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William Nicholls.

A Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) online

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nigher Home. Then, tell me, Sir, why may not the
\Vaters whicli belong to cacit Planet, be thefe Waters
above the Firmament ? Thar the Moon has Waters ana-
logous to our Seas, is dem.onurable from the diverfe Re-
ilexion of Light from her diiterent Parts, nay, from the
very Shape of Seas and lOands we obferve in her : And
that the other Planets have the fame, is highly probable

from



64



A Conference



from their Similitude to one another. Now I fuppofo
that before the Work of the fecond Day, all this plane-
tary Water lay undiftinguiihibly difperfed throughout
the Expmfumi and together with the
Moon, and Stars, are a very connderable Job of Work
for one Day, efpecially when the Furniture of our poor
Earth took up fo many. Indeed you have handfomely
removed the Difficulty of the fixed Stars ; but then even
each of thofe fix Planets which remain, would require as
long a Time for their Formation as this our Earth , be- O.R.p.rx;
caufe they are of the fame Form., and as v/e have Reafon
to believe, their Equipage is not very unlike. Therefore
I cannot be reconciled to your Prophetj for crowding

V % the



68 ^4 C O N ? E R Ii N C E

the Formal ion of all thefe into one Day. Befides, I can-
not feC;, hov7 the Relation of this Dciy'sWork agrees with
the Explicarion in your Scheme. For if the Planets were
ibrmed by the iiril: Secretion of Matter upon the firft
Dj-Y, how cm they be made the fourth ? The Expmftim
beiore this Time feems to be drained of all Matter but the
^■ii.tl:er ; and therefoi'e I am at a Lofs to find, what the
Sun could be made of. This does to me feem fomething
dark end myfterious, and requires a littleof your j(\rr, Cre^
dcnihu^ to clear it up.

Crsii. This Objedion, Sir, is a little complicated, and
therefore I fhail anfwer to the Farts of it diflindly.
y ^^ ^, r. Whereas you fuppofe that all the Planets were

naiitts are foimed this fourth Day, and had all thofe Ornaments
jVid to hi they are probably endowed with then beflcwed on them ;
mails tU ^t^J5 jc more than can from Scripture be inferred. It is
jourtaD..'.). ^^^^ improbable, that God Almighty wrought them all off
one as foon a'; the ether, and th.at they grew on to Per-
f:;6ticn by the fime Degrees ; lo that the Work of each
of them was going forwai'ds, from the firll to the fixth
Day. For all thefe Planets are fo mutually linked to one
another,, and are (o much of the fame Piece, that one can-
not cafjly fuppofe the Foim.aticn of any of them was
Qiilincc from that of anothei'. Now tho' the Bulk of
thefe Planets were formed before this Day, and in all Pro-
hnbility icmc of tl'ieir ornamental Parts, as perhaps their
Seas and their Plants ; )'et they are faid to be made the
foiiriii Day, becaufe they were then ?nade the Moon and
the erraiick Stairs to us. They were before only invilible
Gicbcs; hill by the Light of the Sun, which was this




^ . ry properly

to be mrdc, becaufe tlio* their Subflance was before, yet
tircy we;e not a Moon, or Stars. For thQ formal Reafin
which does conilitutea Moon, is its Reflexion of Light
in fiicli conllant Viciilitudes, its different Pliafes, &Ci
whicli is the Notion rlie Generality of Mankind frames
of the IMocn ; n;)W rlus it had not till i\k fonnh Day,

and



i!^hh a T H E I s T. 6^

and therefore is very properly faicl to be maJc, For fiiccre
in the Latin Tongue has its Derivation from novaw facic?n
indpiere ; fo that a Thing is then fciicl to be made, wh.en it
has another Appearance than it had before. Neither is
the original Word, gnafah, v/hich is ufed here much
different : For that fignifies not only any new Foimaricn,
but any new Ufe or outward Appearance of a Thinr.
For fomerimes it fignifies to Sacrifice, as the Latin Verb
facer e ; fo Exod, x. 2 5. that we may ma!^ or Jkcrifice unto
the Lord our God, So ?Jd> Ixvi. 15./ will make to thee an
Ox with Goats : Which is a much bolder Metaphor than
that of ^/r^/7, CHmfaciamvituLtprofrugibH^, Now it is
plain here, that the Sacrifice was made before ; only the
nevv^ offering it up, or dedicating it to a religious Ufe, is
termed making. So Nur/^hersix, 10. it is termed ?^^-^;-?f
a Pajfover unto the Lord-, Vv^here only the Obiervation of a
Time already made is termed making, Sa i Kings xii. xi,
Jeroboam is faid to mak^ the high Places \ and Chap, xxv.? 2.
Ahab made a Grove, Now God Almighty had made
thofe Hills and Groves before ; only thofe wicked Princes
dedicated them to thofe Idolatrous \}{ts. The Planets
therefore, and efpecially the Moon, are veiy properly faid
to be m,ade this fourth Day ; becaufe they made their f i ft
Appearance upon this Day to the Earth, they had then
their firft 1^ put upon them of being Luminaries to this
World.

2. Altho' each of thefe Planets might take up as much Wjy Mo'^cs
Time in its Formation as our Earth, yet Mofes is not to relatei the
be blamed for not relating diftin(fi:ly the Formxation q£ ^^'fi'^-^ For-
them. It is enough for his Purpofe to give an Account 'tte'Earm
exadly of the fublunary Creation, and not to trouble the aUm^
People's Heads with Aftronomical Niceties. His Bu(inef> ^
was to give them an Account of their Original from God,
the better to keep them from Idolatry, and to relate to
them the Creation of the World, fo far as v/as a.^reeable
to Truth, and conformable to their Capacities. To eive
them a falfe Syftem of the Creation, fiich as iimple Peo-^
pie are apt to fancy, is to make God a Lyar, nay,' ro con-
Ui'va with his Authority the idle Dreams of Ivlen. And

F 4 . ti?



JO A COKFEHENCE

to give them a liiU Account of the true Syllem, was
to confound their Thoughts, and it may be to dedroy
their Faith ; to make them disbelieve thofe plain Notions,
they did underfland, for the fake of thofe others, they
could have no Apprehcnt^on of. To have given them a
falfe SyPcem of the World, to comply with their fimple
Capacities, w^ould have been to have declared himfelf an
Impoilor, to all underftanding Men ; and to have par-
ticularly unfolded all the Tha^nomena of the true one,
would have been only to have appeared frantick, to fuch
an illiterate Genemtion : For it was A'lofess, Bufinefs to
eflablifh a true Reiigicn agreeable to the Divine Will,
and to condu(5l the Ifiaelhes into the Land of Canaariy
where they might have a free Exercife of it ; but it was
the lead: of his Defign, to perplex them Vv'ith phyfiolo-
gical Notions ,• fo that for him to have talked cA plane-
tary Vortices of the Centrality of the Sun, and a World in
the Moon, would have made the poor ^^2^^ have fufpeded,
the Land of Promife was but fome fuch Kind of philofo-
phical Romance. God Almighty, when he didated this
mcft admirable Fliftory to his Prophet Aiofes^ forefaw
that this, was to. be the Ground-work of his future Re-
velations; that upon nxt Belief of this Creation by God,
the Fall by Adar/^ and the Reparation made by fefus
Chriil, all Mankind was to be faved ; fo that if he had
defcended to the Particulars of Philofophy, and fided with
any difrindt Se6t of it, he would have laid a very great
Stumbling-block in the Way of Salvation ; if he had ex-
plained the Particuiars of the Creation in the Ptolemaick^
'"Wlj, all the refra61ory Copcrnicam and Tjcho Braheansy
muft have been damned i or if he had took Part with G?-
prnlcm, all the old-fiiliioned Gentlemen, that are Advo-
cates for the round-about Stars and the folid Orbs, would
be in as evil a Condition. Alofes therefore, by God's
Diredion , took the middle and the wifefl; Courfe , to
fpcak cxad Truth, but feafonably and cautioufly ; neither
to confound the Minds of the ignorant Jews^ nor to ex-'
pofe himfelf to philofophizing ChrifHans. I doubt not,
but Afofesy being educated in all the Learning of the e>^-

gjftianst



^tth ^ T H E I S T. 71

gjptkm, was well verfed in the vulgar, or what is ufually
called th.Q PtolcmaickJriy'pQtht^^s ; for that came mxo Greece
from . fons of both thefe are very different. Then Omnipotence

chiefly employed itfelf, but here is the Province for TVif'
dom : then God aded abfolutely by an uncontrollable
Power, but now he has in fome Meafu'e given the Reins
put of his own Hand, he has in many Degrees made over
his original Power to his Creatures, and left it to the De-
termination of Free-will, and oftentimes to the Lets and
Impediments of what we call cafual Events. So that it
was very wifely contrived of the Deity^ after the Aliena-
tion



*with a T H E I s T. 75

tjon of this original Power, to be more abundantly cau-



Online LibraryWilliam NichollsA Conference with a Theist : containing an answer to all the most usual objections of the infidels against the Christian religion ... (Volume 1) → online text (page 7 of 47)