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Nor was this the whole of this wretched case ; It may be traced yet farther; and there are much deeper vestiges of the effects, which the evil introduced by the fall of man had on the whole inanimate creation, as will appear presently,
C H A P.
The Theory of the MOUNTAINS.
S the mountains cover so large a
part of the terrestrial globe, and make so conspicuous a figure in it; they are entitled to a distinct and particular consideration; wherein our subject will lead us to enquire into their cause and origin; and into the time, occasion, and manner of their formation.
There have been three different hypothoses concerning the origin of the mountains. 1. That they are coeval with the creation, which is the most general opinion. 2. That they were formed at the time of the deluge. 3. That they were
raised successively, and gradually, by the force of winds and hurricanes, but chiefly by currents, and by the flux and reflux of the sea. I shall bestow a few observations upon each of these hypotheses, before I lay down what I think was the true cause of their production.
With regard to the first opinion, it doth not seem probable, that the earth, in its first formation, had any high mountains in it. I have already offered one argu- , ment against that supposition *, from the circumstance of there having been no rain in the primitive earth; whence it was inferred, that therefore there could have been no mountains to produce it. To this may be added, That, had the mountains been part of the original creation, it is probable they would have been laid out in a more regular manner; and that the several frata, of which they consist, would have lain horizontally above each ther, stratum fuper Aratum, according to * Chap. II. p. 46.
their specific gravities: Whereas now, they appear in all manner of irregular shapes aud directions, without any order, or regard to the laws of gravity ; and even contrary to them: Not only different districts containing different materials, one country being stony, another fandy, a third gravelly, or claiy; fome parts containing metals and minerals of some certain kinds, others of quite different kinds : But the same lump, or mass of earth, having in it the corpufcles of several metals and minerals, confufedly intermixt one with another, and with its own earthy parts: All which appearances, with feveral others that might be observed, demonstrate great irregularity and confusion; and look more like the effects of a general wreck, or ruin; than of any regular, and uniform structure. This argument hath been strongly urged by Dr. Burnett, Mr. Whifton, and others, against the supposition, that either the earth in general, or particularly the mountains,
were originally thus formed. To account for their formation in this manner, Mr. Ray, and others, suppose they were raised by an earthquake, on the third day's work of the creation ; when the dry land was separated from the water. But it doth not seem probable, that, the element of fire liaving been detached from the other parts of the chaos, on the first day, there should be so much of it left, as to kindle and spread to that degree, by the third day, as to cause such an universal earthquake: Earthquakes, as Mr. Ray himself observes, in a treatise which he wrote on this subject, being a kind of subterraneous thunder; or an explosion of nitrosulphureous vapours, kindled in the bowels of the earth; by which he justly supposes the mountains were thus forced up; though not at the time which he assigns for it.
Dr. Keil supposes, the mountains might have been formed at the creation, “ without any respect had to gravity, or levity; that body coming soonest to its rest,