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aspect towards the fun, which was at first given it; till the wickedness of man increasing, caused the disturbance of this likewises and produced a fhock, which quite dislocated, and threw it, 'from its erect and upright position, into an oblique and declining one: The consequence of which was, its discharging the waters lodged at the poles; which spreading over the whole face of it, drowned the earth, and all its inhabitants; except the few, whom God preserved in the ark, to repeople and replenish it.
We have seen how the waters, when they had executed their commission, were Temanded to their former receptacles ; but left plain vestiges of the ravages they had made. The tops of the mountains were washed away, and their fides and skirts were furrowed and chaneled in the manner we behold them, by the first abatement of the deluge, and by the fublequent draining, and running off of the waEers: By these and other means, the moun
tains have been lowering ever since, and
By the curse, the face of the earth was
Pances of it,
For these purposes it hath had the bea nefit of regular seasons, which if they have not all the advantages of the first ftate of the earth, have others, that in a good measure compensate them; and give it a preference to that state, which was introduced by the curse, and continued till the flood.
In proportion to the progress, which, age after age, is made in improvements of this kind; and in this age especially, which exceeds all that have gone before it in this respect-In proportion hereto, I say, the curse of the ground is removed and overcome. In a word, " The fall was the corruption of the natural and moral world, and the ruin of all the glory and happiness of the creation*.” It is the plan of Providence, to bring about the recovery of the creation in both respects, by the concurrence and instrumentality of the creature man ; through whom the
* Bp. Sherlock's Use and Intent of Prophecy, Disc. iii.
corruption and ruin of it was effected : And in such measure and degree, as man co-operates, this end is obtained ; and the creation is delivered from the bondage of corruption *; and enabled to recover its first flourishing and happy state.
To close this chapter, I shall only observe farther, That the drying up of the earth, by the several causes before mentioned, will, by degrees, render it more combustible; and dispose it for the next catastrophe, which it is to undergo.
* Rom. viii. 21. Krigs is tranflated creation, in the next verse; and it ought to be fo translated here and every where, to render the paffage uniform throughout,
CH A P.
CH A P.
OF THE GENERAL CONFLA
HAT the great Creator, and wife
Governor of the universe, whose tender mercies are over all his works, should destroy those the works of his own hands, might appear to us incredible; had we not known, that he hath once destroyed the world already; and had it not been revealed to us in his holy word, that it is his fixt purpose and decree to destroy it again.
As it was not without just cause that he was moved to deluge the old world