palestine. The 
voice of the ruling race, indistinctly conveyed to us from 
that distant antiquity, maintains that the fugitive slaves 
were an abject and contemptible herd; but the leader of 
the exodus informs us, that, though cruelly trodden down 
by a haughty despot, they were of noble parentage, the 
heirs of high hopes and promises. Their migration is 
certainly the most remarkable national movement in the 
world’s history,—remarkable, not merely in its events and 
immediate circumstances, but in its remote political, lite¬ 
rary, and moral results. The rulers of Egypt, polished, 
enlightened, and practical men, were yet the devotees of a 
complicated system of hero and relic worship, vitiating and 




degrading all their higher aims. The slaves, leaving all 
this behind them, rose in their religions opinions to a pure 
and spiritual monotheism; and their leader presented to 
them a law unequalled up to our time in its union of jus¬ 
tice, patriotism, and benevolence, and established among 
them, for the first time in the world’s history, a free con¬ 
stitutional republic. Nor is this all; unexampled though 
such results are elsewhere, in the case of serfs suddenly 
emancipated. The Hebrew law-giver has interwoven his 
institutions in a grand historical composition, including a 
cosmogony, a detailed account of the affiliation and ethno¬ 
logical relations of the races of men, and a narrative of the 
fortunes of his own people ; intimating not only that they 
were a favoured and chosen race, but that of them was to 
arise a great deliverer who would bless all nations with 
pardon and with peace. 

The lawgiver passed to his rest. His laws and litera¬ 
ture, surviving through many vicissitudes, produced in each 
succeeding age a new harvest of poetry and history, leavened 
with their own spirit. In the meantime the learning and 
the superstition of Egypt faded from the eyes of men. The 
splendid political and military organisations of Assyria, 
Babylon, Persia, and Macedon, arose and crumbled into 
dust. The wonderful literature of Greece blazed forth and 
expired. That of Home, a reflex and copy of the former, 
had reached its culminating point. The world, with all 
its national liberties crushed out, its religion and its philo¬ 
sophy corrupted and enfeebled to the last degree by an 



endless succession of borrowings and intermixtures, lay 
prostrate under the iron heel of Rome. Then appeared 
among the now obscure remnant of Israel, one who an¬ 
nounced himself as the Prophet like unto Moses, promised 
of old; but a prophet whose mission it was to redeem not 
Israel only, but the world. Adopting the whole of the 
sacred literature of the Hebrews, and proving his mission 
by its words, he sent forth a few plain men to write its 
closing books, and to plant it on the ruins of all the time- 
honoured beliefs of the nations,—beliefs supported by a 
splendid and highly organised priestly system and by des¬ 
potic power, and gilded by all the highest efforts of poetry 
and art. 

The story is a very familiar one; but it is marvellous 
beyond all others. Nor is the modern history of the Bible 
less wonderful. Exhumed from the rubbish of the middle 
ages, it has entered on a new career of victory. It has 
stimulated the mind of modern Europe to all its highest 
efforts; and has been the charter of its civil and religious 
liberties. Its wondrous revelation of all that man most 
desires to know, in the past, in the present, and in his 
future destinies, has gone home to the hearts of men in all 
ranks of society and in all countries. In many great nations 
it is the only rule of religious faith. In every civilized 
country it is the basis of all that is most valuable in reli¬ 
gion. Where it has been withheld from the people, civili¬ 
zation in its higher aspects has languished, and superstition, 
infidelity, and tyranny have held their ground. Where it 



has been a household book, liberty has taken root, and the 
higher nature of man has been developed to the full. 
Driven from many other countries by tyrannical interfer¬ 
ence with liberty of thought and discussion, or by a short¬ 
sighted ecclesiasticism, it has taken up its special abode with 
the greatest commercial nation of our time; and scattered 
by its agency broadcast over the world, it is read by every 
nation under heaven in its own tongue, and is slowly but 
surely preparing the way for wider and greater changes 
than any that have heretofore resulted from its influence. 
Explain it as we may, the Bible is a great literary miracle; 
and no amount of inspiration or authority that can be 
claimed for it, is more strange or incredible than the actual 
history of the book. 

Yet there are in the world many influences directly 
antagonistic to the Bible, and many others that tend to its 
neglect, or to an under-estimate of its value. Tyranny 
hates it, because the Bible so strongly maintains the indi¬ 
vidual value and rights of man as man. The spirit of caste 
dislikes it for the same reason. Anarchical license, on the 
other hand, finds nothing but discouragement in it. Priest¬ 
craft gnashes its teeth at it, as the very embodiment of 
private judgment in religion, and because it so scornfully 
ignores human authority in matters of conscience, and 
human intervention between man and his Maker. Scep¬ 
ticism sneers at it, because it requires faith and humility, 
and threatens ruin to the unbeliever. It launches its thun¬ 
ders against every form of violence, or fraud, or allurement, 



that seeks to profit by wrong or to pander to the vices of 
mankind; all these consequently are its foes. These are 
terrible opponents; but their hostility was to have been 
anticipated, and the book has often met and conquered 
them in the time past. Another class of influences of much 
more respectable character, are sometimes in our day brought 
into opposition to the Bible, or perhaps I should rather say 
into competition with it. The immense mass of modern 
literature has some effect in casting the Bible into the shade, 
and in making it less the book of the people. It is true 
that this literature in all its higher forms derives in great 
part its tone from the Holy Scriptures, yet it buries the 
book itself. Again, the Bible commits itself to certain 
facts in history, and there has been much earnest battling 
on its truth and authority in this respect. At one time it 
was not unusual to impugn its historical accuracy on the 
evidence of the Greek historians; and on many points 
scarcely any corroborative evidence could be cited in favour 
of the Hebrew writers. In our own time much of this 
difficulty has been removed, and an immense amount of 
learned research has been reduced to waste paper, by the 
circumstance that the stones of Memphis and Nineveh have 
literally risen up to bear testimony in favour of the Bible; 
and scarcely any sane man now doubts the value of the 
Hebrew history. The battle-ground has in consequence 
been shifted farther back, to points concerning the affiliation 
of the races of men, and the absolute antiquity of man’s 
residence on the earth; questions on which we can scarcely 



expect to find much monumental or scientific evidence. 
Lastly, the Bible commits itself to certain cosmological 
doctrines and statements, respecting the system of nature 
and details of that system, more or less approaching to the 
domain which geology occupies in its investigations of 
the past history of the earth; and at every stage in the 
progress of modern science, independently of the mischief 
done by smatterers and sceptics, earnest bigotry on the one 
hand, and earnest scientific enthusiasm on the other, have 
come into collision. One stumbling-block after another 
has, it is true, been removed to the satisfaction of all par¬ 
ties ; but the field of conflict has thereby apparently only 
changed; and we still have some Christians in consequence 
regarding the revelations of natural science with suspicion, 
and some scientific men cherishing a sullen resentment 
against what they regard as an intolerant inter-meddling of 
theology with the domain of legitimate investigation. 

There can be no question that the whole subject is at 
the present moment in a more satisfactory state than ever 
previously; that much has been done for the solution of 
difficulties; that theologians admit the great service which 
in many cases science has rendered to the interpretation of 
the Bible, and that naturalists feel themselves free from 
undue trammels. Above all, there is a very general dis¬ 
position to admit the distinctness and independence of the 
fields of revelation and natural science, the possibility of 
their arriving at some of the same truths, though in very 
different ways, and the folly of expecting them fully 



and manifestly to agree, in the present state of our in¬ 
formation. The literature of this kind of natural history 
has also become very extensive, and there are few persons 
who do not at least know that there are methods of recon¬ 
ciling the cosmogony of Moses with that obtained from 
the study of nature. For this very reason the time is 
favourable for an unprejudiced discussion of the questions 
involved; and for presenting on the one hand to naturalists 
a summary of what the Bible does actually teach respecting 
the early history of the earth and man, and on the other 
to those whose studies lie in the book which they regard as 
the word of God, rather than in the material universe which 
they regard as his work, a view of the points in which the 
teaching of the Bible comes into contact with natural science, 
at its present stage of progress. These are the ends which 
I propose to myself in the following pages, and which I 
shall endeavour to pursue in a spirit of fair and truthful 
investigation; paying regard on the one hand to the claims 
and influence of the venerable Book of God, and on the 
other to the rights and legitimate results of modern scien¬ 
tific inquiry. 

The plan which I have sketched out for the treatment of 
the subject, corresponds with the title of the work, and 
befits the present state of our knowledge, whether of nature 
or revelation. I have adopted the method not of a teacher 
but an enquirer, endeavouring in the outset to settle certain 
preliminary points essential to the right understanding of 
the subject, and then to sift carefully the scriptural cosmo- 



gony, as it appears not only in Genesis but in every other 
book of the Bible, with reference to its true cosmical import, 
and apparent agreement or discordance with modern inter¬ 
pretations of nature arrived at by the very different methods 
of inductive science. If in pursuing this investigation I 
have proceeded more boldly and unreservedly than has been 
customary, I plead the desire to discover truth rather than 
to follow in old paths; and if the results reached should 
appear strange or startling to the reader, whether scientific, 
theological, or neither of these, he is asked to bear in mind 
that there may be truths which have not fallen within the 
range of his previous studies, and to weigh carefully the 
evidence, even though this also should be foreign to his 
usual methods of inquiry. 



“ There are two books from which I collect my divinity ; 
besides that written one of God, another of his servant nature 
—that universal and public manuscript that lies expansed unto 
the eyes of all .”—Sir T. Browne. 

There are some questions, simple enough in themselves, 
respecting the general character and object of the references 
to nature and creation in the scriptures, which yet are so 
variously and vaguely answered, that they deserve some con¬ 
sideration, before entering on the detailed study of the 
subject. These are—(1). The object of the introduction 
of such subjects into the Hebrew sacred books. (2). The 
character and structure of the narrative of creation and 
other cosmological statements, in a literary point of view* 
(3). The degree of authority to bo attached to such state¬ 
ments, on the supposition that the Bible is theologically 

(1). The object of the introduction of cosmogony and 
references to nature in the Bible. Man as a “religious 
animal ” desires to live not merely in the present, but 
in the future also and the past. This is a psychological 
peculiarity which, as much as any other, marks his sepa¬ 
ration from the lower animals, and which in his utmost 



degradation he never wholly loses. No people is so rude 
as to he destitute of some hopes or fears in reference to the 
future—some traditions as to the distant past. Every reli¬ 
gious system that has had any influence over the human 
mind has included such ideas. Nor are we to regard this 
as an accident. It depends on fixed principles in the human 
constitution, which crave as their proper aliment such infor¬ 
mation ; and if it cannot be obtained, the mind, rather 
than want it, invents for itself. We might infer from this 
very circumstance, that a true religion, emanating from the 
Creator, would supply this craving; and might content 
ourselves with affirming that, on this ground alon'e, it be¬ 
hoved revelation to have a cosmogony. 

But the religion of the Hebrews especially required to 
be explicit as to the origin of the earth and all things 
therein. Its peculiar dogma is that of one only God, the 
Creator, requiring the sole homage of his creatures. The 
heathen for the most part acknowledged in some form a 
supreme god, but they also gave divine honours to subordi¬ 
nate gods, to deceased ancestors and heroes, and to natural 
phenomena, in such a manner as practically to obscure their 
ideas of the Creator, or altogether to set aside his worship. 
The influence of such idolatry was the chief antagonism 
which the Hebrew monotheism had to encounter; and we 
learn from the history of the nation how often the worship¬ 
pers of Jehovah were led astray by its allurements. To 
guard against this danger, it was absolutely necessary that 
eo place should be left for the introduction of polytheism, 



by placing the whole work of creation and providence under 
the sole jurisdiction of the One God. Moses consequently 
takes strong ground on these points. He first insists on 
the creation of all things by the fiat of the Supreme. 
Next he specifies the elaboration and arrangement of all 
the powers of inanimate nature, and the introduction of 
every form of organic existence, as the work of the same First 
Cause. Lastly, he insists on the creation of a primal 
human pair, and on the descent from them of all the bran¬ 
ches of the human race, including of course those ancestors 
and magnates who up to his time had been honoured with 
apotheosis; and on the same principle he explains the golden 
age of Eden, the fall, the cherubic emblems, the deluge, 
and other facts in human history interwoven by the heathen 
with their idolatries. He thus grasps the whole material 
of ancient idolatry, reduces it within the compass of mono¬ 
theism, and shows its relation to the one true primitive 
religion, which was that not only of the Hebrews but of 
right that of the whole world, whose prevailing polytheism 
consisted in perversions of its truth or unity. For such 
reasons the early chapters of Genesis are so far from being 
of the character of digressions from the scope and intention 
of the book, that they form a substratum of doctrine abso¬ 
lutely essential to the Hebrew faith, and equally so to its 
development in Christianity. 

The references to nature in the Bible, however, and 
especially in its poetical books, far exceed the absolute 
requirements of the reasons above stated; and this leads to 



another and very interesting view, namely, the tendency of 
monotheism to the development of truthful and exalted 
ideas of nature. The Hebrew theology allowed no attempt 
at visible representations of the Creator or of his works for 
purposes of worship. It thus to a great extent prevented 
that connection of imitative art with religion which flou¬ 
rished in heathen antiquity, and has been introduced into 
certain forms of Christianity. But it cultivated the higher 
arts of poetry and song, and taught them to draw their 
inspiration from nature as the only visible revelation of 

Deity. Hence the growth of a healthy “ physico-theology,” 


excluding all idolatry of natural phenomena, but inviting 
to their examination as manifestations of God, and leading 
to conceptions of the unity of plan in the cosmos, of 
which polytheism, even in its highest literary efforts, was 
quite incapable. In the same manner the Bible has always 
proved itself an active stimulant of natural science, connect¬ 
ing such studies, as it does, with our higher religious sen¬ 
timents; while polytheism and materialism have acted as 
repressive influences, the one because it obscures the unity 
of nature, the other because, in robbing it of its presiding 
Divinity, it gives a cold and repulsive, corpse-like aspect, 
chilling to the imagination, and incapable of attracting the 
general mind. 

Naturalists' should not forget their obligations to the 
Bible in this respect, and should on this very ground prefer 
its teachings to those of modern pantheism and positiv¬ 
ism, and still more to those of mere priestly authority. 



Very few minds are content with simple materialism, and 
those who must have a God, if they do not recognise the 
Jehovah of the Hebrew scriptures as the Creator and Su¬ 
preme Ruler of the universe, are too likely to seek for him 
in the dimness of human authority and tradition, or of 
pantheistic philosophy ; both of them more akin to ancient 
heathenism than to modern civilization, and in their ulti¬ 
mate tendencies, if not in their immediate consequences, 
quite as hostile to progress in science as to evangelical 

Every student of human nature is aware of the influence 
in favour of the appreciation of natural beauty and sub¬ 
limity, which the Bible impresses on those who are deeply 
imbued with its teaching; even where that same teaching 
has induced what may be regarded as a puritanical dislike 
of imitative art, at least in its religious aspects. On the 
other hand naturalists cannot refuse to acknowledge the 
surpassing majesty of the views of nature presented in the 
Bible. No one has expressed this better than Humboldt: 
—“ It is characteristic of the poetry of the Hebrews that, 
as a reflex of monotheism, it always embraces the universe 
in its unity, comprising both terrestrial life and the lumi¬ 
nous realms of space; it dwells but rarely on the indivi¬ 
duality of phenomena, preferring the contemplation of great 
masses. The Hebrew poet does not depict nature as a 
self-dependent object, glorious in its individual beauty, but 
always as in relation or subjection to a higher spiritual 
power. Nature is to him a work of creation and order— 



the living expression of the omnipresence of the Divinity in 
the visible world.” In reference to the 104th psalm, which 
may be viewed as a poetical version of the narrative of crea¬ 
tion in Genesis, the same great writer remarks:—“ We are 
astonished to find in a lyrical poem of such a limited com¬ 
pass, the whole universe—the heavens and the earth— 
sketched with a few bold touches. The calm and toilsome 
life of man, from the rising of the sun to the setting of the 
same when his daily work is done, is here contrasted with 
the moving life of the elements of nature. This contrast 
and generalization in the conception of the mutual action 
of natural phenomena, and the retrospection of an omni¬ 
present invisible Power, which can renew the earth or 
crumble it to dust, constitute a solemn and exalted rather 
than a gentle form of poetic creation.”* 

If we admit the source of inspiration claimed by the 
Hebrew poets, we shall not be surprised that they should 
thus write of nature. We shall only lament that so many 
pious and learned interpreters of scripture have been too 
little acquainted with nature to appreciate the natural his¬ 
tory of the book of God, or adequately to illustrate it to 
those who depend on their teaching; and that so many 
naturalists have contented themselves with wondering at 
the large general views of the Hebrew poets, without con¬ 
sidering that they are based on a revelation of the nature 
and order of the creative work which supplied to the Hebrew 
mind the place of those geological wonders which have 

* Cosmos, “ Otto’s translation.” 



astonished and enlarged in the minds of modern nations. A 
living divine, himself well read in nature, truly says:— 
t( If men of piety were also men of science, and if men of 
science were to read the scriptures, there would be more 
faith on the earth and also more philosophy.”* In a similar 
strain, the patient botanist of the marine algae thus pleads 
for the joint claims of the Bible and nature :—“ Unfortu¬ 
nately it happens that in the educational course prescribed 
to our divines, natural history has no place, for which reason 
many are ignorant of the important bearings which the 
book of nature has on the book of revelation. They do not 
consider, apparently, that both are from God—both are his 
faithful witnesses to mankind. And if this be so, is it 
reasonable to suppose that either, without the other, can be 
fully understood ? It is only necessary to glance at the 
absurd commentaries in reference to natural objects which 
are to be found in too many annotations of the Holy Scrip- - 
tures, to be convinced of the benefit which the clergy would 
themselves derive from a more extended study of the works 
of creation. And to missionaries especially, a minute fami¬ 
liarity with natural objects must be a powerful assistance 
in awakening the attention of the savage, who, after his 
manner, is a close observer, and likely to detect a fallacy in 
his teacher, should the latter attempt a practical illustration 
of his discourse without sufficient knowledge. These are 
not days in which persons who ought to be our guides in 
matters of doctrine can afford to be behind the rest of the 

* Hamilton, “ Royal Preacher.” 



world in knowledge; nor can they safely sneer at the know¬ 
ledge which puffeth up, until, like the Apostle, they have 
sounded its depths and proved its shallowness.”* It is truly 
much to be desired that divines and commentators, instead 
of trying to distort the representations of nature in the 
Bible into the supposed requirements of a barbarous age, 
or of setting aside modern discoveries as if they could have 
no connection with scripture truth, would study natural 
objects and laws sufficiently to bring themselves in this 
respect to the level of the Hebrew writers. Such knowledge 
would be cheaply purchased even by the sacrifice of a part 
of their verbal and literary training. It is well that this 
point is now attracting the attention of the Christian world, 
and it is but just to admit that some of our more eminent 
religious writers—as, for example, Hamilton and Guthrie— 
have produced noble examples of accurate illustrations of 
scripture derived from nature. Such examples redeem the 
church from the charge so eloquently urged by Prof. Peirce, 
of Harvard, in the following paragraph f :— u Is religion 
then, so false to God as to avert its face from science ? Is 
the church willing to declare a divorce of this holy marriage 
tie ? Can she afford to renounce the external proofs of a 
God having sympathy with man ? Hare she excommuni¬ 
cate science, and answer, at the judgment, for the souls 
which are thus reluctantly compelled to infidelity? We 
reject the authority of the blind scribes and pharisees who 

* Harvey, “ Nereis Boreali Americana.” 

f Proceedings American Association, 1854. 



have hidden themselves from the light of Heaven under 
such a darkness of bigotry. We claim our just rights and 
our share in the church. The man of science is a man, 
and knows sin as much as other men, and equally with 
other men he needs the salvation of the gospel. We ac¬ 
knowledge that the revelations of the physical world are 
addressed to the head, and do not minister to the wants of 
the heart; we acknowledge that science has no authority 
to interfere with the Scriptures and perplex the holy writ 
with forced and impossible constructions of language. This 
admission does not derogate from the dignity of science; 
and we claim that the sanctity of the Bible is equally un¬ 
disturbed by the denial that it was endowed with authority 
over the truths of physical science. But we, nevertheless, 
as sons of men, claim our share in its messages of forgive¬ 
ness, and will not be hindered of our inheritance by the 
unintelligible technicalities of sectarianism; as children, 
we kneel to the church and implore its sustenance, and 
entreat the constant aid and countenance of those great and 
good men who are its faithful servants and its surest sup¬ 
port, whose presence and cheering sympathies are a perpe¬ 
tual benediction, and among whom shine the brightest 
lights of science as well as of religion. Moreover, as 
scientific men, we need the Bible to strengthen and confirm 
our faith in a supreme intellectual Power, to assure us that 
we are not imposing our forms of thought upon a fortuitous 
combination of dislocated atoms, but that we may study 
His works humbly, hopefully, and trusting that the trea- 



sury is not yet exhausted, bnt that there is still left an 
infinite vein of spiritual ore to he worked by American 
intellect.” It cannot be denied that the Bible, in its re¬ 
ferences to nature, fully recognizes the claims thus strongly 
set forth; and which may be urged by the unlettered pea¬ 
sant who merely looks on nature, as well as by the savant 
who penetrates into its laws. 

(2). Character of the Scriptural Cosmogony in a 
literary point of view. A respectable physicist, but some¬ 
what shallow naturalist and theologian of our day, has said 
of the first chapter of Genesis: “It cannot be history—it 
may be poetry.” Its claims to be history we shall investi¬ 
gate under another head, but it is pertinent to our present 
inquiry to ask whether it can be poetry. That its substance 
or matter is poetical, no one who has read it once can 
believe; but it cannot be denied that in its form it ap¬ 
proaches somewhat to that kind of thought-rhythm or paral¬ 
lelism which gives so peculiar a character to Hebrew 
poetry. We learn from many scripture passages, especially 
in the proverbs, that this poetical parallelism need not ne¬ 
cessarily be connected with poetical thought; that in truth 
it might be used, as rhyme is sometimes with us, to aid 
the memory. The oldest acknowledged verse in scripture 
is a case in point. Lamech, who lived before the flood 7 
appears to have slain a man in self-defence, or at least in 

an encounter in which he himself was wounded; and he 


attempts to define the nature of the crime in the following 



{l Adah and Zillah, hear my voice ; 

Ye wives of Lamech hearken to my speech:— 

I have slain a man to my wounding, 

And a young man to my hurt; 

If Cain shall be avenged sevenfold, 

Truly Lamech seventy and seven fold.” 

All this is prosaic enough in matter, hut the form into 
which it is thrown gives it a certain dignity, and impresses 
it on the memory ; which last object was probably what the 
author of this sole fragment of antediluvian literature had" 
in view. He succeeded too—for the sentiment was handed 
down, probably orally; and Moses incorporates it in his 
narration, perhaps on account of its interest as the first 
record of the distinction between wilful murder like that of 
Cain and justifiable homicide. It is interesting also to 
observe the same parallelism of style, no doubt with the 
same objects, in many old Egyptian monumental inscrip¬ 
tions, which, however grandiloquent, are scarcely poetical.* 
Now in the first chapter of Genesis and the first three 
verses of chapter second, being the formal general narrative 
of creation, on which, as we shall see, every other statement 
on the subject in the Bible is based, we have this peculiar 
parallelism of style. If we ask why ; the answer must, I 
think, be—to give dignity and symmetry to what would 
otherwise be a dry abstract, and still more to aid memory. 
This last consideration, perhaps indicating that this chapter, 
like the apology of Lamech, had been handed down orally 

* Osburn, Monumental History of Egypt. 



for a long period, is the strongest of all the arguments for 
the so-called “ document hypothesis,” which supposes the 
earlier chapters of Genesis to have been merely compiled by 
Moses from earlier literary fragments. I by no means wish 
to maintain this hypothesis, now much less in favour than 
formerly; but on the other hand I cannot believe that it 
would in any way, if established, invalidate the inspiration 
of these chapters ; since there were prophets and holy men 
inspired of God before Moses, and if anything revealed to 
them remained extant in his time, it had a right to appear 
in its proper place in the sacred literature. 

The form of the narrative, however, in no way impairs 
its precision or accuracy of statement. On this Eichorn well 
says : “ There lies at the foundation of the first chapter a 
carefully designed plan, all whose parts are carried out with 
much art, whereby its appropriate place is assigned to every 
idea” ; and we may add, whereby every idea is expressed 
in the simplest and fewest words, yet with marvellous accu¬ 
racy, amounting to an almost scientific precision of diction, 
for which both the form into which it is thrown, and the 
homogeneous and simple character of the Hebrew language, 
are very well adapted. Much of this indeed remains in the 
English version, though our language is less perfectly suited 
than the Hebrew for the concise announcement of general 
truths of this description. Our translators have, however, 
deviated greatly from the true sense of many important 
words, especially where they have taken the septuagint 
translation for their guide, as in the words “ firmament,” 


“ whales,” “ creeping things,” &c. These errors will be 
noticed in subsequent pages. In the mean time I may 
merely add, that the labours of the ablest biblical critics 
give us every reason to conclude that the received text of 
Genesis preserves, almost without an iota of change, the 
beautiful simplicity of its first chapter; and that we now 
have it in a more perfect state than that in which it was 
presented to the translators of most of the early versions.* 
It must also be admitted that the object in view was 
best served by that direct reference to the creative fiat, 
and ignoring of all secondary causes, which are conspicuous 
in this narrative. This is indeed the general tone of the 
Bible in speaking of natural phenomena; and this mode of 
proceeding is in perfect harmony with its claims to divine 
authority. Had not this course been chosen, no other 
could have been adopted, in strict consistency with truth, 
short of a full revelation of the whole system of nature, in 
the details of all its laws and processes. Had this alterna¬ 
tive been adopted, who could have read or comprehended 
the vast encyclopedia which would have been produced. 
The moral ends of a revelation would have been sacrificed, 
and we would have been excluded from the fresh and ex¬ 
citing exploration of actual nature. 

Regarded from this point of view—the plenary inspiration 
of the book—the scriptural references to creation profess to 
furnish a very general outline, for theological purposes, of 
the principal features of a vast region unexplored when they 

* Davidson, “Biblical Criticism,” p. 410. See also Appendix A. 



were written, and into which human research has yet pene¬ 
trated along only a few lines. Natural science, in following 
out these lines of observation, has reached some of the 
objects delineated in the scriptural sketch; of others it has 
obtained distant glimpses; many are probably unknown, 
and we can appreciate the true value and dimensions rela- 


tively to the whole of very few. So vast indeed are the 
subjects of the hold sketch of the Hebrew prophet, that 
natural science cannot pretend as yet so to fill in the out¬ 
line as quite to measure the accuracy of its proportions. 
Yet the lines, though few, are so boldly drawn, and with 
so much apparent unity and symmetry, that we almost 
involuntarily admit that they are accurate and complete 
This may appear to he underrating the actual progress of 
science relatively to this great foreshadowing outline; but 
I know that those most deeply versed in the knowledge of 
nature will be the least disposed to quarrel with it, what 
ever skepticism they may entertain as to the greater general 
completeness of the inspired record. 

Another point which deserves a passing notice here, is 
the theory of Hr. Kurtz and others, that the Mosaic nar¬ 
rative represents a vision of creation, analogous to those 
prophetic visions which appear in the later books of scrip¬ 
ture. This is beyond all question the most simple and 
probable solution of the origin of the document, when 
viewed as inspired, but we shall have to recur to it on a 
future page. 

(3). What is the precise degree of authority to he at- 



tached to the Mosaic cosmogony f It is either an inspired 
revelation of the Divine procedure in creation, or it is a 
product of human imagination or research, or a deliberate 



To no part of the Bible do these alternatives more strictly 
apply than to its first chapter. This “ cannot be history ” 
in the strict acceptation of the term. It relates to events 
which no human eye witnessed, respecting which no human 
testimony could give any information. It represents the 
creation of man as the last of a long series of events, of 
which it professes to inform us. The knowledge of these 
events cannot have been a matter of human experience. If 
at all entitled to confidence, the narrative must, therefore, 
be received as an inspired document, not handed down by 
any doubtful tradition, but existing as originally transfused 
into human language from the mind of the Author of 
nature himself. This view is in no way affected by the 
hypothesis already mentioned, that the first chapters of 
Genesis were compiled by Moses from more ancient docu 
ments. This merely throws back the revelation to a higher 
antiquity, and requires us to suppose the agency of two 
inspired men instead of one. 

It would be out of place here to enter into any argument 
for the inspiration of scripture, or to attempt to define the 
nature of that inspiration. I merely wish to impress on 
the mind of the reader, that without the admission of its 
reality, or at least its possibility, it will be useless to pro¬ 
ceed any farther with our inquiry, except as a matter of 



curious antiquarian research. We must also on this ground 
distinguish between the claims of the scriptures and those 
of tradition or secular history, when they refer to the same 
facts. The traditions and cosmogonies of some ancient 
nations have many features in common with the Bible nar¬ 
rative ; and, on the supposition that Moses compiled from 
older documents, they may be portions of this more ancient 
sacred truth, but clothed in the varied garments of the 
false and fanciful mythological creeds which have sprung 
up in later and more degenerate times. Such fragments 
may safely be received as secondary aids to the understand¬ 
ing of the authentic record, but it would be folly to seek 
in them for the whole truth. They are but the scattered 
masses of ore, by tracing which we may sometimes open up 
new and rich portions of the vein of primitive lore from 
which they have been derived. It is, however, quite neces¬ 
sary here formally to inquire if there are any hypotheses 
short of that of plenary inspiration, which may allow us to 
attach any value whatever to this most ancient document 
I know but two views of this kind that are worthy of any 

1. The Mosaic account of creation may be a result of 
ancient scientific inquiries, analogous to those of modern 

2. It may be an allegorical or poetical mythus, not 
intended to be historical, but either devised for some extra¬ 
neous purpose, or consisting of the conjectures of some 
gifted intellect. 


These alternatives we may shortly consider, though the 
materials for their full discussion can be furnished only by 
facts to be subsequently stated. I am not aware that the 
first of these views has been maintained by any modern 
writer. Some eminent scientific men are, however, dis¬ 
posed to adopt such an explanation of the ancient Hindoo 
hymns, as well as of the cosmogony of Pythagoras, which 
bears evidence of this origin; and it may be an easy step 
to infer that the Hebrew cosmogony was derived from some 
similar source. Not many years ago, such a supposition 
would have been regarded as almost insane. Then the 
science of antiquity was only another name for the philo 
sophy of Greece and Rome. But in recent times we have 
seen Egypt disclose the ruins of a mighty civilisation, more 
grand and massive though less elegant than that of Greece, 
and which had reached its acme ere Greece had received 
its alphabet—a civilisation which, according to the scrip¬ 
ture history, is derived from that of the primeval Cushite 
empire, which extended from the plains of Shinar over all 
south-eastern Asia, but was crushed at its centre before the 
dawn of secular history. We have now little reason to 
doubt that Moses, when he studied the learning of Egypt, 
held converse with men who saw more clearly and deeply 
into nature’s mysteries than did Thales or Pythagoras, or 
even Aristotle.* Still later, the remnants of old Nineveh 

* On this subject I may refer naturalists to the intimate 
acquaintance with animals and their habits, indicated by the 
manner of their use as saored emblems, and as symbols in hiero- 



have been exhumed from their long sepulture, and anti¬ 
quaries have been astonished by the discovery that know¬ 
ledge and arts, supposed to belong exclusively to far more 
recent times, were, in the days of the early Hebrew kings, 
and probably very long previously, firmly established on 
the banks of the Tigris. Such discoveries, when compared 
with hints furnished by the scriptures, tend greatly to exalt 
our ideas of the state of civilisation at the time when they 
were written; and we shall perceive, in the course of our 

glyphic writing. Another illustration is afforded by the Mosaic 
narrative of the miracles and plagues connected with the exodus 
The Egyptian king, on this occasion, consulted the philosophers 
and augurs. These learned men evidently regarded the serpent-rod 
miracle as but a more skilful form of one of the tricks of serpent 
charmers. They showed Pharaoh the possibility of reddening 
the Nile water by artificial means, or perhaps by the develop¬ 
ment of red algae in it. They explained the inroad of frogs on 
natural principles, probably referring to the immense abundance 
ordinarily of the ova and tadpoles of these creatures compared 
with that of the adults. But when the dust of the land became 
gnats (lice in our version) this was a phenomenon beyond their 
experience. Either the species was unknown to them, or its 
production out of the dry ground was an anomaly, or they knew 
that no larvae adequate to explain it had previously existed. 
In the case of this plague, therefore, comparatively insignificant 
and easily simulated, they honestly confessed—“ This is the 
finger of God.” No better evidence could be desired, that the 
savans here opposed to Moses, were men of high character and 
extensive observation. Many other facts of similar tendency 
might be cited both from Moses and the Egyptian monuments. 



inquiry, many additional reasons for believing that the 
ancient Israelites were much farther advanced in natural 
science than is commonly supposed. 

We have, however, no positive proof of such a theory, 
and it is subject to many grave objections. The narrative 
itself makes no pretension to a scientific origin, it quotes 
no authority, and it is connected with no philosophical 
speculations or deductions. It bears no internal evidence 
of having been the result of inductive inquiry, but appeals 
at once to faith in the truth of the great ultimate doctrine 
of absolute creation, and then proceeds to detail the steps 
of the process, in the manner of history as recorded by a 
witness, and not in the manner of science tracing back 
effects to their causes. Further, it refers to conditions of 
our planet respecting which science has even now attained 
to no conclusions supported by evidence, aiid is not in a 
position to make dogmatic assertions. The tone of all the 
ancient cosmogonies has in these respects a resemblance to 
that of the scriptures, and bears testimony to a general 
impression pervading the mind of antiquity, that there was 
a divine and authoritative testimony to the facts of creation, 
distinct from history, philosophical speculation, or induc¬ 

Under this head, though perhaps belonging rather to 
the domain of absolute infidelity than to that of scripture 
exegesis, it may be proper to mention the bold attempt of 
the authors of the “ Types of Mankind ,” to assign a human 
origin to Genesis 1st. These writers admit the antiquity 



of the first chapter, though assigning the rest of the hook 
to a comparatively modern date. They say:— 

“ The 1 document Jehovah ’ * does not especially concern 
our present subject; and it is incomparable with the grander 
conception of the more ancient and unknown writer of 
Genesis 1st. With extreme felicity of diction and concise¬ 
ness of plan, the latter has defined the most philosophical 
views of antiquity upon cosmogony ; in fact so well, that 
it has required the palaeontological discoveries of the nine¬ 
teenth century—at least 2500 years after his death—to 
overthrow his septenary arrangement of ‘ Creation ’; which, 
after all, would still be correct enough in general principles, 
were it not for one individual oversight, and one unlucky 
blunder; not exposed, however, until long after his era, by 
post-Copernican astronomy. The oversight is where he 
wrote (Gen. i. 6—8) : c Let there be raquid ’; i. e.., a 
firmament; which proves that his notions of ‘ sky ’ (solid 
like the concavity of a copper basin with stars set as bril¬ 
liants in the metal), were the same as those of adjacent 
people of his time: indeed, of all men before the publica¬ 
tion of Newton’s Principia and of Laplace’s Mecanique 
Celeste. The blunder is where he conceives that aur, 1 light,’ 
and wm , ‘day’ (Gen. i. 14—18), could have been physi¬ 
cally possible three whole days before the 1 two great lumi¬ 
naries,’ Sun and Moon , were created. These venial errors 
deducted, his majestic song beautifully illustrates the sim¬ 
ple process of ratiocination through which—often without 

* See Appendix A. 



the slightest historical proof of intercourse — different 
4 Types of Mankind,’ at distinct epochas, and in countries 
widely apart, had arrived, naturally, at cosmogonic conclu¬ 
sions similar to the doctrines of that Hebraical school of 
which his harmonic and melodious numbers remain a mag¬ 
nificent memento. 

“ That process seems to haye been the following. The 
ancients knew, as we do, that man is upon the earth; and 
they were persuaded, as we are, that his appearance was 
preceded by unfathomable depths of time. Unable (as we 
are still) to measure periods antecedent to man by any 
chronological standard, the ancients rationally reached the 
tabulation of some events anterior to man, through induc¬ 
tion —a method not original with Lord Bacon, because 
known to St. Paul; ‘ for his unseen things from the crea¬ 
tion of the world, his power and godhead, are clearly seen, 
being understood by the things that are made ’ (Rom. i. 20). 
Man, they felt, could not have lived upon earth without 
animal food; ergo, ‘ cattle’ preceded him; together with 
birds, reptiles, fishes, &c. Nothing living, they knew, 
could have existed without light and heat; ergo, the solar 
system antedated animal life, no less than the vegetation 
indispensable for animal support. But terrestrial plants 
cannot grow without earth ; ergo, that dry land had to be 
separated from pre-existent ‘waters.’ Their geological 
speculations inclining rather to the Neptunian than to the 
Plutonian theory—for Werner ever preceded Hutton—- 
the ancients found it difficult to ‘ divide the waters from 



the waters ’ without interposing a metallic substance that 
c divided the waters which were under the firmament from 
the waters that were above the firmament ’; so they infer* 
red, logically, that a firmament must have been actually 
created for this object. [ E . g., i The windows of the skies ’ 
(Gen. vii. 11); ‘ the waters above the skies ’ (Ps. cxlviii. 4).] 
Before the ‘ waters ? (and here is the peculiar error of the 
genesiacal bard), some of the ancients claimed the pre* 
existence of light (a view adopted by the writer of Genesis 
1st) ; whilst others asserted that ‘ chaos ’ prevailed. Both 
schools united, however, in the conviction that darkness 
— Erebus— anteceded all other created things. What, said 
these ancients, can have existed before the 1 darkness ? ’ 
Ens entium , the Creator, was the humbled reply. Elohirti 
is the Hebrew vocal expression of that climax; to define 
whose attributes, save through the phenomena of creation, 
is an attempt we leave to others more presumptuous than 

The problem here set to the “unknown” author of 
Genesis, is a hard one *—given the one fact that “ man is ” 
to find in detail how the world was formed in a series of 
preceding ages of vast duration. Is it possible that such a 
problem could have been so worked out as to have endured 
the test of 3000 years, and the scrutiny of modern science? 
But there is an “ oversight ” in one detail, and a “ blunder ” 
in another. By reference farther on, the reader will find 
under the chapters on “Light” and the “Atmosphere,” 
that the oversight and blunder are those not of the writer 



of Genesis, but of the learned American ethnologists in the 
nineteenth century; a circumstance which cuts in two ways 
in defence of the ancient author so unhappily unknown to 
his modern critics. 

The second of the alternatives above referred to, the 
mythical hypothesis, has been advsnced and ably supported^ 
especially on the continent of Europe, and by such English 
writers as are disposed to apply the methods of modern 
rationalistic criticism to the Bible. In one of its least ob¬ 
jectionable forms, it is thus stated by Prof. Powell: 

“ The narrative then of six periods of creation, followed 
by a seventh similar period of rest and blessing, was clearly 
designed by adaptation to their conceptions to enforce upon 
the Israelites the institution of the Sabbath; and in what¬ 
ever way its details may be interpreted, it clearly cannot 
be regarded as an historical statement of the primeval 
institution of a sabbath; a supposition which is indeed on 
other grounds sufficiently improbable, though often adopted, 
* * If then we would avoid the alternative of being 

compelled to admit what must amount to impugning the 
truth of those portions at least of the Old Testament, we 
surely are bound to give fair consideration to the only sug¬ 
gestion which can set us entirely free from all the difficulties 
arising from the geological contradiction, which does and 
must exist against any conceivable interpretation which 
retains the assertion of the historical character of the details 
of the narrative, as referring to the distinct transactions of 
each of the seven periods. * * The one great fact 



couched in the general assertion,That all things were created 
by the sole power of one Supreme Being, is the whole of 
the representation to which an historical character can be 
assigned. As to the particular form in which the descrip¬ 
tive narrative is conveyed, we merely affirm that it cannot 
be history—-it may be poetry.” * 

The general ground on which this view is entertained, 
is the supposed irreconcileable contradiction between the 
literal interpretation of the Mosaic record and the facts of 
geology. The real amount of this difficulty we are not, in 
the present stage of our inquiry, prepared to estimate. 
We can, however, readily understand that the hypothesis 
depends on the supposition that the narrative of creation 
is posterior in date to the Mosaic ritual, and that this plain 
and circumstantial series of statements is a fable designed 
to support the Sabbatical institution, instead of the rite 
being, as represented in the Bible itself, a commemoration 
of the previously recorded fact. This is, fortunately, a 
gratuitous assumption, contrary to the probable date of the 
documents, as deduced from internal evidence; and it also 
completely ignores the other manifest uses mentioned un¬ 
der our first head. If proved, it would give to the whole 
the character of a pious fraud, and would obviously render 
any comparison with the geological history of the earth 
altogether unnecessary. While, therefore, it must be freely 
admitted that the Mosaic narrative cannot be history, in 
so far at least as history is a product of human experience 

* Kitto’s Cyclopedia, art. “ Creation.” 



we cannot admit that it is a poetieal mythus, or in other 
words that it is destitute of substantial truth, unless proved 
by good evidence to be so; and, when this is proved, we 
must also admit that it is quite undeserving of the credit 
which it claims as a revelation from God. 

Since, therefore, the events recorded in the first chapter 
of Genesis were not witnessed by man, since there is no 
reason to believe that they were discovered by scientific 
inquiry; and since, if true, they cannot be a poetical myth, 
we must, in the meantime, return to our former supposi¬ 
tion that the Mosaic cosmogony is a direct revelation from 
the Creator. In this respect, the position of this part of 
the earth’s biblical history, resembles that of prophecy. 
Writers may accurately relate contemporary events, or those 
which belong to the human period, without inspiration; 
but the moment that they profess accurately to foretell the 
history of the future, or to inform us of events which pre¬ 
ceded the human period, we must either believe them to be 
inspired, or reject them as impostors or fanatics. Many 
attempts have been made to find intermediate standing 
ground, but it is so precarious that the nicest of our modern 
critical balancers have been unable to maintain themselves 
upon it. 

Having thus determined that the Mosaic cosmogony, in 
its grand general features, must either be inspired or worth¬ 
less, we have further to inquire to what extent it is necessary 
to suppose that the particular details and mode of expres¬ 
sion of the narrative, and the subsequent allusions to 



nature in the Bible, must he regarded as entitled to this 
position. We may conceive them to have been left to the 
discretion of the writers; and, in that case, they will 
merely represent the knowledge of nature actually existing 
at the time. On the other hand, their accuracy may have 
been secured by the divine afflatus. Few modern writers 
have been disposed to insist on the latter alternative, and 
have rather assumed that these references and details are 
accommodated to the state of knowledge at the time. I 
must observe here, however, that a careful consideration of 
the facts, gives to a naturalist a much higher estimate of 
the real value of the observations of nature embodied in 
the scriptures, than that which divines and expositors have 
ordinarily entertained; and consequently, that if of human 
origin, we must be prepared to modify the views generally 
entertained of early oriental simplicity and ignorance. 
The truth is, that a large proportion of the difficulties in 
scriptural natural history appear to have arisen from want 
of such accommodation to the low state of the knowledge 
of nature among translators and expositors; and this is 
precisely what we should expect in a veritable revelation. 
Its moral and religious doctrines were slowly developed, 
each new light illuminating previous obscurities. Its 
human history comes out as evidence of its truth, when 
compared with monumental inscriptions; and why should 
not the All-wise have constructed as skilfully its teachings 
respecting His own works. There can be no doubt what¬ 
ever that the scripture writers intended to address them- 



selves to the common mind, which now as then requires 
simple and popular teaching, hut they were under obliga¬ 
tion to give truthful statements; and we need not hesitate 
to say, with Dr. Chalmers, in reference to a hook making 
such claims as those of the Bible—“ There is no argument, 
saving that grounded on the usages of popular language, 
which would tempt us to meddle with the literalities of 
that ancient, and, as appears to us, authoritative document, 
any farther than may be required by those conventionalities 
of speech which spring from “optical” impressions of 

Attempt as we may to disguise it, any other view is 
totally unworthy of the great B,uler of the universe, espe¬ 
cially in a document characterised as emphatically the truth, 

* Much that is very silly has been written as to the extent of 
the supposed “optical view” taken by the Hebrew writers; 
many worthy literary men appearing to suppose that scientific 
views of nature must necessarily be different from those which 
we obtain by the evidence of our senses. The very contrary is 
the fact; and so long as any writers state correctly what they 
observe, without insisting on any fanciful hypotheses, science has 
no fault to find with them. What science most detests is the 
ignorant speculations of those who have not observed at all, or 
have observed imperfectly. It is a leading excellence of the 
Hebrew scriptures that they state facts without giving any 
theories to account for them. It is, on the contrary, the cir¬ 
cumstance that unscientific writers will not be content to be 
“optical,” but must theorise, that spoils much of our modern 
literature, especially in its descriptions of nature. 



and in a moral revelation, in which statements respecting 
natural objects need not he inserted, unless they could be 
rendered at once truthful and illustrative of the higher 
objects of the revelation. The statement often so flippantly 
made, that the Bible was not intended to teach natural 
history, has no application here. Spiritual truths are no 
doubt shadowed forth in the Bible by material emblems, 
often but rudely resembling them, because the nature of 
human thought and language render this necessary, not 
only to the unlearned, but in some degree to all; but this 
principle of adaptation cannot be applied to plain material 
facts. Yet a confusion of these two very distinct cases 
appears to prevail most unaccountably in the minds of many 
expositors. They tell us that the scriptures ascribe bodily 
members to the immaterial God, and typify his spiritual 
procedure by outward emblems ; and this they think ana¬ 
logous to such doctrines as a solid firmament, a plane earth, 
and others of a like nature, which they ascribe to the sacred 
writers. We shall find that the writers of the scripture 
had themselves much clearer views, and that, even in poetical 
language, they take no such liberties with truth. 

As an illustration of the extent to which this doctrine 
of “accommodation” carries us beyond the limits of fair 
interpretation, I cite the following passage from one of the 
latest and ablest writers on the subject * :—“ It was the 
opinion of the ancients that the earth, at a certain height, 
was surrounded by a transparent hollow sphere of solid 

* Prof. Hitchcock. 



matter, which they called the firmament. When rain des¬ 
cended, they supposed that it was through windows or holes 
made in the crystalline curtain suspended in mid-heavens. 
To these notions the language of the Bible is frequently 
conformed. * * But the most decisive example I have 

to give on this subject, is derived from astronomy. Until 
the time of Copernicus, no opinion respecting natural phe¬ 
nomena was thought better established than that the earth 
is fixed immovably in the centre of the universe, and that 
the heavenly bodies move diurnally round it. To sustain 
this view, the most decisive language of scripture might be 
quoted. God is there said to have 1 established the foun¬ 
dations of the earth , so that they could not he removed for 
ever;' and the sacred writers expressly declare that the 
heavenly bodies arise and set, and no where allude to any 
proper motion of the earth.” 

Will it be believed, that, with the exception of the poeti¬ 
cal expression, “windows of heaven,” and the common 
forms of speech relating to sunrise and sunset, the above 
“decisive” instances of accommodation have no foundation 
whatever in the language of scripture. The doctrine of 
the rotation of solid celestial spheres around the earth,, 
belongs to a Greek philosophy which arose after the 
Hebrew cosmogony was complete; and though it occurs in 
the septuagint and other ancient versions, it is not based 
on the Hebrew original. In truth, we know that those Gre¬ 
cian philosophers—of the Ionic and Pythagorean schools 
—who lived nearest the times of the Hebrew writers, and 



who derived the elements of their science from Egypt and 
Western Asia, taught very different doctrines. How absurd, 
then, is it thus to fasten upon the sacred writers, contrary 
to their own words, the views of a school of astronomy 
which probably arose long after their time, when we know 
that more accurate ideas prevailed nearer their epoch. 
Secondly; though there is some reason for stating that the 
u ancients,” though certainly not those of Israel, believed 
in celestial spheres supporting the heavenly bodies, I sus¬ 
pect that the doctrine of a solid vault supporting the clouds , 
except as a mere poetical or mythological fancy, is a pro¬ 
duct of the imagination of the theologians and closet 
philosophers of a more modern time. The testimony of 
men’s senses appears to be in favour of the whole uni¬ 
verse revolving around a plane earth, though the oldest 
astronomical school with which we are acquainted, sus¬ 
pected that this is an illusion; but the every-day observa¬ 
tion of the most unlettered man who treads the fields and 
is wet with the mists and rains, must convince him that 
there is no sub-nubilar solid sphere.. If, therefore, the 
Bible had taught such a doctrine, it would have shocked 
the common sense even of the plain husbandmea to whom 
it was addressed, and could have found no fit audience 
except among a portion of the literati of comparatively 
modern times. Thirdly, with respect to the foundations 
of the earth, I may remark that in the tenth verse of 
Genesis there occurs a definition as precise as that of any 
lexicon,— U and God .called the .dry land earth”; conse- 


quently it is but fair to assume that the earth afterwards 
spoken of as supported above the waters, is the dry land or 
continental masses of the earth, and no geologist can object 
to the statement that the dry land is supported above the 
waters by foundations or pillars. 

We shall find in our examination of the document itself, 
that all the instances of such accommodation which have 
been cited by writers on this subject, are as baseless as 
those above referred to. It is much to be regretted that so 
many otherwise useful expositors have either wanted that 
familiarity with the aspects of external nature by which all 
the Hebrew writers are characterised, or have taken too 
little pains to ascertain the actual meaning of the references 
to creation which they find in the Bible. I may farther 
remark that if such instances of accommodation could be 
found in the later poetical books, it would be extremely 
unfair to apply them as aids in the interpretation of the 
plain, precise, and unadorned statements of the first chap¬ 
ters of Genesis. There is, however, throughout even the 
higher poetry of the Bible, a truthful representation and 
high appreciation of nature for which we seek in vain in 
any other poetry, and we may fairly trace this in part to 
the influence of the cosmogony which appears in its first 
chapter. The Hebrew was thus taught to recognise the 
unity of nature as the work of an Almighty Intelligence, to 
regard all its operations as regulated by his unchanging 
law or “ decree,” and to venerate it as a revelation of his 
supreme wisdom and goodness. On this account he was 
likely to regard careful observation and representation with 



as scrupulous attention as the modern naturalist. Nor must 
we forget that the old testament literature has descended 
to us through two dark ages,—that of Greek and Roman 
polytheism, and of Middle Age barbarism,—and that we 
must not confound its tenets with those of either. The 
religious ideas of both these ages were favourable to certain 
forms of literature and art, but eminently unfavourable to 
the successful prosecution of the study of nature. Hence 
we have a right to expect in the literature of the golden 
age of primeval monotheism, more affinity with the ideas 
of modern science than in any intermediate time; and the 
truthful delineation which the claims of the Bible to inspi¬ 
ration require, might have been, as already hinted, to a 
certain extent secured merely by the reflex influence of its 
earlier statements, without the necessity of our supposing 
that illustrations of this kind in the later books came 
directly from the Spirit of God. 

Our discussion of this head of the subject has necessarily 
been rather desultory, and the arguments adduced must 
depend for their full confirmation on the results of our 
future inquiries. The conclusions arrived at may be sum¬ 
med up as follows: 1. That the Mosaic cosmogony must 
be considered, like the prophecies of the Bible, to claim the 
rank of inspired teaching, and must depend for its authority 
on the maintenance of that claim. 2. That the incidental 
references to nature in other parts of scripture, indicate, at 
least, the influence of these earlier teachings, and of a pure 
monotheistic faith, in creating a high and just appreciation 
of nature among the Hebrew people. 




“ What if earth 

Be but the shadow of Heaven, and things therein, 

Each to other like ; more than on earth is thought.” 


Many persons may be disposed to concede the accurate 


delineation of natural facts open to human observation, 
claimed under the last head, who may not be prepared to 
find in these ancient books any general views akin to those 
of the ancient philosophers, or to those obtained by induc¬ 
tive processes in modern times. Yet views of this kind 
are scattered through the Hebrew and Christian scriptures, 
and it may be well to add to this preliminary inquiry a 
statement of them. They resolve themselves, almost as a 
matter of course, into the two leading ideas of order and 
adaptation. I have already quoted the eloquent admis¬ 
sion by Baron Humboldt of the presence of these ideas of 
the cosmos in Psalm 104. They are both conspicuous in 
the narrative of creation, and equally so in a great number 
of other passages. “ Order is heaven’s first law”; and 
the second is like unto it—that everything serves an end. 
This is the sum of all science. These are the two mites, 
even all that she hath, which she throws into the treasury 
of the Lord; and, as she does so in faith, Eternal Wisdom 



looks on and approves the deed.” * These two mites, law¬ 
fully acquired by science, by her independent exertions, 
she may, however, recognise as of the same coinage with 
the treasure already laid up in the rich storehouse of the 
Hebrew literature j but in a peculiar and complex form, 
which may be illustrated under the following general state¬ 
ments :— 

1. The scriptures assert invariable natural law, and con¬ 
stantly recurring cycles in nature. Natural law is expressed 
•as the ordinance or decree of Jehovah. From the oldest 
of the Hebrew books I select the following examples : f 

11 When He made a decree for the rain, 

And a way for the thunder-flash.”' 

Job xxviii. 26. 

“ Knowest thou the ordinances of the heavens? 

Canst thou establish a dominion even over the earth?” 

Job xxxviii. 33. 

The later books give us such views as the following: 

41 He hath established them (the heavens) for ever and ever; 

He hath made a decree which shall not pass.” 

Ps. cxlviii. 6. 

* McCosh, “Typical Forms and Special Ends.” 
f I adopt that view of the date of Job which makes it precede 
the exodus, because the religious ideas of the book are patri¬ 
archal, and it contains no allusions to the Hebrew history or 
institutions. Were I to suggest an hypothesis as to its origin, 
it would be that it was written or found by Moses when in exile, 
and published among his countrymen in Egypt, to revive their 
monotheistic religion, and cheer them under the apparent deser¬ 
tion of their God, and the evils of their bondage. 



11 Thou art forever, 0 Jehovah, thy word is established in the 

Thou hast established the earth, and it abideth; 

They continue this day according to thine ordinances, for all 
are thy servants.” 

Ps. cxix. 90. 

11 When he established the clouds above ; 

When he strengthened the fountains of the deep ; 

When he gave to the sea his decree, 

That the waters should not pass his commandment; 

When he appointed the foundations of the earth.” 

Prov. viii. 28. 

Many similar instances will be found in succeeding pages ; 
and in the mean time we may turn to the idea of recurring 
cycles, which forms the starting-point of the reasonings of 
Solomon on the current of human affairs, in the book of 
Ecclesiastes:—“ One generation passeth away and another 
generation cometh; but the earth abideth for ever. The 
sun also ariseth, and the sun goeth down and hasteneth 
to its place whence it arose. It goeth toward the south 
and turneth unto the north. The wind whirleth about 
continually, and returneth again according to its circuits. 
All the rivers run into the sea, yet the sea doth not over¬ 
flow ; unto the place whence the rivers came thither they 
return again.” I might fill pages with quotations more or 
less illustrative of the statement in proof of which the above 
texts are cited; but enough has been given to show that 
the doctrine of the Bible is not that of fortuitous occur¬ 
rence, or of materialism, or of pantheism, or of arbitrary 



supernituralism, but of invariable natural law representing 
the decree of a wise and unchanging Creator. 

2. The Bible recognises progress and development in 
nature. At the very outset we have this idea embodied in 
the gradual elaboration of all things in the six creative 
periods, rising from the formless void of the beginning, 
through successive stages of inorganic and organic being, 
up to Eden and to man. Beyond this point the work of 
creation stops, but there is to be an occupation and im¬ 
provement of the whole earth by man spreading from Eden. 
This process is arrested or impeded by sin and the fall. 
Here commences the special province of the Bible, in ex¬ 
plaining the means of recovery from the fall, and of 
the establishment of a new spiritual and moral kingdom, 
and finally of the restoration of Eden in a new heaven and 
earth. All this is moral, and relates to man, in so far as 
the present state of things is concerned; but we have the 
commentary of Jesus: “My Father worketh hitherto, and 
I work”;—the remarkable statement of Paul, that the 
whole creation is involved in the results of man’s moral 
fall and restoration, and the equally remarkable one that 
the Bedeemer is also the maker of the “worlds” or ages 
of the earth’s physical progress, as well as of the future 
“ new heaven and new earth.” Peter also rebukes indig¬ 
nantly those scoffers who maintained that all things had 
remained as they are since the beginning; and refers to the 
creation week and to the deluge, as earnests of the great 
changes yet in store for the earth.* 

* John v. 17; Rom. viii. 22; Heb. i. 2 ; 2 Peter iii. 



Such views of development and progress are not unknown 
to many ancient cosmogonies and philosophical systems, but 
they had no stable foundation in observed fact until the rise 
of modern geology; which enables us to affirm, that, in addi¬ 
tion to those changeless physical laws which cause the bodies 
of the universe to wheel in unvarying cycles, and all natural 
powers to reproduce themselves; and, in addition to those 
organic laws which produce unceasing successions of living 
individuals; there is a higher law of progress. We can 
now trace back man, the animals and plants his contem¬ 
poraries, and others which preceded them, our continents 
and mountain ranges, and the solid rocks of which they 
are composed, to their several origins at distinct points of 
time; and can maintain that since the earth began to 
wheel around the sun, no succeeding year has seen it pre¬ 
cisely as it was in the year before. Nor does any geologist 
worthy of the name, doubt that this law of progress ema¬ 
nates from the mind and power of one creative Being. 
When men see in natural law only recurring cycles, they 
may be pardoned for falling even into the absurdity of 
believing in eternal succession; but when they see change 
and progress, and this in a uniform direction, over-master¬ 
ing recurring cycles, and introducing new objects and 
powers not accounted for by previous objects or powers, 
they are brought very near to the presence of the Spiritual 
Creator. And hence, although no science can reach back 
to the act of creation, this doctrine is much more strongly 



held in our day by geologists than by physicists.* In one 
thing only does the Bible here part company with natural 
science. The Bible goes on into the future, and predicts 
a final condition of our planet, of which science can from 
its investigations learn nothing. 

3. The Bible recognises purpose, use, and special adap¬ 
tation in nature. It is, in short, full of natural theology 
of the same kind with that which has been so elaborately 
worked out by so many modern writers. Numerous pas¬ 
sages in support of this will occur to every one who has 
read the scriptures. It is necessary here, however, to 
direct attention to a distinction very obvious in scripture, 
but not always attended to by writers on this subject.. 
The Bible maintains the true “final cause” of all nature 
to be, not its material and special adaptations or its value 
to man, but the pleasure or satisfaction of the Creator 
himself. In the earlier periods of creation, before man 
was upon the earth, God contemplates his work and pro¬ 
nounces it good. The heavenly hosts praise Him, saying, 
“ Thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they 
are and were created.” Further, the Bible represents 
intelligences higher than man as sharing in the delight 
which may be derived from the contemplation of God’s 
works. When the earth first rose from the waters to greet 
the light, “ The morning stars sang together, and all 
the sons of God shouted for joy.” There are many things 

* See Agassiz contributions to the Natural History of America, 
and Appendix F. 



in nature that strongly impress the naturalist with this 
same view that the Creator takes pleasure in his works * 
and, like human genius in its highest efforts, rejoices in 
production, even if no sentient being should be present to 
sympathise. The elaborate structures of fossils of which 
we have only fragmentary remains, the profusion of natural 
objects of surpassing beauty that grow and perish unseen 
by us, the delicate microscopic mechanism of nearly all 
organic structures, point to other reasons for beauty and 
order than those that concern man. Yet man is repre¬ 
sented as the chief created being for whom this earth has 
been prepared and designed. He obtains dominion over 
it. A chosen spot is prepared for him, in which not only 
his wants but his tastes are consulted; and, being made in 
the image of his Maker, his aesthetic sentiments corres¬ 
pond with the beauties of the Maker’s work, arid he finds 
there also food for his reason and imagination. This view 
of the subject, as well as others already referred to, is 
finely presented in the address of the Almighty to Job.* 
Lastly, the Bible very often refers to the special adapta¬ 
tions of natural objects and laws to each other, and to the 
promotion of the happiness of sentient creatures lower than 
man. The 104th Psalm is replete with notices of such 
adaptations, and so is the address to Job; and indeed this 
view seems hardly ever absent from the minds of the 
Hebrew writers, but has its highest applications in the 

* Job 38th and 39th chaps. 



lilies of the field that toil not neither do they spin, and 
the sparrows that are sold for a farthing, yet the Heavenly 
Father has clothed the one with surpassing beauty, and 
provides food for the other, nor allows it to fall without 
his knowledge. I may, by way of farther illustration, 
merely name a few of the adaptations referred to in Job 
38th and the following chapters. The winds and the 
clouds are so arranged as to afford the required supplies of 
moisture to the wilderness where no man is, to “ cause the 
bud of the tender herb to spring forth.” For similar 
objects the tempest is ordered, and the clouds arranged 
“ by wisdom.” The adaptations of the wild ass, the wild 
goat, the ostrich, the migratory birds, the horse, the hip¬ 
popotamus, the crocodile, to their several habitats, modes 
of life, and uses in nature, are most vividly sketched and 
applied as illustrations of the consummate wisdom of the 
Creator, which descends to the minutest details of organi¬ 
zation and habit. 

4. The law of type or pattern in nature is distinctly 
indicated in the Bible. This is a principle only recently 
understood by naturalists, but it has more or less dimly 
dawned on the minds of many great thinkers in all ages. 
Nor is this wonderful, for the idea of type is scarcely ever 
absent from our own conceptions of any work that we may 
undertake. In any such work we anticipate recurring 
daily toil, like the returning cycles of nature. We look 
for progress, like that of the growth of the universe. We 
study adaptation both of the several parts to subordinate 



uses and of the whole to some general design. But we 
also keep in view some pattern, style, or order, according 
to which the whole is arranged, and the mutual relations 
of the parts are adjusted. The architect must adhere to 
some order of architecture, and to some style within that 
order. The potter, the calico-printer, and the silver-smith, 
must equally study uniformity of pattern in their several 
manufactures. The Almighty Worker has exhibited the 
same idea in his works. In the animal kingdom, for * 
instance, we have four leading types of structure. Taking 
any one of these—the vertebrate, for example—we have a 
uniform general plan, embracing the vertebral column con¬ 
structed of the same elements ) the members, whether the 
arm of man, the limb of the quadruped, or the wing of 
the hat or the bird, or the swimming paddle of the whale, 
built of the same bones. In like manner all the parts of 
the vertebral column itself in the same animal, whether in 
the skull, the neck or the trunk, are composed of the same 
elementary structures. These^ types are farther found to 
be sketched out,—first in their more general, and then in 
their special features—in proceeding from the lower species 
of the same type to the higher, in proceeding from the 
earlier to the later stages of embryonic development, and 
in proceeding from the more ancient to the more recent 
creatures that have succeeded each other in geological time. 
Man, the highest of the vertebrates, is thus the archetype, 
representing and including all the lower and earlier mem¬ 
bers of the vertebrate type. The above are but trite and 



familiar examples of a doctrine which may furnish and has 
furnished the material of volumes. There can be no 
question that the Hebrew Bible is the oldest hook in which 
this principle is stated. In the first chapter of Genesis 
we have specific type in the creation of plants and animals 
after their kinds or species, and in the formation of man 
in the image and likeness of the Creator; and, as we shall 
find in the sequel, there are some curious ideas of higher 
and more general types in the grouping of the creatures 
referred to. The same idea is indicated in the closing 
chapters of Job, where the three higher classes of the ver¬ 
tebrates are represented by a number of examples, and the 
typical likeness of one of these—the hippopotamus—to man, 
seems to he recognised. A late able writer has quoted, as 
an illustration of the doctrine of types, a very remarkable 
passage from Psalm cxxxix.:— 

“ I will praise Thee, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. 
Marvellous are thy works, 

And that my soul knoweth right well. 

My substance was not hid from Thee 
When I was made in secret, 

And curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth: 

Thine eyes did see my substance yet being imperfect, 

And in Thy book all my members were written, 

Which in continuance were fashioned when as yet there was 
none of them.” 

It would too much tax the faith of exegists to ask them 
to believe that d;he writer of the above passage, or the spirit 



that inspired him, actually meant to teach—what we now 
know so well from geology, that the prototypes of all the 
parts of the archetypal human structure may be found in 
those fossil remains of extinct animals which may, in 
nearly every country, be dug up from the rocks of the 
earth. No objection need, however, be taken to our read¬ 
ing in it the doctrine of embryonic development according 
to a systematic type. 

In that spiritual department which is the special field of 
scripture, the doctrine of type has been so extensively 
recognised by expositors, that I need only refer to its 
typical numbers, its typical personages, its typical rites and 
ceremonies, and lastly, to its recognition of the Divine 
Redeemer as the great archetype of the spiritual world, as 
man himself is of the natural. In this last respect the 
New Testament clearly teaches that, in the resurrection, the 
human body formed after Adam as its type, is to be subli¬ 
mated and reformed after the heavenly body of the Son of 
God, rising to some point of perfection higher than that 
of the present earthly archetype. 

It is more than curious that this idea of type, so long 
existing in an isolated and often despised form, as a theo¬ 
logical thought in the imagery of scripture, should now be 
a leading idea of natural science; and that while compara¬ 
tive anatomy teaches us that the structures of all past and 
present lower animals point to man, who, as Prof. Owen 
expresses it, has had all his parts and organs “ sketched 
out in anticipation in the inferior animals,” the Bible 



points still farther forward to an exaltation of the human 
type itself into what even the comparative anatomist might 
perhaps regard as among the " possible modifications of it 
beyond those realised in this little orb of ours,” could he 
but learn its real nature. 

Under the foregoing heads, of the object, the structure, 
the authority, and the general cosmical views of the scrip¬ 
ture, I have endeavoured to group certain leading thoughts 
important as preliminary to the study of the subject; and, 
in now entering on the details of the scriptural cosmogony, 
I trust the reader will pardon me for assuming that we are 
studying an inspired book, revealing the origin of nature, 
and presenting accurate pictures of natural facts and 
broad general views of the cosmos, at least until in 
the progress of our inquiry we find reason to adopt 
lower views; and that he will, in the meantime, be 
content to follow me in that careful and systematic analysis 
which a work claiming such a character surely demands. 



Gen. i. 1: 11 In the beginning Eiohim created the heavens 
and the earth.” 

In this opening of the history of creation, we find in a 
strongly marked manner some of the most prominent 
characteristics of the books of Moses,—the simplicity and 
vigour of an early age, the firm faith of the writer in the 
truths which he promulgates, and the bold and naked 
assertion of the most grand and comprehensive doctrines. 
Characteristics these, which well become the earliest com¬ 
munication of the Divine will, and impress us with the 
feeling that we are listening to words of truth and au¬ 
thority—to the voiee not of man but of God. No studied 
introduction precedes the sacred narrative. No attempt 
is made to prove the existence of God, or to disprove the 
eternal existence of matter. The history opens at once 
with the assertion of a great fundamental truth, which 
must ever form the basis of true religion and sound phi¬ 
losophy—the production from non-existence of the material 
universe by the eternal self-existent God. 

But what is creation in the sense of the Hebrew writer. 

The aet is expressed by the verb Bara , a word of compara¬ 
tively rare occurrence in the scriptures, and employed to 
denote absolute creation. If, says Prof. Stuart of Andover, 



this word 11 does not mean to create in the highest sense, 
then the Hebrews had no word by which they could de¬ 
signate this idea.” Yet, like our English create, the word 
is used in secondary and figurative senses, which in no 
degree detract from its force when strictly and literally 
used. Since, however, these secondary senses have been 
employed by some writers to obscure the primitive mean¬ 
ing, we must examine them in detail. 

In the first chapter of Genesis, after the general state¬ 
ment in verse 1st, other verbs signifying to form or make 
are used to denote the elaboration of the separate parts of 
the universe, and the word create is found in only two 
places, when it refers to the introduction of “ great whales ” 
(reptiles) and of man. These uses of the word have been 
cited to disprove its sense of absolute creation. It must 
be observed however, that in the first of these cases we 
have the earliest appearance of animal life, and in the 
second the introduction of a rational and spiritual nature. 
Nothing but pure materialism can suppose that the elements 
of vital and spiritual being were included in the matter of 
the heavens and the earth as produced in the beginning; 
and as the scripture writers were not materialists, we may 
infer that they recognized, in the introduction of life and 
reason, acts of absolute creation, just as in the origin of 
matter itself. In Genesis 2nd and 3rd we have a form of 
expression which well marks the distinction between crea¬ 
tion and making. God is there said to have rested from 
all his works which he “ created and made”—literally 



created “ for or in reference to making,” the word for 
making being one of those already referred to.* The force 
of this expression consists in its intimating that God had not 
only finished the work of creation , properly so-called, but 
also the elaboration of the various details of the universe, 
as formed or fashioned out of the original materials. Of 
a similar character is the expression in Isaiah xlii., 5— 
“ Jehovah, he that created the heavens and spread them 
out”; and that in Psalm cxlviii. 5—“ He commanded and 
they were created, he hath also established them for ever 
and ever.” In as far as I am aware, the word bar a in all 
the remaining instances of its occurrence in the Pentateuch,, 
refers to the creation of man, with the following exceptions; 
Exodus xxxiv., 10, “ I will do (create) marvels, such as 
have not been seen in all the earth.” Numbers xvi., 30, 
11 If the Lord make a new thing (create a creation) and 
the earth open her mouth and swallow them up.” These 
verses are types of a class of expressions in which the pro¬ 
per term for creation is applied to the production of some¬ 
thing new, strange and marvellous; for instance, “ Create 
in me a clean heart 0 Lord,” “ Behold I create new 
heavens and a new earth.” It is however evidently an 
inversion of sound exposition, to say that these secondary or 
figurative meanings should determine the primary and 
literal sense in Genesis 1st. On the contrary, we should 
rather infer that the inspired writers in these cases selected 

* Asah. 



the proper word for creation, to express in the most for¬ 
cible manner the novel and thorough character of the 
changes to which they refer, and their direct dependence 
on the Divine will. By such expressions we are in effect 
referred back to the original use of the word, as denoting 
the actual creation of matter by the command of God, in 
contra-distinction from those arrangements which have been 
effected by the gradual operation of secondary agents, or of 
laws attached to matter at its creation.* Viewing creation 
in this light, we need not perplex ourselves with the ques¬ 
tion whether we should consider Genesis i., 1 to refer to 
the essence of matter as distinguished from its qualities. 
We may content ourselves with the explanation given by 
Paul in the eleventh of Hebrews. “ By faith we are cer¬ 
tain that the worlds were created by the decree of God, so 
that things which are seen , were made of that which ap¬ 
pears not.” 

The nature of the act of creation being thus settled, its 
extent may be ascertained by an examination of the terms 
heaven and earth. 

The word heavens ( Shamayim ) has in Hebrew as in 
English a variety of significations. Of material heavens 
there are, in the quaint language of Poole, “ tres regiones , 
ubi axes, ubi nubes , ubi sidera ” ; or (1) the atmosphere 

* I am indebted, since writing the above, to McDonald’s able 
treatise on “ Creation and the Fall,” for the additional idea in 
reference to the word bara } that it is applied only to God as the 
agent, and not to any human work. 



or firmament ;* (2.) The region of clouds in the upper 
part of the atmosphere ;f (3.) The depths of space com¬ 
prehending the starry orbs.J Beside these we have the 
“heaven of heavens/’ the abode of God and Spiritual 
beings.§ The application of the term heaven to the atmos¬ 
phere will he considered when we reach the 6th and 7th verses. 
In the meantime we may accept the word in this verse, as 
including the material heavens in the widest sense. (1.) 
Because it is not here, as in verse 8th, restricted to the 
atmosphere by the terms of the narrative; this restriction 
in verse 8th in fact implying the wider sense of the word 
in preceding verses. (2.) Because the atmospheric fir¬ 
mament, elsewhere called heaven, divides the waters above 
from those below, whereas it is evident that all these waters, 
and of consequence the materials of the atmosphere itself, 
are included in the earth of the following verse. (3.) Be-^ 
cause in verse 14, the sidereal heavens are spoken of as 
arranged from pre-existing materials, which refers their 
actual creation back to this verse. 

In the verse now under consideration we therefore re¬ 
gard the heavens as including the whole material universe 
beyond the limits of our earth. That this sense of the 
word is not unknown to the writers of scripture, and that 
they had enlarged and rational views of the star-spangled 

*Gen. i., 8, 26, 27, 28. t Gen. i., 14; Judges v., 20 ; 

f Gen.ix., 11; Job xxxviii, 37. Deuteronomy xvii., 3. 

§ Gen. xxviii., 17 ; Job xv., 15 ; Psalms ii., 4. 



abysses of space, will appear from the terms employed by 
Moses in his solemn warning against the Sabaean idolatry, 
in Deuteronomy 4th. “ And lest thou lift up thine eyes to 
the heavens, and when thou seest the sun and the moon 
and the stars, even all the host of the heavens, shouldest be 
incited to worship them and serve them which Jehovah 
thy God hath appointed to all nations under the whole 
heavens.” To the same effect is the expression of the awe 
and wonder of the poet king of Israel in Psalm 8th:— 

11 When I consider the heavens, the work of thy fingers, 

The moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, 


What is man that thou art mindful of him.” 

I may observe, however, that throughout the scriptures 
the word in question is much more frequently applied to 
the atmosphere than to the sidereal heavens. The reason 
of this appears in the terms of verse 8th. 

If we have correctly referred the term heavens to the 
starry and planetary bodies, then the word earth must de¬ 
note our globe as a planetary body, with all the liquid and 
aeriform substances on its surface. The arrangement of 
the whole universe under the heads heaven and earth, has 
been derided as a division into u infinity and an atom ” ; 
but when we consider the relative importance of the earth 
to us, and that it constitutes the principal object of the 
whole revelation to which this verse introduces us, this 
absurdity disappears, and we recognise the classification 
as in the circumstances natural and rational. The word 



earth (aretz) is, however, generally nsed to denote the 
dry land, or even a region or district of country. It 
is indeed expressly restricted to the dry land in verse 
10th; but as in the case of the parallel limitation of 
the word heaven, we may consider this as a hint that 
its previous meaning is more extended. That it really is 
so, appears from the following considerations: (1.) It 

includes the deep, or the material from which the sea 
and atmosphere were afterwards formed. (2.) The sub¬ 
sequent verses show that at the period in question no dry 
land existed. If instances of a similar meaning from other 
parts of scripture are required, I give the following: Gen. 
ii., 1 to 4, “ Thus the heavens and the earth were finished 
and all the host of them ”— u these are the generations of 
the heavens and the earth.” In this general summary of 
the creative work, the earth evidently includes the seas and 
all that is in them, as well as the dry land; and the whole 
expression denotes the universe. The well known and strik¬ 
ing remark of Job—“ Who hangeth the earth upon nothing” 
is also a case in point, and must refer to the whole world, 
since in other parts of the same book, the dry land or con¬ 
tinental masses of the earth are said, and with great truth 
and propriety, to be supported above the waters on pillars 
or foundations. The following passages may also be cited 
as instances of the occurrence of the idea of the whole 
world expressed by the word earth, Exodus ix., 29, “ And 

Moses said unto him, as soon as I am gone out of the 


city, I will spread abroad my hands unto the Lord, and 
the thunder shall cease, neither shall there be any more 



hail; that thou mayest know the earth is the Lord’s.” 
Deuteronomy x., 14, “ Behold the heaven and the heaven 
of heavens is the Lord’s, the earth also and all that 
therein is.” 

The material universe was brought into existence in the 
“ beginning,”—a term evidently indefinite as far as regards 
any known epoch, and implying merely priority to all 
other recorded events. It cannot be the first day, for 
there is .no expressed connection, and the work of the first 
day is distinct from that of the beginning. It cannot be 
a general term for the whole six days, since these are sepa¬ 
rated from it by that chaotic or formless state to which we 
are next introduced. The beginning, therefore, is the 
threshold of creation — the line that separates the old 
tenantless condition of space from the world-crowded 
galaxies of the existing universe. The only other infor¬ 
mation respecting it, that we have in scripture, is in that 
fine descriptive poem in Proverbs viii., in which the Wis¬ 
dom of God personified—by many believed to represent 
the second person of the Trinity, who, as we are informed 
in the New Testament, was the manifested Deity in the 
work of creation as well as in that of redemption—narrates 
the origin of all created things:— 

1 Jehovah possessed me in the beginning of his way, 

Before his work of old. 

I was set up (anointed) from everlasting, 

From the beginning or ever the earth was ; 

When there were no deeps I was brought forth, 

When there were no fountains abounding in water.” 



The beginning here precedes the creation of the earth, as 
well as of the deep which encompassed its surface in its 
earliest condition. The beginning, in this point of view, 
stretches back from the origin of the world into the depths 
of eternity. It is to us emphatically the beginning, 
because it witnessed the birth of our material system; but 
to the eternal Jehovah it was but the beginning of a great 
series of his operations, and we have no information of its 
absolute duration. From the time when God began to 
create the celestial orbs, until that time when it could be 
said that he had created the heavens and the earth, count¬ 
less ages may have rolled along, and myriads of worlds may 
have passed through various stages of existence, and the 
creation of our planetary system may have been one of the 
last acts of that long beginning. 

The author of creation is Elohim, or God in his general 
aspect to nature and man, and not in that special aspect 
in reference to the Hebrew commonwealth and to the work 
of redemption, indicated by the name Jehovah ( Iaveh ).* 
We need not enter into the doubtful etymology of the 
word; but may content ourselves with that supported by 
many, perhaps the majority, of critics, which gives it the 
meaning of “ Object of dread or adoration,” or with that 
preferred by Gesenius, which makes it mean the “ Strong 
or mighty one.” Its plural form has also greatly tried the 
ingenuity of the commentators. After carefully consider- 

* Appendix A. 



ing the various hypotheses, such as that of the plural of 
majesty of the Rabbins, and the primitive polytheism sup¬ 
posed by certain rationalists, I can see no better reason 
than an attempt to give a grammatical expression to that 
plurality in unity, indicated by the appearance of the Spirit 
as a distinct actor in the next verse, and probably always 
held by the Hebrews in a general form; and which our 
Saviour and his apostles specialised in that trinitarian 
doctrine which enables both John and Paul explicitly to 
assert the agency of the second person of the Trinity in 
the creative work. I rather wonder at the squeamishness 
which induced even Calvin to make light of this manifest 
correspondence between Moses and the Apostles. 




Genesis i. 2 : “ And the earth was desolate and empty, and 
darkness was upon the surface of the deep ; and the Spirit of 
God brooded over the surface of the waters.” 

We have here a few bold outlines of a dark and myste¬ 
rious scene—-a condition of the earth of which we have no 
certain intimation from any other source. It was “ empti¬ 
ness and vacuity,” formless and uninhabited. The words 
thus translated are sufficiently plain in their meaning. 
The first is used by Isaiah to denote the desolation of a 
ruined city, and in Job and the Psalms as characteristic 


of the wilderness or desert. Both in connection are em¬ 
ployed by Isaiah to express the desolation of Idumea, and 
by Jeremiah in a powerful description of the ruin of 
nations by God’s judgments. When thus united, they 
form the strongest expression which the Hebrew could 
supply, for solitary, uninhabited desolation, like that of a 
city reduced to heaps of rubbish, and to the silence and 
loneliness of utter ruin. 

In the present connection, these words inform us that 
the earth was then destitute of life, and unfit for the resi¬ 
dence of organised beings. The words themselves suggest 
the important question:—Was this the original condition of 
the earth ? Was it a scene of desolation and confusion 


72 ‘ 

when it sprang from the hand of its Creator ? or was this 
state of ruin consequent on convulsions which may have 
been preceded by a very different condition, not mentioned 
by the inspired historian ? That it may have been so, is 
rendered possible by the circumstance that the words 
employed are generally used to denote the ruin of places 
formerly inhabited, and by the want of any necessary con¬ 
nection in time between the first and second verses. It 
has even been proposed, though this does violence to the con¬ 
struction, to read “and the earth became 5 * desolate and 
empty. Farther, it seems, a priori , improbable that the 
first act of creative power should have resulted in the pro¬ 
duction of a mere chaos. The crust of the earth also 
shows, in its alternations of strata and organic remains, 
evidence of a great series of changes extending over vast 
periods, and which might, in a revelation intended for 
moral purposes, with great propriety be omitted. 

For such reasons, some eminent expositors of these 
words, are disposed to consider the first verse as a title or 
introduction, and to refer to this period the whole series 
of geological changes; and this view indeed forms at pre¬ 
sent one of the most popular solutions of the apparent 
discrepancies between the geological and scriptural histories 
of the world. It is evident, however, that if we view the 
term “ earth ” in verse second as including the whole globe, 
this hypothesis becomes altogether untenable. The sub¬ 
sequent verses inform us that at the period in question the 
earth was covered by a universal ocean, possessed no 



atmosphere and received no light, and had not entered into 
its present relations with the other bodies of our system. 
No conceivable convulsions could have effected such changes 
on an earth previously possessing these arrangements; 
and geology assures us that the existing laws and arrange¬ 
ments in these respects have prevailed from the earliest 
periods to which it can lead us back, and that the modem 
state of things was not separated from those which preceded 
it by any such general chaos.* To avoid this difficulty, 
which has been much more strongly felt, as these facts have 
been more and more clearly developed by geological science, 
Dr. J. P. Smith has endeavoured to show that the earth 
in verse second may mean only a particular region, tempo¬ 
rarily obscured and reduced to ruin, and about to be fitted 
up, by the operations of the six days, for the residence of 
man; and that consequently the narrative of the six days 
refers not to the original arrangement of the surface, rela* 
tions, and inhabitants of our planet, but to the retrieval 
from ruin and re-peopling of a limited territory, supposed 
to have been in Central Asia, and which had been sub¬ 
merged and its atmosphere obscured by aqueous or volcanic 
vapours. The chief support of this view is the fact, pre¬ 
viously noticed, that the word earth is very frequently used 
in the signification of region, district, country; to which 
may be added the supposed necessity for harmonising the 
scriptures with geological discovery, and at the same time 
viewing the days of creation as literal solar days. 

♦Appendix B. 



Can we, however, after finding that in verse 1st the term 
earth must mean the whole world, suddenly restrict it in 
verse second to a limited region. Is it possible that the 
writer who in verse tenth for the first time intimates a 
limitation of the meaning of this word, by the solemn an¬ 
nouncement u And God called the dry land earth,” should 
in a previous verse use it in a much more limited sense 
without any hint of such restriction. The case stands 
thus. A writer uses the word earth in the most general 
sense; in the next sentence he is supposed, without any 
intimation of his intention, to use the same word to denote 
a region or country, and by so doing entirely to change 
the meaning of his whole discourse, from that which would 
otherwise have attached to it. Yet the same writer 
when, a few sentences farther on, it becomes necessary 
for him to use the word earth to denote the dry land 
as distinguished from the seas, formally and with an 
assertion of Divine authority, intimates the change of 
meaning. Is not this supposition contrary not only to 
sound principles of interpretation, hut also to common 
sense; and would it not tend to render worthless the 
testimony of a writer to whose diction such inaccura¬ 
cy must be ascribed. It is in truth to me beyond 
measure surprising that such a view could ever have ob¬ 
tained currency; and I fear it is to be attributed to a 
determination, at all hazards and with any amount of vio¬ 
lence to the written record, to make geology and religion 
coincide. Must we then throw aside this simple and con- 



venient method of reconciliation, sanctioned by Chalmers, 
Smith, Harris, King, Hitchcock, and many other great or 
respectable names, and on which so many good men com¬ 
placently rest. Truth obliges us to do so, and to confess 
that both geology and scripture refuse to be reconciled on 
this basis. We may still admit that the lapse of time 
between the beginning and the first day may have been 
great; but we must emphatically deny that this interval 
corresponds with the time indicated by the series of fossi- 
liferous rocks. 

Before leaving this part of the subject, I may remark 
that the desolate and empty condition of the earth was not 
a chaotic mass of confusion, u rudis indig estaque moles ” ; 
but in reality, when physically considered, a more sym¬ 
metrical and homogeneous condition than any that it 
subsequently assumed. The absence of' land, and 
the prevalence of a universal ocean in the immediately 
succeeding period, imply that its crust had not yet been 
ruptured or disturbed, but presented an even and uniform 
surface, no part of which could project above the compara¬ 
tively thin fluid envelope. 

The second clause introduces a new object—“ the deep” 
Whatever its precise nature, this is evidently something 

included in the earth of verse 1st, and created with it. 
The word occurs in other parts of the Hebrew scriptures 
in various senses. It often denotes the sea, especially when 
in an agitated state (Ps. xlii., 8; Job xxxviii., 10). In 
Psalm cxxxv. however, it is distinguished from the sea: 



“ Whatever the Lord pleased that did he in heaven, in the 
earth, in the sea and in all deeps." In other cases it has 
been supposed to refer to interior recesses of the earth, as 
when at the deluge “the fountains of the great deep ” are 
said to have been broken up. It is probable however that 
this refers to the ocean. In some places it would appear 
to mean the atmosphere or its waters; as Prov. viii., 7, 
“ When he prepared the heavens I was there, when he de¬ 
scribed a circle on the face of the deep, when he established 
the clouds above, when he strengthened the fountains of 
the deep.” The septuagint in this passage reads “ throne on 
the winds” and “fountains under the heaven.”* Though 
we cannot attach much value to these readings, there seems 
little reason to doubt that the author of this passage under¬ 
stands by the deep the atmospheric waters, and not the 
sea, which he mentions separately. The same meaning 
must be attached to the word in the 19th and 20th verses 
of the same chapter: “ The Lord in wisdom hath founded 
the earth, by understanding hath He established the 
heavens; by his knowledge the depths are broken up, and 
the clouds drop down the small rain.” 

In the passage now under consideration, it would seem 
that we have both the deep and the waters mentioned, and 
this not in a way which would lead us to infer their iden¬ 
tity. The darkness on the surface of the deep and the 
spirit of God on the face of the waters, seem to refer to the 

* The usual septuagint rendering is jlbyssus. 



condition of two distinct objects at the same time. Neither 
can the word here refer to subterranean cavities, for the 
ascription of a surface to these, and the statement that 
they were enveloped in darkness, would in this case have 
neither meaning nor use. For these reasons I am induced 
to believe that the locality of the deep or abyss is to be 
sought, not in the universal ocean or the interior of the 
earth, but in the vaporous or aeriform mass mantling the 
surface of our nascent planet, and containing the materials 
out of which the atmosphere was afterwards elaborated. 
This is a view leading to important consequences: one of 
which is that the darkness on the surface of the deep 
cannot have been, as believed by the advocates of a local 
chaos, a mere atmospheric obscuration; since even at 
the surface of what then represented the atmosphere, dark¬ 
ness prevailed. “ God covered the earth with the deep as 
with a garment, and the waters stood above the hills,” and 
without this outer garment was the darkness of space des¬ 
titute of luminaries, at least of those greater ones which are 
of primary importance to us. We learn from the following 
verses, that there was no layer of clear atmosphere in this 
misty deep, separating the clouds from the ocean waters. 

The last clause of the verse has always been obscure, 
and perhaps it is still impossible to form a clear idea of the 
operation intended to be described. We are not even 
certain whether it is intended to represent anything within 
the compass of ordinary natural laws, or to denote a direct in¬ 
tervention of the Creator, miraculous in its nature and con- 

78 j . 


fined to one period. It is possible that the general intention 


of the statement may be to the effect that the agency of 
the Divine power in separating the waters from the in¬ 
cumbent vapours, had already commenced—that the spirit 
which would afterwards evoke so many wonders out of the 
chaotic mass, was already acting upon it in an unseen and 
mysterious way, preparing it for its future destinies. 

Some commentators, both Jewish and Christian, are ; 
however, disposed to view the Ruach Eloliim , or Spirit of 
God, as meaning a wind of God, or mighty wind, 
according to a well-known Hebrew idiom. The word un¬ 
questionably often means wind or breath, and there are 
undoubted instances of the expression “wind of God ” for 
a great or strong wind. For example, Isaiah xl. 7: “ The 
grass withereth because the wind of the Lord bloweth upon 
it”; see also 2 Kings ii. and 16. Such examples, how¬ 
ever, are very rare, and by no means sufficient of themselves 
to establish this interpretation. Those who hold this view, 
do so mainly in consideration of the advantage which it 
affords in attaching a definite meaning to the expression. 
Many of them are not, however, aware of its precise import 
in a cosmical point of view. A violent wind, before the 
formation of the atmosphere, and the establishment of the 
laws which regulate the suspension and motions of aqueous 
vapour and clouds, must have been merely an agitation of 
the confused misty and vaporous mass of the deep; since, 
as Ainsworth—more careful than modern interpreters— 
long ago observed, “ winde (which is the moving of the 



aier) was not created till the second day, that the firma¬ 
ment was spred, and the aier made,” Such an agitation 
is by no means improbable. It would be a very likely 
accompaniment of a boiling ocean, resting on a heated sur¬ 
face, and of excessive condensation of moisture in the upper 
regions of the atmosphere; and might act as an influential 
means of preparing the earth for the operations of the second 
day. It is curious also that the Phenieian cosmogony 
is said to have contained the idea of a mighty wind in 
connection with this part of creation. On the other hand 
the verb used in the text, rather expresses hovering or 
brooding than violent motion, and this better corresponds 
with the old fable of the mundane egg, which seems to 
have been derived from the event recorded in this verse. 
The more evangelical view which supposes the Holy Spirit 
to be intended, is also more in accordance with the 
general scope of the scripture teachings on this subject; 
and the opposite idea is, as Calvin well says, “ too frigid” 
to meet with much favour from evangelical theologians. 

Chaos, the equivalent of the Hebrew “ desolation and 
emptiness” figures largely in all ancient cosmogonies. 
That of the Egyptians is interesting not only from its 
resemblance to the Hebrew doctrine, but also from its 
probable connection with the cosmogony of the Greeks. 
Taking the version of Diodorus Siculus, which though 
comparatively modern, yet corresponds with the hints de¬ 
rived from older sources, we find the original chaos to have 
been an intermingled condition of the elements constituting 



heaven and earth. This is the Hebrew “ deep.” The first 
step of progress is the separation of these; the fiery par¬ 
ticles ascending above, and not only producing light but the 
revolution of the heavenly bodies—a curious foreshadowing 
of the nebular hypothesis of modern astronomy. After these, 
in the terms of the lines quoted by Diodorus from Euripides, 
plants, birds, mammals and finally man are produced, not 
however by a direct creative fiat but by the spontaneous 
fecundity of the teeming earth. The Phenician cosmogony 
attributed to Sancuniathon has the void, the deep, and 
the brooding spirit, and one of the terms employed, “baau,” 
is the same with the Hebrew “ bohu,” void, if read with¬ 
out the points. The Babylonians, according to Berosus, 
believed in a chaos—which, however, like the literal 
day theory of some moderns, produced many monsters 
before Belus intervened to separate heaven and earth. 
The Greek myth of Chaos and its children Erebus and 
Night, who gave birth to Aether and Day, is the same 
tradition, personified after the fanciful manner of a 
people who, in the primitive period of their civilization, 
had no profound appreciation of nature, but were full of 
human sympathies.* Lastly, in a hymn translated by Dr. 

* It is impossible to avoid recognizing in the Greek Theogony, 
as it appears in Hesiod and the Orphic poems, an inextricable 
intermingling of a cosmogony akin to that of Moses, with le¬ 
gendary stories of deceased ancestors. Chaos or space, for the 
chaos of Hesiod differs from that of Ovid, came first, then Gaea 
the earth and Tartarus or the lower world. Chaos eave birtb \q 



Max Muller from the Rig veda, a work probably far older 
than the Institutes of Menu, we have such utterances as 
the following:— 

“ Nor aught nor nought existed ; yon bright sky 
Was not, nor heaven’s broad woof outstretched above. 
What covered all ? what sheltered ? what concealed ? 

Was it the water’s fathomless abyss? * * * * 

Darkness there was, and all at first was veiled 
In gloom profound—an ocean without light; 

The germ that still lay covered in the husk 
Burst forth, one nature, from the fervent heat.” 

Erebos (identical with the Hebrew Ereb, or Erev, evening) and 
Nyx, or night. These again give birth to Aether, the equivalent 
of the Hebrew expanse or firmament, and to Hemera, the day, 
and then the heavenly bodies were perfected. So far the legend 
is apparently based on some primitive history of creation, not 
essentially different from that of the Bible. But the Greek The- 
ogony here skips suddenly to the human period; and under the 
fables of the marriage of Gaea and Uranos, and the Titans, ap¬ 
pears to present to us the antediluvian world with its intermar¬ 
riages of the sons of God and men, and its Nephelim or Giants, 
with their mechanic arts and their crimes. Beyond this, in 
Kronos and his three sons, and in the strange history of Zeus, the 
chief of these, we have a coarse and fanciful version of the story of 
the family of Noah, the insult offered by Ham to his father, and the 
subsequent quarrels and dispersion of mankind. The Zeus of 
Homer appears to be the elder of the three, or J aphet,the real father 
of the Greeks, according to the Bible ; but in the time of Hesiod, 
Zeus was the youngest, perhaps indicating that the worship of the 
Egyptian Zeus, Ammon or Ham, had already supplanted among 
the Greeks that of their own ancestor. But it is curious that 



It is evident that the state of our planet which we have 
just been considering, is one of which we can scarcely form 
any adequate conception, and science can in no way aid us, 
except by suggesting hypotheses or conjectures. It is re¬ 
markable however, that nearly all the cosmological theories 
which have been devised, contain some of the elements of 
the inspired narrative. The words of Moses appear to 
suggest a heated and cooling globe, its crust as yet un¬ 
broken by internal forces, covered by a universal ocean, on 
which rested a mass of confused vaporous substances; and 

even in the Bible, though Japhet is said to be the greater, he 
is placed last in the lists. After the introduction of Greek 
savans and literati to Egypt, about B. 0. 660, they began to 
regard their own mythology from this point of view, though 
obliged to be reserved on the subject. The cosmology of Thales, 
the astronomy of Anaxagoras, and the history of Herodotus afford 
early evidence of this, and it abounds in later writers. I may refer 
the reader to Grote (History of Greece,vol.l) for an able and agree¬ 
able summary of this subject; and may add, that even the few 
coincidences above pointed out between Greek mythology and 
the Bible, independently of the multitudes of more doubtful 
character to be found in the older writers on this subject, 
appear very wonderful, when we consider that among the 
Greeks these vestiges of primitive religion, whether brought 
with them from the east or received from abroad, must have been 
handed down for a long time by oral tradition among the 
people ; but obscure though they may be, the circumstance that 
some old writers have ridden the resemblances to death, affords 
no excuse for the prevailing neglect of them in more modern 
times. (See Appendix K.) 


83 ' 

it is of such materials, thus combined by the sacred histo¬ 
rian, that cosmologists have built up their several theories, 
aqueous or igneous, of the early state of the earth. Geology, 
as a science of observation and induction, does not carry us 
back to this period. It must still and always say, with 
Hutton, that it can find “ no trace of a beginning, no prospect 
of an end, ”—not because there has been no beginning or 
will he no end, hut because the facts which it collects ex¬ 
tend neither to the one nor the other. Geology, like every 
other department of natural history, can but investigate 
the facts which are open to observation, and reason on these 
in accordance with the known laws and arrangements of 
existing nature. It finds these laws to hold for the oldest 
period to which the rocky archives of the earth extend. 
Respecting the origin of these general laws and arrange¬ 
ments, or the condition of the earth before they originated, 
it knows nothing. In like manner a botanist may deter¬ 
mine the age of a forest, by counting the growth rings 
of the oldest trees, but he can tell nothing of the forests that 
may have preceded it, or of the condition of the surface be¬ 
fore it supported a forest. So the archaeologist may on 
Egyptian monuments read the names and history of suc¬ 
cessive dynasties of kings, but he can tell nothing of the 
state of the country and its native tribes before those 
dynasties began, or their monuments were built. Yet 
Geology at least establishes a probability that a time was 
when organized beings did not exist, and when many of 
the arrangements of the surface of our earth had not been 



perfected; and the few facts which have given birth to the 

theories promulgated on this subject, tend to show that this 

pre-geological condition of the earth may have been such 

as that described in the verses now under consideration. 

I may remark in conclusion, that if the words of Moses 

imply the cooling of the globe from a molten or intensely 

heated state, down to a temperature at which water could 


exist on its surface, the known rate of cooling of bodies of 
the dimensions and materials of the earth, shows that the 
time included in these two verses of Genesis, must have 
been enormous.* 

There are two other sciences beside geology, which have in 
modern times attempted to penetrate into the mysteries 
of the primitive abyss, at least by hypothetical explana¬ 
tions—astronomy and chemistry. The magnificent nebular 
hypothesis of La Place, which explains the formation of the 
whole solar system by the condensation of a revolving mass 
of gaseous matter, would manifestly bring our earth to the 
condition of a fluid body with or without a solid crust, and 
surrounded by a huge atmosphere of its more volatile ma¬ 
terials, gradually condensing itself around the central nu¬ 
cleus. Chemistry informs us that this vaporous mass would 
contain not only the atmospheric air and water, but all 
the carbon, sulphur, phosphorus, chlorine, and other ele¬ 
ments, volatile in themselves, or forming volatile compounds 
with oxygen or hydrogen, that are now imprisoned in vari¬ 
ous states of condensation in the solid crust of the earth. 


* Appendix C. 



Such an atmosphere, vast, dark, pestilential, and capable in 
its condensation of producing the most intense chemical 
action, is a necessity of an incandescent globe, or of an earth 
condensing from a nebulous state, not often referred to by 
writers on these subjects; and affords no inapt represen¬ 
tation of the deep or abyss of Moses, and the chaos of 
Hesiod, and of the Egyptian priests. 

In accordance with the views above stated and explained, 
verses first and second may be paraphrased as follows :— 

“ At a far-distant time, Elohim, the triune God, created 

the materials of the heavens and the earth.” 


“ After its creation, the earth was still without 
organised inhabitants. It was covered with a dense and 
heterogeneous mantle of vapours, and it was entirely desti¬ 
tute of solar light and heat; but processes preparatory to 
its being perfected and inhabited, were in progress.” 



Genesis i. 3 : “ And God said let light be, and light was; 
and God saw the light that it was good, and separated the light 
from the darkness.” 

Light is the first element of order and perfection introduced 
upon our planet—the first innovation on the old regime of 
darkness and desolation. There is a beautiful propriety 
in this, for the Hebrew Or (light) should be viewed as 
including heat and electricity as well as light; and these 
three elements—if they are really distinct and not merely 
various movements of one ether — imponderable and in 
some states scarcely appreciable, are in themselves or the 
proximate causes of their manifestation, the prime movers 
of the machinery of nature, the vivifying forces without 
which the primeval desolation would have been eternal. 
The statement presented here is, however, a bold one. 
Light without luminaries, which were afterwards formed 
—independent light, so to speak, shining all around the 
earth, is an idea not likely to have occurred in the days of 
Moses to the framer of a fictitious cosmogony, and yet it 
corresponds in a remarkable manner with some of the theo¬ 
ries which have grown out of modern induction. 

I have said that thp Hebrew word translated light, in¬ 
cludes all the imponderables. I make this statement, not 



intending to assert that the Hebrews experimented on 
these substances in the manner of modern science, and 
would therefore be prepared to understand their distinc¬ 
tions as fully as we can. I give the word this general 
sense simply because throughout the Bible it is used to 
denote the solar light and heat, and also the electric light 
of the thunder-cloud: “the light of His cloud,” “the 
bright light which is in the clouds.” The absence of “ or” 
therefore, in the primeval earth, is the absence of solar 
radiation, of the lightning’s flash, and of volcanic fires. 
We shall in the succeeding verses find additional reasons 
for exeluding all these phenomena from the darkness of the 
primeval night. 

The light of the first day cannot reasonably be supposed 
to have been in any other than a visible and active state. 
Whether light be, as supposed by the older physicists, 
luminous matter radiated with immense velocity, or as now 
appears more probable, merely the undulations of a uni¬ 
versally diffused ether, its motion had already commenced. 
The idea of the matter of light as distinct from its power 
of affecting the senses, does not appear in the scriptures; 
and if it did, the general creation of matter being stated 
in verse 1st, and the notice of the separation of light and 
darkness being distinctly given in the present verse, there 
is no place left for such a view here. For this reason, 
that explanation of this verse which supposes that on the 
first day the matter of light, or the ether whose motions 
produce light, was created, and that on the fourth day, 



when luminaries were appointed, it became visible by 
beginning to undulate, must be abandoned; and the con¬ 
nection between these two statements must be sought in 
some other group of facts than that connected with the 
existence of the matter of light as distinct from its undu¬ 

What, then, was the nature of the light which on the 
first day shone without the presence of any local luminary ? 
It must have proceeded from luminous matter diffused 
through the whole space of the solar system, or surround¬ 
ing our globe as with a mantle. It was “clothed with 
light as with a garment,” 

11 Sphered in a radiant cloud, for yet the sun was not.” 

We have already rejected the hypothesis thatPthe prime¬ 
val night proceeded from a temporary obscuration of the 
atmosphere; and the expression, “ God said let light 
be,” affords an additional reason, since, in accordance 
with the strict precision of language which everywhere 
prevails in this ancient document, a mere restoration 
of light would not be stated in such terms. If we 
wish to find a natural explanation of the mode of illumi¬ 
nation referred to, we must recur to one or other of the 
suppositions mentioned above, that the luminous matter 
formed a nebulous atmosphere, slowly concentrating itself 
toward the centre of the solar system, or that it formed a 
special envelope of our earth, which subsequently disap¬ 



We may suppose, in the first place, this luminous matter 
t© be the same with that which now surrounds the sun, 
and constitutes the stratum of luminous substance, which, 
by its wondrous and unceasing power of emitting light, 
gives him all his glory. To explain the division of the 
light from the darkness, we need only suppose that the 
luminous matter, in the progress of its concentration, was 
at length all gathered within the earth’s orbit, and then as 
one hemisphere only would be illuminated at a time, the 
separation of light from darkness or of day from night 
would be established. This hypothesis, suggested by the 
words themselves, affords a simple and natural explanation 
of a statement otherwise obscure. 

It is an instructive circumstance that the probabilities 
respecting the early state of our planet, thus deduced from 
the scriptural narrative, correspond very closely with the 
most ingenious and truly philosophical speculation ever 
hazarded respecting the origin of our solar system. I 
refer to the cosmical hypothesis of La Place, whieh was 
certainly formed without any reference to the Bible; and 
by persons whose views of the Mosaic narrative are of that 
shallow character which is too prevalent, has been suspected 
as of infidel tendency. La Place’s theory is based on the 
following properties of the solar system, for a statement of 
which and of the views founded on them, I am indebted 
to Nichols’ “System of the World.” 1. The orbits of 
the planets are nearly circular, 2, They revolve nearly 




in tlie plane of the sun’s equator.* 3. They all revolve 
round the sun in one direction, which is also the direction 
of the sun’s rotation. 4. They rotate on their axes also, 
as far as is known, in the same direction. 5. Their satel¬ 
lites, with the exception of those of Uranus, revolve in the 
same direction. Now all these coincidences can scarcely 
have been fortuitous, and yet they might have been other¬ 
wise without affecting the working of the system; and 
farther, if not fortuitous, they correspond precisely with 
the results which would flow from the condensation of a 
revolving mass of nebulous matter.f La Place, therefore, 
conceived that in the beginning the matter of our system 
existed in the condition of a mass of vaporous material, 
having a central nucleus more or less dense, and the whole 
rotating in a uniform direction. Such a mass must, “ in 
condensing by cold, leave in the plane of its equator zones 
of vapour composed of substances which required an intense 
degree of cold to return to a liquid or solid state. These 
zones must have begun by circulating round the sun in 
the form of concentric rings, the most volatile molecules of 

* The group of minor planets discovered in more recent times 
between Mars and Jupiter, form an exception to this ; but they 
are of little importance, and exceptional in other respects as well. 
To give their arrangement and the motions of the satellites of 
Uranus, would require the farther assumption of some unknown 
disturbing cause. 

f For a very clear statement of this, see Nichols’ “ Planetary 



which must have formed the superior part, and the most con¬ 
densed the inferior part. If all the nebulous molecules of 
which these rings are composed had continued to cool 
without disuniting, they would have ended by forming a 
liquid or solid ring. But the regular constitution which 
all parts of the ring would require for this, and which they 
would have needed to preserve when cooling, would make 
this phenomenon extremely rare. Accordingly the solar 
system presents only one instance of this, that of the rings 
of Saturn. Generally the ring must have broken into 
several parts which have continued to circulate round the 
sun, and with almost equal velocity, whilst at the same 
time, in consequence of their separation, they would acquire 
a rotatory motion round their respective centres of gravity; 
and as the molecules of the superior part of the ring—that 
is to say, those farthest from the centre of the sun—had 
necessarily an absolute velocity greater than the molecules 
of the inferior part which is nearest it,-the rotatory motion 
common to all the fragments must always have been in the 
same direction with the orbitual motion. However, if 
after their division one of these fragments has been suffi¬ 
ciently superior to the others to unite them to it by its 
attraction, they will have formed only a mass of vapour, 
which, by the continual friction of all its parts, must have 
assumed the form of a spheroid, flattened at the poles and 
elongated in the direction of its equator.” Here, then, 
are rings of vapour left by the successive retreats of the 
atmosphere of the sun, changed into so many planets in 



the condition of vapour, circulating round the central orb, 
and possessing a rotatory motion in the direction of their 
revolution, while the solar mass was gradually contracting 
itself round its centre and assuming its present organised 
form. Such is a general view of the hypothesis of La Place, 
which may also be followed out into all the known details 
of the solar system, and will be found to account for them 
all. Into these details, however, we cannot now enter. 
Let us now compare this ingenious speculation with the 
scripture narrative. In both we have the raw material of 
the heavens and the earth created before it assumed its 
distinct forms. In both we have that state of the planets 
characterised as without form and void, the condensing 
nebulous mass of La Place’s theory being in perfect cor¬ 
respondence with the scriptural “deep.” In both it is 
implied that the permanent mutual relations of the several 
bodies of the system must have been perfected long after 
their origin. Lastly, supposing the luminous atmosphere 
of our sun to have been of such a character as to concen¬ 
trate itself wholly around the centre of the system, and 
that as it became concentrated it acquired its intense lumi¬ 
nosity, we have in both the production of light from the 
same cause; and in both it would follow that the concen¬ 
tration of this matter within the orbit of the earth, would 
effect the separation of day from night, by illuminating 
alternately the opposite sides of the earth. It is true that 
the theory of La Place does not provide for any such spe¬ 
cial condensation of luminous matter, nor for any precise 



stage of the process as that in which the arrangements of 
light and darkness should be completed; but under his 
hypothesis it seems necessary to account in some such way 
for the sole luminosity of the sun ; and the point of separa¬ 
tion of day and night must have been a marked epoch in 
the history of the process for each planet. 

But the Mosaic record and the hypothesis of La Place 
alike admit of another and somewhat different explanation 
of the primitive light. For this also I am indebted to 
Nichol.* After describing the sun’s luminous atmos¬ 
phere with its bright “faculae,” its dimmer spaces, and the 
huge dark spots or cavities that seem to be caused by 
gigantic whirlwinds similar to our terrestrial hurricanes, 
but of vastly greater dimensions, he goes on to inquire why 
the sun possesses the monopoly of light, which on La 
Place’s theory might be shared among the planets, and 
whether anything similar to the sun’s luminous cloud is 
connected with the planets; and adduces the following 
facts as evidence of such luminosity in an inferior degree. 
“ Our first thought leads us to the Auroras. Whatever 
their origin, they show the existence of causes in virtue of 
whose energy the upper strata of our atmosphere become 
self-luminous sometimes in a high degree; for in northern 
regions our travellers have read by their brilliance. But 
the Aurora is not the only phenomenon which indicates 
the existence of a power in the matter of our globe to emit 

* “ Planetary System ” ; also Humboldt, Cosmos, “Northern 
Lights”; and Wagner and Schubert, quoted by Kurtz. 



light. One fact that must have been often noticed, forcibly 
impresses me with the conviction that here, through what 
seems common, truths of much import will yet he reached. 
In the dead of night, when the sky is clear and one is 
admiring the brilliancy of the stars, hanging over a per¬ 
fectly obscured earth, a cloud, well known to observing 
astronomers, will at times begin to form, and it then 
spreads with astonishing rapidity over the whole heavens. 
The light of the stars being thus utterly shut out, one 
might suppose that surrounding objects would, if possible 
become more indistinct: but no! what was formerly 
invisible can now be clearly seen; not because of lights 
from the earth being reflected back from the cloud — for 
very often there are none—but in virtue of the light of the 
cloud itself ‘ which, however faint, is yet a similitude of 
the dazzling shell of the sun. The existence of this illu¬ 
minating power, though apparently in its debilitude, we 
discover also in appearances among the other orbs. Flashes 
like our auroras are said to have been observed over the 
dark hemisphere of Venus; and the obscure part of the 
moon is believed to have been visited by similar pheno¬ 
mena ; but the circumstance most remarkably corroborative 
of the mysterious truth to which these indications point, 
is the appearance of our midnight luminary during a total 
eclipse. By theory she ought to disappear entirely from 
the heavens. She should vanish, and the sky seem as if 
no moon were in being; but on the contrary, and even 



when she passes the very centre of the earth’s shadow, she 
seems a huge disc of bronze, in which the chief spots can 
easily be descried by the telescope. It has been put forth 
In explanation that a portion of the rays of the sun must 
be reflected by our atmosphere and bent toward the eclipsed 
disk, from which again they are reflected to the earth— 
thus giving the moon that bronze colour; but the instant 
the hypothesis is tested by calculation, we discover its utter 
insufficiency. Nor is there any tenable conclusion save this: 
—That the matter both of sun and planets is capable, in 
certain circumstances, whose exact conditions are not 
known, of evolving the energy which we term light; and 
that the atmosphere of the sun is at present under influ¬ 
ences favorable to the high manifestation of a power which 
from the other orbs has not yet entirely departed. And 
thus for ever is broken down that supposed distinction 
which seemed to place our central luminary apart in species , 
to an immeasurable extent from the humbler worlds that 
roll around him.” Let us suppose, in accordance with this 
hypothesis, that our earth was in its earlier state surrounded 
by a self-luminous atmosphere. This, if sufficiently bril¬ 
liant, would exclude the light of the sun and of the 
heavenly bodies; and, as its light became exhausted and 
that of the sun increased, the latter would gradually be 
installed into his office as the sole orb of day. It is quite 
evident that either this last view, or that above explained, 
would give a sufficient hypothetical explanation of the light 
of the first of the creative aeons; and this is all that in 



the present state of science we can expect. “ Where is the 
way where light dwelleth, and as for darkness where is the 
place thereof, that thou shouldst take it to the bound 
thereof, and know the way to the house thereof? ” 

For the reasons above given, we must regard the hypo¬ 
thesis of the great French astronomer, as a wonderful 

. approximation to the grand and simple plan of the con¬ 
struction of our system as revealed in scripture. It is true y 
however, that since recent improvements in telescopes have 
resolved into stars those nebulae which were supposed to 
be instances of world-formation actually in progress, astro¬ 
nomers have very generally abandoned the nebular hypo¬ 
thesis which was one of the foundations of the theory of 


La Place. But this circumstance does not affect the theory 
as an illustration of scripture, since whether or not such 
processes are now in progress, many astronomical facts and 
the scripture narrative, concur in suggesting that it was in 
some such method that it pleased the Creator to construct 
our system. 

u God saw the light that it was good,” though it illu¬ 
minated but a waste of lifeless waters. It was good because 
beautiful in itself, and because God saw it in its relations 
to long trains of processes and wonderful organic structures 
on which it was to aet as a vivifying agency. Throughout 
the scriptures light is not only good, but an emblem of 
higher good. In Psalm civ. God is represented as “ cloth¬ 
ing himself with light as with a garment ” ; and in many 
other parts of these exquisite lyrics we have similar figures* 



“ The Lord is my light and salvation.” “ Lift up the 
light of thy countenance upon me.” “ The entrance of 
thy law giveth light.” “The path of the just is as a 
shining light.” And the great spiritual light of the worlds 
the “ only begotten of the Father,” the mediator alike in 
creation and redemption, is himself the “ Sun of Righteous¬ 
ness.” Perhaps the noblest scripture passage relating to 
the blessing of light, is one in the address of Jehovah to 
Job, which is unfortunately so imperfectly translated in 
the English version as to be almost unintelligible:— 

“ Hast thou in thy lifetime given law to the morning, 

Or caused the dawn to know its place, 

That it may enclose the horizon in its grasp, 

And chase the robbers before it: 

It rolls along as the seal over the clay, 

Causing all things to stand forth in gorgeous.apparel.”* 

Job xxxviii. 12. 

* This translation is as literal as is consistent with the bold 
abruptness of the original. The last idea is that of a cylindri¬ 
cal seal rolling over clay and leaving behind a beautiful impres¬ 
sion where all before was a blank. See Barnes, in loc., for a 
summary of the views of exegists on this passage, the difficulty 
of which, as in many similar cases, is not so much in the words 
themselves, as in the want of familiarity of expositors with ther 
images employed. 



Genesis i. 5 : 11 And God called the light Day; and the dark¬ 
ness he called Night. And the evening and the morning were 
the first day.” 

These words bring us to the consideration of one of the 
most difficult problems in this chapter, and one on which 
its significance in a great measure depends—the meaning 
of the word day, and the length of the days of creation. 
I am aware that we have the authority of many great names 
for determining that the days of the creative week must 
have been literal days; and that the belief that these days 
were long periods, was in consequence at one time almost 
entirely abandoned. But after a careful examination of 
the considerations that have been advanced on both sides 
of the question, I confess that I must agree with those 
who think that the point is far from being settled, and that 
the arguments bearing on it, and more especially those de¬ 
rived from the internal evidences, deserve a farther and 
very attentive consideration. 

In pursuing this investigation, I shall refrain from no¬ 
ticing in detail the views of the many able modern writers 
who, from Cuvier, De Luc and Jameson, down to Hugh 
Miller, have maintained the period theory, or those equally 
numerous and able writers who have supported the opposite 



view. I acknowledge obligations to them all, bnt prefer to 
direct my attention immediately to the record itself. 

The first important fact that strikes us, is one which has 
not received the attention it deserves, viz : that the word 
day is evidently used in two senses in the verse itself. We 
are told that God called the light , that is the diurnal con¬ 
tinuance of light, day. We are also informed that the 
evening and the morning were the first day. Day there¬ 
fore in one of these clauses is the light as separated from 
the darkness, which we may call the natural day ; in the 
other it is the whole time occupied in the creation of light 
and its separation from the darkness, whether that was a 
civil or astronomical day of twenty-four hours or some 
longer period. In other words, the daylight, to which 
God is represented as restricting the use of the term day, 
is only a part of a day of creation, which included both 
light and darkness, and which might be either a civil day 
or a longer period, but could not be the natural day inter¬ 
vening between sunrise and sunset, which is the ordinary 
day of scripture phraseolog 3 r . 

To pave the way for a right understanding of the day of 
creation, it may be well to consider, in the first place, the 
manner in which the shorter day is introduced. In the 
expression “ God called the light day,” we find for the first 
time the Creator naming his works, and we may infer that 
some important purpose was to be served by this. The 
nature of this purpose we ascertain by comparison with 
other instances of the same kind, occurring in the chapter. 



God called the darkness night, the firmament heaven, the 
dry land earth, the gathered waters seas. In all these cases 
the purpose seems to have been one of verbal definition, 
perhaps along with an assertion of sovereignty. It was 
necessary to distinguish the diurnal darkness from that un¬ 
varied darkness which had been of old, and to discriminate 
between the limited waters of an earth having dry land on 
its surface, and those of the ancient universal ocean. This 
is effected by introducing two new terms, night and seas. 
In like manner it was necessary to mark the new applica¬ 
tion of the term earth to the dry land, and that of heaven 
to the atmosphere, more especially as these were the senses 
in which the terms were to be popularly used. The in¬ 
tention therefore in all these cases was to affix to certain 
things names different from those which they had previously 
borne in the narrative, and to certain terms new senses 
differing from those in which they had been previously 
used. Applying this explanation here, it results that the 
probable reason for calling the light day, is to point out 
that the word occurs in two senses, and that while it was 
to be the popular and proper term for the natural day, this 
sense must be distinguished from its other meaning as a 
day of creation. In short, we may take this as a plain and 
authoritative declaration that the day of creation is not the 
day of popular speech . W e see in this a striking instance of 
the general truth that in the simplicity of the structure of this 
chapter, we find not carelessness but studied and severe 
precision, and a warning against the neglect of the smallest 
peculiarities in its diction. 



What then is the day of creation, as distinguished by 
Moses himself from the natural day. The general opinion, 
and that which at first sight appears most probable, is that 
it is merely the ordinary civil day of twenty-four hours. 
Those who adopt this view insist on the impropriety of di¬ 
verting the word from its usual sense. Unfortunately 
however for this argument, the word is not very frequently 
used in the scriptures for the whole twenty-four hours of 
the earth’s revolution. Its etymology gives it the sense of 
the time of glowing or warmth, and in accordance with this, 
the Divine authority here limits its meaning to the day¬ 
light. Accordingly, throughout the Hebrew scriptures, 
yom is generally the natural and not the civil day; and 
where the latter is intended, the compound terms “ day and 
night” and “evening and morning,” are frequently used. 
Any one who glances over the word day in a good English 
concordance, can satisfy himself of this fact. But the 
sense of natural day from sunrise to sunset, is expressly 
excluded here by the context, as already shown; and all that 
we can say in favour of the interpretation that limits the 
day of creation to twenty-four hours, is that next to the 
use of the word for the natural day, which is its true po¬ 
pular meaning, its use for the civil day is perhaps the most 
frequent. It is therefore by no means a statement of the 
whole truth to affirm, as many writers have done, that the 
civil day is the ordinary meaning of the term. At the same 
time we may admit that this is one of its ordinary meanings, 
and therefore may be its meaning here. Another argument 



frequently urged is, that the day of creation is said to have 
had an evening and morning. We shall consider this more 
fully in the sequel, and in the meantime may observe that 
it appears rather hazardous to attribute an ordinary even¬ 
ing and morning to a day which, on the face of the record, 
preceded the formation and arrangement of the luminaries 
which are “ for days and for years.”* 

Admitting then that the civil day may be meant, we 
may now proceed to consider another meaning of the word, 
very common in scripture, and perhaps occurring as fre¬ 
quently as the instances in which the word can be with 
certainty maintained to denote the civil day. In the Bible 
long and undefined periods are indicated by the word day. 
In many of these cases the word is in the plural; as Gen. 
iv. 3, “ And after days it came to pass,” rendered in our 
version “ in process of time,” Gen. xl. 4, “ days in ward,” 
rendered “ a season.” Such instances as these are not ap¬ 
plicable to the present question, since the plural may have 

* Prof. Dana thus sums up the various meanings of the word 
day in Genesis :—“ First , in verse 5, the light in general is called 
day, the darkness, night. Second , in the same verse, evening 
and morning make the first day, before the sun appears. Third , 
verse 14, day stands for twelve hours or the period of daylight, 
as dependent on the sun. Fourth , same verse, in the phrase 
“ days and seasons,” day stands for a period of twenty-four hours. 
Fifth , at the close of the account, in verse 4, of the second 
chapter, day means the whole period of creation. These uses are 
the same that we have in our own language.” 



the sense of indefinite time, merely by denoting an un¬ 
determined number of natural days. Passages in which 
the singular occurs in this sense, are those which strictly 
apply to the case in hand, and such are by no means rare. 
A very remarkable example is Genesis ii. 4, where we find 
“ In the day when Jehovah Elohim made the earth and the 
heavens.” This day must either mean the beginning, or 
must include the whole six days ; most probably the latter, 
since the word “ made ” refers not to the act of creation, pro¬ 
perly so called, but to the elaborating processes of the cre¬ 
ative week; and occurring as this does immediately after 
the narrative of creation, it seems almost like an intentional 
intimation of the wide import of the creative days. It has 
been objected however that the expression “ in the day ” is 
properly a compound adverb, having the force of “when ” 
or “ at the time.” But the learned and ingenious authors 
who urge this objection, have omitted to consider the rela¬ 
tive probabilities as to whether the adverbial use had arisen 
while the word yom meant simply a day, or whether the 
use of the noun for long periods was the reason of the in¬ 
troduction of such an adverbial expression. The proba¬ 
bilities are in favour of the latter, for it is not likely that 
men would construct an adverb referring to indefinite time 
from a word denoting one of the most precisely limited 
portions of time, unless that word had also a second and 
more unlimited sense. Admitting therefore that the phrase 
is an adverb of time, its use so early as the date of the compo¬ 
sition of Genesis, to denote a period longer than a literal 
day, seems to imply that this in'- 1 ite use of the word 



was of high antiquity, and probably preceded the invention 
of any term by which long periods could be denoted. 

This use of the word day is however not limited to cases 
of the occurrence of the formula “ in the day.” The fol¬ 
lowing are a few out of many instances that might be 
quoted. Job xviii. 20 : “ They that come after him shall 
be astonished at his day.” Job xv. 32 : “ It shall be ac¬ 
complished before his time” Judges xviii. 30: “Until 
the day of the captivity of the land.” Deut. i, 39 : “ And 
your children which in that day had no knowledge of good 
and eviL” Gen. xxxix. 10: “ And it came to pass about 
that time (on that day).” We find also abundance of 
such expressions as “day of calamity,” “day of distress,” . 
“day of wrath,” “day of God’s power,” “day of prosperity.” 
In such passages the word is evidently used in the sense of 
era or period of time, and this in prose as well as poetry. 

There is a remarkable passage in the Psalms, which con¬ 
veys the idea of a day of God as distinct from human or 
terrestrial days: 

u Before the mountains were brought forth, 

Or ever thou hadst formed the earth and the world, 

Even from everlasting to everlasting, thou art God. 

Thou turnest man to destruction, 

And sayest, Return, ye children of men ; 

For a thousand years are in thy sight as yesterday when 
it is past, 

And as a watch in the night.”* 

* It is worthy of note that this psalm is attributed to Moses, 
and that it probably refers to the creation and the deluge. 



The same thought occurs in the second epistle of Peter: 
u One day is yjith the Lord as a thousand years, and a 
thousand years as one day.” These remarkable statements 
are not expressly intended to give information as to the 
days of creation. They teach us, however, that in the sight 
of the Eternal, our measurements of time are as nothing ; 
and that the scripture writers had the idea that God’s 
smallest measures of time might be very long. 

But supposing that the inspired writer intended to say 
that the world was formed in six long periods of time, 
could not he have used some other word than yom that 
would have been liable to fewer doubts. There are words 
which might have been used, as for instance eth , time, 
season, or olam , age, ancient time, eternity. These words, 
however, have about them a want of precision as to their 
beginning and end, which unfits them for this use; and 
after some search, I have been unable to find any instance 
which would justify me in affirming that on the supposi¬ 
tion that Moses intended long periods, he could have bet¬ 
ter expressed the idea than by the use of the word yom,, 
more especially if he and those to whom he wrote were 
familiar with the thought, preserved to us in the mythology 
of the Hindoos, and probably widely diffused in ancient 
Asia, that a working day of the Creator immeasurably 
transcends a working day of man.* 

* For the benefit of those who may value ancient authorities 
in such matters, and to show that such views may rationally be 
entertained independently of geology, I quote the following pas- 




Many objections to the view which I have thus endea¬ 
voured to support from internal evidence, will at once occur 
to every intelligent reader familiar with the literature of 
this subject. I shall now attempt to give the principal of 
these objections a candid consideration. 

(1.) It is objected that the time occupied in the work 
of creation, is given as a reason for the observance of the 
seventh day as a sabbath; and that this requires us to view 
the days of creation as literal days. “ For in six days 
Jehovah made the heaven and the earth, the sea and all 
that in them is, and rested on the seventh day ; therefore 
Jehovah blessed the sabbath day and sanctified it.” The 

sage from Origen : “ Cuinam quaeso sensum habenti convenienter 
videbitur dictum, quod dies prima et secunda et tertia, in quibus 
et vespera nominatur, et mane, fuerint sine sole, et sine luna 
et sine stellis : prima autem dies sine coelo.” So St. Augus¬ 
tine expressly states his belief that the creative days could not 
be of the ordinary kind. 11 Qui dies, cujusmodi sint, aut per- 
difi&cile nobis, aut etiam impossibile est cogitare, quanto magis 
discere.” Bede also remarks “ fortassis hie diei nomen, totius 
temporis nomen est, et omnia volumina seculorum hoc vocabulo 
includit.” Many similar opinions of old commentators might be 
quoted. It is also not unworthy of note that the cardinal num¬ 
ber is used here, “ one day” for first day; and though the Hebrew 
grammarians have sought to found on this, and a few similar 
passages, a rule that the cardinal may be substituted for the 
ordinal, many learned Hebraists insist that this use of the car¬ 
dinal number implies singularity and peculiarity as well as mere 



argument used here is, however, one of analogy. Because 
God rested on His seventh day, He blessed and sanctified 
it, and required men in like manner to sanctify their 
seventh day.* Now, if it should appear that the working 
day of God is not the same with the working day of man, 
and that the sabbath of God is of proportionate length 
to his working day, the analogy is not weakened; more 
especially as we find the same analogy extended to the 
seventh year. If it should be said, God worked in the 
creation of the world in six long ages and rested on the 
seventh, therefore man in commemoration of this fact 
shall sanctify the seventh of his working days, the argu¬ 
ment is as strong, the example as intelligible, as on the 
common supposition. This objection is, in fact, a piece of 
pedantic hyperorthodoxy which has too long been handed 
about without investigation. It is refreshing to find it 
thus crushed in the strong grasp of Hugh Miller :—f 

“ I cannot avoid thinking that many of our theologians 
attach a too narrow meaning to the remarkable reason at¬ 
tached to the fourth commandment by the Divine lawgiver. 
“God rested on the seventh day,” says the text, “from all 
His work which He had created and made; and God 
blessed the seventh day and sanctified it.” And such is 

* It is to be observed, however, that on the so called literal 
day hypothesis, the first sabbath was not man’s seventh day, but 
rather his first, since he must have been created toward the close 
of the sixth day. 

f Footprints of the Creator. 



the reason given in the decalogue why man should rest on 
the sabbath day. God rested on the sabbath day and 
sanctified it; and therefore man ought also to rest on the 
sabbath and keep it holy. But I know not where we shall 
find grounds for the belief that the sabbath day during 
which God rested was merely commensurate with one of 
the sabbaths of short lived man—a brief period measured 
by a single revolution of the earth on its axis. We have 
not, as has been shown, a shadow of evidence that He re¬ 
sumed his work of creation on the morrow; the geologist 
finds no trace of post-Adamic creation; the theologian can 
tell us of none. God’s sabbath of rest may still exist; the 
work of redemption may be the work of his sabbath day. 
That elevatory process through successive acts of creation, 
which engaged him during myriads of ages, was of an or¬ 
dinary week-day character, but when the term of his moral 
government began, the elevatory process peculiar to it 
assumed the Divine character of the sabbath. This special 
view appears to lend peculiar emphasis to the reason embo¬ 
died in the commandment. The collation of the passage 
with the geologic record, seems, as if by a species of re¬ 
translation, to make it enunciate as its injunction, “ Keep 
this day, not merely as a day of memorial related to a past 
fact, but also as a day of co-operation with God in the work 
of elevation, in relation both to a present fact and a future 
purpose.” “ God keeps His sabbath ” it says “ in order 
that He may save; keep yours also that ye may be saved.” 
It serves besides to throw light on the prominence of the 



sabbatical command, in a digest of law of which no jot or 
tittle can pass away until the fulfilment of all things. 
During the present dynasty of probation and trial, that 
special work of both God and man on which the character 
of the future dynasty depends, is the sabbath day work of 
saving and being saved.” 

“ The common objection to that special view which re¬ 
gards the days of creation as immensely protracted periods 
of time, furnishes a specimen, if not of reasoning in a 
circle, at least of reasoning from a mere assumption. It 
first takes for granted that the sabbath day during which 
God rested, was a day of but twenty-four hours, and then 
argues from the supposition that in order to keep up the 
proportion between the six previous working days and the 
seventh day of rest, which the reason annexed to the fourth 
commandment demands, these previous days must also have 
been twenty-four hours each. It would, I have begun to 
suspect, square better with the ascertained facts, and be at 
least equally in accordance with scripture, to reverse the 
process, and argue that because God’s working days were 
immensely protracted periods, his sabbath also must be an 
immensely protracted period. The reason attached to the 
law of the sabbath, seems to be simply a reason of propor¬ 
tion :—the objection to which I refer is an objection palpa¬ 
bly founded on considerations of proportion, and certainly 
were the reason to be divested of proportion, it would be 
divested also of its distinctive character as a reason. Were 
it as follows it could not be at all understood: u Six 



days shalt thou labour, &c.; but on the seventh day shalt 
thou do no labour, &c.; for in six immensely protracted 
periods of several thousand years each, did the Lord make 
the heavens and the earth, &c. ,* and then rested during a 
brief day of twenty-four hours; therefore the Lord blessed 
the brief day of twenty-four hours and hallowed it.” 
This I repeat would not be reason. All however that 
seems necessary to the integrity of the reason, in its cha~ 
racter as such, is that the proportion of six parts to seven 
should be maintained. God’s periods may be periods ex¬ 
pressed algebraically by letters symbolical of unknown 
quantities, and man’s periods by letters symbolical of 
quantities well known j but if God’s sabbath be equal to 
one of his six working days, and man’s sabbath equal to 
one of his six working days, the integrity of proportion is 

Not only does this viev of the case entirely remove the 
objection; but it throws a new light on the nature and 
reason of the sabbath. No good reason, except that of set¬ 
ting an example, can be assigned for God’s resting for a 
literal day. But if God’s sabbath of rest from natural 
creation is still in progress, and if our short sabbaths are 
symbolical of the work of that great sabbath in its present 
grey morning and in its coming glorious noon; then may the 
Christian thank this question incidentally raised by geology 
and its long periods, for a ray of light which shines along the 
whole course of scripture history, from the first sabbath up 



to that final 11 rest which remaineth for the people of 
God.” * 

2. It is objected that evening and morning are ascribed 
to the first day. This has been already noticed; it may 
here be considered more fully. The word evening in the 
original is literally the darkening, the sunset, the dusk. 
Morning is the opening or breaking forth of light—the 
day-break. It must not be denied that the explanation of 
these terms is attended with some difficulty, but this is not 
at all lessoned by narrowing the day to twenty-four hours. 
The first operation of the first day was the creation of light; 
next we have the Creator contemplating his work and pro¬ 
nouncing it to be good ; then we have the separation of the 
light and darkness, previously it is to be presumed inter¬ 
mixed ] and all this without the presence of a sun or other 
luminary. Which of these operations occupied the 
evening, and which the morning, if the day consisted of 
but twenty-four hours, beginning according to Hebrew 
custom in the evening ? Was the old primeval darkness 
the evening or night, and the first breaking forth of light 
morning. This is almost the only view compatible with 
the Hebrew civil day beginning at evening, but it would 
at once lengthen the day beyond twenty-four hours, and 
contradict the terms of the record. Again, were the 
separated light and darkness the morning and evening? 

* This idea occurs in Lord Bacon’s confession of Faith, and 
De Luc also maintains that the Creator’s sabbath must have been 
of long continuance. 



If so, why is the evening mentioned first, contrary to the 
supposed facts of the case; why indeed are the evening 
and morning mentioned at all, since on that supposition 
this is merely a repetition ? Lastly, shall we adopt the 
ingenious expedient of dividing the evening and morning 
between two days, and maintaining that the evening belongs 
to the first and the morning to the second day, which would 
deprive the first day of a morning, and render the creative 
days, whatever their length, altogether different from He¬ 
brew natural or civil days* It is unnecessary to pursue 
such inquiries farther, since it is evident that the terms of 
the record will not agree with the supposition of natural 
evening and morning. This is of itself a strong presump¬ 
tion against the hypothesis of civil days, since the writer 
was under no necessity so to word these verses that they 
would not give any rational or connected sense on the sup¬ 
position of natural evening and morning, unless he wished 
to be otherwise understood* 

But what is the meaning of evening and morning, if 
these days were long periods? Here fewer difficulties 
meet us. First; It is readily conceivable that the begin¬ 
ning and end of a period named a day should be called 
evening and morning. But what made the use of these 
divisions necessary or appropriate ? I answer that nature 
and revelation both give grounds at least to suspect that 
the evening, or earlier part of each period, was a time of 
comparative inaction, sometimes even of retrogression, and 
that the latter part of each period was that of its greatest 



activity and perfection. Thus on the views stated in a 
former chapter, in the first day there was a time when 
luminous matter, either gradually concentrating itself 
towards the sun, or surrounding the earth itself, shed a 
dim but slowly increasing light, then there were day and 
night, the light increasing in intensity as, toward the end 
of the period, the luminous ether became more and more 
concentrated around the sun. So in our own seventh day, 
the earlier part was a time of deplorable retrogression, and 
though the sun of righteousness has arisen, we have seen 
as yet only a dim and cloudy morning. On the theory of 
days of vision, as expounded by Hugh Miller, in the Tes¬ 
timony of the Rocks, in one of his noblest passages, the 
evening and night fall on each picture presented to the 
seer like the curtain of a stage. Secondly; Though the 
explanation stated above is the most probable, the hypo¬ 
thesis of long periods admits of another, namely, that the 
writer means to inform us that evening and morning, once 
established by the separation of light from darkness, con¬ 
tinued without cessation throughout the remainder of the 
period—rolling from this time uninterruptedly around our 
planet, like the seal cylinder over the clay.* This expla¬ 
nation is, however, less applicable to the following days 
than to the first. Nor does this accord with the curious 
fact that the seventh day, which, on the hypothesis of long 
periods, is still in progress, is not said to have had an 
evening or morning. 

* See the quotation from Job at the close of last chapter. 



3. It is objected that the first chapter of Genesis “ is not 
a poem nor a piece of oratorical diction ” but a simple 
prosaic narrative, and consequently that its terms must be 
taken in a literal sense. In answer to this I urge that the 
most truly literal sense of the word, namely, the natural 
day, is excluded by the terms of the narrative; and that 
the word may be received as a literal day of the Creator, 
in the sense of one of his working periods, without involv¬ 
ing the use of poetical diction, and in harmony with the 
wording of plain prosaic passages in other parts of the Bible. 
Examples of this have already been given. 

4. It has been urged that in cases where day is used to 
denote period, as in the expressions u day of calamity,” &c., 
the adjuncts plainly show that it cannot mean an ordinary 
day. In answer to this, I merely refer to the internal 
evidence already adduced, and to the deliberate character 
of the statements, in the manner rather of the description 
of processes than of acts. The difficulties attending the 
explanation of the evening and the morning, and the succes¬ 
sive creation of herbivorous and carnivorous animals, are 
also strong indications which should serve here to mark 
the sense, just as the context does in the cases above refer¬ 
red to. 

5. In Prof. Hitchcock’s valuable and popular “ Religion 
of Geology,” I find some additional objections, which 
deserve notice, as specimens of the learned trifles which 
pass current among writers on this subject, much to the 
detriment of sound scriptural literature. I give them in 



the words of the author. 1. “From Genesis ii. 5 com¬ 
pared with Genesis i. 11 and 12, it seems that it had not 
rained on the earth till the third day; a fact altogether 
probable if the days were of twenty-four hours, but absurd 
if they were long periods.” It strikes us that the absurdity 
here is all on the side of the short days. Why should any 
prominence be given to a fact so common as the lapse of 
two ordinary days without rain, more especially if a region 
of the earth and not the whole is referred to, and in a docu¬ 
ment prepared for a people residing in climates such as 
those of Egypt and Palestine. But what could be more 
instructive and confirmatory of the truth of the narrative, 
than the fact that in the two long periods which preceded 
the formation and clearing up of the atmosphere or firma¬ 
ment, on which rain depends, and the elevation of the dry 
land, which so greatly modifies its distribution, there had 
been no rain such as now occurs. This is a most impor¬ 
tant fact, and one of the marked coincidences of the record 
with scientific truth. The objection, therefore, merely 
shows that the ordinary day hypothesis tends to convert 
one of the finest internal harmonies of this wonderful his¬ 
tory, into an empty, and in some respects absurd common¬ 
place. 2. “ This hypothesis (that days are long periods) 
assumes that Moses describes the creation of all the animals 
and plants that have ever lived on our globe. But geology 
decides that the species now living, since they are not 
found in the rocks any lower than man is,* could not have 

* This is not strictly correct, as many animals, especially of 
the lower tribes, extend back to the early tertiary periods, long 



been contemporaneous with those in the rocks, but must 
have been created when man was—that is, in the sixth 
day. Of such a creation no mention is made in Genesis; 
the inference is that Moses does not describe the creation 
of the existing races, but only of those that lived thousands 
of years earlier, and whose existence was scarcely suspected 
till modern times. Who will admit such an absurdity?” 
In answer to this objection, I remark that it is based on a 
false assumption. The hypothesis of long periods does not 
require us to assume that Moses notices all the animals 
and plants that have ever lived, but on the contrary that 
he informs us only of the first appearance of each great 
natural type in the animal and vegetable kingdoms; just 
as he informs us of the first appearance of dry land on the 
third day, but says nothing of the changes which it under¬ 
went on subsequent days. Thus plants were created on 
the third day, and though they may have been several 
times destroyed and renewed as to genera and species, we 
infer that they continued to exist in all the succeeding 
days, though the inspired historian does not inform us of 
the fact. So also many tribes of animals were created in 
the early part of the fifth day, and it is quite unnecessary 
for us to be informed that these tribes continued to exist 
through the sixth day. If the days were long periods, 
the inspired writer could not have adopted any other course, 

before tbe creation of man; a fact which of itself is irreconcil¬ 
able with the Mosaic narrative on the theory of literal or ordi¬ 
nary days. 



unless he had been instructed to write a treatise on 

Palaeontology, and to describe the fauna and flora of each 


successive period with their characteristic differences. 
3. “ Though there is a general resemblance between the 
order of creation as described in Genesis and by geology, 
yet when we look at the details of the creation of the 
organic world, as required by this hypothesis, we find mani» 
fest discrepancy. Thus the Bible represents plants only 
to have been created on the third day, and animals not till 
the fifth; and hence at least the lower half of the fossiliferous 
rocks ought to contain nothing but vegetables. Whereas 
in fact the lower half of these rocks, all below the carboni¬ 
ferous, although abounding in animals, contain scarcely 
any plants, and these in the lowest strata fucoids or sea¬ 
weeds. But the Mosaic account evidently describes flow¬ 
ering and seed-bearing plants, not flowerless and seedless 
algae. Again, reptiles are described in Genesis as created 
on the fifth day; but reptilia and batrachians existed as 
early as the time when the lower carboniferous and even 
old red sandstone were in course of deposition, as their 
tracks on those rocks in Nova Scotia and Pennsylvania 
evince.* In short, if we maintain that Moses describes 

* Beside these footprints, bones of a reptile (Archegosaurus) 
have been found in the coal measures of Bavaria. Other rep¬ 
tilian animals (Dendrerpeton Acadianum and Baphetes planiceps ) 
have been found in the coal formation of Nova Scotia; Batra- 
chian remains have been observed in British coal shales, and 
in those of Ohio; and the skeleton of a reptile ( Telerpeton ) has 
been found in the old Red Sandstone of Morayshire. 



fossils as well as living species, we find discrepancy instead 
of correspondence between his order of creation and that 
of geology.” In this objection it is assumed that the geo¬ 
logical history of the earth goes back to the third day of 
creation, or, in other words, to the dawn of organic life. 
None of the greater authorities in geology would, however, 
now venture to make such an assertion, and the progress 
of geology is rapidly making the contrary more and more 
probable. The fact is, that on the supposition that the 
days of creation are long periods, the whole series of the 
fossiliferous rocks belongs to the fifth and sixth days, and 
that for the early plant creation of the third day, and the 
great physical changes of the fourth, geology has nothing 
as yet to show, except a mass of metamorphosed Azoic 
rocks which have hitherto yielded no fossils. 

I have much pleasure in quoting, as a farther answer to 
these objections, the following from Prof. Dana* : — 

“ Accepting the account in Genesis as true, the seeming 
discrepancy between it and geology rests mainly here: ge¬ 
ology holds, and has held from the first, that the progress 
of creation was mainly through secondary causes; for the 
existence of the science presupposes this. Moses, on the 
contrary, was thought to sustain the idea of a simple fiat 
for each step. Grant this first point to science, and what 
further conflict is there ? The question of the length of 
time , it is replied. But not so; for if we may take the 

* Biblical Repository, 1856. 



record as allowing more than six days of twenty-four hours, 
the Bible then places no limit to time. The question of 
the days and periods, it is replied again. But this is of 
little moment in comparison with the first principle granted. 
Those who admit the length of time and stand upon days 
of twenty-four hours, have to place geological time before 
the six days, and then assume a chaos and reordering of 
creation, on the six-day and fiat principle, after a previous 
creation that had operated for a long period through secon¬ 
dary causes. Others take days as periods, and thus allow 
the required time, admitting that creation was one in pro¬ 
gress, a grand whole, instead of a first creation excepting 
man by one method, and a second with man by the other. 
This is now the remaining question between the theologians 
and geologists; for all the minor points, as to the exact 
interpretation of each day, do not affect the general con¬ 
cordance or discordance of the Bible and science. 

On this point, geology is now explicit in its decision, 
and indeed has long been so. It proves that there was no 
return to choas, no great revolution, that creation was be¬ 
yond doubt one in its progress. We know that some 
geologists have taken the other view. But it is only in 
the capacity of theologians • and not as geologists. The 
Rev. Dr. Buckland, in placing the great events of geology 
between the first and second verses of the Mosaic account, 
did not pretend that there was a geological basis for such 
an hypothesis; and no writer since has ever brought for¬ 
ward the first fact in geology to support the idea of a re- 



arrangement just before man;—not one solitary fact has ever 
been appealed to. The conclusion was on biblical grounds, 
and not in any sense on geological. The best that Buck- 
land could say, when he wrote twenty-five years since, was, 
that geology did not absolutely disprove such an hypothesis; 
and that cannot be said now.* 

It is often asserted, in order to unsettle confidence in 
these particular teachings of geology, that geology is a 
changing science. In this connection, the remark conveys 
an erroneous impression. Geology is a progressing science; 
and all its progress tends to establish more firmly these 
two principles. (1) The slow progress of creation through 
secondary causes, as explained; and (2) the progress by 
periods analogous to the days of Genesis.” 

I have, I trust, shown that the principal objections to the 
lengthening of the Mosaic days into great cosmical periods, 
are of a character too light and superficial to deserve any 
regard. I shall now endeavour to add to the internal evi¬ 
dence previously given, some considerations of an external 
character which support this view. 

1. The fact that the creation was progressive, that it 
proceeded from the formation of the raw material of the 
universe, through successive stages, to the perfection of 
living organisms, if we regard the analogy of God’s 
operations as disclosed in the geological history of the earth 
and in the present course of nature, must impress us with 

♦Appendix B. 



a suspicion that long periods were employed in the work. 
God might have prepared the earth for man in an instant. 
He did not choose to do so, but on the contrary proceeded 
step by step, and the record he has given us does not 
receive its full significance nor attain its full harmony with 
the course of geological history, unless we can understand 
each day of the creative week as including a long succes¬ 
sion of ages. 

2. We have, as already explained, reason to believe that 
the seventh day at least has been of long duration. At 
the close of the sixth, God rested from all his work of ma¬ 
terial creation, and we have as yet no evidence that he has 
resumed it. With the exception of the author of the 
“Vestiges of Creation” and a few similar speculators, no one 
pretends that he has done so. We know that the present 
day, if it is the seventh, has lasted already for about six 
thousand years, and, if’ we may judge from the testimony 
of prophecy, has yet a long space to run, before it merges 
in that “new heaven and new earth” for which all be¬ 
lievers look, and which will constitute the first day of an 
endless sabbatism. 

3. The philosophical and religious systems of many an¬ 
cient nations, afford intimations of the somewhat extensive 
prevalence in ancient times of the notion of long creative 
periods, corresponding to the Mosaic days. These notions, 
in so far as they are based on truth, are probably derived 
from the Mosaic narrative itself, or from the primitive patri¬ 
archal documents which perhaps formed the basis of that 




narrative. They are, no doubt, all more or less garbled 
versions, and cannot be recorded as of any authority, but 
they serve to show what was the interpretation of the docu¬ 
ment in a very remote antiquity. I have collected from a 
variety of sources the following examples : 

The ancient mythology of Persia appears to have had 
six creative periods, each apparently of a thousand years, 
and corresponding very nearly with the Mosaic days. The 
Chaldeans had a similar but apparently less coherent sys¬ 
tem.* The Etruscans possessed a history of the creation, 
somewhat resembling that of the Bible, and representing 
the creation as occupying six periods of a thousand years 

The Egyptians believed that the world had been subject 
to a series of destructions and renewals, the intervals between 
which amounted tol20,000 years, or according to other autho¬ 
rities, to 300,000 or 360,000 years. This system of destruc¬ 
tion and renewal the Egyptian priests appear to have wrought 
out into considerable detail, but though important truths 
may be concealed under their mysterious dogmas, it will 
not repay us to dwell on the fragments that remain of them. 
There can be no doubt, however, that at least the basis of 
the Egyptian cosmogony must have been the common pro¬ 
perty of all the Hamite nations of which Egypt was the 

* Rhode, quoted by McDonald, “ Creation and Fall ” p. 62 j 
Eusebius, Chron. Arm. 
f Suidas, Lexicon,—“ Tyrrenia.” 



greatest and most permanent; and therefore in all proba¬ 
bility derived from the ideas of creation which were current 
not long after the deluge. The Egyptians appear also, as 
already stated, to have had a physical cosmogony, begin¬ 
ning with a chaos in which heaven and earth were mingled, 
and from which were evolved fiery matters, which ascended 
into the heavens, and moist earthy matters which formed 
the earth and the sea; and from these were produced, by 
the agency of solar heat, the various animals. The terms 
of this cosmogony, as it is given by Diodorus Siculus, in¬ 
dicate the belief of long formative periods.* 

The Hindoos have a somewhat extended, though, accord¬ 
ing to the translations, a not very intelligible cosmogony. 
It plainly, however, asserts long periods of creative work, 
and is interesting as an ancient cosmogony preserved entire 
and without transmission through secondary channels. The 
following is a summary, in so far as I have been able to 
gather it from the translation of the Institutes of Menu by 
Sir W. Jones.f 

The introduction to the Institutes represents Menu as 
questioned by the “ divine sages ” respecting the laws that 
should regulate all classes or castes. He proceeds to detail 
the course of creation, stating that the “ Self-existing 
Power,J undiscovered, but making this world discernible, 

* Diodorus Siculus, B. 1. Prichard, Egypt. Mythol. 

f Asiatic Researches. 

f This name is exactly identical in meaning with the Hebrew 
Jehovah Elohim. 



He whom the mind alone can perceive, whose essence 
eludes the external senses, who has no visible parts, wha 
exists from eternity, even the soul of all being, whom no 
being can comprehend, shone forth in person.” 

After this really exalted view of the Creator, the writer 
proceeds to state that the Self-existent created the waters, 
and then an egg from which he himself comes forth as 
Brahma the forefather of spirits. “ The waters are called 
Nara because they are the production of Nara the spirit of 
God, and since they were his first Ay ana or place of motion, 
he thence is named Narayana or moving on the waters. 
In the egg Brahma remained a year, and caused the egg 
to divide, forming the heaven above and the earth beneath, 
and the subtil ether, the eight regions and the receptacle 
of waters between. He then drew forth from the supreme 
soul, mind with all its powers and properties.” The rest of 
the account appears to be very confused, and I confess to a 
great extent unintelligible to me. There follows, however, 
a continuation of the narrative, stating that there is a 
succession of seven Menus, each of whom produces and 
supports the earth during his reign. It is in the account 
of these successive Menus that the following statement re¬ 
specting the days and years of Brahma occurs. 

“ A day of the Gods is equal to a year. Four thousand 
years of the Gods are called a Critya or Satya age. Four 
ages are an age of the Gods. One thousand divine ages 
(equal to more than four millions of human years') are a 
day of Brahma the Creator. Seventy-two divine ages 



are one manwantara.” * * * “ The aggregate of 

four ages they call a divine age, and believe that in every 
thousand such ages, or in every day of Brahma, fourteen 
menus are successively invested with the sovereignty of the 
earth. Each menu they suppose transmits his authority 
to his sops and grandsons, during a period of seventy-two 
divine ages, and such a period they call a manwantara. 
Thirty such days (of the Creator) or calpas, constitute a 
month of Brahma; twelve such months one of his 
years, and 100 such years his age, of which they assert 
that fifty years have elapsed. We are thus, accord¬ 
ing to the Hindoos, in the first day or calpa of the 
fifty-first year of Brahma’s life, and in the twenty-eighth 
divine age of the seventh manwantara of that day. In the 
present day of Brahma the first menu was named the Son 
of the Self-Existent, and by him the institutes of religion 
and civil duties are said to have been delivered. In his 
time occurred a new creation called the Lotos creation.” 
Of five menus who succeeded him, Sir William could find 
little but the names, but the accounts of the seventh are 
very full, and it appears that in his reign the earth was 
destroyed by a flood. Sir William suggests that the first 
menu may represent the creation, and that the seventh may 
be Noah. The name Menu is derived from a root signi¬ 
fying to understand. 

In this Hindoo cosmogony we have many points of cor¬ 
respondence with the scripture narrative: for instance, 
the Self-Existent Creator; the agency of the Son of God 



and the Holy Spirit; the absolute creation of matter; the 
hovering of the Spirit over the primeval waters; the seven¬ 
fold division of the creative process; and the idea of days 
of the Creator of immense duration. If we suppose the 
day of Brahma in the Hindoo cosmogony, to represent the 
Mosaic day, then it amounts to no less than 4,320,000 
years; or if, with Sir W. Jones, we suppose the Man- 
wantara to represent the Mosaic day, as seems more pro¬ 
bable, its duration will be 308,571 years; and the total 
antiquity of the earth, without counting the undefined 
“beginning,” will be more than two millions of years. It 
would be folly, however, to suppose that these Hindoo 
numbers, which are probably purely conjectural, or based 
on astronomical cycles, make any near approximation to 


the facts of the case. The Institutes of Menu are pro¬ 
bably in their present form not of great antiquity, but 
there are other Hindoo documents of greater age which 
maintain similar views, and it is probable that the account 
of the creation in the institutes is at least an imperfect 
version of the original narrative, as it existed among the 
earliest colonists of India.* It corresponds in many points 
with the oldest notions on these subjects that remain to us 
in the wrecks of the mythology of Egypt and other ancient 

* The theology of the Institutes is clearly primitive Semitic 


in its character; and therefore, if the Bible is true, must be 
older than the Arian theogony of the Rig Veda, as expounded 
by Muller, whatever the relative age of the documents. See; 
Appendix K. 



nations, and it aids in proving that the fabulous ages of 
gods and demi-gods in the ancient mythologies, are really 
pre-adamite ; and belong not to human history, but to the 
work of creation. It also shows that the idea of long 
creative periods as equivalents of the Mosaic days, must, in 
the infancy of the post-diluvian world, have been very 
widely diffused. Such evidence is, no doubt, of small 
authority in the interpretation of scripture; but it must 
be admitted that serious consideration is due to a method 
of interpretation which thus tends to bring the Mosaic 
account into harmony with the facts of modern science, 
and with the belief of almost universal antiquity, and at 
the same time gives it its fullest significance and most 
perfect internal symmetry of parts. It is also very inter¬ 
esting to note the wide diffusion among the most ancient 
nations, of cosmological views identical in their main features 
with those of the Bible, proving, almost beyond doubt, 
that these views had some common and very ancient source, 
and commanded universal belief among the primitive tribes 
of men. 

I have hitherto avoided all detailed reference to what 
may be regarded as the “prophetic day ” view of the nar¬ 
rative of creation. This may be shortly stated as follows: 
—In the prophetical parts of scripture the prophet sees in 
vision, as in a picture or acted scene, the events that are to 
come to pass, and in consequence represents years or longer 
periods by days of vision. Now the revelation of the pr§- 
adamite past is in its nature akin to that of the unknown. 



future; and Moses may have seen these wondrous events 
in vision—in visions of successive days—under the guisa 
of which he presents geological time. Some things in the 
form of the narrative favour this view, hut I do not regard 
it as necessary to the interpretation maintained above, nor 
do I regard the reasons advanced by Kurtz,* and by the 
author of the excellent little work, the “ Harmony of the 
Mosaic and Geological Records,” as at all conclusive.*)* Yet 
this theory is conformable to scriptural analogy, and affords 
a useful aid to many minds in apprehending the nature of 
the Mosaic narrative. It cannot be put more vigorously 
than by Miller in his Testimony of the Rocks, to which I 
beg to refer the reader. 

In reviewing the somewhat lengthy train of reasoning 
into which the term day has led us, it appears that from 
internal evidence alone, it can be rendered probable that 
the day of creation is neither the natural nor the civil day. 
It also appears that the objections urged against the doc¬ 
trine of day-periods are of no weight when properly scru¬ 
tinised, and that it harmonises with the progressive nature 
of the work, the evidence of geology, and the cosmological 
notions of ancient nations. I do not suppose that this 
position has been incontrovertibly established; but I believe 
that every serious difficulty has been removed from its 
acceptance; and with this, for the present, I remain satis- 

* “ The Bible and Astronomy,” a work full of valuable and 
suggestive thought. 

t Constable, Edinburgh. 



fied. Every step of our subsequent progress in interpret¬ 
ing the chapter, will afford new criteria of its truth or 

The events of the first day may be summed up as fol¬ 
lows:—“At the beginning of the period, the earth, covered 
with a universal ocean and misty atmospheric mantle, was 
involved in perfect darkness. A luminous ether was called 
into existence, which spread a diffused light throughout 
the whole solar system. This luminous matter being gra¬ 
dually concentrated toward the centre of the system, at 
length produced, in connection with the earth’s rotation, 
the alternation of day and night. These changes were the 
work of a long period of time, an aeon or day of the 



Genesis i. 6 to 8 : 11 And God said let there be an expanse 
between the waters; and let it separate the waters from the 
waters. And God made the expanse, and separated the waters 
which are under the expanse from the waters which are over 
the expanse, and it was so; and God called the expanse Hea¬ 
ven; and the evening and the morning were the second day.” 

At the opening of the period to which we are now intro¬ 
duced, the earth was covered by the waters, and these were 
in such a condition that there was no distinction between 
the seas and the clouds. No atmosphere separated them, 
or, in other words, dense fogs and mists everywhere rested 
on the surface of the primeval ocean. To understand as 
far as possible the precise condition of the earth’s surface 
at this period, it will be necessary to notice the present 
constitution of the atmosphere, especially in its relations to 
aqueous vapour. 

The regular and constant constituents of the atmosphere 
are the elements Oxygen and Nitrogen, which, at the tem¬ 
perature and pressure existing on the surface of our globe, are 
permanently aeriform or gaseous. Beside these gases, the air 
always contains a quantity of the vapour of water, in a per¬ 
fectly aeriform and transparent condition. This vapour is 



not, however, permanently gaseous. At all temperatures be¬ 
low 212 degrees, it tends to the liquid state; and its elastic 
force, which preserves its particles in the separated state of 
vapour, increases or diminishes at a more rapid rate than 
the increase or diminution of temperature. Hence the 
quantity of vapour that can be suspended in clear air, 
depends on the temperature of the air itself. As the tem¬ 
perature of the air rises, its power of sustaining vapour 
increases more rapidly than its temperature; and as the 
temperature of the air falls, the elastic force of its con¬ 
tained vapour diminishes in a greater ratio, until it can 
exist as an invisible vapour no longer, but becomes con¬ 
densed into minute bubbles or globules, forming cloud, 
mist or rain. Two other circumstances operate along with 
these properties of air and vapour. The heat radiated 
from the earth’s surface causes the lower strata of air to 
be, in ordinary circumstances, warmer than the higher; 
and, on the other hand, warm air, being lighter than that 
which is colder, the warm layer of air at the surface con¬ 
tinually tends to rise through and above the colder currents 
immediately over it. Let us consider the operation of the 
causes thus roughly sketched, in a column of calm air. 
The lower portion becomes warmed, and if in contact with 
water takes up a quantity of its vapour proportioned to 
the temperature, or, in ordinary circumstances, somewhat 
less than this proportion. It then tends to ascend, and as 
it rises and becomes mixed with colder air, it gradually 
loses its power of sustaining moisture, and at a height 



proportioned to the diminution of temperature and the 
quantity of vapour originally contained in the air, it begins 
to part with water, which becomes condensed in the form 
of mist or cloud; and the surface at which this precipita¬ 
tion takes place, is often still more distinctly marked, when 
two masses or layers of air, at different temperatures, 
become intermixed; in which case, on the principle already 
stated, the mean temperature produced is unable to sustain 
the vapour proper to the two extremes, and moisture is 
precipitated. It thus happens that layers of cloud accu¬ 
mulate in the atmosphere, while between them and the 
surface, there is a stratum of clear air. Fogs and mists 
are in the present state of nature exceptional appearances, 
depending generally on local causes, and showing what the 
world might be, but for that balancing of temperature and 
the elastic force of vapour, which constitutes the atmospheric 

The quantity of water thus suspended over the earth 
is enormous. “ When we see a cloud resolve itself into 
rain and pour out thousands of gallons of water we can¬ 
not comprehend how it can float in the atmosphere. ”f 
The explanation is—1st the extreme levity of the minute 
globules, which causes them to fall very slowly; 2nd they are 

* Daniell’s Meteorological Essays; Prout’s Bridgewater Trea¬ 
tise; Art. Meteorology Encyc. Brit; Maury’s Physical Geo¬ 
graphy of the Sea. 
f Kaemtz, Course of Meteorology. 



supported by currents of air, especially by tbe ascending 
currents developed both in still air and in storms; 3rdly 
clouds are often dissolving on one side and forming at 
another. A cloud gradually descending may be dissolving 
away by evaporation at the base as fast as new matter is 
being added above. On the other hand an ascending warm 
current of air may be constantly depositing moisture at 
the base of the cloud, and this may be evaporating under 
the solar rays above. In this case a cloud is “merely 
the visible form of an aerial space in which certain processes 
are at the moment in equilibrium, and all the particles in a 
state of upward movement.”* But so soon as condensation 
markedly exceeds evaporation, rain falls, and the atmosphere 
discharges its vast load of water—how vast, we may gather 
from the fact that the waters of all the rivers are but a part of 
the overflowings of the great atmospheric reservoir. “ God 
binds up the waters in his thick cloud, and the cloud 
is not rent under them.” It is thus that the terrestrial 
waters are divided into those above and those below that 
expanse of clear air in which we live and move, exempt 
from the dense dark mists of the earth’s earlier state, yet 
enjoying the benefits of the cloudy curtain that veils the 
burning sun, and of the cloudy reservoirs that drop down 
rain to nourish every green thing. 

We have no reason to suppose that the laws which re¬ 
gulate mixtures of gases and vapours did not prevail in the 

* Encyc, Brit. Art. Meteorology. 



period in question. It is probable that these laws are as 
old as the creation of matter; but the condition of our 
earth up to the second day, must have been such as pre¬ 
vented them from operating as at present. Such a condi¬ 
tion might possibly be the result of an excessive evapora¬ 
tion occasioned by internal heat. The interior of the 
earth still remains in a heated state, and includes large 
subterranean reservoirs of melted rock, as is proved by the 
increase of temperature in deep mines and borings, and by 
the widely extended phenomena of hot springs and volcanic 
action. At this period, the internal temperature of the 
earth was probably vastly greater than at present, and per¬ 
haps the whole interior of the globe may have been in a 
state of igneous fluidity. At the same time the external 
solid crust may have been thin, and it was not fractured 
and thickened in places by the upheaval of mountain 
chains or the deposition of great and unequal sheets of 
sediment; for, as I may again remind the reader, the 
primitive chaos did not consist of a confused accumulation 
of rocky masses, but the earth’s crust must then have been 
more smooth and unbroken than at any subsequent period. 
This being the internal condition of the earth, it is quite 
conceivable, without any violation of the existing laws of 
nature, that the waters of the ocean, warmed by internal 
heat, may have sent up a sufficient quantity of vapour to 
keep the lower strata of air in a constant state of saturation, 
and to occasion an equally constant precipitation of mois¬ 
ture from the colder strata above. This would merely be 



the universal operation of a cause similar to that which 
now produces fogs at the northern limit of the Atlantic 
Gulf Stream, and in other localities where currents of warm 
water flow under or near to cooler air. Such a state of 
things is more conceivable in a globe covered with water, 
and consequently destitute of the dry and powerfully radi¬ 
ating surfaces which land presents, and receiving from 
without the rays, not of a solar orb, hut of a comparatively 
feeble and diffused luminous ether. The continued action 
of these causes would gradually cool the earth’s crust 
and its incumbent waters, until the heat from without pre¬ 
ponderated over that from within, when the result stated 
in the text would he effected. 

The statements of our primitive authority for this con¬ 
dition of the earth, might also he accounted for on the 
supposition that the permanently gaseous part of the 
atmosphere did not, at the period in question, exist in its 
present state, but that it was on the second day actually 
elaborated and caused to take its place in separating the 
atmospheric from the oceanic waters. The first is by far 
the more probable view ; but we may still apply to such 
speculations the words of Elihu, the friend of Job : 

“ Stand still and consider the wonderful works of God. 

Dost thou know when God disposes them, 

And the lightning of his cloud shines forth ? 

Dost thou know the poising of the dark clouds, 

The wonderful works of the Perfect in knowledge ? 



We may now consider the words in which this great im¬ 
provement in the condition of the earth is recorded. The 
Hebrew term for the atmosphere is Rakiah , literally some¬ 
thing expanded or beaten out—an expanse. It is rendered 
in our version “ firmament,” and in the Septuagint 
“ Stereoma 5,” a word having the same meaning. The idea 
conveyed by the Hebrew word is not however that of 
strength but of extent; or as Milton, the most accurate of 
expositors of these words, has it— 

11 The firmament, expanse of liquid, pure, 

Transparent, elemental air, diffused 
In circuit to the uttermost convex 
Of this great round.” 

That this was really the way in which this word was un¬ 
derstood by the Hebrews, appears from several passages of 
the Bible. Job says of God, “ Who alone spreadeth out the 
heavens.”* David in the 104th psalm, which is a poetical 
paraphrase of the history of creation, speaks of the Creator as 
“ stretching out the heavens as a curtain.” In later writers, 
as Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, similar expressions occur. The 
notion of a solid or arched firmament was probably altogether 
remote from the minds of these writers. Such beliefs may 

* It is not meant that the word Rakiah occurs in these passa¬ 
ges, but to shew how by other words the idea of stretching out 
or extension rather than solidity is implied. The verb in the 
two first passages is Nata to spread out. 



have prevailed at the time when the septuagint translation 
was made, but I have no hesitation in affirming that no 
trace of them can be found in the Old Testament, In 
proof of this, I may refer to some of the passages which 
have been cited as affording the strongest instances of this 
kind of “ accommodation.” In Exodus xxiv. 10 we are told, 
“ And they saw the God of Israel, and under his feet as it 
were a paved work of sapphire and as it were the heaven 
itself in its clearness.” This is evidently a comparison of 
the pavement seen under the feet of Jehovah to a sapphire 
in its colour, and to the heavens in its transparency. The 
intention of the writer is not to give information respecting 
the heavens, or to liken them either to a pavement or a 
sapphire; all that we can infer is that he believed the hea¬ 
vens to be clear or transparent. Job mentions the “ pillars 
of heaven,” but the connection shows that this is merely a 
poetical expression for lofty mountains. The earthquake 
causes these pillars of heaven to “ tremble,” We are 
informed in the book of Job that God “ ties up his waters 
in his thick cloud and the cloud is not rent under them,” 
We are also told of the “ treasures of snow and the 
treasures of hail” and rain is called the “bottles of 
heaven,” and is said to be poured out of the “ lattices of 
heaven.” I recognise in all these mere poetical figures, not 
intended to be literally understood. A late learned writer 
wishes us to believe that the intention of the Bible in these 
places is actually to teach that the clouds are contained in 
skin bottles or something similar, and that they are emptied 




— --- 

through hatches in a solid firmament. To found such a 
belief, however, on a few figurative statements, seems ridi¬ 
culous, especially when we consider that the writers of the 
scripture show themselves to be well acquainted with nature, 
and would not be likely on any account to deviate so far 
from the ordinary testimony of the senses; more especially 
as by doing so, they would enable every unlettered man 
who has seen a cloud gather on a mountain’s brow, or dis¬ 
solve away before increasing heat, to oppose the evidence of 
his senses to their statements, and perhaps to reject them 
with scorn as a barefaced imposture. But lastly, we are 
triumphantly directed to the question of Elihu in his ad¬ 
dress to Job: 

“ Hast thou with him stretched out the sky 
Which is firm and like a molten mirror ?” 

But the word translated sky here is not “ Rahiah ” or 
“ Shamayim,” but another signifying the clouds, so that 
we should regard Elihu as speaking of the apparent firm¬ 
ness or stability, and the beautiful reflected tints of the 
clouds. His words may be paraphrased thus: “ Hast 
thou aided Him in spreading out those clouds which appear 
so stable and self-sustaining, and so beautifully reflect the 
sunlight.”* The above passages form the only authority 
which I can find in the scriptures for the doctrine of a 
solid firmament, which may therefore be characterised as a 
modern figment of men more learned in books but less 

* See also Humboldt, Cosmos, Yol. 2, Pt. I. 



acquainted with nature than the scripture writers. As a 
contrast to all such doctrines I may quote the sublime 
opening of the poetical account of creation in Psalm 104, 
where the writer thus addresses the Almighty: 

11 Bless the Lord, 0 my soul! 

0 Lord, my God, thou art very great: 

Thou art clothed with honour and majesty, 

Who coverest thyself with light as with a garment, 

Who stretchest out the heavens like a curtain (of a tent,) 
Who layest the beams of thy chambers in the waters, 

Who makest the clouds thy chariots , 

Who walkest upon the wings of the wind.' 1 ' 

The waters here are those above the firmament, the whole 
of this part of the psalm being occupied with the heavens; 
and there is no place left for the solid firmament, of which 
the writer evidently knew nothing. He represents God as 
laying His chambers on the waters, instead of on the sup¬ 
posed firmament, and as careering in cloudy chariots on 
the wings of the wind, instead of over a solid arch. For 
all the above reasons we conclude that the “ expanse ” of 
the verses under consideration was understood by the 
writers of the book of God to be aerial , not solid, and the 
“ establishment of the clouds above,” as it is finely called 

in Proverbs, is the effect of those meteorological laws to 

which I have already referred, and which were now for the 
first time brought into operation by the Divine Legislator, 
The Hebrew theology was not of a kind to require such 
expedients as that of solid heavenly arches; it recurred at 



once to the will—the decree—of Jehovah; and was con¬ 
tent to believe that through this efficient cause the “ rivers 
run into the sea, yet the sea is not full,” for “ to the place 
whence the rivers came thither they return again,” through 
the agency of those floating clouds, “ the waters above the 
heavens,” which “ pour down rain according to the vapour 

God called the expanse “ Heavens.” In former chapters 
we have noticed that heaven in the popular speech of the 
Hebrews, as in our own, had different meanings, applying 
alike to the cloudy, the astral and the spiritual heavens. 
The Creator here sanctions its application to the aerial ex¬ 
panse ; and accordingly throughout the scriptures it is used 
in this way; rakiah occurs very rarely, as if it had become 
nearly obsolete, or was perhaps regarded as a merely tech¬ 
nical or descriptive term. The divine sanction for the 
use of the term heaven for the atmosphere, is as already 
explained, to indicate that this popular use is not to inter¬ 
fere with its application to the whole universe beyond our 
earth, in verse 1st. 

The poetical parts of the Bible, and especially the Book 
of Job, which is probably the most ancient of the whole, 
abound in references to the atmosphere and its phenomena. 
I may quote a few of these passages, to enable us to under¬ 
stand the views of these subjects given in the Bible, and 
the meaning attached to the creation of the atmosphere, in 
very ancient periods. In Job, 38th chapter, we have the 



u In what way is the lightning distributed, 

And how is the East wind spread abroad over the earth? 
Who hath opened a channel for the pouring rain, 

Or a way for the thunder-flash ? 

To cause it to rain on the land where no man is, 

In the desert where no one dwells ; 

To saturate the desolate and waste ground, 

And to cause the bud of the tender herb to spring forth.” 

Here we have the unequal and unforeseen distribution 
of thunder storms, beyond the knowledge and power of 
man, but under the absolute control of God, and designed 
by him for beneficent purposes. Equally fine are some of 
the following lines: 

i( Dost thou lift up thy voice to the clouds, 

That abundance of waters may cover thee ? . 

Dost thou send forth the lightnings, and they go, 

And say unto thee, here are we ? 

Who can number the elouds by wisdom, 

Or cause the bottles of heaven to empty themselves ? 

When the dust groweth into mire, 

And the clods cleave fast together ?” 

In the 36th and 37th chapters of the same book, we 
have a grand description of atmospheric changes in their 
relation to man and his works. The speaker is Elihu, 
who in this ancient book most favourably represents the 
knowledge of nature that existed at a time probably ante¬ 
rior to the age of Moses—a knowledge far superior to that 
which we find in the works of many modern poets and ex- 



positors, and accompanied by an intense appreciation of the 
grandeur and beauty of natural objects. 

“ For he draweth up the drops of water, 

Rain is condensed* from his vapour, 

Which the clouds do drop, 

And distil upon man abundantly. 

Yea, can any understand the distribution of the clouds 

Or the thundering of his tabernacle.f 

Behold he spreadeth his lightning upon it, 

He covereth it as with the depths of the sea. 

By these he executes judgment on the people, 

By these also he giveth food in abundance ; 

His hands he covers with the lightning, 

And commands it (against the enemy) in its striking; 

He uttereth to it his decree ,t 

Concerning the herd as well as proud man. 


At this also my heart trembles, 

And bounds out of its place ; 

Hear attentively the thunder of his voice, 

And the loud sound that goes from his mouth. 

He directs it under the whole heavens, 

And his lightning to the ends of the earth. 

After it his voice roareth, 

* Heb., “ they refine.” 

f “ His pavilion round about him was dark waters and thick 
clouds of the skies,” Ps. xviii. This expression explains that in 
the text. 

t Translation of these lines much disputed and very difficult. 
Gesenius and Conant render it—“His thunder tells of him ; to 
the herds even of Him who is on high.” 



He thundereth with the voice of his majesty; 

And delays not (the tempest) when his voice is heard. 

God thundereth marvellously with his voice, 

He doeth wonders which we cannot comprehend; 

For he saith to the snow be thou on the earth. 

Also to the pouring rain, even the great rain of his might. 
He sealeth up the hand of every man, 

That all men may know his work. 

Then the beasts go to their dens, 

And remain in their caverns. 

Out of the south cometh the whirlwind 
And cold out of the north, 

By the breath of God the frost is produced 
And the breadth of waters becomes straitened; 

With moisture he loads the thick cloud, 

He spreads the cloud of his lightning, 

And it is turned about by his direction, 

To execute his pleasure on the face of the world; 

Whether for correction, for his land, or for mercy, 

He causeth it to •come. 

Hearken unto this, 0 Job, 

Stand still and consider the wonderful works of God. 

Dost thou know when God disposes these things, 

And the lightning of his cloud flashes forth? 

Dost thou know the poising of the clouds, 

The wonderful works of the Perfect in knowledge? 

When thy garments become warm 

When he quieteth the earth by the south wind; 

Hast thou with him spread out the clouds 
Firm and like a molten mirror ? Ӥ 

§ I take advantage of this long quotation to state that in the 
case of this and other passages quoted from the Old Testament, 



It would not be easy to find, in the poetry of any nation 
or time, a description of so many natural phenomena, so 
fine in feeling or truthful in delineation. It should go far 
to dispel the too prevalent ideas of early oriental ignorance, 
and should lead to a more full appreciation of these noble 
pictures of nature, unsurpassed in the literature of any 
people or time. I trust that the previous illustrations 
are sufficient to show, not only that the stereoma , or solid 
firmament of the septuagint, is not to be found in scrip¬ 
ture, but that the positive doctrine of the Bible on the 
subject is of a very different character. For instance, in 
the above extract from the book of Job, Elihu speaks of 
the poising or suspension of the clouds as inscrutable, and 
tells us that God draws up water into the clouds and pours 
down rain according to the vapour thereof; he also speaks 
of the clouds as being scattered before the brightness of 
the sun; and notices, in truthful as well as exalted lan¬ 
guage, the nature and succession of the lightning’s flash, the 
thunder, and the precipitation of rain that follows. Solo¬ 
mon also informs us that the I 11 establishment of the clouds 

I have carefully consulted the original; but have availed my¬ 
self freely of the renderings of such of the numerous versions 

and commentaries as I have been able to obtain, whenever they 
appeared accurate and expressive, and have not scrupled oc- 
casionally to give a free translation where this seemed neces¬ 
sary to perspicuity. In the Book of Job, I have consulted 
principally the translation appended to Barnes’s Commentary, 
and have derived some hints, while the work was going through 
press, from Dr. Conant’s new translation. New York, 185*?. 



above ” is due to tbe law or will of Jehovah. Finally, in 
this connection, the Divine sanction given to the use of 
the term heaven for the atmosphere, may in itself be 
regarded as an intimation that no definite barrier separates 
our film of atmosphere from the boundless abyss of heaven 

Of this period natural science gives us no intimation. 
In the earliest geological epochs, organic life, dry land, 
and an atmosphere, already existed. At the period now 
under consideration, the two former had not been called 
into existence, and the latter was in process of elaboration 
from the materials of the primeval deep. If the formation 
of the atmosphere in its existing conditions was, as already 
hinted, a result of the gradual cooling of the earth, then 
this period must have been of great length, and the action 
of the heated waters on the crust of the globe may have 
produced thick layers of detrital matter destined to form 
the first soils of the succeeding aeon.* We know nothing, 
however, of these primitive strata, and most of them must 
have been removed by denuding agencies in succeeding 
periods, or restored by subterranean heat to the crystalline 
state. The events and results of this day may be summed 
up as follows:— 

11 At the commencement of the period, the earth was 
enveloped by a misty or vaporous mantle. In its progress, 
those relations of air and vapour which cause the separa- 

* Appendix C. 



tion of the clouds from the earth by a layer of clear air, 
and the varied alternations of sunshine and rain, were 
established. At the close of the period, the newly-formed 
atmosphere covered a universal ocean; and there was pro¬ 
bably a very regular and uniform condition of the atmos¬ 
pheric currents, and of the processes of evaporation and 





Genesis i. 10 : 11 And God said, let the waters under the hea¬ 
vens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear 
and it was so. And God called the dry land earth, and the 
gathering of waters called he seas; and God saw that it was 

These are events sufficiently simple and intelligible in 
their general character. Geology shows us that the emer¬ 
gence of the dry land must have resulted from the elevation 
of parts of the bed of the ancient universal ocean, and 
that the agent employed in such changes is the internal 
igneous or volcanic energy of the earth, developed in its 
gradual cooling, and operating either in a slow and regular 
manner, or by sudden paroxysms. It farther informs us 
that the existing continents consist of stratified or bedded 
masses, more or less inclined, fissured and irregularly ele¬ 
vated, and usually supported by crystalline rocks which 
have been forced up beneath or through them by internal 
agencies, and which truly constitute the pillars and foun¬ 
dations of the earth. These elevations, it is true, were 
successive, and belong to different periods; but the appear¬ 
ance of the first dry land is that intended here. 

The elevation of the dry land is more frequently referred 
to in scripture than any other cosmological fact; and while 
all have been misapprehended, the statements on this sub¬ 
ject have been even more unjustly dealt with than others* 



In the text, the word (a/retz)* earth, is by divine sanction 
narrowed in meaning to the dry land; but, while some 
expositors are quite willing to restrict it to this, or even a 
more limited sense, in the first and second verses of this 
chapter, almost the only verses in the Bible where the 
terms of the narrative make such a restriction inadmissi¬ 
ble, they are equally ready to understand it as meaning 
the whole globe, in places where the explanatory clause in 
the verse now under consideration, teaches us that we 
should understand the land only as distinguished from the 
sea. I may quote some of these passages, and note the 
views they give; always bearing in mind that, after the 
intimation in this verse, we must understand the term 
earth as applying only to the continents or dry land, unless 
where the context otherwise fixes the meaning. We may 
first turn to Psalm civ.:— 

“ Thou laidst the foundations of the earth, 

That it should never be removed; 

Thou coveredst it with the deep as with a garment; 

The waters stood above the mountains ; 

At thy rebuke they fled ; 

At the sound of thy thunder they hasted away ; 

Mountains ascended, valleys descended 
To the place thou hast appointed for them: 

Thou hast appointed them bounds that they may not pass, 
That they return not again to cover the earth.” 

* The word is one of those that pervade both Semitic and 
Indo-European tongues. Sanscrit, ahara; Pehlevi, arta; Latin, 
terra ; German, erde; Gothic, airtha; Scottish, yird; English, 
earth. —(Gesenius.) 



The position of these verses in this “the hymn of 
creation” leaves no doubt that they refer to the events 
we are now considering. I have given above the literal 
reading of the line that refers to the elevation of mountains 
and subsidence of valleys; admitting, however, that the 
grammatical construction gives an air of probability to the 
rendering in our version, “ they go up by the mountains, 
they go down by the valleys ”; which, on the other hand, 
is rendered very improbable by the sense. In whichever 
sense we understand this line, the picture presented to us 
by the psalmist includes the elevation of the mountains 
and continents, the subsidence of the waters into their 
depressed basins, and the firm establishment of the dry 
land on its rocky foundations, the whole accompanied by a 
feature not noticed in Genesis—the voice of God’s thunder 
—or, in other words, electrical and volcanic explosions. 
The following passages refer to the same subject:— 

11 Before the mountains were settled, 

Before the hills was I (The Wisdom of God) brought forth ; 
While as yet he had not made the earth, 

Nor the plains, nor the higher parts of the habitable world. 

When he gave the sea his decree 

That the waters should not pass his limits, 

When he determined the foundations of the earth.” 

Proverbs viii. 20. 

“ Thou hast established the earth and it endureth, 

According to thy decrees they continue this day, 

For all are thy servants.” Psalm, cxix. 20. 



tc Who shaketh the earth out of its place 
And its pillars tremble.” Job ix. 5. 

“ Where wast thou when I founded the earth ? 


Declare if thou hast knowledge, 

Who hath fixed the proportion thereof, if thou knowest, 

Who stretched the line upon it, 

Upon what are its foundations settled, 

Or who laid its corner stone, 

When the morning stars sang together, 

And all the sons of God shouted for joy, 

Who shut up the sea with doors 
In its bursting forth as from the womb, 

When I made the cloud its garment 
And swathed it in thick darkness ? 

I measured out for it my limit 
And fixed its bars and doors ; 

And said thus far shalt thou come, but no farther, 

And here shall thy proud waves be stayed .”—Job 38. 4. 

In these passages the foundation of the earth at first, as 
well as the shaking of its pillars by the earthquake, are 
connected with what we usually call natural law—the de¬ 
cree of the Almighty—the unchanging arrangements of an 
unchangeable Creator,whose “hands formed the dryland.”* 
This is the ultimate cause not only of the elevation of the 
land, but of all other natural things and processes. The 
naturalist does not require to be informed that the details, 
in so far as they are referred to in the above passages, are 
perfectly in accordance with what we know of the nature 

* Psalm xcv. 



and support of continental masses. Geological observation 
and mathematical calculation have in our day combined 
their powers to give clear views of the manner in which the 
fractured strata of the earth are wedged and arched together, 
and supported by internal igneous masses upheaved from 
beneath, and subsequently cooled and hardened. A gene¬ 
ral view of these facts which we have learned from scientific 
inquiry, the Hebrews gleaned with nearly as much precision 
from the short account of the elevation of the land in 
Genesis, and from the later comments of their inspired 
poets. From the same source our own great poet learned 
these cosmieal facts, before the rise of geology, and express¬ 
ed them in unexceptionable terms: 

11 The mountains huge appear 
Emergent, and their broad bare backs upheave 
Into the clouds, their tops ascend the sky. 

So high as heaved the tumid hills, so low 
Down sunk a hollow bottom, broad and deep 
Capacious bed of waters.” 

In further illustration of the opinions of the scripture 
writers respecting the nature of the earth, and the distur¬ 
bances to which it is liable, I quote the following passages. 
The first is from'that magnificent description of Jehovah 
descending to succour his people amid the terrors of the 
earthquake, the volcano, and the thunder storm, in Psalm 



u Then shook and trembled the earth, 

The foundations of the hills moved and were shaken, 

Because he was angry. 

Smoke went up from his nostrils, 

Fire from his mouth devoured, 

Coals were kindled by it. 

Then were seen the channels of the waters, 

And the foundations of the world were discovered, 

At thy rebuke—0 Jehovah— 

At the blast of the breath of thy nostrils.” 

In another passage in the psalms we find volcanic action 
thus briefly sketched: 

il He looketh on the earth and it trembleth, 

He toucheth the hills and they smoke. 

Psalm civ. 32. 

Perhaps the most remarkable passage on this subject in 
the whole Bible is that in Job 28th, in which mining 
operations are introduced as an illustration of the difficulty 
of obtaining true wisdom. This passage is interesting 
both from its extreme antiquity, and the advancement in 
knowledge and practical skill which it indicates. It pre¬ 
sents, however, many difficulties; and its details have 
almost entirely lost their true significance in our common 
English version:— 

u Surely there is a vein for silver, 

And a place for the gold which men refine; 

Iron is taken from the earth, 

And copper is molten from the ore. 



To the end of darkness and to all extremes man searcheth, 
For the stones of darkness and the shadow of death. 

He opens a passage (shaft) from where men dwell, 
Unsupported by the foot, they hang down and swing to and fro.* * * § 
The earth—out of it cometh bread ; 

And beneath, it is overturned as by fire.f 
Its stones are the place of sapphires, 

And it hath lumpst of gold. 

The path (thereto) the bird of prey hath not known, 

The vulture’s eye hath not seen it.§ 

The wild beasts’ whelps have not trodden it, 

The lion hath not passed over it. 

Man layeth his hand on the hard rock, 

He turneth up the mountains from their roots, 

He cutteth channels in the rocks, 

His eye seeth every previous thing. 

He restraineth the streams from trickling, 

And bringeth the hidden thing to light. 

But where shall wisdom be found, 

And where is the place of understanding ?” 

This passage, incidentally introduced, gives us a glimpse 
of the knowledge of the interior of the earth and its pro- 

* Gesenius. 

f Perhaps “ changed,” metamorphosed, as by fire. Conant 


has “destroyed.” 

$ “Dust” in our version, literally lumps or “nuggets.” 

§ The vulgar and incorrect idea, that the vulture “ scents the 
carrion from afar,” so often reproduced by later poets, has no 
place in the Bible poetry. It is the bird’s keen eye that enables 
him to find his prey. 




ducts, as it existed in an age anterior to that of Moses. 
It brings before us the repositories of the valuable metals 
and gems,—the mining operations, apparently of some 
magnitude and difficulty, undertaken in extracting them,— 
and the wonderful structure of the earth itself, green and 
productive at the surface, rich in precious minerals beneath, 
and deeper still the abode of intense subterranean fires. 
The only thing wanting to give completeness to the picture, 
is some mention of the fossil remains buried in the earth; 
and, as the main thought is the eager and successful search 
for useful minerals, this can hardly be regarded as a defect. 
The application of all this is finer than almost anything 
else in didactic poetry. Man can explore depths of the 
earth inaccessible to all other creatures, and extract thence 
treasures of inestimable value; yet,, after thus exhausting 
all the natural riches of the earth, he too often lacks that 
highest wisdom which alone can fit him for the true 
ends of his spiritual being. How true is all this, even in 
our own wonder-working days! A poet of to-day could 
scarcely say more of subterranean wonders, or say it more 
truthfully and beautifully; nor could he arrive at a con¬ 
clusion more pregnant with the highest philosophy than 
the closing words :— 

“ The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; 

And to depart from evil is understanding.” 

The emergence of the dry land is followed by a repeti¬ 
tion of the approval of the Creator. “ Grod saw that it 
was good.” To our view, that primeval dry land would 



scarcely have seemed good. It was a world of bare, rocky 
peaks, and verdureless valleys;—here active volcanoes, with 
their heaps of scoriae and scarcely cooled lava currents;— 
there vast mud-flats, recently upheaved from the bottom of 
the waters;—nowhere even a blade of grass, or a clinging 
lichen. Yet it was good in the view of its Maker, who 
could see it in relation to the uses for which he had made 
it, and as a fit preparatory step to the new wonders he was 
soon to introduce. Then too, as we are informed in Job 
xxxviii., “ The morning stars sang together, and all the 
sons of Grod shouted for joy.” We also, when we think of 
the beautiful variety of the terrestrial surface, the charac¬ 
ter and composition of its soils, the variety of climate and 
exposure resulting from its degrees of elevation, the 
arrangements for the continuance of springs and streams, 
and many other beneficial provisions connected with the 
merely mechanical arrangements of the dry land, may well 
join in the tribute of praise to the All-wise Creator. 
There is, however, a farther thought suggested by the 
approval of the great Artificer. In this wondrous progress 
of creation, it seems as if everything at first was in its 
best estate. No succeeding state could parallel the unbro¬ 
ken symmetry of the earth in the fluid and vaporous con¬ 
dition of the “deep.” Before the elevation of the land, 
the atmospheric currents and the deposition of moisture 
must have been surpassingly regular. The first dry land 
may have presented crags, and peaks, and ravines, and 
volcanic cones, in a more marvellous and perfect manner 



than any succeeding continents,—even as the dry and bar¬ 
ren moon now, in this respect, far surpasses the earth. In 
the progress of organic life, geology gives similar indica¬ 
tions, in the variety and magnitude of many animal types 
on their first introduction j so that this may very possibly 
be a law of creation. 

During the emergence of the first dry land, large quan¬ 
tities of detrital matter must have been deposited in the 
waters, and in part elevated into land. All of these beds 
would, of course, be destitute of organic remains; and it 
i possible that some of them, might yet be identified 
There is, in fact, a series of non-fossiliferous rocks (the 
Azoic) mostly in a metamorphic state, and regarded as 
older than the oldest fossiliferous strata. It is, however, 
at present impossible certainly to separate beds which may 
have been deposited at this period, from those which were 
deposited after the creation of the first organised beings, 
since all traces of these may have been obliterated by 

Modern analogy would induce us to believe that the 
land was not elevated suddenly; but either by a series of 
small paroxysms, as in the case of Chili, or by a gradual 
and imperceptible movement, as in the case of Sweden,— 
two of the most remarkable modern instances of elevation 
of land,—accompanied, however, in the case of the last, 
by local subsidence.* In either of these ways, the sea and 

* Lyell’s Principles of Geology. 



rivers would have time to smooth the more rugged in¬ 
equalities, to widen the ravines into valleys, and to spread 
out sediment in the lower grounds; thus fitting the 
surface for the habitation of plants and animals. We 
must not suppose, however, that the dry land had any close 
resemblance to that now existing, in its form or distribu¬ 
tion. Geology amply proves that since the first appearance 
of dry land, its contour has frequently been changed, and 
probably also its position. Hence, nearly all our present 
land consists of rocks which have been formed under the 
waters, long after the period now under consideration, and 
have been subsequently hardened and elevated; and since 
all the existing high mountain ranges are of a compara¬ 
tively late age, it is probable that this primeval dry land 
was low, as well as, in the earlier part of the period at least, 
of comparatively small extent. It is, however, by no 
means certain that there may not have been a greater ex¬ 
panse of land toward the close of this period, than that 
which afterwards existed in those older periods of animal 
life to which the earliest fossiliferous rocks of the geologist 
carry us back; since, as already hinted, it seems to be a 
rule in creation that each new object shall be highly deve¬ 
loped of its kind in its first appearance, and since there 


have been in geological time many great subsidences as 
well as elevations. 


It would be wrong, however, to omit to state, that,? 
though we may know at present no remains of the first 
dry land, we are not ignorant of its general distribution; 



for the present continents show, in the arrangement of their 
formations and mountain chains, evidence that they are 
parts of a plan sketched out from the beginning. It has 
often been remarked by physical geographers that the great 
lines of coast and mountain ranges are generally in direc¬ 
tions approaching to north-east and south-west, or north¬ 
west and south-east, and that where they run in other 
directions, as in the case of the south of Europe and Asia, 
they are much broken by salient and re-entering angles, 
formed by lines having these directions. Prof. Pierce, of 
Harvard College, was, I believe, the first to point out that 
these lines are in reality parts of great circles tangent to 
the Polar circles, and to suggest a theory of their origin, 
based on the action of solar heat and the seasons on a 
cooling earth. The theory appears inadequate to account 
for the fact; but this remains, and shows that in the for¬ 
mation of its surface inequalities, the earth has cracked— 
so to speak—along two series of great circles tangent to the 
Polar circles; and that these, with certain subordinate 
though apparently still older lines of fracture running eait 
and west, have determined the forms of the continents 
from their origin. 

M. Elie de Beaumont, and after him many other geo¬ 
logists, attribute the elevation of continents and the 
upheaval and plication of mountain chains, to the secular 
refrigeration of the earth, causing its outer shell to become 
too capacious for its contracting interior mass, and thus to 
break or bend, and settle towards the centre. This view 



would well accord with the terms in which the elevation of 
the land is mentioned throughout the Bible, and especially 
with the general progress of the work as we have gleaned 
it from the Mosaic narrative; since from the period of the 
desolate void and aeriform deep, to that now before us, 
secular refrigeration must have been the great leading 

De Beaumont has extended his general theory into a 
complex system, connecting the relative ages of mountain 
systems with their directions. This system is as yet, 
however, among the uncertain results of the science of the 
earth, and we cannot look for such details in the scrip¬ 
tures. For this reason, I have been content with the more 
general statement given above, which enforces the leading 
truth now before us, that the first dry land was essentially 
that which, variously modified and extended, and covered 
by successive formations,* still exists. 

* It is also to be noted, that, in so far as aqueous deposits, as 
well as igneous outbursts, are concerned in the building of 
continents, these must in all periods have been guided and modi¬ 
fied by the original lines of fracture. 



Genesis i. 11 : “And God said let the earth bring forth the 
tender herb, the herb bearing seed, and the fruit tree yielding 
fruit, after its kind, whose seed is in it on the earth; and it was 
so : and the earth brought forth the tender herb, the herb yield¬ 
ing seed, and the tree bearing fruit whose seed is in it, after its 
kind: and God saw that it was good.” 

The same creative period that witnessed the first appear¬ 
ance of dry land, saw it also clothed with vegetation; and 
it is quite likely that this is intended to teach that no time 
was lost in clothing the earth with plants,—that the first 
emerging portions received their vegetable tenants as they 
became fitted for them,—and that each additional region, 
as it rose above the surface of the waters, in like manner 
received the species of plants for which it was adapted. 
What was the nature of this earliest vegetation? The 
sacred writer specifies three descriptions of plants as in¬ 
cluded in it; and, by considering the terms which he uses, 
some information on this subject may be gained. 

Beshe, translated “grass” in our version, is derived 
from a verb signifying to spring up or bud forth; the same 
verb, indeed, used in this verse to denote “ bringing forth,” 
literally causing to spring up. Its radical meaning is, 
therefore, vegetation in the act of sprouting or springing 
forth j or, as connected with this, young and delicate herb- 



age. Thus, in Job 38th, “to satisfy the desolate and 
waste ground, and to cause the bud of the young herbage 
to spring forth.” Here the reference is, no doubt, to the 
bulbous and tuberous-rooted plants of the desert plains, 
which, fading away in the summer drought, burst forth 
with magical rapidity on the setting-in of rain. The fol¬ 
lowing passages are similar:—Psalm 23d, “ He maketh me 
to lie down in green pastures ” (literally young or tender 
herbage ) j Deuteronomy 23d, “ Small rain upon the tender 
herb ”; Isaiah 37th, “ Grass on the house-tops.” The 
word is also used for herbage such as can be eaten by 
cattle or cut down for fodder, though even in these cases 
the idea of young and tender herbage is evidently included; 
“Fat as an heifer at grass” (Jer. 14),—that is, feeding 
on young succulent grass, not that which is dry and 
parched. “ Cut down as the grass or wither as the green 
herb,” like the soft tender grass soon cut down and quickly 
withering. With respect to the use of the word in this 
place, I may remark—1. It is not here correctly translated 
by the word “grass”; for grass bears seed, and is, conse¬ 
quently, a member of the second class of plants mentioned. 
Even if we set aside all idea of inspiration, it is 
obviously impossible that any one living among a pastoral 
or agricultural people, could have been ignorant of this 
fact. 2. It can scarcely be a general term, including all 
plants when in a young or tender state. The idea of their 
springing up is included in the verb, and this was but a 
very temporary condition. Besides, this word does not 



appear to be employed for the young state of sbrubs or trees. 
3. We thus appear to be shut up to the conclusion, that 
deshe here means those plants, mostly small and herba¬ 
ceous, which bear no proper seeds ;* in other words, the 
Cryptogamia, as fungi, mosses, lichens, ferns, &c. The 
remaining words are translated with sufficient accuracy in 
our version. They denote seed-bearing or phoenogamous 
herbs and trees. The special mention of the fructification 
of plants is probably intended not only for distinction, but 
also to indicate the new power of organic reproduction now 
first introduced on the surface of our planet, and to mark 
its difference from the creative act itself. 

The arrangement of plants in the three great classes of 
cryptogams, seed-bearing herbs, and fruit-bearing trees, 
differs in one important point, viz., the separation of her¬ 
baceous plants from trees, from modern botanical classifi¬ 
cations. It is, however, sufficiently natural for the 
purposes of a general description like this, and perhaps 
gives more precise ideas of the meaning intended than any 
other arrangement equally concise and popular. It is also 
probable that the object of the writer was not so much a 
natural history classification, as an account of the order of 
creation, and that he wishes to affirm that the introduction 
of these three classes of plants on the earth corresponded 
with the order here stated. This view renders it unneces- 

* Tenera herba, sine semine saltern conspicuo.”— Rosenmuller , 



sary to vindicate the accuracy of the arrangement on 
botanical grounds, since the historical order was evidently 
better suited to the purpose in view. 

A very important truth is contained in the expression, 
11 after its kind ”; that is, after its species ; for the Hebrew 
“ min ”, used here, has strictly this sense, and, like the 
Greek idea and the Latin species , conveys the notion of 
form as well as that of kind. It is used to denote species 
of animals, in Leviticus i. and 14, and in Deuteronomy 
xiv. and 15. We are taught by this statement that plants 
were created each kind by itself, and that creation was not 
a sort of slump-work to be perfected by the operation of a 
law of development, as fancied by some modern speculators. 
In this assertion of the distinctness of species, and the 
production of each by a distinct creative act, revelation 
tallies perfectly with the conclusions of natural science, 
which lead us to believe that each^pecies is permanently 
reproductive, variable within narrow limits, incapable of 
permanent intermixture with other species, and a direct 
product of creative power. 

Some additional facts contained in the recapitulation of 
the creative work in chapter ii., may very properly be con¬ 
sidered here, as they seem to refer to the climatal condi¬ 
tions of the earth during the growth of this most ancient 
vegetation, and before the final adjustment of the astrono¬ 
mical relations of the earth on the fourth day. “ And 
every shrub of the land before it was on the earth, and 
every herb of the land before it sprung up. For the Lord 



God had not caused it to rain on the earth, and there was 
not a man to till the ground; but a mist ascended from 
the earth and watered the whole surface of the ground.” * 
This has been supposed to be a description of the state of 
the earth during the whole period anterior to the fall of 
man. There is, however, no scripture evidence of this; 
and geology informs us that rain fell as at present, at least 
as far back as the carboniferous period,f countless ages 
before the creation of man or the existing animals. Al¬ 
though, however, such a condition of the earth as that 
stated in these verses, has not been known in any geolo¬ 
gical period, yet it is not inconceivable, but in reality 
corresponds with the other conditions of nature likely to 
have prevailed on the third day, as described in Genesis. 
The land of this period, we may suppose, was not very 
extensive, nor very elevated. Hence the temperature would 
be uniform, and the air moist. The luminous and calorific 
matter connected with the sun, still occupied a large space, 
and therefore diffused heat and light more uniformly than 
at present. The internal heat of the earth, may still have 
produced an effect in warming the oceanic waters. The 
combined operation of these causes, of which we, perhaps, 

* Bush proposes to read, “nor had a mist ascended,” &c. 
This seems, however, in this place, a forced rendering of the 

f Recent observations of the writer appear to carry it back 
to the Devonian period. See Proc. Geol. Society of London, 



have some traces as late as the carboniferous period, might 
well produce a state of things in which the earth was 
watered, not by showers of rain, but by the gentle and 
continued precipitation of finely divided moisture, in the 
manner now observed in those climates in which vegeta¬ 
tion is nourished for a considerable part of the year by 
nocturnal mists and copious dews. The atmosphere, in 
short, as yet partook in some slight degree of the same 
moist and misty character, which prevailed before the 
“ establishment of the clouds above,” the airy firmament 
of the second day. The introduction of these explanatory 
particulars by the sacred historian, furnishes an additional 
argument for the theory of long periods. That vegetation 
should exist for two or three natural days without rain or 
the irrigation which is given in culture, was, as already 
stated, a circumstance altogether unworthy of notice; but 
the growth during a long period, of a varied and highly 
organised flora, without this advantage, and by the aid of 
a special natural provision afterward discontinued, was in 
all respects so remarkable and so highly illustrative of the 
expedients of the divine wisdom, that it deserved a promi¬ 
nent place. 

It is evident that the words of the inspired writer include 
plants belonging to all the great sub-divisions of the vege¬ 
table kingdom. This earliest vegetation was not rude or 
incomplete, or restricted to the lower forms of life. It 
was not even, like that of the coal period, solely or mainly 
cryptogamous and gymnospermous. It included trees 




bearing fruit, as well as lichens and mosses, and it re¬ 
ceived the same stamp of approbation bestowed on other 
portions of the work—“it was good.” We have a good 
right to assume that its excellence had reference not only 
to its own period but to subsequent conditions of the earth. 
Vegetation is the great assimilating power, the converter of 
inorganic into organic matter suitable for the sustenance of 
animals. In like manner the lower tribes of plants prepare 
the way for the higher. We should therefore have ex¬ 
pected a priori, that vegetation would have clothed the earth 
before the creation of animals, and a sufficient time before 
it to allow soils to be accumulated, and surplus stores of 
organic matter to be prepared in advance: this considera¬ 
tion alone, would also induce us to assign a considerable 
duration to the third day. After the elevation of land and 
the draining off from it of the saline matter with which it 
would be saturated, a process often very tedious, especially 
in low tracts of ground, the soil would still only consist of 
mineral matter, and must have been for a long period oc¬ 
cupied by plants suited to this condition of things, in order 
that sufficient organic matter might be accumulated for the 
growth of a more varied vegetationj a consideration which 
perhaps illustrates the order of the plants in the narrative. 

It may be objected to the above views that, however 
accordant with chemical and physiological probabilities, 
they do not harmonize with the facts of geology; since the 
earliest fossiliferous formations contain almost exclusively 
the remains of animals, which must therefore have preceded, 



or at least been coeval with the earliest forms of terrestrial 
vegetation. This objection is founded on well-ascertained 
facts, but facts which may have no connection with the 
third day of creation when regarded as a long period. The 
oldest geological formations are of marine origin, and con¬ 
tain remains of marine animals with those of plants sup¬ 
posed to be allied to the existing algae or sea-weeds. 
Geology cannot, however, assure us either that no land 
plants existed contemporaneously with these earliest ani¬ 
mals, or that no land flora preceded them. These oldest 
fossiliferous rocks may mark the commencement of animal 
life, but they testify nothing as to the existence or non-ex¬ 
istence of a previous period of vegetation alone. Farther, 
the rocks formed prior to these oldest fossiliferous strata, 
exist as far as yet known in a condition so highly meta- 
morphic as almost to preclude the possibility of their con¬ 
taining any distinguisable fossils. It is possible therefore, 
that in these Azoic rocks we may have remnants of the 
formations of the third Mosaic day; and if we should ever 
be so fortunate as to find any portion of them containing 
fossils, and these the remains of plants differing from any 
hitherto known, either in a fossil state or recent; and 
rising higher, in elevation and complexity of type, than the 
flora of the succeeding silurian and carboniferous eras, we 
may then suppose that we have penetrated to the monu¬ 
ments of this third creative Aeon. The only other alter¬ 
native by which these verses can be reconciled with geology 
is that adopted by the late Hugh Miller, who supposes that 



the plants of the third day are those of the carbonifer¬ 
ous period; but beside the apparent anachronism involved 
in this, we now know that the coal flora consisted mainly 
of cryptogams allied to ferns and club mosses, and of 
gymnosperms allied to the pines and cycads; the higher 
orders of plants being almost entirely wanting. For these 
reasons we are shut up to the conclusion that this flora of 
the third day must have its place before the Palseozoic period 
of Geology. That there were plants before this period, 
we may infer almost with certainty from the abundance 
and distribution of carbonaceous matter in the form of 
graphite, in the Azoic or Laurentian rocks of Canada; but 
of the form or structure of these plants we know nothing.* 
To those who are familiar with the vast lapse of time 
required by the geological history of the earth, it may be 
startling to ascribe the whole of it to two or three of the 
creative days. If, however, it be admitted that these days 
were periods of unknown duration, no reason remains for 
limiting their length any farther than the facts of the case 
require. If in the strata of the earth which are accessible 
to us, we can detect the evidence of its existence for myri¬ 
ads of years, why may not its Creator be able to carry our 
view back for myriads more. It may be humbling to our 
pride of knowledge, but it is not on any scientific ground 
improbable, that the oldest animal remains known to ge¬ 
ology belong to the middle period of the earth’s history, 
and were preceded by an enormous lapse of ages in which 

* See Appendix D. 



the earth was being prepared for animal existence, but of 
which no records remain, except those contained in the in¬ 
spired history. 

It would be quite unphilosophical for geology to affirm 
either that animal life must always have existed, or that 
its earliest animals are necessarily the earliest organic be¬ 
ings. To use, with a slight modification, the words of one 
of the ablest of our younger geologists,* “ For ages the 
prejudice prevailed that the historical period, or that which 
is coeval with the life of man, exhausted the whole his¬ 
tory of the globe. Geologists removed that prejudice,” but 
must not substitute “ another in its place, viz: that geolo¬ 
gical time is coeval with the globe itself, or that organic 
life always existed on its surface.” 

A farther objection to the existence of this primitive 
flora, may be based on the statement that it included the 
highest forms of plants. Had it consisted only of low and 
imperfect vegetables, there might have been much less dif¬ 
ficulty in admitting its probability. Farther, we find that 
even in the carboniferous period, scarcely any plants of the 
higher orders flourished, and there was a preponderance of 
the lower forms of the vegetable kingdom. We have, 
however, in geological chronology, many illustrations of the 
fact that the progress of improvement has not been conti¬ 
nuous or uninterrupted, and that the preservation of the 
flora and fauna of many geological periods has been very im 

* Haughton, Address to Geological Society, Dublin. 



- 4 --- 

perfect. Hence the occurrence in one particular stratum 
or group of strata, of few or low representatives of animal 
and vegetable life, affords no proof that a better state of 
things may not have existed previously. We also find, in 
the case of animals, that each tribe attained to its highest 
development at the time when, in the progress of creation, 
it occupied the summit of the scale of life. Analogy would 
thus lead us to believe that when plants alone existed, they 
may have assumed nobler forms than any now existing, or 
that tribes now represented by few and humble species, 
may at that time have been so great in numbers and de¬ 
velopment as to fill all the offices of our present complicated 
flora, as well as, perhaps, some of those now occupied by 
animals. We have this principle exemplified in the car¬ 
boniferous flora, by the magnitude of its arborescent club- 
mosses, and the vast variety of its gymnosperms.* For 
this reason we may anticipate that if any remains of this 
early plant-creation should ever be disinterred, they will 
prove to be among the most wonderful and interesting 
geological relics ever discovered, and will enlarge our views 
of the compass and capabilities of the vegetable kingdom, 
and especially of its lower forms. 

A farther objection is the uselessness of the existence of 
plants for a long period, without any animals to subsist bn 
or enjoy them, and even without forming any accumulation 
q£ fossil fuel or other products useful to man. The only 

“ ■ . - - ■-■■■■■■■ ——.... . ■ -- - 


Appendix E. 



direct answer to this has been already given. The previ¬ 
ous existence of plants may have been, and probably was, 
essential to the comfort and subsistence of the animals af¬ 
terwards introduced. Independently of this, however, we 
have an analogous case in the geological history of animals, 
which prevents this fact from standing alone. Why was 
the earth tenanted so long by the inferior races of animals, 
and why were so much skill and contrivance expended on 
their structures and even on their external ornament, when 
there was no intelligent mind on earth to appreciate their 
beauties. Even in the present world we may as well ask 
why the uninhabited islands of the ocean are found to be 
replete with luxuriant vegetable life, why God causes it 
to rain in the desert where human foot never treads, or 
why he clothes with a marvellous exuberance of beautiful 
animal and plant forms the depths of the sea. We can 
but say that these things seemed and seem good to the 
Creator, and may serve uses unknown to us; and this is 
precisely what we must be content to say respecting the 
plant-creation of the Azoic period. 

Some writers* on this subject have suggested that the 
cosmical use of this plant-creation was the abstraction from 
the atmosphere of an excess of carbonic acid unfavourable 

* See McDonald, “ Creation and Fall.” Prof. Guyot, I believe, 
deserves the credit of having first mentioned, on the American 
side of the Atlantic, the doctrine respecting the introduction of 
plants advocated in this chapter. 



to the animal life subsequently to be introduced. This 
use it may have served, and when its effects had been gra¬ 
dually lost through metamorphism and decay, that second 
great withdrawal of carbon which took place in the carbo¬ 
niferous period may have been rendered necessary. The 
reasons afforded by natural history for supposing that 
plants preceded animals, are thus stated by Prof. Dana:— 

“ The proof from science of the existence of plants be¬ 
fore animals is inferential, and still may be deemed satis¬ 
factory. Distinct fossils have not been found: all that 
ever existed in the azoic rocks having been obliterated. 
The arguments in the affirmative are as follows: 

1. The existence of limestone rocks among the other 
beds, similar limestones in later ages having been of organic 
origin; also the occurrence of carbon in the shape of gra¬ 
phite, graphite being, in known cases in rocks, a result of 
the alteration of the carbon of plants. 

2. The fact that the cooling earth would have been fitted 
for vegetable life for a long age before animals could have 
existed; the principle being exemplified everywhere, that 
the earth was occupied at each period with the highest 
kinds of life the conditions allowed. 

3. The fact that vegetation subserved an important pur¬ 
pose in the coal-period, in ridding the atmosphere of 
carbonic acid for the subsequent introduction of land ani¬ 
mals, suggests a valid reason for believing that the same 
great purpose, the true purpose of vegetation, was effected 
through the ocean before the waters were fitted for animal 



4. Vegetation being directly or mediately the food of 
animals, it must have had a previous existence. The lat¬ 
ter part of the azoic age in geology, we therefore regard as 
the age when the plant-kingdom was instituted, the latter 
half of the third day in Genesis. However short or long 
the epoch, it was one of the great steps of progress.” 

In concluding the examination of the work of the third 
day, I must again remind the reader that on the theory of 
long creative periods, the words under consideration must 
refer to the first introduction of vegetation, in forms that 
have long since ceased to exist. Geology informs us that 
in the period of whieh it is cognisant, the vegetation of the 
earth has been several times renewed, and that no plants 
of the older and middle geological periods now exist. We 
may therefore rest assured that the vegetable species, and 
probably also many of the generic and family forms of the 
vegetation of the third day, have long since perished and 
been replaced by others, suited to the changed condition 
of the earth. It is indeed probable that, during the third 
and fourth days themselves, there might be many removals 
and renewals of the terrestrial flora, so that perhaps every 
species created at the commencement of the introduction of 
plants, may have been extinct before the close of the period. 
Nevertheless it was marked by the introduction of vegetation, 
which in one or another set of forms has ever since clothed 
the earth. 

At the commencement of the third day the earth was 
still covered by the waters. As time advanced, islands and 



mountain peaks arose from the ocean, vomiting forth the 
molten and igneous materials of the interior of the earth's 
crust. Plains and vallies were then spread around, rivers 
traced out their beds, and the ocean was limited by coasts 
and divided by far-stretching continents. At the com¬ 
mand of the Creator, plants sprung from the soil—the 
earliest of organized structures—at first probably few and 
small, and fitted to contend against the disadvantages of 
soils impregnated with saline particles and destitute of or¬ 
ganic matter; but as the day advanced, increasing in 
number, magnitude and elevation, until at length the earth 
was clothed with a luxuriant and varied vegetation, worthy 
the approval of the Creator, and the admiring song of the 
angelic “ Sons of God.” 



Genesis i. 15 to 19 : “ And God said, let there be luminaries 
in the expanse of heaven, to divide the day from the night; and 
let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and for 
years. And let them be for luminaries in the expanse of heaven 
to give light on the earth; and it was so. 

And God made two great luminaries, the greater luminary to 
preside over the day, the lesser luminnary to preside over the 
night. He made the stars also. And God placed them in the 
expanse of heaven to give light on the earth, and to preside over 
the day and over the night, and to separate the light from the 
darkness; and God saw that it was good; and the evening and 
the morning were the fourth day.” 

After so long a sojourn on the earth, we are in these 
verses again carried to the heavens. Every scientific reader 
is struck with the position of these verses, interrupting as 
they do the progress of the organic creation, and constitut¬ 
ing a break in the midst of the terrestrial history which 
is the immediate subject of the narrative; thus in effect, as 
has often been remarked, dividing the creative week into 
two portions. Why was the completion of the heavenly 
bodies so long delayed. Why were light and vegetation 
introduced previously. If we cannot fully answer these 
questions, we at least feel convinced that the position of 
these verses is not accidental, and not that which would 



have been chosen by any fabricator of systems ancient or 
modern. Let us inquire, however, what are the precise 
terms of the record. 

1. The word here used to denote the objeets produced , 
clearly distinguishes them from the product of the first 
day’s creation. Then God said “let light be: r7 he now 
says “ let luminaries be.” We have already seen that the 
light of the first day may have emanated from an extended 
luminous mass, at first occupying the whole extent of the 
solar system, and more or less attached to the several plane¬ 
tary bodies, and afterwards concentrated within the earth’s 
orbit. The verses now under consideration inform us that 
the process of concentration was now complete, that our 
great central luminary had attained to its perfect state. 
This process of concentration may have been proceeding 
during the whole of the intervening time, or it may have 
been completed at once by a direct interposition of creative 
power. The latter is the more probable view. 

2. The division of light from darkness is expressed by 
the same terms, and is of the same nature with that on the 
first day. This separation was now produced in its full 
extent, by the perfect condensation of the luminous ether 
around the sun. 

3. The heavenly bodies are said to be for signs —that is, 
for marks or indications—either of the seasons, days and 
years afterwards mentioned } or of the majesty and power 
of the true God, as the Creator of objects so grand and 
elevated as to become to the ignorant heathen objects of 



idolatrous worship; or perhaps of the earthly events they 
are supposed to influence. The arrangements now per¬ 
fected for the first time, enabled natural days, seasons and 
years to have their limits accurately marked. Previously 
to this period, there had been no distinctly marked seasons, 
and consequently no natural separation of years, nor were 
the limits of days at all accurately defined. 

4. The terms expanse and heaven , previously applied to 
the atmosphere, are here combined to denote the more 
distant starry and planetary heavens. There is no ambi¬ 
guity involved in this, since the writer must have well 
known that no one could so far mistake, as to suppose that 
the heavenly bodies are placed in that atmospheric expanse 
which supports the clouds. 

5. The luminaries were made or appointed to their office 
on the fourth day. They are not said to have been created, 
being included in the creation of the beginning. They 
were now completed, and fully fitted for their work. An 
important part of this fitting seems to have been the setting 
or placing them in the heavens, conveying to us the im¬ 
pression that the mutual relations and regular motions of 
the heavenly bodies were now for the first time perfected. 

6. The stars are introduced, in a parenthetical manner, 
which leaves it doubtful whether we are merely informed 
in general terms that they are works of God, as well as 
those heavenly bodies which are of more importance to us, 
or that they were arranged as heavenly luminaries useful 
to our earth on the fourth day. The term includes the 



fixed stars, and it is by no means probable that these were 
in any way affected by the work of the fourth day, any 
farther than their appearance from our earth is concerned. 
This view is confirmed by the language of the 104th 
Psalm, which, in this part of the work, mentions the sun 
and moon alone, without the fixed stars or planets. 

It is evident that the changes of this period related to 
the whole solar system, and resulted in the completion of 
that system in the form which it now bears, or at least in 
the final adjustment of the motions and relations of the 
earth; and we have reason to believe that the condensa¬ 
tion of the luminous ether around the sun, was one of the 
most important of these changes. On the hypothesis of 
La Place, formerly adopted by us, as most in accordance 
with the earlier stages of the work, there seems to be no 
especial reason why the completion of the process of elabo¬ 
ration of the sun and planets should be accelerated at this 
particular stage. We can easily understand, however, that 
those closing steps which brought the solar system into a 
state of permanent and final equilibrium, would form a 
marked epoch in the work; and we can also understand 
that now, when on the eve of introducing animal life, it 
might be proper for the Creator to interfere to close up the 
merely inorganic part of his great work, and bring this 
department at least to its final perfection. The fourth 
day, then, in geological language, marks the complete intro¬ 
duction of 11 existing causes ” in inorganic nature , and we 
henceforth find no more creative interference, except in the 



domain of organization. This accords admirably with the 
deductions of modern geology, and especially with that great 
principle so well expounded by Sir Charles Lyell, and 
which forms the true basis of modern geological reasonings > 
that we should seek in existing causes of change for the 
explanation of the appearances of the rocks of the earth’s 
crust. Geology probably carries us back to the introduc¬ 
tion of animal life ; and shows us that, since that time, land, 
sea and atmosphere, summer and winter, day and night,— 
all the great inorganic conditions affecting animal life, 
have existed as at present, and have been subject to modi¬ 
fications the same in kind with those which they now ex¬ 
perience, though perhaps different in degree. In these 
verses we find in like manner, that the period immediately 
preceding the creation of animals witnessed the completion 

of all the great general arrangements on which these phe- 


nomena depend. Scripture, therefore, and science agree 
in the truth that existing causes have been in full force 
since the creation of animals; and that since that period, 
the exercise of creative power has been limited to the 
organic world. There are modern physicists and philoso¬ 
phers who stumble at the doctrine that the introduction of 
species of animals and plants implies direct creative power, 
and who desire to have the geologist refer this as well as 
merely physical changes to laws still in operation. Natu¬ 
ralists oppose to such views all experience, the wonderful 
structures and forms of animals, and the manner in which 
species appear in geological time. One of the most eminent 



of living naturalists* well remarks that if we take as the 
simplest form of the animal its egg, and examine the won¬ 
drous structures and powers apparent there, we cannot 
after such study suppose the origin of a species from any 
mere physical cause. Moses sides on this point with the 
geologists and naturalists, by affirming that the creative ar¬ 
rangements relating to mere matter ceased on the fourth day, 
after which all in this department proceeds on unchanging 
law, creation continuing only with reference to animate 
existence, f 

The verses relating to the fourth day are silent respect¬ 
ing the mundane history of the period ; and geology gives 
no very certain information concerning it. If, however, we 
assume that the Azoic rocks are deposits of this or the 
preceding period, we may infer from the disturbances and 
alteration which these have suffered, prior to the deposition 
of the Silurian series, that during or toward the close of 
this day, the crust of the earth was affected by great move¬ 
ments. There is another consideration also leading to im¬ 
portant conclusions in relation to this period. In the 
earliest fossiliferous rocks, there seems to be good evidence, 
that the dry land contemporary with the seas in which 
they were formed, was of very small extent. Now, since 
on the third day a very plentiful and highly developed 
vegetation was produced, we may infer that during that 

* Agassiz, 11 Contributions to the Natural History of America.” 

f Appendix F. 



day the extent of dry land was considerable, and was pro¬ 
bably gradually increasing. If then the Cambrian and 
Silurian systems, the oldest fossiliferous rocks known, be¬ 
long to the commencement of the fifth day, we must con¬ 
clude that, during the fourth, much of the land previously 
existing had been again submerged. In other words, dur¬ 
ing the third day the extent of terrestrial surface was 
increasing, on the fourth day it diminished, and on the 
- fifth it again increased, and probably has on the whole 
continued to increase up to the present time. One most 
important geological consequence of this is, that the marine 
animals of the fifth day probably commenced their existence 
on sea bottoms, which were the old soil surfaces of sub¬ 
merged continents previously clothed with vegetation, and 
which consequently contained much organic matter, fitted 
to form a basis of support for the newly created animals. 

I shall close my remarks on the fourth day by a few 
quotations from those passages of scripture which refer to 
the objects of this day’s work. I have already referred to 
that beautiful passage in Deuteronomy, where the Israelites 
are warned against the crime of worshipping those heavenly 
bodies, which the Lord God hath “ divided to every nation 
under the whole heaven.” In the book of Job also, we 
find that the heavenly bodies were in his day regarded as 
signal manifestations of the power of God, and that several 
of the principal constellations had received names. 



“ He commandeth the sun and it shineth not, 

He sealeth up the stars,f 

He alone spreadeth out the heavens, 

And walketh on the high waves of the sea, 

He maketh Arcturus, Orion, 

The Pleiades and the secret chambers of the south, 

Who doeth great things past finding out, 

Yea, marvellous things beyond number ..”—Job 9, 9. 

“ Canst thou tighten the bonds of the Pleiades* 

Or loose the bands of Orion. 

Canst thou bring forth the Mazzaroth in their season, 

Or lead forth Arcturus and its sons, 

Knowest thou the laws of the heavens, 

Or hast thou appointed their dominion over the earth .”—Job 
38, 31. 

f This may refer to an eclipse, but from the character of the 
preceding verses more probably to the obscurity of a tempest. 
It is remarkable that eclipses, which so much strike the minds of 
men and affect them with superstitious awe, are not distinctly 
mentioned in the Old Testament, though referred to in the 
prophetical parts of the New Testament. 

♦The rendering “sweet influences” in our version may be 
correct, but the weight of argument appears to favour the view 
of Gesenius that the close bond of union between the stars of 
this group is referred to. I think it is Herder who well unites 
both views, the Pleiades being bound together in a sisterly 
union, and also ushering in the spring by their appearance above 
the horizon. Conant applies the whole to the seasons, the bands 
of Orion being those of winter. 



I may merely remark on these passages, that the cham¬ 
bers of the south are supposed to be those parts of the 
southern heavens invisible in the latitude in which Job 
resided. The bonds of Pleiades and of Orion, probably 
refer to the apparently close union of the stars of the for¬ 
mer group, and the wide separation of those of the latter; 
a difference which, to the thoughtful observer of the heavens, 
is more striking than most instances of that irregular 
grouping of the stars which still forms a question in as¬ 
tronomy, from the uncertainty whether it is real, or only 
an optical deception arising from stars at different distances 
coming nearly into a line with each other. I have seen in 
some recent astronomical work, this very instance of the 
Pleiades and Orion taken as a marked illustration of this 
problematical fact in astronomy. Mazzaroth are supposed 
by modern expositors to be the signs of the Zodiac. On the 
whole, the Hebrew books give us little information as to 
the astronomical theories of the time when they were writ¬ 
ten. They are entirely non-committal as to the nature of 
the connections and revolutions of the heavenly bodies; and 
indeed regard these as matters in their time beyond the 
grasp of the human mind, though well known to the Creator 
and regulated by his laws. From other sources we have 
facts leading to the belief that even in the time of Moses, 
and certainly in that of the later biblical writers, there was 
not a little practical astronomy in the east, and some good 
theory. The Hindoo astronomy professes to have observa* 
tionsfrom 3000 B.G., and the arguments of Baily and others, 



founded on internal evidence, give some colour of truth to 
the claim. The Chaldeans at a very early period had ascer¬ 
tained the principal circles of the sphere, the position of 
the poles, and the nature of the apparent motions of the 
heavens as the results of revolution on an inclined axis. 
The Egyptian astronomy we know mainly from what the 
Greeks borrowed from it. Thales 640 B. C., taught that 
the moon is lighted by the sun, and that the earth is sphe¬ 
rical, and the position of its five zones. Pythagoras 580 
B. C., knew, in addition to the sphericity of the earth, the 
obliquity of the ecliptic, the identity of the evening and 
morning star, and that the earth revolves round the sun. 
This Greek astronomy appears immediately after the open¬ 
ing of Egypt to the Greeks; and both these philosophers 
studied in that country. Such knowledge, and more of the 
same character, may therefore have existed in Egypt at a 
much earlier period. 

The psalms abound in fine references to the creation of 
the fourth day. 

11 When I consider the heavens the work of thy fingers, 

The moon and the stars which thou hast ordained, 

What is man that thou art mindful of him, 

Or the son of man that thou visitest him .”—Psalm 8. 

“ Who telleth the number of the stars, 

Who calleth them all by their names, 

Great is our Lord, and of great praise, 

His understanding is infinite. 

The Lord lifteth up the meek, 

He casteth the wicked to the ground.”— Psalm 147. 



11 The heavens declare the glory of God, 

The firmament showeth his handywork; 

Day unto day uttereth speech, 

Night unto night showeth knowledge, 

They have no speech nor language, 

Their voice is not heard ; 

Yet their line is gone out to all the earth, 

And their words to the end of the world. 

In them hath he set a pavilion for the sun, 

Which is as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, 

And rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race. 

Its going forth is from the end of the heavens 
And its circuit unto the end of them.” 

And there is nothing hid from the heat thereof .”—Psalm 19. 

These are excellent illustrations of the truth of the scrip¬ 
ture mode of treating natural objects, in connection with 
their Maker. It is but a barren and fruitless philosophy 
which sees the work and not its author—a narrow piety 
which loves God and despises his works. The Bible holds 
forth the golden mean between these extremes, in a strain 
of lofty poetry and acute perception of the great and beau¬ 
tiful, whether seen in the Creator or reflected from his 

The work of this day opens up a wide field for astro¬ 
nomical illustration, more especially in relation to the 
wisdom and benevolence of the Creator as displayed in the 
heavens; but it would be foreign to our present purpose to 
enter into these. The objects of the writer of Genesis may 
be summed up in the following general statements: 




1. The heavenly hosts and their arrangements are the 
work of Jehovah, and are regulated wholly by his laws or 
ordinances; a striking illustration of the recognition by 
the Hebrew writer both of creative interference, and that 
stable natural law which too often withdraws the mind of 
the philosopher from'the ideas of creation and of providence. 

2. The heavenly bodies have a relation to the earth— 
are parts of the same plan, and whatever other uses they 
were made to serve, were made for the benefit of man. 

3. The general physical arrangements of the solar sys¬ 
tem were perfected before the introduction of animals on 
our planet. 



Genesis i. 20 to 23 : “ And God said, let the waters swarm 
with swarming living creatures, and let birds fly on the surface of 
the expanse of heaven. And God created great reptiles and every 
living moving thing, which the waters brought forth abundantly, 
after their kind, and every bird after its kind; and God saw that 
it was good. 

And God blessed them, saying be fruitful and multiply, and 
fill the waters of the seas, and let the flying creatures multiply 
in the earth. And the evening and the morning were the fifth 

In these words, so full of busy, active, thronging life, we 
now enter on that part of the earth’s history which has 
been most fully elucidated by geology, and we have thus 
an additional reason for carefully weighing the terms of 
the narrative, which here, as in other places, contain large 
and important truths couched in language of the simplest 

1. In accordance with the views now entertained by the 
best lexicographers, the word translated in our version 
“ creeping things ” has been rendered “ prolific or swarm¬ 
ing creatures.” The Hebrew is Sheretz , a noun deriyed 
from the verb used in this verse to denote bringing forth 
abundantly. It is loosely translated in the Septuagint 
Erpeta, reptiles; and this view our English translators ap¬ 
pear to have adopted, without, perhaps, any very clear 



notions of the creatures intended. The manner in which 
it is used in other passages, places its true meaning be¬ 
yond doubt. I select as illustrations of the most apposite 
character, those verses in Leviticus in which clean and un¬ 
clean animals are specified, and in which we have a right to 
expect the most precise zoological nomenclature that the 
Hebrew can afford. In Leviticus 11th and 20th to 23rd, 
Insects are defined to be flying sheretzim, and in verses 
29th, &c., under the designation 11 Sheretzim of the land ” 
we have animals named in our version the weasel, mouse, 
tortoise, ferret, chameleon, lizard, snail and mole. The 
first of these animals is believed to have been a burrowing 
creature, perhaps a mole; the second, from the meaning of 
its name u ravager of fields,” is thought to have been a 
mouse. Some doubt, however, attends both of these iden¬ 
tifications, but it appears certain that the remaining six 
species are small reptiles, principally lizards. We learn, 
therefore, that the smaller reptiles, and perhaps also a few 

small mammals, are sheretzim. In verses 41 and 42 we are 
' \ 

introduced to other tribes. c ‘ And every sheretz that swarm- 
eth on the earth, shall be an abomination unto you, it shall 
not be eaten; whatsoever goeth upon the belly (serpents, 
worms, snails, &c.), and whatsoever hath more feet (than 
four), (insects, arachnidans, myriapods). In verses 9 and 
10 of the same chapter, we have an enumeration of the 
sheretzim of the waters : “ Whatsoever hath fins and scales 
in the waters, in the seas and in the rivers, them shall ye 
eat. And all that have not fins and scales in the seas and 



the rivers, of all that swarm in the waters (all the sheretzim 
of the waters), they shall be an abomination unto you.” 
Here the general term sheretz includes all the fishes and 
the mollusca, radiata and articulata of the waters. From 
the whole of the above passages, we learn that this is a 
general term for all the invertebrate animals and the two 
lower classes of vertebrates, or in other words, for the whole 
animal kingdom except the mammalia and birds. To all 
these creatures the name is particularly appropriate, all of 
them being oviparous or ovo-viviparous, and consequently 
producing great numbers of young and multiplying very 
rapidly. The only other creatures which can be included 
under the term, are the two doubtful species of small 
mammals already mentioned. Nothing can be more fair 
and obvious than this explanation of the term, based both 
on etymology and on the precise nomenclature of the cere¬ 
monial law. We conclude, therefore, that the prolific 
animals of the fifth day’s creation belonged to the three 
sub-kingdoms of the Radiata, Articulata and Mollusca,. and 
to the classes of Fish and Reptiles among the vertebrata. 

2. One peculiar group of sheretzim is especially distin¬ 
guished by name—the tanninim , or “ great whales ” of our 
version. It would be amusing, had we time, to notice the 
variety of conjectures to which this word has given rise, 
and the perplexities of commentators in reference to it. 
In our version and the septuagint, it is usually rendered 
dragon; but in this place the seventy have thought proper 
to put Ketos (whale), and our translators have followed them. 



Subsequent translators and commentators have laid under 
contribution all sorts of marine monsters, including the 
sea-serpent, in their endeavours to attach a precise mean¬ 
ing to the word; while others have been content to admit 
that it may signify any kind or all kinds of large aquatic 
animals. The greater part of the difficulty has arisen from 
confounding two distinct words, tannin and tan , both 
names of animals; and the confusion has been increased 
by the circumstance, that in two places the words have 
been interchanged, probably by errors of transcribers. 
Tan occurs in twelve places, and from these we can gather 
that it inhabits ruined cities, deserts, and places to which 
ostriches resort, that it suckles its young, is of predaceous 
and shy habits, utters a wailing cry, and is not of large 
size, nor formidable to man. The most probable conjec¬ 
ture as to the animal intended, is that of Gesenius, who 
supposes it to be the jackall. The other word (tannin), 
which is that used in the text, is applied as an emblem of 
Egypt and its kings, and also of the conquering kings of 
Babylon. It is spoken of as furious when enraged, and 
formidable to man, and is said to be an inhabitant of rivers 
and of the sea, but more especially of the Nile. In short, 
it is the crocodile of the Nile. We can easily understand 
the perplexity of those writers who suppose these two words 
to be identical, and endeavour to combine all the charac¬ 
ters above mentioned in one animal or tribe of animals. 
As a farther illustration of the marked difference in the 
meanings of the two words, we may compare the 34th and 



37th verses of the fifty-first chapter of Jeremiah* In the 
first of these verses the King of Babylon is represented as 
a “dragon” (tannin), which had swallowed up Israel. 
In the second it is predieted that Babylon itself shall be¬ 
come heaps, a dwelling-place for “dragons” ( tanim ). 
There can be no doubt that the animals intended here are 
quite different. The devouring tannin is a huge preda¬ 
ceous river reptile, a fit emblem of the Babylonian monarch; 
the tan is the jackall that will soon howl in his ruined 
palaces. It is interesting to know that philologists trace a 
connection between tannin and the Greek teino, Latin 
Undo , and similar words signifying to stretch or extend, in 
the Sanscrit, Gothic and other languages, leading to the 
inference that the Hebrew word primarily denotes a length¬ 
ened or extended creature, which corresponds well with its 
application to the crocodile* Taking all the above facts in 
connection, we are quite safe in concluding that the crea<- 
tures referred to by the word under consideration, are 
literally large reptilian animals; and, from the special 
mention made of them, we may infer that, in their day, 
they were the lords of creation** 

3* In verse 21st, the remainder of the sheretzim , beside 
the larger reptiles, are included in the general terms, 
“ Living creature that moveth.” The term “ living crea- 

* See Appendix G. It would be unfair to suppress the farther 
probability that the writer intends specially to indicate that the 
sacred crocodile of the Nile was itself a creature of Jehovah, 

and among the humbler of those creatures. 



ture ” is, literally, “ creature having the breath of life ~ 
the power of respiration being apparently in Hebrew the 
distinctive character of the animal. The word moveth 
( ’ramash ), in its more general sense, expresses the power 
of voluntary motion, as exhibited in animals in general. 
In a few places, however, it has a more precise meaning, 
as in 1 Kings iv. 33, where the vertebrated animals are 
included in the four classes of “ beasts, fowl, creeping things 
(or reptiles, remes), and fishes.” In the present connec¬ 
tion, it probably has its most general sense; unless, indeed, 
the apparent repetition in this verse relates to the amphi¬ 
bious or semi-terrestrial creatures associated with the great 
reptiles; and, in that case, smaller reptilian animals alone 
may be meant. 

4. We may again note that the introduction of animal 
life is marked by the use of the word “create,” for the 
first time since the general creation of the heavens and the 
earth. We may also note that the animal, as well as the 
plant, was created “ after its kind,” or “ species by species.” 
The animals are grouped under three great classes,—the 
Kernes, the Tanninim, and the Birds; but, lest any mis¬ 
conception should arise as to the relations of species to 
these groups, we are expressly informed that the species is 
here the true unit of the creative work. It is worth 
while, therefore, to note that this most ancient authority 
on this much controverted topic, connects species on the 
one hand with the creative fiat, and on the other with the 
power of continuous reproduction. 



5. In addition to the great mass of sheretzim, so accu¬ 
rately characterised by Milton, as 

“-*— Reptile with spawn abundant,” 

the creation of the fifth day included a higher tribe of 
oviparous animals, the birds, the fowl or winged creature 
of the text. Birds alone, we think, must be meant here, 
as we have already seen that insects are included under 
the general term sheretzim. 

6. It is farther to be observed that the waters give origin 
to the first animals; an interesting point, when we consi¬ 
der the contrast here with the creation of plants and of 
the higher animals, both of which proceed from the earth. 

7. It cannot fail to be observed that we have in these 
verses two different arrangements of the animals created, 
neither corresponding exactly with what modern science 
teaches us to regard as the true grouping of the animal 
kingdom, according to its affinities. The order in the first 
enumeration should, from the analogy of the chapter, indi¬ 
cate that of successive creation. The order of the second 
list may, perhaps, be that of the relative importance of the 
animals, as it appeared to the writer. Or there may have 
been a two-fold division of the period—the earlier com¬ 
mencing with the creation of the humbler invertebrates, 
the later characterised by the great reptiles—which is the 
actual state of the case as disclosed by geology. 

8. The Creator recognises the introduction of sentient 
existence and volition, by blessing this new work of his 



hands, and inviting the swarms of the newly-peopled world, 
to enjoy that happiness for which they were fitted, and to 
increase and fill the earth. 

When we inquire what information geology affords res¬ 
pecting the period under consideration, the answer may be 
full and explicit. Geological discovery has carried us back 
to an epoch corresponding with the beginning of this day, 
and has disclosed a long and varied series of living beings, 
extending from this early period up to the introduction of 
the higher races of animals. To enter on the geological 
details of these changes, and on descriptions of the creatures 
which succeeded each other on the earth, would swell this 
volume into a treatise on palaeontology, and would be quite 
unnecessary, as so many excellent popular works on this 
subject already exist. I shall, therefore, confine myself to 
a few general statements, and to marking the points in 
which scripture and geology coincide in their respective 
histories of this long period, which appears to include the 
whole of the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic epochs of geology, 
with their grand and varied succession of rock formations 
and living beings. 

In the oldest fossiliferous rocks, we find the remains 
crustaceans, mollusks and radiates, such as shrimps, shellfish, 
and starfishes, which appear to have inhabited the bottom 
of a shallow ocean. Among these were some genera belong¬ 
ing to the higher forms of the mollusca and radiata, but 
apparently as yet no vertebrated animals. Fishes were 
then introduced, and have left their remains in the upper 



Silurian rocks, and very abundantly in the Devonian and 
Carboniferous, in which also the first reptiles occur. The 
animal kingdom appears to have reached no higher than 
the reptiles in the Palaeozoic or primary period of geology, 
and its reptiles are comparatively small and few; though 
fishes had attained to a point of perfection which they 
have not since exceeded. There was also, especially in the 
carboniferous period, an abundant and luxuriant vegeta¬ 
tion. The Mesozoic period is, however, emphatically the 
age of reptiles. This class then reached its climax, in the 
perfection and magnitude of its species, which filled all 
those stations in the economy of nature now assigned to 
the mammalia. Birds, also, belong to this era, and were 
represented by some very gigantic species. Toward the 
close of the period, several species of small mammals, of 
the lowest or marsupial type, appear as a presage of the 
mammalian creation of the succeeding tertiary era. In 
these two geological periods, then—the Palaeozoic and 
Mesozoic—we find, first, the lower sheretzim represented 
by the invertebrata and the fishes, then the great reptiles 
and the birds; and it cannot be denied, that, if we admit 
that the Mosaic day under consideration corresponds with 
these geological periods, it would be impossible better to 
characterise their creations in so few words adapted to 
popular comprehension. I may add that all the species 
whose remains are found in the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic 
rocks are extinct, and known to us only as fossils; and 
their connection with the present system of nature consists 



only in their forming with it a more perfect series than 
our present fauna alone could afford. They belong to the 
same system of types, hut are parts of it which have served 
their purpose and have been laid aside. The coincidences 
above noted between geology and scripture, may he sum¬ 
med up as follows. 

1. According to both records, the causes which at present 
regulate the distribution of light and heat and moisture, 
of land and water, were, during the whole of this period, 
much the same as at present. The eyes of the trilobite of 
the old Silurian rocks are fitted for the same conditions 
with respect to light with those of existing animals of the 
same class. The coniferous trees of the coal measures 
show annual rings of growth. Impressions of rain-marks 
have been found in the shales of the coal measures and 
Devonian system. Hills and valleys, swamps and lagoons, 
rivers, bays, seas, coral reefs and shell beds, have all left 
indubitable evidence of their existence, in the geological 
record. On the other hand, the Bible shows that all the 
earth’s physical features were perfected on the fourth 
day, and immediately before the creation of animals. The 
land and the water have undergone, during this long lapse 
of ages, many minor changes. Whole tribes of animals 
and plants have been swept away and replaced by others, 
but the general aspect of inorganic nature has remained 
the same. 

2. Both records show the existence of vegetation during 
this period j though the geologic record, if taken alone, 



would, from its want of information respecting the third 
day, lead us to infer that plants are no older than animals, 
while the Bible does not speak of the nature of the vegeta¬ 
tion that may have existed on the fifth day. 

3. Both records inform us that reptiles and birds were 
the higher and leading forms of animals, and that all the 
lower forms of animals co-existed with them. In both we 
have especial notice of the gigantic Saurian reptiles of the 
latter part of the period; and, if we have the remains of a 
few small species of mammals in the Mesozoic rocks, these, 
like a few similar creatures apparently included under the 
word sheretz in Leviticus, are not sufficiently important to 
negative the general fact of the reign of reptiles.* 

4. It accords with both records that the work of creation 
in this period was gradually progressive. Species after 
species was locally introduced, extended itself, and, after 
having served its purpose, gradually became extinct. And 
thus each successive rock formation presents new groups 
of species, each rising in numbers and perfection above the 

* The interesting discovery, by Mr. Beale and others, of thir¬ 
teen species of mammalia in the Purbeck, and that of Professor 
Emmons of a few species in rocks of similar age in the Southern 
States of America, do not invalidate this statement; for all 
these, like the Microlestes of the German trias and the jlmphi- 
therium of the Stonesfeld slate, are small marsupials belonging 
to the least perfect type of mammals. The discovery of so 
many species of these humbler creatures, goes far to increase the 
improbability of the existence of the higher mammals. 



last, and marking a gradual assimilation of the general 
conditions of our planet to their present state, yet without 
any convulsions or general catastrophes affecting the whole 
earth at once. 

5. In both records the time between the creation of the 
first animals and the introduction of the mammalia as a 
dominant class, forms a well marked period. I would not 
too positively assert that the close of the fifth day accords 
precisely with that of the Mesozoic or secondary period. 
The well marked line of separation, however, between this 
and the earlier tertiary rocks, points to this as extremely 
probable. I shall close these remarks by a quotation on 
this subject from Ansted’s “ Ancient world—“ The close 
of the Secondary (Mesozoic) period was succeeded by a 
general disruption of the various beds that had been depo¬ 
sited in those parts of the world to which we have access, 
and by changes and modifications so considerable as to 
alter the whole face of nature. It would appear, also, that 
a long period of time elapsed before newer beds were 
thrown down; since the chalky mud (of the newest Meso¬ 
zoic rocks) not only had time to harden into chalk, but 
the surface of the chalk itself was much rubbed and worn. 
So completely and absolutely is the line of demarcation 
drawn between the secondary and newer deposits, in parts 
of the world where these beds have been recognised in 
actual contact, that it had become a common notion among 
geologists to assume the destruction of all natural relations 
between them j concluding that not one single species of 



animal or vegetable connected the two periods, and lived 
through the intervening disturbances. Although this 
view certainly requires modifications in points of detail, it 
is still correct in a general sense, and expresses without 
much exaggeration the real difference in condition, the 
result perhaps of greater time than is elsewhere indicated. 
In this way, the secondary period is distinctly cut off from 
the tertiary.” In the same work, chaps. 6th and 11th, 
will be found vivid sketches of the general features of the 
inorganic world in the Palaeozoic and Mesozoic periods, 
highly illustrative of the parallelism between these animal 
remains and the creatures produced on the fifth day.* 

It thus appears that scripture and geology so tar con¬ 
cur respecting the events of this period, as to establish- 
even without any other evidence, a probability that the 
fifth day corresponds with the geological periods with which 
I have endeavoured to identify it. Geology, however, 
gives us no means of measuring precisely the length of this 
day; but it gives us the impression that it occupied an 

* No break of continuity in the succession of life revealed by 
geology can be regarded as established by positive evidence j 
and most of the breaks of this kind ascertained by the earlier 
geologists have proved to be merely local. But the one which 
has maintained itself most constantly in all portions of the earth 
is certainly that between the Mesozoic and Tertiary. Even in 
cases where, as in some parts of the tertiary districts of the 
United States, there seemed to be a gradation of fossils, later 
observations tend to show a real distinctness. 



enormous length of time, compared with which the whole 
human period is quite insignificant; and rivalling those 
mythical “ days of the Creator ” which we have noticed as 
forming a part of the Hindoo mythology. 

Why was the earth thus occupied for countless ages by 
an animal population whose highest members were reptiles 
and birds ? The fact cannot be doubted, since geology 
and scripture, the research of man and the word of God, 
concur in affirming it. We know that the lowest of these 
creatures was, in its own place, no less worthy of the 
Creator than those which we regard as the highest in the 
scale of organization, and that the animals of the ancient, 
equally with those of the modern world, abounded in proofs 
of the wisdom, power and goodness of their Maker. Com¬ 
parative anatomy has shown that these extinct animals, 
though often varying much from their modern representa¬ 
tives, are in no respect rude or imperfect; that they have 
the same appearance of careful planning and elaborate exe¬ 
cution, the same combination of ornament and utility, the 
same nice adaptation to the conditions of their existence, 
which we observe in modern creatures. In addition to 
this, the many new and wonderful contrivances and com¬ 
binations which they present, and their relations to existing 
objects, have greatly enlarged our views of the variety and 
harmony of the whole system of nature. They are, there¬ 
fore, in these respects, not without their use as manifesta¬ 
tions of the Creator, in this our later age. 



There is another reason, hinted at by Buckland, Miller, 
and other*writers on this subject, which weighs much with 
my mind. All animals and plants are constructed on a 
few leading types or patterns, which are again divided into 
subordinate types, just as in architecture we have certain 
leading styles, and these again may admit of several orders, 
and these of farther modifications. Types are further 
modified to suit a great variety of minor adaptations. Now 
we know that the earth is, at any one time, inadequate to 
display all the modifications of all the types. Hence our 
existing system of organic nature, though probably more 
complete than any that preceded it, is still only fragmen¬ 
tary. It is like what architecture would be, if all memorials 
of all buildings more than a century old were swept away. 
But, from the beginning to the end of the creative work, 
there has been, or will be, room for the whole plan. 
Hence fossils are little by little completing our system of 
nature; and, if all were known, would perhaps wholly do 
so. The great plan must be progressive, and all its parts 
must be perishable, except its last culminating point and 
archetype, man. Tennyson gropes after this truth in the 
following lines:— 

11 The wish, that of the living whole 

No life may fail beyond the grave; 

Derives it not from what we have 
The likest God within the soul ? 




■*** ■ ■— . .. .. . 

Are God and Nature then at strife, 

That Nature lends such evil dreams? 
So careful of the type she seems, 

So careless of the single life. 

‘So careful of the type?’ but no. 

From scarped cliff and quarried stone 
She cries, ‘a thousand types are gone j 
I care for nothing, all shall go. 

‘ Thou makest thine appeal to me : 

I bring to life, I bring to death : 

The spirit does but mean the breath: 

I know no more.’ And he, shall he, 

Man, her last work, who seem’d so fair, 
Such splendid purpose in his eyes, 

Who roll’d the psalm to wintry skies, 
Who built him fanes of fruitless prayer, 

Who trusted God was love indeed 
And love Creation’s final law— 

Tho’ Nature, red in tooth and claw, 
With ravine, shriek’d against his creed— 

Who loved, who suffer’d countless ills, 

Who battled for the True, the Just, 

Be blown about the desert dust, 

Or seal’d within the iron hill3 ? 

No more? A monster, then, a dream, 

A discord. Dragons of the prime, 
That tare each other in their slime, 
Were mellow music match’d with him. 



0 life as futile, then, as frail! 

0 for thy voice to soothe and bless! 

What hope of answer, or redress ? 

Behind the veil, behind the veil.” 

The Creator himself, however, is not indifferent to the 
marvellous structures, instincts and powers which he has 
bestowed upon the lower races of animals. Witness the 
answer of the Almighty to Job, when he spake out of the 
whirlwind to vindicate his own plans in creation and pro 
vidence; and brought before the patriarch a long train of 
animals, explaining and dwelling on the structure and 
powers of each, in contrast with the puny efforts and rude 
artificial contrivances of man. Witness also the preserva¬ 
tion, in the rocks, of the fossil remains of extinct creatures, 
as if he who made them was unwilling that the evidence 
of their existence should perish, and purposely treasured 
them through all the revolutions of the earth, that through 
them men might magnify his great name.* The psalmist 

* I do not consider it necessary to notice the singular doc¬ 
trine of “prochronism,” developed in Mr. Gosse’s “Omphalos” ; 
since, however ingenious as a specimen of logical skepticism, 
it cannot be regarded by any one acquainted with geological 
facts as affording a satisfactory explanation of them. It is 
interesting chiefly as a modern instance of that barren, meta¬ 
physical speculation, which, in a by-gone time, was applied to 
nature, instead of patient, inductive inquiry. I have no doubt 
that its excellent author will himself be brought to regard it 
from this point of view. 



would almost appear to have had all these thoughts before 
his mind, when he poured out his wonder in the 104th 

u 0 Lord, how manifold are thy works! 

In wisdom hast thou made them all. 

The earth is full of thy riches; 

So is this wide and great sea, 

Wherein are moving things innumerable, 

Creatures both small and great. 

There go the ships ; 

There is leviathan, which thou hast formed to sport therein : 

That thou givest them they gather. 

Thou openest thy hand, they are filled with good; 

Thou hidest thy face, they are troubled; 

Thou takest away their breath, they return to their dust. 

Thou sendest forth thy spirit, they are created, 

And thou renewest the face of the earth.” 

There are, however, good reasons to believe, that, in the 
plans of Divine wisdom, the long periods in which the earth 
was occupied by the inferior races, were necessary to its 
subsequent adaptation to the residence of man. In these 
periods our present continents gradually grew up in all 
their variety and beauty. The materials of old rocks were 
comminuted and mixed to form fertile soils,* and stores of 

* It is very interesting, in connection with this, to note that 
nearly all the earliest and greatest seats of population and civi¬ 
lisation have been placed on the more modern geological depo¬ 
sits, or on those in which stores of fuel have been accumulated 
by the growth of extinct plants. 



mineral products were accumulated, to enable man in his 
fallen state to earn subsistence and the blessings of civili¬ 
sation by the sweat of his brow. And if it pleased the 
Almighty, during these preparatory processes, to replenish 
the land and sea with herbs, and trees, and creeping things, 
and great reptilian monsters,—to fill it with such forms of 
life as in its imperfect state it was capable of sustaining, 
who shall venture to criticise his procedure, or say to him, 
11 What doest thou ? ” 



Genesis i. 24 and 25: 11 And God said, let the land bring 
forth animals after their kinds; the herbivora, the reptiles, and 
the carnivora, after their kinds ; and it was so. And God made 
carnivorous mammals after their kinds, and herbivorous mam¬ 
mals after their kinds, and every reptile of the land after its 
kind ; and God saw that it was good.” 

The creation of animals, unlike that of plants, occupies 
two days. Here our attention is restricted to the inhabi¬ 
tants of the land, and chiefly to their higher forms. 
Several new terms are introduced to our notice, which I 
have endeavoured to translate as literally as possible, by 
introducing zoological terms, where those in common use 
were deficient. 

1. The first tribe of animals noticed here is named 
u Bliemah ” ; cattle in our version; and in the septuagint, 
quadrupeds in one of the verses, and cattle in the other. 
Both of these senses are of common occurrence in the 
scriptures, cattle or domesticated animals being usually 
designated by this word; while in other passages, as in 
1 Kings iv. 33, where Solomon is said to have written a 
treatise on “ beasts, fowls, creeping things and fishes,” 
it appears to include all the mammalia. Notwithstand¬ 
ing this wide range of meaning, however, there are 
passages, and these of the greatest authority in reference 



to our present subject, in which it strictly means the her¬ 
bivorous mammals, and which show that when it was 
necessary to distinguish these from the predaceous or car¬ 
nivorous tribes, this term was specially employed. In 
Leviticus xi., verses 22 to 27, we have a specification of 
all the Bhemoth that might and might not be used for food. 
It includes all the true ruminants, with the coney, the 
hare and the hog, animals of the rodent and pachydermatous 
orders. The carnivorous quadrupeds are designated by a 
different generic term. In this chapter of Leviticus, 
therefore, which contains the only approach to a system in 
natural history to be found in the Bible, bhemah is strictly 
a synonym of herbivora , including ruminants, rodents and 

pachyderms. That this is its proper meaning here, is 


confirmed by the considerations, that in this place it can 
denote but a part of the land quadrupeds, and that the 
idea of cattle or domesticated animals would be an ana¬ 
chronism. At the same time, I have no objection to the 
view that the especial capacity of ruminants and other 
herbivora for domestication, is connected with the use of 
the word in this place. 

2. The word u r ernes” creeping things in our version, 
as we have already shown, is a very general term, referring 
to the power of motion possessed by animals, especially on 
the surface of the ground. It here in all probability refers 
to the additional types of terrestrial reptiles and other crea¬ 
tures lower than the mammals, introduced in this period. 

3. The compound term (“ hay'th-eretz ), which I have 



ventured to render carnivora, is literally animal of the 
land; but though thus general in its meaning, it is here 
evidently intended to denote a particular tribe of animals 
inhabiting the land, and not included in the scope of the 
two words already noticed. In other parts of scripture, 
this term is used in the sense of a “ wild beast.” In a 
few places, like the other terms already noticed, it is used 
for all kinds of animals, but that above stated is its general 
meaning, and perfectly accords with the requirements of 
the passage. 

The creation of the sixth day therefore includes—1st the 
herbivorous mammalia, 2nd a variety of terrestrial reptilia 
and other lower forms not included in the work of the 
previous day; 3rd, the carnivorous mammalia. It will 
be observed that the order in the two verses is different. 
In verse 24th it is, herbivora, “creeping things,” and 
carnivora. In verse 25th it is carnivora, herbivora, and 
“creeping things.” One of them may, as in the account 
of the fifth day, indicate the order of time in the creation, 
and the other the order of rank in the animals made, or 
there may have been two divisions of the work, in the ear¬ 
lier of which herbivorous animals took the lead, and in the 
later those that are carnivorous. In either case, we may 
infer that herbivora predominated in the earlier creations 
of the period. 

It is almost unnecessary to say that this period corresponds 
with the Tertiary era of geologists. The coincidences are 
very marked and striking. As already stated, though in 




the later secondary period there were great facilities for 
the preservation of mammals, in the strata then being depo¬ 
sited, only a few small species of the humblest order have 
been found; and the occurrence of the higher orders of this 
class, is to some extent precluded by the fact that the place 
in nature now occupied by the mammals, was then provided 
for by the vast development of the reptile tribes. At the 
very beginning of the tertiary period, all this was changed; 
most of the gigantic reptiles had disappeared, and terrestrial 
mammals of large size and high organization, had taken 
their place. During the whole tertiary period, this pre¬ 
dominance of the mammalia continued; and as the meso- 
zoic was the period of giant reptiles, so the tertiary was 
that of great mammals. It is a singular and perhaps not 
accidental coincidence that so many of the early tertiary 
mammals known to us are large herbivora, such as would 
be included in the Hebrew word Bhemah; and that in 
the book of Job the hippopotamus is called Behemoth 7 
the plural form being apparently used to denote that 
this animal is the chief of the creatures known under the 
general term bhemah , while geology informs us that the 
prevailing order of mammals in the older tertiary period 
was that of the pachydermata, and that many of these ex¬ 
tinct pachyderms are very closely allied to the hippopotamus. 
Behemoth thus figures in the book of Job, not only as at 
the time a marked illustration of creative power, but to 
our further knowledge also as a singular remnant of an ex¬ 
tinct gigantic race. It is at least curious that while in the 



fifth day great reptiles like those of the secondary rocks 
form the burden of the work, in the sixth we have a term 
which so directly reminds us of those gigantic pachyderms 
which figure so largely in the tertiary period. Large car¬ 
nivora also occur in the tertiary formations, and there are 
some forms of reptile life, as for example, the serpents, 
which first appear in the tertiary. 

The following extract from Ansted, in which he sums 
up the mammalian tribes of the older and middle tertiary 
periods, forms an apt illustration of the statements of scrip¬ 
ture which we have just been considering. I quote this work 
because its pictures are very vivid, and bring out this corres¬ 
pondence very distinctly. The same facts appear in every 
popular book on geology, but not in the scenic form which 
corresponds best with the Mosaic delineation. Hugh Mil¬ 
ler has sketched these correspondences in the Testimony of 
the Rocks ; but he writes with the scripture narrative di¬ 
rectly in view, which was not the case with Ansted. 

u The interior of the land of which the surrounding 
waters were thus peopled, was no less remarkable, and ex¬ 
hibited appearances equally instructive. Troops of mon¬ 
keys might be seen skipping lightly from branch to branch 
in the various trees, or heard mowing and chattering and 
howling in the deep recesses of the forest. Of the birds, 
some clothed in plumage of almost tropical brilliancy were 
busy in the forests, while others, such as the vulture, 
hovered over the spots where death had been busy; gigan¬ 
tic serpents might be seen invidiously watching their prey. 



Other serpents in gaudy dress, were darting upon the 
smaller quadrupeds and birds, and insects glittered brightly 
in the sun * * * . With the monkeys were associated 
small opossums, squirrels, a racoon, and other animals at 
that time the tenants of the forests. Several of the smaller 
carnivora prowled about preying on these, and among them 
a species of fox and wolf, show that as there was a large 
supply of animal food so there were other animals to avail 
themselves of the supply. But in all this one thing is re¬ 
markable, it is the almost total absence of the tribe of 
ruminants. None of those which are so useful and neces¬ 
sary to man were then to be seen. The deer tribe and the 
goat, the sheep, the ox, the camel, all are wanting; and 
their place was filled by various representatives belonging 
to the tribe of which the hog, the horse, the rhinoceros and 
the elephant are the present types. These indeed were 
abundant and varied enough both in their dimensions, 
their appearance, and their habits. Some swam in the 
water; some tripped lightly and elegantly on the borders 
of the marshes, others constantly on the alert, ran like the 
wind on the slightest approach of danger. Everything was 
thus perfectly adapted to animal wants and necessities, but 
no preparation was yet made for man.” 

“ During this time (the middle tertiary period) the land 
was becoming peopled with all that rich variety of mam¬ 
malian life, which characterised the later tertiary periods 
in the northern hemisphere. In addition to the elephant 
and the Mastodon, the latter of which soon died out, we 



have two distinct and well-marked species of rhinoceros, a 
hippopotamus, several kinds of horses, large insectivorous 
animals, and a considerhble number of Carnivora, some of 
large size, and differing considerably from the groups now 
inhabiting these parts of the world. We also find an im¬ 
portant and very interesting group of true ruminants, 
including a gigantic deer, and the aurochs. With these 
are associated marine Mammalia in great variety, forming, 
on the whole, a singular and well-marked group, interesting 
in the highest degree for the analogies it exhibits with 
widely-spread existing species, as well as for the differences 
presented between it and any neighbouring fauna.” 

This was the European fauna of the earlier and 
middle Tertiary. That of the later tertiaries is still 
rich in pachyderms, represented by the gigantic fossil ele¬ 
phants and mastodons, of which different species appear to 
have replaced each other in successive sub-divisions of the 
period. In America we have at the same time a remarkable 
group of large quadrupeds allied to the modern sloths; and in 
Europe, America and Asia many true ruminants, as well as 
formidable carnivora. Yet all or nearly all of these later 
tertiary animals had disappeared before the advent of man. 

Dana well sums up the grand march of mammalian life 
as follows:— 

“ The quadrupeds did not all come forth together. Large 
and powerful herbivorous species first take possession of 
the earth, with only a few small carnivora. These pass 
away. Other herbivora with a larger proportion of carnivora 


next appear. These also are exterminated; and so with 
others. Then the carnivora appear in vast numbers and 
power, and the herbivora also abound. Moreover these 
races attain a magnitude and number far surpassing all 
that now exist, as much so indeed, on all the continents, 
North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa, and Aus¬ 
tralia, as the old mastodon, twenty feet long and nine feet 
high, exceeds the modern buffalo. Such, according to ge¬ 
ology, was the age of mammals, when the brute species 
existed in their greatest magnificence, and brutal ferocity 
had free play; when the dens of bears and hyenas, prowl¬ 
ing tigers and lions far larger than any now existing, 
covered Britain and Europe. Mammoths and mastodons 
wandered over the plains of North America, huge sloth-like 
Megatheria passed their sluggish lives on the pampas of 
South America, and elephantine marsupials strolled about 

“ As the mammalian age draws to a close, the ancient 
carnivora and herbivora of that era all pass away, excepting, 
it is believed, a few that are useful to man. New creations 
of smaller size peopled the groves; the vegetation received 
accessions to its foliage, fruit-trees and flowers, and the seas 
brighter forms of water life. This we know from com¬ 
parisons with the fossils of the preceding mammalian age. 
There was, at this time, no chaotic upturning, but only the 
opening of creation to its fullest expansion: and so in 
Genesis, no new day is begun, it is still the sixth day.” 



Genesis i. 26 to 31: “ And God said, let ns make man in our 
own image, after our likeness; and let them rule over the fish 
of the sea and the birds of the air, and over the herbivora and 
over all the land. So God created man in his own image ; in 
the image of God created he him; male and female created he 
them. And God blessed them, and God said be fruitful and 
multiply and replenish the earth, and subdue it; and have do¬ 
minion over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air ; and 
over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” 

“ And God said, behold I have given you every herb bearing 
seed which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree in 
which is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for 
food, and to every beast of the earth and to every fowl of the 
air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth wherein 
there is life, I have given every green herb for meat, and it was 
so. And God saw everything that he had made, and behold it 
was very good. And evening and morning were the sixth day.” 

The creation of man is prefaced by expressions implying 
deliberation and care. It is not said “ let the eartb bring 
forth ” man, but let us form or fashion man. This marks 
the relative importance of the human species, and the 
heavenly origin of its nobler immaterial part. Man is also 
said to have been 11 created,” implying that in his consti¬ 
tution there was something new and not included in pre¬ 
vious parts of the work, even in its material. Man was 



created, as the Hebrew literally reads, the shadow and 
similitude of God—the greatest of the visible manifestations 
of deity in the lower world,—the reflected image of his 
Maker, and under the Supreme Lawgiver, the delegated 
ruler of the earth. Now for the first time was the earth 
tenanted by a being capable of comprehending the purposes 
and plans of Jehovah, of regarding his works with intelli¬ 
gent admiration, and of shadowing forth the excellences of 
his moral nature. For countless ages the earth had been 
inhabited by creatures wonderful in their structures and 
instincts, and mutely testifying, as their buried remains 
still do, to the Creator’s glory; but limited within a nar¬ 
row range of animal propensities, and having no power of 
raising a thought or aspiration toward the being who made 
them. Now, however, man enters on the scene, and the 
Sons of God, who had shouted for joy when the first land 
emerged from the bosom of the deep, saw the wondrous 
spectacle of a spiritual nature analogous to their own, 
united to a corporeal frame constructed on the same gene¬ 
ral type with the higher of those irrational creatures whose 
presence on earth they had so long witnessed. 

Man was to rule over the fish of the sea, the birds of the 
air and the bhemah or herbivorous animals. The carni¬ 
vorous creatures are not mentioned, and possibly were not 
included in man’s dominion. We shall find an explanation 
of this farther on. The nature of man’s dominion we are left 
to infer. In his state of innocence it must have been a mild 
and gentle sway, interfering in no respect with the free 



exercise of the powers of enjoyment bestowed on animals by 
the Creator, a rule akin to that which a merciful man ex¬ 
ercises over a domesticated animal, and which some animals 
are capable of repaying with a warm and devoted affection. 
Now, however, man’s rule has become a tyranny. “ The 
whole creation groans ” because of it. He desolates the 
face of nature wherever he appears, unsettling the nice 
balance of natural agencies, and introducing remediless 
confusion and suffering among the lower creatures, even 
when in the might of his boasted civilization he professes 
to renovate and improve the face of nature. He retains 
enough of the image of his maker to enable him to a great 
extent to assert his dominion, and to aspire after a resto¬ 
ration of his original paradise, but he has lost so much 
that the power which he retains is necessarily abused to 
selfish ends. 

Man, like the other creatures, was destined to be fruit¬ 
ful and multiply and replenish the earth. We are also 
informed in chapter second that he was placed in a “garden,” 
a chosen spot in the alluvial plains of Western Asia, be¬ 
longing to the later geological formations, and thus prepared 
by the whole series of prior geological changes, replenished 
with all things useful to him, and containing nothing 
hurtful, at least in so far as the animal creation was con¬ 
cerned. These facts, taken in connection, lead to grave ques¬ 
tions. How is the happy and innocent state of man con¬ 
sistent with the contemporaneous existence of carnivorous 
and predaceous animals, which, as both scripture and geo- 



logy state, were created in abundance in the sixth day. 
How, when confined to a limited region, could he increase 
and multiply and replenish the earth ? These questions, 
which have caused no little perplexity, are easily solved 
when brought into the light of our modern knowledge of 
nature, 1, Every large region of the earth is inhabited 
by a group of animals, differing in the proportions of 
identical species and in the presence of distinct species, 
from the groups inhabiting other districts. There is 
also sufficient reason to conclude that all animals and 
plants have spread from certain local centres of creation, 
in which certain groups of species have been produced and 
allowed to extend themselves, until they met and became 
intermingled with species extending from other centres. 
Internal probabilities, as well as the tracing of many im¬ 
portant species to this source, show that the district of 
Asia in the vicinity of the Euphrates and Tigris, to which 
the scripture assigns the origin of the human race, was an 
eminent centre of this description; and at the period under 
consideration, it may either have been cleared of its previous 
inhabitants, or may not have yet been invaded by animals 
spreading from other centres.* 2. To remove all zoolo¬ 
gical difficulties from the position of primeval man in his 
state of innocence, we have but to suppose, in accordance 
with all the probabilities of the case, that man was created 
along with a group of creatures adapted to contribute to 

* See Appendix H. 



his happiness, and having no tendency to injure or annoy ; 
and that it is the formation of these creatures—the group 
of his own centre of creation—that is especially noticed in 
Genesis 2d and 19th, et seq., where God is represented as 
forming them out of the ground and exhibiting them to 
Adam ; a passage otherwise superfluous, and indeed tend¬ 
ing to confuse the meaning of the document, 3. The diffi¬ 
culty attending the extension of the human race in a state 

of innocence, is at once obviated by the geological doctrine 
of the extinction of species. We know that in past geolo¬ 
gical periods large and important groups of species have 
become extinct, and have been replaced by new groups 
extending from new centres; and we know that this pro¬ 
cess has removed, in early geological periods, many creatures 
that would have been highly injurious to human interests 
had they remained. Now, the group of species created 
with man being the latest introduced, we may infer, on 
geological grounds, that it would have extended itself within 
the spheres of older zoological and botanical districts, and 
would have replaced their species, which, in the ordinary 
operation of natural laws, may have been verging toward 
extinction. Thus, not only man, but the Eden in which 
he dwelt, with all its animals and plants, would have gra¬ 
dually encroached on the surrounding wilderness, until 
man’s happy and peaceful reign had replaced that of the 
ferocious beasts that preceded him in dominion, and had 
extended at least over all the temperate region of the earth. 
4. The cursing of the ground for man’s sake, on his fall 



from innocence, would thus consist in the permission given 
to the predaceous animals and the thorns and the briars, 
of other centres of creation, to invade his Eden; or, in his 
own expulsion, to contend with the animals and plants 
which were intended to have given way and become extinct 
before him. Thus the fall of man would produce an arrest¬ 
ment in the progress of the earth, in that last great revo¬ 
lution which would have converted it into an Eden; and 
the anomalies of its present state consist, according to scrip¬ 
ture, in a mixture of the conditions of the tertiary with 
those of the human period. 5. Though there is good 
ground for believing that man was to have been exempted 
from the general law of mortality, we cannot infer that any 
such exemption would have been enjoyed by his companion 
animals; we only know that he himself would have been 
free from all annoyance, and injury, and decay, from ex¬ 
ternal causes. We may also conclude, that, while Eden 
was sufficient for his habitation, the remainder of the earth 
would continue, just as in the earlier tertiary periods, 
under the dominion of the predaceous mammals, reptiles, 
and birds. 6. The above views enable us on the one hand 
to avoid the difficulties that attend the admission of pre¬ 
daceous animals into Eden, and on the other the still more 
formidable difficulties that attend the attempt to exclude 
them altogether from the Adamic world. They also illus¬ 
trate the geological fact that many animals, contemporaneous 
with man, extend far back into the tertiary period. These 
are creatures not belonging to the Edenic centre of crea- 



tion, but introduced in an earlier part of the sixth day, 
and now permitted to exist along with man in his fallen 
state. I have stated these supposed conditions of the 
Adamic creation briefly, and with as little illustration as 
possible, that they may connectedly strike the mind of the 
reader. Each of these statements is in harmony with the 
scriptural narrative on the one hand, and with geology on 
the other; and, taken together, they afford an intelligible 
history of the introduction of man. If a geologist were 
asked to state, a priori , the conditions proper to the crea¬ 
tion of any important species, he could only say—the pre¬ 
paration or selection of some region of the earth for it, and 
its production along with a group of plants and animals 
suited to it. These are precisely the conditions implied in 
the scriptural account of the creation of Adam.* The 
difficulties of the subject have arisen from supposing, con¬ 
trary to the narrative itself, that the conditions necessary 
for Eden must in the first instance have extended over the 
whole earth, and that the creatures with which man is in 
his present dispersion brought into contact, must necessa¬ 
rily have been his companions there. 

The food of animals is specified at the close of the work 
of this day. The grant to man is every herb bearing seed, 
and every fruit tree. That to the lower animals is more 
extensive — every green herb. This cannot mean that 
every animal in the earth was herbivorous. It may refer 

* See Lyell, Principles of Geology, “ Introduction of Species.” 



to the group of animals associated with man in Eden; or, 
if it includes the animals of the whole earth, we may be 
certain, from the express mention of carnivorous creatures 
in the work of the fifth and sixth days, that it indicates 
merely the general fact that the support of the whole ani¬ 
mal kingdom is based on vegetation. 

A most important circumstance in connection with the 
work of the sixth day, is that it witnessed the creation 
both of man and the mammalia. A fictitious writer would 
unquestionably have exalted man by assigning to him a 
separate day, and by placing the whole animal kingdom 
together in respect to time. He would be all the more 
likely to do this, if unacquainted, as most ignorant persons* 
as well as many literary men are, with the importance and 
teeming multitudes of the lower tribes of animals, and with 
the typical identity of the human frame with that of the 
higher animals. He has not done so, we are at liberty to 
suppose, because the fact as revealed to him was otherwise; 
and modern geology has amply vindicated him in this, by 
its disclosure of the intimate connection of the human with 
the tertiary period; and has shown in this as in other 
instances that truth and not “accommodation” was the 
object of the sacred writer. While, as already stated, 
many existing species extend far back into the tertiary 
period, showing that the earth has been visited by no uni¬ 
versal catastrophe since the first creation of mammals; on 
the other hand, we cannot with certainty trace any existing 
species back beyond the commencement of the tertiary era. 



Geology and revelation, therefore, coincide in referring the 
creation of man to the close of the period in which mam¬ 
mals were introduced and became predominant, and in 
establishing a marked separation between that period and 
the preceding one in which the lower animals held undis¬ 
puted sway. This coincidence, while it strengthens the pro¬ 
bability that the creative days were long periods, opposes an 
almost insurmountable obstacle to every other hypothesis 
of reconciliation with geological science. 

At the close of this day, the Creator again reviews his 
work and pronounces it good. Step by step the world had 
been evolved from a primeval chaos, through many succes¬ 
sive physical changes, and long series of organised beings. 
It had now reached its acme of perfection, and had received 
its most illustrious tenant, possessing an organism excelling 
all others in majesty and beauty, and an immaterial soul 
the shadow of the glorious Creator himself. Well might 
the angels sing, when the long protracted work was thus 
grandly completed:— 

11 Thrice happy man 

And sons of men, whom God hath thus advanced, 
Created in his image, there to dwell 
And worship him, and in reward to rule 
Over his works in earth, or sea, or air, 

And multiply a race of worshippers 
Holy and just; thrice happy, if they know 
Their happiness and persevere upright.” 

The Hebrew idea of the golden age of Eden is pure and 



exalted. It consists in the enjoyment of the favour of 
God, and of all that is beautiful and excellent in his 
works. God and nature are the whole. Nor is it merely a 
rude, unintelligent, sensuous enjoyment. Man primeval 
is not a lazy savage gathering acorns. He is made in the 
image of the Creator; he is to keep and dress his garden, 
and it is furnished with every plant good for food and 
pleasant to the sight. Alas for fallen man, with his poor 
civilization gathered little by little from the dust of earth, 
and his paltry art that halts immeasurably behind nature. 
How little is he able even to appreciate the high estate of 
his great ancestor. The world of fallen men has worship¬ 
ped art too much, reverenced and studied nature too little. 
The savage displays the lowest taste when he admires the 
rude figures which he paints on his face or his garments, 
more than the glorious painting that adorns nature: yet 
even he acknowledges the preeminent excellence of nature, 
by imitating her forms and colors, and by adapting her 
painted plumes and flowers to his own use. There is a 
wide interval, ineluding many gradations, between this low 
position and that of the cultivated amateur or artist. The 
art of the latter makes a nearer approach to the truly 
beautiful, inasmuch as it more accurately represents the 
geometric and organic forms, and the coloring of nature; 
and inasmuch as it devises ideal combinations not found in 
the actual world; which ideal combinations, however, are 
beautiful or monstrous, just as they realize or violate the 
harmonies of nature. It is only the highest culture that 
brings man baek: to his primitive refinement. 



I do not wish here so to depreciate art, as to raise the? 
question—why should there be such a thing as fine art t 
Why we should attempt to imitate that which we cannot 
equal, and which yet every where surrounds us? The 
necessities of man’s fallen nature,—his desire to perpetuate 
the perishing forms dear to him,—his own conceptions of 
the beautiful, and his longing to realize them,—his ambi¬ 
tious wish to create something that may give him an undy¬ 
ing reputation,—his idolatrous desire to embody in material 
form, something that he or others may reverence or worship 
these and such reasons are sufficient to account for art 
aspirations, as constant products of our mental constitution,. 
Let us accord to art the admiration which it deserves, but 
let us not forget that nature is the highest art —the art 
which embraces in itself all else that truly deserves the 

One essential difference between imitative art and nature,, 
is that the former is wholly superficial, while the latter has 
an inner life and finer structure, corresponding to its out¬ 
ward form. The painter’s bouquet of flowers may charm 
us with its fine combination of forms and colors, and with 
the thought and taste that speak in every hue and tint ; 
but examine it closely, and it becomes a mass of patches of 
color, in which the parts of the actual flower are but rudely 
shadowed forth. The natural flower, on the other hand, 
yields to the closest examination, only new structures and 
more delicate beauties not perceived at the first glance; 
and even under the microscope, we find it pregnant with 



new wonders, so that if we represent separately all its 
various parts and internal structures, we have a series of 
pictures, each full of beauty and interest, and the whole 
showing us that the painter’s genius has availed only to 
depict that outer layer of charms which lies at the very 
surface. And then in the actual flower, we have all those 
changes of beauty that march in procession from the un¬ 
folding bud to the ripening fruit. Truly may the lily of 
the field laugh to scorn the efforts of human art, when we 
place them in competition as objects addressed to our 
higher powers and tastes. 

In like manner the Apollo of the Sculptor may repre¬ 
sent, not only years of study and laborious days of delicate 
chiseling, but also a beau-ideal of manly symmetry and 
grace, such as we can seldom find approached in the real 
world; but take, for comparison, the living, well-developed 
human form, and you have an object infinitely more full 
of beauty. Every motion of such a form is a new statue. 
In a few minutes it gives you a whole gallery of varied 
attitudes; and then within, you have the wondrous mecha¬ 
nism of bones and muscles, which, if not individually 
beautiful, become so to our inner mental vision, when we 
consider their adaptation to this infinity of graceful form 
and motion. The frame contrived to enshrine the immor¬ 
tal mind of man, is the chief of the works of God known 
to us; and is not the less beautiful, that, in our present 
fallen state, considerations, both moral and physical, require 
that the nakedness, which was its primeval glory and dis- 



tinction, should be covered from our sight. It is a high 
ambition that fires the sculptor with the hope, that he shall 
be able to embody even one of those attitudes that speak 
the emotions of the soul within. Yet, after he has ex¬ 
hausted all his art, how cold, how dead, how intensely 
wearisome and monotonous, when compared with the living 
form, is the changeless beauty of the statue. The little¬ 
ness of art is equally apparent when it attempts to rival 
the grandeur of nature. Her towers and spires have less 
effect than those rocky pinnacles and mountain peaks; her 
pillared porticos do not equal nature’s colonnades of stately 
trunks and graceful foliage. We habitually acknowledge 
this, when we adorn our finest buildings with surrounding 
trees, just as nature masks with foliage the bases of rude 
cliffs, and the flanks of precipices. 

Art takes her true place when she sits at the feet of 
nature, and brings her students to drink in its beauties, 
that they may endeavor, however imperfectly, to reproduce 
them. On the other hand, the student of nature must not 
content himself with “ writing Latin names on white 
paper,” wherewith to label nature’s productions, but must 
rise to the contemplation of the order and beauty of the 
Cosmos. Both will thus rise to that highest taste, which 
will enable them to appreciate not only the elegance of 
individual forms, but their structure, their harmonies, their 
grouping and their relations, their special adaptation, and 
their places as parts of a great system. Thus art will 
attain that highest point in which it displays original 



genius, without violating natural truth and unity, and na¬ 
ture will be regarded as the highest art. 

Much is said and done in our time, with reference to 
the cultivation of popular taste for fine art as a means of 
civilization; and this, so far as it goes, is well: but the 
only sure path to the highest taste-education, is the culti¬ 
vation of the study of nature. This is also an easier 
branch of education, provided the instructors have suffi¬ 
cient knowledge. G-ood works of art are rare and costly; 
but good works of nature are everywhere around us, wait¬ 
ing to be examined. Such education, popularly diffused, 
would react on the efforts of art. It would enable a widely 
extended public to appreciate real excellence, and would 
cause works of art to be valued just in proportion to the 
extent to which they realize or deviate from natural truth 
and unity. I do not profess to speak authoritatively on 
such subjects, but I confess that the strong impression on 
my mind is, that neither the revered antique models, nor 
the practice and principles of the generality of modern art 
reformers, would endure such criticism; and that if we 
could combine popular enthusiasm for art, with scientific 
appreciation of nature, a new and better art might arise 
from the union. 

I may appear to dwell too long upon this topic; but my 
excuse must be, that it leads to a true estimate both of 
natural history and of the Hebrew literature. The study 
of nature guides to those large views of the unity and order 
of creation, which alone are worthy of a being of the rank 



of man, and which lead him to adequate conceptions of the 
Creator. The truly wise recognize three grades of beauty. 
First, that of art, which, in its higher efforts, can raise 
ordinary minds far above themselves. Secondly, that of 
nature, which, in its most common objects, must transcend 
the former, since its artist is that Grod, of whose infinite 
mind the genius of the artist is only a faint reflection. 
Thirdly, that pre-eminent beauty of moral goodness, re¬ 
vealed only in the spiritual nature of the Supreme. The 
first is one of the natural resources of fallen man in his 
search for happiness. The second was man’s joy in his 
primeval innocence. The third is the inheritance of man 
redeemed. It is folly to place these on the same level. 
It is greater folly to worship either or both of the first, 
without regard to the last. It is true wisdom to aspire to 
the last, and to regard nature as the handmaid of piety, art 
as but the handmaid of nature. 

Nature to the unobservant, is merely a mass of things 
more or less beautiful or interesting, but without any defi¬ 
nite order or significance. An observer soon arrives at the 
conclusion that it is a series of circling changes, ever re¬ 
turning to the same points, ever renewing their courses, 
under the action of invariable laws. But if he rests here, 
he falls infinitely short of the idea of the Cosmos; and 
stands on the brink of the profound error of eternal suc¬ 
cession. A little further progress conducts him to the 
inviting field of special adaptation and mutual relation of 
things. He finds that nothing is without its use; that 



every structure is most nicely adjusted to special ends; 
that the supposed ceaseless circling of nature is merely the 
continuous action of great powers, by which an infinity of 
utilities are worked out—the great fly wheel, which, in its 
unceasing and at first sight apparently aimless round, is 
giving motion to thousands of reels and spindles and shut¬ 
tles, that are spinning and weaving, in all its varied patterns, 
the great web of life. 

But the observer as he looks on this web, is surprised to 
find that it has in its whole extent a wondrous pattern. 
He rises to the contemplation of type in nature, a great 
truth to which science has only lately opened its eyes. He 
begins dimly to perceive that the Creator has from the be¬ 
ginning had a plan before his mind, that this plan embraced 
various types or patterns of existence; that on these pat¬ 
terns he has been working out the whole system of nature, 
adapting each to all the variety of uses, by an infinity of 
minor modifications. That in short, whether he study the 
eye of a gnat, or the structure of a mountain chain, he sees 
not only objects of beauty and utility, but parts of far- 
reaching plans of infinite wisdom, by which all objects, 
however separated in time or space, are linked together. 

How much of positive pleasure does that man lose who 
passes through life absorbed with its wants and its artifici¬ 
alities, and regarding with a “ brute, unconscious gaze,” 
the grand revelation of a higher intelligence in the outer 
world. It is only in an approximation through our Divine 
Redeemer to the moral likeness of God, that we can be 



truly happy; but of the subsidiary pleasures which we are 
here permitted to enjoy, the contemplation of nature is one 
of the best and purest. It was the pleasure, the show, the 
spectacle prepared for man in Eden, and how much true 
philosophy and taste shine in the simple words, that in 
that paradise, God planted trees “ pleasant to the sight,” 
as well as “good for food.” Other things being equal, 
the nearer we can return to this primitive taste, the greater 
will be our sensuous enjoyment, the better the influence of 
our pleasures on our moral nature, because they will then 
depend on the cultivation of tastes at once natural and 
harmless, and will not lead us to communion with, and 
reverence for, merely human genius, but will conduct us 
into the presence of the infinite perfection of the Creator. 

The Bible knows but one species of man. It is not 
said that men were created after their species, as we read 
of the groups of animals. Man was made, “ male and fe¬ 
male ”; and in the succeeding more full details given in 
the second chapter—where the writer, having finished his 
general narrative, commences his special history of man— 
but one primitive pair is introduced to our notice. We 
scarcely need the detailed tables of affiliation afterwards 
given, or the declaration of the Apostle who preached to 
the supposed autochthones of Athens, that “ God has made 
of one blood all nations,” to assure us of the scriptural 
unity of man. If, therefore, there really is good reason to 
believe with some modern naturalists, that man is not of 
one but several origins, we must admit Moses to have been 



very imperfectly informed. Nor, on tlie other hand, does 
the Bible allow us to assign a very high antiquity to the 
origin of man. Its careful genealogical tables admit of but 
very narrow limits of difference of opinion as to the age of 
the human world or aeon; and especially of the deluge, 
from which man took his second point of departure. These 
questions, so much agitated now, demand a separate and 
careful consideration; but we must first devote a few pages 
to the simple statements of the Bible respecting the Sab- 
bath of creation, and its relation to human history. 



Genesis ii. 1 and 3: “ And the heavens and the earth were 
finished, and all the host of them. And on the seventh day 
God ended his work which he had made, and he rested on the 
seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God 
blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because that in it God 
rested from all his work which he had created to make.” 

The end of the sixth day closed the work of creation pro¬ 
perly so called, as well as that of forming and arranging 
the things created. The beginning of the seventh intro¬ 
duced a period, which, according to the views already 
stated, was to be occupied by the continued increase and 
diffusion of man and the creatures under his dominion, 
and by the gradual disappearance of tribes of creatures un- 
connected with his well-being. 

Science in this well accords with scripture. No proof 
exists of the production of a new species since the creation 
of man; and geological evidence points to him and a few 
of the higher mammals as the newest of the creatures. 
There is, on the other hand, good evidence that several 
species have become extinct since his creation. Some geo- 
ogists, it is true, are not prepared to admit that new 
species have not been created during the human era; but 
they do not maintain that any positive evidence of such 
creation exists. Others strongly contend, that the negative 



-evidence is sufficiently perfect to warrant us in affirming 
that the creation terminated in man. Perhaps on this 
subject no authority is better than that of the late Prof. 
E. Forbes—a most careful observer and accurate reasoner 
on the more recent changes of the earth’s surface. He 
infers, from the distribution of species from their centres 
of creation, that man is the latest product of creative power; 
or, in other words, that none of those species or groups of 
species which he had been able to trace to their centres, or 
the spots at which they probably originated, appear to be 
of later or as late origin as man. “ This consideration,” 
he says, “ induces me to believe that the last province in 
time was completed by the coming of man, and to maintain 
an hypothesis that man stands unique in space and time, 
himself equal to the sum of any pre-existing centre of crea¬ 
tion or of all, an hypothesis consistent with man’s moral 
and social position in the world.” 

The seventh day, then, was to have been that in which 
all the happiness, beauty and perfection of the others were 
to have been concentrated. But an element of instability 
was present, in the being who occupied the summit of the 
animal scale. Not regulated by blind and unerring instincts, 
but a free agent, with a high intellectual and moral nature, 
and liable to be acted on by temptation from without; 
under such influence, he lost his moral balance, in stretch¬ 
ing out his hand to grasp the peculiar powers of deity, and 
fell beyond the hope of self-redemption—perpetuating, by 
one of those laws which regulate the transmission of mixed 




corporeal and spiritual natures, his degradation to every 
generation of his species. And so God’s great work was 
marred, and all his plans seemed to be foiled, when they 
had just reached their completion. Thus far science might 
carry us unaided; for there is not a true naturalist, how¬ 
ever, skeptical as to revealed religion, who does not feel in 
his inmost heart, the disjointed state of the present rela¬ 
tions of man to nature; the natural wreck that results 
from his artificial modes of life, the long trains of violations 
of the symmetry of nature that follow in the wake of his 
most boasted achievements. But here natural science 
stops; and just as we have found that, in tracing back 
the world’s history, the Bible carries us much farther than 
geology, so science, having led us to suspect the fallen state 
of man, leaves us henceforth to the teaching of revelation. 
And how glorious that teaching! God did not find him¬ 
self baffled—his resources are infinite—he had foreseen 
and prepared for all this apparent evil • and out of the 
moral wreck he proceeds to work out the grand process of 
redemption , which is the especial object of the seventh day, 
and which will result in the production of a new heaven 
and a new earth wherein dwelleth righteousness. In the 
seventh, as in the former days, the evening precedes the 
morning. For four thousand years the world groped in its 
darkness,—a darkness tenanted by moral monsters as pow¬ 
erful and destructive as the old pre-adamite reptiles. The 
Sun of Bighteousness at length arose, and the darkness 
began to pass away; but eighteen centuries have elapsed. 



and we still see but the gray dawn of morning, which we 
yet firmly believe will brighten into a glorious day that 
shall know no succeeding night.* * 

The seventh day is the modern or human era in geology j 
and, though it cannot yet boast of any physical changes so 
great as those of past periods, it is still of great interest, as 
affording the facts on which we must depend for explana¬ 
tions of past changes; and as immediately connected in 
time with those later tertiary periods which afford so many 
curious problems to the geological student. This last sub¬ 
ject is still involved in some obscurity, though there are no 
geological reasons for assigning to man any greater anti¬ 
quity than that of the Bible chronology.f I shall, there¬ 
fore, in this place notice some general facts deducible from 
the Bible, and which may be useful in appreciating the 
true relation of the human era to those which preceded it. 

1. The local centre of creation of the human species, 
and probably of a group of creatures coeval with it, was 
Eden; a country of which the scriptures give a somewhat 
minute geographical description. It was evidently a dis¬ 
trict of Western Asia; and, from its possession of several 
important rivers, rather a region or large territory than a 
limited spot, such as many, who have discussed the ques¬ 
tion of the site of Eden, seem to suppose. In this view 

* For an exposition of the details of the fall, I beg to refer 
the reader to McDonald’s “ Creation and the Fall,” to Kitto’s 
11 Antediluvians and Patriarchs,” and Kurtz’s “ History of the 
Old Covenant.” 

* Appendix L. 



it is a matter of no moment to fix its site more nearly than 
the indication of the Bible that it included the sources and 
probably large portions of the valleys of the Tigris, the 
Euphrates, and perhaps the Oxus and Jaxartes. Into the 
minor difficulties respecting the site of Eden it would be 
unprofitable to enter. I may merely mention one, because 
it throws light on the great antiquity of this geographical 
description, and has been strangely mystified by exposi¬ 
tors,—the relation of those rivers to Cush or Ethiopia, and 
Havilah a tribe name derived from that of a grandson of 
Cush. On consulting the tenth chapter of Genesis, it will 
be found that the Cushites under Nimrod, very soon after 
the deluge, pushed their migrations and conquests along 
the Tigris to the northward, and established there the first 
empire. It is probably this primitive Cushite empire 
which, in the epoch of the description of Eden, was limited 
to the north by the Oxus, and was believed to extend over 
the old site of Eden; an interesting coincidence, throwing 
light on many obscure points in the early history of man; 
and since this Cushite empire had perished even before the 
time of Moses, indicating a still more ancient tradition 
respecting the primeval abode of our species. 

2. Before the deluge this region must have been the 
seat of a dense population, which, according to the biblical 
account, must have made considerable advances in the arts, 
and at the same time sunk very low in moral debasement.* 

* The Bible specifies, perhaps only as the principal of these 
arts, music and musical instruments by Jubal, metallurgy by 



Whether any remains of this ancient population or its 
works exist, will probably not be determined with certainty, 
till we have accurate geological investigations of the whole 
country in the neighbourhood of the Caspian Sea, and 
along the great rivers of western Asia. Should such 
remains be found, we may infer, from the extreme longe¬ 
vity assigned to the antediluvians, that their skeletons 
would present peculiarities entitling them to be considered 
a very well-marked variety of the human species.* We 
may also infer that the family of man very early divided 
into two races—one retaining in greater purity the moral 
endowments of the species, the other excelling in the me¬ 
chanical and fine arts; and that a subsequent mixture of 
these tribes produced, as generally occurs in such cases, a 
race excelling both in energy and physical endowments— 
the “ giants ”—mighty men of violence—that were in those 

Tubalcain, the domestication of cattle and the nomade life by 
Jabal. It is highly probable that these inventors are introduced 
into the Mosaic record for a theological reason, to point out the 
folly of the worship rendered to Phtha, Hephaestos, Vulcan, 
Horus, Phoebus, and other inventors, either traditionary repre¬ 
sentatives of the family of Lamech, or other heroes wrongly 
identified with them. Very possibly their sister Naamah, “the 
beautiful,” is introduced for the same reason, as the true original 
of Ashtaroth, Diana, Aphrodite, and other female deities of the 

* Should such remains be found, it would not be at all sur¬ 
prising to find many anatomists recognising in them the relics 
of a new and extinct species of man. 



days.* If any undoubtedly antediluvian remains are ever 
discovered, we may confidently anticipate tbat the distinc¬ 
tive characteristics of these races may be detected in their 
osseous structures as well as in their works of art. Far¬ 
ther, it is to be inferred from notices in the fourth chapter 
of Genesis, that before the deluge there was both a nomadic 
and a citizen population, and that the principal seat of the 
Cainite, or more debased yet energetic branch of the 
human family, was to the eastward of the site of Eden. 
No intimations are given by which the works of art of 
antediluvian times could be distinguished from those of 
later periods, except the presumption, based on negative 
evidence, that no mode of writing had been invented pre¬ 
vious to the deluge. 

3. When the antediluvian population had fully proved 
itself unfit to enter into the divine scheme of moral reno¬ 
vation, it was swept away by a fearful physical catastrophe. 
The deluge might, in all its relations, furnish material for 
an entire treatise. I may remark here, as its most impor¬ 
tant geological peculiarity, that it was evidently a local 
convulsion. The object, that of destroying the human 
race and the animal population of its peculiar centre of 
creation, the preservation of specimens of these creatures in 
the ark, and the physical requirements of the case, shut us 
up to this conclusion, which is now accepted by the best 


* I cannot for a moment entertain the monstrous supposition 
of many expositors, that the “ sons of God ” of these passages 
are angels, and the Nephelim hybrids between angels and men. 



biblical expositors,* and which inflicts no violence on the 
terms of the record. Viewed in this light, the phenomena 
recorded in the Bible, in connection with geological pro¬ 
babilities, lead ns to infer that the physical agencies evoked 
by the Divine power to destroy this ungodly race, were a 
subsidence of the region they inhabited, so as to admit the 
oceanic waters, and extensive atmospherical disturbances 
connected with that subsidence, and perhaps with the ele¬ 
vation of neighbouring regions.f In this case it is possible 
that the Caspian Sea, which is now 160 feet below the 
level of the ocean, and which was probably much more 
extensive then than at present, received much of the drain¬ 
age of the flood, and that the mud and sand deposits of this 
sea and the adjoining desert plains, once manifestly a part 
of its bottom, conceal any remains that may exist of the 
antediluvian population. In connection with this, it may 
be remarked that, in the Book of Job, Eliphaz speaks as 
if the locality of those wicked nations which existed before 
the deluge, was known and accessible in his time:— 

11 Hast thou marked the ancient way 
Which wicked men have trodden, 

Who were seized (by the waters) in a moment, 

And whose foundations a flood swept away ?” 

Job xxii. 15. 

On comparing this statement with the answer of Job in the 

* See King’s “ Geology and Religion ” j also Hitchcock, and 
Dr. J. P. Smith. 
f See Appendix H. 



26th chapter, verse 5th, it would seem that the ungodly 
antediluvians were supposed to be still under the waters; 
a belief quite intelligible if the Caspian, which, on the 
latest and most probable views of the locality of the events 
of this book, was not very remote from the residence of 
Job,* was supposed to mark the position of the pre-Noachie 
population, as the Dead Sea afterwards did that of the 
cities of the plain. Some of the dates assigned to the book 
of Job would, however, render it possible that this last 
catastrophe is that to which he refers :■— 

u The Rephaim tremble from beneath 
The waters and their inhabitants. 

Sheol is naked before him,. 

And destruction hath no covering.” 

The word Rephaim here has been variously rendered 
“shades of the dead” and “giants.” It is properly the 
family or national name of certain tribes of gigantic Ham- 
ite men, (the Anakim, Emim, &c.), inhabiting western 
Asia at a very remote period; and it must here refer either 
to them or to the still earlier antediluvian giants.f 

After the deluge, we find the human race settled in the 
fertile plains of the Euphrates and Tigris, attracted thither 

* Kitto’s Bible Illustrations—book of Job. 
f See article “Rephaim” in Kitto r s Journal of Sacred Litera¬ 
ture. But Gesenius and others regard it, not as an ethnic name, 
but as a term for the “ shades ” or spirits of the dead. See 
Conant on Job. 



by the fertility of their alluvial soils. There we find them 
engaging in a great political scheme, no doubt founded on 
recollections of the old antediluvian nationalities, and on 
a dread of the evils which able and aspiring men would 
anticipate from that wide dispersion of the human race, 

. that appears to have been intended by the Creator in the 
new circumstances of the earth. They commenced accord¬ 
ingly the erection of a city or tower at Babel, in the plain 
of Shinar, to form a common bond of union, a great public 
work that should be a rallying-point for the race, and 
around which its patriotism might concentrate itself. The 
attempt was counteracted by an interposition of Divine 
providence;* and thenceforth the diffusion of the human 
race proceeded unchecked. Out of the enterprise at Babel, 
however, arose a new type of evil, which, in the forms of 
military despotism, the spirit of conquest, hero-worship, 
and the alliance of these influences with literature and the 
arts, has been handed down through every succeeding age 
to our own time. The name of Nimrod, the son of Cush, 
has been preserved to us In the Bible as the first rebel 
against the primitive patriarchal rule, and the founder of 
the first despotism. This bold and ambitious man, subse¬ 
quently deified under different names, established a Cushite 
empire, which appears to have extended its sway over the 
tribes occupying south-western Asia and north-eastern 
Africa, everywhere supporting its power by force of arms, 
and introducing a debasing polytheistic hero-worship and 

* Appendix I. 



certain forms of art probably derived from antediluvian 
times. The centre of this Cusbite empire, however, gave 
way to the rising power of Assyria or the Ashurite branch 
of the sons of Shem, at a period antecedent to the dawn of 
profane history, except in its mythical form; and when 
the light of secular history first breaks on us, we find 
Egypt standing forth as the only stable representative of 
the arts, the systems and the superstitions of the old 
Cushite empire, of which it had been the southern branch; 
while other remnants of the Hamite races, included in the 
empire of Nimrod, were scattered over western Asia, and 
migrating into Europe, with or after the ruder but less 
demoralised sons of Japheth, carried with them their cha¬ 
racteristic civilization and mythology, to take root in new 
forms in Greece and Italy.* Meanwhile the Assyrian and 
Persian (Elamite) races were growing in middle Asia, and 
probably driving the more eastern remnants of the Nim- 
rodic empire into India, borrowing at the same time their 
superstitions and their claims to universal dominion. 
These views, which I believe to correspond with the few 
notices in the Bible and in ancient history, and to be daily 

* On the biblical view of this subject, the so-called Arian 
mythology, common to India and Greece, is either a derivative 
from the Cushite civilisation, or a spontaneous growth of the 
Japetic stock scattered by the Cushite empire. The Semitic 
and Hamitic mythologies are derived from the primeval cherubic 
worship of Eden, corrupted and mixed with adoration of deified 
ancestors and heroes. (See Appendix K.) 



receiving new confirmations from the investigations of the 
ancient Assyrian monuments, enable us to understand 
many mysterious problems in the early history of man* 
They give us reason to suspect that the principle of the 
first empire was an imitation of the antediluvian world, 
and that its arts and customs were mainly derived from 
that source. They show how it happens that Egypt, a 
country so far removed from the starting-point of man 
after the deluge, should appear to be the cradle of the arts, 
and they account for the Hamite and perhaps antediluvian 
elements, mixed with primeval biblical ideas, as the cheru¬ 
bim, &c., in the old heathenism of India, Assyria and 
Southern Europe, and which they share with Egypt, hav¬ 
ing derived them from the same source. They also show 
how it is that in the most remote antiquity, we find two 
well developed and opposite religious systems; the pure 
theism of Noah, and those who retained his faith, and the 
idolatry of those tribes which regarded with adoring vene¬ 
ration the grander powers and objects of nature, the mighty 
Cainites of the world before the flood, and the post-dilu¬ 
vian leaders who followed them in their violence, their 
cultivation of the arts, and their rebellion against God. 
These heroes were identified with imaginative conceptions 
of the heavenly bodies, animals, and other natural objects, 
associated with the fortunes of cities and nations, with 
particular territories, and with war and the useful arts, 
transmitted under different names to one country after 
another, and localised in each; and it is only in compara- 



tively modern times, that we have been able to recognise 
the full certainty of the view held long since by many inge¬ 
nious writers, that among the greater gods of Egypt and 
Assyria, and of consequence among those also of Greece 
and Home, were Nimrod, Ham, Ashur, Noah, Mizraim, 
and other worthies and tyrants of the old world; 
and to suspect that Tubalcain and Naamah, and other 
antediluvian names, were similarly honoured, though sub¬ 
sequently overshadowed by more recent divinities. The 
later Assyrian readings of Col. Rawlinson and Dr. Hincks, 
and the more recent works on Egyptian Antiquities, are 
full of pregnant hints on these subjects. It would, how¬ 
ever, lead us too far from our immediate subject to enter 
more fully into these questions. I have referred to them 
merely to point out connecting-links between the secular 
and sacred history of the earlier part of the human period, 
as a useful sequel to our comparison of the sacred history 
with the conclusions of science, and as furnishing hints 
which may guide the geologist in connecting the human 
with the tertiary period, and in distinguishing between 
the antediluvian and post-diluvian portions of the former. 

In relation to this last aspect of the subject, we may 
fairly infer that the regions in which remains of antedilu¬ 
vian nations are most likely (according to the Bible) to be 
discovered, are the Aralo-Caspian plain, and the skirts of 
the Caucasus and Elburz mountains, and the valleys of the 
Tigris and Euphrates. In connection with this, it may be 
remarked, that there is good geological evidence that both 



the Caucasus and the Himmalayah have experienced im¬ 
portant elevatory movements in the later tertiary or modern 
periods, and that in the same periods the Caspian region 
has been depressed far below its present level.* These 
movements were possibly connected with the diluvial catas¬ 
trophe. We may also infer that the oldest remains of 
post-diluvial population, are to be looked for along the 
courses of the Euphrates and Tigris, though it is likely 
that nothing now remains older than the Assyrian dynas¬ 
ties that succeeded the old Cushite empire; or that, if such 
remains exist, they may be deeply covered by the alluvial 
deposits of the rivers. Some fortunate discovery in these 
regions may yet, perhaps, enable us to fix with accuracy 
the point in geological time at which the human race ori¬ 
ginated, and its precise relations to the fauna of the later 
tertiary era. 

* See Appendix H. 



Gen. x. 22 : “ These are the families of the sons of Noah, after 
their generations, in their nations : and by these were the na¬ 
tions divided in the earth after the flood.” 

The theologians and evangelical Christians of our time, 
and with them the credibility of the Holy Scriptures / are 
supposed by many to have been impaled on a zoological 
and archaeological dilemma, in a manner which renders 
nugatory all attempts to reconcile the Mosaic cosmogony 
with science. The Bible, as we have seen, knows but one 
Adam, and that Adam not a myth or an ethnic name, but 
a veritable man: but some naturalists and ethnologists 
think that they have found decisive evidence that man is 
not of one but of several origins. The religious tendency 
of this doctrine no Christian can fail to perceive. In what¬ 
ever way put, or under whatever disguise, it renders the 
Bible history worthless, reduces us to that isolation of race 
from race cultivated in ancient times by the various local 
idolatries, and destroys the brotherhood of man and the uni¬ 
versality of that christrian atonement which proclaims that 
“ as in Adam all die, so in Christ shall all be made alive.” 

Fortunately, however, the greater weight of scientific 
authority is still on the side of the Bible, and philology 
comes in with strong corroborative evidence. But just as 



the orthodox theologian is beginning to congratulate him¬ 
self on the aid he has thus received, some of his new friends 
gravely tell him that, in order to maintain their view, it is 
necessary to believe that man has resided on earth for 
countless ages, and that it is quite a mistake to suppose 
that his starting-point is so recent as the Mosaic deluge. 
Nay, some very rampant theorists of the new American 
ethnological school, try to pierce Moses and his abettors 
with both horns of the dilemma at once, maintaining that 
men are of different species, and that they have existed for 
an enormous length of time as well. 

To sift thoroughly the mass of fact and supposed fact 
that has been accumulated by the advocates of the plura¬ 
lity of origin and pre-adamite antiquity of man, would 
demand a treatise of itself; but the question really hinges 
on a few points. These I shall endeavour to present to 
the reader as clearly as possible in a single chapter, that he 
may be able to weigh for himself the influence which they 
should have on our interpretation of the Bible or belief in 
its authority. I shall take Urst the question as to the 
unity of man, in its zoological aspect. 

The last common ground on which all opinions on this 
subject meet, is the truth that in nature all animals occur 
in species or “according to their kinds;” these species 
being according to the Bible direct products of the crea¬ 
tive power, and science as yet knows nothing to the contrary 
of this. From this point the opinions of naturalists di¬ 
verge. Some maintain that men are of one species and 



one origin. Others hold the specific unity in a limited 
sense, hut deny the common origin. Others deny both, 
erecting the races of men into distinct species. It is the 
difference here as to the real nature of species that compli¬ 
cates the question in its natural history aspect. If we are 
content to admit that the individuals of the species in 
natural history may or may not have had a common origin, 
we give up not only all the evidence that natural history 
can afford as to the unity of man, but also as to the crea¬ 
tion of any species. We really give up much more, and 
unsettle the very foundations of natural science; but this 
does not concern us here. If, on the other hand, it can 
be shown that the idea of species is necessarily connected 
with community of origin, we still have to show that the 
races of men present the characters, not of distinct species, 
but of varieties of one. We might, it is true, in such a 
case fairly throw the burden of proof on our opponents, 
and require them to show, in the case of some considerable 
number of species, that the individuals of each actually 
have had different points of origin; and next, that these 
cases are, in their leading features, parallel to that of man. 
I prefer, however, the bolder and simpler course, of inquiry 
as to the positive evidence afforded by species of their unity 
of origin, and then as to that which connects all the races 
of man as parts of one species. 

I. What, then, are species ? Here it must be observed, 
that it is much more difficult to give a good definition of 
species than to assure ourselves of the reality of the exist- 



ence of specific forms. Cuvier defined species to be “ the 
collection of all the beings descended the one from the 
other, or from common parents, and of those which bear as 
close a resemblance to these as they bear to each other.” 
De Candolle somewhat modifies Cuvier’s definition, in form 
though not in purport, including under one species all the 
individuals which bear to each other “so close a resem¬ 
blance as to allow of our supposing that they have proceeded 
originally from a single being or a single pair.” Both 
these definitions assume continuous descent from a primal 
form or protoplast; and this view Dr. Morton, with a special 
application to the human race, has sought to express by 
defining species to be a group of individuals descended 
from a “ primordial organic form.” Other naturalists, 
wishing to avoid, on the one hand, the hypothesis of des¬ 
cent from a single pair, and on the other the obscurity 
arising from the question of the origin of primordial forms, 
have sought to frame a definition based simply on the 
created origin and observed properties of species. The 
most successful of these is, perhaps, that of Prof. Dana,* 
who defines species to be, “ a specific amount or condition 
of concentrated force defined in the act or law of creation ”; 
a definition which, without stating it in terms, fully implies 
all that is demanded by that of Cuvier. But this and 
all similar attempts have an abstract character which sepa¬ 
rates them very widely from the facts with which natural- 

* Thoughts on Species, Silliman’s Journal. 




ists work in determining species. This and the previous* 
difficulties Prof. Agassiz attempts to overcome by a defini¬ 
tion which assumes nothing, and confines itself to the mere 
apparent differences and resemblances. He regards a 
species as consisting of individuals distinguished by their 
relations “ to one another and the world in which they 
live, as well as by the proportions of their parts, their orna¬ 
mentation,” &c.f This definition is so vague that it allows 
room even to infer that the same species may have origi¬ 
nated from many protoplasts scattered in different places.. 
It amounts, indeed, to little more than an admission that 
we cannot define species without including with the ob¬ 
served facts the deductions as to unity of origin to which 
they lead. 

Let us inquire, then, how naturalists determine species, 
that we may if possible learn from this what is the real 
nature of the specific unit. 

We can determine species only by the comparison of 
individuals. If all these agree in all their characters ex¬ 
cept those appertaining to sex, age, and other conditions of 
the individual merely, we say that they belong to the same 
species. If all species were invariable to this extent, there 
could be no practical difficulty, except that of obtaining 
specimens for comparison. But in the case of very many 
species there are minor differences, not sufficient to esta¬ 
blish specific diversity, but to suggest its possibility; and 
in such cases there is often great liability to error. In 

t Contributions to Natural History of America, Yol. 1. 



cases of this kind we have principally two criteria; first, 
the nature and amount of the differences; secondly, their 
shading gradually into each other, or the contrary. Under 
the first of these we inquire:—Are they no greater in 
amount than those which may he observed in individuals 
of the same parentage? Are they no greater than those 
which occur in other species of similar structure or habits ? 
Do they occur in points known in other species to be 
readily variable, or in points that usually remain un¬ 
changed ? Are none of them constant in the one 
supposed species, and constantly absent in the other ? 
Under the second we ask—Are the individuals presenting 
these differences connected together by individuals show¬ 
ing a series of gradations uniting the extremes by minute 
degrees of difference ? If we can answer these questions 
—or such of them as we have the means of answering—in 
the affirmative, we have no hesitation in referring all to the 
same species. If obliged to answer all or many in the 
negative, we must at least hesitate in the identification; 
and if the material is abundant, and the distinguishing 
characters clear and well defined, we conclude that there 
is a specific difference. 

Species determined in this way must possess certain 
general properties in common : 

1. Their individuals must fall within a certain range of 
uniform characters, wider or narrower in the case of dif¬ 
ferent species. 

2. The intervals between species must be distinctly 
marked, and not slurred over by intermediate gradations. 



3. The specific characters must be invariably transmit¬ 
ted from generation to generation, so that they remain 
equally distinct in their limits if traced backward or for¬ 
ward in time. 

4. Within the limits of the species there is more or less 
liability to variation; and this though perhaps developed 
by external circumstances, is really inherent in the species, 
and must necessarily form a part of its proper description.* 

These general properties of species will, I think, be ad¬ 
mitted by all naturalists as based on nature, and absolutely 
necessary to the existence of natural history as a science.f 

* See, for farther illustration of these views, Agassiz “ Con¬ 
tributions to Natural History of America,” vol 1, p. 51; Dana, 
“Thoughts on Species,”Proceedings American Association and 
Silliman’s Journal, 1856; Carpenter, “ Varieties of Mankind, 
Todd’s Cyclopedia; Pritchard, “ Natural History of Man.” 

f Certain views expressed by Mr. C. Darwin and Mr. Wallace 
in the Linnean Transactions for 1858, may be regarded as hos¬ 
tile to some of the general principles stated in the text, and as 
almost amounting to a revival of those exploded Lamarckian 
ideas of the transmutation of species, which are the extreme 
opposite of the views of Agassiz ; and yet, as often happens in 
such cases, meet them at certain points. I have seen only ab¬ 
stracts of these papers, but I believe Mr. Darwin’s view to extend 
no farther than the assertion that within the limits of variation 
of a species there will be some varieties more capable of con¬ 
tinuous propagation and subsistence than others; and that these 
last will die out, so that the species will ultimately be repre¬ 
sented, not by its typical form, but by a variety. This does not 
affect the question of the nature of species; and, in so far as it 



I now proceed to give a similar summary of the laws of 
the varieties which may exist—always, be it observed, 
within the limits of the species. 

1. The limits of variation are very different in different 
species. There are many in which no well-marked varia¬ 
tions have been observed. There are others in which the 
variations are so great that they have been divided, even 
by skilful naturalists, into distinct species or even genera. 
I do not here refer to differences of age and sex. These 


in many animals are so great that nothing but actual 
knowledge of the relation that subsists, would prevent the 
individuals from being entirely separated from one another. 
I refer merely to the varieties that exist in adults of the 
same sex, including, however, those that depend on arrest 
of development, and thus make the adult of one variety 

is true, perhaps means merely that since variability is a means 
of accommodation to physical changes, the species will follow 
the pressure of these as far as its elasticity permits. Mr. Wal¬ 
lace goes farther, and, because some species can vary very far 
from their original type, supposes that such variation may be 
indefinite. This assumption, for it can be nothing else, involves 
consequences in the indefinite gradation of specific forms which 
are contrary to all experience. I do not, therefore, think it ne¬ 
cessary to resume here the controversies about unlimited varia¬ 
tion and development which were urged some time since, and 
are now being supplanted by an opposite tendency equally 
unsafe, which, while professing great nicety as to specific deter¬ 
mination, threatens to break down the distinction of species 
in another way. (See Appendix F.) 



resemble in some respects the young of another; as, for 
instance, in the hornless oxen, and beardless individuals 
in man. If we inquire as to the causes on which the 
greater or less disposition to vary depend, we must, in the 
first place, confess our ignorance, by saying that it appears 
to be in a great measure constitutional, or dependent on 
minute and as yet not distinctly appreciable structural, 
physiological, and psychical characters. We know, how¬ 
ever, very well, certain properties of species that are always 
or usually connected with great liability to variation. The 
principal of these are the following:—1. The liability to 
vary is, in many cases, not merely a specific peculiarity; 
it is often general in the members of a genus or family. 
Thus the cats, as a family, are little prone to vary; the 
wolves and foxes very much so. 2. Species that are very 
widely distributed over the earth’s surface are usually very 
variable. In this case the capacity to vary probably adapts 
the creature to a great variety of circumstances, and so 
enables it to be widely distributed. It must be observed 
here that hardiness and variability of constitution are 
more important to extensive distribution than mere loco¬ 
motive powers, for matters have evidently been so arranged 
in nature, that, where the habitat is suitable, colonists will 
find their way to it, even in the face of difficulties almost 
insurmountable. 3. Constitutional liability to vary is 
sometimes connected with or dependent on extreme sim¬ 
plicity of structure, in other cases on a high degree of 
intelligence and consequent adaptation to various modes 



of subsistence. Those minute, simply organised, and very 
variable creatures, the Foraminifera, exemplify the first of 
these apparent causes ; the crafty wolves furnish examples 
of the second. 4. Susceptibility to variation is farther 
modified by the greater or less adaptability of the digestive 
and locomotive organs to varied kinds of food and habitat. 
The monkeys, intelligent, imitative, and active, are never¬ 
theless very limited in range and variability, because they 
■can comfortably subsist only in forests, and in the warmer 
regions of the earth. The hog, more sluggish and less 
intelligent, has an omnivorous appetite, and no very spe¬ 
cial requirements of habitat, and so can vary greatly and 
extend over a large portion of the earth. Further in con¬ 
nection with this subject, it may be observed that the con¬ 
ditions favourable to variation are also in the case of the 
higher animals favourable to domestication. 

2. Varieties may originate in two different ways. In 
the case of wild animals it is generally supposed that they 
are gradually induced by the slow operation of external 
influences; but it is certain that in domesticated animals 
they often appear suddenly and unexpectedly, and are not 
on that account at all less permanent. A large proportion 
of our breeds of domestic animals appear to originate in 
this way. Examples may be found in Pritchard, Poulin, 
Bachman, and Cabell,* and also in Youatt’s treatise on 

* Pritchard, “Natural History of Man”; Bachman, “Unity 
«d£ the Human Race ”; Cabell, “ Unity of Man.” 



cattle. A very remarkable instance is that of the “Niata ” 
cattle of the Banda Orientale, described by Darwin in his 
Voyage of a Naturalist. These cattle are believed to have 
originated about a century ago among the Indians to the 
south of the La Plata, and the breed propagates itself with 
great constancy. “ They appear,” says Darwin, “ ex¬ 
ternally to hold nearly the same relation to other cattle 
which bull-dogs hold to other dogs. Their forehead is very 
short and broad, with the nasal end turned up, and the 
upper lip much drawn back; their lower jaws project out¬ 
wards; when walking they carry their heads low on a 
short neck, and their hinder legs are rather longer com¬ 
pared with the front legs than is usual.” It is farther 
remarkable in respect to this breed that it is, from its con¬ 
formation of head, less adapted to the severe droughts of 
those regions than the ordinary cattle, and cannot, there¬ 
fore, be regarded as an adaptation to circumstances.* 
Many writers on the subject of the Unity of Man assume 
that any marked variety must require a long time for its 
production. Our experience in the case of the domestic 

• Darwin informs us that the cattle introduced into the 
Falkland Islands, have assumed three varieties of colour,, which 
appear to keep themselves distinct. In the same Islands the 
common rabbit has split into two varieties, one of which has 
been described as a distinct species. In St. Helena and the 
Gallipagos the rat has passed into varieties very distinct from 
xhe common breeds. All these changes must have occurred 
within a few generations. 



animals teaches the reverse of this view; a very important 
point in this controversy, too often overlooked. 

3. The duration or permanence of varieties is very dif¬ 
ferent. Some return at once to the normal type when the 
causes of change are removed. Others perpetuate them¬ 
selves nearly as invariably as species, and are named races. 
It is these races only that we are likely to mistake for 
true species, since here we have that permanent reproduc¬ 
tion which is one of the characteristics of the species. 
The race, however, wants the other characteristics of species 
as above stated \ and it differs essentially in having branched 
from a primitive species, and in not having an independent 
origin. It is quite evident that in the absence of histori¬ 
cal evidence, we must be very likely to err by supposing 
races to have really originated in distinct “primordial 
forms.” Such error is especially likely to arise, if we over¬ 
look the fact of the sudden origination of such races, and 
their great permanency if kept distinct. There are two 
facts which deserve especial notice, as removing some of 
the difficulty in such cases. One is, that well-marked races 
usually originate only in domesticated animals, or in wild 
animals which, owing to accidental circumstances, are 
placed in abnormal circumstances. Another is, that there 
always remains a tendency to return, in favourable circum¬ 
stances, to the original type. The domesticated races 
usually require a certain amount of care to preserve them 
in a state of purity; both on this account, and on account 
of the readiness with which they intermix with other varie- 



ties of the same species. Many very interesting facts in 
illustration of these points might be adduced. The do¬ 
mesticated hog differs in many important characters from 
the wild boar. In South America and the West Indies 
it has returned, in three centuries or less, to its original 
form.* The horse is probably not known in a state ori¬ 
ginally wild, but it has run wild in America and in Siberia. 
In the prairies of North America, according to Catlin,*j* 
they still show great varieties of colour. The same is the case 
in Sable Island, off the coast of Nova Scotia, J where herds 
of wild horses have existed since an early period in the set¬ 
tlement of America. In South America and Siberia they 
have assumed a uniform chesnut or bay colour. In the 
plains of Western America they retain the dimensions and 
vigour of the better breeds of domesticated horses. In 
Sable Island they have already degenerated to the level of 
Highland ponies; but, in all countries where they have 
run wild, the elongated and arched head, high shoulder, 
straight back, and other structural characters, probably of 
the original wild horse, have appeared. We also learn 
from such instances, that, while races among domesticated 
animals may appear suddenly, they revert to the original 
type, when unmixed, comparatively slowly; and this espe¬ 
cially when the variation is in the nature of degeneracy. 

4. Some characters are more subject to variation than 
others. We have already ascertained that variation never 

* Pritchard. f {t North American Indians.” 

t Haliburtori’s Nova Scotia; Gilpin’s Lecture on Sable Island. 



proceeds beyond the limits of the species. Consequently 
it cannot apply to those characters which are distinctive of 
the genus, or the order or class. But among the charac¬ 
ters of the species there are some that are usually little 
liable to change. In the higher animals variation takes 
place very readily in the colour and texture of the skin 
and its appendages. This, from its direct relation to the 
external world, and ready sympathy with the condition of 
the digestive organs, might be expected to take the lead. 
In those domesticated animals which are little liable to 
vary in other respects, as the cat and duck, the colour very 
readily changes. Next may be placed the stature and 
external proportions, and the form of such appendages as 
the external ear and tail. All these characters are very 
variable in domestic animals. Next we may place the 
form of the skull, which, though little variable in the wild 
state, is nearly always changed by domestication. Psy¬ 
chological functions, as the so-called instincts of animals, are 
also very liable to change, and to have these changes perpe¬ 
tuated in races. Very remarkable instances of this have 
been collected by Sir C. Lyell* and Dr. Pritchard. Lastly, 
important physiological characters, as the period of gesta¬ 
tion, &c., and the structure of the internal organs connected 
with the functions of nutrition, respiration, &c., are little 

* Principles of Geology; Natural History of Man. See also a 
very able article on the Varieties of Man, by Dr. Carpenter, in 
Todd’s Cyclopedia. 



liable to change, and remain unaffected by the most ex¬ 
treme variations in other points. 

5. Varieties or races of the same species are fully repro¬ 
ductive with each other, which is not the case with true 
species. Attempts have been made by Dr. Morton and 
others to prove that mixed races, resulting from the union 
of individuals of distinct species, have been produced; but, 
on carefully examining the evidence adduced, I find that 
the greater part of it consists of very doubtful statements; 
and that no good case of this exceptional fact has really 
been made out. Dr. Bachman has, I think, very satis¬ 
factorily disproved the allegations offered on this point. 
Independently of this controversy, however, to which an 
exaggerated importance has been attached—even by Prof. 
Agassiz, who writes as if naturalists had based the whole 
question on this one point,*—there are certain general 
principles which can scarcely be disputed:—1. Intermix¬ 
ture of distinct species rarely, if ever, occurs freely in 
nature. It is generally a result of artificial contrivance. 
2. Hybrids produced from species known to be distinct, 
are either wholly barren, or barren inter se , reproducing 
only with one of the original stocks, and rapidly return¬ 
ing to it; or if ever fertile inter se , which is somewhat 
doubtful, rapidly run out. It has been maintained, espe¬ 
cially by Dr. Nott and Prof. Agassiz, that there is still 
another possibility, namely, that of the perfect and con- 

* Contributions to the Natural History of America—Section 
on Species. 



tinued fertility of such mixed races; but their only proofs 
are derived from the intermixture of the races of men, of 
dogs, and of poultry, all of which are cases actually in dis¬ 
pute at present, as to the original unity or diversity of the 
so-called species. 

II. We next proceed to inquire whether the characters 
of the races of men are those of distinct species, or only of 
permanent varieties. 

1. It is necessary to premise that the case of man is not 
that of a wild animal; and that it presents many points of 
difference even from the case of the domesticated lower 
animals. According to the Bible history, man was origi¬ 
nally fitted to subsist on fruits, to inhabit a temperate 
climate, and to be exempt from the necessity of destroying 
or contending with other animals. This view unquestion¬ 
ably accords very well with his organisation. He still 
subsists principally on vegetable food, is most numerous 
in the warmer regions of the earth; and, when so subsist¬ 
ing in these regions, is naturally peaceful and timid. On 
the whole, however, his habits of life are artificial—more 
so than those of any domesticated animal. He is, there¬ 
fore, in the conditions most favourable to variation. 

Again, man possesses more than merely animal instincts. 

_ * 

His mental powers permit him to devise means of locomo¬ 
tion, of protection, of subsistence, far superior to those of 
any mere animal; and his dominant will, insatiable in its 
desires, bends the bodily frame to uses and exposes it to 
external influences more various than any inferior animal 



can dream of. Man is also more educable and plastic in 
his constitution than other animals, owing both to his 
being less hemmed in by unchanging instincts, and to his 
physical frame being less restricted in its adaptations. If 
a single species, he is also more widely distributed than 
any other; and there are even single races which exceed 
in their' extent of distribution nearly all the inferior ani¬ 
mals. Nor is there anything in his structure specially to 
limit him to plains, or hills, or forests, or coasts, or inland 
regions. All the causes which we can suppose likely to 
produce variation thus meet in man, who is himself the 
producer of most of the distinct races that we observe in 
the lower animals. If, therefore, we condescend to com¬ 
pare man with these creatures, it must be under protest 
that what we learn from them must be understood with 
reference to his greater capabilities. 

Another point which deserves notice under this head, is 
that man, whether or not a single species, constitutes a 
single genus, and this genus the only one of its order. 
The structural differences between man and the lower ani¬ 
mals have always indicated the propriety of constituting a 
distinct order for man. Professor Owen has very clearly 
pointed out the enormous width of the space which sepa¬ 
rates man from the most anthropoid of the apes; and in 
his admirable new arrangement of the mammals, based on 
the form and complexity of the brain ,* he separates man 
in the order Archencephala, rightly deciding that his ner- 

* Journal of Linnean Society, 1857. 



vous centre differs very materially in its structure and the 
proportions of its parts from that of all other mammals. 
These facts afford an additional reason for caution in com¬ 
paring man with the creatures beneath him. 

2. The races of man are deficient of some of the essen¬ 
tial characters of species. It is true that they are repro¬ 
duced with considerable permanency; and it has even 
been asserted that no change whatever can be established. 
But this is not the fact; though, from the intermixture 
of races, doubt may be thrown on many of the instances that 
have been adduced. The Jew, dispersed over all the world, 
but preserving his race almost unmixed, is fair or xanthous 
in the north of Europe, of a dark complexion in the south 
of Europe, and in Malabar, absolutely black/ The Arab, 
in like manner, is fair in the mountains of Yemen; black 
in Lower Mesopotamia and in Nubia. In both cases the 
features have experienced less change than the colour. 
The Magyars of Hungary and the Turks have, however, 
lost the characteristic Mongolian features of their ances¬ 
tors and assumed those of Europeans.* The Anglo-Ameri¬ 
can of the United States can already be easily distinguished 
from the Englishman. The same is the case with the 
French Canadian. Both, in those districts where they have 
been little mixed with new European blood, are gradually 
assuming a cast of feature and skull tending perhaps 
in some degree to those of the aboriginal American. 

* Carpenter, Todd’s Cyclo., Pritchard, Latham, Layard. No 
doubt there have been mixtures more or less in the latter cases. 



Similar changes have already been observed in Australia. 
The Negro population of the United States is now ex¬ 
tremely different, both in colour and form, from the low- 
caste Africans in whom it originated • and the difference 
is greater than the probable mixture of European blood 
can account for. Such changes are, however, necessarily 
slow, and the observation of them is difficult. But the 
most manifest deficiency in true specific characters, is in 
the invariable shading-off of one race into another, and in 
the entire failure of those who maintain the distinction of 
species, in the attempt accurately to define their number 
and limits. The characters run into each other in such a 
manner that no natural arrangement based on the whole 
can apparently be arrived at; and when one particular 
ground is taken, as colour, or shape of skull, the so-called 
species have still no distinct limits; and all the arrange¬ 
ments formed differ from each other, and from the deduc¬ 
tions of philology and history. Thus, from the division 
of Virey into two species, on the entirely arbitrary ground 
of facial angle, to that of Bory de St. Vincent into fifteen, 
we have a great number and variety of distinctions, all 
incapable of zoological definition; or, if capable of defini¬ 
tion, eminently unnatural. One of the latest attempts of 
this kind is contained in an eccentric essay by the late 
Mr. Gliddon, in the conglomeration of works entitled the 
“ Indigenous Races of the Earth.” The essay, “ The 

Monogenists and the Polygenists,” is characterised much 
more by a rabid spirit of hostility to the scriptures than by 



scientific precision; but its substance is attempted to be 
embodied in an “ Ethnographic Tableau,” exhibiting spe¬ 
cimens of the races of mankind, arranged first in the 
eight 11 realms” or regions indicated by Prof. Agassiz, and 
then in no less than sixty-five groups, called “ families ” by 
the author. The production is interesting, as exhibiting 
in a striking manner the difficulty of arriving at a separa¬ 
tion of the human race into distinct groups. The rows of 
heads are intended to be read horizontally; but, if they 
are traced vertically or diagonally, we find nearly as great 
coincidences in colour, hair, feature, and skull, as in the 
direction intended to mark out the specific realms or fami¬ 
lies. The whole—if the representations could be relied on 
as fair average illustrations of the races—would form a 
very good antidote to the tendency of the book in which it 
appears; and it is certainly worthy of men who, like one 
of the contributors to the volume, can say in one breath 
that men appear to be of distinct species, and in the next 
that this question loses its importance “ in the presence of 
a still higher one—the original diversity of all organic 
forms.” * 

* I cannot conceal my belief that the appearance of such 
works as the “Types of Mankind” and “Indigenous Races of 
the Earth,” which, under pretence of scientific investigation, 
deal so much in unverified statements as to facts, garbled quo¬ 
tations, and confused and illogical controversy, boldly asserting 
as facts or acknowledged principles the most doubtful proposi¬ 
tions, and regarding with skepticism the best established results 




3. The races of men differ in those points in which the 
higher animals usually vary with the greatest facility. 
The physical characters chiefly relied on have been colour, 
character of hair and form of skull, together with diversi¬ 
ties in stature and general proportion. These are precisely 
the points in which our domestic races are most prone to 
vary. The manner in which these characters differ in the 
races of men may be aptly illustrated by a few examples 
of the arrangements to which they lead. 

Dr. Pickering, of the U. S. Exploring Expedition,* *— 
who does not, however, commit himself to any specific dis¬ 
tinctions,—has arranged the various races of men on the 
very simple and obvious ground of colour. He obtains in 
this way four races—the White, the Brown, the Blackish- 
brown, the Black. The distinction is easy; but it divides 
races historically, philologically, and structurally alike; 
and unites those which, on other grounds, would be sepa¬ 
rated. The white race includes the Hamite Abyssinian, 
the Semitic Arabian, the Japetic Greek. The Ethiopian 
or Berber is separated from the cognate Abyssinian, and 
the dark Hindoo from the paler races speaking like him 
tongues allied to the Sanscrit.. The Papuan, on the other 
hand, takes his place with the Hindoo; while the allied 

of previous investigations,—are most discreditable to American 
science. It is even more lamentable that men like Agassiz 
and Leidy should allow themselves to be identified with such 

* The Races of Men, &c. Boston, 1848. 



Australian must be content to rank with the Negro; and 
the Hottentot is promoted to a place beside the Malay. 
It is unnecessary to pursue any farther the arrangement 
of this painstaking and conscientious inquirer. It conclu¬ 
sively demonstrates that the colour of the varieties of the 
human race must be arbitrary and accidental, and altoge¬ 
ther independent of unity or diversity of origin. 

Much use has been made, by the advocates of diver¬ 
sity of species, of the quality of the hair in the different 
races. That of the Negro is said to be flat in its cross 
section—in this respect approaching to wool. That of the 
European is oval; and that of the Mongolian and Ameri¬ 
can round.* The subject has as yet been very imperfectly 
investigated; but its indications point to no greater variety 
than that which occurs in many domesticated animals—as, 
for instance, the hog and sheep. Nay, Dr. Carpenter 
states,f—and the writer has satisfied himself of the fact by 
his own observation,—that it does not exceed the differ¬ 
ences in the hair from different parts of the body of the 
same individual. The human hair, like that of mammals 
in general, consists of three tissues: an outer cortical 
layer, marked by transverse striae, having in man the 
aspect of delicate lines, but in many other animals assuming 
the character of distinct joints or prominent serrations; 
a layer of elongated, fibrous cells, to which the hair owes 
most of its tenacity; and an inner cylinder of rounded 

* Browne, of Philadelphia, quoted by Kneeland and others. 

f Todd’s Cyclopedia, Art. Varieties of Man. 



cells. In the proportionate development of these several 
parts, in the quantity of colouring matter present, and in 
the transverse section, the human hair differs very consi¬ 
derably in different parts of the body. It also differs very 
markedly in individuals of different complexions. Similar 
but not greater differences obtain in the hair of the scalp 
in different races; but the flatness of the Negro’s hair 
connects itself inseparably with the oval of the hair of the 
ordinary European, and this with the round observed in 
some other races. It generally holds that curled and friz¬ 
zled hair is flatter than that which is lank and straight; 
but this is not constant, for I have found that the waved 
or frizzled hair of the New Hebrideans, intermediate ap¬ 
parently between the Polynesians and Papuans, is nearly 
circular in outline, and differs from European hair mainly 
in the greater development of the fibrous structure and the 
intensity of the colour. Large series of comparisons are 
required; but those already made point to variation rather 
than specific difference. Some facts also appear to indicate 
very marked differences as occurring in the same race from 
constant exposure or habitual covering; and also the occa¬ 
sional appearance of the most abnormal forms, without 
apparent cause, in individuals. The differences depending 
on greater or less abundance or vigour of growth of the 
hair, are obviously altogether trivial, when compared with 
such examples as the hairless dogs of Chili, and hairless 
cattle of Brazil; or even with the differences in this respect 
observed in individuals of the same race of men. 



Confessedly the most important differences of the races 
of men are those of the skeleton, in all parts of which 
variations of proportion occur, and are of course more or 
less communicated to the muscular investments. Of these, 
as they exist in the pelvis, limbs, &c., I need say nothing; 
for, manifest though they are, they all fall far within the 
limits of variation in familiar domestic animals, and also 
of hereditary malformation or defect of development occur¬ 
ring in the European nations, and only requiring isolation 
for its perpetuation as a race. The differences in the skull 
merit more attention, for it is in this and in its enclosed 
brain that man most markedly differs from the lower 
animals, as well as race from race. It is in the form rather 
than in the mere dimensions of the skull that we should 
look for specific differences; and here, adopting the vertical 
method of Blumenbach, as the most characteristic and valu¬ 
able, we find a greater or less antero-posterior diameter—a 
greater or less development of the jaws and bones of the 
face. The skull of the normal European, or Caucasian of 
Cuvier, is round oval; and the jaws and cheek-bones pro¬ 
ject little beyond its anterior margin, when viewed from 
above. The skull of the Mongolian of Cuvier is nearly 
round, and the cheek-bones and jaws project much more 
strongly in front and at the sides. The Negro skull is 
lengthened from back to front; the jaws project strongly, 
or are prognathous; but the cheek-bones are little promi¬ 
nent. For the extremes of these varieties, Retzius has 
proposed the very suitable names of brachy-kephalic or 



short-headed, and dolicho-kephalic or long-headed. The 
differences indicated by these terms are of great interest, 
as distinctive marks of many of the unmixed races of men; 
hut, when pushed to extremes, lead to very incorrect gene¬ 
ralisations—as Prof. D. Wilson has well shown in his 
paper on the supposed uniformity of type in the American 
races—a doctrine which he fully refutes, by showing that 
within a very narrow geographical range, this primitive 
and unmixed race presents very great differences of cranial 
form.* Exclusive of idiots, artificially compressed heads, 
and deformities, the differences between the brachy-kephalic 
and dolicho-kephalic heads, range from equality in the pari¬ 
etal and longitudinal diameter to the proportions of about 
14 to 24. As stated by some ethnologists, these differ¬ 
ences appear quite characteristic and distinct; but, so soon 
as we attempt any minute discrimination, all confidence in 
them as specific characters disappears. In our ordinary 
European races similar differences, and nearly as extensive, 
occur. The dolicho-kephalic head is really only an imma¬ 
ture form perpetuated; and appears not only in the Negro 
but in the Eskimo, and in certain ancient and modern 
Celtic races. The brachy-kephalic head, in like manner, 
is characteristic of certain tribes and portions of tribes of 
Americans, but not of all; of many northern Asiatic na¬ 
tions ; of certain Celtic and Scandinavian tribes; and often 
appears in the modern European races as an occasional 
character. Farther, as Retzius has well shown, the long 

* Canadian Journal, 1857. 



heads and prominent jaws are not always associated with 
each other; and his classification, as quoted by Dr. Meigs,* 
is really the testimony of an able observer against the value 
of these characters. He shows that the Celtic and Ger¬ 
manic races (in part) have long heads and straight jaws; 
while the Negroes, Australians, Oceanians, Caribs, Green¬ 
landers, &c., have long heads and prominent jaws. The 
Laplanders, Fins, Turks, Sclaves, Persians, &c., have 
short heads and straight jaws; while the Tartars, Mongo¬ 
lians, Incas, Malays, Papuans, &c., have short heads and 
prominent jaws. ' 

Another defect in the argument often based on the 
diverse forms of heads, is its want of acknowledgment of 
the ascertained and popularly known faet, that these forms 
in different tribes or individuals of the same race, are 
markedly influenced by culture and habits of life. In all 
races ignorance and debasement tend to induce a progna¬ 
thous form, while culture tends to the elevation of the nasal 
bones, to an orthognathous condition of the jaws, and to an 
elevation and expansion of the cranium. Any observer 
may satisfy himself of this by examination of the facial forms 
in the natives of those ruder districts in Great Britain and 
Ireland,f where the type has not been modified by culture, 

* Indigenous Races, p. 253. 

t See Carpenter in Todd’s Cyclopedia. These facts are re¬ 
markably manifest in the lower class of immigrants to America, 
whether from Britain, Ireland, or the continent of Europe. It is 
a question how far poor food and exposure, as well as the causes 
before mentioned, may tend to give a degraded form of skull. 

272 ' 


and where he will often find forms as coarse as those of the* 
Negro or Mongol. 

Again, no adequate allowance has been made in the case of 
these forms of skull, for the influence of modes of nurture 
in infancy. Dr. Morton, observing that the brachy-kepha- 
lic American skull was often unequal sided, and the occiput 
much flattened, suggests that this is “ an exaggeration of 
the natural form produced by the pressure of the cradle- 
board in common use among the American natives.” Dr. 
Wilson has noticed the same unsymmetrical character in 
brachy-kephalic skulls in British barrows, and has suspected 
some artificial agency in infancy; and says, in reference 
to the American instances ,— u I think it extremely proba¬ 
ble that further investigation will tend to the conclusion 
that the vertical or flattened occiput, instead of being a 
typical characteristic, pertains entirely to the class of arti¬ 
ficial modifications of the natural cranium familiar to the 
American ethnologist.” To what extent may such forms 
become hereditary, and to what extent may the long heads 
of Negroes be due to the habit in some African nations of 
slinging the child sidelong on the back of the mother, in¬ 
stead of strapping it to a board as is the custom of the 
American Indians ? These are questions pertaining to the 
nursery, and it might be well to have the verdict of a jury 
of matrons on them, before building new ethnological doc¬ 
trines on the comparison of crania. 

While the points in which the races of men vary are 
those in which lower animals are most liable to undergo 



change, the several races display a remarkable constancy in 
those which are usually less variable. Pritchard and Car¬ 
penter have well shown this in relation to physiological 
points, as for instance the age of arriving at maturity, the 
average and extreme duration of life, and the several pe¬ 
riods connected with reproduction. The coincidence in 
these points alone is by many eminent physiologists justly 
regarded as sufficient evidence of the unity of the species. 

4. It may also be affirmed in relation to the varieties of 
man, that they do not exceed in amount or extent those 
observed in the lower animals. If with Frederick Cuvier, 
Dr. Carpenter, and many other naturalists, we regard the 
dog as a single species, descended in all probability from 
the wolf, we can have no hesitation in concluding that this 
animal far exceeds man in variability.* But this is denied 
by many, not without some show of reason; and we may, 
therefore, select some animal respecting which little doubt 
can be' entertained. Perhaps the best example is the hog, 
an undoubted descendant of the wild boar, and a creature 
especially suitable for comparison with man, inasmuch as 
its possible range of food is very much the same with his, 
which is not the case with any other of our domesticated 
animals j and as its head-quarters as a species are in the 
same regions which have supported the greatest and oldest 
known communities of men. We, of course, exclude from 
our comparison the native hogs of the Cape de Yerd Islands, 

* For an interesting inquiry into the origin of the dog, see 
the article in Todd's Cyclopedia already referred to. 



of the south of Africa, and of Papua, which have been 
regarded as distinct species ; and we need not insist on the 
Chinese hog, though this can scarcely claim specific dis¬ 
tinctness. The colour of the domestic hog varies, like that 
of man, from white to black; and in the black hog the 
skin as well as the hair partakes of the dark colour. The 
abundance and quality of the hair vary extremely; the 
stature and form are equally variable, much more so than 
in man. Blumenbach long ago remarked that the differ¬ 
ence between the skull of the ordinary domestic hog and 
that of the wild boar, is quite equal to that observed be¬ 
tween the Negro and European skulls. The breeds of swine 
even differ in directions altogether unparalleled in man. 
For instance, both in America and Europe, solid hoofed 
swine have originated and become a permanent variety; 
and there is said to be another variety with five toes.* 
These are the more remarkable, because, in the American 
instances, there can be no doubt that the common hog has 
assumed these abnormal forms. 

5. All varieties or races of men intermix freely, in a man¬ 
ner which strongly indicates specific unity. We hold here, 
as already stated, that no good case of a permanent race 
arising from intermixture of distinct species of the lower 
animals has been adduced; but there is another fact in 
relation to this subject which the advocates of specific diver¬ 
sity would do well to study. Even in varieties of those 
domestic animals which are certainly specifically identical, 

* Pritchard, Bachman, Cabell. 



as the hog, the sheep, the ox—although crosses between 
the varieties may be easily produced—they are not readily 
maintained, and sometimes tend to die out. What are 
called good crosses lead to improved energy, and continual 
breeding in and in of the same variety leads to degeneracy 
and decay: hut, on the other hand, crosses of certain varie¬ 
ties are proved by experience to be of weakly and unpro¬ 
ductive quality; and every practical book on cattle contains 
remarks on the difficulty of keeping up crosses, without 
intermixture with one of the pure breeds. It would thus 
appear that very unlike varieties of the same species display 
in this respect, in an imperfect manner, the peculiarities of 
distinct species. It is on this principle that I would in 
part account for some of the exceptional facts which occur 
in mixed races of men. 

What, then, are the facts in the case of man ? In pro¬ 
ducing crosses of distinct species, as in the case of the 
horse and ass, breeders are obliged to resort to expedients 
to overcome the natural repugnance to such intermixture. 
In the case of even the most extreme varieties of man, if 
such repugnance exists, it is voluntarily overcome, as the 
slave population of America testifies abundantly. By far 
the greater part of the intermixtures of races of men tend 
to increase of vital energy and vigour, as in the case of 
judicious crosses of some domestic animals. Where a dif¬ 
ferent result occurs, we usually find sufficient secondary 
causes to account for it. I shall refer to but one such case 
—that of the half-breed American Indian. In so far as I 



have had opportunities of observation or inquiry, these 
people are prolific; much more so than the unmixed Indian. 
They are also energetic, and often highly intellectual ; hut 
they are of delicate constitution, especially liable to scrofu¬ 
lous diseases, and therefore not long lived. Now, this is 
precisely the result which often occurs in domestic animals, 
where a highly cultivated race is bred with one that is of 
ruder character and training; and it very probably results 
from the circumstance that the progeny may inherit too 
much of the delicacy of the one parent to endure the hard¬ 
ships congenial to the other; or, on the other hand, too 
much of the wild nature of the ruder parent to subsist un¬ 
der the more delicate nurture of the more cultivated. 
This difficulty does not apply to the intermixture of the 
Negro and the European, though between the pure races 
this is a cross too abrupt to be likely to be in the first 
instance successful. In the mean time this department of 
the subject may be safely left to Dr. Nott, who, in his 
essay on hybridity in the 1 Types of Mankind,’ states as the 
result of a long series of observations in the Southern 
States, several propositions in reference to mulattos, in the 
main remarkably accordant with the observed facts in cross 
breeds of inferior animals of like species. It is true that 
he maintains, contrary to his own general doctrine that 
hybrids of closely allied species are permanently prolific,— 
that the mulattoes are too unproductive and delicate to be 
preserved from extinction except by intermixture with the 
pure races; but to reconcile this with undeniable facts, he 



is obliged to bring a wholesale accusation of want of chas¬ 
tity against the mulatto women—an assertion as monstrous 
and improbable as it is the reverse of flattering to the mo¬ 
rality of his compatriots. 

6. The races of man may have originated in the same 
manner with the breeds of our domesticated animals. 
There are many facts which render it probable that they 
did originate in this way. Take colour, for instance. 
The fair varieties of man occur only in the northern tem¬ 
perate zone, and chiefly in the equable climates of that 
zone.. In extreme climates, even when cold, dusky and 
yellow colours appear. The black and blackish-brown 
colours are confined to the intertropical regions, and appear 
in such portions of all the great races of mankind as have 
been long there domiciled. Diet and degree of exposure 
have also evidently very much to do with form, stature, 
and colour. The deer-eating Chippewayan of certain dis¬ 
tricts of North America, is a better developed man than his 
compatriots who subsist principally on rabbits and such 
meaner fare; and excess of carbonaceous food, and defi¬ 
ciency of perspiration or of combustion in the lungs, appear 
everywhere to darken the skin.* The Negro type in its 
extreme form is peculiar to low and humid river valleys of 

* A curious note, by Dr. John Rae, on the change of com¬ 
plexion in the Sandwich Islanders, consequent on the introduc¬ 
tion of clothing, may be found in the “Montreal Medical Chro¬ 
nicle,” 1856, and the “ Canadian Journal ” for the same year. 



tropical Africa.* In Australasia similar characters appear 
in men of a very different race in similar circumstances. 
The Mongolian type reappears in South Africa. The 
Esquimaux is like the Fuegian. The American Indian, 
both of South and North America, resembles the Mongol; 
but in several of the middle regions of the American con¬ 
tinent men appear who approximate to the Malay. Every¬ 
where, and in all races, coarse features and deviations from 
the oval form of skull are observed in rude populations. 
Where men have sunk into a child-like simplicity, the 
elongated forms prevail. Where they have become carni¬ 
vorous, aggressive, and actively barbarous, the brachy- 
kephalic forms abound. These and many other conside¬ 
rations tend to the conclusion that these varieties are 
inseparably connected with external conditions. It may 
still be asked—Were not the races created as they are, 
with especial reference to these conditions ? I answer no 

* Latham, in his late work, “ Descriptive Ethnology,” illus¬ 
trates this fact very fully, showing that the Tula tribes occupy 
the dry plateaus, and the Negroes the worst valleys. He far¬ 
ther adds,—“ Mark on a map the areas on which these several 
varieties are spread, compare it with the geological chart of- 
Russegger, and the closeness of the coincidences will perhaps 
surprise you. The blacks are found on the Tertiary and recent 
deposits. The primitive and volcanic tracts will give the Euro¬ 
pean faces. The intermediate conformations will be found on 
the sandstone. Read Livingstone. The same results will pre¬ 
sent themselves, and the author himself will draw attention to 
them. The Negro is an exceptional African.” 



—because the differences are of a character in every res¬ 
pect like those that appear in other true species as the 
results of influences from without. 

Farther, not only have we varieties of man resulting 
from the slow operation of climatal and other conditions, 
but we have the sudden development of races. One re¬ 
markable instance may illustrate my meaning. It is the 
hairy family of Siam, described by Mr. Crawford and Mr. 
Yule.* The peculiarities here consisted of a fine silky 
coat of hair covering the face and less thickly the whole 
body, with at the same time the entire absence of the 
canine and molar teeth. The person in whom these cha¬ 
racters originated was sent to Ava as a curiosity when 
five years old. He married at twenty-two, his wife being 
an ordinary Burmese woman. One of two children who 
survived infancy, had all the characters of the father. 
This was a girl; and on her marriage, the same characters 
re-appeared in one of two boys constituting her family 
when seen by Mr. Yule. Here was a variety of a most 
extreme character, originating without apparent cause, and 
capable of propagation for three generations, even when 
crossed with the ordinary type. Had it originated in cir¬ 
cumstances favourable to the preservation of its purity, it 
might have produced a tribe or nation of hairy men, with 
no teeth except incisors. Such a tribe would, with some 
ethnologists, have constituted a new and very distinct spe¬ 
cies ; and any one who had suggested the possibility of its 

* Latham’s Descriptive Ethnology. 



haying originated within a few generations as a variety, 
would have been laughed at for his credulity. It is unne¬ 
cessary to cite any farther instances. I merely wish to 
insist on the necessity of a rigid comparison of the varia¬ 
tions which appear in man, either suddenly or in a slow or 
secular manner, with the characters of the so-called races 
or species. 

I have been obliged, by the limits to which this subject 
must here be necessarily confined, to restrict myself to a 
very short review of the points in which the races of men 
resemble varieties rather than species. Every reader, how¬ 
ever, has some knowledge of the facts as to the variations 
observable in the same and different races, and the pheno¬ 
mena connected with them, and may thus make the com¬ 
parison for himself. Further information may be found in 
Pritchard, in Bachman, and in a very useful summary of 
the argument by Prof. Cabell in his review of the Types 
of Mankind and Indigenous Races of the Earth.* We 
must now proceed to the third department of our inquiry; 
Are the individuals of one species necessarily of one origin, 
and does the unity of the human species thus prove its 
unity of origin ? 

III. A few years ago it would hardly have been consi¬ 
dered necessary to ask such a question: naturalists were 
generally disposed to agree with the great Cuvier, that 
“ We are under the necessity of admitting the existence of 

* Published separately under the title, “ Unity of Mankind.’’ 



certain forms which have perpetuated themselves from 
the beginning of the world without exceeding the limits 
first prescribed; all the individuals belonging to one of 
these forms constitute what is termed a species.” The 
necessity of the case is indeed apparent at first sight. We 
observe in any species continuous unchanged reproduction 
and increase. Traced forward, if no obstacles intervened, 
this would give us indefinite multiplication. Traced back¬ 
ward, it would lead to the smallest possible number of 
individuals; that is, to origin in a single individual, or 
single pair. If any one asks us to admit more, he asks us 
to admit more than a sufficient cause for the observed 
phenomena, and must, therefore, be put on the proof of 
the necessity of such additional causes. Farther, he may 
be required to prove the plurality of origin in the case of 
every species in question. 

The only modern naturalist of eminence who seems dis¬ 
posed to attempt this proof of the diversity of origin of 
species, is Prof. Agassiz, whose principal argument is the 
geographical distribution of animals. The world may, in 
reference to its animal inhabitants, be divided into several 
zoological districts, more or less distinctly limited, and 
more or less large, in each of which there is a special group 
of species created for and probably in that region; but 
there always are a few species, sometimes many, that are 
common to two or more regions. These species naturalists 
have usually supposed to have extended themselves from 




one region into another; and the late Prof. E. Forbes* 
has brought together a remarkable and curious series of 
facts to show that this must have been actually the case 
with the plants and animals of the West of Europe.f Prof. 
Agassiz prefers to believe that these species, common to 
two centres of creation, have originated separately in each. 
It is quite plain that no one can be fairly called on to be¬ 
lieve this, unless, after making all allowance for possible 
modes of transference and for changes of surface that may 
have occurred, there shall remain no possibility of the 
transmission of the species in question from one of its sup¬ 
posed or known centres of creation to the other. Agassiz, 
however, overlooking the necessity which continuous re¬ 
production lays upon us to demand such proof, really begs 
the question in so far as distribution is concerned, and 
substituting for evidence a definition of species altogether 
excluding the idea of common origin, thus tries to shift 
the burden of proof on his opponents. Let us examine 
his definition as stated in the Contributions to the Natural 
History of America. Its shorter form has already been 
given, but a more full explanation is afforded by the follow¬ 
ing passage, which I quote, along with some objections 
which I have urged against it elsewhereJ:— 

* Memoirs of Geological Survey of Great Britain. 

f Prof. Gray has also on similar principles very ably account¬ 
ed for the remarkable resemblance of the floras of Eastern Asia 
and Eastern America.—(Silliman’s Journal, Aug. 1859.) 

t Canadian Naturalist and Geologist, Aug. 1858. 



“ The species is an ideal entity, as much as the genus, 
the family, the order, the class, or the type; it continues 
to exist, while its representatives die, generation after 
generation. But these representatives do not simply re¬ 
present what is specific in the individual, they exhibit and 
reproduce in the same manner, generation after generation, 
all that is generic in them, all that characterises the family, 
the order, the class, the branch, with the same fullness, 
the same constancy, the same precision. Species, then, 
exist in nature in the same manner as any other groups; 
they are quite as ideal in their mode of existence as genera, 
families, &c., or quite as real. But individuals truly exist 
in a different way: no one of them exhibits at one time all 
the characteristics of the species, even though it be her¬ 
maphrodite ; neither do any two represent it, even though 
the species be not polymorphous; for individuals have a 
growth, a youth, a mature age, an old age, and are bound 
to some limited home during their lifetime. It is true, 
species are also limited in their existence; but for our pur¬ 
pose, we can consider these limits as boundless, inasmuch 
as we have no means of fixing their duration, either for 
the past geological ages, or for the present period, whilst 
the short cycles of the life of individuals are easily mea¬ 
surable quantities. Now, as truly as individuals, while 
they exist, represent their species for the time being, and 
do not constitute them, so truly do these same individuals 
represent at the same time their genus, their family, their 
order, their class, and their type, the characters of which 
they bear as indelibly as those of the species.” 



In this general statement, with the explanations else¬ 
where given of it, in relation to the supposed capacity of 
species for intermixture, and original creation of numbers 
of representatives of the same species in different places, 
we see much that is objectionable, and a want of that accu¬ 
racy of thought which is essential in treating of such a 
subject. The author, indeed, reverses the processes of 
sound reasoning—first framing a definition which excludes 
some of the usual characters of species, and then deducing 
from it certain conclusions as to their origin. The defini¬ 
tion itself will not endure criticism. 

First, we cannot admit the high standing here given to 
the individual animal. The individual is confounded 
with an entirely different thing, namely, the unit of the 
science. As has been well stated above, the individual 
rarely represents the species as a whole. To give this we 
have to employ a series of individuals, including the differ¬ 
ences of age and sex, and the limits of variation under 
external circumstances. The individuals representing 
these varieties are, therefore, only fractional parts of a unit, 
which is the species. Let it be observed, also, that the 
relation here is different from that which subsists between 
the species and the genus. Each species should have all 
the generic characters with those that are specific; but 
each individual, as a fraction of the species, need not neces¬ 
sarily possess all the mature characters of the species; and 
this is one reason of the indistinct notion in many minds 
that the limits of species are more uncertain than those of 



genera. On the other hand, the idea of specific unity is 
expressed by our attaching the specific name to any indi¬ 
vidual that we may happen to have; and even popular 
speech expresses it when it says the grizzly bear, the Arctic 

Secondly, the species is not merely an ideal unit: it is 
a unit in the work of creation. No one better indicates 
than Agassiz the doctrine of the creation of animals; but 
to what is it that creation refers?—not to genera and 
higher groups, they express only the relations of things 
created,—not to individuals as now existing, they are the 
results of the laws of invariability and increase of the 
species,—but to certain original individuals, protoplasts, 
formed after their kinds or species, and representing the 
powers and limits of variation inherent in the species— 
the potentialities of their existence, as Dana well expresses 
it. The species, therefore, with all its powers and capaci¬ 
ties for reproduction, is that which the Creator has made, 
his unit in the work, as well as ours in the study. The 
individuals are merely so many masses of organised matter, 
in which, for the time, the powers of the species are embo¬ 
died ; and the only animal having a true individuality is 
man, who enjoys this by virtue of mental endowments, 
over-ruling the instincts which in other animals narrowly 
limit the action of the individual. To this great difference 
between the limitations imposed on animals by a narrow 
range of specific powers, and the capacity for individual 
action which in man forces even his physical organisation, 



in itself more plastic than that of most other animals, to 
bend to his dominant will, we trace not only the varieties 
of the human species, but the changes which man effects 
upon those lower animals which in instincts and constitu¬ 
tion are sufficiently ductile for domestication. 

Thirdly, the species is different, not in degree, but in 
kind, from the genus, the order, and the class. We may 
recognise a generic resemblance in a series of line engrav¬ 
ings representing different subjects, but we recognise a 
specific unity only in those struck from the same plate; 
and no one can convince us that the resemblance of a series 
of coins, medals, or prints, from different dies or plates, is 
at all of the same kind with that which subsists between 
those produced from the same die or plate. In like man¬ 
ner, the relation between the members of the brood of the 
song-sparrow of this spring, is of a different kind as well as 
different degree from that between the song-sparrow and 
any other species of sparrow. So of the brood of last year 
to which the parent sparrows may have belonged; so by 
parity of reasoning of all former broods, and all song-spar¬ 
rows everywhere. The species differs from all other groups 
in not being an ideal entity, but consisting of individuals 
struck from the same die, produced by continuous repro¬ 
duction from the same creative source. Nor need we sup¬ 
pose with our author—for as yet it is merely an hypothesis 
—that species may have sprung from two or several origins. 
We cannot be required to assume a cause greater than that 
which the effect demands; and if one pair of the American 



Crow or Canada Goose would now be sufficient, in a cal¬ 
culable number of years, to supply all America with these 
species, we need not suppose any more. Even in those 
cases where one centre of creation appears to be insufficient, 
this may only be a defect in our information, as to the 
precise range of the species, its capabilities for accommo¬ 
dating itself to external differences of habitat, and the 
geological changes which may have occurred since its crea¬ 
tion. Take the example given at page 40 of the “ Contri¬ 
butions.” The American Widgeon and British Widgeon, 
and the American and British red-headed Ducks, are dis¬ 
tinct species. The Mallard and Scaup Duck are common 
to both sides of the Atlantic. The inference is that since 
the distinct species of Widgeons and Bed Ducks were pro¬ 
bably created on the opposite sides of the Atlantic, so were 
the Mallards, though specifically identical. To prove this 
is obviously altogether impossible; but even to establish 
some degree of probability in its favor, it would be neces¬ 
sary to show that the Widgeons and Bed Ducks equal the 
Mallard and Scaup Duck in hardiness, in adaptability to 
different conditions of climate and food, in migratory in¬ 
stinct and physical powers of migration; and farther, that 
these species are equally old in geological time. We do 
not happen to know, in reference to this last particular, 
which speeies is the oldest, if there is any difference; but 
remains of ducks have been found in the later deposits, 
and if it should prove that the species now more widely 
distributed existed at a time when the distribution of land 



and water was different from that which now prevails, we 
should have a case quite parallel to many known to geolo¬ 
gists, and utterly subversive of the view before us. The 
Mallard is also an unfortunate instance, from its well- 
known adaptation for domesticity, and consequently proved 
capability of sustaining very different conditions of exist¬ 
ence. The Scaup Duck, hardy and carnivorous, a sea-duck 
and a good diver, and Asiatic as well as European, is pro¬ 
bably far better fitted for extensive migration than the 
Widgeon. It is on such grounds, incapable of positive 
proof, and with palpable flaws in even the negative evi¬ 
dence, that we are required to multiply the miracle of 
creation, rather than to submit patiently to investigate the 
psychical, physiological, and physical agencies involved in 
one of the most interesting problems of zoology, the geo¬ 
graphical distribution of animals. 

One farther remark is rendered necessary by the illus¬ 
tration above referred to. No one knows better than 
Agassiz that to compare, in reference to their geographical 
distribution, animals nearly related,, may often lead to 
errors greater than those likely to result from the compari¬ 
son of creatures widely different in structure but adapted 
for somewhat similar external conditions of existence. It 
is a fact very curious in itself, independently of this appli¬ 
cation, that we find closely related species differing remark¬ 
ably in this respect; and that, on the other hand, animals 
of very different grades and structures are equally remark¬ 
able for wide geographical ranges. The causes of these 



differences are often easily found in structural, physiologi¬ 
cal, or psychical peculiarities; but in many cases they 
depend on minute differences not easily appreciable, or on 
the effects of geological changes. 

Fourthly.—Our author commences his dissertation on 
species by taunting those who maintain the natural limits 
set to hybridity with a petitio principii. The accusation 
might be turned against himself. The facts shewing that 
species in their natural state do not intermix, and that 
hybrids are only in exceptional cases fertile,, so enormously 
preponderate over the few cases of fertile hybridity, that 
the latter may be regarded as the sort of exception which 
proves the rule. The practical value of this character in 
ascertaining the distinctions of species in difficult cases is 
quite another question, as is the precise nature of the re¬ 
semblances in distinct species which most favour hybridity, 
and the greater or less fixity of the barrier in the case of 
species inhabiting widely separated geographical areas, 
when these are artificially brought together. Nor is the 
specific unity to be broken down by arguments derived 
from the difficulty of discriminating or of identifying spe¬ 
cies. The limits of variability differ for every species, and 
must be ascertained by patient investigation of large num¬ 
bers of specimens, before we can confidently assert the 
boundaries in some widely distributed and variable species; 
but in the greater number this is not difficult, and in all 
may be ascertained by patient inquiry. 

Fifthly.—The above considerations, in connection with 




the doctrines of created protoplasts, and the immutability 
of species, as so ably argued by Agassiz himself, we hold 
irresistibly compel us to the conclusion of Cuvier, that a 
species consists of the “ beings descended the one from the 
other or from common parents.” This being admitted, it 
must be only on the most cogent grounds, to be established 
in every individual ease, that we can admit a difference of 
origin either in geological time or in space, for animals 
that on comparison appear to be specifically identical; and 
we cannot allow ourselves to be required to prove the unity 
of origin of species in general, any farther than in cases 
where there appears to be actual evidence of diverse origin. 
Such evidence must be required not only by those who 
hold the unity of origin of man, but also by the physical 
geographer and geologist. If the same species has in 
many or ordinary cases been created several times over in 
different regions or in different geological times, the 
occurrence of such species can be no certain evidence either 
of locality or of geological date. Farther, although in the 
varieties of a species all derived from one origin, we can 
have some guarantee for the limitation of these varieties 
fey a certain law, this can scarcely hold if we allow the 
individuals assigned to one species to have been, with the 
variations incidental to them, the product of different local 
creations. In this case, we reduce species to mere types, 
graduating insensibly into each other. In short, for prac¬ 
tical purposes, there may as well be no species at all, since 
we then have no fixed limits on which to base our larger 



aggregates; and, on the principle that extremes meet, this 
doctrine leads to precisely the same practical results with 
the Lamarckian hypothesis of transmutation. 

Farther, it is manifestly not true that species are limited 
in any precise manner to geographical districts. Nay 
more, we have evidence in modern times of species having 
extended their limits over several regions. The black rat 
(Mus rattus ) has done so long since. The brown rat 
(ifws decumanus) has done so in still more modern times, 
and not only over-rides all regions, but domiciles itself 
against their will with all races of men. The horse, the 
ox, and the hog, only required to be brought to America, 
to show that they needed no second local creation to allow 
them to flourish in a new region. Man brought them, it 
is true; but he had to extend himself first. The modern 
extension of the European race of men is itself a case in 
point. The Teutonic and Celtic man seems to live and 
thrive, albeit with some small tendency to vary, in the 
fauna of temperate America, of South Africa and of Aus¬ 
tralia, as well as in nearly every other “ region ” of the 
earth. Nor is this peculiar to civilised man. The Malay 
race, against the enormous physical obstacle of a wide 
ocean area, has extended itself from Madagascar to Easter 
Island and the coast of California, and from the Sandwich 
Islands in the north to New Zealand in the south, inde¬ 
pendently of its affinities with tribes on the mainland of 
Asia; “ thus reaching, chiefly within the tropics, over 200 
degrees of longitude, or 20 degrees more than half the 



circumference of the globe, and spreading in a direction 
north and south over 70 degrees.”* This extension is 
proved, not merely by physical characters, but by language, 
a far more certain criterion. Nor is this race, so widely 
distributed, altogether isolated. It is connected, through 
the continental Malays, with the populations of Sou! hern 
and Eastern Asia; and even in Madagascar, its language 
retains some Sanscrit words.f 

The Eskimo of Arctic America is identical, in structure 
and language, with his neighbours on the Asiatic side of 
Behring’s Straits; and these graduate insensibly into a 
long chain of northern tribes, ending in the Fins and 
Laps, and sending off many links of connection to all the 
Mongolian nations. Nay, even the Caucasians, long re¬ 
garded as the type of the European races, appear, accord¬ 
ing to Latham, to be connected by language with this 
stock. On the other hand, although in Eastern America 
the Eskimo come abruptly into contact with tribes some¬ 
what unlike themselves, on the west coast they graduate 
insensibly into the Indian; and Wilson has shown that 
their conformation of skull is much less unlike that of the 
normal Indian than Dr. Morton had supposed. The 
American runs across all regions, with little change of 
feature, colour, or skull, except when the latter has been 
artificially compressed; and it has recently been ascer- 

* Ellis, “ Madagascar,” Appendix. See also Lyell’s Princi¬ 
ples of Geology. 

i W Humboldt. 



tained that the characters of the Eskimo and Samoyede 
re-appear in Patagonia,* just as somewhat similar Mongol 
characters re-appear in the Hottentot of South Africa; a 
singular proof that climate, food, and other external con¬ 
ditions, rather than race, must be regarded as the cause of 
variation in these instances. Such facts show that what¬ 
ever difficulties may attend the explanation of the wide 
geographical distribution of some animals, there are none 
in the case of man. The attempt, then, sanctioned by so 
great a name as that of Agassiz, to establish diversity of 
origin for the individuals of the same species on the ground 
of geographical distribution, falls to the ground; and per¬ 
haps fails most signally of all in the case of man. We 
may, therefore, safely rest on that philosophical necessity 
for the unity of origin of each species with which we com¬ 
menced this part of the inquiry; at least until it shall be 
shown that the individuals of some one true species must 
be diverse in origin. 

I have now presented a brief summary of the zoological 
facts and principles bearing on this question; and have, I 
trust, shown that what we know of species and their dis¬ 
tribution should at least induce us to regard as probable 
the specific unity and common origin of all nations of men. 
We may now turn to these questions as they present them¬ 
selves in the light of philology and history. 

IY. In many animals the voice is useful as a distinctive 
character; but in man it has an importance altogether 

* Latham, “ Varieties of Man.” 



peculiar. The gift of speech is one of his sole prerogatives, 
and identity in its mode of exercise is not only the strong¬ 
est proof of similarity of psychical constitution, but, more 
than any other character, marks identity of origin. The 
tongues of men are many and various; and at first sight 
this diversity may, as indeed it often does, convey the 
impression of radical diversity of race. But modern philo¬ 
logical investigations have shown many and unexpected 
^inks of connection in vocabulary, or grammatical struc¬ 
ture, or both, between languages apparently the most dis¬ 
similar. I do not here refer to the vague and fanciful 
parallels with which our ancestors were often amused, but 
to the results of sober and scientific inquiry. Let us ex¬ 
amine for a little these results as they are presented to us 
by Latham, Muller, Bunsen, and other modern philolo¬ 

A convenient starting-point is afforded by the great 
group of languages known as the Indo-European or Japetic. 
From the Granges to the west coast of Ireland, through 
Indian, Persian, Greek, Italian, German, Celt, runs one 
great language—the Sanscrit and the dark Hindoo at 
one extreme, the Erse and the xanthous Celt at the other. 
No one now doubts the affinity of this great belt of lan¬ 
guages. No one can pretend that any one of these nations 
learned its language from another. They are all decided 
branches of a common stock. Lying in and near this area, 
are other nations, as the Arabs, the Syrians, the Jews, 
speaking languages differing in words and structure—the 



Semitic tongues. Do these mark a different origin ? The 
philologists answer in the negative, pointing to the fea¬ 
tures of resemblance which still remain, and above all to 
certain intermediate tongues of so high antiquity that they 
are rather to be regarded as root stocks from which other 
languages diverged than as mixtures. The principal of 
these is the ancient Egyptian, represented by the inscrip¬ 
tions on the monuments of that wonderful people, and by 
the more modern Coptic, which, according to Bunsen and 
Latham, presents decided affinities to both the great classes 
previously mentioned, and may be regarded as strictly 
intermediate in its character. It has accordingly been 
designated by the term Sub-Semitic.* But it shares this 
character with all or nearly all the other African languages, 
which bear strong marks of affinity to the Egyptian and 
Semitic tongues. On this subject Dr. Latham says, 
“ That the uniformity of languages throughout Africa is 
greater than it is either in Asia or in Europe, is a state¬ 
ment to which I have not the least hesitation in commit¬ 
ting myself.”f To the north the Indo-European area is 
bounded by a great group of semi-barbarous populations, 

* Donaldson has pointed out (Brit. Association Proceedings, 
1851) links of connection between the Slavonian or Sarmatian 
tongues and the Semitic languages, which, in like manner, indi¬ 
cate the primitive union of the two great branches of languages. 
(See also Appendix I.) 

f Man and his Migrations. See also “ Descriptive Ethnolo¬ 
gy,” where the Semitic affinities are very strongly brought out. 



mostly with Mongolian features, and speaking languages 
which have been grouped as Turanian. These Turanian 
languages, on the one hand, graduate without perceptible 
break into the Eskimo and American Indian; on the 
other, according to Muller and Latham, they are united, 
though less distinctly, with the Semitic and Japetic tongues. 
Another great area on the coasts and in the islands 
of the Pacific is overspread by the Malay, which, through 
the populations of trans-gangetic India, connects itself with 
the great Indo-European line. If we regard physical cha¬ 
racters, manners and customs, and mythologies, as well as 
mere language, it is much easier thus to link together 
nearly all the populations of the globe. In investigations 
of this kind, it is true, the links of connection are often 
delicate and evanescent; yet they have conveyed to the 
ablest investigators the strong impression that the pheno¬ 
mena are rather those of division of a radical language 
than of union of several radically distinct. 

This impression is farther strengthened when we regard 
several results incidental to these researches. Latham 
has shown that the languages of men may be regarded as 
arranged in lines of divergence, the extreme points of which 
are Fuego, Tasmania, Easter Island; and that from all 
these points they converge to a common centre in Western 
Asia, where we find a cluster of the most ancient and per¬ 
fect languages. Farther, the languages of the various 
populations differ in proceeding from these centres in a 
manner pointing to degeneracy such as is likely to occur 



in small and rude tribes separating from a parent stock. 
These lines of radiation follow the most easy and probable 
lines of migration of the human race spreading from one 
centre. It must also be observed that in the primary 
migration of men, there must of necessity have been at its 
extreme limits outlying and isolated tribes, placed in cir¬ 
cumstances in which language would very rapidly change; 
especially as these tribes, migrating or driven forward, 
would be continually arriving at new regions presenting 
new circumstances and objects. When at length the ut¬ 
most limit in any direction was reached, the inroads of new 
races of population would press into close contact these 
various tribes with their different dialects. Where the 
distance was greatest before reaching this limit, we might 
expect, as in America, to find the greatest mutual variety 
and amount of difference from the original stock. After 
the primary migration had terminated, the displacements 
arising from secondary migrations and conquests, would 
necessarily complicate the matter by breaking up the ori¬ 
ginal gradations of difference, and thereby rendering lines 
of migration difficult to trace. 

Taking all these points into the account, along with the 
known tendencies of languages in all circumstances to vary, 
it is really wonderful that philology is still able to give so 
decided indications of unity. 

There is, in the usual manner of speaking of these sub¬ 
jects, a source of misapprehension, which deserves special 
mention in this place. The scriptures derive all the na- 




tions of the ancient world from three patriarchs, and the 
names of these have often been attached to particular races 
of men and their languages; but it should never be sup¬ 
posed that these classifications are likely to agree with the 
Bible affiliation. They may to a certain extent do so, but 
not necessarily or even probably. In the nature of the 
case, those portions of these families which remained near 
the original centre, and in a civilized state, would retain 
the original language and features comparatively unchanged. 
Those which wandered far, fell into barbarism, or became 
subjected to extreme climatic influences, would vary more 
all respects. Hence any general classification, whether 
on physical or philological characters, will be likely to 
unite, as in the Caucasian group of Cuvier, men of all the 
three primitive families, while it will separate the outlying 
and aberrant portions from their main stems of affiliation. 
Want of attention to this point has led to much miscon¬ 
ception ; and perhaps it would be well to abandon altoge¬ 
ther terms founded on the names of the sons of Noah, 
except where historical affiliation is the point in question. 
It would be well if it were understood that when the terms 
Semitic, Japhetic,* and Hametic are used, direct reference 
is made to the Hebrew ethnology; and that, where other 
arrangements are adopted, other terms should be used. It 

* I can scarcely except such terms as “ Japetic,” and “ Ja- 
petidae,” for Iapetus can hardly be anything else than a tradi¬ 
tional name borrowed from Semitic ethnology, or handed down 
from the Japhetic progenitors of the Greeks. 



is obviously unfair to apply the terms of Moses in a differ¬ 
ent way from that in which he uses them. A very preva¬ 
lent error of this kind has been to apply the term Japhetic 
to a number of nations not of such origin according to the 
Bible; and another of more modern date is to extend the 
term Semitic to all the races descended from Ham, because 
of resemblance of language. It should be borne in mind 
that, assuming the truth of the scriptural affiliation, there 
should be a “ central ” group of races and languages where 
the whole of the three families meet, and “sporadic”* 
groups representing the changes of the outlying and bar¬ 
barous tribes. 

While, however, all the more eminent philologists adhere 
to the original unity of language, they are by no means 
agreed as to the antiquity of man; and some, as for in¬ 
stance Latham and Dr. Max Muller, are disposed to claim an 
antiquity for our species far beyond that usually admitted. 
In so far as this affects the Bible history, it is of less im¬ 
portance than the denial of the unity of the species, since 
the Bible does not precisely limit the antiquity of man, or 
of the deluge, which, on its view, is of the same import. 
The date of this event has been variously estimated, on 
Biblical grounds, at from 1650 B. C. (Usher) to 3155 B. C. 
(Josephus, and Hales) ; but the longest of these dates does 
not appear to satisfy the demands of philology. The rea¬ 
son of this demand is the supposed length of time required 
to effect the necessary changes. This is a subject on which 

* See Art . 11 Philology ” Ency. Brit., last edition 



definite data can scarcely be obtained. Languages change 
now, even when reduced to a comparatively stable form by 
writing. They change more rapidly when men migrate into 
new climates, and are placed in contact with new objects. 
The English, the Dutch, and the German, were perhaps 
all at the dawn of the mediaeval era Maeso-Gothic. 
At the same rate of change, allowing for greater bar¬ 
barism and greater migrations, they may very well have 
been something not far from Egyptian or Sanscrit 2000 
years before Christ. The truth is, that present rates of 
variation afford no criterion for the changes that must 
ocour in the languages of small and isolated tribes lapsing 
into or rising from barbarism, possessing few words, and 
constantly requiring to name new objects; and until some 
ratio shall have been established between these conditions 
and those of modern languages, fixed by literature and by 
a comparatively stationary state of society, it is useless to 
make any demands for longer time on this ground.* 

Had the human race everywhere preserved its history 
from its origin, we should then have had certain evidence 
as to its points and times of origination. Unfortunately, 
this has not been the case. Barbarous nations have no 
history. Most of the so-called ancient nations are compa- 

* See Appendix I. Grammatical structure is no doubt more 
permanent than vocabulary, yet we find great changes in the 
latter, both in tracing cognate languages from one region to 
another, and from period to period. The Indo-Germanic lan¬ 
guages in Europe furnish enough of familiar instances. 



ratively modern, and even their history loses itself in 
myths. The only ancient nations that have given us in 
detail their own written history are the Hebrews, the Hin¬ 
doos, and the Chinese. The last people, though professedly 
very ancient, trace their history from a period of barbar¬ 
ism; a view confirmed by their physical characters and 
the nature of their civilization; and on this account, if 
no other, their history cannot be considered as of any eth¬ 
nological value. The early Hindoo history is palpably 
fabulous or distorted, and has been variously modified and 
changed in comparatively modern times. The Hebrew 
history, as it bears on this point, we shall notice in the 
sequel. There is one great and very ancient people—the 
Egyptian—evidently civilised from the beginning of all 
history, that have not succeeded in transmitting to us, 
except in garbled fragments, their history; but have left 
abundant monumental evidence of great events that trans¬ 
pired among them; and, except the Hebrews, these are 
the only people who can profess to give us any authentic 
ancient history carrying us back to the origin of man. 

The Egyptian history has been gathered first from 
sketches by Greek travellers, and from fragments of the 
chronicles of Manetho, one of the later Egyptian priests, 
and secondly from the inscriptions deciphered on Egyptian 
monuments and papyri. It is still in a very fragmentary 
and uncertain state, but has been used with considerable 
effect to prove both the diversity of races of men and the 
pre-Noachic antiquity of the species. The Egyptian, in 



features and physical conformation, tended to the Euro¬ 
pean forms, just as the modern Fellahs and Berbers do; 
but he had a dark complexion, a somewhat elongated head 
and flattened lips, and certain negroid peculiarities in his 
limbs. His language combined many of the peculiarities 
of the Semitic, Arian, and African tongues, indicating 
thereby great antiquity or else great intermixture; but not, 
as some ethnographers demand, both—most probably the 
former—the Egyptians being really the oldest civilised 
people that we certainly Anow; and therefore, if languages 
have one origin, likely to be near its root-stock. 

The actual history of Egypt begins from Menes, the first 
human king, a monarch, or rather tribal chief, who took 
up his abode in the flats and fens of Lower Egypt, cer¬ 
tainly not very long after the deluge. His name has been 
translated “ one who walks with Khem ” or Ham; one, 
therefore, who was contemporary with this great patriarch 
and god of the Egyptians, which will place his time within 
a century or two of the flood. The date of Menes has 
been variously placed. In correction of the ordinary 
Hebrew chronology, we have the following attempts:— 

Josephus places his reign... 2350 B.C. 

Dr. Hales’ calculation,.2412 

Manetho and the Monuments, as corrected by *\ 2712 
Syncellus and calculated by various archae- !• to 

ologists,. J 2782 

Herodotus’ astronomical ^reduction by Rennell, 2890 
Estimate by G-liddon in “Ancient Egypt,”.... 2750 
Bunsen, “Egypt’s Place,” &c.,. 4000 



The truth may be somewhere near the mean of the shorter 
chronologies given in this list.* That of Bunsen is liable 
to very grave objections; more especially as he adds to it 
other views, altogether unsupported by historical evidence, 
which would carry back the deluge to 10,000 years B. C. 
It rests wholly on the chronology of Manetho, who lived 
300 years B 0 ; and who, even if the Egyptians then 
possessed authentic documents extending 3700 years before 
his time, may have erred in his rendering of them; and is 
farther liable to grave suspicions of having merely grouped 
the names on the monuments of his country arbitrarily in 
Sothic cycles. Further, they rest on an interpretation of 
Manetho, which supposes his early dynasties to have been 
successive, while good reasons have been found to prove 
that many of them consist of contemporaneous petty sove¬ 
reigns of parts of Egypt. The early parts of Manetho’s 
lists are purely mythical, and it is impossible to fix the 
point where his authentic history commences. He copied 
from monuments which have no consecutive dates, the pre¬ 
cise age of which could only be vaguely known even in his 
time, and which are different in their statements in differ¬ 
ent localities. It is only by making due allowance for 
these uncertainties, that any historical value can be at¬ 
tached to these earlier dynasties of Manetho. Yet Bun¬ 
sen has lately built on an uncertain interpretation of 

* Reginald S. Poole has adduced very ingenious arguments, 
monumental, astronomical, and mythological, for the date B.C. 



this writer, as handed down in a very fragmentary and 
evidently garbled condition, and on the equally or more 
uncertain chronology of Eratosthenes, a system differing 
from all previous belief on the subject, from the Hebrew 
history, and from all former interpretations of the monu¬ 
ments and Manetho.* Discarding, therefore, in the mean 

* It is curious that almost simultaneously with the appear¬ 
ance of Bunsen’s scheme, a similar view was attempted to be 
maintained on geological grounds. In a series of borings in 
the delta of the Nile, undertaken by Mr. Horner, there was 
found a piece of pottery at a depth which appeared to in¬ 
dicate an antiquity of 13,311 years. But the basis of the 
calculation is the rate of deposit (3 \ inches per century) 
calculated for the ground around the statue of Raineses II. 
at Memphis, dated at 1361, B.C.; and Mr. Sharpe has objected 
that no mud could have been deposited around that statue 
from its erection until the destruction of Memphis, perhaps 
800 years B.C. Further, we hare to take into account the 
natural or artificial changes of the river’s bed, which in this 
very place is said to have been diverted from its course by 
Menes, and which near Cairo is now nearly a mile from its for¬ 
mer site. The liability to error and fraud in boring operations 
is also very well known. It has further been suggested that 
the deep cracks which form in the soil of Egypt, and the sink¬ 
ing of wells in ancient times, are other probable causes of error • 
and it is stated that pieces of burnt brick, which was not in use 
in Egypt until the Roman times, have been found at even 
greater depths than the pottery referred to by Mr. Horner. 
This discovery, at first sight so startling, and vouched for by a 
geologist of unquestioned honour and ability, is thus open to 



time, this obviously exaggerated date, we may roughly esti¬ 
mate the date of Menes as 2000 to 2500 years B. C.,* * and 
proceed to state some of the facts relating to our present 
subject developed by Egyptologists. 

One of the most striking of these is the proof that Egypt 
was a new country in the days of Menes and several gene¬ 
rations of his successors. The monuments of this period 
show nothing of the complicated idolatry, ritual, and caste 
system of later times, and are deficient in evidence of the 
refinement and variety of art afterwards attained. They 
also show that these early monarchs were principally en¬ 
gaged in dyking and otherwise reclaiming the alluvial flats; 
an evidence precisely of the same character with that 
which every traveller sees in the more recently settled dis¬ 
tricts of Canada, where the forest is giving way to the 
exertions of the farmer. This primitive state of things is 

the same doubts with the Guadaloupe skeletons, the human 
bones in ossiferous caverns, and that found in the mud of the 
Mississippi; all of which have, on examination, proved of no 
value as proofs of the geological antiquity of man. See also 
Appendix L. 

* Perhaps the earliest certain date in Egyptian history is 
that of Thothmes III. of the eighteenth dynasty, ascertained by 
Birch on astronomical evidence, as about 1445 B. C.; and it 
seems nearly certain that before the 18th dynasty, of which 
this king was the 5th sovereign, there was no settled general 
government over all Egypt. See on this and other points re¬ 
lating to Bunsen's views, an able review in the London Quarterly, 
No. 2, 1859. 



indelibly stamped on the written and monumental history 
of this period in Egypt. Farther, in this primitive period, 
known as the “ old monarchy,” very few domestic animals 
appear, and experiments seem to have been in progress to 
tame others, natives of the country, as the hyena, the an¬ 
telope, the stork. Even the dog in the older dynasties is 
represented by one or at most two varieties, and the pre¬ 
valent one is a wolfish-looking animal akin to the present 
wild or half-tamed dogs of the East.* The Egyptians, 
too, of the earlier dynasties are more homogeneous in their 
appearance than those of the later, after conquest and mi¬ 
gration had introduced new races; and the earliest monu¬ 
mental notice referring to Negro tribes does not appear 
until the 12 th dynasty, about half way between the epoch 
of Menes and the Christian era, nor does any representar 
tion of the Negro features occur until, at the earliest, the 
17th dynasty. This allows ample time, 1000 years at the 
least, for the development, under abnormal circumstances 
and isolation, of all the most strongly-marked varieties of 
man. For proof of these statements I may refer to the 

* The Egyptians seem, like our modern cattle-breeders, to 
have taken pride in the initiation and preservation of varieties. 
Their sacred bull, Apis, was required to represent one of the 
varieties of the ox; and one can scarcely avoid believing that 
some of their deified ancestors must have earned their celebrity 
as tamers or breeders of animals. At a later period, the experi¬ 
ments of Jacob with Laban’s flock, furnish a curious instance 
of attempts to induce variation. 



works of any of the Egyptologists, and may merely add 
that these and many other remarkable facts in the early 
monumental history of Egypt, which are patent to any 
reader, have been strangely overlooked or misapplied by 
ethnologists. Osburn,* though on many points too ready 
to follow very slender and doubtful clues, deserves credit 
for the attention which he has given to these hints. 

But, in noticing the historical information as to the 
unity and antiquity of man, we must turn to the Bible 
itself, which, independently of its religious claims, is surely 
an historical document quite as respectable as even the 
monumental records of Egypt. And what a contrast do 
we find here to the darkness of Egyptian history and the 
speculations of those who attempt to reason on it! The 
Bible has no mythical period. It treats of no ages of gods 
and demi-gods, claims no fabulous antiquity for its people, 
asserts no divine origin for its heroes. It has many mar¬ 
vels and wonders, but they are all wrought by the Omni¬ 
potent Creator. Its human history is stamped with the 
impress of truth and nature, and its chronology is that 
merely of a continuous succession of human beings, differ¬ 
ing from our present experience only in the duration which 
it assigns to human life in those primitive periods when 
our species was young on the earth; a point on which we 
have no data as yet from other sources either to oppose or 
confirm its doctrine, Nor does the Bible ever personify 

* Monuments of Egypt. 



natural objects or processes, in that vague way which ren¬ 
ders us doubtful whether in the ancient myths of the 
heathen we are reading of every-day phenomena in a fan¬ 
ciful dress, or of human history seen through a coloured 
and distorting medium. 

The Bible gives us a definite epoch, that of the deluge, 
for all human origins; but though no family but that of 
Noah survived this terrible catastrophe, it would be a great 
error to suppose that nothing antediluvian appears in the 
subsequent history of man. Before the deluge there were 
arts and an old civilization, and after the deluge men carried 
with them these heirlooms of the old world to commence 
with them new nations. This has been tacitly ignored by 
many of the writers who underrate the value of the Hebrew 
history. It may be as well for this reason to place, in a 
series of propositions, the principal points in Genesis which 
relate to the question of the unity of man. 

1. Adam and Isha, the woman, afterwards called Eve 
(Life-giver) in consequence of the promise of a Bedeemer, 
commenced a life of husbandry on their expulsion from 
Eden; and during the lifetime of the primal pair, the 
sheep, at least, was domesticated. A few generations after, 
in the time of Lamech, cattle were domesticated; and the 
metals, copper and iron, were applied to use—the latter 
probably meteoric iron; and hence, it may be, the Hindoo 
and Hellenic myths of Twachtrei and Hephaestos in con¬ 
nection with the thunderbolt. In the time of Noah the 
distinction of clean and unclean beasts, and the taking of 



seven pairs of certain beasts and birds into tbe ark, im¬ 
ply that several mammals and birds were domesticated.* 

2. Before the flood, as already remarked, there was a 
division of man into two nationalities or races; and there 
was a citizen, an agricultural, a pastoral, and a nomadic 
population, f 

3. After the deluge, the arts of the antediluvians and 
their citizen life were almost immediately revived in the 
plain of Shinar; but the plans of the Babel leaders, like 
those of many others since, who have attempted to force 
distinct tribes into one nationality, failed. The guilt at¬ 
tributed to them probably relates to the attempt to break 
up the patriarchal organisation, which, in these early times, 
was the outward form of true religion. 

4. The human race was scattered over the earth in 
family groups or tribes, each headed by a leading patriarch, 
who gave it its name. First, the three sons of Noah 
formed three main stems, and from these diverged several 
family branches. The ethnological chart in the 10th 
chapter of Genesis, gives the principal branches; but these, 
of course, continued to sub-divide beyond the space and 
time referred to by the sacred writer. It is simply absurd 
to object, as some writers have done, to the universality of 
the statements in Genesis, that they do not mention in 
detail the whole earth. They refer to a few generations 

* Genesis 4, 5, 6 and 7th chapters. See also our previous 
remarks on the deluge. 

f Genesis 4. 



only, and beyond this restrict themselves to the one branch 
of the human family to which the Bible principally relates. 
We should be thankful for so much of the leading lines of 
ethnological divergence, without complaining that it is not 
followed out into its minute ramifications and into all his¬ 

5. The tripartite division in Genesis 10th, indicates a 
somewhat strict geographical separation of the three main 
trunks. The regions marked out for Japhet include 
Europe and North-western Asia. The name Japhet, as 
well as the statements in the table, indicate a versatile, 
nomadic, and colonising disposition as characteristic of 
these tribes.* The Median population, the same with a 
portion of that now often called Arian,f was the only branch 

* Japhet is “ enlargement,” his sons are Scythians and inhabi¬ 
tants of the isles, varying in language and nationality; and Noah 
predicts, 11 God shall enlarge Japhet, he shall dwell in the tents 
of Shem, Ham shall be his servant.” These are surely character¬ 
istic ethnological traits for a period so early. On the rationalist 
view, it may be supposed that this prediction was not written 
until the characters in question had developed themselves; but 
since the greatest enlargement of Japhet has occurred since the 
discovery of America, there would be quite as good ground for 
maintaining that Noah’s prophecy was ^interpolated after the 
time of Columbus. 

f The language of this people, the stem of the Indo-European 
languages, is, though in a later form, probably that of the Arian 
or Persepolitan part of the trilingual inscriptions at Behistun 
and elsewhere in Persia. 



remaining near the original seats of the species, and in a 
settled condition. The outlying portions of the posterity 
of Japhet, on account of their wide dispersion, must at a very 
early period have fallen into comparative barbarism, such as 
w r e find in historic periods all over Western and Northern 
Europe and Northern Asia. Owing to their habitat, the 
Japhetites of the bible include none of the black races, unless 
certain Indian and Australian nations are outlying portions 
of this race. The Shemite nations shewed little tendency to 
migrate, being grouped about the Euphrates and Tigris val¬ 
leys and neighbouring regions. For this reason, with the 
exception of certain Arab tribes, they present no instances 
of barbarism, and generally retained a high cerebral orga¬ 
nization and respectable, though stationary civilization, and 
they possess the oldest alphabet and literature. The 
posterity of Ham differs remarkably from the others. It 
spread itself over Southern Asia and Northern Africa. It 
established the earliest military and monarchical institu¬ 
tions, and presents at the dawn of history, in Assyria, in 
Egypt, and India, settled and arbitrary forms in politics 
and religion of a character so much resembling that of an 
old and corrupt civilization, that we can scarcely avoid 
supposing that Ham and his family had preserved more 
than any of the other Noachian races, the arts and institu¬ 
tions of the old world before the flood. The Hamite race 
is remarkable for the early development of pantheism and 
hero-worship, and for the material character of its civili¬ 
zation. It presents us with the darkest colours, and in 



the vast solitudes of Africa, its outlying tribes must have 
fallen into comparative barbarism a few centuries after 

the deluge. It is farther to be observed, that, according to 
the Bible, the Canaanites and other Hamite nations spoke 
languages not essentially different from those of the Shem- 
ites, while the Japhetite nations were to them barbarians, 
“ a nation whose tongue thou shalt not understand. ” There 
was, too, at the date of the exodus, already a distinction of 
tongues within each of the great races of men, 

6. All the divisions of the family of Noah had from the 
first the domesticated animals and the principal arts of life, 
and enjoyed these in a national capacity so soon as suffi¬ 
ciently numerous. The more scattered tribes, wandering 
into fresh regions, and adopting the life of hunters, lost the 
characteristics of civilization, and diverged widely from the 
primitive languages. We should thus have, according to 
the Hebrew ethnology, a central area presenting the prin¬ 
cipal stems of all the three races in a permanently civilized 
state. All around this area should lie aberrant and often 
barbarous tribes, differing most widely from the original 
type in the more distant regions, and in those least favour¬ 
able to human health and subsistence. In these outlying 
regions, secondary centres of civilization might grow up, 
differing from that of the primitive centre, except in so far 
as the common principles of human nature and intercom¬ 
munication might prevent this. All these conclusions, 
fairly deducible at once from the Mosaic ethnology and 
the theory of dispersion from a centre, are perfectly in 
accordance with observed facts. 



A multitude of Bible notices might easily be quoted 
illustrative of these points, and also of the consistency of 
the Mosaic narrative with itself. These have often been 
mentioned by commentators, and one may suffice here. 
Abraham, who is said by the Jews to have been contempo¬ 
rary with Shem, as Menes by the Egyptians with Ham, at 
least lived sufficiently near to the time of the rise of the 
earliest nations, to be taken as an illustration of this prim¬ 
itive condition of society. He was not a patriarch of the 
first or second rank, like Ham or Mizraim or Canaan, but 
a subordinate family leader several removes from the sur¬ 
vivors of the deluge. Yet his tribe increases in com¬ 
paratively few years to a considerable number. He is 
treated as an equal by the monarchs of Egypt and Philistia. 
He defeats, with a band of three or four hundred retainers, 
a confederacy of four Euphratean kings representing the 
embryo state of the Persian and Assyrian empires, and 
already relatively so strong that they have overrun much 
of Western Asia. All this bespeaks in a most consistent 
manner the rapid rise of many small nationalities, scattered 
over the better parts of wide regions, and still in a feeble 
condition, though inheriting from their ancestors an old 
civilization, and laying the foundations of powerful states. 

The Hebrew ethnology excels all others in its breadth of 
conception and freedom from local prejudices. The Egyp¬ 
tians, the Greeks, and probably most other ancient nations, 
had no true conceptions of the unity of man. Their hero- 
worship and local polytheism fostered narrow views of the 




subject. The Hebrews, with as much national pride as any 
other people, were restrained by their monotheistic theology 
from elevating their ancestors into gods, and from worship¬ 
ping local divinities. They based their claims to eminence 
on their being the people chosen of God as the depository of 
his sacred truth, and that truth required them to acknow¬ 
ledge the brotherhood of man. A Jew of Tarsus first 
maintained this doctrine and its companion one of the va¬ 
nity of polytheism and merely local religion, before the 
literati of Athens. Christianity has borne it aloft on its 
banner over the world, proclaiming the common origin and 
common destiny of Greek and Jew, Barbarian and Scy¬ 
thian, bond and free. The tenet is a noble one. The 
tyrant and the slaveholder may well turn pale in its pre¬ 
sence, and secretly rejoice if any doubt can be cast on its 
truth; but no true-hearted lover of his kind, will part with 
it, unless wrung from him by the compulsion of far stronger 
arguments than those which I have attempted to review in 
the previous pages. 

I purposely close with this view of the subject, because 
it brings us back again to the mosaic record. To persons 
unacquainted with the many forms in which the doctrine 
of the unity of origin of man has recently been assailed, 
this chapter may appear unnecessarily prolix. To those 
who have waded through the ponderous tomes of some 
modern ethnographers, it may appear a too meagre review. 
My object has been merely to expose the slenderness of the 
grounds on which certain theories on this subject have been 



built, and the necessity, if natural history is to be called 
on to bear evidence in the question of unity or diversity 
of species in man, that patient investigation of the probable 
extent of his migrations and limits of his variations, should 
take the place of hasty assumptions of limitation to geo¬ 
graphical regions, and of primitive diversity of forms. 



Job xxvi., 14 : “ Lo these are but outlines of His ways, and 
how faint the whisper which we hear of Him—the thunder of 
His power who could understand.” 

In the preceding pages I have, as far as possible, avoided 
that mode of treating my subject which was wont to be 
expressed as the “ reconciliation ” of Scripture and Natural 
Science, and have followed the direct guidance of the 
Mosaic record, only turning aside where some apt illustra¬ 
tion or coincidence could be perceived. In the present 
chapter I propose to enquire what the science of the earth 
teaches on these same subjects, and to point out certain 
manifest and remarkable correspondences between these 
teachings and those of revelation. Here I know that I 
enter on dangerous ground, and that if I have been so for¬ 
tunate as to carry the intelligent reader with me thus far, I 
may chance to lose him now. The Hebrew scriptures are 
common property; no one can deny me the right to study 
them, and even if I should appear extreme in some of my 
views, or venture to be almost as enthusiastic as the com¬ 
mentators of Homer, Shakespeare or Dante, I cannot be 
very severely blamed. But the direct comparison of these 
ancient records with results of modern science, is obnoxious* 



to many minds on very different grounds: and all tlie more 
so that so few men are ardent students both of nature and 
revelation. There are, as yet, but few even of educated 
men whose range of study has included anything that is 
practical or useful either in Hebrew literature or geological 
science. That slipshod Christianity which contents itself 
with supposing that conclusions which are false in nature 
may be true in theology, is mere superstition or professional 
priestcraft, and has nothing in common with the Bible; 
but there are still multitudes of good men, trained in the 
verbal and abstract learning which at one time constituted 
nearly the whole of education, who regard geology as a 
mass of crude hypotheses destitute of coherence, a per¬ 
petual battle ground of conflicting opinions, all destined 
in time to be swept away. It must be admitted too that, 
from the nature of geological evidence, and from the lia¬ 
bility to error in details, the solidity of its conclusions 
is not likely soon to be appreciated as fully as is desirable 
by the common mind. On the other hand, the geologist, 
fully aware of the substantial nature of the foundations 
of the science of the earth, regards it as little less than 
absurd to find parallels to its principles in an ancient 
theological work. Still there are possible meeting points 
of things so dissimilar as Bible lore and geological ex¬ 
ploration. If man is a being connected on the one hand 
with material nature, and on the other with the spiritual 
essence of the Creator; if that Creator has given to man 
powers of exploring and comprehending his plans in the 



universe, and at the same time has condescended to reveal 
to him directly His will on certain points, there is nothing 
unphilosophical or improbable in the supposition that the 
same truths may be struck out on the one [hand by the 
action of the human mind on nature, and on the other 
by the action of the Divine mind on that of man. But 
few of our greatest thinkers, whether on nature or theology, 
have reached the firm ground of this higher probability* 
or if they have reached it, have dreaded the scorn of the 
half-learned too much to utter their convictions. Still this 
is a position which the enlightened Christian and student 
of nature must be prepared to occupy, humbly and with 
admission of much ignorance and incapacity, but with bold 
assertion of the truth, that there are meeting-points of nature 
and revelation which afford legitimate subjects of study. 

In entering on these subjects, we may receive certain 
great truths in reference to the history of the earth, as 
established by geological evidence. In the present rapidly 
progressive state of the science however, it is by no means 
easy to separate its assured and settled results from those 
that have been founded on too hasty generalisation, or are 
yet immature; and at the same time to avoid overlooking 
new and important truths, sufficiently established, yet not 
known in all their dimensions. In the following summary 
I shall endeavour to present to the reader only well ascer¬ 
tained general truths, without indulging in those deviations 
from accuracy for effect too often met with in popular 
books. On the other hand we have already found that 



the scriptures enunciate distinct doctrines on many points 
relating to the earth’s early history, to which it will here 
be necessary merely to refer in general terms. Let us in 
the first place shortly consider the conclusions of geology 
as to the origin and progress of creation. 

1. The widest and most important generalization of 
modern geology, is that all the materials of the earth’s crust, 
to the greatest depth that man can reach, either by actual 
excavation or inference from superficial arrangements, are 
of such a nature as to prove that they are not, in their 
present state, original portions of the earth’s structure; 
but that they are results of the operation, during long 
periods, of the causes of change, whether mechanical, che¬ 
mical, or vital, now in operation, on the land, in the seas, 
and in the interior of the earth. For example, the most 
common rocks of our continents are conglomerates, sand¬ 
stones, shales and slates; all of which are made up of the 
debris of older rocks broken down into gravel, sand or mud, 
and then re-cemented. To these we may add limestones, 
which have been made up by the accumulation of corals 
and shells, or by deposits from calcareous springs; coal, 
composed of vegetable matter; and granite, syenite, green¬ 
stone, and trap, which are molten rocks formed in the 
manner of modern lavas. So general has been this sort¬ 
ing, altering, and disturbance of the substance of the earth’s 
crust, that, though we know its structure over large por¬ 
tions of our continents, to the depth of several miles, the 
geologist can point to no instance of a truly primitive rock 



which can be affirmed to have remained unchanged and in 
situ since the beginning. 

“ All are aware that the solid parts of the earth consist 
of distinct substances, such as clay, chalk, sand, limestone, 
coal, slate, granite, and the like; but, previously to obser¬ 
vation, it is commonly imagined that all had remained 
from the first in the state in which we now see them—that 
they were created in their present forms and in their pre¬ 
sent position. The geologist now comes to a different 
conclusion; discovering proofs that the external parts of 
the earth were not all produced in the beginning of things, 
in the state in which we now behold them, nor in an 
instant of time. On the contrary, he can show that they 
have acquired their actual condition and configuration gra¬ 
dually, and at successive periods, during each of which 
distinct races of living beings have flourished on the land 
and in the waters; the remains of these creatures still 
lying buried in the crust of the earth.” * 

2. Having ascertained that the rocks of the earth have 
thus been produced by secondary causes, we next affirm, on 
the evidence of geology, that a distinct order of succession 
of these deposits can be ascertained; and though there are 
innumerable local variations in the nature of rocks formed 
at the same period, yet there is, on the great scale, a regu¬ 
lar sequence of formations over the whole earth. This 
succession is of the greatest importance in the case of 
aqueous rocks, or those formed in water; and it is evident 

* Lyell’s Manual of Elementary Geology. 



that in the case of beds of sand, clay, &c., deposited in 
this way, the upper must be the more recent of any two 
layers. This simple principle, complicated in various ways 
by the fractures and disturbances to which the beds have 
been subjected, forms the basis of the succession of “ for¬ 
mations” in geology. 

3. This regular series of formations would be of little 
value as a history of the earth, were it not that nearly all 
the aqueous rocks contain remains of the contemporary 
animals and plants. Ever since the earth began to be 
tenanted by organised beings, the various accumulations 
formed in the bottoms of seas and at the mouths of rivers, 
have entombed remains of marine animals, more especially 
their harder parts, as shells, corals and bones, and also 
fragments or entire specimens of land animals and plants. 
Hence, in any rock of aqueous formation, we may find 
fossil remains of the living creatures that existed in the 
waters in which that rock was accumulated or on the 
neighbouring land. If in the process of building up the 
continents, the same locality constituted in succession a 
part of the bottom of the ocean, of an inland sea, of an 
estuary and a lake, we should find, in the fossil remains 
entombed in the deposits of that place, evidences of these 
various conditions; and thus a somewhat curious history 
of local changes might be obtained. Geology affords more 
extensive disclosures of this nature. It shows, that, as we 
descend into the older formations, we gradually lose sight 
of the existing animals and plants, and find the remains of 



others not now existing; and these, in turn, themselves 
disappear, and were preceded by others; so that the whole 
living population of the earth appears to have been several 
times renewed, prior to the beginning of the present order 
of things. 

In the sediment now accumulating in the bottom of the 
waters, are being buried remains of the existing animals 
and plants. A geological formation is being produced, 
and it contains the skeletons and other solid parts of a vast 
variety of creatures belonging to all climates, and which 
have lived on land as well as in fresh and salt water. Let 
us now suppose that by a series of changes, sudden or gra¬ 
dual, all the present organised beings were swept away, 
and that, when the earth was renewed by the fiat of the 
Creator, a new race of intelligent beings could explore those 
parts of the former sea basins that had been elevated into 
land. They would find the remains of multitudes of crea¬ 
tures not existing in their time; and by the presence of 
these they could distinguish the deposits of the former 
period from those that belonged to their own. They could 
also compare these remains with the corresponding parts 
of creatures which were their own contemporaries, and 
could thus infer the circumstances in which they had lived, 
the modes of subsistence for which they had been adapted, 
and the changes in the distribution of land and water and 
other physical conditions which had occurred. This, then, 
is precisely the place which fossil organic remains occupy 
in modern geology, except that our present system of na- 



ture rests on the ruins, not of one previous system, but of 

4. By the aid of the superposition of deposits and their 
organic remains, geology can mark out the history of the 
earth into distinct periods. These periods are not sepa¬ 
rated by merely arbitrary boundaries, but to some extent 
mark important eras in the progress of our earth, though 
they usually pass into each other at their confines, and the 
nature of the evidence prevents us from ascertaining the 
precise length of the periods themselves, or the intervals 
in time which may separate the several monuments by 
which they are distinguished. The following table will 
serve to give an idea of the arrangement at present gene¬ 
rally received, with some of the more important facts in 
the succession of animal and vegetable life, as connected 
with our present subject. It commences with the oldest 
periods known to geology, and gives in the animal and 
vegetable kingdoms the first appearance of each class, with 
a few notes of the subsequent history of the principal 









Ancient Meta- 
rocks of 
Canada, &c. 






Cambrian ..- 



Radiata —Hydrozoa (?) 
Mollusca —Brachiopoda. 
Articulata —A n n e 1 i da, 





















Post Ter¬ 
tiary or 





Radiata —Protozoa, An- 
thozoa, Echinodermata 

Mollusca —Polyzoa,Tuni- 
cata, Lamellibranchi- 
ata, Gasteropoda, 
Pteropoda, Cephal¬ 

Vertebrata—F i s h e s at 
close of period. 

Vertebrata —Fishes, Ga¬ 
noid and Placoid— 
Reptiles (?) 

Mollusca —P ulmonata, 


Permian, .. 

Articulata — Insects, 
Vertebrata —Batrachians, 

Vertebrata -Lacertian 



nous Land 
plants ? 




gens ? 





Vertebrata —Higher Rep¬ 
tiles prevalent; Birds. 

Vertebrata —Great pre¬ 
valence of higher Rep¬ 
tiles ; Fishes, homocer- 
que ; Marsupial Mam- 

Vertebrata — Decadence 
of reign of Reptiles. 

Eocene, .... - 

Miocene,.... j 
Pliocene,... 2 

Vertebrata —M a m m a 1 s 
prevalent, especially 
Pachyderms, Cycloid 
and Ctenoid fishes. 

First livingln vertebrates. 

Living Invertebrates 
more numerous. 

Living Invertebrates still 
more numerous. 

nous trees 

mous Exo¬ 



Post Plio- 
cene, • • • • 


First living Mammals. 
Living Invertebrates pre¬ 

Man & Living Mammals. 






The oldest fossil remains known belong to extinct spe¬ 
cies of zoophytes, shell-fish and crustaceans, and the algae 
or sea-weeds. In the Palaeozoic period, though reptiles 
existed towards its close, the higher orders of fishes seem 
to have been the dominant tribe of animals; and vegeta¬ 
tion was nearly limited to cryptogams and gymnosperms. 
In the Mesozoic period, though small mammalia had been 
created, large terrestrial and marine reptiles were the 
ruling race, and fishes occupied a subordinate position; 
while, at the close, the higher orders of plants took a pro¬ 
minent place. In the tertiary and modern eras, the mam¬ 
malia, with man, have assumed the highest place. On 
this series of groups, and the succession of living beings, 
Sir C. Lyell remarks—“ It is not pretended that the prin¬ 
cipal sections called primary, secondary and tertiary, are 
of equivalent importance, or that the subordinate groups 
comprise monuments relating to equal portions of time or 
of the earth’s history. But we can assert that they each 
relate to successive periods, during which certain animals 
and plants for the most part peculiar to their respective 
eras, flourished, and during which different kinds of sedi¬ 
ment were deposited.” 

5. The lapse of time embraced in the geological history 


of the earth is enormous. Fully to appreciate this, it is 
necessary to study the science in detail, and to explore its 
phenomena as disclosed in actual nature. A few facts, how¬ 
ever, out of hundreds which might have been selected, will 
suffice to indicate the state of the case. The delta and allu- 



vial plain of the Mississippi, belong to the post-pliocene or 
modern period. Taking in connection the mass of mat¬ 
ter in the delta and the known rate of deposition by the 
river, we are obliged to admit that the period occupied in the 
deposition of this mass of muddy sediment must have ex¬ 
tended to “many ten thousands of years.”* To be quite 
safe, let us take 40,000 years. We may then safely mul¬ 
tiply this number by ten for the length of the tertiary 
period. We may add as much more for the mesozoic 
period, and this will be far under the truth. It will then 
be quite safe to assume that the palaeozoic period was as 
long as the mesozoic and tertiary together. Great though 
these demands may seem, they are probably far below the 
rigid requirements of the case.f Take another illustration 
from another formation. An excellent coast section at the 
Joggins in Nova Scotia, exhibits in the coal formation 
proper, a series of beds with erect trunks and roots of trees 
in situ, amounting to nearly 100. About 100 forests have 
successively grown, partially decayed and been entombed in 
muddy and sandy sediment. In the same section, including 
in all about 14,000 feet of beds, there are 76 seams of coal, 
each of which can be proved to have taken more time for its 
accumulation than that required for the growth of a forest. 

* Lyell. 

f A perfectly parallel example is that of the growth of the 
peninsula of Florida in the modern period, by the same processes 
now adding to its shores, and this has afforded to Prof. Agassiz 
a still more extended measure of the Post tertiary period. 



Supposing all these separate fossil soils and coals to have 
been formed with the greatest possible rapidity, ten thou¬ 
sand years would be a very moderate calculation for this 
portion of the carboniferous system; and for aught that 
we know, thousands of years may be represented by a sin¬ 
gle fossil soil. But this is the age of only one member of 
the carboniferous system, itself only a member of the great 
palaeozoic group, and we have made no allowance for the 
abrasion from previous rocks and deposition of the immense 
mass of sandy and muddy sediment in which the coals and 
forests are imbedded, and which is vastly greater than the 
deltas of the largest modern rivers. Thus, then, we find 
that the earth in its present state is the product of changes 
which have proceeded probably during countless years, yet 
we have no geological evidence that even this great lapse 
of time carries us back to that beginning revealed in scrip¬ 
ture, in which the materials of the universe sprang into 
being at the word of God. 

6. During the whole time referred to by geology, the 
great laws both of inorganic and organic nature have been 
the same as at present. The evidence of light and dark¬ 
ness, of sunshine and shower, of summer and winter, and 
of all the known igneous and aqueous causes of change, 
extends back almost, and in some of these cases altogether, 
to the beginning of the palaeozoic period. In like manner 
the animals and plants of the oldest rocks are constructed 
on the same physiological and anatomical principles with 
existing tribes, and they can be arranged in the same 



genera, orders or classes, though specifically distinct. The 
revolutions of the globe have involved no change of the 
general laws of matter; and though it is possible that 
geology has carried us back to the time when the laws that 
regulate life began to operate, it does not show that they 
were less perfect than now, and it indicates no trace of the 
beginning of the inorganic laws. Geological changes have 
resulted not from the institution of new laws, but from 
new dispositions , under existing laws and general arrange¬ 
ments. There is every reason to believe that in the inor¬ 
ganic world these dispositions have required no new creative 
interpositions during the time to which geology refers, but 
merely the continued action of the properties bestowed on 
matter when first produced. In the organic world the case 
is different. 

7. In the succession of animal and vegetable life we 
find instances of improvement and advance by the intro¬ 
duction of new types of being, but not of development of 
one species from another. We have already given a gene¬ 
ral outline of this advancement of organised nature. It ' 
has consisted in the creation, from time to time, of new 
and more highly organised beings, so as at once to increase 
the variety of nature, and to provide for the elevation of 
the summit of the graduated scale of life to higher and 
higher points. For instance, in the earlier palaeozoic 
period, we have molluscous animals and fishes, then appa¬ 
rently the highest forms of life, appearing with a very 
advanced organization, not surpassed, if even equalled, in 



modern times. In the later part of the same great period, 
some lower forms of vegetable life, now restricted to a 
■comparatively humble place, were employed to constitute 
magnificent forests. In the Mesozoic period again, reptiles 
attained to their highest point in organization and variety 
of form and employment, while mammalia had as yet 
scarcely appeared.* 

* I am quite aware that it may be objected to all this that it 
is based on merely negative evidence; but this is not strictly 
the case. There are positive indications of these truths. For 
example, in the Mesozoic epoch, the lacertian reptiles presented 
huge elephantine, carnivorous and herbivorous species, the 
Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, &-c. ; flying species,with hollow bones 
and ample wings, the Pterodactyles; and aquatic whale-like 
species, Cetiosaurus, Ichthyosaurus, &c. These creatures ac¬ 
tually filled the offices now occupied by the mammals ; and, 
though lacertian in their affinities, they must have had circula¬ 
tory, respiratory, and nervous systems far in advance of any 
modern reptiles even of the order of Loricates. Even compara¬ 
tive anatomists have given to this view of the subject less atten¬ 
tion than it deserves; and the author was once taken to task 
for an assertion of this nature, by one of our ablest living natu¬ 
ralists, to whom it did not appear to have occurred that a 
Dinosaurian walking the earth with elephantine tread, or a Pte¬ 
rodactyl cleaving the air with rapid wings, must necessarily 
have enjoyed a far more perfect circulation and respiration than 
the highest living reptiles, and so have approached more nearly 
to the mammals and birds, and have been fitted to fill their 
offices, to their exclusion. 




These and similar facts have obliged geologists to admit 
that the advance of organic nature must have been the 
result of direct creative interposition. Hence we find that 
geology, which, more than any other seience, has been ac¬ 
cused of infidel tendency, is the only one which leads us 
directly into the presence of the Author of nature, and 
finds itself obliged, in order to account for the phenomena 
which it observes, to have recourse to the u Miracle of 
Creation.” I cannot better close this head and this part 
of the subject, than by quoting some of the views expressed 
by leading geologists, on this important part of the 
relations of geology to revelation. 

Prof. Pictet of Geneva, a very able and careful palaeon¬ 
tologist, in the introduction to his u Traite de Palaeontol- 
ogie,” as translated for the Journal of the Geological 
Society, remarks:— 

“ It seems to me impossible that we should admit as an 
explanation of the phenomena of successive faunas, the 
passage of species into one another; the limits of such 
transitions of species, even supposing that the lapse of a 
vast period of time may have given them a character of 
reality much greater than that which the study of existing 
nature leads us to suppose, are still infinitely within those 
differences which distinguish two successive faunas. Lastly,, 
we can least of all account by this theory for the appear¬ 
ance of new types , to explain the introduction of which we 
must necessarily, in the present state of science, recur to> 
the idea of distinct creations posterior to the first.” 



Hugh Miller, in his “ Footprints of the Creator,” thus 
strongly asserts the same view:— 

“ With the introduction of man into the scene of exist¬ 
ence, creation, I repeat, seems to have ceased. What is it 
that now takes its place and performs its work ? During 
the previous dynasties, all elevation in the scale was an 
effect simply of creation. Nature lay dead in a waste 
theatre of rock, vapour and sea; in which the insensate 
aws, chemical, mechanical and electric, carried on their 
blind, unintelligent processes. The creative fiat went 
forth, and amid waters that straightway teemed with life 
in its lowest forms, vegetable and animal, the dynasty of 
the fish was introduced. Many ages passed, during which 
there took place no further elevation; on the contrary, in 
not a few of the newly introduced species of the reigning 
class, there appeared for the first time examples of a sym¬ 
metrical misplacement of parts; and, in at least one family 
of fishes, instances of defect of parts. There was the ma¬ 
nifestation of a downward tendency toward the degradation 
of monstrosity, when the elevatory fiat again went forth, 
and, through an act of creation, the dynasty of the reptile 
began. Again many ages passed by, marked apparently 
by the introduction of a warm-blooded oviparous animal, 
the bird, and a few marsupial quadrupeds; but in which 
the prevailing class reigned undeposed, though at least un¬ 
elevated. Yet again, however, the elevatory fiat went forth, 
and, through an act of creation, the dynasty of the mam- 
miferous quadruped began. And, after the further lapse 
of ages, the elevatory fiat went forth yet once more in an 



act of creation, and with the human, heaven-aspiring dy¬ 
nasty, the moral government of God, in its connection at 
least with the world which we inhabit, “ took beginning”; 
and then creation ceased. Why ?—simply because God’s 
moral government had begun.” 

Sir C. Lyell, in an Anniversary Address as President 
of the Geological Society (1851), largely and ably discusses 
the subject of progressive development and introduction of 
types and species. There is probably no geologist of our 
day more favourably situated for sketching the present 
aspect of geology in reference to these great principles, or 
more fully possessing the wide range of knowledge and 
thought necessary for the task. His views differ in some 
points from those just quoted, but their general tendency 
is the same :— 

“ If, therefore, the doctrine of successive development 
had been palaeontologieally true, as I have endeavoured to 
show that it is not; if the sponge, the cephalopod, the fish, 
the reptile, the bird and the mammifer, had followed each 
other in regular chronological order, the creation of each 
of these classes being separated from the others by vast 
intervals of time; and if it were clear that man had been 
created later by at least one entire period,—still I should 
have been wholly unable to recognize, in his entrance on 
the earth, the last term of one and the same series of de¬ 
velopments. Even then the creation of man would rather 
seem to have been the beginning of some new and differ¬ 
ent order of things. * * By the creation of a species 

I simply mean the beginning of a new series of organic 



phenomena, such as we usually understand by the term 
“ species.” Whether such commencement he brought about 
by the direct intervention of the First Cause, or by some 
unknown second cause or law appointed by the Author of 
nature, is a point upon which I will not venture to offer a 

“ In the first publication of the Huttonian theory, it 
was declared that we can neither see the beginning nor the 
end of that vast series of phenomena which it is our 
business as geologists to investigate. After sixty years of 
renewed inquiry, and after we have greatly enlarged the 
sphere of our knowledge, the same conclusion seems to me 
to hold true. But if any one should appeal to such results 
in support of the doctrine of an eternal succession, I may 
reply that the evidence has become more and more decisive 
in favour of the recent origin of our own speeies. The 
intellect of man and his spiritual and moral nature are the 
highest works of creative power known to us in the uni' 
verse ; and to have traced out the date of their commence¬ 
ment in past time,—to have succeeded in referring so 
memorable an event to one out of a long succession of 
periods, each of enormous duration,—is perhaps a more 
wonderful achievement of science than it would be to have 
simply discovered the dawn of animal or vegetable life, or 
the precise time when out of chaos or out of nothing, a 
globe of inanimate matter was first formed.” * 

* It appears for some years past to have become a recognized 
practice of the Presidents of the Geological Society, in their 
annual addresses, to devote a few concluding paragraphs to 



The actual position of geology in relation to the succes¬ 
sion of organic life and the creation of species, cannot be 
more shortly or clearly stated than in the following propo¬ 
sitions by Dr. Bronn, in his essay on the “ Laws of Deve¬ 
lopment of the Organic World,” to which the prize was 
awarded by the French Academy in 1856. I quote from 
the translation in the notice of the work by Mr. Hamilton, 

such general subjects. In 1852, Mr. Hopkins vindicated the 
doctrine of the progression of the inorganic "arrangements of 
the earth, from the period of its first creation. In 1854, Prof. 
Forbes introduced his remarkable doctrine of polarity in the 
introduction of organic forms, which, had he lived, he might 
have followed out into other general views. Its bearing on our 
subject is merely that it is a hint toward the tracing of a general 
plan in creation, of such a character, that, while generic forms 
were more plentifully developed at the beginning of the Palaeo¬ 
zoic and more sparingly toward its close, the reverse mode 
appears in the Mesozoic and Tertiary. In 1856, Mr. Hamilton 
ably exposed the fallacies of Prof. Powell’s reasonings on the 
supposed infinite variability of species. In 1857, Major-General 
Portlock, while protesting against the limitation of scientific 
inquiry by any views of the Bible narrative, maintains the crea¬ 
tion of species by the Divine fiat, locally, and in adaptation to 
the circumstances of their several localities. In 1858, he 
attacks, perhaps too severely, Mr. Gosse’s ingenious but 
eccentric theory. It is instructive to observe how carefully 
these men, writing for the most advanced geological minds, 
touch on the mystery of creation, and how little in the main 
their views as to its probable nature differ from the doctrines of 



In the Journal of the Geological Society of London, Feb. 

“ 1. The first productions of this power in the oldest 
Neptunian strata of the earth consisted of Plants, Zoo¬ 
phytes, Molluscs, Crustaceans, and perhaps even Fish; 
the simultaneous appearance of which, therefore, contra¬ 
dicts the assumption that the more perfect organic forms 
arose out of the gradual transformation in time of the more 
imperfect forms. 

u 2. The same power whieh produced the first organic 
forms has continued to operate in intensively as well as 
extensively increasing activity during the whole subsequent 
geological period, up to the final appearance of man: but 
here also can no traces be found of a gradual transforma¬ 
tion of old species and genera into new; but the new have 
everywhere appeared as new without the co-operation of 
the former. 

u 3. In the succession of the different forms of plants 
and animals, a certain regular course and plan is percep¬ 
tible, whieh is quite independent of chance. Whilst all 
species possess only a limited duration, and must sooner 
or later disappear, they make way for subsequent new ones, 
which not only almost always offer an equivalent, in num¬ 
ber, organization, and duties to be performed, for those 
which have disappeared, but which are also generally more 
varied, and therefore partly more perfect, and always main¬ 
tain an equilibrium with each other in their stage of 
organization, their mode of life, and functions. There 



always exists, therefore, a certain fixed relation between 
the newly arising and the disappearing forms of organic 

“ 4. A similar relation necessarily exists between the 
newly arising organic forms and the outward conditions of 
life which prevailed at their first appearance on the earth’s 
surface, or at the place of their appearance. 

“5. A fixed plan appears to be the basis of the whole 
series of development of organic forms, in so far as man 
makes his first appearance at its close, when he finds every¬ 
thing prepared that is necessary to his own existence and 
to his progressive development and improvement,—which 
would not have been possible had he appeared at a former- 

“6. Such a regular progress in carrying out the same 
plan from the beginning to the end of a period of millions 
of years can only be accounted for in one of two ways. 
Either this course of successive development during mil¬ 
lions of years has been the regular immediate result of the 
systematic action of a conscious Creator, who on every 
occasion settled and carried out not only the order of ap¬ 
pearance, formation, organization, and terrestrial object of 
each of the countless numbers of species of plants and 
animals, but also the number of the first individuals, the 
place of their settlement in every instance, although it was 
in his power to create everything at once,—or there existed 
some natural power hitherto entirely unknown to us, which 
by means of its own laws formed the species of plants and 



animals, and arranged and regulated all those countless 
individual conditions; which power, however, must in this 
case have stood in the most immediate connexion with, 
and in perfect subordination to, those powers which caused 
the gradually progressing perfection of the crust of the 
earth, and the gradual development of the outward condi¬ 
tions of life for the constantly increasing numbers and 
higher classes of organic forms in consequence of this per¬ 
fection. Only in this way can we explain how the deve¬ 
lopment of the organic world could have regularly kept 
pace with that of the inorganic. Such a power, although 
we know it not, would not only be in perfect accordance 
with all the other functions of nature, but the Creator, 
who regulated the development of organic nature by means 
of such a force so implanted in it, as he guides that of the 
inorganic world by the mere co-operation of attraction and 
affinity, must appear to us more exalted and imposing, 
than if we assumed that he must always be giving the 
same care to the introduction and change of the vegetable 
and animal world on the surface of the earth as a gardener 
daily bestows on each individual plant in the arrangement 
of his garden. 

“ 7. We therefore believe that all species of plants and 
animals were originally produced by some natural power 
unknown to us, and not by transformation from a few 
original forms, and that that power was in the closest and 
most necessary connexion with those powers and circum¬ 
stances which effected the perfection of the earth’s sur¬ 



It will be observed that this author, while rejecting the 
transmutation of species, and insisting on a definite plan 
harmonizing organic and physical existence in all their 
mutations, leans to the idea of a creative law rather than 
to that of creative acts ; but this is really little more than 
a verbal difference. These principles lead also to the 
grand idea, that the plan of the Creator in the organic 
world was so vast that it required the whole duration of 
our planet, in all its stages of physical existence, to embrace 
the whole. There is but one system of organic nature; 
but, to exhibit the whole of it, not only all the climates 
and conditions now existing are required, but those also 
of all past geological periods. Further, the progress of 
nature being mainly in the direction of differentiation of 
functions once combined, it has a limit backward in the 
most general forms and conditions, and forward in the 
most specialized. This is the history of the individual 
and probably also of the type, of the world itself and of 
the universe; and for this reason material nature necessa¬ 
rily lacks the eternity of its author.* 

It appears, from the above facts and reasonings, that 
geology informs us—1. That the materials of our existing 
continents are of secondary origin, as distinguished from 
primitive, or coeval with the beginning. 2. That a chro- 

* The reader will find further views of this subject in the con¬ 
clusion of Murchison’s “ Siluria,” and in Agassiz’s contributions 
to the Natural History of America. See also Appendix F. 



nological order of formation of these rocks can be made 
out. 3. That the fossil remains contained in the rocks, 
constitute a chronology of animal and vegetable existence. 
4. That the history of the earth may be divided in this 
way into distinct periods, all pre-Adamite. 5. That the 
pre-Adamite periods were of enormous duration. 6. That 
during these periods, the existing general laws of nature 
were in force, though the dispositions of inorganic nature 
were different in different periods, and the animals and 
plants of successive periods were also different from each 
other. 7. The introduction of new species of animals and 
of plants, while indicating advance in the perfection of 
nature, does not prove spontaneous development, but rather 

The parallelism of these conclusions of careful inductive 
inquiry into the structure of the earth’s crust, with the 
results which we have already obtained from revelation, 
may be summed up under the following heads:— 

1. Scripture and Science both testify to the great fact 
that there was a beginning—a time when none of all the 
parts of the fabric of the universe existed; when the Self- 
Existent was the sole occupant of space. The scriptures 
announce in plain terms this great truth, and thereby rise 
at once high above atheism, pantheism, and materialism, 
and lay a broad and sure foundation for a pure and spiri¬ 
tual theology. Had the pen of inspiration written but 
the words, “ In the beginning God created the heaven and 
the earth,” and added no more, these words alone would 



have borne the impress of their heavenly birth, and would, 
if received in faith, have done much for the progress of 
the human mind. These words contain a negation of 
hero-worship, star-worship, animal-worship, and every other 
form of idolatry. They still more emphatically deny 
atheism and materialism, and point upward from nature 
to its spiritual Creator—the One, the Triune, the Eternal, 
the Self-Existent, the All-Pervading, the Almighty. They 
call upon us, as with a voice of thunder, to bow down 
before that Awful Being of whom it can be said, that He 
created the heavens and the earth. They thus embody 
the whole essence of natural theology, and most appropri¬ 
ately stand at the entrance of Holy Scripture, referring us 
to the works which men behold, as the visible manifesta¬ 
tion of the attributes of the Being whose spiritual nature 
is unveiled in revelation. Scripture thus begins with the 
announcement of a great ultimate fact, to which science 
conducts us with but slow and timid steps. Yet science, 
and especially geological science, can bear witness to this 
great truth. The materialist, reasoning on the fancied 
stability of natural things, and their inscription within 
invariable laws, concludes that matter must be eternal. 
No, replies the geologist, certainly not in its present form. 
This is but of recent origin, and was preceded by other 
arrangements. Every existing species can be traced back 
to a time when it was not; so can the existing continents, 
mountains and seas. Under our processes of investigation, 
the present melts away like a dream, and we are landed 



on the shores of past and unknown worlds. But I read, 
says the objector, that you can see “ no evidence of a 
beginning, no prospect of an end.” It is true, answers 
geology; but, in so saying, it is not intended that the pre¬ 
sent state of things had not an ascertained beginning, but 
that there has been a great, and, so far as we know, unli¬ 
mited, series of changes carried on under the guidance of 
intelligence. These changes we have traced back very far, 
without being able to say that we have reached the first. 
We can trace back man and his contemporaries to their 
origin, and we can reach the points at which still older 
dynasties of life began to exist. Knowing, then, that all 
these had a beginning, we infer that if others preceded 
them they also had a beginning. But, says another objec¬ 
tor, is not the present the child of the past ? Are not all 
the creatures that inhabit the earth the lineal descendants 
of creatures of past periods, or may not the whole be parts 
of one continual succession, under the operation of an 
eternal law of development ? No, answers geology, species 
are immutable, except within narrow limits, and do not 
pass into each other, in tracing them toward their origin. 
On the contrary, they appear at once in their most perfect 
state, and continue unchanged till they are forced off the 
stage of existence to give place to other creatures. The 
origin of species is a mystery, and belongs to no natural 
law that has yet been established. Thus, then, stands the 
case at present. Scripture asserts a beginning and a crea¬ 
tion. Science admits these, as far as the objects with 



which it is conversant extend, and the notions of eternal 
succession and spontaneous development, discountenanced 
both by theology and science, are obliged to take refuge in 
those misty regions where modern philosophical skepticism 
consorts with the shades of departed heathenism. 

2. Both records exhibit the progressive character of 
creation, and in much the same aspect. The Almighty 
might have called into existence, by one single momentary 
act, a world complete in all its parts. From both scrip¬ 
ture and geology we know that he has not done so;—why 
we need not inquire, though we can see that the process 
employed was that best adapted to show forth the variety 
of his resources, and the infinitely varied elements that 
enter into the perfect whole. 

The scripture history may be viewed as dividing the 
progress of the creation into two great periods, the later 
of which only is embraced in the geological record. The 
first commences with the original chaos, and reaches to 
the completion of inorganic nature on the fourth day. 
Had we any geological records of the first of these periods, 
we should perceive the evidences of slow mutations, tend¬ 
ing to the sorting and arrangement of the materials of the 

earth, and to produce distinct light and darkness, sea and 


land, atmosphere and cloud, out of what was originally a 
mixture of the whole. We should also, according to the 
scriptural record, find this period interlocking with the 
next, by the intervention of a great vegetable creation, 
before the final adjustment of the earth’s relations to the 



other bodies of our system. The second period is that of 
the creative development of animal life. From both records 
we learn that various ranks or gradations existed from the 
first introduction of animal life, but that on the earlier 
stages, only certain of the lower forms of animals were 
present, but these soon attained their highest point; and 
then gradually, on each succeeding platform, the variety of 
nature in its higher—the vertebrate—form increased, and 
the upper margin of animal life attained a more and more 
elevated point, culminating at length in man; while certain 
of the older forms were dropped, as no longer required. 

In the very oldest fossiliferous rocks, e.g. the Lower 
Silurian or Cambrian, we find the mollusea represented 
mainly by their highest and lowest classes, by allies of the 
cuttle-fish and nautilus, and by the lowest bivalve shell¬ 
fishes. The arfciculata are represented by the highest 
marine class, the crustaceans, and by the lowest, the worms, 
which have left their marks on some of the lowest fossili¬ 
ferous beds. The Ladiata, in like manner, are represented 
by species of their highest class, the star-fishes, &c., and 
by some of their simpler polyp forms. At the very begin¬ 
ning, then, of the fossiliferous series, the three lower sub¬ 
kingdoms exhibit species of their most elevated aquatic 
classes, though not of the very highest orders in those 
classes. The vertebrated sub-kingdom has, as far as yet 
known, no representative in these lowest beds. In the 
Upper Silurian series, however, we find remains of fishes; 
and in the succeeding Devonian and Carboniferous rocks, 



the fishes rise to the highest structures of their class; and 
we find several species of reptiles, representing the 
next of the vertebrated classes in ascending order. Here 
a very remarkable fact meets us. Before the close of the 
Palaeozoic period, the three lower sub-kingdoms and the 
fishes, had already attained the highest perfection of which 
their types are capable. Multitudes of new species and 
genera were added subsequently, but none of them rising 
higher in the scale of organization than those which occur 
in the Palaeozoic rocks. Thenceforth, the progressive 
improvement of the animal kingdom consisted in the addi¬ 
tion, first of the reptile, which attained its highest perfec¬ 
tion and importance in the Mesozoic period, and then of 
the bird and mammal, which did not attain their highest 
forms till the modern period. This geological order of 
animal life, it is scarcely necessary to add, agrees perfectly 
with that sketched by Moses, in which the lower types are 
completed at once, and the progress is wholly in the higher. 

In the inspired narrative, we have already noticed some 
peculiarities, as for instance the early appearance of a 
highly developed flora, and the special mention of great 
reptiles in the work of the fifth day, which correspond 
with the significant fact that high types of structure 
appeared at the very introduction of each new group of 
organized beings—a fact which, more than any other in 
geology, shows that, in the organic department, elevation 
has always been a strictly creative work, and that there is 
in the constitution of animal species no innate tendency 




to elevation, but that on the contrary we should rather 
suspect a tendency to degeneracy and ultimate disappear¬ 
ance, requiring that the fiat of the Creator should after a 
time go out again to “ renew the face of the earth.” In 
the natural as in the moral world, the only law of progress 
is the will and the power of God. In one sense, however, 
progress in the organic world has been dependent on, 
though not caused by, progress in the inorganic. We see 
in geology many grounds for believing, that each new tribe 
of animals or plants was introduced just as the earth 
became fitted for it; and even in the present world, we 
see that regions composed of the more ancient rocks, and 
not modified by subsequent disturbances, present few of 
the means of support for man and the higher animals; 
while those districts in which various revolutions of the 
earth have accumulated fertile soils, or deposited useful 
minerals, are the chief seats of civilization and population. 
In like manner, we know that those regions which the 
Bible informs us were the cradle of the human race, and 
the seats of the oldest nations, are geologically among the 
most recent parts of the existing continents, and were no 
doubt selected by the Creator partly on that account, for 
the birth-place of man. We thus find that the Bible and 
the Geologists are agreed not [only as to the fact and order 
of progress, but also as to its manner and use. 

3. Both records agree in affirming that since the begin¬ 
ning there has been but one great System of nature. 
We can imagine it to have been otherwise. Our existing 




nature might have been preceded by a state of things 
having no connection with it. The arrangements of the 
earth’s surface might have been altogether different; races 
of creatures might have existed having no affinity with or 
resemblance to those of the present world, and we might 
have been able to trace no present beneficial consequences 
ae flowing from these past states of our planet. Had 
geology made such revelations as these, the consequences 
in relation to natural theology and the credibility of scrip¬ 
ture, would have been momentous. The Mosaic narrative 
could scarcely, in that case, have been interpreted in such 
a manner as to accord with geological conclusions. The 
questions would have arisen,—Are there more creative 
powers than one ? If one, is he an imperfect or capricious 
being who changes his plans of operation ? The divine 
authority of the scriptures, as well as the unity and per¬ 
fections of God, might thus have been involved in serious 
doubts. Happily for us, there is nothing of this kind in 
the geological history of the earth * as there is manifestly 
nothing of it in that which is revealed in scripture. 

In the scripture narrative, each act of creation prepares 
for the others, and in its consequences extends to them 
all. The inspired writer announces the introduction of 
each new part of creation, and then leaves it without any 
reference to the various phases which it assumed as the 
work advanced. In the grand general view which he 
takes, the land and seas first made represent those of all 
the following periods. So do the first plants, the first 



invertebrate animals, the first fishes, reptiles, birds, and 
mammals. He thus assures us, that, however long the 
periods represented by days of creation, the system of 
nature was one from the beginning. In like manner, in 
the geological record, each of the successive conditions of 
the earth is related to those which precede and those which 
follow, as part of a series. So also a uniform plan of con¬ 
struction pervades organic nature, and uniform laws the 
inorganic world in all periods. We can thus include in 
one system of natural history, all animals and plants, fossil 
as well as recent; and can resolve all inorganic changes 
into the operation of existing laws. The former of these 
facts is in its nature so remarkable, as almost to warrant 
the belief of special design. Naturalists had arranged 
the existing animals and plants, without any reference to 
fossil species, in kingdoms, sub-kingdoms, classes, orders, 
families and genera. Geological research has added a vast 
number of species not now existing in a living state; yet 
all these fossils can be inserted within the limits of recog¬ 
nized groups. We do not require to add a new kingdom 
sub-kingdom, or class; but on the contrary, all the 
fossil genera and species go into the existing divisions, in 
such a manner as to fill them up precisely where they are 
most deficient, thus occupying what would otherwise be 
gaps in the existing system of nature. The principal dif¬ 
ficulty whieh they occasion to the zoologist and botanist, 
is that by filling the intervals between genera previously 
widely separated, they give to the whole a degree of con- 



tinuity, which renders it more difficult to decide where the 
boundaries separating the groups should be placed. 

We also find that the animals and plants of the earlier 
periods often combined in one form, powers and properties, 
afterwards separated in distinct groups; thus in the earlier 
formations, the sauroid fishes unite peculiarities afterwards 
divided between the fish and reptiles, constituting what 
Agassiz calls a synthetic type. Again, the series of crea¬ 
tures in time accords with the ranks which a study of their 
types of structure induces the Naturalist to assign them in 
his system; and also, within each of the great sub-king¬ 
doms, presents many points of accordance with the progress 
of the embryonic development of the individual animal. 
Nor is this contradictory to the statement that the earlier 
representatives of types are often of high and perfect 
organization, for the progress both in geological time and 
in the life of the individual, is so much one of specialization, 
that an immature animal often presents points of affinity 
to higher forms that disappear in the adult. In connection 
with this, earlier organic forms often appear to fore-shadow 
and predict others that are to succeed them in time, as the 
winged and marine reptiles of the Mesozoic rocks, the 
birds and the cetaceans. Agassiz has admirably illustrated 
these links of connection between the past and the present, 
in the essay on classification prefixed to his “ Contributions 
to the Natural History of America.” In reference to 
“ prophetic” types, he says:—“ They appear now like a 
prophecy in those earlier times of an order of things not 



possible with the earlier combinations then prevailing in 
the animal kingdom, but exhibiting in a later period, in a 
striking manner, the antecedent consideration of every 
step in the gradation of animals.” 

4. The periods into which geology divides the history 
of the earth, are different from those of scripture, yet 
when properly understood, there is a marked correspond¬ 
ence. Geology refers only to the fifth and sixth days of 
creation, or at most, to these with parts of the fourth and 
seventh, and it divides this portion of the work into several 
eras, founded on alternations of rock formations and 
changes in organic remains. The nature of geological 
evidence renders it probable that many apparently well- 
marked breaks in the chain, may result merely from 
deficiency in the preserved remains; and consequently that 
what appear to the geologist to be very distinct periods, 
may in reality run together. The only natural divisions 
that scripture teaches us to look for, are those between the 
fifth and sixth days, and those which, within these days, 
mark the introduction of new animal forms, as for instance 
the great reptiles of the fifth day. We have already seen 
that the beginning of the fifth day can be referred almost 
with certainty to that of the Palaeozoic period. The 
beginning of the sixth day may with nearly equal certainty 
be referred to that of the Tertiary era. The introduction 
of great reptiles and birds in the fifth day, synchronizes 
and corresponds with the beginning of the Mesozoic period; 
and that of man at the close of the sixth day, with the 



commencement of the modern era in geology. These four 
great coincidences are so much more than we could have 
expected, in records so very different in their nature and 
origin, that we need not pause to search for others of a 
more obscure character. It may be well to introduce here 
a tabular view of this correspondence between the Geolo¬ 
gical and Biblical periods, extending it as far as either 
record can carry us:— 



The Beginning. 

First Day .—Earth mantled by 
the Vaporous Deep—Produc¬ 
tion of Light. 

Second Day .—Earth covered by 
the Waters.—Formation of 
the Atmosphere. 

Third Day .—Emergence of Dry 
Land—Introduction of Vege¬ 


Creation of Matter. 

Condensation of Planetary Bo¬ 
dies from a nebulous mass— 
Hypothesis of original incan¬ 

Primitive Universal Ocean, and 
establishment of Atmosphe¬ 
ric equilibrium. 

Elevation of the land which 
furnished the materials of the 
Azoic rocks—Azoic Period 
of Geology. 

Fourth Day. — Completion of 
the arrangements of the Solar 

Fifth Day .—Invertebrates and 
Fishes, and afterwards great 
Reptiles and Birds created. 

Metamorphism of Azoic rocks 
and disturbances preceding 
the Cambrian epoch—Domi¬ 
nion of “Existing Causes” 

Palaeozoic Period — Reign of 
Invertebrates and Fishes. 

Mesozoic Period—Reign of Rep¬ 





Sixth Day. — Introduction of 
Mammals—Creation of Man 
and Edenic Group of Ani¬ 

Tertiary Period—Reign of Mam¬ 

Post Tertiary—Existing Mam¬ 
mals and Man. 

Seventh Day. -Cessation of 

Work of Creation—Fall and 
Redemption of Man. 

Period of Human History. 

Eighth Day .— New Heavens 
and Earth to succeed the 
Human Epoch — u The Rest 
(Sabbath) that remains to 
the People of God.”* 

* Heb. IV., 9, 2 Peter III. 13. 

5. In both records the oeean gives birth to the first dry¬ 
land, and it is the sea that is first inhabited, yet both lead 
at least to the suspicion that a state of igneous fluidity 
preceded the primitive universal oeean. In scripture the 
original prevalence of the ocean is distinctly stated, and 
all geologists are agreed that, in the early fossiliferous 
periods, the sea must have prevailed much more exten¬ 
sively than at present. Scripture also expressly states that 
the waters were the birth-plaee of the earliest animals, and 
geology has as yet discovered in the whole Silurian series 
no terrestrial animal, though marine creatures are extremely 
abundant; and though air-breathing creatures are found 
in the later Palaeozoic, they are, with the exception 
of insects, of that semi-amphibious character, which is pro¬ 
per to alluvial flats and the deltas of rivers. It is true 
that the negative evidence collected by geology does not 
render it altogether impossible that terrestrial animals, 



even mammals, may have existed in the earliest periods; 
yet there are, as already pointed out, some positive indica¬ 
tions of this kind. The scripture, however, commits itself 
to a positive statement that the higher land animals did 
not exist so early, though it must he observed that there 
is nothing in the Mosaic narrative adverse to the existence 
of birds, insects and reptiles, in the earlier Palaeozoic 
periods. Though, however, the Bible informs us of a 
universal ocean preceding the existence of land, it also 
gives indications of a still earlier period of igneous fluidity 
or gaseous expansion. Geology also and astronomy have 
their reasonings and speculations as to the prevalence of 
such conditions. Here, however, both records become dim 
and obscure, though it is evident that both point in the 
same direction, and combine those aqueous and igneous 
origins which in the last century afforded so fertile ground 
of one-sided dispute. 

6. Both records concur in maintaining what is usually 
termed the doctrine of existing causes in geology. Scrip¬ 
ture and geology alike show that since the beginning of 
the fifth day, or Palaeozoic period, the inorganic world has 
continued under the dominion of the same causes that now 
regulate its changes and processes. The sacred narrative 
gives no hint of any creative interposition in this depart¬ 
ment, after the fourth day; and geology assures us that all 
the rocks with which it is acquainted, have been produced 
by the same causes that are now throwing down detritus 
in the bottom of the waters } or bringing up volcanic pro- 



ducts from the interior of the earth. This grand general¬ 
ization, therefore, first worked out in modern times by 
Sir Charles Lyell, from a laborious collection of the changes 
occurring in the present state of the world, was, as a doc¬ 
trine of divine revelation, announced more than three thou¬ 
sand years ago by the Hebrew law-giver ; not for scientific 
purposes, but as a part of the theology of the Hebrew 

7. Both records agree in assuring us that death pre¬ 
vailed in the world ever since animals were introduced. 
The punishment threatened to Adam, and considerations 
connected with man’s state of innocence, have led to the 
belief that the Bible teaches that the lower animals, as 
well as man, were exempt from death before the fall. 
When, however, we find the great tanninim or crocodilian 
reptiles, created in the fifth day, and beasts of prey on the 
sixth, we need entertain no doubt on the subject, in so 
far as scripture is concerned. The geological record is 
equally explicit. Carnivorous creatures, with the most 
formidable powers of destruction, have left their remains 
in all parts of the geological series; and indeed, up to the 
introduction of man, the carnivorous fishes, reptiles and 
quadrupeds, were the lords and tyrants of the earth. 
There can be little doubt, however, that the introduction 
of man was the beginning of a change in this respect. A 
creature destitute of offensive weapons, and subsisting on 
fruits, was to rule by the power of intellect. As already 
hinted, it is probable that in Eden he was surrounded by 



a group of inoffensive animals, and that those creatures 
which he had cause to dread, would have disappeared as 
he extended his dominion. In this way, the law of violent 
death and destruction which prevailed under the dynasties 
of the fish, the reptile and the carnivorous mammifer, 
would ultimately have been abrogated; and, under the 
milder sway of man, life and peace would have reigned in 
a manner to which our knowledge of pre-Adamite and 
present nature, may afford no adequate key. Be this as it 
may, on the important point of the original prevalence of 
death among the lower animals, both records are at one. 

8. In the department of “ final causes,” as they have 
been termed, scripture and geology unite in affording 
large and interesting views. They illustrate the procedure 
of the All-wise Creator, during a long succession of ages, 
and thus enable us to see the effects of any of his laws, 
not only at one time, but in far distant periods. To 
reject the consideration of this peculiarity of geological 
science, would be the extremest folly, and would involve 
at once a misinterpretation of the geologic record, and a 
denial of the agency of an intelligent Designer as revealed 
in scripture, and indicated by the succession of beings. 
Many of the past changes of the earth acquire their full 
significance only when taken in connection with the present 
wants of the earth’s inhabitants; and along the whole 
course of the geological history, the creatures that we meet 
with are equally rich in the evidences of nice adaptation 
to circumstances, and wonderful contrivances for special 



ends, with their modern representatives. As an example 
of the former, how wonderful is the connection of the great 
vegetable accumulations of the ancient coal swamps, and 
the hands and nodules of ironstone, which were separated 
from the ferruginous sands or clays in their vicinity by 
the action of this very vegetable matter, with the whole 
fabric of modern civilization, and especially with the pros¬ 
perity of that race which, in our time, stands in the front 
of the world’s progress. In a very ancient period, wide 
swamps and deltas, teeming with vegetable life, and which 
if they now existed, would be but pestilent breeders of 
miasmata, spread over large tracts of the northern hemis¬ 
phere, on which marine animals had previously accumu¬ 
lated thick sheets of limestone. Vast beds of vegetable 
matter were collected by growth in these swamps, and the 
waste particles that passed off in the form of organic acids, 
were employed in concentrating the oxide of iron in under¬ 
lying clays and sands. In the lapse of ages, the whole 
of these accumulations were buried deep in the crust of 
the earth; and long periods succeeded, when the earth 
was tenanted by reptilian and other creatures, unconscious 
of the treasures beneath them. The modern period arrived. 
The equable climate of the coal era had passed away. 
Continents were prepared for the residence of man, and 
the edges of the old carboniferous beds were exposed by 
subterraneous movements, and laid bare by denudation. 
Man was introduced, fell from his state of innocence, and 
was condemned to earn his subsistence by the sweat of his 



brow; and now for the first time appears the use of these 
buried coal swamps. They now. afford at once the mate¬ 
rials of improvement in the arts, and of comfortable sub¬ 
sistence in extreme climates, and subjects of surpassing 
interest to the naturalist. Similar instances may be 
gleaned by the natural theologian from nearly every part 
of the geological history. 

Lastly,—Both records represent man as the last of God’s 
works, and the culminating-point of the whole creation. 
We have already had occasion to refer to this as a result 
of zoology, geology and scriptural exegesis, and may here 
confine ourselves to the moral consequenees of this great 
truth. Man is the capital of the column; and, if marred 
and defaced by moral evil, the symmetry of the whole is 
to be restored, not by rejecting him altogether, like the 
extinct species of the ancient world, and replacing him by 
another, but by re-casting him in the image of his Divine 
Redeemer. Man, though recently introduced, is to exist 
eternally. He is, in one or another state of being, to be 
a witness of all future changes of the earth. He has before 
him the option of being one with his Maker, and sharing 
in a future glorious and finally renovated condition of our 
planet, or of sinking into endless degradation. Such is 
the great spiritual drama of man’s fate, to be acted out on 
the theatre of the world. Every human being must play 
his part in it, and. the present must decide what that part 
shall be. The Bible bases these great foreshadowings of 
the future, on its own peculiar evidence j yet I may ven- 



ture humbly to maintain that its harmony with natural 
science, as far as the latter can ascend, gives to the word 
of God a pre-eminent claim on the attention of the natu¬ 
ralist. The Bible, unlike every other system of religious 
doctrine, fears no investigation or discussion. It courts 
these. “ While science,” says a modern divine,”* is fatal 
to superstition, it is fortification to a scriptural faith. 
The Bible is the bravest of books. Coming from God, 
and conscious of nothing but God’s truth, it awaits the 
progress of knowledge with calm security. It watches the 
antiquary ransacking among classic ruins, and rejoices in 
every medal he discovers and every inscription he deci¬ 
phers ; for from that rusty coin, or corroded marble, it 
expects nothing but confirmations of its own veracity. In 
the unlocking of an Egyptian hieroglyphic, or the unearth¬ 
ing of some ancient implement, it hails the resurrection of 
so many witnesses; and with sparkling elation it follows 
the botanist as he scales Mount Lebanon, or the zoologist 
as he makes acquaintance with the beasts of the Syrian 
desert; or the traveller as he stumbles on a long-lost Petra, 
or Nineveh, or Babylon. And from the march of time it 
fears no evil, but calmly abides the fulfilment of those 
prophecies and the forthcoming of those events, with whose 
predicted story inspiration has already inscribed its page. 
It is not light but darkness which the Bible deprecates; 
and if men of piety were also men of science, and if men 

* Hamilton. 



of science were to search the scriptures, there would be 
more faith in the earth, and also more philosophy.” 

The reader has, I trust, found, in the preceding 
pages, sufficient evidence that the Bible has nothing 
to dread from the revelations of geology, but much 
to hope in the way of elucidation of its meaning and con¬ 
firmation of its truth. If convinced of this, I trust that 
he will allow me now to ask for the warnings, promises 
and predictions of the Book of God, his entire confidence; 
and in conclusion to direct his attention to the glorious 
prospects which it holds forth to the human race, and to 
every individual of it who, in humility and self-renuncia¬ 
tion, casts himself in faith on that Divine Redeemer, who 
is at once the creator of the heavens and the earth, and 
the brother and the friend of the penitent and the con¬ 
trite. That same old book, which carries back our view to 
those ancient conditions of our planet, which preceded not 
only the creation of man, but the earliest periods of which 
science has cognizance, likewise carries our minds forward 
into the farthest depths of futurity, and shows that all 
present things must pass away. It reveals to us a new 
heaven and a new earth, which are to replace those now 
existing ; when the Eternal Son of God, the manifestation 
of the Father equally in creation and redemption, shall 
come forth conquering and to conquer, and shall sweep 
away into utter extinction all the blood-stained tyrannies 
of the present earth, even as he has swept away the brute 
dynasties of the pre-Adamite world, and shall establish a 



reign of peace, of love and of holiness, that shall never 
pass away: when the purified sons of Adam, rejoicing in 
immortal youth and happiness, shall he able to look back 
with enlarged understandings and grateful hearts, on the 
whole history of creation and redemption, and shall join 
their angelic brethren in the final and more ecstatic repe¬ 
tition of that hymn of praise, with which the heavenly 
hosts greeted the birth of our planet. May God in his 
mercy grant, that he who writes and they who read, may 
“ stand in their lot at the end of the days,” and enjoy the 
full fruition of these glorious prospects. 

■ • 


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A .—authenticity and genuineness of the 


This question has been so thoroughly settled by the labours 
of many eminent scholars, that I have assumed in the text, 
the Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, as an undeniable fact. 
Still, as it is sometimes called in question by that class of 
erratic critics who make skepticism in all that is Biblical a 
necessary accompaniment of historical and ethnological re¬ 
search, I may shortly state one of the lines of argument followed 
on this subject, and which is quite sufficient to satisfy my own 

1. The septuagint translation proves the Pentateuch to have 
existed in its present form, and to have been recognized in Egypt 
and Palestine as genuine, about 300 years B. C., in the reign of 
Ptolemy I., when that translation was commenced. This, be it 
observed, is as far back as the time of Manetho, on whom so 
much reliance has been placed for early Egyptian history. 

2. It was received by the Jews, on the return from Babylon, 
as their proper national law, and was acted on as such. Nor 
could it have been written or even compiled at that time, else 
its acceptance must have been local, and its language more 

3. The independent preservation of the Pentateuch by the 
Samaritans shows that its acceptance was not confined to the 
kingdom of Judah merely, and affords a distinct and disinter¬ 
ested evidence to its purity and authenticity. 

4. The Mosaic books do not recognize the kingly constitution, 
and therefore could not have been a forgery of any period sub¬ 
sequent to the time of Samuel. Further, the Psalms, which 
belong to the period of David, and thence to the captivity, 
constantly recognize the history of the Pentateuch, its cosmo¬ 
gony, and its ritual, as those of the nation. 





5. The above considerations carry back the antiquity of these 
books to the time of Samuel, say 250 years after the eontempo- 
raries of Moses. But the whole history of Samuel, as well as 
that of Joshua and the Judges, implies the existence of the 
Mosaic ritual, and the accuracy of its history. It is not possible 
that in the time of Samuel, or at any previous period, this 
connected history could have been forged or palmed on the 

6. The books of Moses have nothing of the mythical aspect of 
the legends of other nations relating to the same early periods. 
They do narrate miracles, but these are ascribed to the direct 
interposition of God; and their human history is of a rational 
and sober character, ascribing no superhuman feats to man. 
They have, farther, in so far as the events stated to have occur¬ 
red in the time of Moses are concerned, strong indications of 
being the narrative of a contemporary. For example, they 
detail with great accuracy many points in the manners, religion 
and government of Egypt, now known from the monuments to 
be strictly correct; but which could in ancient times have been 
distinctly known only to contemporaries, and these are not 
paraded as remarkable, but introduced artlessly and inciden¬ 
tally. Farther, we know from Egyptian discoveries, that the 
Mosaic books could have been committed to writing at the time 
when they were composed, and may have been, directly handed 
down to us in that way. We have Egyptian inscriptions of a 
date considerably prior to that of Moses j and the Hebrew and 
Phenician alphabets, confessedly the oldest in the world, are 
manifestly derived from the phonetic hieroglyphs of Egypt. 
Moses was not, therefore, like some early bards in Europe, un¬ 
der the necessity of entrusting his compositions to oral trans¬ 
mission. He could leave them in a written form, and in the 
hands of an organized priestly body interested in preserving 

Lastly, the pre-Mosaic history, the events of the exodus, and 
the provisions of the law, all harmonize with each other, and 
coincide in so many complicated ways, that it is difficult, if not 
impossible, to imagine any way in which they could have been, 
concocted at a time posterior to that of the exodus. 

Nothing in ancient literature, and little even in more 
modern literature, can thus be more certainly ascertained to be 
genuine than the Pentateuch ; and, in addition to the above and 
many other arguments which have been adduced, those who 
attach any value to the authority of our Saviour, as recorded 
by the Evangelists, have his testimony that the Jews in his 
time possessed “ Moses and the Prophets.” 

It is evident that if Moses was the writer of Genesis, the 
“Document” hypothesis is reduced to the comparatively insig¬ 
nificant question,—Did Moses avail himself of any sacred lor® 



that may have existed in his time? Even this, however, has 
scarcely any ground for its support, except the general diffusion 
of similar views of creation; which appears to imply that this 
part of revelation preceded the dispersion of man. The sup¬ 
posed contradictions of different parts of the earlier chapters, 
will be seen in the text to have no existence. The few diversities 
of style are quite insignificant, and fully accounted for by the 
changing nature of the subject. The only other argument of 
any weight is the use of the different names Elohim and Jeho¬ 
vah for God. The first is his name considered as the Almighty, 
the Creator. The second as the Self-Existent—He who was 
and is and is to come—and in more especial relation to his moral 
government. With respect to the use of these names, a very 
little comparison of scripture passages assures us—1. That Elo¬ 
him is specially appropriate in speaking of creation and nature. 
2. That Jehovah is specially appropriate in speaking of man 
and of redemption. 3. This distinction is kept up in the early 
chapters of Genesis, but with a conjoint use of the terms in 
passing from the creative work to the human history. 4. In 
the later books, except in certain solemn and peculiar circum¬ 
stances, the terms are used as synonymous. 

I have not noticed, as having no practical bearing on the 
solution of the question as to the origin of the narrative of 
creation, the ingenious but fanciful theory of Hoffman, that the 
perfect intellect of man before the fall embraced a kind of 
intuitive knowledge of the facts of creation, which has formed 
the substratum of Genesis 1st. Kurtz, on the other hand, main¬ 
taining that it is truly a divine revelation, but older than the 
time of Moses, argues very ingeniously that its probable date is 
that of Enoch, in whose time men began to call on the “name 
of the Lord ” in a formal and public manner—in connection, 
perhaps, with the first revelation made to man after the fall. 
(See Introd. to “History of the Old Covenant,” translated by 



That explanation of the Mosaic cosmogony which supposes that 
a long time elapsed between the “ beginning,” and that condi¬ 
tion of the earth mentioned in verse 2nd of Genesis 1st; and 
that the chaos of verse 2nd immediately preceded the creation 
of man, raises the geological question ; Was there any such chaos 
at the close of the tertiary and before the modern period. Geology 
answers in the negative, and offers most conclusive reasons. 
In the Pleistocene period, raised beaches and other indications 
show that our existing continents were gradually rising and 
assuming their present outlines, while the higher animals of the 



land were in the main quite distinct from the present. But they 
were not wholly distinct. While species of Mastodon and Mam¬ 
moth, for example, roamed over the northern parts of both con¬ 
tinents, they were accompanied by the Musk Ox and some other 
quadrupeds that still survive, and were sheltered by forests of 
Norway spruce, arbor vitae, balsam poplar, and other trees that 
still clothe these regions. In the same period the inhabitants of 
the seas were almost without exception the same as at present. 
These statements are proved by the evidence of well explored 
deposits on both sides of the Atlantic. Before the commence¬ 
ment of the Pleistocene period, nearly the whole land of the 
northern hemisphere appears to have been submerged, and dur¬ 
ing or in the progress of this submergence, the great Boulder 
formation or Drift was deposited. But though this great sub¬ 
mergence must have been fatal to most of the inhabitants of the 
land, and forms a marked separation between the newer Pliocene 
and Pleistocene periods, it scarcely affected the Marine inverte¬ 
brates, except in their geographical distribution, and these con¬ 
sequently extend back into the Pliocene periods, where they 
become the contemporaries of quite a different creation of terres¬ 
trial mammals. 

If instead of tracing life backward, we begin at the Eocene 
tertiaries when the first modern animals appear, we find first a 
few marine invertebrates that still exist; in the Miocene and 
Pliocene the proportion increases, and in the Pleistocene exist¬ 
ing species of the higher animals and of terrestrial plants make 
their appearance in the same gradual manner. Nor is there any¬ 
where, between the Eocene aud the modern period, any break 
in the chair? of existence at all comparable with that which 
occurs between the Eocene and the preceding mesozoic forma¬ 
tions. In short, geology testifies to the gradual introduction of 
existing forms, species by species, and to the similar gradual 
extinction of previous forms, and the modern world is connected 
by one unbroken chain of organic existence with those pre-ada- 
mite worlds which have passed away. Further, if we trace back 
existing species of animals to their origin, we first lose man, 
then the other Mammals, and last of all the invertebrates of the 
sea; so that the duration of the existence of species is parallel 
to that of generic and family forms in the whole geologic history, 
when we trace this back to what appears to be the origin of 
animal life. 

The application of these facts to the argument respecting days 
of creation is obvious. It may be found stated, very clearly and 
with more of illustration, in Hugh Miller’s lecture on the “ Two 
Records” in the Testimony of the Rocks. Further details will 
be found in Lyell’s Elements, and with special reference to 
Great Britain, in Forbes’ paper on the Tertiary and Pleistocene 
Faunae, in the Memoirs of the Geological Survey of Great 



Britain. Facts relating to Canada, where these later formations 
are very clearly exhibited, will be found in papers by Prof. 
Ramsay and the author in the Canadian Naturalist, 1857 & 1858. 

I am truly sorry that the absence of a Geological chaos im¬ 
mediately before man, and the views given in the text as to the 
nature of the primeval “ desolation and emptiness,” remove one 
of the foundations on which Kurtz has chosen to rebuild the 
remarkable doctrine of the original association of angels with 
our planet, which has suggested itself to so many thinkers. It 
may be stated thus :—The angels were the original inhabitants 
of the earth as well as of other planets and perhaps of the stars 
also. Those inhabiting the earth fell, and the earth in conse¬ 
quence passed into that state designated by u tohu vabohu.” 
From this state it was redeemed by the divine power, the fallen 
angels banished, and man introduced. Hence the possibility of 
man attaining to knowledge of evil, and hence also the enmity 
of fallen angels and their desire to restore their power over this 
world. The theological harmonies of this doctrine are not, how¬ 
ever, affected by our dissociating it from its supposed geological 


In the text, the original fluidity or even gaseous expansion of 
the materials of our planet, is assumed as most in accordance 
with the scriptural intimations as to its earliest state. In the 
popular mind, however, this doctrine has been losing ground, 
owing to the circumstance, that, while the rate of increase of 
temperature from the surface, as measured in mines and other 
excavations, would give the earth a solid crust not more than 
a hundred miles in thickness, astronomical considerations show 
that its solid shell, if it be not wholly solid, must be at least 
eight times that thickness. In connection with this, the bold 
but baseless speculation of Poisson, that the whole solar system 
may be moving through portions of space differently heated, 
and thus in some geological periods acquiring and in others 
losing heat, and also the chemical theories of volcanic action 
proposed by Daubeny and others,—show that there may be 
other ways of accounting for the phenomena. 

Of the astronomical contributions to our knowledge of this 
obscure suoject, one of the most important is the series of cal¬ 
culations, based on the phenomena of Precession and Nutation, 
by Mr. Hopkins of Cambridge. These calculations, it is true, 
rest on a very narrow basis, and have recently been disputed. 
Mr. Hopkins’s general conclusion is that the “minimum thick¬ 
ness of the crust of the globe, consistent with the observed 
amount of precession, cannot be less than one-fourth of the 
earth’s radius,” in other words from 1000 to 800 miles. The 



hypothetical views stated by Mr. Hopkins, in reference to the 
manner in which the earth reached its present state, are thus 
condensed by Mr. McLaren in Jameson’s Edinburgh Philosophi¬ 
cal Journal:— 

“ If the earth was originally fluid, it might pass to the solid 
state in two modes. The heat would be continually dissipated 
from the surface, and would therefore be greatest at the centre ; 
and so long as the mass was fluid, the inequality of the heat 
would cause a constant circulation betwixt the surface and the 
centre. Now, if the effect of heat in preventing solidification 
was greater than that of pressure in promoting it, solidification 
would begin at the surface, where a crust would be formed, and 
would gradually increase in thickness, by the addition of layer 
after layer to its lower side. But if the effect of pressure in 
promoting solidification was greater than that of heat in pre¬ 
venting it, solidification would begin at the centre, and extend 
outwardly. While the process wa3 going on, circulation would 
continue in the fluid part exterior to the solid nucleus. But, 
before the last portions became solid, a state of imperfect fluidity 
would arise, just sufficient to prevent circulation. The coolest 
particles at the surface being then no longer able to descend, a 
crust would be formed, from which the process of solidification 
would proceed far more rapidly downwards than upwards from 
the solid nucleus. Our globe would thus arrive at a state in 
which it would be composed of a solid exterior shell and a solid 
central nucleus, with matter in a state of fusion betwixt them.” 

Such, then, according to Mr. Hopkins, may be the present 
condition of the interior of the earth; and he further supposes 
that within the solid shell itself, there are in all probability 
large reservoirs of melted rock, forming the foci of the volcanic 
action of the geological periods of the earth’s history. 

The calculations of Mr. Hopkins have recently been discussed 
by Prof. Haughton of Dublin and Archdeacon Pratt of Calcutta; 
the former maintaining that such calculations rest on arbitrary 
hypotheses and are of no real value, and that the crust of the 
earth may be either 10 miles or 4000 in thickness :—the latter 
supporting Mr. Hopkins’ views. Should the astronomers finally 
adopt the view of Prof. Haughton, then the geologists must be 
content to return to their own lines of investigation ; and may 
pretty safely affirm on the evidence of the observed increase of 
temperature, the wide diffusion of volcanic action, the extensive 
lateral motions which have taken place in portions of the earth’s 
crust, the form of the great sunken area of the Pacific, and the 
extensive metamorphism of the older stratified rocks, that what¬ 
ever its primitive state, the solid portions of the earfh known to 
us do rest, in whole or in part, on fluid matter, and have been 
in that condition throughout geological time. 

Prof. T. Sterry Hunt has well explained the chemical condi- 



tions of the atmosphere of a molten globe, in his paper on 
4i Some Points in Chemical Geology” in the Proceedings of the 
Geological Society of London, 1859. 


The announcement of the certain existence of an Azoic series, 
underlying the lowest Silurian beds, was made by Sir R. I. 
Murchison, in the Proceedings of the Geological Society, April 
1845, in the following terms :— 

11 The fossils, indeed, described by several writers, had shown 
that true Silurian deposits existed in Sweden and Norway, and 
it was therefore necessary for us to see and describe the abso¬ 
lute contact of the lowest sedimentary strata with the crystal¬ 
line rocks of that region. We have come to the conclusion that 
the lowest of these beds that are fossiliferous are the exact 
equivalents of the lower Silurian strata of the British Isles, and 
that they have been formed out of and rest upon slaty and 
other rocks which had undergone crystallization before their 
particles were ground up to compose the earliest beds in which 
remains of organic life appear. We apply to these crystalline 
masses, therefore, the term Azoic , simply to express that while, 
as far as research has hitherto gone, no vestiges of living things 
have been found in them, so also from their nature they seem to 
have been formed under such accompanying conditions of 
intense heat and fusion, that it is hopeless to attempt to find in 
them traces of organization.” 

In the Proceedings for the same month, is a paper by Capt. 
Bayfield, R.N., on the junction of the Lower Silurian and meta¬ 
morphosed rocks of Lower Canada and Labrador, in which he 
states facts of precisely the same character with those observed 
by Murchison in Scandinavia. In his report for 1856, on the 
Geology of Canada, Sir W. E. Logan confirmed, by observa¬ 
tions in the region of the Ottawa, the conclusions of Capt. 
Bayfield. Sir W. E. Logan has sinee ascertained that there are 
in Canada, below the Potsdam sandstone, the oldest member of 
the Silurian system, two series of non-fossiliferous rocks. The 
Upper or newer of these, the Huronian series, consists of slates, 
sandstones, conglomerates, and limestone, with interstratified 
plutonic rocks, principally greenstone and trap. This system 
occurs chiefly in the north-west of Canada, on the northern 
shores of Lakes Huron and Superior, and belongs to a period 
of intense igneous action and disturbance preceding, in these 
localities at least, the commencement of the Palaeozoic period. 

The second and lower of the two Azoic series is the Lauren- 
tian , extending over a wide region along the north side of the 
St. Lawrence valley, from Labrador to the west end of Lake 
Superior, and thence to an unknown distance northward and 



westward, and also occupying a considerable space in northern 
New York. It consists of bedded crystalline rocks, principally 
hornblendic gneiss, felspar rock, and crystalline limestone, with 
dolomite. With these are associated great masses of intrusive 
rock ; and the whole have been disturbed and contorted in a 
most fantastic manner. Sir Wm. Logan has carefully worked 
out the stratigraphical arrangements of some parts of these 
Laurentian districts, and has shewn that they are regularly 
bedded and sedimentary rocks, in an altered state-conclusions 
which have been confirmed and illustrated by the chemical 
researches of Prof. Hunt. The following section, taken from 
the Report of the Canadian Survey for 1851, represents a small 
part of the thickness of these beds*, and illustrates some of 
these points :— 

Ft. in. 

Pure white, highly crystalline,, coarse-grained limestone, 
with small disseminated scales of graphite running 

in layers, and rounded grains of mica,. 5 0 

An aggregate of colourless translucent quartz, containing 
cleavable forms of white feldspar, readily decompos¬ 
ing by the action of the weather into kaolin, with 
patches of greenish chloritic limestone containing 
brown mica : in some parts the feldspar is replaced 
by a soft greenish-white sub-translucent unctuous 
mineral, having a somewhat columnar structure, and 
a waxy lustre resembling indurated talc ; and there 
are present occasional scales of graphite, and grains- 
of copper pyrites decomposing into the blue carbo¬ 
nate, . 0 4 

A fine grained and more calcareous aggregate of quartz, 
with cleavable forms of feldspar and calc-spar, and 
scales of graphite ; green stains occur in patches, .. 0 2 

Coarse conglomerate, of which the matrix i3 a fine grained 
quartzose sandstone, somewhat calcareous, and still 
containing white feldspar, which occurs in the forms 
of grains and pebbles, associated with well defined 
large and small pebbles of vitreous, milk-blue, trans¬ 
lucent and sometimes opalescent quartz. There are 
pebbles of fine grained homogeneous greyish sand¬ 
stone more calcareous than the matrix ; some similar 
to these, but nearly white and more pulverulent, 
afford to chemical tests a small quantity of phosphate 
of lime, and others of yellowish grey sandstone are 
finely but distinctly laminated, the laminae being 
shewn by intervening bands of a white color ; one of 
the laminated pebbles is characterised by a layer of 
coarser pebbles in one of the divisions. The sand¬ 
stone pehbles are flat, and lie on their flat sides is 


the general plane of the stratification. Mica is dis¬ 
seminated in considerable abundance, and there are 

a few scales of graphite,. 1 6 

Fine grained calcareous sandstone,. 0 2 

Fine grained, very hard, crystalline, arenaceous bluish- 
grey limestone, weathering reddish, with a few scales 

of graphite, . 0 4 

Pure white, highly crystalline, coarse grained limestone 
with scales of graphite in some abundance, and 
rounded grains of mica, besides small grains of amber 
colored chondrodite rnnning in layers,.. 6 0 

13 6 

These rocks, in so far as known, are destitute of well charac¬ 
terised fossils; but the officers of the Survey have recently 
found in one of the limestones, bodies resembling corals, and 
which may be organic; and the occurrence of carbonaceous 
matter in the form of graphite and of crystalline phosphate of 
lime, affords a strong presumption that they have contained 
organic matters. They may, therefore, ultimately prove to be 
no older than the dawn of animal or plant life on our planet. 
However this may be, the occurrence of pebbles of sandstone 
in these beds shows that when they were formed there were 
shores or shoals on which pebbles were rounded, and that these 
shores or shoals were in part formed of sedimentary rocks 
which must themselves have been a product of the waste of still 
older masses. These Laurentian rocks thus carry us back two 
whole periods before the formation of the beds that contain the 
earliest known animal remains. Further details on this sub¬ 
ject will be found in the Reports of the Canadian Survey for 


The most ancient land-flora of which we know anything with 
certainty, is that of the Devonian period. The Primordial 
zone or Cambrian system, and the Silurian system, though rich 
in marine animals, have as yet afforded no well-characterized 
land-plants. The Devonian flora contains some of the higher 
Cryptogams, representing two of the three leading families now 
existing, the Ferns and Lycopodiaceae, e.g., Sphenopteris , Neu- 
ropteris, Lepidodendron, Knorria, Psilophyton. The gymnosperm3 
are represented by the Coniferous genera Dadoxylon , Proto- 
taxites, Aporoxylon; and by the Cycadoid genera Sigillaria , 
Catamites; but the Sigillareae and Coniferae are rare. There 
is also a genus of uncertain affinities, probably Cryptogamous— 
Noeggerathia. (See Goeppert’s Transition Flora ; Unger in 



Vienna Transactions, 1856; Dawson, on Devonian Plants of 
Canada, Proc. Geol. Socy., 1859.) 

In the succeeding carboniferous period, we have a great de¬ 
velopment of Cryptogams and Gymnosperms in species and 
genera, and possibly a few Endogens. Notwithstanding the 
great number of carboniferous species known, there is still no 
representation of the highest (Exogenous) plants and trees. 
This accounts for, and almost necessarily implies, the want of 
the higher land-animals. 

With respect to the time required for the accumulation of the 
coal measures, and the mode of formation of coal, I may refer 
to the account of the section of the South Joggins in “Acadian 
Geology,” and in Proc. Geol. Socy. of London, 1853, and to my 
paper on “ The Structures in Coal,” Proc. Geol. Socy. for 1859. 



The mysterious question of the origin of species, still con¬ 
tinues to be agitated; though it is still true that we have no 
certain evidence either that any organized structure can origi¬ 
nate, under any natural law, from dead matter,! or that any 
species can by any possibility give origin to another. All that 
we can hope to reach, either by geological or zoological inves¬ 
tigation of this subject, is probably some more clear conception 
of the manner and order of introduction of species. 

On this subject, geology appears to give a decided negative 
to the gradual development of higher from lower forms; the 
law being rather the appearance of every type in its highest 
perfection, and a development by the introduction of new types, 
or modifications of types. Sir Charles Lyell, in his anniversary 
address quoted in the text, gives a very clear summary of the 
geological evidence on this subject, which still holds good, and 
has even been strengthened by facts more recently acquired:— 

11 Before I go into details, whether of fact or argument, on 
this question, I shall proceed, for the sake of enabling you the 
more readily to follow my train of reasoning, to make a brief 
preliminary statement of the principal points which I expect to 
establish in opposition to the theory of successive develop¬ 

“ First, in regard to fossil plants, it is natural that those less 
developed tribes which inhabit salt water, should be the oldest 
yet known in a fossil state, because the lowest strata which we 
have hitherto found, happen to be marine, although the contem¬ 
poraneous Silurian land may very probably have been inhabited 
by plants more highly organized. 

u Secondly, the most ancient terrestrial flora with which we 
can be said to have any real acquaintance (the carboniferous) 



contains Coniferae, which are by no means of the lowest grade 
in the phaenogamous class, and, according to many botanists of 
high authority, Palms, which are as highly organized as any 
members of the vegetable creation. 

“ Thirdly, in the secondary formations, from the triassic to the 
Purbeck inclusive, gymnosperms allied to Zamia and Cycas 
predominate ; but with these are associated some monocotyle¬ 
dons or endogens, of species inferior to no phaenogamous plants 
in the perfection or complexity of their organs. 

“ Fourthly, in the strata from the cretaceous to the upper¬ 
most tertiary inclusive, all the principal classes of living plants 
occur, including the dicotyledonous angiosperms of Brongniart. 
During this vast lapse of time four or five complete changes of 
species took place, yet no step whatever was made in advance 
at any one of these periods by the addition of more highly 
organized plants. 

“ Fifthly, in regard to the animal kingdom, the lowest Silurian 
strata contain highly developed representatives of the three great 
divisions of radiata, articulata, and mollusca, showing that the 
marine invertebrate animals were as perfect then as in the exist¬ 
ing seas. They also comprise some indications of fish, the 
scarcity of which in a fossil state, as well as the absence of 
cetacea, does not appear inexplicable in the present imperfect 
state of our investigations, when we consider the corresponding 
rarity and sometimes the absence of the like remains observed 
in dredging the beds of existing seas. 

11 Sixthly, the upper Silurian group contains amongst its 
fossil fish cestraciont sharks, than which no ichthyic type is 
more elevated. 

“ Seventhly, in the carboniferous fauna there have been 
recently discovered several skeletons of reptiles of by no means 
a low or simple organization, and in the Permian there are 
saurians of as high a grade as any now existing ; while the ab¬ 
sence of terrestrial mammalia in the palaeozoic rocks generally, 
may admit of the same explanation as our ignorance of most of 
the insects and all the pulmoniferous mollusca, as well as of 
Helices and other land-shells of the same era.* 

“ Eighthly, the fish and reptiles of the secondary rocks are as 
fully developed in their organization as those now living. The 
birds are represented by numerous foot-prints and copTolites in 
the Trias of New England, and by a few bones not yet generi- 
cally determined, from Stonesfield and the English Wealden. 

11 Ninthly, the land quadrupeds of the secondary period are 
limited to two genera, occurring in the inferior oolite of Stones- 

* A single land shell was found by Sir Charles and the writer in the suc¬ 
ceeding summer, in the coal measures of Nova Scotia; and is still the only 
Palaeozoic pulmonate known. 



field ; the cetacea by one specimen from the Kimmeridge clay, 
the true position of which requires further inquiry, while an 
indication of another is afforded by a cetacean parasite in the 
chalk. But we have yet to learn whether in the secondary 
periods there was really a scarcity of mammalia,* (such as may 
have arisen from an extraordinary predominance of reptiles, 
aquatic and terrestrial, discharging the same functions,) or 
whether it be simply apparent and referable to the small pro¬ 
gress made as yet in collecting the remains of the inhabitants 
of the land and. rivers, since we have hitherto discovered but 
few freshwater, and no land mollusca in rocks of the same age. 

“ Tenthly, in regard to the palaeontology of the tertiary 
periods, there seems every reason to believe that the orders of 
the mammalia were as well represented as now, and by species 
as highly organized; whether we turn to the Lower, or to the 
Middle, or to the Upper Eocene periods, or to the Miocene or 
Pliocene ; so that during five or more changes, in this the high¬ 
est class of vertebrata, not a single step was made in advance, 
tending to fill up the chasm which separates the most highly 
gifted of the inferior animals and man. 

“ Eleventhly, the geological proofs that the human species 
was created after the zoological changes above enumerated are 
very strong. It even appears that man came later upon the 
earth than the larger proportion of animals and plants which 
are now his contemporaries. Yet, for reasons above stated, had 
the date of his origin been earlier by several periods, the event 
would have constituted neither a greater nor a less innovation, 
on the previously established state of the animate world. In 
other words, there are no palaeontological grounds for believing 
that the mammiferous fauna after being slowly developed for 
ages had just reached its culminating point, and made its near¬ 
est approach in organization, instinct, and other attributes, to 
the human type, when the progressive intellect and the rational 
and moral nature of man became for the first time connected 
with the terrestrial system.” 

Pictet, in his “ Traite de Palaeontologie ”—the most valuable 
work on the general natural history of fossil animals that we 
possess—enters fully into this subject, and states the following 
conclusions under his fifth law, that “ The faunas of the most 
ancient formations are made up of the less perfectly organized 
animals, and the degree of perfection increases as we approach 
the more recent epochs ” f :— 

11 The succession of organic beings is explained by some 
theorists by the transformation of species , assuming that the 
animals of the ancient formations have become modified by the 
influence of atmospheric and climatal changes, &c., which the 

* Several other species have since been discovered, 
t Translated in Jour, of Geol. Socy., vol. 7. 



globe has undergone, so that the original forms have insensibly 
become metamorphosed into others, of which the different strata 
have preserved and handed down the indications, and these 
forms have at length by successive changes attained their pre¬ 
sent condition. 

“ The other theory supposes a complete destruction of all the 
species by each catastrophe which has terminated an epoch, 
and a new creation at the dawn of the next succeeding epoch. 

“ The theory of the transformation of species seems to me 
totally inadmissible, and diametrically opposed to everything 
that we learn from the study of zoology and physiology. This 
theory connects itself, as I have before observed, with the idea 
of a scale of beings, and that of the gradual advance towards 
perfection in the succession of geological periods. This indeed 
is the bond of union, and the completion and the explanation of 
such an idea, giving it the consistency of a system. The natu¬ 
ralists who have adopted some of these views are naturally led 
to accept the others, and the same reasons which I have already 
adduced, and which lead me to deny generally and absolutely 
the existence of a scale of beings and the gradual advance to 
perfection of successive geological faunas, also oblige me to 
reject the notion of the transmutation of species as accounting 
for the succession of organized beings on the surface of the 

“ In conducting this argument, it is necessary to point out 
how little reason there is for assuming that the powers of nature 
were at an earlier period of the earth’s history very different 
from what they are now. The same general laws which now 
govern the world have probably been in action ever since its 
creation, and it is impossible to admit any essential difference 
in their nature. The most that we are at liberty to do is to 
conjecture that the limits of action of each may have been 
somewhat more extended,—that the temperature, for instance, 
may have been higher, and the aqueous deposits more abundant 
and rapid; but the influence of these agents on organization 
must have been analogous to that which undef similar circum¬ 
stances would be exercised at present. 

“ The study of the fossils of the more ancient rocks exhibits 
similar organization to that of existing species, and there is 
nothing from which we can safely conclude that the tempera¬ 
ture was very different, or that the constitution of the atmos¬ 
phere varied. To admit, therefore, any modifications in organi- 
zation produced by external agency, seems to me the needless 
introduction of a ground of uncertainty, and the phrases so 
often made use of with reference to the youthful vigour and the 
more energetic forces of nature at an earlier period should, I 
think, be avoided, as representing false, exaggerated, or inde¬ 
finite views. 



“ If, then, assuming a sounder basis, we endeavour to deduce 
the unknown from the known,—that is, to apply to the earlier 
period of the earth’s history what we have learnt with regard 
to existing nature,—we shall arrive at the following conclu¬ 
sions : 

“ All the observations and researches of any value agree in 
proclaiming the permanence of species at the present day. The 
thirty centuries which have passed away since the Egyptians 
embalmed the carcases of men and animals, have not in any 
way influenced the characteristic peculiarities of the races which 
inhabit Egypt. The crocodiles, the species of ibis and the 
ichneumons now living there, are identical in specific character 
with those which so many ages ago trod the banks of the Nile. 
Between the living animal and the mummy there are not only 
no differences in the essential organs, but there are none even 
in the most minute details, such as the number and shape of 
the scales, the dimensions of the bones, &c. And this perma¬ 
nency of species seems ensured to us by nature by the existence 
of those important regulations which prevent the mixture of 
distinct races, and the consequent formation of intermediate 
types. All physiologists are aware, that if two species are not 
very closely allied, they will not breed together at all; and 
that even if the species are very near, but not identical, they 
produce hybrids which are incapable of continuing their race 
and becoming the progenitors of a modified form or new species. 
Every aberration from the type in the way of crossing species 
is thus instantly stopped. 

11 True it is, indeed, that the changes and varieties introduced 
in domesticated species have been brought forward as an argu¬ 
ment against this conclusion; but although such changes 
unquestionably take place in horses, oxen, sheep, pigs and goats, 
and yet more remarkably perhaps in dogs, where the form of 
the cranium becomes modified, yet these very facts appear to 
me to furnish a conclusion totally different from that which it 
has been attempted to draw. The individuals the most widely 
removed from the primitive type never present any real differ¬ 
ence of form in the important organs. The skeleton always 
exhibits invariable characters, as well with regard to the num¬ 
ber of the bones and their apophyses as to their relations with 
one another, while the organs of nutrition, the nervous system, 
and in short every distinctive peculiarity of organization is 
submitted to the same law. The only marked difference exists 
either in the absolute dimensions, a point known to be very 
variable, or in external peculiarities yet more fugitive; and 
with the exception of those modifications in the form of the 
cranium, which we may easily suppose to be connected with 
differences of instinct and to be the direct result of education, 
it cannot be said that any one of the domestic animals in its 



most extreme varieties loses the character of the species. If 
therefore we find that the most energetic among external agents, 
—modifications of climate, of habit, of instinct and of food,— 
have only been able during the lapse of ages to produce some 
trifling change, which has not altered the type of the species, 
are we not, from this examination of the domestic animals, 
justified in believing the permanence of species rather than their 
transmutation ? 

“ And this view is the more probable, since the differences 
between one fauna and another are very considerable ; and we 
have not to treat of trifling modifications of a type, but rather 
of complete transitions, often into very remote forms. Some 
naturalists indeed have not shrunk from such consequences, and 
have asserted that the reptiles of the secondary period owe their 
parentage to the palaeozoic fishes, and were themselves the pro¬ 
genitors of the tertiary mammals. Where is the physiologist 
who will admit such conclusions ? and yet quite as much must 
be granted if it is attempted to deduce all the geological faunas 
from an original one by the simple transformation of species, 
and by means of a passage from one to another, without the 
direct intervention of a creative power acting at the commence¬ 
ment of each epoch. 

“ And if for the production of such results it is assumed, con¬ 
trary to what we have supposed, that there have been great 
alterations of temperature, and changes in the constitution of 
he atmosphere, or that nature in her early youth was more 
vigorous, the laws of physiology are not less violated. Such 
extreme changes in the external agents might well have destroyed 
the species, and they very probably would have done so, but 
they could hardly modify them in any essential point. 

“ It seems therefore to me impossible that we should admit as 
an explanation of the phaenomenon of successive faunas the 
passage of species into one another. The limits of such transi¬ 
tions of species, even supposing that the lapse of a vast period 
of time may have given them a character of reality much 
greater than that which the study of existing nature leads us to 
suppose, are still infinitely within those differences which dis¬ 
tinguish two successive faunas. 

“ And lastly, one can least of all account by this theory for 
the appearance of new types, to explain the introduction of 
which we must necessarily, in the present state of science, recur 
to the idea of distinct creations posterior to the first. 

“ The theory of successive creations is the only one that 
remains; and although it is, like the rest, opposed by very 
weighty objections, I am not aware of any good argument 
directly impugning it; and I believe that in the present condi¬ 
tion of our knowledge it is the only theory admissible, although 
I am bound to add that it is by no means completely satisfac- 



tory, since it does not seem to me to account sufficiently for all 
the facts, and perhaps it is at best only provisionary. It 
explains well the differences which exist between successive 
faunas, but there are also resemblances between these faunas 
for which it offers no explanation. 

u In order to illustrate the unsatisfactory nature of this 
theory, we have only to compare two successive creations of 
the same epoch, as for instance two faunas of the cretaceous 
period. In such a comparison, no one could fail to be struck 
by the intimate relation that exists among them, since most of 
the genera would be found the same, while a large number of 
the species are so nearly allied that they might easily be mis¬ 
taken for one another. In other words, two successive faunas 
often have the same physiognomical aspect j and in the case 
just mentioned, if we compare the turonian with the albian 
fossils (those of the upper chalk with the species from the 
uppermost greensand), we shall readily find close resemblances. 
Is it probable that the earlier fauna had been completely anni¬ 
hilated, and then, by a new and independent act of creation, 
replaced by another fauna altogether new and yet so much 
resembling it? Surely there must be something which has still 
escaped observation; but I must repeat, that the somewhat 
vague objections thus suggested are in no way to be compared 
to those more definite ones which militate against the other 

u These facts also influence the manner in which we regard 
the existing creation. Do all animals appear exactly as they 
issued from the hands of the Creator, or have only a certain 
number of types been introduced, whence the others were 
derived ? It seems to me difficult to admit that each one of 
those innumerable species, of the accurate determination of 
which we are so often in doubt, was in all its characters of 
detail a distinct and separate act of creation. 

“ To these questions, however, Palgeontology is able to answer 
only in a very insufficient manner. The succession of organized 
beings, the origin of existing species and their geographical 
distribution, the formation of the different families of mankind, 
all these are but different aspects of the same great problem, a 
solution of which on any one point would necessarily throw 
great light upon the others. 

“ I believe, then, that the theory of successive creation, which 
is the least objectionable of all, is true in a general sense, but 
that other causes have perhaps combined with it to determine 
the actual state of existing creation and of earlier faunas. 
Possibly those modifications of species, which, as I have already 
shown, cannot explain the introduction of new types and the 
appearance of very distinct species, have still had some share 
in producing a number of allied species from a common type ; 



or in other words, perhaps we must in this, as in other ques¬ 
tions, not expect a too high exclusive explanation, but admit 
the intervention of various causes. 

“ I do not, however, believe that our science is at present in 
a condition to give a satisfactory solution of these difficulties; 
and though we may with greater or less distinctness foresee 
such a solution, it cannot yet be demonstrated. A strict and 
intelligent study of nature is required, in order to bring together 
the various materials. We must know better than we do now 
each one of the successive creations, in order to form a com¬ 
plete idea of their mutual relations, and of their differences from 
those which have preceded and followed them. This is the 
most important problem of Palaeontology, and its solution is 
only to be found in the observation of facts, for they alone are 
permanent, and they perhaps will outlive all the theories dis¬ 
cussed at the present day." 

What may be regarded as a physical hypothesis of the crea¬ 
tion of species, has been maintained by Prof. Powell, in his 
essay on the 11 Philosophy of Creation.” It is thus criticised by 
Mr. Hamilton, in his anniversary address as President of the 
Geological Society:— 

11 Before concluding these observations, which, however im¬ 
perfect they may be, have nevertheless, I fear, greatly exceeded 
the usual space allotted to these Addresses, I am desirous of 
saying a few words on a subject elosely connected with the 
highest considerations of our science, and which has been 
argued with great ability by one of the most philosophical 
writers of the day. I allude to the Essay of Prof. Baden Powell 
on the Philosophy of Creation. One of the many great and 
transcendental questions discussed in this Essay is the contro¬ 
versy as to whether we are to give a preference to the old 
doctrine of the immutability of species, or to the more recently 
introduced theory ot transmutation. The question is undoubt¬ 
edly one of great difficulty, but it is not the less necessary that 
we should endeavour to form a definite opinion on the subject, 
founded on the fullest and most authentic information we can 
obtain. It may indeed, in some respects, be said to be one of 
the most important questions in geological investigation. Why 
do we endeavour to obtain correct information respecting the 
true order and arrangement of stratification ? Why do we en¬ 
deavour to obtain the most perfect collections of the organic 
remains of each stratum and formation, and to ascertain the 
different classes and groups of organized beings which have 
dwelt and flourished on the surface of the globe at the different 
periods of its existence ? Surely not for the sake of such col¬ 
lections and such knowledge of stratification per se. For, 
although, owing to peculiar circumstances, many geologists 
may not have the opportunity of carrying their investigations 




beyond these points, it should never be.forgotten that all such 
information is but a stepping-stone to higher generalizations. 
It is but the alphabet of one of the languages in which Nature 
speaks to us, and by means of which we must endeavour to 
unravel the past history of our globe, and to form some idea, so 
far as our finite faculties permit us, of the first origin,, and 
inductively of the final objects, of creation. In this point of 
view, the question as to the immutability or transmutation of 
species is one which touches the very existence of our science, 
and I am therefore desirous of briefly pointing out what appears 
to be a fallacy in some of the statements of Prof. Powell on 
this subject. 

“ The arguments of the various writers on both sides are fully 
and fairly given in this work, and the author professes merely 
to point out the bearings of the question, the difficulties in 
which it is involved, and to controvert what he considers hasty 
and untenable assertions on either side. But while doing this, 
it is impossible to avoid the conviction that he has a decided 
bias to one side, that he considers the doctrine of transmutation 
of species more consistent with sound philosophical induction 
than what he calls the hypothesis of an eternal immutability. 
I shall not pretend to occupy your time by going through argu¬ 
ments so well known to every palaeontologist and geologist. I 
only wish, as I said before, to point out one or two conclusions 
which involve what appear to me a fallacy. 

“ After showing how the successive investigations of the great 
comparative anatomists and zoologists of the last half-century 
have resulted in the establishment of the doctrine of the unity 
of composition of animal forms, a result to which the researches 
of Prof. Owen have mainly contributed, he proceeds to the 
examination of the question of species. He points out the 
existence of sub-species and varieties, many of which become 
permanent, and alludes to the number of new species constantly 
discovered which have to be inserted between other allied 
species already known, inferring that the specific differences 
between each must by such additions tend to diminish continu¬ 
ally, and that all species tend to be connected by more and 
more close affinities. Thus, he argues, all differences gradually 
disappear, and there results no greater difference between two 
allied species than between varieties of the same species, and 
consequently no difficulty in admitting that the difference which 
does exist is not greater than what might be expected as the 
result of local circumstances, modifying external forms, and 
thus practically producing transmutation. Indeed he goe3 still 
further, and adopting an infinite duration of time, and an infi¬ 
nite number of species, he argues that there will ultimately be 
no perceptible difference at all between two allied species. The 
following is his argument 



“ ‘ But, while the number of species thus tends to become 
infinitely great, the extreme difference between man (let us sup¬ 
pose) at one end and a zoophyte at the other end of the scale is 
constantly finite; hence the average difference between any 
two species tends to become infinitely small; multiplied by the 
number of species, it must still be equal to a finite quantity ; 
and the product being finite if the first factor be infinity , the 
second must be zero.' " 

11 This argument appears to involve a fallacy. If this infinite 
number of allied species is to prove the transmutation of one 
form into another by showing that the difference between them 
is infinitely small, it would be necessary to prove either that 
they had all existed contemporaneously together, or that the 
allied forms immediately succeeded each other. But when the 
author calls in the aid of long geological epochs, in which some 
of these closely allied forms existed at long intervening periods, 
I cannot see how the question of transmutation is thereby 
strengthened. If A, B, and C are the allied forms, and A and 
C existed either together or in immediately succeeding periods, 
and B, which is the connecting link between them, is only 
found to exist after many millions of years, or even only after 
the other two had died out, the theory of transmutation cannot 
be supported by assuming the gradual change of A into 0, 
through the intervening form of B. If every possible gradation 
of form existed in the fauna of one period and of one region, or 
of successive periods and neighbouring regions, then indeed the 
advocates of the transmutation theory might endeavour to 
maintain that all these forms were only varieties of one type 
occasioned by the peculiar conditions of life in which each was 
placed; but this conclusion is no longer valid when long 
periods have intervened between the existence of one form and 
that of the other. The utmost argument that could be drawn 
from such premises would be a confirmation of the great doctrine 
of unity of plan in the creation of all organized life, extending 
through all ages of the world. 

11 Another fallacy may, I think, be detected in the manner in 
which Prof. Powell, after stating the arguments on both sides, 
points out the real alternative. He says, 1 The only question is 
as to the sense in which such change of species is to be under¬ 
stood ; whether individuals naturally produced from parents 
were modified by successive variations of parts in any stage of 
early growth or rudimental development, until in one or more 
generations the whole species became in fact a different one; 
or whether we are to believe that the whole race perished with¬ 
out reproducing itself, while, independent of it, another new race , 
or other new individuals (by whatever means) came into exist¬ 
ence, of a nature closely allied to the last, and differing often 
by the slightest shades, yet unconnected with them by descent; 



whether there was a propagation of the same principle, of vitality 
(in whatever germ it may be imagined to have been conveyed), 
or whether a new principle or germ originated independently of 
any preceding, out of its existing inorganic elements .’ 

11 In the sentence which I have just quoted, there are two sets 
of alternatives, and I think that in each set the author has 
inserted a fallacy in stating the second alternative respecting 
the theory of immutability. In the first set he has assumed, 
without any warrant, that a whole former race has perished and 
is succeeded by another of a closely allied nature and often dif¬ 
fering only by the slightest shades. In such a case, viz., where 
the difference is very slight, it may be possible that the second 
race is really the descendant of that previously existing, slightly 
modified by the external conditions of life in which it wa9 
placed. But the author has omitted all reference to those spe¬ 
cies which occur in the new or upper formations, whose resem¬ 
blances or analogies to those of the preceding period are very 
distant or imperfect, and which cannot therefore be looked upon 
as the descendants or modifications of the pre-existing forms. 
There are undoubtedly species which have been continued 
through many geological periods, have survived many local 
disturbances, and which, while others may have perished, have 
been kept alive by greater vital energies or other influences, 
and have become the associates of new forms introduced tor the 
first time and having no resemblance to or analogy with the 
forms which had preceded them. We know that some species 
pass into many varieties, sometimes even contemporaneously 
with the existence of the typical form; there is, therefore, surely 
nothing inconsistent with the theory of immutability in suppos¬ 
ing, under peculiar circumstances, that varieties of some species 
may also take the place in a subsequent period of the original 
typical form. This, however, is the exception, and not the 

11 With regard to the second set of alternatives in the passage 
I have quoted, I think Prof. Powell is too much begging the 
question when he concludes the sentence with these words: 

‘ out of the existing inorganic elements.’ Surely this is taking 
too physical or material a view of the matter, and one not 
required by those principles of inductive philosophy which he so 
strongly supports. The advocates of immutability of species do 
not generally talk of a principle of vitality originating out of 
inorganic elements. When old forms die out, and are succeeded 
by new, the matter of which the new consist is derived from the 
existing inorganic elements ; but the life or principle of vitality 
by which it is animated must proceed from a different source, 
from that same source, mysterious it may be, which first breathed 
life into those creatures which dwelt in the earliest palseozoic 
ages. Organic life on this earth must have had a beginning, 



and that beginning must have proceeded from a source very 
different from that dead matter which formed the visible body; 
and from that same source proceeded the principle of vitality 
which animated the new forms when successively created on 
the earth. And with reference to this question, I must empha¬ 
tically deny the right assumed by Prof. Powell, when he puts 
what he calls an imaginary case of a truly new species making 
its appearance, to question those who deny the theory of trans¬ 
mutation, how this new species made its appearance; whether 
it appeared as an ovum or seed, or at what period of growth, 
&c. When Prof. Powell can state in what form the first living 
organisms appeared on the earth s surface, he may demand an 
answer to this question. It is the more remarkable that Prof. 
Powell should make this demand, as he has stated, in a former 
part of the Essay, that in a geological point of view the term 
1 Creation’ signifies the fact of origination of a particular form 
of animal or vegetable life, without implying anything as to 
the precise mode of such origination : not that I think this defi¬ 
nition altogether satisfactory, but yet it might have precluded 
him from making such a demand. 

“ But I have been led into a longer statement than I had 
intended. I will merely add that, notwithstanding these criti¬ 
cisms that I have ventured on, the essays of Prof. Powell deserve 
a careful and attentive reading. They are eminently suggestive 
and replete with deep thoughts and scientific views, and form 
an interesting element of the geological, or rather geognostic, 
literature of the day.” 

Agassiz also combats this view in his u Contributions to 
the Natural History of America,” vol. 1, showing that its author 
has quite misapprehended the nature of organic existence and 
the order of its introduction. Perhaps, in consequence of these 
and other criticisms, Prof. Powell in his last series of Essays on 
the Order of Nature, is a little less confident in the assertion of 
his views, though he still characterizes successive acts of crea¬ 
tion as casual suspensions or interruptions of the order of 
nature; as if law and order were themselves anything other 
than the more constant operations of the same power supposed 
to act at rarer intervals, though probably with equal regularity, 
in the introduction of species. Such misconceptions are, how¬ 
ever, inseparable from the peculiarly shallow view which this 
writer and others of his school take both of nature and revela¬ 
tion ; compressing the former within the bounds of merely 
physical law, lopping off the Old Testament from the latter, and 
overlooking altogether the higher unity which binds both toge¬ 
ther as emanations of the same Almighty mind. 

In the concluding lecture of a course on the Fossil Mammals, 
Prof. Owen has given utterance to some valuable and suggestive 
hints, which I give as reported in the London Athenaeum. They 



show that, though not fully awake to all the relations of the 
subject, this great comparative anatomist tends toward broad 
and enlightened views of it:— 

11 As to the successions, or coming in, of new species, one 
might speculate on the gradual modifiability of the individual; 
on the tendency of certain varieties to survive local changes, 
and thus progressively diverge from an older type; on the pro¬ 
duction and fertility of monstrous offspring; on the possibility, 
e.g., of an auk being occasionally hatched with a somewhat longer 
winglet, and a dwarfed stature; on the probability of such a 
variety better adapting itself to the changing climate or other 
conditions than the old type—of such an origin of Alca torda, 
e.g .;—but to what purpose ? Past experience of the chance 
aims of human fancy, unchecked and unguided by observed 
facts, shows how widely they have ever glanced away from the 
golden centre of truth. 

“ Upon the sum of the evidence, which, in the present course, 
I have had the honour to submit to you, I have affirmed that 
the successive extinction of Amphitheria, Spalacotheria, Tri- 
conodons, and other mesozoic forms of mammals, has been 
followed by the introduction of much more numerous, varied, 
and higher-organized forms of the class, during the tertiary 
periods. There are, however, geologists who maintain that this 
is an assumption, based upon a partial knowledge of the facts. 
Mere negative evidence, they allege, can never satisfactorily 
establish the proposition that the mammalian class is of late 
introduction, nor prevent the conjecture that it may have been 
as richly represented in secondary as in tertiary times, could 
we but get evidence of the terrestrial fauna of the oolitic con¬ 
tinent. To this objection I have to reply: in the palaeozoic 
strata, which, from their extent and depth, indicate, in the 
earth’s existence as a seat of organic life, a period as prolonged 
as that which has followed their deposition, no trace of mam¬ 
mals has been observed. It may be conceded that, were mam¬ 
mals peculiar to dry land, such negative evidence would weigh 
little in producing conviction of their non-existence during the 
Silurian and Devonian aeons, because the explored parts of such 
strata have been deposited from an ocean, and the chance of 
finding a terrestrial and air-breathing creature’s remains in 
oceanic deposits is very remote. But, in the present state of 
the warm-blooded, air-breathing, viviparous class, no genera 
and species are represented by such* numerous and widely-dis¬ 
persed individuals, as those of the order Cetacea, which, under 
the guise of fishes, dwell, and can only live, in the ocean. In 
all Cetacea the skeleton is well ossified, and the vertebrae are 
very numerous: the smallest cetaceans would be deemed large 
amongst land mammals, the largest surpass any creatures of 
which we have yet gained cognizance: the hugest ichthyosaur, 



ignanodon, megalosaur, mammoth, or megathere, is a dwarf in 
comparison with the modern whale of a hundred feet in length. 
During the period in which we have proof that Cetacea have 
existed, the evidence in the shape of bones and teeth, which 
latter enduring characteristics in most of the species are pecu¬ 
liar for their great number in the same individual, must have 
been abundantly deposited at the bottom of the sea; and as 
cachalots, grampuses, dolphins, and porpoises are seen gambol¬ 
ling in shoals in deep oceans, far from land, their remains will 
form the most characteristic evidences of vertebrate life in the 
strata now in course of formation at the bottom of such oceans. 
Accordingly, it consists with the known characteristics of the 
cetacean class to find the marine deposits which fell from seas 
tenanted, as now, with vertebrates of that high grade, contain¬ 
ing the fossil evidences of the order in vast abundance. The 
red crag of our eastern counties contains petrified fragments of 
the skeletons and teeth of various Cetacea, in such quantities 
as to constitute a great part of that source of phosphate of lime 
for which the red crag is worked for the manufacture of artifi¬ 
cial manure. The scanty evidence of Cetacea in cretaceous 
beds seems to indicate a similar period for their beginning as 
for the soft-scaled cycloid and ctenoid fishes which have super¬ 
seded the ganoid orders of mesozoic times. 

u We cannot doubt but that had the genera Icthyosaurus, 
Pliosaurus, or Plesiosaurus, been represented by species in the 
same ocean that was tempested by the Balaeonodons and Dio- 
plodons of the mioeene age, the bones and teeth of those marine 
reptiles would have testified to their existence as abundantly as 
they do at a previous epoch in the earth’s history. But no 
fossil relic of an enaliosaur has been found in tertiary strata, 
and no living enaliosaur has been detected in the present seas ; 
and they are consequently held by competent naturalists to be 
extinct. In like manner does such negative evidence weigh 
with me in proof of the non-existence of marine mammals in the 
liassie and oolitic times. In the marine deposits of those 
secondary or mesozoic epochs, the evidence of vertebrates 
governing the ocean, and preying on inferior marine vertebrates, 
is as abundant as that of air-breathing vertebrates in the ter¬ 
tiary strata; but in the one the fossils are exclusively of the 
cold-blooded reptilian class, in the other of the warm-blooded 
mammalian class. The Enaliosauria, Cetlosauria, and Croeo- 
dilia, played the same part and fulfilled similar offices in the 
seas from which the lias and oolites were precipitated, as the 
Deiphinidae and Balaenidae did in the tertiary, and still do in 
the present seas. The unbiassed conclusion from both negative 
and positive evidence in this matter is, that the Cetacea suc¬ 
ceeded and superseded the Enaliosauria. To the mind that will 
aaot accept such conclusions, the stratified oolitic rocks must 



cease to be monuments or trustworthy records of the condition 
of life on the earth at that period. So far, however, as any 
general conclusion can be deduced from the large sum of evi¬ 
dence above referred to, and contrasted,, it is against the doctrine 
of the Uniformitarians. Organic remains, traced from their 
earliest known graves, are succeeded, one series by another, to 
the present period, and never re-appear when once lost sight of 
the ascending search. As well might we expect a living Ich¬ 
thyosaur in the Pacific, as a fossil whale in the Lias : the rule 
governs as strongly in the retrospect as the prospect. And not 
only as respects the Yertebrata, but the sum of the animal spe¬ 
cies at each geological period has been distinct and peculiar to 
such period. Not that the extinction of such forme or species 
was sudden nr simultaneous : the evidences so interpreted have 
been but local: over the wider field of life, at any given epoch, 
the change has been gradual; and, as' it would seem, obedient 
to some general,^ but as yet, ill-comprehended law. In regard 
to animal life, and its assigned work on this planet, there has, 
however, plainly been an ascent and progress in the main, 

“Although the Mammalia, in regard to the plenary develop¬ 
ment of the characteristic orders, belong to the Tertiary division 
of geological time, just as ‘Echini are most common in the 
superior strata; Ammonites in those beneath, and Product! 
with numerous Encrini, in the lowest 1 of the secondary strata, 
yet the beginnings of the class manifest themselves in the for¬ 
mations of the earlier preceding division of geological time. 
No one, save a prepossessed Uniformitarian, would infer from 
the Lucina of the permian, and the Opis of the trias, that the 
Lamellibranchiate Mollusks existed in the same rich variety of 
development at these periods as during the tertiary and present 
times; and no prepossession ean close the eyes to the fact that 
the Lamellibranchiate have superseded the Palliobranchiate 

“ On negative evidence Orthisina,. Theca, Producta, or Spiri- 
fer are believed not to exist in the present seas : neither are the 
existing genera of siphonated bivalves and univalves deemed to 
have abounded in permian, triassic, or oolitic times. To sus¬ 
pect that they may have then existed, but have hitherto escaped 
observation, because certain Lamellibranchs with an open man¬ 
tle, and some holostomatous and asiphonate Gasteropods, have 
left their remains in secondary strata, is not more reasonable, 
as it seems to me, than to conclude that the proportion of mam¬ 
malian life may have been as great in secondary as in tertiary 
strata, because a few small forms of the lowest orders have 
made their appearance in triassic and oolitic beds. 

“ Turning from a retrospect into past time to the prospect of 
time to come,—and I have received more than one inquiry into 
the amount of prophetic insight imparted by Palaeontology,—4 



may crave indulgence for a few words, of more sound, perhaps, 
than significance. But the reflective mind cannot evade or 
resist the tendency to speculate on the future course and ulti¬ 
mate fate of vital phenomena in this planet. There seems to 
have been a time when life was not; there may, therefore, be a 
period when it will cease to be. Our most soaring speculations 
still show a kinship to our nature ; we see the element of finality 
in so much that we have cognizance of, that it must needs 
mingle with our thoughts, and bias our conclusions on many 
things. The end of the world has been presented to man’s 
mind under divers aspects :—as a general conflagration; as the 
same, preceded by a millennial exaltation of the world to a 
Paradisiacal state,—the abode of a higher and blessed race of 
intelligences. If the guide-post of Palaeontology may seem to 
point to a course ascending to the condition of the latter specu¬ 
lation, it points but a very short way, and in leaving it we find 
ourselves in a wilderness of conjecture,- where to try to advance 
is to find ourselves ‘ in wandering mazes lost.’ 

“ With much more satisfaction do I return to the legitimate 
deductions from the phenomena we have had under review. 

11 In the survey which I have taken in the present course of 
lectures of the genesis, succession, geographical distribution, 
affinities, and osteology of the mammalian class, if I have suc¬ 
ceeded in demonstrating the perfect adaptation of each varying 
form to the exigencies, and habits, and well-being of the species, 
I have fulfilled one object which I had in view, viz., to set forth 
the beneficence and intelligence of the Creative Power. If I 
have been able to demonstrate a uniform plan pervading the 
osteological structure of so many diversified animated beings, 
I must have enforced, were that necessary, as strong a convic¬ 
tion of the unity of the Creative Cause. If, in all the striking 
changes of form and proportion which have passed under review, 
we could discern only the results of minor modifications of the 
same few osseous elements, — surely we must be the more 
strikingly impressed with the wisdom and power of that Cause 
which could produce so much variety, and at the same time 
such perfect adaptations and endowments, out of means so 
simple. For, in what have those mechanical instruments,—the 
hands of the ape, the hoofs of the horse, the fins of the whale, 
the trowels of the mole, the wings of the bat,—so variously 
formed to obey the behests of volition in denizens of different 
elements—in what, I say, have they differed from the artificial 
instruments which we ourselves plan with foresight and calcu¬ 
lation for analogous uses, save in their greater complexity, in 
their perfection, and in the unity and simplicity of the elements 
which are modified to constitute these several locomotive or¬ 
gans. Everywhere in organic nature we see the means not 
only subservient to an end, but that end accomplished by the 



simplest means. Hence we are compelled to regard the Great 
Cause of all, not like certain philosophic ancients, as a uniform 
and quiescent mind, as an all-pervading anima mundi , but as an 
active and anticipating intelligence. By applying the laws of 
comparative anatomy to the relics of extinct races of animals 
contained in and characterizing the different strata of the earth's 
crust, and corresponding with as many epochs in the earth’s 
history, we make an important step in advance of all preceding 
philosophies, and are able to demonstrate that the same per¬ 
vading, active, and beneficent intelligence which manifests His 
power in our times, has also manifested his power in times long 
anterior to the records of our existence. But we likewise, by 
these investigations, gain a still more important truth, viz., 
that the phenomena of the world do not succeed each other 
with the mechanical sameness attributed to them in the cycles 
of the Epicurean philosophy ; for we are able to demonstrate 
that the different epochs of the history of the earth were attended 
with corresponding changes of organic structure; and that, in 
all these instances of change, the organs, as far as we could 
comprehend their use, were exactly those best suited to the 
functions of the being. Hence we not only show intelligence 
evoking means adapted to the end; but, at successive times 
and periods, producing a change of mechanism adapted to a 
change in external conditions. Thus the highest generaliza¬ 
tions in the science of organic bodies, like the Newtonian laws 
of universal matter, lead to the unequivocal conviction of a 
great First Cause, which is certainly not mechanical. Unfet¬ 
tered by narrow restrictions,—unchecked by the timid and 
unworthy fears of mistrustful minds, clinging, in regard to mere 
physical questions, to beliefs, for which the Author of all truth 
has been pleased to substitute knowledge,—our science becomes 
connected with the loftiest of moral speculations; and I know 
of no topic more fitting to the sentiments with which I desire 
to conclude the present course. If I believed—to use the lan¬ 
guage of a gifted contemporary—that the imagination, the 
feelings, the active intellectual powers, bearing on the business 
of life, and the highest capacities of our nature, were blunted 
and impaired by the study of physiological and palaeontological 
phenomena, I should then regard our science as little better 
than a moral sepulchre, in which, like the strong man, we were 
burying ourselves and those around us in ruins of our own 
creating. But surely we must all believe too firmly in the im¬ 
mutable attributes of that Being, in whom all truth, of whatever 
kind, finds its proper resting-place, to think that the principles 
of physical and moral truth can ever be in lasting collision.” 

At the meeting of the British Association in Aberdeen (1859), 
Sir Charles Lyell announced a forthcoming work by Charles 
Darwin, in which that able zoologist will endeavour to prove 



u that those powers of nature which give rise to races and per¬ 
manent varieties in animals and plants, are the same as those 
which, in much longer periods, produce species, and, in a still 
longer series of ages, give rise to differences of generic rank.” 

It would, of course, be imprudent to criticise this work before 
its appearance; and we may rest assured, that, whatever the 
value of his conclusions, a naturalist like Darwin must add 
vastly to our knowledge of the facts bearing on the subject. 
It is quite safe, however, to assert, that he can never succeed in 
proving that variation and specific unity are attributable to the 
same cause. The continuous reproductive power implanted in 
the species, and the changes impressed on it from without , are, 
like cohesion and heat in reference to the particles of matter— 
opposite influences. The one may counteract or modify the 
other, but cannot take its place. It is easy to understand 
how variation, combined with geographical changes and local 
extinction, may so separate the members of a species as to 
simulate distinctness. It must also be admitted from the ana¬ 
logy of God’s operations, that the creative acts, whatever their 
nature, must, as well as variability, be regulated by some law; 
but the law of variation cannot possibly be identical with the 
law of specific origin and continuation which it modifies, except 
in some such general sense as that in which gravitation may" 
produce disturbances of movements which themselves are pro¬ 
duced by gravitation. But, in such a case, it is absurd to 
maintain that the disturbing cause of attraction from without, 
can have produced the original motions. In the same manner 
all that we know of variability points to the conclusion that it 
is subordinate to specific unity, though subject to the same vital 
laws. Specific origin it cannot reach, though it may imitate 
its effects, and present analogous phases of change, illustrative 
of the real laws of creation of species. It is to be hoped that 
Mr. Darwin will not neglect this distinction, and thus vitiate 
the great mass of facts which he has accumulated, by grouping 
them around an untenable thesis. 

In this connection, I may direct attention to one of the laws 
of variation, not perhaps sufficiently insisted on in the text. 
On any theory of the origin of species, these must always have 
originated in the physical conditions most favourable to their 
existence in the full integrity of their powers. This being ad¬ 
mitted, it follows that variation is always in the direction of 
degeneracy, except where individuals already degenerate are in¬ 
duced by some new and favourable combination of circumstances 
to retrace the steps of their degradation. Observed facts accord 
with this, and show also, that, even under favourable circum¬ 
stances, re-elevation is more slow and difficult than degeneracy. 
While, therefore, it is just conceivable that, a higher form being 
given, lower forms might result from its degeneracy or disinte¬ 
gration, it is impossible that the variation of lower forms could 



result in the production of anything higher. Consequently, 
something beyond and higher than variability is required to 
account for the observed succession of species in time. 


The following synopsis of the instances of the occurrence of 
the words Tannin and Tan will serve to show the propriety of 
the meaning, tc great reptiles,” assigned in the text to the for¬ 
mer, as well as to illustrate tne utility in such cases of “ com¬ 
paring scripture with scripture ” 

1. Tannin. 

Ex. vii. 9.—Take thy rod and 
cast it before Pharaoh, and it 
shall become a serpent. 

Deut. xxxii. 23.—Their vine 
is the poison of dragons. 

Job vii. 12.—Am I a sea or 
a whale , that thou settest a 
watch over me. 

Psal. lxxiv. 14.—Thou didst 
divide the sea by thy strength. 
Thou breakest the heads of the 
dragons in the waters. 

Psalm xci. 13.—The young 
lion and the dragon thou shalt 
trample under foot. 

Psal. cxlviii. 7.—Praise the 
Lord ye dragons and all deeps. 

Is. xxvii. 1.—He shall slay 
the dragon in the midst of the 
sea (river.) 

Is. li. 9.—Hath cut Rahab. 
and wounded the dragon. 

Jer. li. 34.—(Nebuchadnez¬ 
zar) hath swallowed me up as 
a dragon. 

Ezekiel xxix. 3. — Pharaoh, 
king of Egypt, the great dragon 
that lieth in the rivers. 

Probably a serpent, though 
perhaps a crocodile. (Septua- 
gint, 11 IpaKiov.”') 

Perhaps a species of serpent. 
(Sept., 11 Spaicivv.”) 

Michaelis and others think, 
probably correctly, that the 
Nile and the crocodile, both 
objects of vigilance to the 
Egyptians, are intended. (Sep- 
tuagint, 11 Spatctov.”) 

Evidently refers to the des¬ 
truction of the Egyptians in 
the Red Sea, under emblem of 
the crocodile. (Septuagint, 
Spate (i>v. v ) 

The association shows that a 
powerful carnivorous animal is 
meant. (Sept., “ Spatcuv.”) 

Evidently an aquatic crea¬ 
ture. (Sept., “ Spdteiov”) 

A large predaceous aquatic 
animal (the crocodile), used 
here as an emblem of Egypt. 
(Sept., “ Spdtciov”) 

Same as above. 

A large predaceous animal. 
(Sept.,|“ dpdtewv.”') 

In the Hebrew tanim appears 
by mistake for tannin. This 
is clearly the crocodile of the 
Nile. Verses 4 and 5 show 
that it is a large aquatic ani¬ 
mal with scales. (Septuagint, 
11 SpdKUV.") 



2. Tan. 

Psalm xliv. 19.—Thou hast 
sore broken us in the place of 

Is. xxxiv. 13. — (Bozrah in 
Idumea) shall be a habitation 
of dragons and a court of owls 
(or ostriches). 

Is. xliii. 20.—The wild beasts 
shall honour me, the dragons 
and the ostriches, because I 
give water in the wilderness. 

Is. xiii. 22.— Dragons in their 
pleasant palaces. 

Is. xxxv. '7.—And the parch¬ 
ed ground shall become a pool, 
and the thirsty land springs of 
water ; in the habitation of 
dragons where each lay, shall 
be grass with reeds and rushes. 

Job. xxx. 29.—I am a brother 
of dragons and a companion of 

Jer. ix., xi.: 10, 21.—I will 
make Jerusalem heaps, a den 
of dragons. 

Lam. iv. 3.—Even the sea- 
monsters draw out the breast, 
they give suck to their young 
ones. The daughter of my 
people is become cruel, like the 
ostriches in the wilderness. 

Micah i. 8.—I will make a 
wailing like the dragons , and 
mourning like the owls (os¬ 

Some understand this of ship¬ 
wreck ; but, more probably, 
the place of dragons is the de¬ 
sert. (Sept., “ Ka/cuxTts.”) 

An animal inhabiting ruins, 
and associated with the ostrich. 
(Sept., 11 atiprjv.”) 

Evidently an animal of the 
dry deserts. (Sept., “ 

Represented as inhabiting 
the ruins of Babylon, and asso¬ 
ciated with wild beasts of the 
desert. (Sept., “ exlvos.”) 

An animal making its lair or 
nest in dry, parched places. 
(Sept., “5 pyts.”) 

The association indicates an 
animal of the desert, and the 
context that its cry is mourn¬ 
ful. (Sept., “ crupriv 

Same as above. See also 
Jeremiah xlix., xxxii., 51, 37, 
and Mai. i. 3, where the word 
is in the female form ( tanoth ). 
(Septuagint, “ dpaicuv” and 

In the Hebrew text the word 
is Tannin evidently an error 
for Tanim. The suckling of 
young, and association of os¬ 
triches, agree with this. (Sept., 

** dpaKwv.”) 

The wailing cry accords with 
the view of Gesenius that the 
jackal is meant. (Septuagint, 

We learn from the above comparative view, that the tannin 
is an aquatic animal of large size, and predaceous, clothed with 
scales, and a fit emblem of the monarchies of Egypt and Assy- 



ria. In two places, it is possible that some species of serpent 
is denoted by it. We must suppose, therefore, that in Genesis 
i., it denotes large crocodilian, and perhaps serpentiform, rep¬ 
tiles. The Tan is evidently a small mammal of the desert. 


Many recent geological discoveries in Asia, establish and 
confirm the views given in the text, in reference to the creation 
of man and the deluge. 

In a paper on the Geology of the Taurus, by W. W. Smyth, 
Esq., in the 1st vol. of the Journal of the London Geological 
Society, we are informed that the igneous rocks which have 
given to that district its present form and elevation, belong to 
a late tertiary era, and that the same remark probably applies 
to an extensive region extending from Asia Minor and Syria 
into Mesopotamia. 

In a paper on the Geology of the Himalaya, by Col. Strachey, 
in the 7th vol. of the same Journal, we find that while almost 
the whole of India is of comparatively recent elevation above 
the level of the sea, there exists in the Plain of Thibet, an exten¬ 
sive surface of teriiary beds, evidently of aqueous and probably 
of marine origin, and now at an elevation of 16,000 to 17,000 
feet above the sea. The fossils of these beds show that they 
belong to a late tertiary period, but whether their elevation to 
their present great height belongs to the modern or tertiary 
era, we have as yet no means of judging. 

In Prof. Hitchcock’s “Geology of the Globe,” 1853, I find it 
stated, on the authority of M. Dubois, that the process of eleva¬ 
tion in the chain of the Caucasus has extended even into the 
recent era, and it is even suggested that such elevation may 
have occasioned the Noachic deluge. It is said also that ano¬ 
ther geologist finds a peculiar mud deposit in Armenia, which 
he suspects may have been left by the Noachian deluge. This 
may possibly be a continuation of the Tchornozem of Russia, a 
widely diffused surface bed of tertiary mud, described by Sir 
R. I. Murchison, and which is more recent than the pleistocene 
gravels of those regions. It farther appears, from Sir R. I. 
Murchison’s explorations in Russia, that the chain of the Ural 
Mountains, as well as all those regions in Northern Europe and 
Siberia which are covered by the Northern Drift or boulder 
formation, must be added to the recently elevated region of 
Western Asia. He has shewn that in the latest tertiary period, 
the Urals, then a low chain, formed the western coast of a com¬ 
paratively narrow belt of wooded country, extending across 
the southern part of Siberia, while the plains of Northern Europe 
and Northern Siberia were under water. If any considerable 



part of these elevations, and those referred to in the preceding 
part of this note, occurred in the post-Adamie period, and in 
connection with subsidence of the Aralo-Caspian plain, we can 
be at no loss for the physical agencies employed by the 
Almighty in the extinction of the Antediluvian nations. 

For the full exposition of the doctrine of centres of creation, 
referred to in the text, I must refer to an Essay by Prof. E. 
Forbes, in the first volume of the Memoirs of the Geological 
Survey of Great Britain. Prof. Forbes reasons on the assump¬ 
tion of specific centres , or points from which each species 
became diffused; each species being, supposed to be composed 
of descendants from a single pair. On this view, every country 
has been peopled either—1st, by species created within its limits; 
or, 2nd, by species transported to it; or, 3rd, by species which 
have migrated to it. Prof. Forbes reasons at great length on 
the sources of the present Flora and Fauna of the British Islands, 
which he believes to be descended mainly from progenitors 
created before the Human era, but posterior to the Eocene Ter¬ 
tiary, and to have been derived from several sources, through 
the medium of continuous connecting tracts of land since sub¬ 
merged. Were it possible, in the present state of knowledge, to 
obtain a similar collection of facts in reference to the original 
seats of man in Asia, many difficulties in reference to the con¬ 
nection of geological and human history would be at once 


I may refer to the Essay of Dr. Max Muller, on Comparative 
Mythology, for a very clear statement of the character of the 
links that bind together the Indo-European languages. These 
affinities indicate—1. A radical identity of all these tongues. 
2. That they are not derivatives one from another, but all from 
some primitive common source—the “Arian” stock. 3. That 
this ancient stock had attained considerable advancement in 
civilization before its dispersion. Dr. Muller does not attempt 
any comparison with the Semitic tongues, though many of the 
words which he cites as examples invite to such comparisons, 
and the theories on this subject referred to in the text show that 
such comparisons may be profitably made, though many diffi¬ 
culties surround the subject, especially in consequence of the 
very early date at which the Arian and Semitic tongues can be 
shown to have been distinct, and the many movements of popu¬ 
lation that have subsequently occurred. I may merely state 
here that the Semitic type of language has some philological 
claims to be regarded as more ancient and nearer to the primi¬ 
tive stock than the Arian. I may illustrate this by a few of the 



words referred to in the able essay above cited. No terms are 
more constant than those which refer to the nearest family 
relations. Thus the Indo-European languages furnish the fol¬ 
lowing table:— 

Sanscrit. Zend. Greek. Latin. Gothic. Slave. Erse. 

Father, Pit&r, Patar, narrip, Pater, Fadar, - Athair. 

Mother, M&t&r, MS,tar, Mater, - Mate, Mathair. 

Daughter, Duhitar,Dughdhar,0wydrfjp, - Daubtar, Dukte, Dear. 

For the roots of the two first lines of words Muller refers us 
to the Sancrit Pa to protect, and Ma to produce. But this is 
obviously fallacious, since the sounds ma, amma, pa or ba, 
appa, are the first articulate utterances of the infant, and have 
no doubt been adopted by the parents as their own names—the 
sense of protector and producer being secondary, and founded 
on the relation itself. Now, in the Semitic languages we have 
these words in their primary unchanged forms of Jib, Abba, Am, 
Amma, Man; and as early as the date of Job we have Ab used 
in the secondary sense of protection. Again, the word daugh¬ 
ter may be traced to a Sanscrit root signifying to milk, the 
daughter being naturally the milkmaid of the family; but it is 
quite certain that daughters must have been before milkmaids, 
so that this must be an accidental and secondary name ; and it 
has not been introduced among the Semites, who, using the 
term ben, referring to the building up of the family, for the son, 
have the feminine form of the same word for the daughter. These 
are a few out of many instances which might be adduced to 
show that Semite words are more primitive than Arian words. 
So also is Semite grammar, which is undeveloped as to inflex¬ 
ions ; and thus has an unchanged and primordial aspect. If we 
ask reasons for this, we may be referred to the fixed and sta¬ 
tionary character of Semitic civilization in general; and with 
more immediate relation to this subject, to the circumstance 
that these languages were reduced to writing at a very early 
period, and thus had the conservative influence of a literature 
long before it existed in the Arian tongues, which have at a 
comparatively modern period borrowed their alphabets from the 
Semite nations. This view is well stated by Donaldson* :— 

11 The distinctive characteristics of the Semitic languages may 
be said to consist in the generally triliteral form of their unin¬ 
flected words, and in the invariably syntactical contrivances by 
which the whole mechanism of speech is carried on. I seek the 
cause of this in the early adoption of alphabetical writing, in 
the establishment of a literature, and in the unusually frequent 
intermixture of cognate races.” 

* Report Brit. Association, 1851. 



He then proceeds to remark that the Slavonian, one of the 
latest branches of the Indo-European languages to be reduced 
to writing, differs most widely from the Semitic tongues in 
grammatical structure, though not in words. In a subsequent 
passage he thus remarks on the Semitic alphabet:— 

“ The palaeography of the Semitic nations lies half-way be¬ 
tween that of the Greeks and Indians, who adopted no system of 
writing except the alphabetic, and did not make use of this until 
their poetical literature had taken root and begun to flourish; 
and that of the Chinese and Egyptians, who employed picture 
writing instead of their memories from the very earliest period, 
and who never attained to a perfectly abstract and simple 
alphabet. I believe that the first Semitic alphabet was due to 
the Hebrews rather than to the Phenicians. The sacred history 
of this nation tells us that their great legislator was educated 
in Egypt at a time when the phonetic hieroglyphs were in gene¬ 
ral use ; and there cannot be the least doubt that the Phenician 
and Hebrew characters may be traced to particular signs in the 
Egyptian Syllabarium. Some very satisfactory specimens of 
this have been given by Mr. Thurleigh Wedgwood, in the Trans. 
Phil. Soc. ; Yol. 5, No. 101. It has always appeared to me a 
most interesting fact, that we owe our first alphabet to the same 
race from which we derive the foundations of our religion. 
Picture writing and picture-worship are intimately connected. 
Abstraction is anti-idolatrous, and is manifested in the inven¬ 
tion of an alphabet quite as much as in the adoption of a pure 
theism: nor would I quarrel with any one if he thought fit to 
ascribe to the same inspiration the commandments written on 
the two tables of stone, and the simple characters by which 
they expressed their meaning. Be this as it may, it seems pretty 
clear that the Hebrews never had any but an alphabetical sys¬ 
tem, if any; and it is also clear that they had no literature 
except that which was written down alphabetically. The same 
may be said of the other pure races of the Syro-Arabian family ; 
and this alone will explain the permanence and uniformity of 
their syntactical structure.” 

The Bible itself curiously coincides with these deductions of 
philology. Writing is mentioned incidentally in Job, but it 
first appears historically in Exodus. In Joshua, however, there 
is mention of a 11 city of books” or writings—Kirjath Shephar— 
as existing previously in Canaan. An antiquity even Antedilu¬ 
vian is claimed for Semitic words, by their occurring in the 
names of men in that era; and the fact that the races affiliated 
to both Shem and Ham used in common the languages now 
known as Semitic, is abundantly proved by the history of the 
patriarchs and of Egypt. The Semitic languages were conse¬ 
quently those of the first great civilized communities. The 
Bible also is cognizant of the fact of the branching of the 




Arian languages from the primitive stock, as well as of those 
sporadic forms of speech which appertain to rude outlying frag¬ 
ments of the human race everywhere ; and it has a history of 
its own to account for them; namely, the confusion of tongues 
at Babel. This event, which must have occurred within two 
centuries of the deluge, may either have been miraculous or an 
ordinary interposition of Providence. In the former case, we 
must take the statement as it stands, and need not even trouble 
ourselves with the numberless conjectures which have been 
advanced as to its mode of occurrence. In the latter case, it 
becomes a part of the ordinary political history of the world, 
and may be read thus. Within a short time after tk6 deluge, 
many families of men, scattering themselves abroad, and adopt¬ 
ing various modes of life, began very rapidly to differ in their 
modes of thought and expression, and to become isolated from 
each other; processes which would naturally be very rapid in 
the case of small tribes with a slender stock of words, and con¬ 
stantly meeting in their wanderings with new objects, and 
adopting new contrivances and modes of subsistence. To arrest 
these changes, certain leaders attempted to collect all or most 
of these tribes into one civil or national organization; but the 
attempt only showed that the process of separation had al¬ 
ready proceeded too far—that the plans of Divine Providence 
could not be averted by merely political combinations ; and the 
race became dispersed, one portion of it to retain the primitive 
forms of expression, the others to modify indefinitely the con¬ 
struction of speech either in the direction of barbaric rudeness 
or of artificial complexity and polish. 


The current views respecting the relations of ancient mytho¬ 
logies with each other and with the Bible, have been continually 
shifting and oscillating between extremes. The latest and at 
present most popular of these extreme views, is that so well 
expounded by Dr. Max. Muller in the Oxford Essays, and which 
traces at least the Indo-European theogony to a mere personifi¬ 
cation of natural objects. The views given in the text are those 
which to the author appear alone compatible with the Bible, and 
with the relations of Semitic and Arian theology; but, as the 
subject is generally regarded from a quite different point of view, 
a little further explanation may be necessary. 

1. According to the Bible, spiritual monotheism is the primi¬ 
tive faith of man, and with this it ranks the doctrine of a malig¬ 
nant spirit or being opposed to God, and of a primitive state of 
perfection and happiness. It is scarcely necessary to say that 
these doctrines may be found as sub-strata in all the ancient 



2. In the Hebrew theology the fall introduces the new doc¬ 
trine of a mediator or deliverer, human and divine, and an 
external symbolism, that of the cherubic forms, composite figures 
made up of parts of the man, the lion, the ox and the eagle. 
These forms are referred back to Eden, where they are mani¬ 
festly the emblems of the perfections of the Deity, lost to man 
by the fall, and now opposed to his entrance into Eden and 
access to the tree of life, the symbol of his immortal happiness. 
Subsequently, the cherubim are the visible indications of the 
presence of God in the tabernacle and temple ; and in the Apo¬ 
calypse they re-appear as emblems of the Divine perfections, as 
reflected in the character of man redeemed. The cherubim, as 
guardians of the sacred tree, and of sacred places in general, 
appear in the worship of the Assyrians and Egyptians, as the 
winged lions and bulls of the former, and the sphinx of the 
latter. They can also be recognized in the sepulchral monu¬ 
ments of Greek Asia and of Etruria. Further, it was evidently 
an easy step to proceed from these cherubic figures to the ado¬ 
ration of sacred animals. But the cherubic emblems were 
connected with the idea of a coming Redeemer, and this was 
with equal ease perverted into hero-worship. Every great con¬ 
queror, inventor or reformer, was thus recognized as in some 
sense the u coming man,” just as Eve supposed she saw him in 
her first-born. 

3. The earliest ecclesiastical system was the patriarchal, and 
this also admitted of corruption into idolatry. The great 
patriarch, venerable by age and wisdom, when he left this earth 
for the spirit world, was supposed there, in the presence of God, 
to be the special guardian of his children on earth. The greater 
gods of Egypt and of Greece were obviously of this character, 
and in China and Polynesia we see at this day this kind of ido¬ 
latry in a condition of active vitality. 

4. As stated in the text, the mythology of Egypt and Greece 
bears evident marks of having personified certain cosmological 
facts akin to those of the Hebrew narrative of creation. In this 
way ancient idolators disposed of the pre-historic and pre- 
Adamite world, changing it into a period of gods and demi¬ 

5. In all rude and imaginative nations, which have lost the 
distinct idea of the one God, the Creator, nature becomes more or 
less a source of superstitions. Its grand and more rare phe¬ 
nomena of volcanoes, earthquakes, thunder-storms, eclipses, 
become supernatural portents; and as the idea of power asso¬ 
ciates itself with them, they are personified as actual agents 
and become gods. In like manner, the more constant and use¬ 
ful objects and processes of nature, become personified as benefi¬ 
cent deities. This may be, to a great extent, the character of 
the Arian theology$ but, except where all ideas of primitive 



religion and traditions of early history have been lost, it cannot 
be the whole of the religion of any people. The Bible negatively 
recognizes this source of idolatry, in so constantly referring all 
natural phenomena to the divine decree. In connection with 
this, it is worthy of remark, that rude man tends to venerate 
the new animal forms of strange lands. Something of this kind 
has probably led some of the American Indians to give a sort 
of divine honour to the bear. It was in Egypt that man first 
became familiar with the strange and gigantic fauna of Africa, 
whose effect on his mind in primitive times we may gather from 
the book of Job. In Egypt, consequently, there must have been 
a strong natural tendency to the adoration of animals. 

The above origins of idolatry and mythology, as stated or 
implied in the Bible, of course assume that the Semite mono¬ 
theistic religion is the primitive one. The first deviations from it 
probably originated in the family of Ham. A city of the Rephaim 
of Bashan was in the days of Abraham named after Ashteroth 
Karnaim—the two horned Astarte, a female divinity and proto¬ 
type of Diana, and perhaps a historic personage, in whom both 
the moon and the domestic ox were rendered objects of worship. 
This is the earliest Bible notice of idolatry.* In Egypt a mytho¬ 
logy of complex diversity existed at least as far back. We 
must remember, however, that Egypt is Cush as well as Miz- 
raim, and its idolatry is probably to be traced, in the first 
instance, to the Nimrodic empire, from which, as from a com¬ 
mon centre, certain new and irreligious ideas seem to have been 
propagated among all the branches of the human family. It is 
quite probable that the correspondences between Egyptian, 
Greek and Hindoo myths, go back as far as to the time when 
the first despotism was erected on the plain of Shinar, and when 
able but ungodly men set themselves to erect new political and 
social institutions on the ruins of all that their fathers had held 
sacred. In addition to this, the mythology and language of the 
Arians, alike bear the impress of the innovating and restless 
spirit of the sons of Japhet. 

I have stated the above propositions to show that the Bible 
affords a rational and connected theory of the orig : n of the false 
religions of antiquity; and to suggest as inquiries in relation 
to every form of mythology—how much of it is primitive mono¬ 
theism, how much cherub-worship, how much hero-worship, 
how much ancestor-worship, how much distorted cosmogony, 
how much pure idealism and superstition, since all these are 
usually present. I may be allowed further to remind the reader 
how much evidence we have, even in modern times, of the 
strong tendency of the human mind to fall into one or other of 
these forms of idolatry; and to ask him to reflect that really 

■* Except, perhaps. Job xxxi. 27. 



the only effectual conservative element is that of revelation. 
How strong an argument is this for the necessity to man of an 
inspired rule of religious faith. 


It may be anticipated that almost every year will produce 
supposed cases of human remains or works of art in the later 
tertiary deposits. There are so many causes of accidental inter¬ 
mixtures, and ordinary observers are so little aware of the 
sources of error against which it is necessary to guard, that mis¬ 
takes of this kind are inevitable. Even geologists are very 
likely to be misled in investigations of this nature. A remark¬ 
able instance of this, in the case of the delta of the Nile, has 
been already noticed. Another discovery, which has lately 
made some noise in the scientific world, is probably referable to 
the same category. I refer to the supposed occurrence of im¬ 
plements of flint in the gravel at Abbeville in France. This 
was first maintained by M. Boucher de Perthes in 1849, but his 
statements appeared so improbable that little attention was 
given to them. More recently, Mr. Prestwick and Mr. Evans 
have brought the subject before the Royal Society and the 
Society of Antiquaries in England, in connection with the dis¬ 
covery of flint weapons with bones of extinct animals in a cave 
at Brixham. 

Should the objects found in this case prove to be really pro¬ 
ducts of art, and their position be certainly in the pleistocene 
drift, contemporary with the extinct Elephant, Rhinoceros, 
Hyaena, &c., of the west of Europe, then we might with cer¬ 
tainty conclude—First, that the race by which these implements 
were made existed at a period immeasurably more ancient than 
any assigned even by Bunsen’s new chronology, or the myths 
of Egypt or China, to the human species; and secondly, that 
this race is not at all connected with biblical or historical man, 
but must be an extinct species of anthropoid animal, belong¬ 
ing to a prior geological period. That there cannot have been 
any such species before man, and sufficiently intelligent to 
make flint weapons, I am not prepared to maintain; but I do 
not regard the evidence adduced as at all sufficient to establish 
its existence, still less to carry back the human species to a 
period rendered even geologically improbable by the lapse of 
time, and the extinction of nearly all the land-animals in the 
meantime. The defects in the proof, as stated at present, are 
of the following kinds :— 

1. The implements found are not certainly artificial. They 
are described as follows by Mr. Evans, as reported in the 

11 1. Flakes of flint, apparently intended for knives or arrow- 



heads. 2. Pointed implements, usually truncated at the base, 
and varying in length from four to nine inches—possibly used 
as spear or lance heads, which in shape they resemble. 3. 
Oval or almond-shaped implements, from two to nine inches in 
length, and with a cutting edge all round. They have gene¬ 
rally one end more sharply curved than the other, and occa¬ 
sionally even pointed, and were possibly used as sling-stones, 
or as axes, cutting at either end, with a handle bound round the 
centre. The evidence derived from the implements of the first 
form is not of much weight, on account of the extreme simpli¬ 
city of the implements, which at times renders it difficult to 
determine whether they are produced by art or by natural 
causes. This simplicity of form would also prevent the flint 
flakes made at the earliest period from being distinguishable 
from those of a later date. The case is different with the other 
two forms of implements, of which numerous specimens were 
exhibited ; all indisputably worked by the hand of man, and not 
indebted for their shape to any natural configuration or peculiar 
fracture of the flint. They present no analogy in form to the 
well-known implements of the so-called Celtic or stone period, 
which, moreover, have for the most part some portion, if not the 
whole, of their surface ground or polished,, and are frequently 
made from other stones than flint. Those from the drift are, 
on the contrary, never ground, and are exclusively of flint. 
They have, indeed, every appearance of having been fabricated 
by another race of men, who, from the fact that the Celtic stone 
weapons have been found in the superficial soil above the drift 
containing these ruder weapons, as well as from other conside¬ 
rations, must have inhabited this region of the globe at a period 
anterior to its so-called Celtic occupation.” 

The objects found are here admitted to differ from the imple¬ 
ments of the primitive Celts, and they differ in like manner from 
those of the American Indians, which are almost if not quite un- 
distinguishable from those of ancient Europe and Asia. One at 
least of the kinds mentioned has scarcely a semblance of artifi¬ 
cial form, and the others are all merely fractured, not ground 
or polished. In so far as one can judge, without actually in¬ 
specting the specimens, these appear to be fatal defects in their 
claim to be weapons. The observers have evidently not taken 
into consideration the effects of intense frost in splitting flinty 
and jaspery stones. It is easy to find, among the debris of the 
jasper veins of Nova Scotia, for instance, abundance of ready¬ 
made arrow-heads and other weapons; and there is every reason 
to believe that the Indians, and perhaps the aboriginal Celts also, 
sought for and found those naturally split stones which gave 
them the least trouble in the manufacture, just as they selected 
beach pebbles of suitable forms for anchors, pestles and ham¬ 
mers, and hard slates with oblique joints for knives. To these 



natural forms, however, the savage usually adds a little polishing, 
notching, or other adaptation; and this seems to be wanting in 
the greater part of the specimens from Abbeville. 

2. Nothing is more difficult, especially in an uneven country, 
than to ascertain the extent to which old gravels have been 
re-arranged by earthquake waves or land floods. Nor does the 
' occurrence in them of bones of extinct animals prove anything, 
since these are shifted with the gravel. Very careful and de¬ 
tailed observations of the locality would be required to attain 
any certainty on this point. 

3. The places in which gravel pits are dug, are often just 
those to which the aborigines are likely to have resorted for 
their supply of flint weapons. They may have burrowed in the 
gravel for that purpose, and their pits may have been subse¬ 
quently filled up. Farther, savages generally make their imple¬ 
ments as near as possible to the places where they procure the 
raw material; and in making flint weapons, where the material 
abounds, they reject without scruple all except those that are 
most easily worked into form. If of human origin at all, the 
so-called weapons of Abbeville are more like such rejectamenta 
than perfected implements. This would also account for the 
quantity found, which would otherwise seem to be inconsistent 
with the supposition of human workmanship. 

4. The circumstance that no bones or other remains referable 
to man have been found with the flint articles, is more in accord¬ 
ance with the suppositions stated above, than with that of their 
human origin, in any other way than as the rejectamenta of an 
ancient manufacture. 

5. From a summary of the facts given by Sir Charles Lyell 
at the late meeting of the British Association (1859), as the 
result of personal investigations, it appears that the gravels in 
question are Jluviatile and dependent on the present valley of 
the Somme, though still apparently of very great antiquity. 
This places the subject in an entirely different position from 
that in which it was left by Perthes and Prestwick. River 
gravels are often composed of older debris, re-assorted in a 
comparatively short time, and containing tertiary remains inter¬ 
mixed with those that are modern; and it is usually quite 
impossible to determine their age with certainty. Farther, if 
we may judge from American rivers, those of France must, 
when the country was covered with forest,, have been much 
larger than at present; and at the same time their annual freshets 
must have been smaller, so that nothing is more natural than 
that remains of the savage aborigines should be found in beds 
now far removed from the action of the rivers. When to this 
we add the occurrence at intervals of great river inundations, 
we cannot, without a series of investigations bearing on the 
effects of all these changes, allow any great antiquity to be 



claimed for such deposits. The subject is, in short, in such a 
condition at present, that nothing can with safety be affirmed 
with respect to it. 

I may add, that Sir Charles Lyell, while admitting the appa¬ 
rent contemporaneous association of human remains with those 
of extinct animals of the Tertiary period at Brixham, rejects as 
modern the so-called fossil men of Denise in central France, 
which had been associated with the Abbeville discoveries. 




Abraham, . 313 

“ Accommodation,” theory of.... 44 

Agassiz on Species,. 281 

11 on Prophetic Types,. 348 

Animals, Lower, Creation of. 187 

“ Higher, Creation of... 206 

Ansted on Mesozoic Fauna,. 198 

11 on Tertiary Fauna,. 210 

Antediluvians,. 236 

Antiquity of the Earth,. 325 

“ of Man,.299, 308 

Aretz,.. 67, 72, 148 

Astronomy of the Hebrews,. 183 

Atmosphere, constitution of. 130 

11 creation of. 133 

Augustine on creative days,. 106 

Azoic rocks,.. 167, 367 



Bachman on hybridity,. 


Bede on creative days,. 

Beaumont, De, on continents, 



Birds, creation of. 

Bronn on origin of species, .. 

Brachykephalic skulls,. 

Bunsen’s chronology,. 

.. 61 
.. 260 
339, 68 
.. 158 
.. 209 
.. 206 
.. 193 
.. 334 
.. 269 
.. 303 


Carnivora, creation of. 208 

Carpenter on varieties of man,. 271 

Centres of Creation,. 390 

Chaos,.71, 79 

Cosmogony, Hebrew, its objects,.. 17 

“ “ its character,. 26 

11 11 its authority, . 30 

11 of Egypt,.79, 122 

“ of Phenicia,...79,80 

“ of Greece,. 80 

“ of India,.81,123 

“ of Persia,. 122 

Colour of races of men,..266, 277 

Cranial characters in man,. 269 

Creation,. 61 

Cuvier on species,. 249 

* ~ » * * • • / J- V 

Days of creation,. 98 

1st,. 86 

2d,. 130 

3d,. 143 

4th,. 175 

5th,. 187 

6th,. 206 

7th,. 232 

Prophetic,. 127 

Dana on creation,. 118 

11 on creation of plants,. 172 

u on Tertiary Fauna,. 212 

Darwin on species,. 252 

“ on Niata cattle,. 256 

Development in nature,.52, 370 

Deep,. 75 

Desh£,. 160 

Deluge,. 238 

De Candolle on species,. 249 

Design in nature, . 54 

Diodorus Siculus on Egypt,.. 79 

Dolicho-kephalic crania,. 270 


Earth,.66, *72 

“ its foundations,. 148 

Ecclesiastes 1st,. 51 

Eden, conditions of.. 217 

“ site of. 235 

Egypt, Early History of.. 302 

Elohim,.69, 363 

Exodus xxiv. 10,. 137 

Final causes,. 354 

Firmament,. 130 

Foundations of the Earth,.45, 148 

Fluidity, original, of the Earth,. 365 

Genesis i. 1,. 


i. 3, . 


i. 5, . 


i. 6, . 


i. 10, 


i. 11, 


i. 15, 


i. 20, 


i. 24, 


i. 26, 




iv. 23, 

Geology, principles of.. 
Gliddon on races of men, 
Gosse on prochronism,... 
11 Grass,” in Gen. i., .... 

.... 60 
.... 86 
.... 98 

.... 130 
... 147 
... 160 
... 175 
... 187 
... 206 
... 214 
163, 232 
... 27 

... 319 
... 264 
... 203 
... 160 

Hair of races of man,. 267 

Hamite races,. 311 

Harmony of revelation and science,. 339 

Heavens,.64, 140, 175 

Herbivora, creation of. 206 

Hitchcock on creative days,... 114 

Hopkins on Crust of the Globe,. 304 

Horner on Alluvium of Nile, . 304 

Hunt on chemistry of Incandescent Globe, ... 368 


Humboldt on Hebrew poetry,. 21 

Hybridity, laws of... 260 

u in man,. 274 

Incandescence of the Earth . 134 

Japhetite races,. 310 

Jehovah,.69, 363 

Jones, Sir ¥m.. on Indian cosmogony,. 123 

Job 9, 5,. 150 

9, 9,. 182 

28, 152 

28, 26,. 50 

36, 37,. 142 

38, 50,141, 150 

38, 12,. 97 

38,31,. 182 

38, 33,. 50 

Kurtz on days of vision,. 128 

Latham on languages of Africa,.295, 278 

u on radiation of languages,. 296 

Lamech, his poem,. 27 

Laws of nature,. 50 

La Place, nebular hypothesis,. 89 

Land, its creation,.,. 147 

11 geological history of. 157 

Languages, unity of. 391 

Leviticus 11th, .. 188 

Light,. 86 

Logan on Azoic Rocks,. 367 

Luminaries,. 175 

Lyell on origin of species,.332, 370 

Mammals, creation of. 206 

Manetho, chronology of. 303 

Man, creation of. 214 

Menes, his epoch, .. 302 


Mesozoic period,. 195 

Miller on creative days,. 107 

“ on creation of plants,. 167 

tc on origin of species,... 331 

Morton on species,. 249 

Murchison on Azoic Rocks,. 367 

Mythology as related to the Bible,. 394 

Negro races,. 278 

Nimrod,. 241 

Origen on creative days,. 106 

Pentateuch, its authenticity and genuineness, 

Periods, creative. 

Persians, cosmogony of. 

Philology, its evidence on Unity of Man, .... 

Pierce on forms of Continents,. 

Pictet on origin of species,. 

Pickering, classification of Man,. 

Plants, creation of. 

Powell on Genesis,. 

Progress in nature,. 


Proverbs 8,. 

“ 19,. 

Psalms 8,. 

“ 8 , 1 ,. 

“ 8, 28,. 

•« 18,.*.. 

“ 19,. 

“ 90, 1,. 

“ 104,. 

“ 119, 90,. 

“ 119,20,.. 

“ 139,. 

“ 148, 6,. 

« 147, . 

. 361 

. 98 

. 122 

. 294 

. 158 

_330, 372 

. 266 

. 160 

. 39 

.52, 342 

. 203 

..51, 68, 149 

. 76 

. 184 

. 66 

. 51 

. 151 

.. 185 

.. 104 

139, 148, 204 

. 51 

.. 149 

.. 58 

.. 50 

.. 184 



Rakiah, .. 136 

Reptiles,. 190 

Remes,.192, 206 

Reconciliation of Scripture and Geology,. 316 

Shamayim,. 64 

Shemite races,. 311 

Sheretz,. 187 

Spirit of God, agency of, in creation,. 78 

Species, in Genesis 1st,. 163 

11 nature of. 248 

11 unity of origin of. 280 

11 creation of.. 370 

Stereoma ; . 136 

Spheres, Celestial, doctrine of. 46 

Table of Geological chronology,. 323 

“ of Biblical cosmogony,. 350 

Tannin,.189, 388 

Tennyson on types in nature,. 201 

Type in nature,. 56 

Types of mankind,. 35 

Unity of man,. 261 

Unity of nature,. 345 

Varieties, laws of. 253 

Veda, its cosmogony,.... .*. 81 

Vegetation, creation of. 160 


Wallace on species,. 252 

Whales, great, of Gen. 1,. 189 

Wilson on American crania,.,... 270 

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