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THE

YOUTHS' MAGAZINE;

OR,

EVANGELICAL MISCELLANY.

JANUARY, 1846.

FOSSIL TURTLE.

(FROM AN ORIGINAL DRAWING.) The remains of the Turtle figured in the accompanying plate were found in one of the lowermost strata of the same quarry, at Maidstone, which produced those of the Iguanodon now in the British Museum.

The strata of this quarry have been thus classified by its proprietor, to whose kindness we owe the materials of our present paper.

“ Above the stone lies a red loam, similar to that which forms the bed of the river Medway, and containing shells of the helix,

pupa, and lymnæa. The upper stone stratum which, with all the others, belongs to the Shanklin or lower Green sand formation, has been designated from its prevailing fossil, the polypotheca-monilia layer : three or four unnamed strata come next, and then we reach that in which the remains of a gigantic Iguanodon were found in 1834, a circumstance which gives name to this formation. Below this is the trigonia-layer, and still lower, two which contain few organic remains. The hamite stratum succeeds ; and last of those yet explored, comes the black-greys deposit, containing abundance of the fossil shell known as the exogyria.”

The stone in which this interesting fossil was found con

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tains marine shells sparingly dispersed, and very considerable remains of sponges, which as is well known, consist mainly of minute spicula, or spines. To such an extent do these spicula occur, that the workmen, unconscious of the cause, are frequently complaining of the annoyance occasioned by a sharp stinging sensation consequent on their handling the excavated blocks. The sands on the shores of our West Indian Islands, are in like manner composed of fine sand and detached spicula of the sponges which die in the surrounding seas. The analogy is carried still farther by the presence of the bones of turtle, which are washed ashore, and are subsequently embedded with them. These sands, concreted by a variety of causes, during the lapse of ages, would eventually become solid stone, and present a remarkable resemblance to the strata of the Iguanodon quarry, excepting that the remains enclosed in them would be those of recent, instead of extinct, turtles.

Not far from the remains of this turtle, a boulder, or rounded mass,

of granite was discovered, embedded in a layer of border-stone or hassock at the depth of about seventy feet from the surface.

To an unreflecting mind there may appear to be nothing interesting in this association ; but the geologist deduces from it a variety of curious inferences. Granite, as is well known, is one of the oldest rocks, usually distinguished by the name of “ primitive.” But the lower green sand, in which this pebble, or boulder, was buried, belongs to the cretaceous or chalk group, which lies immediately contiguous to the tertiary or most recent formation. How then came this fragment of old rock in the very heart of a mass of stone, not only of much newer origin, but very far removed from any granite formation ? Nor is it only the nature of this stone itself that involves a curious problem : its form has undergone a change, and instead of being a sharp, angular mass, rough and without any definite shape, as it must have been when first detached from its parent rock, it is now round and smooth like a large pebble. If we had any doubt that this round and smooth form had been given it by the action of the sea rolling and chafing it against other stones, that doubt would be removed by the presence of microscopic flustra, or minute shells upon its surface which sufficiently indicate its connection with the salt waters of the ocean, whilst at the same time they open another chapter in its history, since it is impossible that such frail and delicate shell-work could have withstood the rough usage of the tumbling breakers which helped to give the stone its present contour. It is therefore quite clear that after having been some time upon the beach it must have sunk in deep and still water, where it remained till left by the sea in the position where it was last found.

OUR LIVING LETTERS.

CHAP. 1.—THE CHILDREN'S FRIEND. The good parsons, whose “Memories” have been recorded in these pages during the last year, had been compelled from various causes to intermit their assemblies for some months, when finding themselves again met in the study of the venerable Paternus, that excellent old Christian proposed a little alteration in the plans heretofore pursued. The suggestion arose from a question put by one of our youngest members—a question which was preceded by a remark to this effect, made by the same young, and consequently inexperienced, brother. “I could not have believed," he said, “ before I attended these our little meetings, that it would have been possible to bring forward so many obituaries--so many encouraging and delightful accounts of deaths within the limited sphere of observation comprehended by so few persons as curselves. I formerly believed that peaceful and happy deaths did sometimes occur, and that there were occasions in which the children of God were enabled, on their dying pillows, to give bright and glorious evidence of the hope that was in them ; but I

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certainly never expected to hear from men, whose veracity I cannot doubt, that these things are of such frequent occurrence ;

and that not only here and there one, but countless numbers, of the chosen children of God are enabled, even under the pressure of mortal agonies, to meet their death with feelings of gladness beyond what human language can express.”

My son,” replied Paternus,“ have you never sauntered in the forest glade, and taken no thought of the many sweet-voiced birds, and glittering insects clad in their gorgeous mail, or radiant plumage? Have you never traversed the fields in the fair season of spring, without remarking thousands of those lovely works of God which lie under your feet, although their bright adornment surpasses that even of Solomon in all his glory? Have you never looked up into the immeasurable expanse of heaven, and not dreamed that millions of suns are there, whose golden glories far surpass even all that we know of our own sun ? If, then, you have often moved amid created things, and things material, in such unconsciousness, why should you wonder that the uncreated influences of the Divine Spirit in the spiritual world should either be wholly hidden from you, or only gradually revealed as you are enabled to bear them ? Be well assured, therefore, that the failure lies in our own want of discernment, if we do not see instances of these workings as numerous, perhaps, and various as those passed unobserved in the other departments of God's government. But, my son, if the learned naturalist be astonished at the dulness with which his fellow men pass by material objects, the enlightened child of God, when he beholds the slowness of capacity in spiritual matters of his fellow sinners, though he may wonder at it, dares not to despise the subjects of it-knowing that he himself was once as blind as they are, till He, who gives eyes to the blind, furnished him with capacities for perceiving and enjoying those things which are spiritually discerned. Regarding the death of believers - there is probably no subject more unintelligible to the carnal mind. The death of our Lord in his human nature is wholly incomprehensible to them ; neither can they comprehend how a creature, whose body they see racked with mortal agony, can be an instance of the fulfilment of the promise, “If a man keep my saying he shall never taste of death. But our Lord

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