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and accordingly, by those who dig into the earth, its solid materials are found to be duly sorted, and have the appearance of a sediment, which had once floated in water, and afterwards settled out of it. And if the strata of the earth in mountains are not now parallel to the horizon, hut often very oblique, and sometimes nearly perpendicular, yet the construction of such masses shews that they had settled in a regular form, and were brought by some force afterwards to their present situation.
As the earth appears to have been formed under the waters, it is as manifest to every attentive observer, that the waters did once retire from the whole surface of the earth. When we compare small things with great, we find, that as the land and the channels of rivers are worn into precipices, pits, and winding furrows, by the departure of occasional inundations, so the surface of the earth, upon a scale proportionably larger, doth every where present to the sight the effect of descending waters. From the tops of the highest mountains, it is furrowed with channels; which, meeting others in their descent, grow wider and deeper, and wind about, as water doth in its progress, till they fall into the bed of some river, or lead us down to the sea, into which they retired when they subsided from the land.
From this retiring of the waters, we derive the inequality of the earth's surface : and to that inequality we owe the generation of springs and rivers, the feeding of metallic ores and minerals in the fissures of the earth, and the regular draining off of waters, with an uninterrupted course, towards the sea. And to the great water-courses of the earth we owe most of . those prospects which delight the eye. The waters, which once covered the earth, having forced their way
down to the sea, left a way open for other waters ever aiter, over the whole face of the earth. Let the stream start from the higher grounds, and it will no where be de tained till it falls into the ocean ; which is a wondertul provision of divine Providence, though not commonly attended to; and how it could have been brought to pass by any other mode of formation but that related in the Scripture, doth not appear. The elegant serpentine disposition of vallies, occasioned by the descent of water, constitutes the chief beauty of our prospects. Where the soil is soft and moveable, these cavities are easy and gradual, and the bottoms are rich with the vegetable matter which has been washed off from the higher grounds. But in lands of an hanter texture, rocks are undermined and overthrown; frightful precipices are formed by their fractures; and the vallies are rough with stones and rubbisha Yet we are no losers : for here the lines of nature are bolder. Where the face of a country is abrupt and irregular, it becomes sublime and magniticent; as a building in ruins makes a better picture, and is a titter subject for a painter than where it has a flat and regular face. I nevr building, which is the production of human art, hath a littleness about it, mom the unitorinity of its lines; but when time and the elements have done their work upon it, it appronches nearer to the grandeur of nature.
The next, considered in itself, with the periodical. motion of its ties, and its occasional commotions by winnis and storms, gives us a stupendous idea of the fhomes and greatness of God, who hath this raging trent so much under his command, that he is re
dariteit to 118 as holding the seas and waters of the Wwell in the hollore of his hand. Nor is his goodness he was dvident than his power : for the agitation of the
sea, by the daily reciprocations of the tides, contributes to the purity and the wholesomeness of the air; the labour of man is assisted by the advance and retreat of the waters through tracts of inland country.
The sea, which seems to divide the inhabitants of the world from each other, keeps up an intercourse more effectually between the most distant parts of the globe. Mankind are likewise abundantly fed by the waters of the sea; wherein the creatures of God multiply in a much greater proportion than by land, and are all maintained without the cost or attendance of man: they are a singular flock, which have no shepherd but the Creator himself, who conducts them, at different seasons, in unmeasurable shoals, to supply the world with nourishment.
From this hasty survey of the earth, we cannot but be struck with the many ends which are answered by the generation of the earth from the waters of the sea, although we have considered but a part of them.
When we examine the substance or matter of the earth, we find all things useful, all administering in various ways to our support and convenience. Even the very dirt we tread upon is a compost of rich principles, which supply the necessary nourishment to plants: and when particles from an offensive putrid mass of earthy matter are diffused through the frame of a vegetable, they put on an appearance of beauty, which is dazzling to the eyes, and emit a fragrance, which is ravishing to the sense. If such. a thing had not yet been, and we were told that it would be, mortals affecting wisdom would have sige nified their doubts; as when it was questioned what the rising of the dead should mean.
Below the surface of the earth, we find the various sorts of stones; the ores of metals and minerals; and
the stones which are called precious, from their beauty and rarity. The common uses of stone in building, and the several degrees of them, from the coarsest rock to the finest marble, are well known: but still, the situation of the stone, as it lies in the earth, compared with the property of that stone, which is inost ordinary, is worthy of particular consideration. Beds of stone, as they lie in the quarry, are parted here and there with perpendicular cracks, by means of which the largest masses become accessible, and subject to such forces as will separate and raise them up; and unless the beds of stone had been thus naturally parted, all the art of man would have been insufficient to extract stones from the earth, for the common uses of life. Some are of such a grain that they will split like wood, and may be shivered even without a tool, into thin plates, by the force of the weather. But wonderful above all is the property of the limestone ; which, when its native moisture is totally expelled by fire, imbibes water with such force that it falls into an impalpable powder, and forms a cement, by which separate stones are indissoluby joined into one body: and it holds them together more firmly at the end of a thousand years than it did at first. This is a discovery of such importance in the art of building, that it is probably, as ancient as the art itself. The use of stone and mortar is spoken of as known before the building of Babel : and how it could be found out, doth not apa pear; because, I think, there is no operation in the common course of nature which could lead to it.
It would answer no purpose here to recount the various sorts of opaque stones ; some curious for their beauty, others excellent for their use. The fint enables us to produce fire, of which no creature
but man hath the use and management. The fiercest of wild beasts fly from the sight with terror; and dread that fire which is kindled by man, as man himself dreads the fire of lightning which is sent from heaven.
In regard to the common stones of the earth, there is a certcin fact which must excite the curiosity of those who attend to it. Of the pebble kinds, the greater part are formed out of fragments of stone, spar, and marble rounded by trituration in water; of which kind inillions are agitated to and fro, and worn by the motion of the tides upon the shores of the sea. The inland parts of the earth, to the greatest depths, contain these pebbles; which, being the production of the sea, could never have been formed where they are found, and must, therefore, have been originally lodged by water in places which are now remote from the sea. The same may be said of an immense quantity of sand, which, though it is now lying in dry beds of earth, has the certain marks of trituration by water. ..
Metals and minerals, which are the more valuable productions of the earth, are, in 'form and appearance, but another kind of stones ; under which name they are mentioned in the book of Deuteronomy; where Moses commends the promised land to the people, as a land whose stones are iron, and out of whose hills they might dig brass ; not in the form of brass, but of stones, out of which brass might be extracted, and compounded by the labour of man, and the rules of art. All the treasures of the earth are found in an imperfect state, which calls forth the arts of chemistry, and makes work for the fires of the refiner; but, when due pains have been bestowed upon them, then we discover what a pure and splendid