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The Lake Dwellings of Ireland

Ancient Lacustrine Habitations of Erin, Commonly Called Crannogs

330 pages
Library of Alexandria
Let us travel back in thought some thousands of years, and picture to ourselves the aspect of Erin at that period. After all, this retrospect is comparatively short, if we take as correct the present computed period of man’s existence on this globe. Geology now assigns to the human race a duration it was long considered heterodox to imagine: generation upon generation, who shall say how many, lie beneath the sod over which our footsteps now pass. The words of Genesis are in no way antagonistic to the discoveries of modern geologists, nor even to the theory of evolution. That the term “day,” as used in the Book of Genesis, is not to be understood as confined to a mere duration of twenty-four hours, but should be taken as an undefined period of time, is a point now so generally admitted that it is scarcely needful to quote the words of Scripture, that “one day is with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.” In common parlance we speak of events that occurred “in days of old” without intention to limit the idea to periods of twenty-four hours: the form of expression may be held to cover an indefinite number of centuries. In the modern acceptation of the word used to denote the duration of twenty-four hours, we consider the day to be represented by the morning and the evening: there is the brightness of morn followed by the gloom of eve. How different is the idea conveyed by the words of Moses, who was versed in all the learning of the Egyptians, “the Evening and the Morning were the first day,” and so on to the end of the six days or intervals of time. While in its course through the heavens our planet was in process of solidifying, “the earth was without form and void, and darkness was upon the face of the deep.” Here we have the evening: afterwards “there was light,” that is to say, morning followed, marking full completion of the first day, or interval of time in the earth’s progress towards its present state. It is therefore plain that the term evening cannot be considered to represent a decline from the state of the previous period; rather it betokens the nature of the morn about to follow. We watch with interest the signs of the evening, not in relation to the day which has already passed away, but as foreshowing the kind of morn that is to succeed.