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BEING

A SECULAR EXPOSITION

OF THE

MOSAIC RECORD OF CREATION.

BY

THE AUTHOR
OF “COMMENTARIES ON THE GEORGICS OF VIRGIL,"

AND OTHER WORKS.

TENUES GRANDIA.-Hon.

EDINBURGH:
MACLACHLAN AND STEWART.
LONDON : SIMPKIN, MARSHALL, AND CO.
PERTH : JAMES DEWAR AND SON.

MDCCCLVI.
(Right of Translation reserved.)

lol.d. 165.

NEILL AND COMPANY, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH. PREFACE.

That vague, indistinct, ill-defined, imperfect, erroneous notions respecting both creation and the inspired history of creation, have long prevailed, and still prevail, very generally, not in books only, but in the world at large, will be readily admitted by those most competent to give an opinion on the subject. Divines as well as laymen, accordingly, have felt the want of a treatise, that would illustrate the Record of creation, and point out the harmony which exists between it and the facts of geology, in a more satisfactory manner than has hitherto been done.

Though the present work was undertaken expressly for these purposes, the author anticipates two sorts of obstacles, from two different sections of the community, to its immediate success.

First: The newness of the exposition. Many, to whom the author's views are strange, will be apt to pause, and question their soundness. That, however, happens almost necessarily, wherever the mind is not prepared for the reception of truths new to it. It is a praise

worthy scepticism, provided it be open to conviction. From the mental discipline which preceded belief, the truths will be the more clearly seen, and the more cordially cherished. Persons, so circumstanced, have only to persevere, and their difficulties will, one by one, vanish, like the shades of night at the approach of day, and, ere long, the works of all the six creative days will present themselves, to the eye of the mind, as one grand and harmonious whole.

Second: The simplicity of the exposition. Divines and geologists have been so long accustomed to entertain and foster such lofty, transcendental conceptions about the Mosaic history of creation, that they may be disposed to regard the plain, simple, unambitious illustration of it, contained in this work, no elucidation at all—anything but correct, anything but satisfactory. These learned men may feel, as if the subject of creation had been shorn of its chief interest and attractions—as if the work of the Almighty Creator had been robbed of half its greatness, and half its glory; and the sacred author Moses brought down almost to a level with ordinary historians. Well : after indulging themselves a reasonable time with these reflections, let them next set about disposing of the host of evidence and arguments, which the author has advanced in support of his interpretations.

THE CREATIVE WE E K.

The diverse and conflicting opinions which no small body of writers, composed chiefly of divines and geologists of high name and standing in society, have given to the world respecting the right interpretation of the opening chapter of the Word of God, cannot, with due regard to truth and fairness, be ascribed to any vagueness or unsuitableness in the language which the sacred penman employs, nor to anything obscure or antiquated in the turn or structure of his sentences. It would be difficult to name, even in the Volume of Inspiration, a piece of writing characterized by more plainness and simplicity, more propriety and precision, in the use of words, and in all the accidents that relate to the construction of a language. The words are simple, and of frequent occurrence, and are all employed in their most common and obvious acceptations ; several of them are defined in the text; the meaning of others is clearly fixed by the immediate context; and, in the case of a few, both these modes of interpretation receive confirmation by the frequency of their repetition both in the narrative itself, and in other parts of Scripture. And, whilst the words and the style must both be pronounced faultless, neither does the conciseness of the narrative, nor the amount of important matter brought within so small a compass, afford

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