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THE ACTUAL APPEARANCE OF THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH CORROBORATES THE CONCLUSIONS DEVELOPED IN THE PRE
AMONG the discoveries which have been shown to be attainable by Natural Theology, through an investigation of subterranean phenomena, is the very important fact, that a deluge was the penal instrument, which it pleased Omnipotence to employ, in reducing the exterior strata of the globe to their existing state.
This conclusion receives additional confirmation from a survey of the present superficies of the earth. In every region, in every portion of every region, the surface testifies that its form was produced by the action of water, by the action of retiring water; testifies that no mode of instrumental agency, within the circle of our experience, and the cognizance of our judgment, could have produced the existing form of the surface of the earth, but the action of retiring
In the largest continents, no less clearly than in the smallest island, there exists a gradual descent from the highest elevation to the circumjaIn whatever part of the general tract that elevation may be placed, whether approaching to one of its extremities, as the Alps on the continent of Europe, or nearer to the centre, as in Asia the stupendous mountains of Tartary and Thibet ; or stretching in a continuous chain along one of the boundaries, as the Andes range themselves throughout the length of South America; the gradual descent, be it more or less rapid, to the surrounding ocean is incontestable. The proof in every land is at once furnished by its rivers. Place before your eyes an extended map of the globe. Observe from the snowy piles of Switzerland the Rhone conveying its waters into the Mediterranean, the Po into the Adriatic, the Rhine into the German ocean, the Danube into the Euxine: Observe from the Tartarian ridge the Ganges and the Boorampooter tending to the Bay of Bengal, the Yellow river to the Eastern sea, the Lena and the Tunguska to the Arctic ocean. Observe from the Andes an infinity of streams precipitating themselves on the western
side into the Pacific ocean; and on the eastern, the enormous river of the Amazons directing its course across the whole breadth of the continent into the Atlantic. Observe universally, in every component district of each of these continents, the inferior rivers conducting their own tribute from the mountain to the hill, from the hill to the imperceptibly sloping plain either into the contiguous sea or into those mightier streams which hold a direct intercourse with the ocean. Observe in each subordinate part of each district, observe in every part of our own island, as the most familiar and obvious example, the same process, from the spring to the rill, from the rill to the brook, from the brook to the rivulet, from the rivulet to the river, from the river to the sea. Contemplate also the general face of the country, to a distance on each side of rivers in Great Britain, or in any other region. The accompanying appearances, displayed, as might reasonably be anticipated, under a large diversity of modifications, usually consist in ranges of high grounds, attending, at a greater or a less distance, the course of the river; and with fronts more or less abrupt towards the river in proportion to the hardness
or the softness of the materials of which they are constituted. These high grounds, worn, it may be, and whirled in various parts into recesses, cavities, and basons, by the eddies and circumvolutions of the waters acting of old on the softened mass, indicate the banks of the channel which the river filled for a season, when it was yet rolling with unnatural magnificence during the subsidence of the Deluge whence it originated.Occasionally, and far within these elevated ranges, are seen corresponding ranges, or parts of ranges, of inferior elevation, marking progressive diminutions of the primeval stream. Between these innermost ranges, the land is expanded and smoothed into a vale or a plain; the effects of the levelling operation of water, when, having exhausted the extraordinary supplies by which it had been fed from the loftier parts of the country, and approximating towards a stagnant state, it overspread the flatter tracts as a lake, and gradually deposited the soil with which it was charged. And finally, there remains the actual river; which having subsequently drained away the lake, has shrunk within its present banks, into the comparatively petty channel, contracted and petty though it be
the Nile or the Maragnon, which the contributions of perennial springs and ordinary rains may now enable it permanently to fill.
The marks of a similar process, in miniature, but with every token of accordant analogy, are continually visible along the course of rivulets and brooks.
With the valley in which a river or a brook at present flows, collateral valleys of a smaller size, but without a stream, frequently unite themselves. Though originally scooped out by the water in the same manner as the larger valley into which they tend; they posses not any springs, or none sufficient to sustain a rill. They are the dry and vacant records of a stream that survived not the Deluge which gave it birth. But to the ear of the pupil of Natural Theology, the stream though dead yet speaketh.
If we inspect the high banks of a river after the subsidence of a flood, we see them marked horizontally by ranges of indentations or furrows, resembling the mouldings of a cornice, and denoting successive stages in the sinking of the stream. When the heights which bounded a mighty current formed by the retiring deluge