Youth's Magazine,  3rd ser. 10 (1837), 403–06.

Geology  [8/8]



Serial, Miscellaneous


Geology, Progress, Astronomy, Speculation, Extra-Terrestrial Life, Degeneration, Design, Theology of Nature, Feeling, Piety

    Argues that there is an 'increasing agency' at work in eroding mountains, as evidenced in diluvial deposits and rock striations, and that the solid strata also show signs of continuous change. States that the geologist also strongly suspects from astronomical facts that other worlds are undergoing the same kind of progressive changes. Describes comets as in 'the very earliest stages of those transmutations', being hot and gaseous. Suggests that an even earlier stage is represented by nebulae, 'consisting apparently of the materials out of which comets might be formed'. (403) Considers that the Moon is 'so far redeemed' from excessive volcanic action as possibly to be adapted to the use of some organized beings, but doubts that it has 'water, or any atmosphere, upon its surface' (403–04). An editorial footnote questions whether this is really doubtful. Considers it possible that the Moon or Jupiter may be inhabited. Reporting conjectures that the asteroid belt may have been caused by the bursting of a planet between Mars and Jupiter, reflects that such a 'terrific disruption' might have happened in accordance with 'wise and benevolent plans' (404). Considers meteors and disappearing stars to be evidence of astronomical change and progress. Argues that these speculations give an enlarged sense of the divine plans. Notes the 'melancholy interest' taken by poets and 'sentimentalists' in the 'perishable nature of created things', but observes that it is less melancholy if 'this tendency to dissolution be regarded only as one of the necessary forms through which matter passes, in its progress toward improvement, and as necessary to the preservation and happiness of the universe, as in fact an essential feature of a sublime and far-reaching plan of the Deity' (405). In conclusion, hopes to have 'thrown light enough into this almost unexplored field, to satisfy intelligent minds that they may obtain such glimpses of the purposes of the Deity, as will excite emotions of reverence and love towards the infinite Mind that is capable of continuing and executing such plans' (406).

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