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free, and wife agent; and not by a blind and neceffary one, that is tied down by principles merely mechanical. One system may be most proper for one ftate, and another for a state of a different nature. As there is a beautiful analogy between the moral and natural world, which runs through the whole, it should seem, that a ftate of moral rectitude fhould be accompanied with a fuitable rectitude of nature; and that a deviation from it should be productive of an obliquity in nature analogous to it. Agreeably hereto the moral rectitude of the primitive state seems to have been attended with a right and upright pofition of the axis of the earth, When man loft his uprightnefs, and the whole human race had filled up the measure of their iniquity to that degree, as to provoke God to deftroy the world by the flood, an oblique position was given it, more fuitable to the obliquity of character, into which mankind had degenerated. The one difpofition of the earth was adapted to a state of innocence: The other indicated a deviation from

from it; at the fame time fhewing a tendency towards its recovery: Both proclaiming the glory of God.

CHAP.

273]

CHA P.

VII.

THEORY OF THE RAIN-BOW.

A

NOTHER branch of knowledge, for which we are entirely indebted to fcripture, is that relating to the appointment of the rain-bow; the occafion on which it was appointed, as well as the end and defign it was appointed for, we fhould otherwife have been for ever ignorant of.

When God gave Noah and his fons poffeffion of the new world, he did not fail to add every motive and encouragement to excite their induftry, and to render them happy and fecure in the enjoyment of it. Τ He

He promised them the bleffing of fruitfulness, and that of multiplying their offfpring, for the replenishing of the earth. He invefted them with the dominion of the creatures, granted them the free use of every moving thing that lived for meat; and of all things elfe, even as the green herb; and reftrained them from nothing, but blood: And, to crown the whole, he in the ftrongest manner affures them, and their feed, of a perpetuity in the enjoyment, by repeated declarations, that he would not any more fmite every thing living; nor cut off all flesh by the waters of a flood: Neither fhould there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And, as if all this had been infufficient, God proceeds to ratify his gracious promises by a covenant; and to confirm that covenant by an extraordinary token.

The grounds of this extraordinary folicitude, as it were, in the divine Being, to render his creatures eafy and fecure in their prefent circumstances, feems to have been 遥

the

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the dejected ftate, to which they had been reduced by the great and long-continued perils; and the apprehenfions they were ftill under, that their dangers and difficulties were not yet over. The horrors of the deep, which had well nigh fwallowed them up; had fo gone over their fouls, as to leave a lafting impreffion upon their minds. And though they found themselves upon dry land, they faw nothing scarce but deftruction, and devastation, and a wide ocean around them, and they did not know how foon it might return; and, notwithftanding their late miraculous deliverance, involve them in the fame fate with the reft of the world.

".

As the waters had abated gradually, till the tops of the mountains appeared, and a fpot of earth was dry for their landing yet they would not venture to stir out of the ark, till God commanded them to go forth of it*: And after they were gone forth

* In appears they were in no hafte to quit the ark, notwithstanding their long confinement, from their continu

T 2

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