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to be dealt with in his third volume, as such an open contempt of the most high and ancient Court of Chivalry may seem to deserve.

We cannot conclude without adverting to the very extraordinary industry, perseverance, and ability which Sir Harris Nicolas has brought to bear on the illustration of our national history and antiquities. The mere catalogue of his various works on these subjects would fill several of our pages; but we may mention his 'History of the Battle of Agincourt,' his volume on The Chronology of History,' his separate Memoirs of Secretary Davison, of Lady Jane Grey, of Sir Kenelm Digby, and of Lady Fanshawe and his Notitia Historica,' as some of the most valuable contributions to our historical literature that have appeared of late years; while his publications of the Privy Purse Expenses of Henry VIII., Elizabeth of York, and Edward IV.,' of The Siege of Carlaverock,' The Rolls of Arms of Henry III., of Edward III., and Edward II.,' of 'The Herald's Visitations,' and other manuscripts in the British Museum; and above all, perhaps, his 'Testamenta Vetusta,' are, though less generally known to the public, of equal interest to the antiquary and genealogist. We have not yet mentioned one-half of his separate works on these subjects; in addition to which he is known as one of the most frequent and able contributors to the stores of similar information contained in the Archæologia,' the Retrospective Review,' and other periodical publications. His legal labours on the claims to the Barony of De l'Isle and the Earldom of Devon, in the House of Lords, (which he was mainly instrumental in establishing,) are well known to the profession: while his treatise, just published, On the Law of Adulterine Bastardy,' appears to us not only well qualified to interest almost every class of readers, but entitled to influence most seriously the future deliberations of the House of Peers on questions of that difficult and delicate class.* Meantime his efforts for the reform of the Society of Antiquaries and the Record Commission, in which last he is, we hope, still most usefully engaged-an Augean stable, requiring the labour of such an Hercules-have been enough alone to afford full occupation to any ordinary man, in addition to his professional engagements. And this indefatigable antiquary and historian, whose writings are no less masterly and profound than they are numerous and interesting, was, we believe, a lieutenant in the navy at the close of the war!



*We speak with profound deference-but we do think that it would be extremely hard for the House of Lords to make out a fair show of reason for once more rejecting the claim of the Knollis family to the earldom of Banbury, after the equally lucid and profound argument which Sir H. Nicolas has here put forth in their favour.


ART. II.-Geology considered with Reference to Natural Theology. By the Rev. Wm. Buckland, D.D., Canon of Christchurch, and Professor of Geology in the University of Oxford. London. Svo. (With a volume of plates.) 1835,


IF TF there are any lovers of science yet ignorant of the extent and fertility of the field which geology has laid open,-of the intensity and variety of interest by which those who explore it are repaid, here is a work to astonish and delight them. there are any persons yet deterred from the study of this fascinating science by the once prevalent notion, that the facts, or theories if y you will, that it teaches, tend to weaken the belief in revealed religion, by their apparent inconsistency with the scriptural account of the creation and early history of the globe,-here, in the work of a dignitary of the church, writing, ex cathedrâ, from the headquarters of orthodoxy, they will find the amplest assurances that their impression is not merely erroneous but the very reverse of the truth for that, while its discoveries are not in any degree at variance with the correct interpretation of the Mosaic narrative, there exists no science which can produce more powerful evidence in support of natural religion-none which will be found a more potent auxiliary to revelation by exalting our conviction of the power, and wisdom, and goodness of the Creator.

As this unfounded prejudice has, to a considerable extent, been a stumbling-block in the way of those who would otherwise have been led to delight and instruct themselves by geological research, the Canon of Christchurch, rightly we think, attacks it on the threshold of his work. Its origin he traces to a misconception of the meaning of the terms employed in the Mosaic narrative of the creation, from which it has been unwarrantably inferred that the existence of the universe, as well as of the human race, dates from an epoch of about six thousand years ago. Now there is no question whatever that this notion has been utterly disproved by the discoveries of geology, which demonstrate the surface of our planet not merely to have existed, but to have undergone physical changes very similar to those which affect it at present, and to have been quietly and happily tenanted by a long succession of living creatures, vegetable as well as animal, for countless ages before the epoch from which our scriptural chronology dates, and which was signalized by the first appearance of man.

Whatever difference of opinion may still exist among geologists on other points, this is a truth (as Dr. Buckland remarks) admitted by all observers;-as firmly established, indeed, and on as immoveable evidence, as the Copernican system, the theory of gravi


tation, or any other of the fundamental doctrines of science. Well, then, what follows? Is it wise to endeavour to shirk this established truth-to shut our eyes to it-to avoid the science which teaches it, and thus encourage the foolish and false notion that there is anything in it at variance with Scripture? Surely this would be the way to produce the very evil that is dreaded, the undermining of the faith of many in revelation. On the contrary, if, dismissing the vague ideas on cosmogony they have derived from too literal an acceptation of our necessarily imperfect translation, these timid and unwise friends of revelation will confront the Bible itself with the admitted geological facts, they will satisfy themselves that the inconsistency they have assumed is entirely fanciful. But in the first place, what reason have we to expect to find in the Bible a revelation of geological or other phenomena of natural history, wholly foreign to the object of a volume intended only to be a guide of religious belief and moral conduct? Dr. Buckland justly asks at what point short of a communication of omniscience could such a revelation have stopped, without imperfections similar in kind to that which they impute to the existing narrative of Moses?

'A revelation of so much only of astronomy as was known to Copernicus would have seemed imperfect after the discoveries of Newton; and a revelation of the science of Newton would have appeared defective to La Place: a revelation of all the chemical knowledge of the eighteenth century would have been as deficient in comparison with the information of the present day, as what is now known in this science will probably appear before the termination of another age: in the whole circle of sciences, there is not one to which this argument may not be extended, until we should require from revelation a full development of all the mysterious agencies that uphold the mechanism of the material world. Such a revelation might indeed be suited to beings of a more exalted order than mankind, and the attainment of such knowledge of the works as well as of the ways of God may perhaps form some part of our happiness in a future state; but unless human nature had been constituted otherwise than it is, the above supposed communication of omniscience would have been imparted to creatures utterly incapable of receiving it under any past or present moral or physical condition of the human race; and would have been also at variance with the design of all God's other disclosures of himself, the end of which has uniformly been not to impart intellectual but moral knowledge.'—pp. 15, 16.

Several hypotheses have been proposed with a view of reconciling the phenomena of geology with the brief account of creation which we find in Genesis. Among others, it has been plausibly enough urged that the days' of the Mosaic creation may be understood to imply, not as now a single revolution of the globe, but some other cyclic period of unknown extent. Dr. Buckland, however,


prefers that explanation which is supported by the high authority of Dr. Pusey, the Regius Professor of Hebrew in Oxford, and has the sanction of Dr. Chalmers, Bishop Gleig, and other eminent contemporary divines,-namely, that the phrase employed in the first words of Genesis, ' In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,' may refer to an epoch antecedent to the first day' subsequently spoken of in the fifth verse, and that during this indefinite interval, comprising, perhaps, millions and millions of years, all the physical operations disclosed by geology were going on. Many of the Fathers quoted by Professor Pusey appear to have thus interpreted the commencement of the sacred history, understanding from it that a considerable interval took place between the original creation of the universe related in the first verse, and that series of events of which an account is given in the third and following verses.


Accordingly,' says Professor Pusey, 'in some old editions of the English Bible, where there is no division into verses, you actually find a break at the end of what is now the second verse; and in Luther's Bible (Wittenburg, 1557) you have in addition the figure 1 placed against the third verse, as being the beginning of the account of the creation on the first day. This is just the sort of confirmation which one wished for, because, though one would shrink from the impiety of bending the language of God's book to any other than its obvious meaning, we cannot help fearing lest we might be unconsciously influenced by the floating opinions of our own day, and therefore turn the more anxiously to those who explained Holy Scripture before these theories existed.'-Note, p. 25.

Thus all difficulty arising from the immense antiquity of the globe attested by geology is at once removed. The circumstances related in the succeeding verses must be understood as referring to those immediate changes by which the surface of the earth was prepared for the reception of man. Just as the facts disclosed by astronomy, without detracting aught from the credit of the inspired historian, prove that the sun, and moon, and planetary bodies must have existed previous to the fourth day,' on which he first mentions them as made,' or appointed to serve the office of signs and seasons, and days and years;' so geology in no degree contradicts the real meaning of the text, by proclaiming the fact that the air, the earth, and the waters were peopled by living creatures for innumerable ages before that epoch in the world's history which the sacred historian alone contemplates.




'After all, it should be recollected,' says Dr. Buckland, that the question is not respecting the correctness of the Mosaic narrative, but of our interpretation of it; and still further, it should be borne in mind that the object of this account was, not to state in what manner, but by whom, the world was made. As the prevailing tendency of




men in those early days was to worship the most glorious objects of nature, namely, the sun, and moon, and stars, it should seem to have been one important point in the Mosaic account of creation to guard the Israelites against the polytheism and idolatry of the nations around them, by announcing that all these magnificent celestial bodies were no gods, but the works of One Almighty Creator, to whom alone the worship of mankind is due.'—p. 33.

And, we may add, in this announcement it were unreasonable to expect that a revelation should be made of the details of the mighty work of creation, or of recondite facts relative to the celestial bodies, or the natural history of the globe, contrary to all the received opinions of the day, unfitted to the capacity of those whom the inspired writer immediately addressed, and likely, as such, to distract their attention from the real objects of his mission, namely, to declare the unity of the Godhead, to relate the history of mankind, and to lay down a rule of conduct to be followed by the chosen people. Matters of the former class come neither within the letter nor the spirit of Scriptural revelation. But they have been revealed to us in those physical monuments of his power that God has put before our eyes, giving us at the same time faculties whereby we may interpret them. And we shall surely err as much in denying or wilfully closing our eyes to these magnificent evidences of his wondrous attributes, because of some fancied non-accordance of the letter of Scripture with them, as we could in withholding our belief in the great truths of revelation on the same miserable grounds.*

This preliminary objection being disposed of, our author enters at once upon the main subject of his treatise, namely, the peculiar proofs of design and contrivance, attesting the power, wisdom, and goodness of the Creator, which are unfolded to us by geology. The past history of the globe comprehends two divisions,—that which treats of the changes to which the inorganic world, or gross mineral materials of the earth's crust, have been subjected,-and


* Dr. Buckland himself has afforded in his own writings a striking example of the danger and impolicy of endeavouring to connect geological theories with Scripture. The main object of his Reliquiæ Diluviana' was to exhibit the gravel which covers a large portion of the northern hemisphere, and the curious cave-deposits of the same tract, as the result and the evidence of the Mosaic deluge. Further geological investigations have satisfied the Doctor that this opinion is utterly untenable; and, accordingly, he quietly renounces it in a note to p. 95 of the present work. But may we not justly fear that such persons as have been led by the eloquent arguments of the 'Reliquiæ' to rely on the supposed geological evidences of the deluge as strong confirmation of the authenticity of the inspired narrative, may feel their faith rudely shaken on hearing from the same authority that this fancied corroboration is a fallacy, that the evidence is no evidence at all, and rested on an entire misconstruction of the facts? Would it not have been much better to have avoided altogether the endeavour to support that which needs no extrinsic confirmation, by frail and flimsy theories which the next discovery may upset? Non tali auxilio!'


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