Page images

has been antiently borrowed from the writings of Moses, yet that these writings may be false? Into the veracity of these writings we are not now enquiring. Our subject is Natural Theology.-Mark then in what state the objection leaves the case. We have the fact admitted, admitted by the objector, of this general tradition of a deluge; a tradition borrowed, as he affirms, from the writings of Moses, but borrowed by the heathen world, be it observed, ancient and modern, of whose component nations not one ever embraced the revelation of Moses, not one ever acknowleged his authority; nations of whom the principal number are totally ignorant, that there ever were such writings, or that such a man ever existed. Let the objector explain, why it was that the heathen nations borrowed and adopted any fact from the writings of Moses. When he has furnished that explanation, let him satisfy us why, amidst their rejection of the authority of Moses, a general Deluge was singled out from his narrative, as worthy of concurrent adoption. Assuredly, he will not say, that it was singled out by Greeks, and by Romans, by Americans, and by Hindoos, because they had

examined into the strata of the earth, and had discovered, that the disruptions and dislocations could have been produced only by a universal Deluge; because they were convinced, that the bones of Elephants and Hippopotami could have been imbedded in the cliffs of Essex, and the terrestrial animals and the corallines of the Torrid Zone have been scattered over the Arctic

Circle, only by a universal Deluge. If then without these additional data, if without this new ground on which in our day Natural Theology advances firmly to fix her foot, if without a particle of reverence for the revelation of Moses, if in general ignorance of the existence of his writings, and of himself, the heathen world has ever concurred, and now concurs, in maintaining the existence of a general Deluge, what reason can be assigned for this extraordinary concurrence of tradition? This reason, and this alone that such a Deluge actually took place; and that the memory of a catastrophe so tremendous natu rally was conveyed from father to son, in successive generations of descent from the individuals who were preserved amidst the destruction of mankind, and is still manifesting its ves

[ocr errors]

tiges, is still bearing witness to the truth, in the
sentiments and tenets even of savages and idola-


Possibly, however, there may be persons in-
clined to hazard a doubt, whether the tradition,
though decisively established, be a circumstance
properly within the scope and province of Natu-
ral Theology. On what foundation could such
a doubt be rested? Is not the general tradition
respecting a Deluge a positive fact? Is it not a
fact as distinct and demonstrable as the disar-
rangement of the strata in the Alps, or the dis-
covery of an uncorrupted Rhinoceros in Siberia;
a fact, which by observation and natural reason
man is capable of ascertaining; a fact manifest-
ing in its fair inferences an important bearing on
the knowledge to be attained, independently of
Revelation, concerning the Deity, and our rela-
tions to him? There is not, there cannot be, a
fact, whatever be its nature, whatever be the place,
or the time, or the mode, of ascertaining it, to
which this description applies, which is not right-
fully and completely within the scope

and pro

* Page 1. supra.

vince of Natural Theology. Every such fact she claims; every such fact she will employ. In no case ought such facts to be seized with so great earnestness, and employed with so warm satisfaction, as when it is perceived that they sus tain by fair and direct induction some of the special and peculiar truths, which lie at the root of the gracious plan of Salvation through a Redeemer*.

* Page 4. supra.



WHEN We examine the internal state of the earth, we find that to the lowest depth to which they have been perforated by human industry* they do not consist wholly of those materials which are usually discernible on the surface. Amidst layers of those materials, variously modified and combined, sometimes in a state of friability, more frequently indurated into stone, we discover veins and deposits of other substances, characterised by other and diversified properties. With these substances, and particularly with those among them which are of a metallic nature, and also with coal,

*The deepest mine in the world is said to be in Bohemia, and to have penetrated three thousand feet.Townsend, p. 216. The deepest coal mine is reported to be at Namur, and to descend two thousand four hundred feet. Kirwan, p. 296.


« PreviousContinue »