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PREFACE.

A

REASON for offering to public notice a new

book is generally required, and the occasion of this present addition to the already burdened store is soon told. The following attempt to trace, in a popular manner, the harmony between Nature and Scripture in their revelations concerning the periods of the Creation, owes its origin to some anxious considerations, induced by certain startling statements made at a late Meeting of the British Association, respecting the Earth's vast Antiquity. Search was, in consequence, made for some Treatise which specifically might elucidate, in consistency with the Divine Revelation, the facts of an Archaic Earth; but no such Work being found, a personal investigation of the subject was undertaken. This happily resulted in the removal of the many entertained doubts and scruples. It then was conceived that a course of argument, which thus had satisfied an individual enquirer, might also prove no less useful and satisfactory to that still numerous class, whose hesitating opinions, or unremoved prejudices, yet cloud their perception of those beautiful accordances ever really pervading and evidencing the one August source alike of the Word and Works of God.

That settled opinions should be entertained on this interesting subject, cannot be an unimportant matter, either as it regards our handling the objections of the scoffer, or the serenity of our own minds. These are not times when any one who duly estimates the invaluable interests dependent upon religious influences, can shut his eyes to the novel lights shed from the marvellous discoveries of Modern Science, or be indifferent to the harmony the Written Revelations in the Bible may present to these other advancing revelations the Almighty continually is making to us in Nature's Book.

Many are the theories—for the most part founded upon some compromise either on the side of Scripture or of Science-which have been put forth for the purpose of establishing this desirable accordance : its satisfactory solution, upon a basis preserving in their entirety the integrity of both Records—the Operated and the Written alike-would be a result of no mean importance to the sacred cause of Truth.

The present humble endeavour, in furtherance of this consummation, pretends not to any novelty of scientific research, nor to any originality of Biblical criticism. The considerations offered in the following Work for the purpose of manifesting the harmony which may be heard to echo from the Archives of Nature and the Records of Inspiration in their concurrent revelations concerning an Archaic Earth, are chiefly deduced from many elaborate Works dedicated more immediately to other objects. All, therefore, professed now to be accomplished, is to have collected various scattered rays, and brought them to reflect their concentrated light in elucidation of the one subject here under enquiry ;-a subject interesting, it is conceived, no less to every reflecting mind than to the professed Theologian: for surely the claimed vast Antiquity of this Globe on which he lives-so far removed, according to its professed Archaic monuments, beyond the historic period of our own human Annals—can hardly be devoid of soul-stirring considerations, and of deeply instructive matters of research, to any one in the ordinary sphere of intelligent society.

It is for this class of readers, then, and not for the professedly scientific, that the ensuing pages are designed ; and ample will be their reward, should they in any degree tend to bring about the publiclyexpressed wish of one of our most eminent British Naturaliststhat the day may speedily arrive when the creed of the people and the creed of the philosopher may be one. It is thus we may hope that the grand end of all true philosophy may be achieved, in the higher exaltation of the Almighty's glory, by a more intelligent and adoring survey of the Wisdom, Immensity, and Benevolence of His Works.

The course of argument pursued in the following investigation has been, in the first Chapter, to show, from the necessities of the case, arising from the manifestly gradual unfolding of the phenomena of the Universe,--and no less from the evident structure and design of the Word of God,-what are the required principles of interpretation which ordinarily should be applied to the Scriptural Record of Natural Facts.

Seeing from these considerations that occasional modifications of our pre-existing opinions may, in the progressive disclosures of Nature, be demanded, there is then, in the second Chapter, popularly stated, some of those chief evidences of the Earth's Antiquity which, by their recent development, claim that our currently-entertained interpretations of the Mosaic Record of Creation should be brought more into accordance with the advancing revelations God has thus vouchsafed of His mighty Works.

It is then, in the third Chapter, attempted to be shown, by a critical examination of the text of the Mosaic Record, in what manner the fact of an Archaic Earth may thus, in sweet accord, be seen to harmonize with the literalities of the Inspired Revelation of the Creation ;-and a train of concurrent testimony to this happy accordance is, in an Appendix to this Chapter, cited from miscellaneous writers both of ancient and modern date.

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