Billeder på siden

Days were employ'd in feparating from each other all the different Beings mix'd and confus'd in the Chaos, to difpofe them in proper Order in thofe Places which they were to inhabit, and then to give Life and Motion to thofe Beings he defign'd fhould live and move. And this Opinion Mofes himself confirms in his Summary of the Creation, in the 4th and 5th Verses of the 2d Chapter of Genefis, where he fays that all things were created in the day that the Lord God made the Earth and the Heavens; and that 'twas the fame Day every Plant of the Field, and every Herb were formed, and that before they were in the Earth, and before they grew.

You fee, Sir, that in thus explaining the Creation of the World, you eafily reconcile what Judith fays in the 16th Chapter and the 14th Verfe: Let all thy Creatures ferve thee; for thou hast Spoken, and they were made; thou haft fent thy Spirit, and be made 'em up. And what is faid in the 18th Chapter of the Ecclefiafticus and the 1ft Verfe, He that liveth for ever, made all things together, with what Mofes relates of a fix Days Work. And to come clofer to my Purpose: I find a Confirmation of this in the Situation of thofe Shells and Plants, which are to be met with in the Depth of the Earth. And the better to explain my Thoughts in this Matter, I'll endeavour to fhew you how all these things have been brought to pass naturally, and without any Miracle; it being ridiculous to fuppofe that God made ufe of any fupernatural Means to effect that, for which the general Laws of Nature were fuffici


This therefore is my Syftem: Every Creature having been form'd in the first Moment of the Creation, and confufedly mix'd in the Chaos, the Earth and Waters at that time by their Mixture forming a kind of Slough, every Plant and every Animal floated at that time, without any Life or Motion of their own, upon the Surface of this Mud, and there remain'd till they were difpos'd of in their proper Places; which was not done till the third Day, when the Waters separated from the dry Land. Now during this Interval of time, 'tis natural to fuppofe that feveral Shells, by reafon of their being small and folid, might fink fome way into the Mud; the fame might happen by fome Plants and Animals, which perhaps might fink deeper than the reft, whether accidentally, or by being more penetrated, and confequently made heavier by the Mud.

Things being in this Situation, God feparated the Waters from the dry Land in the following manner. Firft, retaining by his Almighty Will upon the Surface of the Earth, thofe Plants and Animals which were to remain there, he fqueezed this Mass like a Spunge out of which one would fqueeze the Water: For, as Philo teaches us, it most refembled that; and by this Compreffure the Waters running out on every fide, carry'd away with them the Birds and Fishes, which were retain'd by no fupernatural Power, into thofe Places where they were gathered into great Heaps to form the Seas.

It was not fo with fome Shells and Plants, and a fmall Number of Fishes and Reptiles, which, as I obferved, were funk too deep in the Mud; for being thus mix'd with the Mass of the Earth, they were not only retain'd there by this Compreffion, but the Violence with which they were prefs'd being great, it neceffarily followed that feveral of 'em were flatted, crufh'd and broken in pieces. And this is the Condition in which we find 'em in our Mountains, as I told you in my former; and if we meet with fo many Fragments of thefe Shells difperfed up and down, 'tis becaufe the Waters running out by the fame Preffure which broke thefe to pieces, they carried off Part of 'em, and difperfed 'em about in the feveral Places where we now find them.

As for the Impreffions of thofe things which we find in the Lands and Mountains, and the great Number of 'em that are petrified, we must attribute 'em to that petrifying Moisture which is in the Earth; and which being accidentally in those very Places where these things were to be met with, it has entirely penetrated, and by coagulating has at length petrified them; or elfe Stones having been form'd near the Places where they were, and thefe Stones being vegetated and grown large by means of this petrifying Juice, which ferves them in lieu of Sap, they have receiv'd the Impreffion of these things, and fome of 'em have united and grown together. It was alfo on the fame Day that the Earth and Waters were parted, that God gave to those Trees and Plants, which had remained upon the Surface of the Earth, as much Life as was neceffary for them to vegetate and grow; but as for Animals, God did not begin to give them Life till the fifth Day, when he commanded the Sea to produce alive the Fishes and Fowl which were in it; and the next Day he also commanded the Earth to produce alive the Creatures that were to inhabit it.

C 2


This, Sir, is my Syftem of the Creation of the World, which you fee is pretty well confirm'd by the Shells, and fuch like things,. which we meet with in our Lands and Mountains, and by the Situation in which they are found. However, I don't in the least. queftion but you'll meet with many Difficulties in it, was it only because I have advanced many things on this. Head contrary to what has been hitherto believed. But I have already told you, that Mofes himself naturally leads us into this way of thinking, if we impartially and without Prejudice read those Words in the 2d Chapter of Genefis, the 4th and 5th Verfes: Ifta funt Generationes eæli & terræ quando create funt, in die quo fecit Dominus Deus cœlum & terram. In the English Tranflation: These are the Generations of the Heaven and the Earth when they were created, in the day that the Lord God made the Earth and the Heavens. The Sacred Hiftorian here infinuates, that all things were form'd and created at the fame time, and in the fame Inftant that the Heavens and the Earth were created. The Words which follow are, Et omne virgultum agri antiquam orirertur in terrâ omnemq; herbam regionis priufquam germinaret; that is, And every Plant of the Field before it was in the Earth, and every Herb of the Field before it grew. By which his Meaning palpably appears to be, that all Trees and Plants were created and formed at the very fame Inftant that every thing else was, and this before they grew in the Earth. The fame thing I affert of all Animals, which were form'd at that first Instant,, but to whom no Life was given till afterwards.

Perhaps you will tell me, that Mofes was far from meaning thofe Words as I explain them, fince he on the contrary fays, in fpeaking of what God did on the fifth Day, that he faid, Let the Waters bring forth abundantly the moving Creature that bath Life, and Fowl that may fly, above the Earth. Which according to all Interpreters fignifies that it was on the fifth Day only that God created every Fish and every Fowl, and not at the first Inftant of the Creation, as I fuppofe it; and your Objection, Sir, would be very juft, if the Hebrew Terms which Mofes makes ufe of, had no other Meaning than what is given 'em by the Tranflators. Producant aque reptile animæ viventis & volatile fupervolet. But our Learned Countryman * Vatable, who was fo perfect a Master

Generally known by the Name of Watobled, a Native of Normandy..


of the Hebrew Tongue, affures us, that this Tranflation is not the only indifputable one that may be given to the Words of Mofes, fince feveral instead of producaut aquæ, &c. render 'em, Repere faciant & volatile volet ; that is, Let the Waters caufe the Fishes to creep, (or fwim) and the Birds to fly. Which, if accepted thus, will make good what I fay, that it was not then God gave 'em a Being, but only Life and Motion.

This Formation of Plants and Animals at two different times. has nothing particular in it, fince God did the fame when he made Man; for notwithstanding that by his Almighty Power he might fully, and perfectly have created him in an Inftant of time, yet did he do it by two feparate Actions, having first of all form'd and organized his Body without Motion or Life; both the one and the other of which he communicated to him by his Divine Breath, giving him at the fame time an immaterial and reafonable. Soul.

Laftly, the Echinus's which,, as I before obferv'd, we find with-out the leaft. Grain of Sand or Gravel in the Head, are another Proof that they were enclofed before they had Life in the Mafs of the Earth, fince let 'em live never fo little a time, they are immediately full of it. I am, &.c..


THUS have our Readers with the Accounts of Shells, &c. an entire new System of the Creation, which I don't in the leaft queftion will to fome feem probable, and to others extravagant. The Reason why we chofe to begin our Memoirs of Literature with these two Letters, was not only because they contained fomething entirely new, but also because the Subject of 'em is a Point at prefent in Debate amongst the Literati, and efpecially those of the Kingdom of France: And thefe Letters of Mr. Capperon have occafion'd much to be written on this Subject, and more is prepa-ring for the Prefs. The chief Difputants on this Head feem to leave the beaten Track, and rejecting their Fathers Notions, find out new Systems of their own. As the Reader will eafily fee by the following Advertisement, which I have rather chofe to infert here than in the Lift of Books printed abroad.

Andrew Cailleau, Bookfeller in Sorbonne-Square in Paris, gives notice, That he is preparing for the Prefs an Effay on Shell-Fish,


by the Reverend Father Caftel of the Society of Jefus. The Learned, who are willing to communicate their Obfervations on this Matter, with a fhort Defcription of the Shell-fifh, and petrified things brought from the Sea, which they are poffefs'd of, are defired to direct to the above Bookfeller. Thefe Obfervations, and the Names of the Perfons who fent 'em, fhall be made mention of. The fame Author will give an Account of the curious Cabinets of this Kind, which are to be met with, as well in France, as in other Parts. And the better to inform the Publick what Obfervations are proper to be communicated, this is the Defign of Father Caftel. He divides his Work into two Parts; the firft contains a Defcription and Reprefentation of an infinite Number of Shell-fif, with their natural History. The fecond is, a Rational and Philofophical Hiftory of Shell-fish, and the Generation as well of thofe which we find in the Seas, as of thofe which are to be met with in the Earth, and on the highest Mountains, and most remote from the Sea. In relation to the former of thefe, the Author gives us his Syftem, or rather a Syftematical History of the Generation of Organized Bodies in general, and of Infects and Shell-fifh in particular. In relation to the latter, he unfolds his Syftem of Organisation and terreftrial Circulation, to fhew that the Shell-fifh, or rather Shells which are found in the Lands, and on the highest Mountains, were and are still daily carried there in the fame manner as the Waters are, which fall from thofe Mountains, by means of a fubterraneous Circulation.


[ocr errors]

Miscellaneous Pieces.


Infcribed to O. H. Efq;

HEN Cowley offer'd at the Muses Shrine,
And to his Aid invok'd the tuneful Nine;


The willing Sifters to his Succour flew,
And rais'd his Thoughts to what was great and new.

[ocr errors][merged small]
« ForrigeFortsæt »