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In God's eternal store, to circumscribe
over the empty place, and hang- of the deep; and the Spirit of ing the earth upon nothing. God moved upon the face of the This last noble thought Milton waters. Gen. i. 1, 2. The poet has expressed in the following says watery calm, as the Messiah verse,
had before calmed the deep, And earth self-balanc'd on her centre ver. 216. and says, outspread his hung.
brooding wings instead of moved,
Addison. following the original rather 232. Thus God the heav'n cre- than our translation. ated, &c.] The reader will na- 239. -then founded, then turally remark how exactly Mil- conglob’d &c.] Milton had said ton copies Moses in his account that Messiah first purged downof the creation. This seventh ward the infernal dregs which book of Paradise Lost may be were adverse to life; and that called a larger sort of paraphrase then of things friendly to life he upon the first chapter of Ge- founded and conglobed like to nesis. Milton not only observes like, that is he caused them to the same series and order, but assemble and associate together : preserves the very words as the rest, that is, such things as much as he can, as we may see were not of the same nature and in this and other instances. In fit for composing the earth, went the beginning God created the off to other places, perhaps to heaven and the earth; and the form the planets and fixed stars. carth was without form and void, This seems to be Milton's meanand darkness was upon the face ing. Peurce.
Like things to like, the rest to several place
Let there be light, said God, and forthwith light
Here it will be of use to recur This is the passage that Longito the account in iii. 708. The nus particularly admires; and earthy, watery, airy, and fiery no doubt its sublimity is greatly particles, which before were owing to its conciseness; but blended promiscuously, were our poet enlarges upon it, ennow combined and fixed as a deavouring to give some account foundation; for founded does how light was created the first either signify that from fundare, day, when the sun was not or to melt from fundere; this lat- formed till the fourth day. He ter it cannot mean, it was already says, that it was sphered in a raAuid. Thus Psalm lxxxix. ii. diant cloud, and so journeyed As for the world and the fulness round the earth in a cloudy thereof, thou hast founded them. tabernacle; and herein he is So Prov. iii. 19. The Lord by justified by the authority of wisdom hath founded the earth.
commentators; though The rest must be something dif- others think this light was the ferent from the now elementary light of the sun, which shone bodies, and that (iii. 716.) is de- as yet very imperfectly, and did termined to be the ethereal quint- not appear in full lustre till the essence of which the heavenly fourth day. It is most probaluminous bodies were formed. ble, that by light (as it was proRichardson.
duced the first day) we must Diffugere inde loci partes cæpere,
not understand the darting of paresque
rays from a luminous body, Cum paribus jungi res &c.
such as do now proceed from Lucret, v. 438. the sun, but those particles of 241. —and between spun out the matter which we call fire, (whose air,
properties we know are light And earth self-balanc'd on her and heat,) which the Almighty centre hung.)
produced, as a proper instruFrom Ovid, Met. i. 12. but
ment for the preparation and
very much improved;
digestion of other matter. So
Bp. Patrick upon the text. circumfuso pendebat in aëre However it be, Milton's actellus
count is certainly very poetical, Ponderibus librata suis.
though you may not allow it to 943. Let there be light, said be the most philosophical, and God, and forthwith light &c.] is agreeable to the description Gen. i. 3. And God said, Let there before quoted from Vida. See be light; and there was light. Mr. Thyer's note upon ver. 211.
Sprung from the deep, and from her native east
247. Spher'd in radiant evening and the morning were the cloud,] So Shakespeare, Troil. first day. Gen. i. 4, 5. Cress. a. i. sc. 3.
253. Nor past uncelebrated,
&c.] The beauties of description - The glorious planet Sol In noble eminence enthron'd, and
lie so very thick, that it is almost spher'd
impossible to enumerate them. Amidst the ether.
The poet has employed on them
T. Warton. the whole energy of our tongue. 248. a cloudy tabernacle]
The several great scenes of the Alluding to the glory of the creation rise up to view one Lord sojourning in the taber- after another, in such a manner,
that the reader seems present nacle, before a more glorious temple was built for its fixed
at this wonderful work, and to residence and habitation. Green
assist among the quires of anwood.
gels, who are the spectators of 249. God saw the light
it. How glorious is the concluwas good ; &c.] What follows sion of the first day! Addison.
256. is little more than the words of
-with joy and shout Moses versified. And God saw
The hollow universal orb they the light that it was good, and
filled,] God divided the light from the Job xxxviii. 4, 7. Where wast darkness: Milton adds how it thou when I laid the foundations was divided, by the hemisphere.
of the earth; when the morning
stars sang together, and all the And light from darkness by the
sons of God shouted for joy? And hemisphere
with this joy and shout they Dividcd.
filled the hollow universal orb, the And God called the light day, and great round (as it is called ver. darkness he called night ; and the 267.) of the universe.
The hollow universal orb they filld,
Again, God said, Let there be firmament
261. Again, God said, &c.] firmness and intransgressibility. When he makes God speak, he Hume and Richardson. adheres closely to the words of 268. The waters underneath Scripture. And God said, Let
from those above there be a firmament in the midst Dividing :) of the waters, and let it divide the They who understand the firwaters from the waters, Gen. i. mament to be the vast air, ex6. But when he says that God panded and stretched out on all made the firmament, he explains sides to the starry heavens, what is meant by the firma. esteem the waters above it to ment. The Hebrew word, be those generated, in the midwhich the Greeks render by dle region of the air, of vapours Tegswa, and our translators by exhaled and drawn up thither firmament, signifies expansion: from the steaming, earth and it is rendered expansion in the nether waters; which descend margin of our Bibles, and Mil- again in such vast showers and ton rightly explains it by the ex- mighty floods of rain, that not panse of elemental air.
only rivers, but seas may be 264. — liquid air,] Virg. Æn. imaginable above, as appeared vi. 202. liquidumque per aëra.
when the cataracts came down 267. -partition firm and sure,] in a deluge, and the flood-gates For its certainty not solidity of heaven were opened. Gen. vii. St. Augustin upon Genesis. It ii. Others, and those many, is not called firmament as being by these waters above understand a solid body, but because it is a the crystalline heaven, (by Gasbound or term between the upper sendus made double,) by our and nether waters ; a partition author better named crystalline firm and immoveable, not upon ocean, by its clearness resemaccount of its station, but of its bling water. Who layeth the
Dividing : for as earth, so he the world
The earth was form’d, but in the womb as yet
beams of his chambers in the Hebrews and in the style of waters, Psal. civ. 3. Praise him, Scripture. In this very chapye heavens of heavens, and ye ter, ver. 20. it is said, fowl that waters above the heavens, Psal. may fly above the earth in the cxlviii. 4. To this sense our open firmament of heaven. So in poet agrees, and thus infers, Ps. civ. 12. By them shall the that as God built the earth, and fowls of the heaven have their founded it on waters, (stretched habitation, which sing among the out the earth above the waters, branches. And Matt. vi. 26, Ps. cxxxvi. 6. By the word of what we translate the fowls of God the heavens were of old, and the air is in the original the the earth consisting out of the fowls of heaven, ta water and in the water, 2 Pet. sgave. So again, Rev. xix. 17, iii. 5.) so also he established the the fowls that fly in the midst of whole frame of the heavenly heaven. And we read often in orbs, in a calm crystalline sea Scripture of the rain of heaven, surrounding it, lest the neigh- and the clouds of heaven. The bourhood of the unruly Chaos truth is, there were three heashould disturb it. But all search vens in the account of the Hein works so wonderful, so distant brews. Mention is made of the and undiscernable, as well as un- third heaven, 2 Cor. xii. 2. The demonstrable, is quite confounded. first heaven is the air, as we have Hume.
shewn, wherein the clouds move 274. And Heav'n he named the and the birds fly; the second firmament :] So Gen. i. 8. And is the starry heaven, and the God called the firmament Heaven. third heaven is the habitation of But it may seem strange if the the angels and the seat of God's firmament means the air and at glory. Milton is speaking here mosphere, that the air should be of the first heaven, as he mencalled heaven : but so it is fre- tions the others in other places. quently in the language of the