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the world in general is better known than it, was in those early times. Whence it may be concluded, that there have not been in succeeding ages, those quantities of rain and waters, to cause such inundations, as happened in antient days,
Upon the whole, so many impediments to the return of the deluge, serve as so many ratifications of God's covenant to Noah; and, according to the present conftitution of the world, render such a catastrophe absolutely impossible : A constition, which from many of the foregoing instances, appears to be very different from that of the antediluvian earth.
ON THE POST-DILUVIAN STATE
OF THE MOUNTAINS.
HERE is nothing relating to this
subject in scripture, except what may be deduced from some few prophetical palsages; And as these are generally understood in a metaphorical sense, so being gradual and imperceptible in their accomplishment; few imagine, or perhaps will allow, that they are capable of any other. Let us however examine them.
The most remarkable of these prophecies is the following. Every valley fall be exalted; and every mountain and hill fall be made low: And the crooked Jhall be made straight, and the rough places plain*. This prophecy is quoted by St. Luke t, and ap
* Irai. xl. 4.
+ Luke iii. 5.
plied to the reign of the Messiah, to which it belongs; importing, in a moral sense, that all obstacles, impeding, the establishment of his kingdom, shall be removed L; and that, when the Gospel shall have its due influence upon the tempers and manners of men, it will be productive of much improvement in them--that the humble shall be exalted by it, and the proud debased; the perverse reduced to a better temper, and the rude and favage civilized.
This prophecy is in substance repeated by Isaiah himself. I will make waste moun-. tains and hills *, I will make crooked things straight t, I will make all my mountains a way, and my highways shall be exalted 1.
Though these predictions, and some others that shall be taken notice of hereafter, are
* Ifa. xlii. 15.
+ Ver. 16. Ch. xlix. 11. Dr. Lowth would translate this last place, My causeways Mall be exalted; implying a road raised with stone, in low and marshy grounds. But this cannot be better expressed, than in the common term of high-way; which fignifics a way raised above the level of the ground every where. 3
principally to be understood, in a moral sense, of the blessings of the Gospel, and the happy effects of Christ's kingdom, when he shall reign in the hearts and lives of men, meliorating their tempers, and softening and refining their manners: Yet it is not impossible, but that they may have their accomplishment in the literal ineaning likewise; how singular and paradoxical soever this notion may seem to be That even inanimate nature shall be meliorated under the reign of the Mefiah--that the outward face of the earth shall be improved the mountains gradually lowered; and the val. lies raised; and the surface of the earth reduced nearer to a level; and laid out in a more regular and beautiful manner, than it before appeared in.
There are some appearances in nature, that seem to favour this notion; and which have a tendency, a remote one at least, towards this end; and a gradual, however flow, working, towards the accomplishment of the prophecy in this sense.
Naturalists are generally agreed, that the mountains are lowering, and do subside for which a concurrence of various causes may be afligned.
1. By the clouds breaking upon them, the rain falling, and mist drizzling down their fides, the soil is washed away ; every shower carrying down some part of it.
2. The springs, working their way through the veins of the earth and clefts of the rocks; and, collecting themselves into brooks and rivers, are constantly bringing down new, accession of matter into the vallies; by which they are raised, as the hills are lowered.
3. Large collections of water, contained in the caverns of hills, are known to have so loosened the foundations of them, as to occasion their falling; of which we shall see several instances presently: And fire geilerated in their bowels, and discharging the contents of thein in Volcanoes, muft necefsarily consume even those mountains which they have raised; and in time cause the