« AnkstesnisTęsti »
Ye chief, for whom the whole creation smiles,
Should Fate command me to the farthest verge
Geological Proof of a Deity.
This interesting extract is from the admirable “ Bridgewater Treatise of this eminent geologist, now Dean of Westminster.
If it is admitted to be the high and peculiar privilege of our human nature, and a devotional exercise of our most exalted facul. ties, to extend our thoughts towards immensity and into eternity, to gaze on the marvellous beauty that pervades the material world, and to comprehend that witness of himself, which the
Author of the universe has set before us in the visible works of his creation; it is clear that next to the study of those distant worlds which engage the contemplation of the astronomer, the largest and most sublime subject of physical inquiry which can occupy the mind of man, and by far the most interesting, from the personal concern we have in it, is the history of the formation and structure of the planet on which we dwell, of the many and wonderful revolutions through which it has passed, of the vast and various changes in organic life that have followed one another upon its surface, and of its multifarious adaptations to the support of its present inhabitants, and to the physical and moral condition of the human
These, and kindred branches of inquiry, co-extensive with the very matter of the globe itself, form the proper subject of geology, duly and cautiously pursued, as a legitimate branch of inductive science: the history of the mineral kingdom is exclusively its own; and of
the other two great departments of nature, which form the vegetable and animal kingdoms, the foundations were laid in ages whose records are entombed in the interior of earth, and are recovered only by the labours of the geologist, who, in the petrified organic remains of former conditions of
our planet, deciphers documents of the wisdom in which the world was created.
Shall any longer then be said, that a science, which unfolds such abundant evidence of the being and attributes of God, can reasonably be viewed in any other light than as the efficient auxiliary and handmaid of religion? Some few there still may be, whom timidity or prejudice, or want of opportunity, allow not to examine its evidence, who are alarmed by the novelty, or surprised by the extent and magnitude of the views which geology forces on their attention, and who would rather have kept closed the volume of witness, which has been sealed up for ages beneath the surface of the earth, than impose on the student in natural theology the duty of investigating its contents; a duty in which, for lack of experience, they may anticipate a hazardous or a laborious task, but which by those engaged in it is found to afford a rational, and righteous, and delightful exercise of their highest faculties, in mul. tiplying the evidences of the existence, and attributes, and providence of God.
The alarm, however, which was excited by the novelty of its first discoveries, has well nigh passed away; and those to whom it has been permitted to be the humble instruments of their promulgation, and who have steadily persevered, under the firm assurance that "truth can never be opposed to truth," and that the works of God when rightly understood, and viewed in their true relations, and from a right position, would at length be found to be in perfect accordance with his Word, are now receiving their high reward, in finding difficulties vanish, objections gradually with. drawn, and in seeing the evidence of geology admitted into the list of witnesses to the truth of the great fundamental doctrines of theology
The whole course of geological inquiry shows that the physical history of our globe, in which some have seen only waste, disorder, and confusion, teems with endless examples of economy, and order, and design: and the result of all our researches, carried back through the unwritten records of past time, has been to fix more steadily our assurance of the existence of One supreme Creator of all things, to exalt more highly our conviction of the immensity of his perfections, of his might and majesty, his wisdom, and goodness, and all-sustaining providence, and to penetrate our under. standing with profound and sensible perception of the “high veneration man's intellect owes to God.” The earth from her deep foundations unites with the celestial orbs that roll through bound. less space, to declare the glory and show forth the praise of their common Author and Preserver; and the voice of natural religion accords harmoniously with the testimonies of revelation, in ascribing the origin of the universe to the will of One eternal and domi. nant Intelligence, the Almighty Lord, and Supreme First Cause of all things that subsist," the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever,”
" before the mountains were brought forth, or even the earth and the world were made, God from everlasting, and world without end.”
Ode to fancy.
J. WARTON. JOSEPH WARTON, the brother of Thomas Warton, was born in 1722 ; died in 1800. He was, in 1776, appointed head master of Winchester School, which he held for near thirty years. Although not equal to his brother as a poet, the polish and smoothness of his versification are not excelled.
O parent of each lovely Muse,
O nymph with loosely flowing hair,
While the various landscape lies