Page images

creeping innumerable, both small and great Beasts, &c. How doth it exactly compofe it felf to a level or equal Superficies, and with the Earth inake up one Spherical Roundness? How doth it constantly observe its Ebbs and Flows, its Spring and Nepe-Tides, and still retain its Saltness so convenient for the Maintenance of its Inhabitants, serving also the Uses of Man for Navigation, and the Convenience of Carriage ? That it should be defined by Shores and Strands and Limits, I mean at first, when it was natural to it to overflow and stand above the Earth. All these Particulars declare abundance of Wifdom in their primitive Constitution. This last the Psalmist takes notice of in the 6th, 7th, 8th, and oth Verses of this Pfalm. Speaking of the Earth at the first Creation, he faith, Thou coveredst it with the Deep as with a Garment, the Waters' stood above the Mountains. At thy Rea buke they fled, at the Voice of thy Thunder they basted away (the Mountains afcend, the Valleys descend) unto the place thou hast prepared for them. Thou bast fet a bound that they may not pass over : That they turn not again to cover the Earth. But what need was there (inay fume fay) that the Sea should be made so large, that: its Superficies should equal if not exceed that of the dry Land ? Where is the Wisdoin of the Creator, in making so much useless Sea, and so little dry Land, which would have been far more beneficial and serviceable to Mankind ?: Might not at least half the Sea have been spar'd, and added to the Land, for the Entertainment


and Maintenance of Men, who by their continual striving and fighting to enlarge their Bounds, and encroaching upon one another, seem to be straitned for want of Rooin) ;;

.To this Obiection against the Wisdom of God in thus dividing Sea and Land, Mr. Keil in his Examination of Dr. Burnet's Theory of the Earth, p. 92, 93. thus, answers, This as most other of the Atheist's Arguments, proceeds. from a deep Ignorance of Natural Philofophy. For if there were but half the Sea that now is, there would be alfo but half the quantity of Vapours, and consequently we could bave but half so many Rivers as now í here are to supply all the dry Land we have at present, and half as much more. For the quantity of Vapours which are rais'd, bears a proportion to the Surface whence they are raisd, as well as to the Heat which rais'd them. The wise Creator therefore did so prudently order it, that the Sea should be large enough to supply Vapours sufficient for all the Land, which it would not do if it were less than now it is.

But against this it may be objected, Why should not all the Vapours which are rais’d out of the Sea fall down again into it by Rain ? Is there not as much reason that the Vapours. which are exhaled out of the Earth should be carried down to the Sea, as that those raised out of the Sea be brought up upon the dry Land ? If some by Winds be driven from the Sea up Land, others by the fame cause will be blown down from Land to Sea, and so kalancing one atiother, they will in fum fall e


qually upon Sea and Land ; and consequently the Sea contribute nothing to the watering of the Earth, or the maintenance of Rivers. • To which I answer, That as to the watering of the Earth there needs no Supply from the Sea, there being sufficierit Water exhaled out of it self to do that, there is no more return’d upon it by Rain so as to rest upon it, than ani equivalent Quantity to what was rais'd out of it.

But the Rivers must be supplied otherways. • Our Opinion is, That they have their Supply

from Rain and Vapours. The Question is, Whence these Vapours' are brought? We answer, From the Sea. But what brings them up from the Sea ? I answer, The Winds : And so Iam arriv'd at the main Difficulty. Why should not the Winds carry them that are exhaled out of the Earth down to the Sea, as well as bring them up upon the Earth, which are rais'd from the Sea ? Or which is all one, why Thould not the Winds blow indifferently froin Sea and Land ? To which I answer, That I must needs acknowledge my self not to comprehend the Reason hereof. God is truly said, Psal. 135. 7. To bring the Wind out of his Treasures. But the Matter of Fact is most certain, viz. that. the Winds do bring abundantly more Vapours up from the Sea than they carry down thither.

First, because otherwise there can no Aca count be given of Floods. It is clear, that : Floods with us proceed from Rain; and it is often a vast Quantity of Water they carry down


to the Sea. Whence come those Vapours which fupply all this Water? I hope those who bring up Springs and Rivers from the great Abyss, will not bring those Vapours, which unite into Drops and descend in Rain from thence too. Should they rise from the dry Land only, they would soon render it dry indeed ; more parch'd than the Desarts of Libya. We should quickly come to an end of Floods, and of Rain too, if nothing were return'd from the Sea again, not to mention that the Sea must needs in such a case overflow its Shores, and enlarge its Bounds.

But this way there is an easy Account to be given. It is clear, that the Sun doth exhale Vapours both from Sea and Land; and that the Superficies of Sea and Land is sufficient to yield Vapours for Rain, Rivers and Floods, when heated to such a degree as the Sun heats it: So that there wants only Wind to bring up so great a proportion of Vapours from the Sea as may afford Water for the Floods ; that is, so much as is return’d back again to the Sea.

Some may perchance demand, To What purpose serve the Floods ? What use is there of them? I answer, To return back to the Sea the surplusage of Water after the Earth is fated with Rain. It may be further ask’d, What need more Rain be poured upon the Earth than is sufficient to water it? I reply, That the Rain brings down from the Mountains and higlier Grounds a great quantity of Earth, and in times of Floods spreads it upon the Meadows and Levels, rendering them thereby so fruitful as to


stand in need of no culture or manuring. So we see the Land of Egypt owes its great Fertility to the annual overflowing of the River Nilus : and it's likely the Countries bordering upon the River of Ganges may receive the like benefit by the overflowing thereof. Moreover, all Rain-water contains in it a copious Sediment of Terrestrial Matter, which by standing it pre-. cipitates, and is not a simple Elementary Water. This Terrestrial Matter ferves for the nourish'ment of Plants, and not the Water it self, which is but a Vehicle to derive this Nutriment to all the parts of the Plant : and therefore the more Rain, the more of this Nutritious Matter inay be precipitated upon the Earth, and so the Earth render'd more fruitful. Besides all this, its not unlikely, that the Rain-water may be endu'd with fome vegetating or prolifick Vertue, deriv'd from some Şaline or Oleofe Particles it contains : For we see that Aquatick Plants, which grow in the very Water, do not thrive and flourish in dry Summers, when they are not also water'd with the Dew of Heaven.

Secondly, Another Argument to prove, that the Winds bring up more Vapours from the Sea than they carry down thither, is, Because the Winds do more frequently blow from the Sea than to the Sea. This appears from the Trees which grow on and near the Sea-shores all along the Western Coast of England, whose Heads and Boughs I have observ'd to run out far to Landwurd, but toward the Sea to be so snub'd by the

G2 i Winds,

« PreviousContinue »