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vicinity of that body to the sun ; or in Saturn, from the extreme cold arising from its prodigious distance from that supposed source of heat. But if heat is really more dependant on the nature of the materials of which animal or inanimate bodies are compounded, and the aptitude of their compositions to be acted upon by the sun's rays, than on any real warmth conveyed by them, we can then conceive that the inhabitants of Mercury may not be more scorched by their proximity to the sun, or those of Saturn:more frozen by their distance from it, than we are on this earth. The density of all the planets exactly proportional to their distances from the sun shews that this is really the case. If the rays of the sun are only mediate causes of heat, if they are only agents capable of bringing it forth, the difference of their intensity at the several distances of the planets may be fully compensated by the more immediate causes, the quantity of calorific particles contained in those planets and the force of their adhesion. The universal and all-foreseeing providence of the Supreme Being extends itself with equal bounty to all and every part of the universe. Under his powerful hand, one single agent operates all the wonders of his beneficent intentions; and at such unequal distances the same fun animates the soil and inhabitants of Saturn without scorching those of Mercury. Light also is weakened by distance. The composition of the moon is such as to reflect to us a most benign light during the night, but it is probably invisible in Saturn. The composition of that planet's moons and ring must be exceedingly different; for they not only reflect an ple light on that planet, but, notwithstanding their immense distance, are visible, and make it more vifible to us.

THOUGHTS

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THOUGHTS

ON THE

STRUCTURE

OF THIS GLOBE.

L ETTER VI.

Abstract of the System of Profesor Wallerius on the Formation and

Structure of the Earth. BEFORE I venture to expose to you, Sir, my own ideas on the original formation and structure of this globe, and on the changes which have reduced it to its present state, you will give me leave to introduce you to the knowledge of the opinions of Mr. Wallerius, who not many years since published a regular system on thofe subjects. That learned professor has been styled by the Swedes the father of mineralogy, as they had before given to his countryman Linnæus the honourable name of father of botany, fully confirmed by the universal suffrage of all Europe. This philosopher

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displays not perhaps that vivacity of imagination nor that seducing eloquence which distinguish Messieurs de Buffon and Bailly ; he will not captivate so many readers, nor obtain such rapid conquest of opinions; but profound, clear, and concise reasoning will, when his work shall be better known to the learned of Europe, secure to him a more solid reputation of real science. Suppose him not, however, destitute of imagination; his, it is true, is not exhaled in the flowers of style; but that chapter of his work in which he calls into order the confused abyss of fluid matter, and in which he combines, 'arranges, and develops the successive origin of the various substances of which the earth is now composed, will shew him to have possessed that vast conception and that quickness of seizing the most distant connection of things which truly characterize the great genius. Mr. de Luc of Geneva, already mentioned, published about the fame time his sentiments on the same subjects, and, though probably uncommunicated, their opinions coincide on most points. As of a more concise and regular system, I shall chiefly confine myself to an abstract of the work of Mr. Wallerius.

You will be surprised, Sir, to find him closely following step by step, and in fact confining himself to the explication of that mosaical narration which the philosophers of your nation have accustomed you' to look upon as a confused tale, inexplicable by nature, and unworthy of the attention of the man of science; or at least as the disguised and veiled account of the creation, meant not to convey physical truths, but calculated to suit the prejudices and understandings of an illiterate

and

and ignorant people. Here you will see the successive progress of creation delineated, however briefly, by Moses, not only connected with but supported and confirmed by the successive application of the only well known fundamental laws of nature. In fact, if that narrative is true, and, as christians suppose, inspired by the Divinity himself, nothing in it, though certainly not intended directly to instruct us in the arcana of nature, should be found incompatible with her positive and immutable laws. When the sun is said to stand still in Gibeön, or to retrograde on the dial of Ezechias, scripture talks only of appearances as these really were, effe&ted not by any alteration in the rotation of the whole earth, but by some partial refraction of its rays, as yet happens in some mornings or evenings before that body really appears in sight, or after it has in fact disappeared. It talks the language then alone comprehensible, as we yet do, though we know the contrary, in common conversation : but here it relates facts without attending to their being perfectly comprehended or not; its only object is to instruct us that God was the sole creator and disposer of all that is. This idea of the necessary truth of facts asserted in Genesis will both account for the anxiety of Mr. Wallerius and myself to shew that no part of these facts is really inexplicable by true philosophy, though for want of more certain knowledge our explications may yet be defective.

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You have seen, Sir, that I have already endeavoured to shew, from the most authentic documents of the history and gradual pro

gress

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gress of mankind, that the time elapsed since a general deluge, the tradition of which has been from time immemorial preserved by all nations, cannot be of much longer duration than what may coincide with some of the various chronologies of scripture; and that probably the first existence of mankind is not of much older date than what these will warrant. I have also, I think, demonstrated that the arguments adduced by Mr. de Buffon and others to prove a very high and almost indefinite antiquity to the globe itself are both inconclusive and fallacious ; and I have shewn against those who reclaim the unerring testimonies of nature herself against history and the narration of the first of historians, that these pretended testimonies are in so much more doubtful as their adducers disagree amongst themfelves; and that the jarring systems hitherto substituted to the mosaical account, so far from according better with the laws of nature, or being a clearer explication of her past and present state, are generally founded on absurd or ideal hypotheses, and often in direct opposition withthe most certain principles hitherto deduced from her. By the following exposition of the opinions of Messieurs Wallerius and De Luc, you will perceive that in what I may hereafter offer as an explication of Genesis and of nature I am not singular, but supported by the sentiments of some men of high reputation and of profound learning, amongst whom I may also reckon my countryman Mr. Whitehurst. To Mr. Wallerius I with pleasure own that I owe not only a confirmation of my before pre-conceived sentiments, but a much clearer arrangement of them, and a more regular connec

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