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John Hutchinson and Bible Cosmology

November 23, 2014

In 1727 John Hutchinson (1674–1737) published ‘Moses’s Principia,’ in which he attempted to defend his interpretation of the cosmology of the Bible, against that of Sir Isaac Newton, and Dr. Samuel Clarke, who publicized Newton’s ideas in the Boyle lectures, and of Dr. John Woodward, (1665–1728) physician to the duke of Somerset. Hutchinson ridiculed Woodward’s treatise, The Natural History of the Earth. Hutchinson also attacked Clark for his heterodox views on the Trinity as well as for his Newtonian natural philosophy.

In his book, Principles of Geology, Charles Lyell wrote:

“John Hutchinson, who had been employed by Woodward in making his collection of fossils, published afterwards, in 1724, the first part of his ‘Moses’s Principia,’ wherein he ridiculed Woodward’s hypothesis. He and his numerous followers were accustomed to declaim loudly against human learning; and they maintained that the Hebrew Scriptures, when rightly translated, comprised a perfect system of natural philosophy, for which reason they objected to the Newtonian theory of gravitation.”

[Charles Lyell. Principles of Geology: Or, The Modern Changes of the Earth and Its Inhabitants Considered as Illustrative of Geology. D. Appleton, 1877. pp. 48-49.]

Below, Hutchinson’s biographer Robert Spearman describes Hutchinson’s cosmological system:

[The Philosophical and Theological Works of the Late Truly Learned John Hutchinson, Esq; In Twelve Volumes. James Hodges, 1748.]


As Sir Isaac Newton made a vacuum and gravity the principles of his Philosophy, Hutchinson on the contrary asserts, that a Plenum and the Air are the principles of the Scripture Philosophy. The Air he supposes to exist in three conditions, fire, light, and spirit. The light and spirit are the finer and grosser parts of the air in motion:

From the Earth to the Sun the air is finer and finer till it becomes pure light near the confines of the Sun, and fire in the orb of the Sun, or solar focus. From the Earth towards the circumference of this system, in which he includes the fixed Stars, the Air becomes grosser and grosser until it becomes torpid and stagnate, in which condition it is at the utmost verge of this system; from whence the idea, or expression of outer darknesss and blackness of darkness, used in the New Testament seems to be taken. The Sun which he places in the center is the active vivifying agent, which by melting the spirit or grosser parts of the air into atoms, or finer parts, or aether, and issuing them out in light, sets the machine forward, and keeps it a going: for the light is pressed out by the influx of spirit, and the spirit is pressed in by the influx of light; and so the whole matter of the heavens or air is perpetually changing conditions, and circulating.

Hutchinson’s interpretation of the cosmology of Genesis 1 seems to contain elements borrowed from the Ptolemaic system, such as the system of homocentric planetary spheres, along with features borrowed from the cosmology of Rene Descartes. Hutchinson discussed the Genesis account of the creation of the firmament as follows:

Genesis 1
Ver. 6. And God said, Let there be a Firmament in the midst of the Waters, and let it divide the Waters, from the Waters.
Ver. 7. And God made the Firmament, and divided the Waters which were under the Firmament, from the Waters which were above the Firmament: And it was so.
Ver. 8. And God called the Firmament Heaven:

The Meaning of these three Verses is not yet ascertained by Interpreters; as they cannot find what the Word, which our Translators render Firmament, signifies. Some have been forced to suppose Waters above the Heavens; which, if there were any such, he is not speaking of, nor would it be of any Use for us to know of them. Others suppose Rain in the Clouds: if there had been any such, it would have been in, not above, the Heavens. But ’tis very certain there was none ’till long after; and if there had been any Separation of Fluids in any of the other Globes, it was still in, not above the Heavens, and not in this Day’s Work: And since these Verses, and especially this Description of the Firmament, of Waters above the Heavens, and that of Windows of Heaven at the Flood, are the constant Refuge of Atheists, because they seem irreconcileable; and since ill-designing Men have put some upon drawing Schemes which make Moses’s Writings ridiculous, or incredible, or impossible to be explained; and as the Credit of Revelation in some measure depends upon them, and as the sixth Verse is a Physical Description of the Permission of an Action of Matter upon Matter, which was to produce Accidents or Alterations in the Condition of that Matter, to enable it to act, and make Changes in the Situation of the Parts of other Matter, which was to have Consequences upon other Matter immediately, some of them permanent, and some to be repeated at Intervals; and as this is not properly the Work of, or likely after so much Time spent, to be cleared by such, who are only Divines, or Linguistor Mathematicians, or Astrologers, or speculative or experimental Naturalists upon small Parcels of Matter; but by such, who have had, or shall have Courage and Capacity to make, and Patience ’till they have made sufficient or competent Observation upon the Formation and Situation of Things, and the several Operations of those which acted, and their several Effects, or Consequences upon those, which have been acted upon, as well as upon the settled Course of things now, with an Intent to understand the Scriptures, and the Situation of things which are of great Use, and must be search’d out and pursued, and to set up nothing of their own; and who have not published Errors which they will not retract, nor are attached to the Errors of others: And since the Words were infallibly suited to the things acting and acted upon, and to the Actions, Accidents, Situations, and Consequences, and were delivered in an ancient Language; we are first to search for the Meaning of the Words, and Observations upon things, must help to find the things, their Situations, Conditions, Actions, Accidents, &c. to suit the Words. According to Sebastian Castalio; “Then God commanded a thin Fluid [Liquidum] to be in among the Waters, to divide the Water from the Water; and he made the thin Fluid, which was to divide the Water which was above it from that which was below it; which being done he named the thin Fluid, Heaven. 2 Esdr. vi. 41. Upon the second Day thou madest the Spirit of the Firmament, and commanded it to part asunder, and to make a Division betwixt the Waters, that the one Part might go up, and the other Part remain beneath. “Let there be a Firmament.” The Works of the second Day are described, which are the Expanding of the Air, the Division of the Waters, the gathering of the lower Waters into their Place; the forming dry Ground: And these things God performed by the Means of the Spirit and the Light.” “Before the Spirit was let loose, and Light formed, the Air was a dense dark Body; but as soon as Light shone out, which, naturally thins, and expands, it began to be unfolded, to grow thin, and become fluid, and the thick Darkness disappeared.” “*** in Hebrew according to Aben Ezra, is רָקִ֖יעַ i. e. something extended or expanded— for its derived from which signifies to spread abroad, expand, enlarge, and make thin. — Psal. civ. 2. i. e. spreading out the Air as a Curtain. Isai. xl. 22. He spread out as a Skin the Air, and extended them as a Tent to be dwelt in.” “The Expansion *** a spreading abroad, Distending, Diffusing: hence Isaiah says, Ch. xlii. 5. Creating [concreting] the Heavens, and spreading them abroad, Ch. xl. Ver. 22. ***  translates Firmament, the Expanse, and Drusus, this Expansion is a spreading out the Substance of the Air. “Or rather from the Syriac Usage of *** which signify to press or squeeze, Luk. vi. 38. and perhaps the Hebrew *** may primarily signify to press, and so to extend; for things are extended by being pressed, as Plates of Brass.” Ps cxxxvi. 6. *** , LXX To him who makes firm; and Jerom, who made firm *** so Isai. xlii. 5. and xliv. 24. the LXX, and Jerom translate *** by the Words above Job. 37. 18. Sym. made firm. From its Appearance, Ezek. i. 22. And the Likeness of the Firmament upon the Head of the living Creature was as the Colour of the terrible Crystal, stretched forth over their Heads above, Dan. xii. 3. Shall shine as the Brightness of the Firmament. Of its Power, Psalm cl. 1. In the Firmament of his Power. The Prayer of Manasses. For all the Powers of the Heavens do praise thee. Job xxxvii. 18. Hast thou with him spread out the Sky, which is strong, and as a molten Looking Glass? Psalm xix. 1. The Heavens declare the Glory of God; and the Firmament sheweth his handy Work. Job xxxviii. 33. Knoweth thou the Ordinances of the Heaven? Canst thou set the Dominion thereof in the Earth? In Situation or Place. Gen. i. 14. And God said, Let there be Lights in the Firmament of the Heaven. Ver. 17. And God set them in the Firmament of the Heaven. Ver. 20. And Fowl that may fly above the Earth in the open Firmament of Heaven. Here is a Permission to an Agent, or something which could move or act (as at let there be Light) which was to form or put something into a Condition to move or act in a farther Degree, with a new Name, and another Permission to this Agent, which had a new Name with new Powers. It is term’d the Spirit of the Firmament; and describ’d to be something which is call’d Liquidum, a thin Fluid. These Operations are attributed to the Force of the Spirit and the Light. The Spirit and the Light by Motion were ratified, and its Parts were to diffuse and pervade the Pores of that Mixture which Was first call’d Earth, then describ’d to be loose, or fluid; and afterwards called, as here; Waters; to act there, fort the Parts; form a Division, and divide the Waters. And this new Name signifies, that it was invested with Powers to have different Effects upon different Sorts of Matter, to expand, distend, diffuse, fill, thin, &c. Fluids; and to compress, drive together, keep firmly together, and establish the Parts of Solids, or the Earth. ‘Tis described to be exceeding bright, is of great Force, Power, and Strength, has Ordinances and Dominion in the Earth. ‘Tis described to be where the Sun, Moon; Waters, Earth, &c. were, and called diffusion of the Body, of the Airs; and in the eighth verse the Heavens, the Æthers, the Airs. And it is a continual Attempt of the Airs to expand, produced and continued from the Motion of its Parts among one another, which produced a Compression; upon every thing which resisted it, and most upon the Parts of Solids, which produced a Separation and a Division of the Solids between the Waters, and of each Species for their respective Uses. And the Meaning of the sixth Verse must be;—Let the Motion which is in the Airs, and has produced Light, go a Step farther, make the Parts of the Fluid of the Air Liquidum; a thin Fluid, expanding and diffusing; and let it act in the Pores, or press in, or act among or between the Parts of the Mixture called Waters, and compress itself and other things, and thereby make a Separation, and of the Parts separated a Division between the one and the other Waters. But how is this consistent with the next verse? wherein ’tis said, God made the Firmament and divided. How did he make it, and divide? He only said, let it be; Moses does not say there, he acted. But he created the Airs; he infused Motion, that Motion produced Light, that Light an Expansion, and that Motion by the thing expanded divided, and so he made and divided. But Moses goes farther in the Remainder of the Verse, and describes the Situation of the Division, and of each Part of the Waters so divided: Not as the Waters were with Respect to what was was between them, for that was but just: formed, and had no Name but a Division, and was soon after to be described in another Situation, with respect to several things; but by things which were then where they were created, had been described before, and he could not have described the next Action without this; and the seventh Verse will stand thus — And God by means of the Motions aforesaid made the Fluid of Airs thin, expanding, and compressing, which made a Division between the Waters which were separated from each Side of, and divided by the Sphere of Earth; so that one Part of the Waters was under the Expansion, other Airs expanding, and the other Part above the Expansion, or Airs expanding.

—The next Question is, where were the Airs or things expanded? truly one Part in an Orb inclosed, or the Abyss below the Waters, and the other Part in a Sphere above the Waters. This Expansion was to reach, and did reach from above and from below; from each Part of the Airs to a Distance, in Proportion to its respective Force into the Sphere of the Mixture, which was called Waters, and was to make, and did make a Division: How, and with what? truly by compressing and separating the Parts of that which was to be Dry-Land, and forming them into many contiguous Spheres, or what we may call one Sphere between two Spheres of Water; and consequently the Waters were in two Spheres, and one above, and the other below the Sphere of Stone: and vice versa, the Sphere of Water, which was above that of Stone, was next under the Expansion in the open Air, or that which was alternately Light and Darkness: and the Sphere of Water, which was under the Sphere of Stone, was in a Sphere next above the Expansion of the Orb of Airs, or Darkness inclosed in, or the Abyss. If there had been an Abyss of Airs below, and had not been an Expansion from below, as well as from above, the Earth had gone to the Center, and had left no Room there for the Waters to retire to. But as 2 Esdr. xvi. 58. With his Word hath he hang’d the Earth upon the Waters. And so we are deliver’d from the Danger of Waters falling from above the Heavens: And the Heathens may take back their Idols of Projection, Attraction, Gravity, Elasticity, &c. And we see a Word for an Agent or Action may have many successive Significations, because one Action may have many Consequences; as the Airs without Motion are call’d Darkness; in one Degree of Motion call’d Spirit; in a farther call’d Light; in another call’d Expansion: as Expansion caus’d Compression, that caused Separation, that caused the Solidity of the Earth and the Clearness of the Water; it also made the Earth crack, and form Fissures, fill’d some of them with Metals, and through others forc’d down the Waters, and with them form’d the Surface of the Earth, &c. And these new Conditions, new Powers, and new Names do not take away the old Conditions, Powers, or Names; there is Darkness still with little Action; ’tis a Spirit still, and moves; ’tis Light stills and shines; ’tis Expansion still, and compresses, &c.

And it was so:

“And it was done so, and it was made firm, solid, durable, Job xxvi. 10. He has set circumferential Bounds [limitem per circuitum] on the Surface [Faces] of the Waters … “: “Or, God separated the Waters without the Wind, and afterwards dried them away by the Wind.” “The Earth, its grosser Parts being compressed together, and at length separated from the Waters, and clear’d of them.” And this will make other Descriptions, even some as they are translated, intelligible; as Ps. civ. 3. And placeth his Lofts in the Waters. Amos ix. 6. For in the Heavens [first in the Expansion, and after between the two Spheres of the Airs] he buildeth his Stories. Job xxvi. 7. And stretcheth out the North over the empty Place [or Abyss full of Airs] and hangeth the Earth upon nothing. And all the rest, if the Translation came up to the Hebrew.

And God called the Firmament Heaven:

That you may not mistake, and think; this Expansion, this Agent, which divided the Earth from the Waters, is some thing which God did not create, or which has Powers without him, ’tis an Action of that which he created, and is in my Description of the Creation already nam’d, which he taught Adam to call, and you from him call the Airs, the very same, but by him put into Motion, &c. as in the former verses is related.

There are some Texts, which describe the immense Quantity or Extent of the Airs, and the Commodiousness of their Situation, or Figure, in a Sphere about the Earth. The Airs, when they were writ, and now, are in the same Quantity, and in the same Sort of Figure or Sphere they were created in, and in the same Place with respect to the Earth, except those which were in the Abyss, and afterwards changed Place with part of the Waters, and were join’d or united into the same Figure or Sphere; and the Creation of them, and placing them about the Earth in a Sphere, is one and the same Act; and the Addition of those out of the Abyss did not alter their Figure, nor extend them, otherwise than by an Addition of Quantity. But there are many other Texts which describe this Action, or Power in the Airs, and attribute it to God as another Act; and some mention both distinctly, but the Translators make most of them bend to the first;. Could the Author, or other divine Penmen, whose Business was to make Men sensible that God created Matter, and gave it all the Orders and Powers it had or has, omit or forget to tell them of that which sets and keeps all the Wheels a going, and leave it to the People, whom he was just then recovering from the Worship of those Agents, and other Idolatry, to search it out, or to the Heathens to explain it? Can any one be so stupid to expect that the Heathens, who had either these Agents, or other Gods of their own, should attribute the economy in the World to the true God, and shew us how. to explain his Revelation concerning it? And since they had not a God of their own that they had the Impudence to ascribe it to, was it not their Business to make the Chaos eternal, and to ascribe the Oeconomy in the World to Nature, innate Qualities, nay, rather than to God, to Chance? Nay, suppose any of them believed in the true God, and understood it, though some hinted at his being the Author, durst they publish it plainly? No: that had been the Way to be ston’d, and the Writing to be burned by the Hands of the Executioners. Their Ignorance, or pretended Ignorance of this, set all their Philosophers to work; and he that could form the most incredible System was the greatest Man. Yet we are not to reject every Article they advance, but only strip off what they added, or add what they stripp’d off. For as Clemen’s Alexandranus says, “if We have shewn and in the first Book that the Greek Philosophers are Thieves, who have taken their principal Notions from Moses and the Prophets, and have not had the Gratitude to Acknowledge it.” It may be said of this Spirit; and Motion, as the Man said, St. John xi. 30. Why, herein is a marvellous thing, that ye know not from whence he is, and yet he hath open’d my Eyes. Can we be at a loss from whence this Motion came, that hath produc’d Light out of Darkness, and after an Expansion which hath separaed the Chaos, the Earth from the Waters made it solid, and kept the Parts together; divided the Waters, carried those above to below, made the Earth habitable, &c.

There is another Mistake arising from the Tex:ts which mention this Act of uniting, fixing, establishing, or rendering the impalpably small Parts of the Earth solid or immoveable, so as the Form or Foundations should not be broken or dissolved here, or more lastingly after the Flood; as Psal. xcvi. 10. ‘The Globe is established, it shall not move.—which have been applied to fixing the Earth upon Foundations, so as to hinder the whole Earth from shifting, or moving locally; and had like to have cost the first Discoverers, or Revivers of the Earth’s Motion very dear: but the Translators since have rendered them so as to signify neither.

The Philosophers, falsely so called, and mostly Heathen, have puzzled the Translators, though cautioned by St. Paul, and they have puzzled the World with empty void Space, or Place without Matter. Besides some Philosophers have introduced a Vacuum, and that entirely void of all Body; they point out a Sort of an infinite Chaos, and contend that it was before the World but the Elements being created, they concluded all Bodies within the Compass and Circumference of Heaven, leaving no Vacuum within. And so have brought in a Name which they imagine to be the Residence of God, of Angels, and Spirits, by the Word Heaven; and consequently Angels and and Spirits into this Creation, and into the Formation and Operation. Moses neither mentioned, nor meant to give any such Description. Our Translation says, that—The Angel of the Lord appeared unto Moses in a Flame of Fire, out of the midst of a Bush— Indeed, the Power or Presence of God, appeared where Fire burned, and consumed not the small Wood of a Bush; and, I think, he says, he saw no other Appearance; and that drew him aside to the Place where he received his first Commission; and when he desired a descriptive Name of God, he had no other but I am; and when he required some Abilities to convince the Israelites, and the Egyptians of his Commission, God shewed and gave him his farther Power over Matter; that was a Test to the Israelites, and at last to the Egyptian Magicians, when they could not make Dust Lice; and tho’ some have lately, instead of a Prophet, represented him a Conjurer, and that he had learned that Skill amongst the Egyptians, ’tis plain he was not acquainted with the Abilities of the Magicians, which indeed was Folly: for if he had, he would not have taken the turning of a Rod into a Serpent for one of his Credentials, because he would have known they could have done it as well as he. Moses has not yet said any thing of God, but in describing his Actions concerning Matter. He speaks of and uses proper Names for material things, which were then created out of nothing, and proper Words for the Actions and Accidents of those things: He says nothing of the Subsistence, Residence, or Actions of any other Beings or Things: It was not his Business to describe them, much less to describe Philosophical Voids, &c. And if by what we call Heaven he only means Airs, and the Matter in the Sun, Planets and Stars; immaterial Beings,and what they call Space, are not included in his Descriptions. The latter divine Penmen, in relating God’s Actions or Operations in or concerning this created material System, have attributed them to his Spirit, or Strength, or Power in the Airs; as Psal. lxviii. 34. Thy Strength is in the Clouds, &c. and styled them his Spirit, his Hand, his Ministers, his Voice, his Breath, his Presence, his Glory, his Attire, nay every thing less than himself; called them his Throne, and mentioned the Heaven of Heavens, &c. Indeed his Operations in them and by them, were, and are, the visible and permanent Evidence, of his power; but the pious Translators have have imagin’d the Upper Heavens to be the Place of his more immediate Residence, and for Fear of robbing Heaven (which there is no Danger of, so long as they allow them to be his Servants) have attributed all the Actions to him immediately, or to the Acts of his Angels. His Throne implies no more in Matter, than the Matter where his Ordinances of the Airs were imparted, and by them his Ministers executed there, and upon the Earth: The Heaven of Heavens implies no more than the present Sphere of Airs, which is compos’d of the Sphere of Airs which was created above and that which was created in the Abyss, and now united, and so the Airs of Airs: The Sun, Planets, and Stars are all in the same Matter, the Expansion of the Airs, as the Fowls fly in: The Descriptions of the Heavens are not to magnify, but diminish them, Solomon says, i Kings viii. 27. Behold, the Heaven, and Heaven of Heavens cannot contain thee; and God says, Isa. lxvi. i. The Heaven is my Throne, and the Earth is my Footstool: where is the House that ye build unto me? where is the Place of my Rest? Wisd. of Sol. xi. 12. For the whole World before thee is as a little grain in the Balance; yea, as a Drop of the Morning-Dew that falleth down upon the Earth. Our modern Philosophers they say, and I shall not now rob them of their Invention, have brought into their empty Space, which can do nothing in direct opposition to Scripture, powerful, but invisible Properties in solid Matter to act in that Space; nay, the Sun and Planets to extend their Power to the Earth, “and each of them to each other reciprocally, and thereby taken away the Fluids, and the reveal’d Power in Fluids, and the visible Evidence of the Power of God.

Ver. 9. And God said, Let the Waters under the Heaven be gathered together to one Place, and let the Dry Land appear: and it was so.

‘Tis remarkable, Moses does not say here that God gathered the Waters together to one Place, or that God made the Dry Land to appear, but seemingly leaves these Actions to second Causes: These are left as Accidents of a lower Class, indeed to be executed by the Agent established: The Waters next under the Heavens, and upon the Surface of the Earth, were to go to some Place where there were other Water for them to mix or join with, and be in one Place. “To their Gatherings together; into one Collection.” What Place was this? The Seas, if they had been then in Being or the Conceptacula had been form’d, the Waters to go had been in them: were there other Waters in the Clouds, or above the highest Extent of the Airs? If those here below had gone to them, then we should have had no Waters left: Where were the Waters they were to be gather’d to? Where was there any Room for them next the other Waters? And what was to fill the Room they were to leave? Was there not a Place appointed for them? Yes certainly. But, as I hinted above, there was something to be done before the Waters could go: There wanted Swallows and Inlets through, and also Cracks in and through the Shell; they were to be made; but that is both implied, and may be discover’d by Observation, so needed not be reveal’d: And it must stand thus, Let the Waters next under the Airs and above the Earth be gather’d there at Inlets, or Funnels through the Sphere of Earth, and carried down to the Sphere of Waters, into the Place of the Abyss of Darkness or Airs; and let that Sphere of Waters which is below, and the Sphere of Waters which is to descend and change Places with the Airs which are now below, and which are to ascend as the Waters go down, be in, or make one inclos’d or undivided Place, or an Abysse, or Congregation of Waters, larger, by the Quantity of the Sphere of Waters which are below, than the Abyss of Airs, that which goes down with them included.—But why one Place? why not denominated from the Matter in the Place? This was just at the Time when the Airs and Waters were to change Places, so could not be denominated from either; And it could not be mistaken, because there was not at that time any other Place bounded: But most descriptively, because Part of the Waters at that time was there, and the other Part was to go to it, or them, and be together, or in one Place, or Congregation: And consequently, let the Airs which are in the Abyss, or the Abyss of Airs, come up into the Place of Waters which go down; let it come in under the Airs which were above the Waters, (going or gone; and make the Sphere, of Airs above, larger by the Quantity of Airs which were in the Abyss; which, when so join’d, are after call’d the open Firmament of Heaven; and let them be alternately changed into Light; so that the Dry Land, which was form’d and hid with Waters, may by Light in the Air appear. “This Day God made the Earth rise into Mountains and sink into Vallies,and vast Channels, &c.” “Moreover this gathering together of the Waters was when the Earth, which before was round and covers all over with Water, was raised by God, here into Mountains and Hills, and there sunk into Vallies: And so, the Water betook itself to the lower Grounds. I say nothing of the Gulphs with the Bowels of the Earth. See Eccles. Ch. i. Ver. 7. about the Rivers, how, I mean, they flow from and return to the same Place (?)”. From such Guesses as these our Theorists took their Disruption; and fancied Mountains, Valleys, and Seas were made so.

Ver. 10. And God called the Dry Land Earth; and the Gathering together of the Waters he call’d Seas:

And God call’d the Parts of the Earth which were first diffused in the Waters, and lately separated from the Waters into solid Parts contiguous to each other, and then at the Surface of the Waters, or Dry Land, in form of a hollow Sphere, fill’d with Waters and what they tore out of the Surfaces, and carried down with them by Part of the Airs and Part of the Waters, misting or exchanging Places, situated between the two elementary Fluids, the Water below or within and the Airs or dry Element without or above, Earth. And the Gatherings, Drainings, or Gleanings of the Water which went last, when the Store-house was full, and were lodged in the Mouths of the Funnels, at the Entrances or Places where the great Store or Treasure of Waters were gather’d in, or at the Barn-Doors, he called Seas; Job xxviii. 10. He cutteth out Rivers among the Rocks. Jonah ii. 6. went down to the Bottoms [Heb. Cuttings off] of the Mountains; 2 Esd. xvi. 58. He hath shut the Sea in the Midst of the Waters. — In Conceptacula, in the middle Sphere, in the Shell of Earth; which were, when they were made, between the two Spheres of Waters; but, when the upper Sphere of Waters was gone down, were uppermost. Eccles. i. 7. All the Rivers run into the Sea, yet the Sea is net full: unto the Place from whence the Rivers came, thither they return again. And things were then as again after the Flood, when Moses says, Exod. xx. 4. Which is in the Airs above, or which is in the Earth beneath, or which is in the Water under (and so within) the Earth. Psal. xxxiii. 7. He has gathered the Waters of the Sea together; as an Heap; he has laid up the Deeps in Storehouses, and says nothing of any other Waters. Indeed, the Heavens of Heavens, and the Waters above the Heavens are mentioned Psal. cxlviii. 4, 5. Praise him, ye Heavens of Heavens, and ye Waters that (be) above the Heavens. Let them praise the Name of the Lord: for he commanded, and they were created. But this refers plainly to them as they were created, or at farthest when the Waters were divided, and not as they (be); and there is no Verb in the Hebrew, so must be understood (were); and though, when the Law was given, the Airs were together, and the Waters together, each in one Congregation, except some small Quantities diffused into each other, they still write each in the plural Number, as Heavens, Abysses: Which shews, that some Interpreters think there are more Abysses than one, and more Heavens than one.

Moses spoke of created things, in whatever Sphere or Place they were at the time he spoke of, with no Respect to the Space which contained them; only described their Situation in respect to one another; when Alterations were made in any of their Conditions, whether in the same Place or Situation, or another, he changes their Names: He says, that the Earth was created, and that the Parts of the Earth were loose, and in such a Figure, that they encompassed something which was void of Earth; something of less Density than that which environs it, or them; and that he calls an Abyss, or Store-house of Darkness, or dark Airs; and called the Mixture of loose Parts of the Earth, which were to be some solid, and the greatest Part fluid, and which he had called Earth, and which contained all terrestrial Matter, Waters; (as he called both both Night and Day, the Darkness bearing small Proportion, Day presently after;) and he called all above, or which encompassed the Waters, the Spirit of God, or Airs, which God had put into Motion: Then a great Part of the Sphere, called Waters, was, if the Place had been measured by Distance from the Center in that Sphere or Place where Fowl fly now, which we call the Atmosphere: and if the Place had kept the Name of the thing named in it, we must have called that Sphere, instead of Heaven, Waters; but it had the Name changed since, when Airs came into it, and changed Names twice at the Flood, as the Matter changed Place, when the Separation and Division were made: He, by way of Distinction, called the Sphere of Waters under the Earth, and above the Expansion in the Orb of Airs in the Abyss, which were separated from the Parts of Earth which rose, The waters above or next above the Expansion of the Airs; and the Sphere of Waters above the Earth, which were separated from the Parts of the Earth which sunk and were under the Expansion in the open Airs, The Waters under or next under the Expansion in the open Airs: and when the Waters under or next under the Airs were ordered to go, and were gone down to, and mix with the rest in one Place or Congregation, still something of less Density than that which incloses it or them, he calls an Abyss of Waters; and he calls the Darkness, or Airs, which came out of the Abyss, or the Abyss of Darkness, which came into the Sphere which the Waters which were above the Surface of the Earth had lately possessed and left, and were presently in the same Condition as the Airs above that Sphere, and mixt with them, alternately Light and Darkness; and soon after called them, the open Expansion of the Airs, whose Powers shall be shaken, Matt. xxiv. 29. Luk. xxi. 26. and which is to perish, Job xiv, 12. Psal. cii. 26. Isai. xxxiv. 4. Ibid. li. 6. Matt. xxiv. 35. And called the solid Substance or Sphere, which was separated from the Waters, Earth; and the Waters which remained in the deepest Furrows, which the Waters which went down tore in the Surface of the Earth at their going off, Seas. The shifting of Airs and Waters will be more fully proved at the Flood.

And God saw that it was good.

That it answered, and would answer the Ends it was designed for: and no doubt was vastly more fruitful, more commodious, and more pleasant than the present Earth; but I have not yet seen one Scheme, or one tolerable Guess published, to shew what made it so.

If any should ask my Opinion, why God did not create things perfect at once, but in Atoms, and produced a Cause to form them by Degrees successively: And why Moses is so particular in these and all the other Formations, Changes of Conditions, Situations, &c. Besides the Reasons assigned of instructing Men in useful Knowledge, and preventing Adoration of the Agents employed in keeping up the Oeconomy, he has an Opportunity, besides his Creation, to shew that it was his Spirit, and not the Spirit of the World, which produced Motion, &c. to shew that Light is not the issue of the Sun, but the Sun  the issue of Light; to shew that the Origin of all Bodies was from impalpable Dust; and his Wisdom and Power in infusing a Power into an invisible thin Fluid to act, before there were two Atoms of Solids together; and to fort, form, unite and keep them together, place and keep them in proper Situations, &c. and thereby his continued Dominion and Operation upon Matter, which could not have appeared so plainly, is he had made and only revealed that he had created all things perfect, or in the State they were in when formed; perhaps, then Men would always have doubted, whether Solids were not the Cause of Motion, and whether he could have dissolved them. Why was Man made of Atoms? Was it not to shew; that he, who collected and once put them together, could dissolve and collect them again, when dispersed.

What Motion in the Air produces, how it is continued, what Light is, how it is now propagated, what this Expansion is, how it is performed, what Effects it has upon that which is expanded, what Effects it has upon that it compresses in its different Degrees, and in their different Conditions and Situations, belongs in Part to a Description of the solid Parts of the Earth, &c. and are coupled together. Wisd. vii. 17. He gave me the true knowledge of the Things that are; that I should know the Constitution of the World, and the Power of the Elements.