Imatges de pÓgina

tic fluid moving in this manner, with fuch ftrength as we know this fluid moves, would at the centre become fo compreffed, as to render buoyant the greatest conceivable weight? If fo, this conclufion follows, that the whole region occupied by the air, earth and waters, in the firft world, was between the points, where the commanding fluid, expanding toward the centre, began to be compreffed, and where the whole became buoyant by the greater degrees of this compreffion.

The fwelling and rocking of feas, and the undulatory motions of the earth from a fhock of the earthquake, feem to indicate fomething of this nature in the present state of the world, and that they lie upon an elaftic fluid. How elfe can it be explained, that the fea will fometimes fwell and roll to the greateft height when there is no ftorm, and none has immediately preceded? These fwellings often begin in the moft perfect calm; a form is expected to fucceed; but, instead of increafing, it is often found, even in the height of the gale, that the fwelling has abated.

But thould not the known powers of the electrical fluid, its attraction to itself, the vehemence of its motion, and its alafticity, together with other phenomena of nature, be thought fufficient to afford the conclusion, that it poffeffes wholly the centre of the earth; ftill it must be concluded that vaft quantities of this fluid are contained within the globe, and in fo compreffed a ftate, as to be able to command the waters. In earthquakes, this element is known to be difcharged from the

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earth in great quantities; the vapours iffuing from the earth, at fuch a time, are often in fo great a degree electric, as to have the appearance of a flame of fire; and the waters, thereby, as at the time of the late great earthquake at Quito, in South America, have been caufed to flow far above the natural springs, and much of the country, in this manner, has been overflowed.

I think it beyond all doubt, that the caufe of the earthquake is the fame thing in nature, as that of thunder. A portion of the electrical fluid being fuddenly let off from the cloud, the remainder, recoiling to restore its equilibrium, causes the concuffion of the cloud; whilft the part let off, in its course to other clouds, or to the earth, produces thofe fhocks and other effects of thunder, which we obferve in the air, and upon bodies near the furface of the earth. In like manner, a portion of this fluid being let off from its great magazines within the earth, what remains will fuddenly recoil and produce a shock there, proportionably great to the quantity of the fluid feparated; and which separated part, in its courfe through the waters, earth and air, may naturally be fuppofed to produce all the effects of the earthquake, obferved, in a greater or lefs degree, to accompany the fhock.

It is evident, therefore, upon the ground of the most established facts relative to this fubject, that the expanding force of the fluid being weakened, and its compreffion within the earth abated, thofe vaft magazines would

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dilate and occupy more space, and, confequently, the waters must rife, proportionably, above their usual level. Indeed, had not the world been fo conftructed, that its waters fhould be thrown upon the earth by the fame cause with that of its undergoing fuch an univerfal fhock, and change of its form, it must have inftantly been deluged with fire; for, otherwise, it cannot be conceived of, that fo great and univerfal a concuffion fhould take place, as the earth at fome period has manifeftly undergone, and it not, thereby, be kindled into a melting flame.

But, though the natural caufe of the flood be left out of view, ftill the event answers perfectly to the divine theory; for the world, at first, being conftructed of water, and by water, the prevailing power of the elect establishment, by diffolving that frame of the world, muft, of courfe, bring the flood of waters upon the earth. The flood came, and, as the natural power, whatever it be, continued to weaken, lo it continued to rain, and the waters prevailed and increafed upon the earth, which was for forty days and forty nights. And all flesh died that moved upon the earth, both of fowl, and of cattle, and of beast, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man. All in whofe noftrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land died. And every living fubftance was defroyed which was upon the face of the ground, both man and cattle, and the creeping things, and the fowl of the heaven; and they were defroyed from the earth: and Noah only re

mained alive, and they that were with him in the ark.

The pouring out of the waters from the fkies, and the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, by reafon of the proftration of the ftrength of nature, (which state of weakness and diforder, though it came to its height in forty days, continued an hundred and fifty days,) fo broke up and demolifhed the frame of the globe, that nothing remained but the ruins of a world.-It is faid, the world that then was perished. Of this truth, the face of the whole earth bears to us the mcft ample teftimony.

Section 10. The Waters affwaged.

But God remembered Noah, and every liv ing thing, and all the cattle that was with him in the ark: and God made a wind to pass over the earth, and the waters affwaged. This wind was a new impulfe given to the expanding power, or rather the recovery of its natural motion by the obstruction being removed.

Our theory, as to the firft world, leads us to conceive of one wind paffing over the earth, ever in the direction in which the fpheres roll; and of its being in every refpe&t uniform, and without any obftruction. It is true, in this cafe, there would be no clouds with rain; for it is evident, that clouds of rain are formed by obftructed winds. But fome have been led to fuppofe, from the

fcripture account, that this was the circumftance of that world. Mofes, after his account of the creation, noticing exprefsly how the earth was watered, mentions a mift from the earth; and also a river that went out of Eden, to water the garden, and that from thence it was parted, and branched out into various countries; but makes no mention of there being clouds or rain; or rather, as fome fuppofe, he defigned to exprefs the contrary, by Taying, The Lord God had not caused it to rain upon the earth. Gen. ii. v. [See Dr. Burnet's Theory of the World.]

Befides, muft it not be concluded, as the rainbow is a token that the flood fhould not be repeated, that it had not before been seen? The figns and tokens that God has fet to his covenants, are all natural, and in themselves expreffive. But were there before the flood clouds of rain, as there now are, the rainbow had furely then appeared; and if fo, how can it now be confidered as a natural token, that the waters of the flood fhall not return to deftroy the earth.

This, however, is very different from the prefent ftate of things. Ancient aftronomers fuppofed that two winds were ever held over the earth, acting upon each other in an equilibrium, or alternately prevailing-thefe were confidered diflinctly, one as being the main power, and the other, as the governmental or balance power. Is not a fentiment like this expreffed by Agur, Prov. xxx. 4. Who hath gathered the wind in his fifts? By the following expreffion, it may be obferved, that


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