Edward Hitchcock, D.D., LL.D.,
Professor in Amherst College,


Charles H. Hitchcock, A.M.,
Lecturer on Zoölogy and Curator of the Cabinets in Amherst College.

31st. Edition

Ivison, Phinney & Co.,
New York,


430 pages + 420 Figures,

This electronic edition prepared by Dr. David C. Bossard
from original documents in his personal library.

November, 2005

Copyright © 2005 by Dr. David C. Bossard.  All rights reserved.


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Part I. will embrace exclusively the description of the structure and composition of the rocks, and the forces concerned in their production. This is Descriptive and Dynamical Geology. Part II. will treat of the character and distribution of organic remains. As Geology has an important bearing upon other subjects, we shall consider in Parts III. and IV. The Relations of Geology to Religion and to the Economical interests of society.i  A brief account of the Geological structure of North America, in Part V., will conclude the treatise.

PREFACE  7  007  008

CONTENTS 9  009  010

INTRODUCTORY NOTICE by Dr. J. Pye Smith (1841) 11  011  012  013  014

"Geology has close relations to every branch of Natural History and to all the physical sciences, so that no district of that vast domain can be cultivated without awakening trains of thought leading to geological questions. ... Within a very few years, the interior of every continent of the earth has been surveyed with an intelligence and accuracy beyond all example...and the men to whom we owe so much, and from whom so much more is justly expected, are geologists, as well as transcendent naturalists in the other departments.

"This work of Professor Hitchcock appears to me especially suited in the hands of the intelligent and studious ministers of Christ. ...I did not till recently know that he was 'a faithful brother and fellow-laborer in the gospel of Christ.' It is my earnest prayer that great blessings from the God of all grace may attend the labors of my honored friend." [March 16, 1841].


Section I.-- General structure of the earth, and the Principles of Classification. 15  015  016  017 

[015] Geology is a history, not merely in the sense of description, but as a record of events. It narrates the condition of things from the period previous to the existence of organic life, through successive dynasties of more perfect races, to the dominion of man. Physical catastrophes, and the birth and extinction of races, are indellibly written upon the stony leaves of natures' volume.

Stratified Rocks 18  018  019  020  021  022  023  024  025  026

Concretionary Structures 27  027  028  029

Unstratified Rocks 30  030  031  032  033  034  035  036  037

Formations 38  038  039

Classification of Rocks.  040  041  042  043  044  045  046

[045] Classification founded upon Palaeontology; that is, organic remains:
1. Palaeozoic Period: Silurian, Devonian, Carboniferous, Permian.
Distinguishing features: 1. Absence of mammals and birds; 2. Many Cephalopods (like Nautilis) not found afterwards; 3. Many Brachiopods; Many Trilobite crustaceans, of which we find no trace afterwards; 4. Many singular anumals called Crinoids; 4. Polyps and Corals of peculiar types.

2. Secondary Period: Triassic Jurassic, Cretaceous (Palaeosaurian period)
Distinguishing features: 1. Small marsupial quadrupeds; 2. Enormous reptiles; 3. Many shells: Ammonites & Belemnites; 4. Echinoderms (like Sea Stars); 5. Polyps

3. Tertiary Period: Tertiary Epoch (Mammiferous period)
Distinguishing features: 1. Many mammals; 2. Reptiles & fish of near-modern form; 3. Disappearance of Ammonites & Belemnites.

4. Quaternary and Modern Period: Diluvian and Modern Epoch.
Distinguishing features: Appearance of Man.

Section II.-- The Chemistry and Mineralogy of Geology 47  047  048  049  050  051  052  053  054  055  056  057  058

[048] The largest part of the known mass of the globe is these binary compounds (by mass): Silica (45%), Alumina (10%), Lime (14%), Magnesia, Potassa (7%), Soda (6%), Oxide of Iron (3%), Oxide of Manganese (under 1%), Water, and Carbonic Acid.

Section III.-- Lithological characters of the Rocks 59  059 

I. Stratified Rocks 60  060  061

II. Palaeozoic system (Cambrian or Huronian, Silurian, Devonian or Old Red Sandstone, Carboniferous, Permian) 62  062  063  064  065  066

III. Mesozoic System (1. Trias or New Red Sandstone; 2. Jurassic: Lias, Oolite; 3. Cretaceous or Chalk series) 67  067  068  069

IV. Cainozoic System (1. Tertiary: Eocene, Miocene, Pliocene; 2. Alluvium: Drift Period, Beach Period, Terrace Period, Historic Period) 70  070  071  072  073  074  075

V. Unstratified or Igneous Rocks (1. Granitic, 2. Trappean, 3. Volcanic) 76  076  077  078  079  080  081  082  083  084  085  086  087  088  089  090  091  092  093

Section IV.-- Operation of Atmospheric and Aqueous Agencies in Producing Geological Changes 94  094  095  096 

[094] The basis of nearly all correct reasoning in geology, is the analogy between the phenomena of nature in all periods of the world's history: in other words, similar effects are supposed to be the result of similar causes at all times. This principle is founded on a belief in the constancy of nature; or that natural operations are the result of only one general system, which is regulated by invariable laws.

Glaciers 97  097  098  099  100  101  102  103  104  105  106  107

Rivers 108  108  109  110  111  112  113

Agency of the Ocean 114   114  115  116  117  118  119  120  121  122  123  124  125  126

Waves and Tides 116 Oceanic currents 117 Denudation 119 Chemical Deposits 121

Surface geology 127

Drift 127  127  128  129  130  131  132  133  134  135  136  137  138  139  140  141  142

Former extent of Glaciers 141

Modified Drift 143  143  144  145  146  147  148  149  150  151  152

Theories of Surface Geology 153  153  154  155  156  157  158  159  160  161

Iceberg Theory 154  Elevations and earthquake Theory 154 glacier Theory 154 elevation and submergence 156

The Historic Period 162  162

The Agency of Man in Producing geological changes 163  163

Coral Reefs 164  164  165  166  167  168  169

Section V.-- Operation of Igneous Agencies in Producing Geological changes 170  170  171 

Phenomena of an Eruption 172  172  173  174  175

Dynamics of Volcanic Agency 176  176  177  178  179  180

Extinct Volcanoes 181  181  182

Earthquakes 183  183  184

Thermal Springs 185  185  186  187

Termperature of the Interior of the Earth. 188  188  189  190  191  192  193  194  195

Former Igneous Fluidity of the Earth 194

Effects of the Earth's Refrigeration 196  196  197  198  199  200  201  202

Depression of the Beds of Oceans 198

Vertical Movements of Continents 199

Folding of Strata 201

Configuration of the Earth's Surface 203  203  204  205  206  207

Elevation of Mountains and Systems of Mountains 207

The Earliest State of the Earth 208  208

Geology of Other Worlds 209  209  210

Section VI. -- Metamorphism of Rocks 211  211  212  213  214  215 

Agents of Metamorphism: Heat, Water 211, the Atmosphere 215, Galvanism 216,

Plasticity of older rocks subsequent to their consolidation. 216  216  217  218  219  220  221  222  223

Inferences from metamorphism 224  224  225  226  227  228  229  230  231  232

1. azoic schists may be interstratified with fossiliferous strata. 225

2. The Process of metamorphism is still going on. 225

3. The earliest rocks may have all disappearred 226

4. A plausible theory of the origin of azoic stratified rocks. 226

5. Metamorphism may have obliterated successive systems of life 227

6. Metamorphism throws light upon the origin of the granitic rocks 228

7. Metamorphism throws light upon the formation of dykes and veins 229

8. Most rocks have undergone several entire changes since their original production. 230

9. The entire crust of the globe has undergone metamorphism, and is not now in the condition in which it was created. 231


Section I.-- Preliminary definitions and Principles 233  233  234  235  236  237  238  239  240  241  242  243  244  245

Preliminaries 233
1. Character of Fossils 233

2. Nature and Process of Petrifaction 235

3. Means of determining the Nature of Organic Remains 235

Classification of Living Plants and Animals 236


Flowering Plants (Phanerogamia): Plants which produce real flowers with stamens, pistils and seeds.

Exogens or dicotyledons
Plants increase by rings on the outside
Seed opening into two or more parts called cotyledons.
Most common trees and herbs.

Endogens or monocotyledons
Plants increase by threads or fiber bundles from within.
Seed has only one cotyledon.
Leaves have parallel veins.
grasses, rushes, bulbous plants, palms.

Flowerless Plants (Cryptogamia): Plants without flowers and propagating by spores instead of seeds.

Acrogens: Ferns, horsetails, club mosses.

Anophytes: Mosses, liverworts

Thallophytes: algae, lichens, fungi or mushrooms.

Fauna: Four major Subkingdoms:

Vertebrata: Mammals, Birds, Reptiles, Fishes

Articulata: Worms, Crustacea, Insects (Agassiz divisions)

Mollusca: Acephala, Gasteropods, Cephalopods (Agassiz)

Radiata: Polypi, Acalephae, Echinoderms (Agassiz)

[243] It is a moderate estimate to say, that two-thirds of the surface of our existing continents are composed of fossiliferous rocks; and these often several thousand feet thick.

Ichnology = the science of tracks, lithichnozoa

[244] The first scientific account of fossil footmarks, was in 1828...In 1836, the first description was given of the tracks in that most prolific of all localities, the valley of Connecticut river...so many other localities have been discovered in Europe and America, that scarcely any fossiliferous formation is now without its footmarks.

Section II.-- Palaeontological Characters of the Rocks 246  246 

[246] Organic remains are not thrown together confusedly in the rocks, but each of the great rock formations has its peculiar fossils, which are not found in the formations above or below.

1. Cambrian or Huronian System. 247  247

2. Lower Silurian System 248  248  249  250  251  252  253  254  255  256  257  258
Flowerless plants and invertebrate animals only. Crustaceans highest class of animals.

Fucoids (a sea weed); Polypi - coral reef formations secreted by Anthozoa; Graptolites; brachiopods (bivalves with unequal valve); Conchifers, Gasteropods (Bellerophon); Cephalopods; Echinodermata (star fishes, crinoids); Crustacea (Trilobites),

[255] Crustaceans form the highest order of articulated nimals. By far the most remarkable group of them in the earlier or palaeozoic rocks are the Trilobites.

3. Upper silurian Period 259  259  260  261  262  263  264
Mostly marine plants (algae or sea-weeds). A few vertebral animals appear.

Polyps (chain corals). Conchifers well represented, Cephalopods, Crinoids abundant, Echinoderms, star fish, trilobites,. fishes at the end of period.,

4. Devonian Period 265  265  266  267  268  269  270  271  272
Great development of fishes in this periiod. Reptiles begin to appear.

sea weeds, some land plants: monocots & conifers. Polyps (corals - Favosites, Astrea rugosa), Brachiopods (Spirifer), Conchifers, trilobites,

fish divisions based on the form of the scales (Agassiz): 1. Placoids (enameled plates); 2. Ganoids (sim. to teeth enamel); 3. Ctenoids (toothed or comb-like scales); 4. Cycloids (circular plates without enamel).

[270] We cannot but remark here, how entirely opposed are these facts to a prevalent hypothesis that the different sorts of animals in the rocks, as we ascend, have been slowly changed from one into the other by a natural process.

5. Carboniferous period 273   273  274  275  276  277  278  279  280  281  282  283  284  285
Abundant remains of terrestrial plants in the coal measures.  Previously it would seem that not much dry land existed, certainly not in a condition for producing vegetation. Flowering plants begin to appear. First large animals. Insects (scorpions & spiders).

mostly flowerless plants, many grew to tree-like size: Acrogens: ferns and lycopods. Many grew into large trees. Stigmaria = roots of Sigillaria (ferns); lycopods (club mosses - lepidodendron), equisetaceae (horse-tails, cattails, rushes - Calamites), Asterophyllileae (Acrogens, with aster-like flowers). Dicots: coniferae (pine tribe),

Animals: Foraminifera family; Bryozoa, Cephalopods (possess horny beaks frequently found fossil), Nautilids, Ammonites, Crinoids, insects: Arachnids (spiders, scorpions),  Amphibious reptiles (Labyrinthodontia, Ganocephala): similar to lizards, crocodiles, frogs, salamanders,

>Acrogens, lycopods, stigmaria, lepidodendron, nautilis, syphuncle, ammonites, heterocercal, homocercal

6. Permian Period 286   286  287
Plants and animals much like preceding period. Reptiles numerous.

[287] This is the last of the Palaeozoic deposits. Common features:
1. Total absence of birds and mammals, and rarety of vertebrates other than fish.
2. Among Molluscs, many cephalopods with simple divisions between chambers, and by brachiopods.
3. Numerous trilobites, which vanish from later periods.

7. Triassic Period 288  288  289  290  291  292
Fossils less numerous than earlier and later formations. Many reptiles. Labyrinthodonts - size of largest crocodiles of persent day. Perhaps a toad or salamander. Marsupials begin to appear toward end of period.

[282] All fishes below the Trias have one remarkable peculiarity - heterocercal tails. The vertebral column, or backbone, is prolonged far into the upper lobe of the tail (like the sharks, sturgeons and dogfish). Most modern fish have homocercal tails, with symmetrical tails.

8. Jurassic or Oolitic Period 293  293  294  295  296  297  298  299  300  301  302  303  304  305  306307  308  309  310  311  312  313  314  315  316  317  318  319
Numerous fossils.  Plants: No angiosperms. Gymnosperms - Conifers, Cycadacea. Animals: Bivalves & univalves abundant. Cephalopods highly developed. Belemnites (similar to modern cuttlefish with ink sac), many ammonites of large size (up to 3 feet diameter),  Myrapods (centipedes), winged insects (Libellula), homocercal fishes,

Many reptiles: Ichthyosaurus, Plesiosaurus, Megalosaurus, Iguanodon, Pterosaurians (flying reptile), Pterodactyls, Crocodiles.

Birds: Only tracks found. Numerous fossil footmarks found in Connecticut Valley.

Mammals: Marsupials mostly small size. Some insect-eaters.

9. Cretaceous Period 320  320  321  322  323  324  325  326  327
Animals abundant. Many sponges. Numerous microscopic formainifers form nearly half the chalk of northern Europe.

reptile: Mososaurus (herbivorous saurian, up to 25 ft. length).

[328] This is the end of the Secondary (Mesozoic) period. Common features:
1. Mammals rare, Marsupials only, of small size.
2. Reptiles have immense development. Great size and abundance
3. Ammonites and belemnites belong exclusively to this peirod.
4. Echinoderms different from Palaeozoic Period. Great development
5. Polypi of unique groups characteristic of this period.

10. Tertiary Period 328  328  329  330  331  332  333  334  335  336  337  338  339  340
Animals of this period bear a strong resemblance to existing plants and animals.

Plants: Angiosperms, Dicotyledons, and Monocots all abundant, including fruits of plants.

Animals: Many protozoa (foraminifera),  Nummulites, bivalves,  Amphibia (frogs), crocodiles, tortises,  The first birds appear. Many mammals.  Carnivors (resembling the dog, fox, hyaena),  bear, seal, hippopotamus, hog, Mastodons: elephant-like pachyderm - dinotherium (large tapir? length 18 ft.). Other mammals: bat, hedgehog, shrew, mole, squirrel, rat, mouse, beaver, porcupine, hare, opossum.

[341] Palaeontological  Characteristics of the Tertiary:
1. Appearance and development of mammals.
2. Reptiles and fishes approach modern forms
3. Belemnites and Ammonites are completely absent.

11. Alluvial or Pleistocene Period 341  341  342  343  344  345  346  347  348  349  350  351  352  353  354  355  356  357  358  359  360
Aqueous deposits above the tertiary. Glacial period with lower temperature.

Glyptodon (ancient armadillo), Megatherium, Mylodon (related to the Sloth)

Section III.-- Laws by which Organic Remains have been Distributed 361  361  362  363  364  365  366  367  368  369

First Law.--  Species of animals and plants have had a limited duration, rarely extending from one formation into another.

It is of the species only that we speak. The larger divisions, genera, orders and classes, do extend through more or less of the formations; but in nearly all cases the species become extinct at the close of the great periods. In respect to the rocks below the tertiary, all [geologists] would agree that the law has scarcely an exception.

Second Law.-- With the exception above named, the fossil species have all perished.

Third Law.-- "The duration of types and species as a general rule, is usually proportioned to rank and intelligence. The most highly organized fossils have the smallest range." (Owen)

By type we mean a set of characters by which a genus, or family, or group is distinguished from all others.

Fourth Law.-- Each type of organism has had but one term of uninterrupted existence, and sometimes has extended only through part of a formation.

FifthLaw.-- Most of the great Sub-Kingdoms of animals and plants, two thirds of the classes and nearly half of the orders, and a few of the genera extend through all the formations.

The only exception in respect to sub-kingdoms, is, that vertebrate animals are not found in the Lower Silurian, and no deeper in the Upper silurian than the lower Ludlow Rock; and flowering plants are not found lower than the Devonian. ... [W]hile many of the classes and orders of the less perfect animals and plants extend through all the formations, those of the higher vertebrate type rarely reach through the whole series.

Sixth Law.-- Complexity and perfection of organization as well as intelligence increase as we ascend in the rocks.

This is true as a general fact; but in particular tribes we find the reverse, viz., retrogradation from a lower to higher condition. "All our most ancient fossil fishes," says Professor Sedgwick, "belong to a high organic type; and the very oldest species that are well determined, fall naturally into an order of fishes which Owen and Miller place, not at the bottom, but at the top of the whole class."

Seventh Law.-- Particular classes, orders, and genera, as well as whole fauna and floras, have had their period of expansion, culmination, diminution, and sometimes extinction.

The greatest expansion of particular and peculiar Faunas and Floras has been employed to characterize certain periods. Thus, the Palaeozoic Period has been called by the botanists the Reign of Acrogens, because that tribe of plant then predominated; the Mesozoic Period, the Reign of Gymnosperms; and the Tertiary Period, embracing also the living plants, the Reign of Angiosperms. In Respect to animals, the Palaeozoic Period has been called the Reign of Fishes, the Mesozoic the Reign of Reptiles, and the Tertiary the Reign of Mammals.

Eighth Law.-- The older the rock the more unlike the existing fauna and flora are the fossil animals and plants.

There are some exceptions to this statement; for some forms are wonderfully persistent. Take, for example, the ammoniote and nautilus; how much like the living nautilus! 

Ninth Law.-- The fossil faunas and floras were, for the most part, of a tropical character, whatever be the present climate where they are found.

As we go deeper into the rocks the evidences of a former tropical, or even ultra tropical climate multiply. The coal formation especially, ... is decidedly and strikingly tropical everywhere.

Tenth Law.-- In the distribution of species in the ancient faunas and floras, they had much greater range than at present, while in the newer rocks their limits differed but little from existing zoological and botanical provinces.

As we ascend, diversity increases when we compare species together from widely separated localities.

Eleventh Law.-- The fossil animals and plants had the same general structure as those now on the earth, and their modes of living in both classes have been the same.

Comparative anatomy has not found it necessary to frame any new law to embrace the relations of the extinct to the living races.

Twelfth Law.-- "The phases of development of all living animals correspond to the order of succession of their extinct representatives in past geological times." (Agassiz)

This law represents the extinct adult animal as corresponding more nearly with the embryonic than the adult state of its living representative. in the ancient world, the individual, though an adult, did not pass beyond the present embryo state; but among living species the analogous animal passes on to a higher state, or more complete development.

Thirteenth Law.-- Many of the fossil animals had a combination of characters which among living animals are found only in several different types or classes.

Agassiz very appropriately calls such types Prophetic Types. For they form the pattern of animals that were to appear afterward. ... The Sauroid Fishes were true fishes, yet they had some strongly marked reptilian characters. ... The Ichthyosaurus, as its name denotes, had a close affinity to fishes. ... The Archegosaurus seems to have been "a transitional type between the fish-like Bactrachia and the lizards and crocodiles." ... The Pterodactyle, the most anomalous of ancient forms, had the head and neck of a bird, the mouth of a reptile, the wings of a bat, and the body and tail of a quadruped.

Fourteenth Law.-- The fossil far exceed the living species in number.

[W]e find that six times more zoophytes, nine times more molluscs, seven times more echinoderms, five times more fishes, and ten times more reptiles have lived in Great Britain during geological times than now exist there.

Fifteenth Law.-- Contemporaneous species in any one locality, or in localities not distant from one another, have appeared and disappeared together.

[I]n the rocks the group of species that characterize a formation in almost all cases, show themselves together at the bottom, and continue to live together till the close of the period, when all disappear, and the new formation that follows contains an entirely distinct group. 

Sixteenth Law.-- Numerous and successive systems of life, all different from one another, have occupied the globe since it became habitable.

M. Alcide D'Orbigny [states] "A first creation took place in the Silurian stage. After that was annihilated by some geological cause, and after a considerable time, a second creation took place in the Devonian stage, and successively twenty-seven times have distinct creations repeopled all the earth with plants and animals, following each time some geological disturbance, which had totally destroyed living nature. Such is the certain but incomprehensible fact, which we are bound to state, without trying to pierce the superhuman mystery that envelopes it." 

Seventeenth Law.-- All the diversities of organic life that have appeared on the globe were only wise and necessary adaptations to its changing condition.

There is abundant evidence that changes of climate, food, etc., have been great and numerous, and had there not been a corresponding change in the nature and habits of animals and plants, suffering and death must have been the consequence, as the history of existing races proves. 

Eighteenth Law.-- All the minor systems of Life that have appeared, were but harmonious parts of one all-comprehending system of organization, whose culmination we witness in existing nature.

Diverse as the different floras and faunas are in the different creations, they are all embraced in the same system of classification, which groups together existing organisms. They have all had similar organs and similar senses, have been both carnivorous and herbivorous, have had the same relations to light and heat as at present. Nowhere do we find different and antagonistic systems, but all the wide diversities of structure and habit coalesce into one harmonious whole.

Section IV.-- Inferences from Palaeontology in Connection with Dynamical Geology 370  370  371  372  373  374  375  376

Inference 1.-- The present continents of the globe (except, perhaps, some high mountains) have been for long periods beneath the ocean, and have been subsequently elevated.

The amount of land above the ocean has varied in every period of the earth's history, and it may be that large tracts, now submerged, once wre important theatrres of terrestrial life.

Inference 2.-- The periods of repose between catastrophes have been long.

The periods of disturbances must have been very short, and theinterval of repose very long. The deposits appear generally not to have been disturbed by any elevating force while in a state of formation, as this would have changed the character of the organic remains.

Inference 3.-- Catastrophes have generally corresponded to changes in fossils

Inference 4.-- The whole period since life began on the globe has been immensely long.

There must have been time enough for water to make depositions more than ten miles in thickness, by materials worn from previous rocks. ... Time enough to allow of the growth and dissolution of animals and plants, often of microscopic littleness, sufficient to constitute almost entire mountains by their remains.

Inference 5.-- The period before life appeared, was also immensely long.

We can trace indications of life into the upper part of the Cambrian series. Below this horizon there are at least 30,000 feet of stratified rocks, which must have required an immense period for their formation.

Inference 6.-- The changes which the earth has experience, and the different species of organic beings that have appeared, were not the result of any power inherent in the laws of nature, but of special Divine creating power.

In all the more than 30,000 species of organic remains dug from the rocks, they are just as distinct from one another as existing species, nor is there the slightest evidence of some having been developed from others. The gradual introduction of higher races is perfectly explained by the changing condition of the earth... For the most part the new races were introduced by groups, as the old ones died out in the same manner. New groups were introduced at once...There is decisive evidence that in many cases during the geological periods, animals, instead of ascending, descended on the scale of organization from the more to the oless perfect.

Inference 7.-- The changes which have occurred on the globe, both organic and inorganic, have shown progress from the less to the more perfect.

Inference 8.-- The causes of geological change have varied in intensity.


1. Illustrations of Natural religion from Geology. 377  377  378  379  380  381

1. Geology shows us that the existing system of things upon the globe had a beginning.

2. In all the conditions of the globe from the earliest times, and in the structure of all the organic beings that have successively peopled it, we find the same marks of wise and benevelent adaptation.

3. Geology furnishes many peculiar proofs of the Divine benevolence, so peculiar that they have sometimes been quoted in proof of penal inflictions.

Most of these proofs are derived from agencies whose immediate effects are destructive and desolating.

4. Geology furnishes examples of what may be called prospective benevolence.

By this is meant a special benevolent provision for the happiness of animals, made long before their existence.

5. Geology proves repeated special divine interpositions, or miracles, in nature as well as special providences.

A miracle is an event that cannot be explained by the laws of nature, but takes place in opposition to those laws or by their agency intensified of diminished.  A special Providence is an event brought about apparently by second causes, but those causes have been so arranged or modified by Divine agency out of sight, that some specific object is accomplished, which would not otherwise be effected. Geology abounds with examples of miracles and special providences as thus defined.

6. Geology unites with all other sciences, and with experience, in showing the world to be in a fallen condition, and that this condition was forseen and provided for, long before man's existence.

7. Geology enlarges our conceptions of the plans of the Deity.

2. Bearings of Geology upon Revealed Religion  382  382  383  384  385  386  387  388  389  390  391  392  393

[382] There are some erroneous notions widely prevalent on the subject.

One is, that geologists in their writings have arrayed the facts of their science against revelation. But the fact is, that the whole range of geological literature scarcely furnishes an example of this sort from any geologist of distinction. Such attacks, when made, have come from mere sciolists in the science, or from men learned in other departments, but no geologists.

Another is, that the bearings of geology upon religion are those of conflict rather than of illustratioin and corroboration. The fact is, that most cases of supposed collision have turned out already to be mere illustration: just as modern astronomy has shown us how to understand certain passages of the Bible relating to the rising of the sun and immobility of the earth, so has geology cast similar light upon passages relating to the age of the world and the introduction of evil. ... Geology illustrates rather than opposes revelation.

[383] Three classes of men have written concerning the connection between geology and religion. The first class are professed believers in revelation; but they do not suppose the Mosaic record to be inspired and infallible as to history of science; and hence they are not surprised to find discrepancies and absurdities in what they regard as a myth or fable of the creation. The second class are firm believers in the Bible, but not in geology, which they consider so unreliable that it ought not to be taken into account at all in the interpretation of Scripture. The third class believe in the divine inspiration and authority of every part of the Bible; but they admit also the great princiiples of geology, and think the two records not only reconcilable, but that they cast mutual light upon each other, and that geology lends important aid to some of the most important truths of revelation.

With this lass class our views coincide entirely, and we regard it as useless in this work to describe the theories by which the other classes attempt to sustain their views, since the authority of the Bible is destroyed by the first, and the settled principles of science ignored by the second.

1. The Scriptures and geology agree in not  fixing the time of the creation of the world. No matter how old geology makes the world; it is not older than the "beginning" of scripture.

2. They do fix the time when man appeared. The Bible represents him as the last of the animals created. ... His remains are found only in alluvium, the most recent of the formations.

3. They agree in representing creation as the work of God. This is very marked in the Bible, and geolology presents numerous exigencies in which no law of nature, no transmuting process will answer.

4. They agree in representing instrumentalities as employed in the work of creation. God commanded the earth to bring forth grass. So from geology we learn that immense periods were consumed in preparing by natural operations for the introduction of animals and plants.

5. They both represent creation to be a progressive work, completed by successive exhibitions of Divine power, with intervals of repose. How long the intervals were, according to scriptures, will depend on the meaning which we attach to the word day.  Geology, too, teaches us most distinctly that the various animals and plants wre not introduced at  once, but at intervals widely separated.

6. They agree in representing the continents as covererd an indefinite period by the ocean, and subsequently elevated above it.

7. They agree in giving to the earth a very early revolution on its present axis.

The very first day in the Bible, while yet the ocean covered the continents, is represented as having its evening and morning, just like the rest. This was before the existence of animals and plants.

8. The Mosaic account of creation allows us to suppose an indefinite interval between the beginning and the first day, which may correspond to the vast periods of geological history.

After the first production of matter, it is said to have been covered by watere and darkness, and to be without form and void, that is, invisible, or waste, and unfinished. Now how long it may have remained in such a condition, who can tell? It may have been long enough to pass through the changes which geology discloses.

9. The six days of creation, in the view of eminent writers, may be used figuratively for indefinite periods.

This opinion found advocates as early as the time of the Christian fathers, Augustine, Origin, etc. ... They maintain that the word day is used thus figuratively in all languages; that it is so used in Gen. 2-4; that the seventh day, or God's Sabbath, has not yet terminated, and, therefore, the previous days may have been equally long.

10. We may understand the days as symbolically representing indefinite periods.

...just as days, weeks, and times are used in prophecy (which often has a symbolical form) for years.

11. The Biblical account of creation may be regarded as a succession of pictures with existing nature on the foreground.

[389] There are several rather striking coincidences between the two records as to the order of events and the kinds of organisms introduced. Both show us, in early times, the continents beneath the ocean, and subsequently lifted out of it. Birds and sea animals are introduced on the fifth day, which may reasonably correspond to oolitic times. Land reptiles and mammals, or quadrupeds, come in not till the sixth day, which may well be regarded as synchronous with the tertiary formation. Man on both records is represented as the last animal created.

12. The sacred writer was not bound to give, and could not give, always the true chronological order of creation.

13. Geology and the Bible agree in representing physical evil as in the world before man.

The Bible intimates that death and other evils precded man. Of what use was the threatening of death if no example of it existed among animals? Again, plants were created with seeds in them, and animals were made male and female for the production of a succession of races, and such a system implies a correspondent system of death.

14. Zoology and geology throw doubt over the literal universality of the deluge of Noah.

[393] It is high time for believers in revelation to cease fearing injury to its claims or doctrines from geology, and to be thankful to Providence for providing in this science as powerful an auxiliary of religion, both natural and revealed.


 394  395  396  397  398  399  400  401  402  403  404  405

Economical Geology is an account of rocks with reference to their pecuniary value, or immediate application to the wants of siciety.


  406  407  408  409  410  411  412  413  414  415  416  417  418  419

The history of American Geology commences with the present century. An important feature is the numerous geological surveys that have been executed, or are still in progress, under the patronage and direction of the different State authorities, as well as the United States government. The leading object is to develop those mineral resources of the country that are of economical value. But with a commendable liberality, the legislatures have encouraged accurate researches into the scientific geology, and sometimes also into the botany and zoology of their several States.

INDEX 420-430   420  421  422  423  424  425  426  427  428  429  430