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richly charged with the remains of fish of strangely antique forms.
3. “The earth, for anything that appears to the contrary, may have been made yesterday ! ” Do appearances such as these warrant the inference? Do these human skeletons, in all their various stages of decay, appear as if they had been made yesterday ? Was that bit of coffin, with the soiled tinsel on the one side, and the corroded nail sticking out of the other, made yesterday? Was yonder skull, instead of having ever formed part of a human head, created yesterday, exactly the repulsive looking sort of thing we see it? Indisputably not. Such is the nature of the human mind-such the laws that regulate and control human belief that in the very existence of that church-yard we do and must recognize proof that the world was not made yesterday.
4. But can we stop in our process of inference at the moldering remains of the church-yard? Can we hold that the skull was not created a mere skull, and yet hold that the oyster and cockle shells beneath are not the remains of molluscous animals, but things originally created in exactly their present state, as empty shells ? The supposition is altogether absurd. Such is the constitution of our minds, that we must as certainly hold yonder oyster shell to have once formed part of a mollusk as we hold yonder skull once formed part of a man.
5. And if we can not stop at the skeleton, how stop at the shells ? Why not pass on to the fish ? The evidence of design is quite as irresistible in them as in the human or the molluscous remains above. We can still see the scales which covered them occupying their proper places, with all their nicely designed bars, hooks and nails of attachment; the fins which propelled them through the water, with the multitudi nous pseudo-joints, formed to impart to the rays the proper elasticity, lie widely spread on the stone; the sharp-pointed teeth, constructed like those of fish generally, rather for the purpose of holding fast slippery substances than of mastica tion, still bristle in their jaws; nay, the very plates, spines and scales of the fish on which they fed still lie undigested in their abdomens.
6. We can not stop short at the shells; if the human skull was not created a mere skull, nor the shell a mere dead shell, then the fossil fish could not have been created a mere fossil. There is no broken link in the chain at which to take our stand; and yet, having once recognized the fishes as such, having recognized them as the remains of animals, and not as stones that exist in their original state,
-we stand committed to all the organisms of the geological scale. 7. But we limit the Divine
may be said; could not the Omnipotent First Cause have created all the fossils of the earth, vegetable and animal, in their fossil state? Yes, certainly; the act of their creation, regarded simply as an act of power, does not and can not transcend his infinite ability. He could have created all the mummies of Mexico and of Egypt as such, and all the skeletons of the catacombs of Paris.
8. It would manifest, however, but little reverence for His character to compliment His infinite power at the expense of His infinite wisdom. It would be doing no honor to His name to regard Him as a creator of dead skeletons, mummies, and church-yards. Nay, we could not recognize Him as such, without giving to the winds all those principles of common reason, which, in His goodness, He has imparted to us for our guidance in the ordinary affairs of life. In this, as in that higher sense adduced by our Savior, “ God is not the God of the dead, but of the living.”
9. In the celebrated case of Eugene Aram, the skeleton of his victim, the murdered Clark, was found in a cave; but how, asked the criminal, in his singular, ingenious, and elo quent defense, could that skeleton be known to be Clark's! The cave, he argued, had once been a hermitage; and in times past hermitages had been places not only of religious retirement but of burial also. 66 And it has scarce or ever been heard of,” he continued, “but that every cell now known contains or contained those relics of humanity,—some mutilated, some entire. Give me leave to remind the court that here sat solitary sanctity, and here the hermit and the anchorite hoped that repose for their bones when dead, they here enjoyed when living. Every place conceals such remains. In fields, on hills, on high-way sides, on wastes, on commons, lie fragments and unsuspected bones. But must some of the living be made answerable for all the bones that earth has concealed and chance exposed ?”
10. Such were the reasonings, on this count, of Eugene Aram; and it behooved the jury that sat upon him in judg. ment to bestow upon them their careful consideration. But how very different might not his line of argument have been, had the conclusions of the anti-geologist squared with the principles of human belief! If the fossil exuviæ of a fish, or the fossil skeleton of a reptile, may have never belonged to either a reptile or a fish, then the skeleton of a man may have never belonged to man. No more could be argued, Aram might have said, from the finding of a human skeleton in the floor of a cave, than from the finding of a pebble or a piece of rock in the floor of a cave. So far from being justified in inferring from it that a murder had been perpetrated, a jury could not have so much as inferred from it that a human creature had existed.
LXIV.-THE SAME SUBJECT CONTINUED.
1. Is the anti-geologist, I would fain ask, prepared to give up the great argument founded on design, as asserted and illustrated by all the master-minds who have written on the evidences? Is he resolved, in the vain hope of bearing down the geologist, to make a full surrender to the infidel ? Let us mark how Paley's well-known illustration of the watch found out on the moor would apply in this controversy. From the design exhibited in the construction of the watch, the existence of a designer is inferred, whereas, from a stone found on the same moor, in which no marks of design are apparent, the archdeacon urges that no such inference regarding the existence of a designer could be drawn.
2. But what would be thought of the man who could assert that the watch, with all its seeming design, was not a watch but a stone; and that, notwithstanding its spring, its wheels, and its index, it had never been intended to measure time? What could be said of a sturdily avowed belief in a design not designed, and not the work of a designer-in a watch furnished with all the parts of a watch, that is, notwithstanding, a mere stone, and occupies just its proper place when lying among the other stones of the moor? What could be said of such a belief, paraded not simply as a belief, but actually as of the nature of reasoning and fitted to bear weight in controversy? And yet such is the position of the anti-geologist, who sees in the earth, with all its fossils, no evidence that it might not have been created yesterday.
3. For, obvious it is that, in whatever has been designed, fitness of parts bears reference to the proposed object, which the design subserves; and that if there be no proposed object, there can exist no fitness of parts in relation to it, and, in reality, no design. The analogy drawn in the case from the miracle of creation is no analogy at all.
4. It is not contrary to the laws which control humar belief that the first races of every succeeding generation should have been called into existence in a state of fuli development; nay, it is in palpable and harmonious accord. ance with these laws. It is necessary that the animal which had no parents to care and provide for it should come into existence in a state of maturity sufficient to enable it to care and provide for itself; it is equally necessary that the contemporary vegetable, its food, should be created in a condition that fitted it for being food.
5. Had the first man and the first woman been created mere infants, they would, humanly speaking, have shared the fate of the “babes in the wood.” Had the productions of the vegetable kingdom been created in an analogous state of immaturity, “the horse," to borrow from an old proverb, " would have died while the grass was growing.” But it is contrary to the laws which control human belief, that the all-wise Creator should be a maker of church-yards full of the broken debris of carcasses,—of skeletons never proposed to compose the framework of animals,—of watches never intended to do aught than perform the part of stones.
LXV.- BACHELOR'S HALL.
1. Bachelor's hall! What a quare lookin' place it is !
Save me from such all the days o’
Niver at all to be gettin' a wife !
2. Pots, dishes, an' pans, an' such grasy commodities,
Ashes and praty-skins, kiver the floor;
Things that had niver been neighbors before.