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fame alfo generated in the female fex alone: in infancy part is diverted to the gradual increase of bones to a fixed degree and term, when this part of the operation ceafes :-proceffes these which all the art of man will never be able to imitate. Earth, water, air, fulphurs, falts, are elaborated by light and heat, through the fibres of trees and plants, to produce an infinite variety of barks, woods, leaves, flowers, and fruits, of different textures, hues, taftes, and flavours, each according to the feeds or roots from which they spring. Even from the fame roots their products are altered by budding or grafting: ftems, leaves, flowers, and fruits, are formed and developed in a few days: all these proceffes the philofopher daily obferves; but all his fagacity will never be able to descry in what manner from the fame apparent principles this variety, constant in each kind, is produced; and shall he dare to fix times and bounds to the Almighty in the very act of exerting his creative powers? In spite of his prefumption, man fhall never add one cubit to his height, nor one hair to his head, nor fhall he ever penetrate beyond a certain depth into the fecret laws then inftituted for the organization, preservation, and reproduction of all nature. In the humble investigation of thofe wonders which may exalt his ideas of the fupreme wisdom, or expand his fentiments of gratitude for the benefits of the creator; in the pursuit of discoveries useful to his welfare, the labours of man will be rewarded with gradual fuccefs; but whenever he fhall attempt to pafs the limits prescribed to his province and understanding, doubt, error, and confusion, will ever be the final refult of his temerity. NOTES

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NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS

TO

LETTER VII.

(a) Page 484.

THIS attraction is called elective by Mr. Whitehurst, in contradistinc

tion to the attraction or gravitation towards a centre. By this elective or relative attraction, fubftances composed of various conftituent parts, but more or less connected by affinities, were coagulated, concreted, or cryftallized into maffes of different dimenfions. It was neceffary for the formation of all terrestrial fubftances; for none, as all have fome proportion of the element of light, can be deemed perfectly fimple or homogeneous. Had the general attraction to a centre been coeval with it, the various fubftances would not have had time to coalefce by affinity, but would have all been inftantly precipitated to the centre in ratio of their specific gravity and in double ratio of the fquare of their distances. Neither was this central gravitation proper during the existence of the great terreftrial watery and chaotic mafs. It would have been an obftacle to that divifion into parts which took place in the fucceeding period or day, in order to form from it the earth, the planets, and comets, not only of our own but of every other system. To this divifion of the watery mafs, and the dif tribution of its feveral portions in the extent of space, I think the expreffions of Mofes to describe the operations of the fecond day can alone relate.

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late. The confolidation of this earth, and no doubt of all other planets,
and the feparation of the dry land from the waters on their furface, were the
diftin&t operation of the third day; and this was evidently effected by the
impreffion of central gravitation. But though this central attraction must
be excluded from the watery mafs, the centrifugal and centripetal forces
need not; as thefe were no obftacles to the formation of fubftances into
various maffes within it. They counteracted each other; and, if the former
tended to throw off, the latter withheld within certain limits; by which
means all matter, whatever might be afterwards its fpecific or cen-
tral gravity, was kept floating and in motion within the bounds of the
liquid mafs. These confiderations convince me that the laws of relative
attraction, and the centrifugal and centripetal forces, were impreffed on
the great watery mafs of terreftrial matter, but that the law of gravita-
tion to a centre was referved to the planets when extracted from it.
From the to me apparent incompatibility of the law of gravitation to a
centre with the regular formation of fubftances into a variety of aggregate
maffes, I think it evident, that the fundamental laws of nature and mo-
tion were not in the first formation of things all fimultaneously impreffed,
though all are equally neceffary for the preservation of nature fully
established and completed. As foon as this law of gravitation to a centre
was impreffed in each planet, all the fubftances of which it was compofed,
already formed into various bodies, were according to its rules precipitated
towards its centre; by which means that centre became confolidated and
compact; whilst the surface of each globe, by the natural confufion of a va-
riety of different maffes, of different fizes and figures, preffing towards the
centre with very unequal velocities, became irregular and uneven. Hence
were formed on it in fome parts eminences, and in others hollows and
cavities. From the former the waters, which had not penetrated into the
crevices caufed by the irregular fall of maffy fubftances of every poffible
shape, ran off to fill up the latter. Thus the dry lands appeared, and the
feas found their beds.

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In this place I fhall obferve, that the element of light, or the celestial matter, is an immutable fubftance, but capable of being incorporated with, and united to, and by that means becoming a conftituent part of, all terreftrial fubftances. It is alone effentially indued with motion, which it communicates more or lefs to naturally inert matter; but it may be fo imprisoned and fixed as to become motionless, till actuated upon either by the touch or near approach of its correfponding matter, or releafed by violence from its prifon. Thus the latent fire, which yet I take to be not the pure element of light, but a mixture of it in a very large proportion with inert matter, thence called phlogifton, contained in a cold flint, is difimprifoned by the fhock of any hard fubftance, and regains that activity which it derives from the large proportion of elementary light contained in it. Earth, water, and air, though generally looked upon as diftinct elements, I conjecture to be tranfmutable inter fe. Several late experiments feem to give weight to this fuppofition. I think too that there is reason to imagine that vitreous matter, by a new combination with fire, air, water, and falts, may be tranfmuted in the laboratory of nature into calcareous matter; and, vice versa, the latter into vitreous. Hence, as we have already. observed, ftalactites and marbles are formed by exfudation through vitreous rocks, and vitreous crystallizations under calcareous rocks. Appearances, however strong, may yet be deceitful; and on these last conjectures the explication of the Mofaical fyftem of first creation is in no wife dependent.

(b) Page 497.

ters,"

What the Vulgate tranflates "fpiritus Dei ferebatur fuper aquas," and the English verfion, "the spirit of God moved upon the face of the wa" Dr. Geddes has thought proper to render by "a mighty wind blowing on the furface of the waters." It is poffible that inftead of "fpiritus Dei," "the fpirit of God," the more literal tranflation may be "flatus Dei," or " the breath of God," the meaning of which must be allowed to be the fame. But the rendering the "breath" or, if he pleases, the "wind" of God

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by "a mighty wind," is totally unfupported by any valid reafon. The one he alledges is, that "of God" frequently occurs in fcripture, merely to convey the idea of great and extraordinary. In fome inftances it may be so, but it is more frequently applied to beings or places which God had particularly adopted, as, " children of God;" "Sion, the mountain of God;" though this hill is far from being remarkable for magnitude. In this place there seems no kind of reason to convert it into " mighty." In the inftant when the power of God was particularly exerted, whether wind or any other means were employed by him, their attribution to him feems peculiarly proper. The "breath of God," by the most eafy of all metaphors expreffing his power and virtue, is moreover particularly confonant to the great scope of the author, whofe aim was to inculcate and declare God to be the creator and founder of the world. "A mighty wind" is therefore here totally inapplicable to the ideas of Mofes : to those of a Sanconiatho, or of materialifts, who attribute all things to chance or to the fole ers of nature, it may be congruous. Scripture is beft interpreted by itself, and that with the greateft propriety where the fame fubject is treated of. In the 33d Pfalm it is faid, according to the Vulgate translation :"Verbo Domini cœli firmati funt, et spiritu oris ejus omnis virtus eorum.” Here furely there is no queftion of a "mighty wind," but of "the breath of the mouth of God" allegorically taken for his power. Here the Latin expreffion" fpiritu" is not made ufe of in its more ufual acceptation, or in that of the English word "fpirit," but certainly denotes the "breath of the mouth of God." The English translation is, "By the word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the hofts of them by the breath of his mouth." Here there can be no doubt but that it is meant to declare that all the powers and laws of nature are derived from him; and it is certainly the best and fureft interpretation of the words of Genefis.

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(c) Page 498.

In his profpectus, Doctor Geddes rendered the word here tranflated by "divided,”

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