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lakes, or where they empty themselves into the sea. There was no perceptible necessity, in the nature of things, that this pulverised stone should be turned to any account; it was Mind, therefore that made it to be the soil in which the first plants of our earth were made, not only to flourish, but so to enrich by their decay, as that myriads of superior vegetable productions should subsist upon it, and so provide nourishinent for countless hosts and countless generations of animated beings.
Much of our comfort, our prosperity, and our civilization are owing to the important uses we are able to make of the various minerals with which the interior of our earth so richly abounds. Some of them, as Rock Salt, are alınost essential to the maintenance of our health ; some, as Gypsum, are of great importance, not only in the arts, but as fertilizers of the soil; some, as Limestone, besides valuable for agricultural, are almost indispensable for architectural purposes; while it is not too much to say that to the abundance of Iron and Coal which she possesses, is our own empire indebted for much of her social progress, and for her pre-eminence among the nations. Can any sane mind be able to persuade himself that it is owing entirely to chance that these things exist that they are so useful to man, and that man has been able to render them auxiliaries to his advancement? And if not, how shall we find words to express our admiration of the Wisdom and Goodness, which, in long past ages, stored them up for our tuture benefit ? The existence of lungs in an unborn child, months before it has any occasion for their use, yet evidently adapted to some approaching, though not yet arrived, condition of its existence, has always been admired and often expatiated upon, as a striking instance of those “ Prospective Contrivances," which so powerfully declare the existence of a Contriver. Not less so appears the deposition in the heart of the earth of the various Minerals above enumerated, not a short time, but millions of years, before the appearance of the being for whose advantage they were especially destined; who should first discover their various qualities, and make those qualities the ministers to his improvement and enjoyment. The evidence of forethought, of plan, and of kindliness, is at least as complete, as in the case of a wise and tender human parent, who makes provision by will for the education and sustenance of one of his expected offspring, who may not yet have seen the light.
Important as the minerals just mentioned are to the well
being of our race, had they been suffered to remain in the parts of the earth where they were originally formed, human eye would never have seen them, nor human hand wrought upon them, nor human skill adapted them to purposes of utility. The Metals occur chiefly in the primary and secondary formations, that is, in the oldest rocks, those which were at the first most distant from the circumference, and nearest to the centre of the earth. Rock Salt, Coal, and mountain Limestone were indeed a little nearer to us, but when first deposited they were almost at the bottom of the secondary formation ; having above them the greater part of the new Red Sandstone group, the Oolitic and Chalk
and the whole of the Tertian and the Superficial formations. It is impossible to guess at what a great depth within our globe these minerals were primarily placed. One writer calculates that the successive strata measure sixty miles in depth; suppose then our Metals, our Coal, our Salt, our Limestone, placed but thirty, or even twenty, or even ten miles below the surface, and all the strata to have remained undisturbed in their original position, they would all have been lost, not only to the service, but even to the knowledge of man.
How, then, were they placed within our reach? Chiefly by the frequent and tremendous volcanic eruptions and earthquakes, which prevailed so extensively over all parts of the earth, our own islands included, in ancient times. By the action of these forces, and especially of the former of them, the very deepest formations were frequently cast up to the surface, and thus their rich and varied contents were brought near to man, that he might appropriate and apply. Is there not purpose, and plan, and love in this arrangement ? And what a cheering lesson does it teach, that ruin, devastation and destruction are but the preludes to improvement and gladness!
Such are some of the advantages which have accrued to the
present race of human beings from the activity of Volcanoes, in ages long past; they have been emphatically ministers of good, exemplifications of “Love in desolation masked. Such also is their character and operation at the present hour. Philosophers are now nearly unanimous in supposing, that the interior of our globe is one vast molten mass, boiling with intense heat. Thence
vapours are constantly generated, of enormous capability of expansion, and which are day and night seeking for some mode of escape. When there exist no fissures communicating with
the surface, through which they can penetrate to the outer space, their tremendous struggles occasion those earthquakes, which so osten overthrew cities, and spread death among their inhabitants. From the effects of earthquakes, which have occurred even within the historic period, we can easily imagine, that, were these internal vapours and gases completely pent up, had they no means of exit whatsoe they might blow into the air whole Continents and Islands with their entire populations. The great present use of volcanoes is now apparent; they afford so many outlets for these condensed energies, and are, in fact, as they have been happily styled, “the safety-valves of the globe." The number of these vents throughout the earth, must now be considerably more than two hundred; and when we consider the earthquakes, with overthrow of cities, and destruction of human life, which they prevent, not to mention sudden explosions of even wider spread desolation; we can easily understand that their existence is a blessing to humanity. These "safety valves" must also have been contrived to answer the purposes they confessedly do accomplish; and afford us further evidence of the wisdom and goodness of the Contriver,
Space would fail to speak of the animals, many of them of strange shape and of immense proportions, which tenanted our earth during the incalculable pre-Adamite ages; such as the different Saurians, the Pterodactyle, the Ignanadon, the Dinotherium, the Mastodon, and others. Uncouth as their forms appear, when restored by the skill of the modern anatomist, and strange as seems to us the mixture of parts, which in our time are never found united in the same individual; yet, in reality, these were not monstrosities, but size, shape, appendage, were all as admirably adapted to the wants and habits of the creature, and to the character of the lakes, or seas, or vegetation, or temperature of the earth, as are now those of the animals with which we are most
Each set of beings was placed on the globe, just at the tiine when every thing was most favourable for its existence here; first, numerous Polypes were created, after a long period fishes first appear; much later still, land rises from the deep, and then land vegetables are produced; another revolution, and marine Reptiles are formed; ages elapse, and land Reptiles are created; another flight of time, and land Quadrupeds spring forth; and last, almost as it were yesterday, Man is ushered into life. Had our first parents been sent on earth at any time before the period at which they
actually did arrive, it would have been unsuitable to their reception, and they must have perished; and the same is true of every race of beings that appears, as we ascend the stream of incomputable ages. So true is this, that, learning its habits from its structure, Geologists can thereby tell, by the fossil remains of any creature, what was the condition of the earth at the time of its existence. How exhaustless the wisdom, which thus, for millions of years past, has been conducting our globe through a series of mighty changes, and after each bas stocked it with beings fitted to its then condition; and how exhaustless also the goodness, which, for the same millions of years, has never left the earth without inhabitants capable of enjoyment!
C. Y. M.
Joly 1, 1849.
BOLTON, LANCASHIRE, DISTRICT UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.—This Association, holding its meetings half yearly in one of the congregations connected with it, convened to its forty-sixth gathering, on Monday, April 26. The religious services were conducted in Bank Street Chapel, Bolton. The Rev. A. Macdonald, M.A., of Chow. bent, prayed, and the Rev. C. B. Hubbard, of Rivington, preached from John vii. 48. At tea, in the Temperance Hall, more than three hundred persons met together, the minister of the congregation, the Rev. F. Baker, M.A., presiding. Various friends addressed the meeting, Messrs. C. J. Darbishire, R. Heywood, Morton, Rev. F. Knowles of Park Lane, F. Howorth of Bury, J. Cropper of Stand, J. Ragland of Hindley, the Chairman, and the Ministers who conducted the worship. An interesting and useful meeting was the result.
ABERDEEN UNITARIAN CHRISTIAN CHURCH.—The annual meeting was held May 6, when John Warren, Esq., presided. The Report of the Committee was read by Mr. Robert Adams, the Secretary, and a new Committee elected. The friends continue steadfast and persevering in their attachment to Christian truth, amidst every difficulty. The Rev. C. F. Smith resigns his connection with the society, and the congregation are anxious to secure the services of any devoted servant of Christ.
TIPTON, STAFFORDSHIRE.—Considerable effort has for some time been made in this place to excite public attention to Gospel truth, and amongst the labourers Mr. Silas Henn has been indefatigable. These labours have not been barren or unfruitful. The circulation of tracts, faithful, energetic Scriptural preaching, have done a good work. A goodly number have become like minded
in Christ. It seemed desirable a House of prayer should be erected, by which a permanent stamp should be given to these Christian efforts. The people on the spot have done somewhat for this purpose, and others in various localities have aided the enterprize. "Monday, May 14, was devoted to laying the first stone of the Chapel. Public attention was much excited to the circumstance. Friends assembled in Christian sympathy from many of the neighbouring towns; probably a thousand persons were present. A hymn was sung, prayer offered up by the Rev. Stephenson Hunter of Wolverhampton ; the principles to be upheld in the place of worship were explained by Mr. Henn; the stone laid by T. Eyre Lee, Esq., of Birmingham; prayer engaged in by the Rev. J. Palmer, M.A., of Dudley, and the benediction given by the Rev. H. Hutton, M.A., of Birmingham. The audience manifested great attention throughout the proceedings. In the afternoon, a tea party was held in the Assembly Rooms. T. Eyre Lee, Esq., was voted to the chair. There were two hunded and thirty persons at tea, and their number was increased subsequently to between three hundred and four hundred. The friends previously named addressed the meeting, as also the Revds. J. C. Lunn of Hinckley, S. Bache of Birmingham, T. Bowring, and J.G. Brookes, Domestic Missionaries, Birmingham. Hymns were sung, and Mr. Henn closed the meeting with prayer. It was a good, instructive, and hopeful day. May success, comfort, and blessing, crown this Christian undertaking.
EDINBURGH UNITARIAN CONGREGATION.-A Congregational tea party was held in St. Mark's Chapel, Castle Terrace, May 14. About a hundred persons assembled, Rev. R. Shaen, M.A., presided. Hymns were sung, and the meeting addressed by the chairman, Messrs. C. Dunlop of Paisley, and A. Scott, Dick, Ferguson, Knox, of the congregation.
LIVERPOOL.-Petitions in favour of Mr. Cobden's motion, for referring all international disputes to arbitration, have been presented to the House of Commons from the Unitarian Congregations worshipping in Paradise Street Chapel, Renshaw Street Chapel, and the ancient Chapel of Toxteth Park. We are glad to see that the cause of Peace has been nobly advocated by the Unitarian denomination throughout the kingdom. This is as it should be. Ever ought they to be in the van of all reform. The House of Commons has at present put aside the motion. It has not got rid of it. A goodly minority voted in its support, and as practical Christianity increases, that minority will increase.
THE NEW UNITARIAN CHAPEL, HOPE STREET, LIVERPOOL.—This edifice, when complete, will present one of the best and most carefully studied examples of the pointed style of architecture, and rank high amongst the many beautiful structures with which the revival of the taste for, and the knowledge of the true principles of Gothic architecture, are now adorning the country.
The building is expected to be finished in September next, and will be opened on the return of the minister of the congregation, the Rev. James Martineau, from the Continent.
BRITISH AND FOREIGN UNITARIAN ASSOCIATION.—The twentyfourth anniversary was celebrated in London on Wednesday, May 30. The religious services were conducted in Essex Street Chapel, Strand, the Rev. J. Scott Porter, M.A., of Belfast, the preacher. The sermon was founded on Matthew v. 13. At the close of the service, the business meeting of the Association was held in the