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thefes That the world is from eternityand, That it was the result of chance. It likewife clearly defeats a third atheistical notion, That there is nothing but matter in the univerfe; as the Creator is here plainly distinguished from his creation; and as it will not be maintained, that matter can create itself: Much lefs, on the other hand, will that whimsical notion, which hath been started by fome late philofophers, concerning the non-entity of mat ter; which is founded in fcepticism, and terminates in atheism, be able to ftand before it. Laftly, the belief, that the whole univerfe was created by God, will by no means admit of another independent principle. So that all the atheiftical and impious opinions, that ever were started in this refpect, vanish before this fingle pofition, that in the beginning of time God created the heavens and the earth.
He first created only the matter of them, which, in order of time and nature, required to be created firft; this being the
fubftratum of all the variety of forms, animate and inanimate, which were afterwards fuper-induced upon it.
To fuppofe any pre-exiftent, uncreated matter, is fuppofing two principles. It fuppofes what we have no manner of grounds to fuppofe in nature or reafon; and what I apprehend contradicts the text itfelf. For after the account of the creation of the world in general, we are next informed in what condition the earth, which is the more immediate subject of this hiftory, then fubfifted. It was without form and void. This must be underftood of it after it was created, because before it was created, nothing could be predicated of it. After it became earth, it was without form and void. It was no more than bare naked matter, uninformed, and unfurnished with any pofitive qualities, but fuch as were efféntial to it merely as matter, and neceffarily included in the idea of it. It was likewife void of life and beauty, quite dead and inert, an undigefted confufed heap or chaos.
And darknefs, another negative quality, was upon the face of the deep. That must neceffarily have been the case of this hideous ábyfs, because light was not then created. It was in a horror of darkness.
This might well be called the deep; becaufe if the feveral conftituent particles of the chaotic mafs, folid and fluid, be allowed to have fubfided according to their fpecific gravities; ones being the heavieft the would fink, and the liquid, being the highest, muft needs occupy the uppermost place, and form the furface of the whole. And though the liquid parts bore but a very fmall proportion to the folid ones in general, taking into confideration the whole bulk of the earth; yet fuppofing the folids to lie pretty even, the fluids, when collected all together upon the furface, would form fo confiderable a body in itfelf, that its depth would be very great, as the term deep implies; admitting only the fame quantity of water as there is at prefent,
Dr. Keil calculates that the fluids do not at prefent make above the hundred thousandth part of the whole globe.
though it will appear hereafter that the folids and fluids bore a much nearer proportion to each other then than they do at this time. Thus was the whole earth hitherto but one great and horrid abyfs, and this abyfs in a state of ftagnation: When The Spirit of God moved upon the face of
The furface of the chaotic fluid was of course the thinneft part of it; and therefore properly called water: And the divine Agent now began to put it in motion, in order to difpofe it the more readily and effectually for its future tranfmutations; which will be found to proceed in a very regular and natural order.
The whole mafs confifted of four elements, when feparated, which were now all blended together.-Earth, water, air, fire. To fit, and difpofe them for their feveral ufes, it was neceffary to separate, and affign them their proper spheres refpectively. The Spirit of God therefore, in the firft place, agitates this confused mass in quality of a € 2 ftrong
ftrong, wind, and by this means difunites its feveral constituent parts, and difpatches each to the region proper for it to Occupy.
The element that was firft called forth from the rest is, the most fubtle and volatile of the whole; that is, fire, or light, which is an emanation from it; or rather is fire itself, refined and fublimated to the height of its capacity.
And God faid, Let there be light; and there was light.
This is the authoritative language of reative power. Let there be light; therefore it was not in being, before it was now called forth into existence; and if light be a body †, as it is now, I think, generally agreed to be, here is a decifive proof of the creation of matter, to one who fubmits to the authority of revelation.
includes both thefe fenfes, and may
be tranflated either by the spirit of God, or a Arong wind. I have endeavoured to preferve both.
The materiality of light was proved by Mr. Boyle, and Boerhaave.