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AS KNOWN TO US
THEOLOGICALLY AND GEOLOGICALLY.
REV. EDWARD NARES, D.D.
RECTOR OF BIDDENDEN, KENT;
AND REGIUS PROFESSOR OF MODERN HISTORY IN THE
UNIVERSITY OF OXFORD.
4. What is MAN, that thou art mindful of him: or the son of man, that thou visitest him?
5. Thou madest him lower than the angels: to crown him with glory and worship.
6. Thou makest him to have dominion over the works of thine hands: and thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet;
7. All sheep and oxen: yea, and the beasts of the field;
8. The fowls of the air, and the fishes of the sea : and whatsoever walketh through the paths of the sea.
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HISTORY AN ESSENTIAL PART OF RELIGION.
Fully to answer such inquiries, it is manifestly of
use to explore the Earth. The Earth cannot sufficiently tell her own story; if it could, geology, of which we are now in the habit of hearing so much, would in a great measure, cease to be a science, and the curious in such matters would be more in agreement than is yet found to be the case.
The Earth indeed can tell us something about Man, and something of importance, as will be shown in due time. At present it is my intention to defer all consideration of terrestrial phenomena, as bearing upon the history of Man, till after I shall have shown how indispensably necessary to such beings as ourselves a proper history of Man must be; what an impenetrable cloud of darkness hangs over us without the help of such a history; and how certain it is, that such a history is in existence, let what will become of the Earth as an object of scientific research and inquiry.
Instead of pressing science into the service of Revelation, as some have been accused of doing, I am willing to leave science to take its course, if I may but be allowed to insist upon the very superior light of Revelation; not however in any manner disdaining the help of science, where it can be fairly shown to answer my purposes.
As a reason for engaging in such a subject at this time—a subject I fancied I had taken leave of long ago-I shall have to show in the course of my remarks, that if not here, yet certainly in other parts of the world, the examination of the Earth, has been known to interfere so far with Revelation, as to persuade both Jews and Christians, that history is no part of religion. I liope I shall be able, on the contrary, to
GLARING ABSURDITY OF ATHEISM.
prove, that without the aid of history, there can be no true religion : and when I have said as much as I wish to say of the history of Man, it will be time enough to turn to the history of the Earth.
I shall not stop then to inquire here into the exact physical character of this abode of man. It seems to me to be much more than a happy conjecture, that it is a globular body, of certain dimensions, having no solid or visible support, but keeping its destined place in the universe, by the force and influence of original impulses and principles, wholly inscrutable, except in their effects, and dependent on some first intelligent Cause, infinitely more necessary to its being, existence, and arrangement, than the fabricator of an artificial globe, sphere or orrery, to the ingenious and scientific productions of his own hands. A comparison I am the more induced to adopt, because it has been already so effectually made use of to expose the extreme absurdity of Atheism, as to stand in the place of a thousand metaphysical arguments.
It is related of that eccentric, but very learned man, Athanasius Kircher, that being acquainted with one who denied the existence of a supreme Being, he took the following method to convince him of his error upon his own principles. Expecting him upon a visit, he procured a costly and ingeniously constructed globe of the starry heavens to be so placed in his room, as naturally to attract the notice of his visitor, who no sooner saw it than he began eagerly to inquire whence it came, and to whom it belonged ?“ Not to me,” said Kircher, “nor was it ever made by any body, but came into the place where you see it quite by chance.” “That" replied his sceptical friend, “ is quite impossible ; you are jesting.” “Why