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of things every Species of Animals might spring mechanically out of the Soil without an Intelligent Creatör. And indeed there is no one thing in the World, which hath given so much Countenance and Shadow of Poflibility to the Notion of Atheism, as this unfortunate mistake about the æquivocal generation of Insects: And as the oldest Remains of Atheistical Writings are charged full with that Comparison; so it is the main refuge of those, that in this and the last Age have had the Folly and Impudence to appear in fo wretched a Cause.
Now to this last Subterfuge of the Mechanical Atheists we can occurr several ways. And at present we affirm, First, ex abundanti, That though we should allow them the spontaneous production of some minute Animals, yet a like primitive Origination of Mankind could not thence be concluded. Because they first tacitly suppose, that there is an universal decay of Moisture and Fertility in the Earth. And they cannot avoid the necessity of so doing: For if the Soil be as fruitfull now, as it was in the beginning; why would it not produce Men, and the nobler kinds of Beasts in our days too, if ever it did so? So that if that supposition be evinced to be erroneous and groundless, all the Arguments that they build upon it, will be
fubverted at once. Now what inore easily refuted, than that old vulgar Assertion of an universal Drought and Exsiccation of the Earth : As if the Sun could evaporate the least drop of its Moisture, so that it should never defcend as gain, but be attracted and elevated quite out of the Atmosphere? 'Tis now a matter agreed and allowed by all competent Judges, that every Particle of Matter is endowed with a Principle of Gravity, whereby it would descend to the Centre, if it were not repelled upwards by heavier bodies. So that the smallest Corpufcie: of Vapour, if we suppose it to be exhaled to the top of the Atmosphere, thence it must come down again, or at least inuft there remain incumbent upon others: for there's either nothing or nothing heavier about it to protrude it any higher, neither can it spontaneously mount any more against the tendency of its nature. And left fome ignorant Atheist should suspect, that peradventure there may be no such Top of the Atmosphere; but that it may be continued on to the Son or to the indefinite Space: he must vouchsafe to be instructed, That the whole weight of any Column of the Atmosphere, and likewise the Specifick gravity of its Bafis are certainly known by many Experiments: and char by this computation (even making allow
ance for its gradually larger Expansion, the higher we go,) the very top of any Pillar of Air is not One hundred Miles distant from the Surface of the Earth. So that hence it is manifeft, that the whole Terraqueous Globe with its Atmosphere cannot naturally have lost the least particle of Moisture, since the foundation of the World. But still they may insist, That although the whole Globe cannot be deprived of any of its Moisture, yet the habitable Earth may have been perpetually the drier, seeing it is assiduously drained and exhausted by the Seas. But to this we reply, That the very contrary is demonstrable; That the longer the World Thall continue, the Moister will be the whole Aggregate of the Land. For ( to take no no. tice of the supply of its Moisture by Rains and Snow and Dews and Condensation of Vapours, and perhaps by subterraneous passages) the tops of Mountains and Hills will be continually washed down by the Rains, and the Chanels of Rivers corroded by the Streams; and the Mud that is thereby conveyed into the Sea will raise its bottom the higher; and consequently the Declivity of Rivers will be so much the less; and therefore the Continents will be the less drain'd, and will gradually increase in Humidity from the first period of their Dura
tion to their final Consummation of all things: if a Divine Power do not interpose and change the settled course and order of Nature. ..?
But let us allow their supposition, That the Total of the dry Land may have been robbed of some of its Moisture which it had at its first Constitution : yet still there are fome parts of the Earth sufficiently soak’d'and water'd, to produce, if ever, those Sensitive and Locomotive and Intelligent Plants. For do not the Nile, and the Niger, and the Ganges, and the Menam, make yearly Inundations in our days, as they have formerly done? And are not the Countries so overflown ftill situate between the Tropicks under the direct and most vigorous Rays of the Sun, the very place where these Mechanical Atheists lay the Scene of that great Tranf'action? So that if Mankind had ever sprung naturally out of the Soil, the Experiment would succeed now every year in Æthiopia and Siam; where are all the requisite qualifications, that ever have been, for such a producti on. And again, if there hath been such a gradual diminution of the Generative Faculty of the Earth, that it hath dwindled from nobler Animals to puny Mice and Infects; why was there not the like decay in the production of
Vegetables? We should have lost by this time the whole Species of Oaks and Cedars and the other tall and lofty Sons of the Forest, and have found nothing but dwarfish Shrubs and creeping Moss and despicable Mushroms. Or if they deny the present spontaneous production of larger Plants, and confine the Earth to as Pigmie Births in the Vegetable Kingdom, as they do in the other: yet surely in such a supposed universal decay of Nature, even Mankind it self that is now nourished (though not produced) by the Earth, must have degenerated in Stature and Strength in every Generation. And yet we have certain demonstration from Ægyptian Mummies, and Roman Urns and Rings and Measures and Ædifices and many other Antiquities, that Human Stature has not diminished for above Two Thousand years. Now if the Decay hath not been constant and gradual, there hath been no Decay at all; or at least no natural one, nor what may be accounted for by this Mechanial Atheist. I conclude therefore, That although we should allow the spontaneous production of Infects; yet no Argument can be deduced from thence for a like Origination of Mankind. 'Y!!!