The earth has been torn and convulsed as by the spasm of some great agony, and the signs of it lie thick around. Huge beds of rock, thousands of feet in thickness, have been cracked and shivered like potsherds; streams of molten metal have been injected into the fissures, and have surged through the rents and swept vast floods of burning lava over the smiling plains. There must have been times in the history of the development of this earth, fair and calm as it lies now under the sun, when its whole structure must have been shaken to the very centre; when there was dread peril lest, like some lost planet, it should be shattered into fragments and fill its orbit with a cloud of wreck. But some sure hand has helped earth’s travail, and has brought forth out of the chaos of struggle and storm an orderly, smiling, serene, and beautiful world. The signs of past agony are there, to those whose eye can pierce the surface; but a loving hand has clothed it all with a glow of beauty and a robe of grace. The regions where the convulsion was fiercest, where the scars are deepest, are the regions of glorious mountain beauty, whither pilgrims wend as to nature’s most sacred shrine. The rents and chasms, clothed with the most splendid forests, with streams leaping and sparkling through the emerald meadows to the hollows below, breathe nothing but beauty, and stir all hearts to joy and praise.
J Baldwin Brown, Misread Passages Of Scripture (1869)