Imatges de pàgina

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

The swelling and rocking of seas, and the undulatory motions of the earth from a shock of the earthquake, seem to indicate something of this nature in the present state of the world, and that they lie upon an elastic fluid. How else can it be explained, that the fea will sometimes swell and roll to the greatest height when there is no storm, and none has immediately preceded? These swellings often begin in the most perfect calm; a form is expected to succeed; but, instead of increasing, it is often found, even in the height of the gale, that the swelling has abated.

But should not the known powers of the electrical fluid, its attraction to itself, the vehemence of its motion, and its alasticity, together with other phenomena of nature, be thought sufficient to afford the conclusion, that it possesses wholly the centre of the earth; still it must be concluded that vast quantities of this fluid are contained within the globe, and in fo compressed a state, as to be able to command the waters. In earthquakes, this element is known to be discharged from the

earth in great quantities; the vapours issuing from the earth, at such 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 earth, quake at Quito, in South America, have been caused 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 cause of the carthquake is the same thing in nature, as that of thunder. A portion of the electrical fluid being suddenly let off from the cloud, the remainder, recoiling to restore its equilibrium, causes the concussion of the cloud; whilst the part let off, in its course to other clouds, or to the earth, produces those shocks aird other effects of thunder, which we observe in the air, and upon bodies near the furface of the earth. In like manner, a por: tion of this fluid being let off from its great magazines within the earth, what remains will suddenly recoil and produce a shock there, proportionably great to the quantity of the fluid separated ; and which separated part, in its course through the waters, earth and air, may naturally be supposed to produce all the effects of the earthquake, observed, in a greater or less degree, to accompany the shock.

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 compression within the earıh abaced, those valt magazines would

dilate and occupy more space, and, consequently, the waters must rise, proportionably, above their usual level. Indeed, had not the world been so constructed, that its waters should be thrown upon the earth by the same cause with that of its undergoing such an universal shock, and change of its form, it must have instantly been deluged with fire; for, otherwise, it cannot be conceived of, that so great and universal a concussion should take place, as the earth at some period has mani. festly undergone, and it not, thereby, be kindled into a melting flame.

But, though the natural cause of the flood be left out of view, still the event answers perfectly to the divine theory; for the world, at first, being constructed of water, and by water, the prevailing power of the elect eltablishment, by dissolving that frame of the world, must, of course, bring the flood of waters upon the earth. The flood came, and, as the natural power, whatever it be, continued to weaken, so it continued to rain, and the waters prevailed and increased 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 beaft, and every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth, and every man. All in whose nostrils was the breath of life, of all that was in the dry land died. And every living substance was destroyed 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 deNroyed 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 skies, and the breaking up of the fountains of the great deep, by reason of the proftration of the strength of nature, (which state of weakness and disorder, though it came to its height in forty days, continued an hundred and fifty day,) lo broke up and demolished the frame of the globe, that nothing remaincd but the ruins of a world. It is said, the world that then was perished. Of this truth, the face of the whole earth bears to us the mcft ample testimony.


Section io. The Waters afswaged. But God remembered Noah, and every living 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 as waged. This wind was a new impulse given to the expanding power, or rather the recovery of its natural motion by the obstruction being removed.

Our theory, as to the first world, leads us to conceive of one wind palling over the earth, ever in the direction in which the fpheres roll; and of its being in every respect uniform, and without any obilruction. It is true, in this case, there would be no clouds with rain; for it is evident, that clouds of rain are formed by obstructed winds. But fome have been led to suppose, from the

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fcripture account, that this was the circumftance of that world. Moses, after his account of the creation, noticing expressly how the earth was watered, mentions a mist 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 some suppose, he designed to express the contrary, by saying, The Lord God had not caused'it 10 rain upon the earth. Gen. ii. v. [See Dr. Burnet's Theory of the World.]

Besides, must it not be concluded, as the rainbow is a token that the flood should not be repeated, that it had not before been seen? The signs and tokens that God has set to his covenants, are all natural, and in themselves expressive. But were there before the flood clouds of rain, as there now are, the rainbow had surely then appeared; and if so, how can it now be considered as a natural token, that the waters of the flood shall not return to destroy the earth.

This, however, is very different from the present state of things. Ancient astronomers supposed that two winds were ever held over the earth, acting upon each other in an equi. librium, or alternately prevailing—these were considered diflinctly, one as being the main power, and the other, as the governmental or balance power. Is not a sentiment like this expressed by Agur, Prov. xxx. 4. Who hath gathered the wind in his fifts ? By the following expression, it may be oblerved, that


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