A Short Consideration of Mr. Erasmus Warren's Defence

Against the THEORY of the EARTH.

PUBLISHED FOR Walter Kettilby



[Page 12]

Lastly, we come to the grand discovery of a Fifteen-Cubit-Deluge, [Page 13] which, it may be, was as uneasie to him upon second thoughts, as any of the rest: at least one would guess so, by the changes he hath made in his Hypothesis. For he hath now, in this DefenceP. 181, 182, reduc'd the Deluge to a destruction of the world by Famine, rather than by drowning. I do not remember in Scripture any mention made of Famine in that great judgment of water brought upon mankind, but he thinks he hath found out something that favours his opinion: namely, that a good part of mankind at the Deluge, were not drown'd, but starv'd for want of victuals. And the argument is this, because in the story of the Deluge, men are not said to be drown'd, but to perish, die or be destroy'd. But are they said any where in the story of the Deluge, to have been famish'd? And when God says to NoahGen. 6. 17, I will bring a slood of waters upon the Earth, to destroy all flesh, Does it not plainly signifie, that that destruction should be by drowning? But however let us hear our Author: when he had been making use of this new Hypothesis of starving, to take off some arguments urged against his fifteen-cubit Deluge (particularly, that it would not be sufficient to destroy all mankind) he adds these words by way of proof. Des. p.182And methinks there is one thing which seems to insinuate, that a good part of the Animal world might perhaps come to an end thus: by being driven to such streights by the over flowing waters, as to be FAMISHT or STARV'D to death. The thing is this, in the story of the Deluge, it is no where said of men and living creatures, that they were drown'd, but they dyed, or were destroyed. Those that are drown'd are destroy'd, I imagine, as well as those that are starv'd: so this proves nothing. But that the destruction here spoken of, was by drowning, seems plain enough, both from God's words to Noah before the Flood, and by his words after the Flood, when he makes his Covenant with Noah, in this manner: Gen.9.11I will establish my Covenant with you, neither shall all flesh be cut off any more by the waters of a Flood. Now to be cut off, or destroy'd by the waters of a Flood, is, methinks, to be drown'd. And I take all flesh to comprehend the Animal World, or at least, all mankind. Accordingly our Saviour says, Matt. 24. 39. in Noah's time, the flood came, and took them all away: namely, all mankind.

[Page 14]

This is one Expedient our Author hath found out, to help to bear off the inconveniences that attend his fifteencubit Deluge: namely, by converting a good part of it into a Famine. But he hath another Expedient to joyn to this, by increasing the Waters: and that is done, by making the Common Surface of the Earth, or the highest parts of it, as he calls them, to signifie ambiguously, or any height that pleases himÍžDes. 165.& 180. and consequently fifteen Cubits above that, signifies also what height he thinks fit. But in reality, there is no surface common to the Earth, but either the exteriour surface, whether it be high or low: or the ordinary level of the Earth, as it is a Globe or convex Body. If by his common surface he mean the exteriour surface, that takes in Mountains as well as Low-lands, or any other superficial parts of the Earth. And therefore if the Deluge was fifteen Cubits above this common surface, it was fifteen Cubits above the highest Mountains, as we say it was. But if by the common surface he mean the common level of the Earth, as it is a Globular or convex Body, then we gave it a right name when we call'd it the ordinary level of the Earth: namely, that level or surface that lies in an equal convexity with the surface of the Sea. And his fifteen Cubits of water from that level, would never drown the World. Lastly, If by the common surface of the Earth, he understand a 3d. surface, different from both these, he must define it, and define the height of it: that we may know how far this fifteen-cubit Deluge rise, from some known basis. One known basis is the surface of the Sea, and that surface of the Land that lies in an equal convexity with it: tell us then if the waters of the Deluge were but fifteen Cubits higher than the surface of the Sea, that we may know their height by some certain and determinate measure, and upon that examine the Hypothesis. But to tell us they were fifteen Cubits above, not the Mountains or the Hills, but the Highlands, or the highest parts of the common surface of the Earth, and not to tell us the height of these highest parts from any known basis: nor how they are distinguisht from Hills and Mountains, which incur our sences, and are the measures given us by [Page 15] Moses: This, I say, is but to cover his Hypothesis with ambiguities, when he had made it without grounds: and to leave room to set his Water-mark higher or lower, as he should see occasion or necessity. And of this indeed we have an instance in this land Pamphlet, for he has rais'd his Watermark there, more than an hundred Cubits higher than it was before. In his P. 300Exceptions he said, not that the waters were no where higher than just fifteen Cubits, above the ground, they might in most places be thirty, forty, or fifty Cubits higher. P.180But in his Defence he says, the Waters might be an hundred or two hundred Cubits higher, than the general ordinary plain of the Earth. Now what security have we, but that in the next Pamphlet, they may be 500 or a 1000 Cubits higher than the ordinary surface of the Earth [...]

This is a selection from the original text


earth, famine, flood, water

Source text


Author: Thomas Burnet

Publication date: 1691

Edition: 2nd Edition

Place of publication: London

Provenance/location: Date: 1691 Bibliographic name / number: Wing / B5947 Physical description: [2], 24 [i.e. 42] p. Copy from: Cambridge University Library Reel position: Wing / 1182:02

Digital edition

Original author(s): Thomas Burnet

Language: English

Selection used:

  • 1 ) pages 13-16


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