THE Introduction; An account of the whole Work, of the extent and general Order of it.
A general account of Noah's Flood. A computation what quantity of Water would be necessary for the making of it; That the common Opinion and Explication of that Flood is not intelligible.
All Evasions concerning the Flood answered; That there was no new Creation of Waters at the Deluge; and that it was not particular or National, but extended throughout the whole Earth. A prelude and preparation to the true account and explication of it. The method of the first Book.
That the Earth and Mankind had an Original, and were not from Eternity; Prov’d against Aristotle. The first proposition of our Theory laid down, viz. That the Ante-diluvian Earth was of a different Form and Construction from the present. This is prov’d from Divine Authority, and from the Nature and Form of the Chaos, out of which the Earth was made.
The Second Proposition is laid down, viz. That the face of the Earth before the Deluge was smooth, regular and uniform; without Mountains, and without a Sea. The Chaos out of which the World rise is fully examin’d, and all its motions observ’d, and by what steps it wrought it self into an habitable World. Some things in Antiquity relating to the first state of the Earth are interpreted, and some things in the Sacred Writings. The Divine Art and Geometry in the construction of the first Earth is observ’d and celebrated.
The Dissolution of the First Earth: The Deluge ensuing thereupon. And the form of the present Earth rising from the Ruines of the First.
That the Explication we have given of an Universal Deluge is not an IDEA only, but an account of what really came to pass in the Earth, and the true explication of Noah's Flood. An examination of Tehom-Rabba, or the Great Abysse, and that by it the Sea cannot be understood, nor the Subterraneous Waters as they are at present; What the true Notion and Form of it was, collected from Moses and other Sacred Writers. Observations on Deucalion's Deluge.
The particular History of Noah's Flood is explain’d in all the material parts and circumstances of it, according to the preceding Theory. Any seeming difficulties remov’d, and the whole Section concluded with a Discourse how far the Deluge may be lookt upon as the effect of an Ordinary Providence, and how far of an Extraordinary.
The Second Part of this Discourse, proving the same Theory from the Effects and the present Form of the Earth. First, by a general Scheme of what is most remarkable in this Globe, and then by a more particular induction; beginning with an account of Subterraneous Cavities and Subterraneous Waters.
Concerning the Chanel of the Sea, and the Original of it; The causes of its irregular form and unequal depths: As also of the Original of Islands, their situation, and other properties.
Concerning the Mountains of the Earth, their greatness and irregular Form, their Situation, Causes and Origin.
A short review of what hath been already treated of, and in what manner. All methods, whether Philosophical or Theological, that have been offer’d by others for the explication of the Form of the Earth, are examin’d and refuted. A conjecture concerning the other Planets, their Natural Form and State compar’d with ours; Especially concerning Jupiter and Saturn.
THE Introduction and Contents of the Second Book. The general state of the Primæval Earth, and of Paradise.
The great change of the World since the Flood from what it was in the first Ages. The Earth under its present Form could not be Paradisiacal, nor any part of it.
The Original differences of the Primitive Earth from the present Post-diluvian. The three Characters of Paradise and the Golden Age found in the Primitive Earth. A particular explication of each Character.
A Digression, concerning the Natural Causes of Longævity. That the Machine of an Animal consists of Springs, and which are the two principal. The Age of the Ante-diluvians to be computed by Solar, not Lunar Years.
Concerning the Waters of the Primitive Earth: What the state of the Regions of the Air was then, and how all Waters proceeded from them. How the Rivers arose, what was their Course, and how they ended. Several things in Sacred Writ that confirm this Hydrography of the first Earth, especially the Post-diluvian Origin of the Rain-bow.
A Recollection and review of what hath been said concerning the Primitive Earth, with a more full Survey of the state of the first World, Natural and Civil, and the comparison of it with the present World.
Concerning the place of Paradise; It cannot be determin’d from the Theory only, nor from Scripture only; What the sense of Antiquity was concerning it, as to the Jews and Heathens, and especially as to the Christian Fathers; That they generally plac’d it out of this Continent, in the Southern Hemisphere.
The uses of this Theory for the illustration of Antiquity; The Chaos of the Ancients explain’d; The inhabitability of the Torrid Zone; The change of the Poles of the World; The Doctrine of the Mundane Egg; How America was first peopled; How Paradise within the Circle of the Moon.
A general Objection against this Theory, viz. That if there had been such a Primitive Earth, as we pretend, the fame of it would have sounded throughout all Antiquity. The Eastern and Western Learning consider’d, the most considerable Records of both are lost; what foot steps remain relating to this subject. The Jewish and Christian Learning consider’d, how far lost as to this Argument, and what Notes or Traditions remain. Lastly, How far the Sacred Writings bear witness to it. The Providential conduct of Knowledge in the World. A Recapitulation and state of the Theory.
Concerning the AUTHOR of NATURE.
Concerning Natural Providence. Several misrepresentations of it, and false methods of Contemplation; Preparatives to the true Method, and a true representation of the Universe. The Mundane Idea, and the Universal System of Providence; Several subordinate Systems, That of our Earth and Sublunary World; The Course and Periods of it; How much of this is already treated of, and what remains. Conclusion.