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Interpretation an

fwered.

munication of the Divine Goodness; fo that you may make half a Dozen out of every fixed Star if you think fit.

Phil. I thank you kindly for your Offer; but I never defign to fet up for a World-maker, for it is a very difficult Trade; and I am forry there are so many Pretenders to it. But, by the Way, I am afraid that this little Piece of Criticism of yours will not hold Water. I do not pretend to be any great Critick in the Hebrew Tongue, but I think I am one good enough to understand that Text you have mentioned. The Words you have defcanted upon are Veeth hacocavim. Now I fuppofe any one that understands Hebrew, knows that the Particle Eth is a fign of the Accufative Cafe, and therefore Eth hacocavim muft follow the Verb jagnafl, made, which goes before, and not have any Relation to lememfheleth, which is a Subftantive, and fignifies to the Dominion. Now the Conftruction is very natural lememfheleth halailah; for the Dominion of the Night; but the Particle Eth makes the word Hacocavim quite of another Cafe, fo that it must be referred to another Part of the Sentence; which can be no other than the Verb [made]; therefore the Stars are here faid to be made, and not to be governed, as you would

have them.

Objection Cred. Well, Sir, I fee you have raised the only Obagainst this jection which I was aware of: And I will endeavour to ward off the Blow as well as I can. It is very true that the Particle doth moft commonly fignify the Perfon Suffering, or is a Sign of the Accufative Cafe, but not always, for it is very often ufed otherways. Sometimes the word Eth is perfectly redundant, and fignifies juft nothing As, Jer. iii. 37. You shall go (me-eth-ze). from hence, which is the fame as mizze. Sometimes it is joined with the Nominative Cafe, as Jer. xxxviii. 4. Let (eth-haifh) that Man die. Sometimes it has the Signifi-. cation of the Prepofition To. As Job xxvi. 4. Eth-mi, To whom haft thou uttered words? Sometimes it fignifies From, as Gen. xliv. 4. They were gone (eth-hagnir) out of (or from) the City. Oftentimes it fignifies With, as 2 Sam.

XV. II.

1

XV. II. Eth-Abfalom, With Abfalam there went two hun dred Men. So Ifa. vii. 17. With the King of Affyria. And Ifa. xxiii. 17. Shall commit Fornicaton [eth] with all the Kingdoms of the World. And in this laft Senfe I take the Particle to be ufed in the Text. For the Government of the Night [veeth-hacocavim] together with the Stars; or and the Stars. Which anfwers exactly to the like Construction, Neh. ix 33. We have done wickedly (veethmalachenu) together with our Kings, or, We and our Kings. have done wickedly. This feems to me to be an Interpretation natural enough; and I doubt not but ancient Interpreters would have made ufe of it, had they been acquainted with thofe Improvements which have been made by modern Philofophy.

Phil. I find, Credentius, you entertain fome Noftrums. in Divinity, as well as I do. Well! I would not be in your Coat for a good deal, if you should vent thefe Notions to the World. And yet I could not chufe but laugh, to see what a Pack of fyftematical Divines you would have about your Ears. They would worry you into as Arrant an Atheift, as they do me. The Stars no Part of the Mofaick Creation! Blefs us! here is Divinity enough to raise up the Ghofts of old Zanchy, and John Calvin. 'Tis well, Credentius, you live in a philofophick Age, and a Time of Free-Thinking, or elfe we fhould fee you" in as forrowful a Pickle, as the poor Bishop that was a Martyr for afferting the Antipodes.

Cred. Pray, Sir, leave off your Banter, we may be This Inter pleasant upon a more proper Subject. I do affure you, pretation not preju Sir, I abhor advancing any Notion which fhould do the dicial to leaft Differvice to Religion, or which should turn to the Religion. leaft Diminution of God's Glory; but I think this Interpretation does neither, but rather the contrary: If it does not please others, I cannot help it; and if they will give me better Information, I am ready with all Humblenefs and Submiffion to receive it.

Phil. The next Thing which diflikes me in the Mofaical Account, is this: That he makes Light before the Sun, which is a monftrous Abfurdity: For the firft

68.

Thing which he makes the Deity do, is to give out his *0. R. p. Fiat for Light; upon this notable Contrivance * I'll warrant you, for Fear God fhould be thought to work great Part of the Week in the dark. But how unintelligible a Thing is this Light without a Sun! We may as well talk of Colours without Light, of Shadow without a Body, of an Accident without a Subject, of an Effect without a Caufe, as to make Light in the World without a Sun. But to what manner of Purpose should it be? Certainly God knew how to work without a Candle, and there was nothing else made (according to this Account) to fee by it. Pray, Sir, unriddle this for me; for I affure you this is one of the greatest Prejudices I have against the Mofaick Account.

Light before the

clearing up

of the Chaos.

Cred. Indeed this Difficulty has horribly puzled Interpreters. The Rabbins who are ufed to be very fruitful for Invention, tell us the Sun was created the first Day, when the Light is faid to be created, but is mentioned by Way of Repetition in the fourth Day. Others will have this Light to be a lucid Cloud, like that which went before the Children of Ifrael in the Wilderness, and moved round the World like the Sun, till that was created. But our Prophet need not be helped off with fuch filly Shifts as thefe. You know that Darkness has been in all Ages the chief Ide Men have had of a Chaos. Hence Nox, and Erebus, and Tartarus, have been the principal Part of the Defcription of it in the Poets and Philofophers. Therefore it fhould feem very agreeable to the Reafon of Mankind, that the firft Remove from the Chaos fhould be a Tendency to Light. Either all Mankind have been out in their Notion of a Chaos, or the Mofaick Hypothefis is very well contrived, to be fo conformable to it. But by Light, as it was produced the first Day, must not be understood the Darting of Rays from a luminous Body, or the Trepidation of the intermediate Corpufcles between that and the Eye, which is the actual Light we enjoy now: But only the forming and adapting fuch tenuious Parts in fuch a Figure and Manner, as when fuch a luminous Body fhould be after

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with a THEIST.

wards created, they fhould convey Light to us, or raise
that agreeable Senfation in us: Which I will the better
explain to you by this Scheme, which I defire your Fa-
vour to look upon. It is my Opinion, that upon the
firft Formation, the whole Space of the Magnus Orbis,
which is all that Space which is comprehended within
the Circle which Saturn defcribes about the Sun, was the
Bounds of the Chaos. For the other Planets, Jupiter,
Mars, &c. which are contained within this Circle, bear
fo
many Similitudes and Relations one to the other, and
to our Earth, have the fame common Luminary, the
fame Center, a like Form and Gravity, with many other
Affections, which may be demonftrated of them, that
to any reasonable Man they seem to be the Production of
one Creation. If the Sun was not created till our Crea-
tion, as Mofes fays pofitively it was not, we cannot
imagine that all the other Planets, till that was created,
went rowling all in the dark, round an imaginary Point,
to no Purpose. We must therefore affign them all one
common Time of Creation, which must be the Mofai-
cal. The Chaos therefore must be of equal Extent to the
Creation, that is to take up all the Room within the afore-
faid Circle. Now it feems moft agreeable to Scripture,
that this chaolick Matter was then firft created out of no-
thing by God, Heb. xi. 3. compared with 2 Mac. vij.
28. That original Creation therefore is reprefented in
the Figure I. wherein is comprehended all the Matter in
this folar World unformed and indigefted, without Light
or Motion. Either the Matter was not broke and atte-
nuated, into thofe fine Corpufcles, which compofe Light,
or elfe they lay irretited and entangled with the Parts of
diffimilar grofs Subftances mixed with them; fo as to
make the whole Expanfion refemble a great dark muddy
Globe: So that by its Opaqueness it hindred the Light
of the Stars, or any luminous Body, from paffing thro'
it. In this Condition, I fuppofe, the Chaos to have
ftood, when the Fiat for Light was given. And then.
when the divine Spirit, or the Wind of God made its
Incabatim, or Motion upon the Abyfs, all the confufed

ftagnating

61

O. R.

ftagnating Principles of Matter began to range into Or der and Form; the dull, heavy, terreous Parts, which over-clouded the Expanfum, had their Summons to retire to their respective Centres; and they prefently obeyed the Almighty's Orders, and Part thereof fubfided to the Centre of the Earth, fome to Jupiter, fome to Saturn, and others to Venus, &c. till the Globes of thofe refpeЯtive Planets were completed; and till the whole Expanfum was cleared of thefe grofs and opaque Parts of Matter, and of a muddy dark Chaos became a tenuious pellucid Globe. This was the firft Day's Work, and the Effect of that divine Effate, Let there be Light, Vid. Fig. II.

Phil. Ay, this is Divinity which agrees with my Tooth. Do but go on at this Rate, and I, like King Agrippa, fhall be half a Christian at first Dath. I with you could help out Mofes at other Streights, as well as you have done here. But what fay you to his Waters above the Firnament? Is not this a pretty imaginary Utopian Ocean? There is as much of the Philofophy of a Countryman in this, as you would expect to fec. Poor Prophet! he understood nothing of the Elevation of Vapours from the Sea, and the Condenfation of them into Rains; but very artificially makes a Repofitory-Pond for them, (like the New-River Water) in the Heavens, from whence the diverfe Inhabitants of the World may be fupplied with Rain, according as God pleafes. Doth this look like Infpiration, or indeed like common Senfe? And yet we find a whole Day attributed, to this imaginary Work. Work. Indeed it fometimes makes me laugh to think, how the poor Interpreters fwear, under this Difficulty. Some place thefe fuper-ccleft al Warers only in the Clouds, but then they know not how to get them thither; for as yet there was no Sun to exhale them. Others carry them as high as the celeftial Orbs, and make ufe of them there, for refrigerating the Heat of the Sun and Moon; for Fear they fhould melt the folid Orbs. Thus Theodoret and Procopius, two very learned Men. Bede will have them there, to keep the Heat of the Sun

from

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