« הקודםהמשך »
free, and wise agent; and not by a blind and necessary one, that is tied down by principles merely mechanical. One system may be most proper for one state, and another for a state of a different nature. As there is a beautiful analogy between the moral and natural world, which runs through the whole, it should seem, that a state of moral rectitude should be accompanied with a suitable rectitude of nature; and that a deviation from it should be productive of an obliquity in nature analogous to it. Agreeably hereto the moral rectitude of the primitive state seems to have been attended with a right and upright position of the axis of the earth. When man lost his uprightness, and the whole human race had filled up the measure of their iniquity to that degree, as to provoke God to destroy the world by the flood, an oblique position was given it, more suitable to the obliquity of character, into which mankind had degenerated. The one disposition of the earth was adapted to a Itate of innocence: The other indicated a 'deviation
from it; at the same time shewing a tendency towards its recovery: Both proclaiming the glory of God.
CH A P.
ANOTHER branch of knowledge,
A for which we are entirely indebted to scripture, is that relating to the appointment of the rain-bow; the occasion on which it was appointed, as well as the end and design it was appointed for, we 'Thould otherwise have been for ever ignotant of.
When God gave Noah and his fons poffefsion of the new world, he did not fail to add every motive and encouragement to excite their industry, and to render them happy and secure in the enjoyment of it.
.. He He promised them the blessing of fruitfulness, and that of multiplying their offspring, for the replenishing of the earth. He invested them with the dominion of the creatures, granted them the free use of every moving thing that lived for meat; and of all things else, even as the green herb; and reftrained them from nothing, but blood: And, to crown the whole, he in the strongest manner assures them, and their feed, of a perpetuity in the enjoyment, by repeated declarations, that he would not any more fmite every' thing living ; nor cut off all flesh by the waters of a flood.: Neither fiould there any more be a flood to destroy the earth. And, as if all this had been infufficient, God proceeds to ratify his gracious promises by a covenant; and to confirm that covenant by an extraordinary token.
The grounds of this extraordinary solicitude, as it were, in the divine Being, to render his creatures easy and secure in their present circumstances; seems to have been
the the dejected state, to which they had been reduced by the great and long continued perils; and the apprehensions they were still under, that their dangers and difficul. ties were not yet over. The horrors of the deep, which had well nigh-wallowed them up; had so gone over their föuls, as to leave a lasting impression upon their minds. And though they found themselves upon dry land, they saw nothing scarce but destruction, and devastation, and a wide ocean around them; and they did not know how foon it might return; and, notwithftanding their late miraculous deliverance, involve them in the fame fate with the rest of the world.
As the waters had abated gradually, till the tops of the mountains appeared, and a spot of earth was dry for their landing; yet theý would not venture to stir out of the ark, till God commanded them to go
° 8° . forth of it*: And after they were gone
'; . forth * In appears they were in no haste to quit the ark, notwithstanding their long confinement, from their