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causes, but am forced to ascribe it to the counsel and contrivance of a voluntary agent.
The same power, whether natural or supernatural, which placed the Sun in the centre of the six primary planets, placed Saturn in the centre of the orbs of his five secondary planets, and Jupiter in the centre of his four secondary planets, and the Earth in the centre of the moon's orb; and, therefore, had this cause been a blind one, without contrivance or design, the Sun would have been a body of the same kind with Saturn, Jupiter, and the Earth, that is, without light and heat. Why there is one body in one systein qualified to give light and heat to all the rest, I know no reason, but because the Author of the system thought it convenient; and why there is but one' body of this kind, I know no reason, but because one was sufficient to warm and enlighten all the rest. For the Cartesian hypothesis, of suos losing their light, and then turning into comets, and comets into planets, can have no place in my system, and is plainly erroneous, because it is certain, that as often as they appear to us, they descend into the system of our planets, lower than the ort of Jupiter, and sometimes lower than the orbs of Venus and Mercury, and yet never stay here, but always return from the Sun with the same degrees of motion by which they approached him.
To your second query I answer, that the motions which the planets now have, could not spring from any natural cause alone, but were impressed by an intelligent agent; for, since comets descend into the region of our planets, and here move all manner of ways, going sometimes the same way with the planets, sometimes the contrary way, and sometimes in cross ways, in planes inclined to the plane of the ecliptic, and at all kinds of angles, 'tis plain that there is no natural cause which could determine all the planets, both primary and secondary, to move the same way, and in the same plane, without any considerable variation; this must have been the effect of counsel. Nor is there any natural cause which could give the plaviets those just degrees of velocity, in proportion to their distances from the sun, and other central bodies, which were requisite to make them move in such concentric orbs about those bodies. Had the planets been as swift as comets, in proportion to their distances from the sun (as they would have been, had their motion been caused by
their gravity, whereby the matter, at the first formation of the planets, might fall from the remotest regions towards the sun), they would not move in concentric orbs, but in such excentric ones as the comets move in. Were all the planets as swift as Mercury, or as slow as Saturn or his satellites; or were their several velocities otherwise much greater or less than they are, as they might have been, had they arose from any other cause than their gravities; or had the distances from the centres about which they move been greater or less than they are with the same velocities; or had the quantity of matter in the sun, or in Saturn, Jupiter, and the Earth, and, by consequence, their gravitating power, been greater or less than it is, the primary planets could not have revolved about the sun, nor the secondary ones about Saturn, Jupiter, and the Earth, in concentric circles as they do, but would have moved in hyperbolas or parabolas, or in ellipses very eccentric. To make this system, therefore, with all its motions, required a cause which understood and compared together the quantities of matter in the several bodies of the sun an planets, and the gravitating powers resulting from thence, the several distances of the primary planets from the Sun, and of the secondary ones from Saturn, Jupiter, and the Earth, and the velocities with which these planets could revolve about those quantities of matter in the central bodies; and to compare and adjust all these things together in so great a variety of bodies, argues that cause to be not blind or fortuitous, but very well skilled in mechanics and geometry. - To your third query I answer, that it may be represented, that the sun may, by heating those planets most which are nearest to him, cause them to be better concocted, and more condensed by concoction. But when I consider that our earth is much more heated in its bowels below the upper crust, by subterraneous fermentations of mineral bodies than by the Sun, I see not why the interior parts of Jupiter and Saturn might not be as much heated, concocted, and coagulated by those fermentations, as our. Earth is ; and, therefore, this various density should have some other cause than the various distances of the planets from the Sun: and I am confirmed in this opinion, by considering that the planets of Jupiter and Saturn, as they are rarer than the rest, so they are vastly greater, and contain a far greater quantity of matter, and have many satellites about them; which qualifications surely arose not
Vol. X. Churchul. Mag. March 1806. D d from
foom their being placed at so great distance from the sun, but were rather the cause why the Creator placed them at a great distance; for, by their gravitating powers, they disturb one another's motions very sensibly, as I find by some late observations of Mr. Flamstead; and, had they been placed thuch nearer to the Sun, and to one another, they would, by the same powers, have caused a considerable disturbance in the whole system. To your fourth query I answer, that in the hypothesis of vortices, the o of the axis of the earth might, in my opinion, be ascribed to the situation of the earth's vortex, before it was absorbed by the neighbouring vortices, and the earth turned from a sun to a comet; but this inclination ought to decrease constantly, in compliance with the motion of the earth's vortex, whose axis is much less inclined to the ecliptic, as appears by the motion of the moon carried about therein. If the sun by his rays could carry about the planets, yet I do not see how he could thereby effect their diurnal motions. Lastly, I see nothing extraordinary in the inclination of the earth's axis for proving a Deity, unless you will . it as a contrivance for winter and summer, and for making the earth habitable towards the poles, and that the diurnal rotations of the sun and planets, as they could hardly arise from any cause purely mechanical, so by being determined all the same way with the annual and menstrual motions, they seem to make up that harmony in the system which, as I explained above, was the effect of choice rather than chance. -* There is yet another argument for a Deity, which I take to be a very strong one; but, till the principles on which it is grounded be better received, I think it more adviseable to let it sleep.
To the Rev. Dr. Richard Bentley, at the Bp. of Worcester's House, in Parkstreet, Westminster.
ON THE PROPER METHOD OF STUDYING
[Concluded from page 138.]
HESE are general indications where that knowledge lies, wherewith it is proper for a divine to be acquainted. As for a method of forming a course of studies, every man must consult himself, and choose what he likes best: and that method which is easiest and pleasantest (in both which cases all men are to judge for themselves) is for that very reason the properest. Men's minds differ, as much as their bodies. . man not only thinks for himself, but has some peculiarities in his way of thinking distinct from other men. And in studying it is not so much what a man comprehends, as what he likes, that must engage him. When men are once jaded, they presently give over. Besides, every man must be guided by the books that he can procure, by the leisure that he has, and by the Praecognita that he has already attained. However, since you may possibly be willing to know my thoughts concerning what I think an useful way of studying divinity, for those who would be masters of their profession, in as full an extent as it can be attained without being acquainted with the Hebrew language; or at least concerning such a one, as may be the most o and with least expense pursued, I shall propose the fol
Jowing observations: 1. In studying the Scriptures, a continued and regular course of reading the Bible, from the beginning to the end, is in my opinion not so profitable at first to him that would study it as a divine. He had better read the historical books first, i. e. Genesis, the beginning of Exodus and of Numbers, Deuteronomy, and then Joshua, and so on to the end of Esther, a good deal of Isaiah and Jeremiah, the beginning of Daniel, and the Maccabees; then the Gospels and the Acts; and along with these Josephus. The Lacuna in the sacred history are well supplied by him, and his account of that abounination of desola- D d 2 tion,
tion, when Titus destroyed the second Temple, is a noble description of the completion of those terrible prophecies by wbich our blessed Saviour foretold the dissolution of the Jewish polity in the 24th chapter of St Matthew, and the 13th chapter of St. Mark. Along with these I would recommend Archbishop Usher's Annals of the Old and New Testament, which is a work perfect in its kind, and which, well digested, will give a young divine a very sound knowledge of the history of the world, sacred and profane, from the Creation, to the destruction of the second Temple; which knowledge will upon innumerable occasions be of unspeakable use. • 2. This being done, I would have our student begin the Pentateuch again, and read it quite through, not only what is historical, but also that part which contains the statutes and ordinances which God gave the Israelites by the hand of Moses, very carefully; and immediately after, St. Paul's epistles, which without a competent skill in the Jewish economy, especially those to the Galatians and Hebrews will not be thoroughly understood. Whereas by the method that I propose, Moses and St. Paul will explain each other. But here I would recommend two books, which well digested, will make this work very easy. The first is Surenbusius's Bißac Kalandayñs, sive Conciliationes locorum V.T. quæ allegantur in N. T. secundum Modos allegandi et Formulas interpretandi Theologorum Hebræorum. There he particularly shews how our blessed Saviour and his disciples proved what they said out of Moses and the Prophets, and why they quoted every passage, that they thought proper for their purpose, in the particular manner in which we see it alledged. He compares their methods of argumentation with those which are used by the Jewish musters; and thereby demon. strates the cogency of many arguments produced by St. Paul, which have perplexed most Christian interpreters; and so shews the connection between the covenants in a full and convincing manner. And though his design led him to quote the Hebrew text at every turn, yet his work is so contrived, that those that do not understand Hebrew, need not be frightened, since most of his allegations are exactly translated, and by that means the thread of his arguments may be very easily comprehended.
.' The other book which upon this occasion should be very carefully read, and that more than once, is Dr. Allix's Reflections upon the Books of the Old and New Testament,