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As light was created the first day; and the formation of the fun was the work of the fourth day:-As they are likewife diftin&tly mentioned elsewhere, and the light first in order.-Thou haft prepared the light, and the fun *We have hence grounds to conclude, there was light before there was any fun. For though the fun be the fountain of light to this fyftem, it is not univerfally fuch: And light might have been diffused throughout the univerfe, before it was collected into diftinct bodies.
And God faw the light that it was goodLight is of fo glorious a nature, that it is reprefented to us as being of the effence of the Deity. God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. It is the most visible object in itself, and the great medium of the vifibility of other things. It is therefore fo beneficial, that there is a fingular propriety in the obfervation, that God faw the light, and faw that it was good. And God divided the light from the darkness.
*Pf. lxxiv. 16. + 1 Jo. i. 5.
It may be inconceivable to us, how this divifion could be made, before the exiftence of the fun; whofe office it now is, to divide the day from the night, and the light from the darkness. But it may help our conceptions, to reflect that there is a natural diftinction and divifion between them; not only on account of their contrariety to each other; but because there likewife is in light itfelf a property that contributes to this end; which is, that its motion is always in right lines from whence, according to all experiments, the feparation between light and darkness is juftly deduced; and fo likewise are the fhadows in perfpective: Whereas, if the light did not move in trait lines, but in all kinds of curves; there would be no darkness or fhadow, where the light could not have accefs; and confequently no feparation between light and darknesst.
Genefis, i. 14, 18.
+ See Nieuentyt's Relig. Phil. vol. iii. Contemp. xxiv. Sect. 23.
Therefore the endowing of light with this property; and its being imposed upon it, as a law at its firft creation, might alone be fufficient, in the hands of the great Creator, to cause a separation between it, and darkness.
This distinction between light and darkness was seen by the wife fon of Sirach, who happily and accurately illustrates it by a very beautiful image. He, the Lord, hath Separated his light from the darkness, with an adamant *, that, as it were, cuts them afunder from each other.
We may add, that a separation between light and darkness, would refult from the separate places, which they would occupy. For while darknefs lay on the face of the water; light, or fire, would naturally afcend to higher regions.
And God called the light day; and the darkness be called night: And the evening and the morning were the first day.
Light and darkness being thus divided,and having their bounds fettled, were appointed,
* Ecclus xvi. 16.
among other purposes, to make the firft divifion of time into day and night, alternately to fucceed each other. And in this viciffitude, the evening, which is but another name for night, takes the lead, and is first mentioned; becaufe darkness, which caufes night, was firft in order of time, and lay upon the face of the deep, during the former part of the first day; when light was created, and made the latter part of it. Accordingly the Hebrews, and many other antient natioris, held that darkness was before light; and computed time, not by the days, but by the nights *.
The fecond element that was formed, and was next extricated from the chaotic mafs, when put into motion, was air; which though fo thin and fubtile a body, yet hath a furprizing elafticity, and firmness of texture, which enables it to sustain vast loads of watery exhalations, which are raifed up into it: Whence it is here called the firmament, dividing the waters under it,
* Vide Grot. de veritate Relig. Chrift.lib. 1. fect. 16.
from those above it: And being, as it were, ftretched between them, the original word is by fome tranflated expanfe; being capable of both meanings.
The next procefs was to feparate the two remaining elements from each other; the earth from the water.
Let the waters under the heaven be gathered together unto one place, and let the dry land appear.
The manner in which this effect likewife might be brought to pafs, by virtue of the divine energy, doth not feem difficult to conceive, and account for. As the two former elements were extracted out of the common, mafs, by its being put into a proper motion for that purpose; so these two seem to have been feverally formed, and to have had their diftinct natures given them, by the fame means. The motion requifite for this purpose, I apprehend to have been that, of the earth's circumvolution on its axis. I fuppofe it will not be disputed, but that this motion was given it at the creation. It will appear neceffary it should have