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ORBITS of the PL.INETS b, Venus, C, Saturn. d, Mars.
HE AVEN Geneses I. 1.
ter is four times and one third that of the earth : his number of comets is great; but these are selected as bulk eighty times and a half that of the earth. Two being most contradictory. satellites have been discovered belonging to him; of We have thus explained what the term heaven inthe first the period is 8 days, 17 hours, 1 minute, ports in sacred history : we now turn, with the inthe second the period is 13 days, 11 hours, 5 minutes. spired writer, to consider those events which occurred His orbit is inclined to the ecliptic, 90°.
on one of these planets, THE EARTH, which, he obThis planet, by his great distance, was unknown till serves, was originally without form, and void. the powerful telescopes of Mr. Herschel discovered The most striking and prominent features of the him; consequently the ancients were entirely unac- Mosaic history, are the creation of the world we inquainted with him.
habit, and the destruction of it by a deluge of water : III. Elevation of the orbit of the planets, as seen as both these histories have been attacked by the enfrom the sun: these are estimated by comparison with emies of Revelation, who well knew the importance the orbit of the earth, from which the orbit of Mer- of Moses, considered as an historian, in relation to that cury differs more than that of any other planet; and divine system, we shall bestow more attention on is therefore at once the smallest, and the most irregu- these two histories, than on others of less moment. lar, as his eccentricity is greatest, and, as the eleva. We are under the necessity of supposing, that our tion and depression of his course is also greatest. readers are informed of the existence, and in some deThe orbit of Jupiter differs but little from that of the gree of the application, of those iustruments to which earth. In fact, with regard to what differences might science is unspeakably beholden; we mean the telhave existed, the whole of the planetary courses may escope, the microscope, the barometer, the thermombe regarded as nearly similar. Their quantities of eter, &c. not that our reasonings will require any variation from the ecliptic is as follows:
practical acquaintance with these instruments; but Mercury 6° 59' 20% Jupiter 2° 20'
that we shall be under the necessity of appealing to Venus 3 23 5 Saturn 2 33 30
them for the truth of our assertions. Those obserMars 1 52 Georgian 90
vations which they have furnished, together with their IV. As the foregoing figure is under a necessity results, must be taken as truths, admitted truths, beof supposing, what is false in fact, that the courses of cause excursions in demonstration of them would emthe planets cross each other [i.e. form knots or nodes] ploy our time in a manner which is not the intention in the middle of the elevation, it is the design of the of these pages. thin lines, marked with the names of the planets, to Moses describes the chaos as a confusion, without correct this idea ; accordingly, by attending to them, mentioning any agent whereby this confusion was proit appears, that the intersections of the planes of the duced; he attributes it neither to fire, nor to water, planetary orbits with that of the earth, i.e. their nodes neither to earthquakes, nor to explosions : he mere(such planes supposed to be extended so as to meet ly acquaints us that the earth existed, but in exthe earth's orbits,] are as follows:
treme disorder, the reduction of which to order, is 14° 43' The ascending node of Mercury in 8 Taurus, the subject of his history. His subject does not 13 59.
of Venus in o Gemini, lead him to say whether any or what changes were 17 17
of Mars in 8 Taurus, produced in the centre of the earth, or in those mass7 29
of Jupiter in @ Cancer, ive parts of it between the centre and the circumfer21 13
of Saturn in a Cancer. ence; for any thing which appears in his narration The descending nodes are of necessity diametri- they may remain as they were ; but the external parts, cally opposite to the ascending, and are marked on the superficial layers of matters which compose the the plate by the names of the planets at length. upper strata of this planet, these underwent changes The computation of the planetary distances is, of which the sacred historian has preserved the order,
Miles. In round numbers. and of which he relates the consequences. Mercury - 36,841,500 37,000,000
The earth was without form and void : sightless Venus 68,891,500 69,000,000
(unsightly) and unprepared, say the Lxx, a chaos, an Earth 95,173,000 95,000,000
unarranged mass of materials; confused, disorderly, Mars 145,014,000 145,000,000
discordant. Jupiter 494,991,000 495,000,000
The very heathen poets describe this chaotic state, Saturn 907,956,000 908,000,000
this primitive character of the earth. Georgian 1,900,000,000
Ante mare et terras, et quod tegit omnia cælum, V. This plate exhibits also tracks of three comets,
Unus erat toto naturæ vultus in orbe, as specimens of the irregularity with which these bod
Quem dixere chaos, rudis indigestaque moles, jes advance toward the sun on all sides : some from
Nec quicquam nisi pondus iners congestaque eodem, the right hand, some from the left; some ascending
Non bene junctarum discordia semina rerum. from below, some descending from above. We remark
Ovid Metam. lib.i. that such courses as are most round, are most speedily “ Before the sea, the land, the all-surrounding terminated; while such as are very narrow, and almost, heaven were, the whole appearance of nature was the as it were, parallel, are of very long duration. The same undistinguished surface, called chaos; a gross
unarranged mass, incapable of producing any thing it. Now the natural operation of this agitation among self, yet containing the seeds of all things, though the surface materials of the chaos would doubtless dispersed.”
cause the heavier matters to sink; the metals, The If we reflect a moment on this state of things, we stones, the earths would descend, leaving in the upshall see the reason of the order adopted by Moses in per regions the lighter particles, airs, rapours, exhahis narrative. 1st, The heavenly bodies were the lations, and fluids, which being transparent in some works of God, therefore worship should not be paid to degree, though mixed and polluted by various unsetthem, but to their Creator. 2dly, The earth was cha- tled ingredients, yet would no longer oppose the emotic: therefore it had not existed in its present form anations of light now gliding into them, among them, from all eternity, as some philosophers held; neither, and through them. Thus it was God said, Light be, 3dly, was the earth itself to be worshipped: that and light was: thus it was God separated the darkwhich had been deformed ought not to be deified. ness from the light : 1st, By the rotary motion of The idolatry of the world at The time when Moses the earth, one half of its surface only being exposed wrote, rendered such a caveat against infidelity highly to the light at one time; the other half remaining in necessary and appropriate.
darkness; 2dly, by causing the opaque bodies to sink The chaos naturally supposes a mass of materials below those which were transparent, so that they no of different densities; some light, some heavy, some longer impeded the passage of light; 3dly, by estabcompact, some expanded; solids also, and fluids; all lishing the bounds of the horizon, which now repreheterogeneously intermingled; materials of various sented a state of night, in those parts of its surface qualities and properties, but all dissociated, all disor- which declined from the immediate visitation of light; dered: can it be fitted for inhabitants ?
and a state of morning, in those parts approaching The prelude to discharging this chaotic state from toward the direct action of light. the surface of the earth was giving to the planet a ro- As natural day and night is now occasioned by tary motion on its axis. We must therefore desire the very same motion of this planet, i.e. its revolution the reader to understand the history of Moses as im- on its axis, we may freely infer, that the same cause plying, that some person of competent dignity, power, originally produced the same effect: and since one intelligence and benevolence, visited this disorderly rotation now separates between day and night, bemass, took his station opposite to a certain part of it, tween light and darkness, so it did then. from thence issued his orders, and directed the whole That divine impulse which originally imparted of obedient nature.
this motion, still continues it, still produces the same He first bids this globe revolve: of which the im- effects; morning, evening ; light, darkness; which mediate consequence is, a vehement agitation among still make one day; or, as it is in the Hebrew, the superficial particles of the chaos, resisting the “evening, morning, day, one." course of the globe; that is to say, by endeavouring But the globe is not a sentient being itself, it is to maintain their station, the lighter particles oppose only a receptacle, a habitation for sentient beings; the progress of the revolving matters around them: let us, therefore, inquire what principles are necesstill, however, the globe continues to roll, and there. sary to qualify it for ihe reception of animated existby this agitation is prolonged over its whole surface. ence, to whom we must attribute, Ist, individual Such is the account, which would be given by those life ; 2dly, the power of continuing that life; 3dly, who render the words, Johann RUACH ALEIM, the power of transmitting that life in succession. WIND of God, i.e. a violent wind, so violent as only If the dark and frozen regious of the poles were God could raise and direct. Such is the rendering of favourable to life, animal or vegetable, we might disthe Chaldee paraphrast Onkelos, of the Rabbis Mai- pense perhaps with light and warmth as primary monides and Aben-ezra, of the Christian fathers The- requisites; but, if at this day nature exults in the vigodoret and Tertullian, of Episcopius, and others ; our of her productive powers under the genial inand it is acknowledged, that the phrase is analogous fluence of radiance and heat, then, no doubt, radito expressions used not infrequently in the Hebrew ance and heat were originally necessary to enable writings. But the majority of interpreters, with equal the first individuals to receive their being, and to propriety, and equal correctness, consider these prolong their continuance after they had received it. words as denoting a person, the spirit of God, who moved, brooded, say some, as a hen broods over eggs,
OF LIGHT, AND ITS EFFECTS. on the surface of the waters. For my own part, I Light was, as we have seen, the first principle bethink this person is understood to be stationary, fix. stowed on this new world, to prepare it for the reed opposite to one point of the earth, which gradual. ception of inhabitants; whether vegetable inhabily, as it revolves, brings its whole surface, in succes- tants, or animal; and I mean to insist that the order sion, under the inspection, and the influence of this and progress of each day in the creation history is arranging power; the consequence of which is, that preparatory to the following days, with a correctness virtue from this spiritual agent visits the whole in suc- which has hitherto not been sufficiently understood cessive progression.
and it will be remembered that each day is coinci dent with a revolution of the globe. Light, then, plicable, but moist, muddy, mixed liquids ; liquids is our first principle preparatory to life, if we ask, of various densities : of these the most weighty sunk what is the stimulus of vegetable life? we must an- downward, and adhered to the globe of earth, while swer light : Do not plants come to perfection without the most rarefied sprang upward to those spaces in light? no: Nor display their colours ? no : Nor en- the aerial heaven, whose correspondent levity suited joy the functions of their life ? no. Do their seeds their powers of expansion. This process was very sprout without light? they are pallid, feeble, enervat- much the result of that light which had visited the ed; they languish and die. A shrub, enclosed in globe on the first day; the first day had prepared the a dark chamber, bends its hoping boughs toward gross atmosphere, the second day purified and comany crevice whereat light attempts to penetrate: to pleted it: the first day had determined the heavy this directs its leaves, to this inclines its stem; and materials to their situations on the inert mass, whence if a leaf can reach the radiant beam, that leaf becomes resulted compactness, induration, solidity; the secverdant; that leaf may live while others less fortu- ond day drained still further the atmosphere of its nale dwindle, pine, and die. Change the situation feculencies, gave its vapours and fluids their due disof this plant, direct the light to some of its other tinctions, enabled them to assume their relative stabranches, they revive under the influence of the tions, expanded the lighter over the heavier, and so genial ray. If light be so necessary to plants, how spread out the firmament, the expanse, the atmosmuch more to animals? If to the life of plants, how pherical
, vaporated, envelope of the globe, which on much more to the accommodation of animals? We all sides surrounds it, and on all sides is the medium conclude, therefore, that light is the first requisite of its embellishment. The work of the second day, of a habitation for sentient beings, and with the ut, says Scheuzer, may be called the serenification of most propriety stands recorded as a production of the atmosphere which surrounds the earth. the first day, the beginning of creation ; God said, We have thus advanced also toward a second “Light be," and light was.
requisite for the sustenance of life when it shall begin SECOND DAY.
upon the globe; if living creatures are to be sustain
ed by the fluids of the atmosphere, if they are to THE EXPANSE, OR FIRMAMENT.
breathe the air, doubtless the air must be fitted for A second revolution of the globe shewed what their breathing, it must be cleared from noxious or beneficial effects had accompanied the first revolu- hazardous ingredients, from pollutions injurious to tion. The superincumbent parts of the mass had the vessels which inhale it, from whatever might imsubsided into somewhat of an orderly distribution, pede the duties of the parts adapted to employ it, and had advanced to a certain degree of clearness, and from all risk which otherwise might attend its and purification: and now, God directed the firma- operation; in short, it must be pure, pot poisonous ; ment to appear.
and salutary, not deadly. The word firmament ["p? RAKLAU] signifies an Air is a fluid, compressible, expansible, elastic; espanse ; it expresses two 'ideas : 1st, that of an it is the vehicle of other fluids, which according to expanded atmosphere surrounding the globe, which their nature diminish or increase its activity, and we might call, for distinction sake, the blue firma. vary its properties by properties of their own. The ment; 2dly, that of a remote expanse wherein the atmosphere is an expanse of air, into which rise othstars are placed. We often speak of the stars in the er vapours, where they form meteors which descend firmament; of a firmament of stars : but we ought on the carth, rain, hail, snow; dews, mists, fogs : to remember that in these expressions we speak of clouds are formed in air; and among clouds, thunwhat is apparent as if it were real, for the stars are not der; lightning too flashes in air, and now air is the locally situated in our firmament, i.e. the blue firma- great distributor of whatever distant regions afford, ment; they only seem to be so situated, because to others whose expecting soil waits till it can rethey appear there: they are separated by an inter- ceive the beneficent importation. val of distance, an immeasurable interval of distance !
THIRD DAY. God spread out this firmament, by gradually clarifying the atmosphere; and into this region arose the
SEA, EARTH, VEGETATION. lighter vapours, which floated among their strata, elevated above the surface of the earth, in propor- Those flowing liquids which had been purified and tion to their natural buoyancy, while the grosser mix- liberated from obstructing matters by the operations tures, and the heavier fluids, sunk by a kind of pre- appointed to the second revolution of the globe, were cipitation, to their correspondent strata on the now enabled to pursue their natural motions, and to carth below.
combine into considerable collections. God there. This is what I understand by the phrase God di. fore directed those waters, whose weight detained vided, or separated, by somewhat of a chemical sep- them on the surface of the earth, to congregate in a aration, the lower waters from the upper waters; fit receptacle. These the historian describes by the where, we observe, that the word waters, is taken term, “waters under the expanse;" meaning, all not with great latitude, implying not pure waters, for as raised into the atmosphere, all not mingled with atyet there were none to which that character was ap- mospherical principles, all not exhaled into elevated