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guide me in tracing, though obscurely, yet justly, the outlines of this great and Aupendous work; together with its various changes and revolutions ! For thy counsel who hath known, except thou give wisdom, and send thy holy spirit from above *?
* Wisdom, ix. 17.
HE Bible opens with the history
of the whole material creation. It gives us a general view of the origin of the world, and of the formation of its several constituent parts, according to the order in which they were brought into being.
In the beginning God created the heaven, and the earth; or, rather, the heavens, as the ori. ginal word is elsewhere more justly translated. The heavens, and all the host of them*. - All the heavenly bodies, sun, moon, and stars—all this system at least.
This plain declaration, which is repeatedly confirmed in Scripture, at once overthrows the two great atheistical hypo
* Gen. ii. 1.
theses_That the world is from eternity and, That it was the result of chance. It likewise clearly defeats a third atheistical notion, That there is nothing but matter in the universe; as the Creator is here plainly distinguished from his creation; and as it will not be maintained, that matter can create itself: Much less, on the other hand, will that whimsical notion, which hath been started by some late philofophers, concerning the non-entity of mat. ter; which is founded in scepticism, and, terminates in atheism, be able to stand, before it. Lastly, the belief, that the whole universe was created by God, will by no means admit of another independent principle. So that all the atheistical and impious opinions, that ever were started in this respect, vanish before this fingle position, 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 first ; this being the
substratum of all the variety of forms, animate and inanimate, which were afterwards super-induced upon it.
To suppose any pre-existent, uncreated matter, is supposing two principles. It supposes what we have no manner of grounds to suppose in nature or reason; and what I apprehend contradicts the text itself. For after the account of the creation of the world in general, we are next in. formed in what condition the earth, which is the more immediate subject of this hiftory, then subsisted. It was without form and void. This must be understood 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 positive qualities, but such as were efsential to it merely as matter, and receffarily included in the idea of it. It was likewise void of life and beauty, quite dead and inert, an undigested confused heap or chaos.
And darkness, another negative quality, was upon the face of the deep. That must necessarily have been the case of this hideous ábyss, because light was not then created. It was in a horror of darkness.
This might well be called the deep; because if the several constituent particles of the chàotic mafs, solid and Auid, be allowed to have subsided according to their specific
the folia would fink, and the liquid, being the bighest, must needs occupy the uppermost place, and form the surface of the whole. And though the liquid parts bore but a very finall proportion to the solid ones in general, taking into consideration the whole bulk of the earth * ; yet supposing the solids to lie pretty even, the fluids, when collected all together upon the surface, would form fo considerable a body in itself, that its depth would be very great, as the term deep implies ; admitting only the same quantity of water as there is at present,
# Dr. Keil calculates that the fluids do 'not at prefent make above the hundred thousandth part of the whole globe.