The Second Part of this Discourse, proving the same Theory from the Effects and 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.
WE have now finisht our explication of the Universal Deluge, and given an account, not only of the possibility of it, but of its Causes; and of that form and structure of the Earth, whereby the Old World was subject to that sort of Fate. We have not beg’d any Principles or Suppositions for the proof of this, but taking that common ground, which both Moses and all Antiquity presents to us, viz. That this Earth rose from a Chaos; We have from that deduc’d, by an easie train of consequences, what the first Form of it would be; and from that Form, as from a nearer ground, we have by a second train of consequences made it appear, that at some time or other that first Earth would be subject to a dissolution, and by that dissolution to a Deluge. And thus far we have proceeded only by the intuition of causes, as is most proper to a Theory; but for the satisfaction of those that require more sensible arguments, and to compleat our proofs on either hand, we will now argue from the Effects; And from the present state of Nature, and the present form of the Earth, prove that it hath been broken, and undergone such a dissolution as we have already describ’d, and made the immediate occasion of the Deluge. And that we may do this more perspicuously and distinctly, we will lay down this Proposition to be prov’d, viz. That the present form and structure of the Earth, both as to the surface and as to the Interiour parts of it, so far as they are known and accessible to us, doth exactly answer to our Theory concerning the form and dissolution of the first Earth, and cannot be explained upon any other Hypothesis.
Oratours and Philosophers treat Nature after a very different manner; Those represent her with all her graces and ornaments, and if there be any thing that is not capable of that, they dissemble it, or pass it over slightly. But Philosophers view Nature with a more impartial eye, and without favour or prejudice give a just and free account, how they find all the parts of the Universe, some more, some less perfect. And as to this Earth in particular, if I was to describe it as an Oratour, I would suppose it a beautiful and regular Globe, and not only so, but that the whole Universe was made for its sake; that it was the darling and favourite of Heaven, that the Sun shin’d only to give it light, to ripen its Fruit, and make fresh its Flowers; And that the great Concave of the Firmament, and all the Stars in their several Orbs, were design’d only for a spangled Cabinet to keep this Jewel in. This Idea I would give of it as an Oratour; But a Philosopher that overheard me, would either think me in jest, or very injudicious, if I took the Earth for a body so regular in it self, or so considerable, if compar’d with the rest of the Universe. This, he would say, is to make the great World like one of the Heathen Temples, a beautiful and magnificent structure, and of the richest materials, yet built only for a little brute Idol, a Dog, or a Crocodile, or some deformed Creature, plac’d in a corner of it.
We must therefore be impartial where the Truth requires it, and describe the Earth as it is really in it self; and though it be handsome and regular enough to the eye in certain parts of it, single tracts and single Regions; yet if we consider the whole surface of it, or the whole Exteriour Region, ’tis as a broken and confus’d heap of bodies, plac’d in no order to one another, nor with any correspondency or regularity of parts: And such a body as the Moon appears to us, when ’tis look’d upon with a good Glass, rude and ragged; as it is also represented in the modern Maps of the Moon; such a thing would the Earth appear if it was seen from the Moon. Vide Fig. pag. 116. They are both in my judgment the image or picture of a great Ruine, and have the true aspect of a World lying in its rubbish.
Our Earth is first divided into Sea and Land, without any regularity in the portions, either of the one or the other; In the Sea lie the Islands, scatter’d like limbs torn from the rest of the body; great Rocks stand rear’d up in the waters; The Promontories and Capes shoot into the Sea, and the Sinus's and Creeks on the other hand run as much into the Land; and these without any order or uniformity. Upon the other part of our Globe stand great heaps of Earth or stone, which we call Mountains; and if these were all plac’d together, they would take up a very considerable part of the dry Land; In the rest of it are lesser Hills, Valleys, Plains, Lakes, and Marishes, Sands and Desarts, &c. and these also without any regular disposition. Then the inside of the Earth, or inward parts of it, are generally broken or hollow, especially about the Mountains and high Lands, as also towards the shores of the Sea, and among the Rocks. How many Holes and Caverns, and strange Subterraneous passages do we see in many Countries; and how many more may we easily imagine, that are unknown and unaccessible to us?
This is the pourtraicture of our Earth, drawn without flattery; and as oddly as it looks, it will not be at all surprizing to one that hath consider’d the foregoing Theory; For ’tis manifest enough, that upon the dissolution of the first Earth, and its fall in to the Abysse, this very face and posture of things, which we have now describ’d, or something extreamly like it, would immediately result. The Sea would be open’d, and the face of the Globe would be divided into Land and Water: And according as the fragments fell, some would make Islands or Rocks in the Sea, others would make Mountains or Plains upon the Land; and the Earth would generally be full of Caverns and hollownesses, especially in the Mountainous parts of it. And we see the resemblance and imitation of this in lesser ruines, when a Mountain sinks and falls into Subterraneous water; or which is more obvious, when the Arch of a Bridge is broken, and falls into the water, if the water under it be not so deep as to overflow and cover all its parts, you may see there the image of all these things in little Continents, and Islands, and Rocks under water: And in the parts that stand above the water, you may see Mountains, and Precipices, and Plains, and most of the varieties that we see and admire in the parts of the Earth. What need we then seek any further for the Explication of these things? Let us suppose this Arch as the great Arch of the Earth, which once it had, and the water under it as the Abysse, and the parts of this ruine to represent the parts of the Earth; There will be scarce any difference
but of lesser and greater, the same things appearing in both. But we have naturally that weakness or prejudice, that we think great things are not to be explain’d from easie and familiar instances; We think there must be something difficult and operose in the explication of them, or else we are not satisfied; whether it is that we are asham’d to see our ignorance and admiration to have been so groundless, or whether we fancy there must be a proportion between the difficulty of the explication, and the greatness of the thing explain’d; but that is a very false Judgment, for let things be never so great, if they be simple, their explication must be simple and easie; And on the contrary, some things that are mean, common, and ordinary, may depend upon causes very difficult to find out; for the difficulty of explaining an effect doth not depend upon its greatness or littleness, but upon the simplicity or composition of its causes. And the effects and Phænomena we are here to explain, though great, yet depending upon causes very simple, you must not wonder if the Explication, when found out, be familiar and very intelligible.
And this is so intelligible, and so easily deducible from the forementioned causes, that a Man born blind or brought up all his life in a Cave, that had never seen the face of the Earth, nor ever heard any description of it, more than that it was a great Globe, having this Theory propos’d to him, or being instructed what the form of the first Earth was, how it stood over the waters, and then how it was broke and fell into them, he would easily of his own accord foretel what changes would arise upon this dissolution; and what the new form of the Earth would be. As in the first place he would tell you, that this second Earth would be distinguish’d and checker’d into Land and Water; for the Orb which fell being greater than the circumference it fell upon, all the fragments could not fall flat and lie drown’d under water; and those that stood above, would make the dry Land or habitable part of the Earth. Then in the second place, he would plainly discern that these fragments that made the dry Land, could not lie all plain and smooth and equal, but some would be higher and some lower, some in one posture and some in another, and consequently would make Mountains, Hills, Valleys, and Plains, and all other varieties we have in the situation of the parts of the Earth. And lastly, a blind man would easily divine that such a great ruine could not happen but there would be a great many holes and cavities amongst the parts of it, a great many intervals and empty places in the rubbish, as I may so say; for this we see happens in all ruines more or less; and where the fragments are great and hard, ’tis not possible they should be so adjusted in their fall, but that they would lie hollow in many places, and many unfill’d spaces would be intercepted amongst them; some gaping in the surface of the Earth, and others hid within; so as this would give occasion to all sorts of fractures and cavities either in the skin of the Earth, or within its body. And these Cavities, that I may add that in the last place, would be often fill’d with Subterraneous waters, at least at such a depth; for the foundations of the Earth standing now within the waters, so high as those waters reach’d they would more or less propagate themselves every way.
Thus far our Blind man could tell us what the new World would be, or the form of the Earth upon the great dissolution; and we find his reasonings and
inferences very true, these are the chief lineaments and features of our Earth; which appear indeed very irregular and very inaccountable when they are lookt upon naked in themselves, but if we look upon them through this Theory, we see as in a glass all the reasons and causes of them. There are different Genius's of men, and different conceptions, and every one is to be allow’d their liberty as to things of this nature; I confess, for my own part, when I observe how easily and naturally this Hypothesis doth apply it self to all the particularities of this Earth, hits and falls in so luckily and surprizingly with all the odd postures of its parts, I cannot, without violence, bear off my mind from fully assenting to it: And the more odd and extravagant, as I may so say, and the more diversifi’d the effects and appearances are, to which an Hypothesis is to be appli’d, if it answers them all and with exactness, it comes the nearer to a moral certitude and infallibility. As a Lock that consists of a great deal of workmanship, many Wards, and many odd pieces and contrivances, if you find a Key that answers to them all, and opens it readily, ’tis a thousand to one that ’tis the true Key, and was made for that purpose.
An eminent Philosopher of this Age, Monsieur des Cartes, hath made use of the like Hypothesis to explain the irregular form of the present Earth; though he never dream’d of the Deluge, nor thought that first Orb built over the Abysse, to have been any more than a transient crust, and not a real habitable World that lasted for more than sixteen hundred years, as we suppose it to have been. And though he hath, in my opinion, in the formation of that first Orb, and upon the dissolution of it, committed some great oversights, whereof we have given an account in the Latin Treatisec. 7. & lib. 2. c. 4.; however he saw a necessity of such a thing, and of the disruption of it, to bring the Earth into that form and posture wherein we now find it.
Thus far we have spoken in general concerning the agreement and congruity of our supposition with the present face of the Earth, and the easie account it gives of the causes of it. And though I believe to ingenuous persons that are not prejudic’d by the forms and opinions of the Schools against every thing that looks like a novelty or invention, thus much might be sufficient; yet for the satisfaction of all, we will, as a farther proof of our Theory, or that part of it which concerns the dissolution of the Earth, descend to a particular explication of three or four of the most considerable and remarkable things that occur in the fabrick of this present Earth; namely, the great Chanel of the Ocean; Subterraneous Cavities and Subterraneous Waters; and lastly, Mountains and Rocks. These are the wonders of the Earth as to the visible frame of it; and who would not be pleas’d to see a rational account of these? of their Origin, and of their properties; Or who would not approve of that Hypothesis, when they see that Nature in her greatest and strangest works may easily be understood by it, and is in no other way intelligible.
We will speak first of Subterraneous Cavities and Waters, because they will be of easier dispatch, and an introduction to the rest.
That the inside of the Earth is hollow and broken in many places, and is not one firm and united mass, we have both the Testimony of Sence and of easie Observations to prove: How many Caves and Dens and hollow passages into the
ground do we see in many Countries, especially amongst Mountains and Rocks; and some of them endless and bottomless so far as can be discover’d. We have many of these in our own Island, in Derbishire, Somersetshire, Wales, and other Counties, and in every Continent or Island they abound more or less. These hollownesses of the Earth the Ancients made prisons, or storehouses for the winds, and set a God over them to confine them, or let them loose at his pleasure. For some Ages after the Flood, as all Antiquity tells us, These were the first houses men had, at least in some parts of the Earth; here rude mortals shelter’d themselves, as well as they could, from the injuries of the Air, till they were beaten out by wild beasts that took possession of them. The Ancient Oracles also us’d to be given out of these Vaults and recesses under ground, the Sibyls had their Caves, and the Delphick Oracle, and their Temples sometimes were built upon an hollow Rock. Places that are strange and solemn strike an awe into us, and incline us to a kind of superstitious timidity and veneration, and therefore they thought them fit for the seats and residences of their Deities. They fansied also that streams rise sometimes, or a sort of Vapour in those hollow places, that gave a kind of Divine fury or inspiration. But all these uses and employments are now in a great measure worn out, we know no use of them but to make the places talkt on where they are, to be the wonders of the Countrey, to please our curiosity to gaze upon and admire; but we know not how they came, nor to what purpose they were made at first.
It would be very pleasant to read good descriptions of these Subterraneous places, and of all the strange works of Nature there; how she furnisheth these dark neglected Grottoes; they have often a little Brook runs murmuring through them, and the roof is commonly a kind of petrefi’d Earth or Icy fret-work; proper enough for such rooms. But I should be pleas’d especially to view the Sea-caves, or those hollow Rocks that lie upon the Sea, where the waves roll in a great way under ground, and wear the hard Rock into as many odd shapes and figures as we see in the Clouds. ’Tis pleasant also to see a River in the middle of its course throw it self into the mouth of a Cave, or an opening of the Earth, and run under ground sometimes many miles; still pursuing its way through the dark pipes of the Earth, till at last it find an out-let. There are many of these Rivers taken notice of in History in the several parts of the Earth, as the Rhone in France, Guadiana in Spain, and several in Greece, Alpheus, Lycus, and Eracinus; then Niger in Africa, Tigris in Asia, &c. And I believe if we could turn Derwent, or any other River into one of the holes of the Peak, it would groap its way till it found an issue, it may be in some other County. These subterraneous Rivers that emerge again, shew us that the holes of the Earth are longer and reach farther than we imagine, and if we could see into the ground, as we ride or walk, we should be affrighted to see so often Waters or Caverns under us.
But to return to our dry Caves; these commonly stand high, and are sometimes of a prodigious greatness: StraboGeo. l. 16. mentions some in the Mountains towards Arabia, that are capable to receive four thousand men at once. The Cave of Engedi hid David and six hundred men1 Sam. 24. 3, 4., so as Saul, when he was in the mouth of it, did not perceive them. In the Mountains of the Traconites there are many
of these vast dens and recesses, and the people of that Country defended themselves a long time in those strong Holds against Herod and his Army; They are plac’d among such craggy Rocks and Precipices, that, as JosephusAnt. Jud. li. 14. ch. 27. tells us, Herod was forc’t to make a fort of open chests, and in those by chains of Iron he let down his Souldiers from the top of the Mountains to go fight them in their dens. I need add no more instances of this kind; In the Natural History of all Countries, or the Geographical descriptions of them, you find such places taken notice of, more or less; yet if there was a good collection made of the chief of them in several parts, it might be of use, and would make us more sensible how broken and torn the body of the Earth is.
There are subterraneous Cavities of another nature, and more remarkable, which they call Volcano's, or fiery Mountains; that belch out flames and smoke and ashes, and sometimes great stones and broken Rocks, and lumps of Earth, or some metallick mixture; and throw them to an incredible distance by the force of the eruption. These argue great vacuities in the bowels of the Earth, and magazines of combustible matter treasur’d up in them. And as the Exhalations within these places must be copious, so they must lie in long Mines or Trains to do so great execution, and to last so long. ’Tis scarce credible what is reported concerning some eruptions of Vesuvius and Ætna. The Eruptions of Vesuvius seem to be more frequent and less violent of late; The flame and smoke break out at the top of the Mountain, where they have eaten away the ground and made a great hollow, so as it looks at the top, when you stand upon the brims of it, like an Amphitheater, or like a great Caldron, about a mile in circumference, and the burning Furnace lies under it. The outside of the Mountain is all spread with Ashes, but the inside much more; for you wade up to the mid-leg in Ashes to go down to the bottom of the Cavity, and ’tis extreamly heavy and troublesome to get up again. The inside lies sloping, and one may safely go down if it be not in a raging fit; but the middle part of it or center, which is a little rais’d like the bottom of a Platter, is not to be ventur’d upon, the ground there lies false and hollow, there it always smoaks, and there the Funnel is suppos’d to be; yet there is no visible hole or gaping any where when it doth not rage. Naples stands below in fear of this fiery Mountain, which hath often cover’d its Streets and Palaces with its Ashes; and in sight of the Sea (which lies by the side of them both) and as it were in defiance to it, threatens at one time or another, to burn that fair City. History tells us, that some eruptions of Vesuvius have carri’d Cinders and Ashes as far as Constantinople; this is attested both by Greek and Latin Authors; particularly, that they were so affrighted with these Ashes and darkness, that the Emperor left the City, and there was a day observ’d yearly for a memorial of this calamity or prodigy.
Ætna is of greater fame than Vesuvius, and of greater fury, all Antiquity speaks of it; not only the Greeks and Romans, but as far as History reacheth, either real or fabulous, there is something recorded of the Fires of Ætna. The Figure of the Mountain is inconstant, by reason of the great consumptions and ruines it is subject to; The Fires and Æstuations of it are excellently describ’d by Virgil, upon occasion of Æneas his passing by those Coasts.
Fama est Enceladi semustum fulmine corpus
Urgeri mole hâc, ingentémque insuper Ætnam
Impositam, ruptis flammam expirare caminis.
Et fessum quoties mutet latus, intremere omnem
Murmure Trinacriam & cœlum subtexere fumo.
------Ætna, whose ruines make a thunder;
Sometimes black clouds of smoak, that rowl about
Mingled with flakes of fire, it belches out.
And sometimes Balls of flame it darts on high,
Or its torn bowels flings into the Sky.
Within deep Cells under the Earth, a store
Of fire-materials, molten Stones, and Ore,
It gathers, then spews out, and gathers more.
Enceladus when thunder-struck by Jove,
Was buri’d here, and Ætna thrown above;
And when, to change his wearied side, he turns,
The Island trembles and the Mountain burns.
Not far from Ætna lies Strombolo, and other adjacent Islands, where there are also such magazines of Fire; and throughout all Regions and Countries in the West-Indies and in the East, in the Northern and Southern parts of the Earth, there are some of these Volcano's, which are sensible evidences that the Earth is incompact and full of Caverns; besides the roarings, and bellowings that use to be heard before an eruption of these Volcano's, argue some dreadful hollowness in the belly or under the roots of the Mountain, where the Exhalations struggle before they can break their prison.
The subterraneous Cavities that we have spoke of hitherto, are such as are visible in the surface of the Earth, and break the skin by some gaping Orifice; but the Miners and those that work under ground, meet with many more in the bowels of the Earth, that never reach to the top of it: Burrows, and Chanels, and Clefts, and Caverns, that never had the comfort of one beam of light since the great fall of the Earth. And where we think the ground is firm and solid, as upon Heaths and Downs, it often betrays its hollowness, by sounding under the Horses feet and the Chariot-wheels that pass over it. We do not know when and where we stand upon good ground, if it was examin’d deep enough; and to make us further sensible of this, we will instance in two things that argue the unsoundness and hollowness of the Earth in the inward recesses of it, though the surface be
intire and unbroken; These are Earthquakes and the communication of Subterraneous waters and Seas: Of which two we will speak a little more particularly.
Earthquakes are too evident demonstrations of the hollowness of the Earth, being the dreadful effects or consequences of it; for if the body of the Earth was sound and compact, there would be no such thing in Nature as an Earthquake. They are commonly accompanied with an heavy dead sound, like a dull thunder, which ariseth from the Vapours that are striving in the womb of Nature when her throes are coming upon her. And that these Caverns where the Vapours lie are very large and capacious, we are taught sometimes by sad experience; for whole Cities and Countries have been swallow’d up into them, as Sodom and Gomorrha, and the Region of Pentapolis, and several Cities in Greece, and in Asia, and other parts. Whole Islands also have been thus absorpt in an Earthquake; the pillars and props they stood upon being broken, they have sunk and faln in as an house blown up. I am also of opinion that those Islands that are made by divulsion from a Continent, as Sicily was broken off from Italy, and Great Britain, as some think, from France, have been made the same way; that is, the Isthmus or necks of Land that joyn’d these Islands with their Continents before, have been hollow, and being either worn by the water, or shak’d by an Earthquake, have sunk down, and so made way for the Sea to overflow them, and of a Promontory to make an Island. For it is not at all likely that the neck of Land continu’d standing, and the Sea overflow’d it, and so made an Island; for then all those passages between such Islands, and their respective Continents would be extreamly shallow and unnavigable, which we do not find them to be. Nor is it any more wonder if such a neck of Land should fall, than that a Mountain should sink, or any other tract of Land, and a Lake rise in its place, which hath often happen’d. Plato supposeth his Atlantis to have been greater than Asia and Africa together, and yet to have sunk all into the Sea; whether that be true or no, I do not think it impossible that some arms of the Sea or Sinus's might have had such an original as that; and I am very apt to think, that for some years after the Deluge, till the fragments were well setled and adjusted, great alterations would happen as to the face of the Sea and the Land; many of the fragments would change their posture, and many would sink into the water that stood out before, the props failing that bore them up, or the joynts and corners whereby they lean’d upon one another; and thereupon a new face of things would arise, and a new Deluge for that part of the Earth. Such removes and interchanges, I believe, would often happen in the first Ages after the Flood; as we see in all other ruines there happen lesser and secondary ruines after the first, till the parts be so well pois’d and setled, that without some violence they scarce change their posture any more.
But to return to our Earthquakes, and to give an instance or two of their extent and violence: Pliny mentions one in the Reign of Tiberius Cæsar that struck down twelve Cities of Asia in one night, And Fournier gives us an account of one in Peru, that reacht three hundred leagues along the Sea-shore, and seventy leagues in-land; and level’d the Mountains all along as it went, threw down the Cities, turn’d the Rivers out of their Chanels, and made an universal havock and confusion; And all this, he saith, was done within the space of seven or eight minutes.
[paragraph continues] There must be dreadful Vaults and Mines under that Continent, that gave passage to the Vapours, and liberty to play for nine hundred miles in length, and above two hundred in breadth. Asia also hath been very subject to these desolations by Earthquakes; and many parts in Europe, as Greece, Italy, and others. The truth is, our Cities are built upon ruines, and our Fields and Countries stand upon broken Arches and Vaults, and so does the greatest part of the outward frame of the Earth, and therefore it is no wonder if it be often shaken; there being quantities of Exhalations within these Mines, or Cavernous passages, that are capable of rarefaction and inflammation; and, upon such occasions, requiring more room, they shake or break the ground that covers them. And thus much concerning Earthquakes.
A second observation that argues the hollowness of the Earth, is the communication of the Seas and Lakes under ground. The Caspian and Mediterranean Seas, and several Lakes, receive into them great Rivers, and yet have no visible out-let: These must have subterraneous out-lets, by which they empty themselves, otherwise they would redound and overflow the brims of their Vessel. The Mediterranean is most remarkable in this kind, because ’tis observ’d that at one end the great Ocean flows into it through the straits of Gibralter, with a sensible current, and towards the other end about Constantinople the Pontus flows down into it with a stream so strong, that Vessels have much ado to stem it; and yet it neither hath any visible evacuation or out-let, nor overflows its banks. And besides that it is thus fed at either end, it is fed by the navel too, as I may so say; it sucks in, by their Chanels, several Rivers into its belly, whereof the Nile is one very great and considerable. These things have made it a great Problem, What becomes of the water of the Mediterranean Sea? And for my part, I think, the solution is very easie, namely, that it is discharg’d by Subterraneous passages, or convey’d by Chanels under the ground into the Ocean. And this manner of discharge or conveyance is not peculiar to the Mediterranean, but is common to it with the Caspian Sea, and other Seas and Lakes, that receive great Rivers into them, and have no visible issue.
I know there have been propos’d several other ways to answer this difficulty concerning the efflux or consumption of the waters of the Mediterranean; some have suppos’d a double current in the strait of Gibralter, one that carri’d the water in, and another that brought it out; like the Arteries and Veins in our Body, the one exporting our bloud from the heart, and the other re-importing it: So they suppos’d one current upon the surface, which carri’d the water into the Mediterranean, and under it at a certain depth a counter-current, which brought the water back into the Ocean. But this hath neither proof nor foundation; for unless it was included in pipes, as our bloud is, or consisted of liquors very different, these cross currents would mingle and destroy one another. Others are of opinion, that all the water that flows into the Mediterranean, or a quantity equal to it, is consum’d in Exhalations every day; This seems to be a bolder supposition than the other, for if so much be consum’d in Vapours and Exhalations every day as flows into this Sea, what if this Sea had an out-let, and discharg’d by that, every day, as much as it receiv’d; in a few days the Vapours would have
consum’d all the rest; and yet we see many Lakes that have as free an out-let as an in-let, and are not consum’d, or sensibly diminisht by the Vapours. Besides, this reason is a Summer-reason, and would pass very ill in Winter, when the heat of the Sun is much less powerful: At least there would be a very sensible difference betwixt the height of the waters in Summer and Winter, if so much was consum’d every day as this Explication supposeth. And the truth is, this want of a visible out-let is not a property belonging only to the Mediterranean Sea, as we noted before, but is also in other Seas and great Lakes, some lying in one Climat and some in another, where there is no reason to suppose such excessive Exhalations; And though ’tis true some Rivers in Africk, and in other parts of the Earth, are thus exhal’d and dri’d up, without ever flowing into the Sea (as were all the Rivers in the first Earth) yet this is where the sands and parch’d ground suck up a great part of them; the heat of the Climat being excessively strong, and the Chanel of the River growing shallower by degrees, and, it may be, divided into lesser branches and rivulets; which are causes that take no place here. And therefore we must return to our first reason, which is universal, for all seasons of the Year and all Climats; and seeing we are assur’d that there are Subterraneous Chanels and passages, for Rivers often fall into the ground, and sometimes rise again, and sometimes never return; why should we doubt to ascribe this effect to so obvious a cause? Nay, I believe the very Ocean doth evacuate it self by Subterraneous out-lets; for considering what a prodigious mass of water falls into it every day from the wide mouths of all the Rivers of the Earth, it must have out-lets proportionable; and those Syrtes or great Whirlpools that are constant in certain parts or Sinus's of the Sea, as upon the Coast of Norway and of Italy, arise probably from Subterraneous out-lets in those places, whereby the water sinks, and turns, and draws into it whatsoever comes within such a compass; and if there was no issue at the bottom, though it might by contrary currents turn things round, within its Sphere, yet there is no reason from that why it should suck them down to the bottom. Neither does it seem improbable, that the currents of the Sea are from these in-draughts, and that there is always a submarine inlet in some part of them, to make a circulation of the Waters. But thus much for the Subterraneous communication of Seas and Lakes.
And thus much in general concerning subterraneous Cavities, and concerning the hollow and broken frame of the Earth. If I had now magick enough to show you at one view all the inside of the Earth, which we have imperfectly describ’d; if we could go under the roots of the Mountains, and into the sides of the broken rocks; or could dive into the Earth with one of those Rivers that sink under ground, and follow its course and all its windings till it rise again, or led us to the Sea, we should have a much stronger and more effectual Idea of the broken form of the Earth, than any we can excite by these faint descriptions collected - from Reason. The Ancients I remember us’d to represent these hollow Caves and Subterraneous Regions in the nature of a World under-ground, and suppos’d it inhabited by the Nymphs, especially the Nymphs of the waters and the Sea-Goddesses; so Orpheus sung of old; and in imitation of him Virgil hath made a
description of those Regions; feigning the Nymph Cyrene to send for her son to come down to her, and made her a visit in those shades where mortals were not admitted. Virgil
Come lead the Youth below, bring him to me,
The Gods are pleas'd our Mansions he should see;
Streight she commands the floods to make him way,
They open their wide bosom and obey;
Soft is the path, and easie is his tread,
A watry Arch bends o’er his dewy head;
And as he goes he wonders, and looks round,
To see this new-found Kingdom under ground.
The silent Lakes in hollow Caves he sees,
And on their banks an echoing grove of Trees;
The fall of waters ’mongst the Rocks below
He hears, and sees the Rivers how they flow:
All the great Rivers of the Earth are there,
Prepar'd, as in a womb, by Nature's care.
Last, to his mother's bed-chamber he's brought,
Where the high roof with Pumice-stone is wrought, &c.
If we now could open the Earth as this Nymph did the Water, and go down into the bosom of it, see all the dark Chambers and Apartments there, how ill contriv’d, and how ill kept, so many holes and corners, some fill’d with smoak and fire, some with water, and some with vapours and mouldy Air; how like a ruine it lies gaping and torn in the parts of it; we should not easily believe that God created it into this form immediately out of nothing; It would have cost no more to have made things in better order; nay, it had been more easie and more simple; and accordingly we are assured that all things were made at first in Beauty and proportion. And if we consider Nature and the manner of the first formation of the Earth, ’tis evident that there could be no such holes and Caverns, nor broken pieces, made then in the body of it; for the grosser parts of the Chaos falling down towards the Center, they would there compose a mass of Earth uniform and compact, the water swimming above it; and this first mass under
the water could have no Caverns or vacuities in it; for if it had had any, the Earthy parts, while the mass was liquid or semiliquid, would have sunk into them and fill’d them up, expelling the Air or Water that was there; And when afterwards there came to be a crust or new Earth form’d upon the face of the Waters, there could be no Cavities, no dens, no fragments in it, no more than in the other; And for the same general reason, that is, passing from a liquid form into a concrete or solid leisurely and by degrees, it would flow and settle together in an entire mass; There being nothing broken, nor any thing hard, to bear the parts off from one another, or to intercept any empty spaces between them.
’Tis manifest then that the Earth could not be in this Cavernous form originally, by any work of nature; nor by any immediate action of God, seeing there is neither use nor beauty in this kind of construction: Do we not then, as reasonably, as aptly, ascribe it to that desolation that was brought upon the Earth in the general Deluge? When its outward frame was dissolv’d and fell into the great Abysse: How easily doth this answer all that we have observ’d concerning the Subterraneous Regions? That hollow and broken posture of things under ground, all those Caves and holes, and blind recesses, that are otherwise so inaccountable, say but that they are a Ruine, and you have in one word explain’d them all. For there is no sort of Cavities, interior or exterior, great or little, open or shut, wet or dry, of what form or fashion soever, but we might reasonably expect them in a ruine of that nature. And as for the Subterraneous waters, seeing the Earth fell into the Abysse, the pillars and foundations of the present (exteriour) Earth must stand immers’d in water, and therefore at such a depth from the surface every where, there must be water found, if the soil be of a nature to admit it. ’Tis true, all Subterraneous waters do not proceed from this original, for many of them are the effects of Rains and melted Snows sunk into the Earth; but that in digging any where you constantly come to water at length, even in the most solid ground this cannot proceed from these Rains or Snows, but must come from below, and from a cause as general as the effect is; which can be no other in my judgment than this, that the roots of the exteriour Earth stand within the old Abysse, whereof, as a great part lies open in the Sea, so the rest lies hid and cover’d among the fragments of the Earth; sometimes dispers’d and only moistning the parts, as our bloud lies in the flesh, and in the habit of the body; sometimes in greater or lesser masses, as the bloud in our Vessels. And this I take to be the true account of Subterraneous waters as distinguish’d from Fountains and Rivers, and from the matter and causes of them.
Thus much we have spoke to give a general Idea of the inward parts of the Earth, and an easie Explication of them by our Hypothesis; which whether it be true or no, if you compare it impartially with Nature, you will confess at least, that all these things are just in such a form and posture as if it was true.