STÅte of the EARTH.


HE great Architect of the universe

having, upon a review of his work, expressed his complacency in it; and having seen with approbation, how the whole was fitted for its defigned end ; and all the parts, adapted to the several uses they were made for; as nothing could come out of the hands of the all-wise Creator, that would not fully answer his purpofe in creating it, this earth must have been admi. rably well contrived, and very completely furnished, for the reception and fuftenance of its future inhabitants.


God made man upright, in perfect innocence and simplicity ; without the least blemish or imperfection, natural or moral. It is probable therefore, as Mr. Whiston observes, “ That before any good, or bad actions of creatures; when every thing was just as the wisdom of God was pleased to appoint — When each creature was complete and perfect in its kind ; and so suited to the most complete and perfect state of external nature - It is highly probable, that the outward world, or every such state of external nature, was even, uniform, and regular ; as was the temper and disposition of each creature, that was to be placed therein ; and as properly suited to all their necessities, and conveniences, as was possible, and reasonable to be expected. Such a state, it is natural to believe, obtained through the universe, till fucceeding changes in the living and rational, required proportionable ones in the inanimate and corporeal world *.

* Mr, Whiston's Theory of the Earth, p. 115.


The primeval state was but of short continuance, even at the longest duration, which it hath been computed at* No wonder therefore, that the account which we have of it, is short and obscure likewise. The sacred historian is indeed far from being diffuse in any of his descriptions. We are to make the most we can of the hints, which he hath given us.

In his history of the vegetable creation, the order and manner in which it seems to have been carried on, was, That God, in the first place, exercised his creative power, in making and forming all plants, and herbs, in their several kinds, by themselves, in a distinct and separate state from the earth - And that at the same time, he prepared the earth for their reception, when created, impregnating it with virtue for their nourishment and growth; after which he planted them in it. This, I think, may be concluded from the words, God made every plant of the field, before it was in the earth, and every herb of the field, before it grew

* See Efsay on Redemption, p. is. where it is computed to have lasted about six months.


And the Lord God planted a garden east-ward in Eden *. This I take to be explanatory of what went before, by fpecifying the spot where, and the manner in which, he provided for the preservation and growth of the trees and vegetables, which he had inade. He planted them in a garden; the choice of thein at least, and there he caused them to grow.

2. The necessity of this procedure appears from the reasons assigned for it. For the Lord God had not caused it rain upon the earth; and there was not a man to till the ground. The natural and ordinary means for raising and cultivating the fruits of the earth, had not as yet been provided : Whence, by the way, we may learn, not to ascribe too much to second causes, as God can work without them; or supply the absence of them another way. Thus,

* Genesis, ii. 5. 8.


instead of rain, there went up a mift from the earth, and watered the whole face of the ground.

3. We may infer, That the vegetable system was brought into existence in a very vigorous state ; and being planted in what may, with the greatest propriety, be called a virgin earth, it must have been endowed with plenty of rich juices, to feed and maintain the charge committed to it; since it required no rain, nor any culture of mạn, to aląst in promoting the nurture, or growth of any of the several species of its vegetables. This is confirmed by the description of paradise. The trees, with which it abounded in great variety, were pleasant to the fight, and their fruits very good for food: And one particular tree there was in it, the fruit of which was so excellent, as to confer immortality: Nay, the forbidden fruit seems to have been excellent in its kind likewife; and the eating of it might have been attended with many benefits, had it not

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